Obama "Defends" Liberalism

By Big Tent Democrat

Via Chris Bowers, Obama "defends" liberalism. But Chris notices that Obama does not, um, actually defend liberalism:

How, exactly, is this considered defending the liberal label? I looked around for a transcript to see if there were other parts of the speech that I missed, but I was unable to find one. So, looking just at what NBC reporter Aswini Anburajan transcribed, I fail to see how this is in any way defending the "liberal" label. In fact, the transcription indicates that Obama is actually taking some of the more popular positions often associated with being "liberal" in America, and defining those positions as "common sense" instead of as "liberal." Further, in so doing, he appears to be defining himself as something other than a liberal. Overall, not only is that not defending the liberal label, but it seems to be draining the common American usage of the word liberal of many of its most positive aspects, and then distancing himself from being labeled a liberal. So, he distances himself from the term, and then makes the term seem even less appealing. How Aswini Anburajan interprets this as defending "liberal label" is beyond me.

How about that Chris? I am shocked that Obama denigrated liberalism. Aren't you? My question is how did Obama decide to discuss this anyway? What was that about?

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    BTD, How can you be for this man? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by derridog on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:46:14 PM EST
    Your conclusions about him are so right on, yet your intent to vote for him seems like incredible cognitive dissonance.

    I've never believed it (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:20:35 PM EST
    Maybe BTD can become a "tepid" Clinton supporter soon.  I can dream.

    I think his chance to vote (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:36:47 PM EST
    in a primary/caucus is the very last one.  We'll keep the pressure on.

    Nope (none / 0) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:41:03 PM EST
    Come and gone.

    Florida? (none / 0) (#69)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:50:30 PM EST
    Well you don't count.

    Try again.  Take a trip to la isla bonita my friend.


    Let's speculate. (none / 0) (#77)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:54:18 PM EST
    Will BTD sit out the GE or vote for McCain if the FL delegates aren't seated.

    No need to speculate (none / 0) (#94)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:00:22 PM EST
    I would vote for Ben Nelson if they drafted him over McCain.

    Yep (none / 0) (#93)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:59:45 PM EST
    Same for my grandparents! (none / 0) (#58)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:45:07 PM EST
    They're in Puerto Rico and can't wait to cast their vote for Hillary.  They are both over 80 years old and have been donating to her for 20 years but never had a chanc to vote for her in anything.  I hope she hangs in there long enough for that to happen.

    ah since 1992 I mean (none / 0) (#64)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:47:48 PM EST
    the first time (Bill) Clinton ran for President they were on board.  So maybe not quite 20.  Had to correct that.  God I feel old now for some reason.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:49:13 PM EST
    I was highly irked by that headline this morning -- it's incredibly misleading, to put it charitably. Thanks for picking it up, and I'm glad Bowers did, too.

    He distanced himself and his positions from the word "liberal". Blatantly. I highly recommend people go read the quote before battling about it one way or the other.

    Something akin to "Obama defends against liberalism charge" would be much more accurate.

    I actually have to wonder (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:00:00 PM EST
    who came up with this riff. Strikes me as plenty dumb.

    Maybe he should have... (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:03:30 PM EST
    ... stuck with Deval Patrick's talking points.

    Okay, shame on me.


    I agree (none / 0) (#13)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:03:49 PM EST
    but then, I'm not sure he'll be broadly called out for it, especially given the misleading headline. Ironically, if it's something like a push for more republican or indy crossover vote, the flat-out wrong headline may blunt its intended impact.

    No idea. It seems like a very strange thing for him to do.


    That is my point (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:12:50 PM EST
    The play was bad because it is likely to pi** off both groups.

    The wingnuts will see the headlines, the liberals will see the text and both will be ticked. Plenty dumb.


    Very true (none / 0) (#37)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:33:38 PM EST
    I think it was possibly intended to go for the crossover appeal. But the way it played out with the headline, yeah, I can't see who could be pleased by the article, except those on the left willing to suspend reality in defending their chosen candidate.

    it's a movement toward (none / 0) (#181)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:52:58 PM EST
    changing the meaning of a word.  The repubs are going to call him a "liberal" if he makes it to the ge, and now he is seeking to redefine it so that it no longer has the same impact.

    Reminds me a bit of all the discussions we've had here on "what Obama really meant."  Words like "pimped" and "claws" and "periodically" get re-coded and regurgitated, and Obamaphiles drink it down like baby birds.  If I visited Kos or HuffPo anymore, I would probably be able to track this "reprogramming" of the word "liberal"

    As an example, the right did the same thing with "feminist" by coining "feminazi" and making it synonymous with hairy-faced, man-hating, Birkenstock wearing lesbians.  My niece's generation thinks being a feminist is actually something negative.  She had no idea about the history of feminism and how the movement made it possible for her to be where she is now (on her way to becoming a doctor, thank you very much)

    Words are powerful...especially when you change their meaning.


    Ah yes... (none / 0) (#184)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:59:45 PM EST
    as a woman under 30 I am so disappointed when I hear young women my age and younger preface their statements with, "I'm not a feminist, but..."

    as a male under 30 (none / 0) (#200)
    by Nasarius on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:05:09 PM EST
    I know exactly what you mean. I remember in particular discussing music with one girl, and she said something like "I like Ani DiFranco, but I'm not a feminist or anything." Another girl I knew very well, who is pretty liberal, totally rejects the feminist label and some of the ideals.

    The good news is that there is a movement, with people like Jessica Valenti, fighting to reclaim the term and the public image of feminism. But I'm not particularly optimistic about that, since liberal activism in general has become an egregious faux pas.

    even though I consider myself a conservative I don't think that, the Democrats, for lack of a better word allowed themselves to be bullied out of  using the word Liberal to describe the philosophy  they ascribed to.  Words are important and when you allow your enemies to define them and don't defend them you come out the loser.

    You genuinely don't see a problem with that (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:51:42 PM EST

    Taking his policies and insisting that they're not liberal, because they're common sense?

    Speaking as a liberal, this is the kind of thing a lot of us have been trying to get politicians not to do for ages.

    This is a response (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:31:35 PM EST
    to a now deleted comment.

    Is this now cribbing from McCain? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:53:55 PM EST
    In his campaign kickoff speech, McCain called himself a "common sense conservative."  And "common sense conservatism" even has its own Wikipedia entry.  (Can't find the first to say it, though.)

    Where are the liberals? (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:57:43 PM EST
    I was a liberal back when it was a dirty word.  

    You would think after 7+ years of George the Lesser some bright politician would unfurl the banner of FDR and proudly proclaim that they are proud to be a liberal.

    Won't Offend (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Athena on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:29:19 PM EST
    But Barack is ultimately a people-pleaser, and that would offend someone.  So someone had to be sold out, and there went the liberals.

    Makes one wonder who's next. . . (none / 0) (#34)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:31:53 PM EST
    Missed Opportunity (none / 0) (#72)
    by Athena on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:51:33 PM EST
    All someone had to do was to point out the opposite of everything that Bush has destroyed and label it liberal.  There was an opportunity to totally rehabilitate - and reclaim - the label.

    I was (none / 0) (#126)
    by sas on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:23:12 PM EST
    thinking the same thing myself.  Barack blew it....unless of course, he really isn't a liberal.

    He Really Isn't A Liberal (none / 0) (#201)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:19:28 PM EST
    Obama isn't a liberal in the sense of advocating an activist government seeking good outcomes.

    His right-of-center economics team and some of his anemic policy proposals (which reflect his policy team) paint a picture of a center-right politician.

    Examples would include his completely unhelpful $500 tax credit in response to the mortgage crisis and his tax cut as remedy to a potentially serious recession.  Clinton's proposals were far more comprehensive and aimed at good outcomes.

    Given Clinton's policy team, which has demonstrated a willingness to move left, and her policy prescriptions promoting an activist, responsive government; she's significantly more like a liberal than Obama.

    I was an enthusiastic Edwards supporter and when he dropped out moving on to support Clinton was a natural move.


    Here is diplomatic's link (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:14:14 PM EST
    Wow! (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:17:23 PM EST
    That was pretty darn good by Hillary. No wonder the Obamanauts are freaking out.

    I had not seen that before.


    thanks for putting the link (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:21:45 PM EST
    That's the Hillary I've been waiting for.

    My reaction today, too -- and now (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:37:40 PM EST
    she's next up, already on stage, at the State of the Black Union convention.  How she handles this venue will be watchable.  (Btw, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Clinton backer, was so eloquent -- and ever-elegant -- today.)

    Forum (none / 0) (#57)
    by Athena on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:44:54 PM EST
    I thought she handled it well; the reception was warm, if not overwhelming.  But unlike Barack, Hillary at least went to the Black Union forum and didn't avoid it.

    If Senator Obama went to the... (1.00 / 0) (#86)
    by tsteels2 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:57:17 PM EST
    State of the Black Union, he would be labeled as "The Black People's President", his message of unity would be blown up, and MSM and some bloggers will say he's only for black America.  I'm black and I think it was the right move not to appear.

    Senator Obama CAN NOT appear to be "President of Black America".  It's unfair but that's how he will be labeled.  Senator Clinton doesn't have to worry about that.


    Can someone please give me more details (none / 0) (#82)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:55:42 PM EST
    I can't get the CNN video to load but want to look for another source for it.  What is the speech about/where?  Is this the mailers' defense speech?  Thanks.

    Can't (none / 0) (#116)
    by tek on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:15:21 PM EST
    get it either.

    They have it at Corrente. (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:08:59 PM EST
    In youtube form.  http://correntewire.com/  
    Pretty cool.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:31:34 PM EST
    they're all calling her some variation on a scolding school marm.

    I don't know how it'll play, politically -- I could see it going either way. It is unfortunately risky for women to raise our voices or show anger. But I think she's absolutely right to be angry about the health care mailer in particular.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:33:30 PM EST
    I thought it was good because it gets to an important point - Obama's attacks on core Dem values.

    That may be what gets through (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:38:06 PM EST
    it's a really valid criticism and hugely problematic beyond this campaign, and it's where I have long had the biggest problems with him.

    I don't know. I think I can't objectively gauge how things play with actual people on the ground very well anymore, after all this time around the blogs.

    Effective or no, I'm glad to see it from her.


    Well (none / 0) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:39:38 PM EST
    I stopped trying to figure out what works.
    In any event, today we discovered the race is
    NOT over, and that is good for Hillary.

    Very good point (none / 0) (#60)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:46:41 PM EST
    they are going to have a hard time continuing the "Hillary has conceded" line in the press. That was unambiguously not a concession.

    Time will tell on the other effects.


    Not Over (none / 0) (#61)
    by Athena on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:47:10 PM EST
    In her remarks at the Black Union forum today, she mentioned Pennsylvania along with TX and Ohio.  Sounded like the long view.

    And was that Ted Strickland behind her (none / 0) (#51)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:39:44 PM EST
    affirming her, over and over?  Reports are that he has been working hard for her in Ohio.  Good on him for being one of the loyal governors (unlike mine in Wisconsin, where Bill Clinton worked hard for him).

    Senator Obama - Independent?? (none / 0) (#92)
    by tsteels2 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:59:29 PM EST
    Maybe he should have ran as an independent.

    I don't see that she has anything (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:34:26 PM EST
    to lose at this point just being herself.  Enough Ms. nice guy.

    yabbut (none / 0) (#68)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:50:19 PM EST
    She gets docked points for that "aid and comfort" line.

    I liked it -- she was talking about (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:56:52 PM EST
    the GOP.  They are the opposition to Dems, y'know.

    Yeah, I didn't care for that either. nt. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:55:55 PM EST
    did you see his response? (none / 0) (#186)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:01:57 PM EST
    It's on the same page as the link.  I cannot believe the press lets him get away with this crap (and, get some coffee before you watch the clip.  As usual, it basically takes him ten minutes to respond, and basically what he says is, "I know you are but what am I?")

    Yeah, that ten minutes ... (none / 0) (#209)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 07:43:39 AM EST
    to finish a sentence is really starting to wear.

    Could lead to some "Kerrifying" results in the fall.


    True hypocrisy (none / 0) (#41)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:35:24 PM EST
    So Hillary can say whatever she likes about his Health Care plan but shame on Obama for criticizing her plan because it is "Universal Health Care"?  

    So apparently she is framing the next debate to be an attack debate.  Good luck with that, Hillary.


    True hypcrisy? (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:37:14 PM EST
    So you are outraged NOW?

    You are a trip too.

    Pol are pols dude. SHAMELESS hypocrites ALL THE TIME.

    Are you just discovering that?


    I'm not outraged at all (none / 0) (#59)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:45:11 PM EST
    I have a VERY realistic view of politicians.  I am neither cynical or dazzled by them.  They are EXACTLY what we demand them to be.  

    But I will not extol hypocrisy.  And Hillary attacking Obama because she seems to think she has a monopoly on the term Universal Health Care simply because she is advocating to implement a universal tax that will NEVER pass, is certainly not something to give her praise for.


    Sure it is (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:49:10 PM EST
    Obama's attack is very much adopting GOP talking points.

    Heh (none / 0) (#71)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:51:00 PM EST
    That's centrism in a nutshell.

    Sure what is? (none / 0) (#73)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:51:58 PM EST
    Which talking points is his "attack" adopting?

    That mandates (none / 0) (#78)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:54:37 PM EST
    will have the government garnishing wages. Is it true? As true as Social Security forces wage garnishment.

    You do not see the GOP talking point there?


    Absolutely not (none / 0) (#107)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:08:40 PM EST
    Social Security DOES garnish wages from us.  15% of our wages to be exact.  I SUPPORT that program but I am not going to ignore the truth.

    The only way that mandated health care works is if it becomes a universal tax.  Why?  Because there is simply no way that the Federal government can enforce mandated health care any other way.  Unless of course you are talking about nationalizing the health insurance business.

    This is reality.  And pretend like it isn't reality during the primary when we are CERTAIN that it will be the argument in the national election is to simply fight the rising of the sun.


    By your definition all taxes are garnishments (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by my opinion on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:28:47 PM EST
    too. Garnishments are actually typically payments required by a judgment.

    Is that to me? (none / 0) (#135)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:31:51 PM EST
    The notion of garnishing someone's wages for failing to have health care is a pure fantasy.  IT. WILL. NEVER. HAPPEN.  The state's can't do it and they are the ones that regulate the health care insurance industry.

    The ONLY way to have universal health care that covers everyone is by a tax.  


    You are the one who has just been posting (none / 0) (#141)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:36:02 PM EST
    that mandated UHC will not work because it is a tax. Now you are going in circles.

    So YOU are adopting GOP talking points too (none / 0) (#121)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:17:13 PM EST
    Good job.

    What's next? Social Security is in crisis?


    Harry & Louise? (none / 0) (#79)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:54:49 PM EST
    Will NEVER pass is only your opinion (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:53:58 PM EST
    and that's all it's worth, the same as mine that it MAY pass.  We'll never know unless it's tried and Obama doesn't seem to want to go for it.

    Since UHC is a core Democratic value, it should be pushed for all it's worth.  IMHO.


    I don't believe in quixotic battles (none / 0) (#112)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:14:21 PM EST
    And regardless Hillary isn't publicly admitting that she is advocating for a tax.  But you can be CERTAIN that John McCain will let everyone know what it is.

    you are totally (none / 0) (#198)
    by english teacher on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:32:58 PM EST
    mischaracterizing a payroll deduction for health insurance premiums as a tax.

    and you completely miss the point, perhaps deliberately, that many people who do not make much money and would thereby suffer most directly from a new mandated health insurance premium DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.  this is a key fact that you overlook or obscure, i am not sure which.  

    if the choice is presented fairly, say as an automatic payroll deduction of about two hundred dollars a month for family coverage, versus NO COVERAGE, most people would opt for payroll deduction with coverage precisely because they are tired of and scared by the prospects of continuing to get by without medical care.  

    but you never mention this part, or explain how obama's plan helps those who don't earn that much by making coverage affordable.  

    it's a unity issue.  we can and should see that everyone has coverage.  why is obama saying no we can't?


    Universal tax (none / 0) (#103)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:05:31 PM EST
    Don't you see how your use of "universal tax" alone indicates exactly what BTD is talking about? The framing and the choice of using the words "universal tax" instead of a possible tax that may need to be implemented in order for every man, woman and child to have universal healthcare only gets called a "universal tax" by the GOP and their ilk.

    Ugh (none / 0) (#111)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:13:08 PM EST
    You seem to think that this is some sort of epiphany by the Obama campaign.  Government mandated tax payer spending IS A TAX.  

    It is NOT a "possible" tax.  It is a MANDATED tax that REQUIRES that individuals that cannot currently pay for insurance, pay for insurance.  So either those individuals will cheat or they will get punished.  Unless of course you accept the Republican trope that most people that are not currently covered by health insurance do so because they choose to.  

    How does the Federal government make sure that I have health insurance?  What level of health insurance is mandated?  If I buy insurance to cover the risk from catching dengue fever and cholera, is that sufficient?  

    Call mandated health insurance what it is.  


    It is a GOP talking point epiphany (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:16:20 PM EST
    Mandated health insurance (none / 0) (#124)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:21:09 PM EST
    is the same thing as universal healthcare. You have chosen to frame it as "mandated" and with "universal tax" in order to denigrate HRC's position on it. This is a decidedly right-wing talking point and classic Republican framing. It's factually TRUE but the connotations are negative. For a reason.  To bring the negative aspects of a Democratic ideal up (universal tax, mandated health care). It's the difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion. The right wing uses "pro abortion" because technically, it's true, a pro-choice person is "pro-abortion" but they frame it in such a way that it becomes a bad thing. I'm FOR a universal tax if it means that men, women AND children have the universal healthcare I've always wanted.

    No (none / 0) (#129)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:28:16 PM EST
    I have never met a person in my entire life that is pro-abortion.  They may be pro-choice but pro-abortion suggests an advocacy for having abortions.  

    This notion that the best way to achieve a goal is to pretend that the downsides don't exist is EXACTLY what gets Progressives/Liberals in trouble.  They wish to talk about how wonderful universal health care will be but allow the Republicans to point out that it will cost people 1000s of dollars in taxes.

    I am not "choosing" to do anything. I am pointing out the VERY obvious fact that mandated health care is no different than a tax to pay for health care and the Republicans will crush the Democrats on this point if we allow them to bring it up first.


    No (none / 0) (#140)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:35:19 PM EST
    No, you are choosing to frame the debate from a GOP standpoint. I know you don't think so, but you are.  The GOP does indeed call pro-choice advocates "pro-abortion". It's a fact. And it is a negative downside to being pro-choice...that abortions will occur. But framing it in such a way gives strength only to the negative.  I'm not saying that you're wrong. Yes, there would need to be a universal tax. But your choice of words make your point come from the right and not from the left. Last time I checked   , us liberals were okay with taxes as long as it was helping our fellow Americans.

    You are missing the point (none / 0) (#149)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:43:00 PM EST
    First of all I strongly disagree with you about the term pro-abortion.  It is a smear by the Right and not reflective of the wishes of the vast majority of pro-choice people.  Calling people pro-abortion is like calling the ACLU pro-crime.

    As for the health care issue, I AM presenting from a right wing perspective because that is who will be fighting against it.  

    I don't have a problem with the tax.  Heck, given my income tax bracket, if I cared about taxes primarily I would vote Republican exclusively.  

    I am trying to point out to you, and others, that the only way you get to universal health is by tackling the tax issue UP FRONT.  

    This is why Hillary's mandated plan will not work.  The Right will come up with some terrifying numbers to attack the plan.


    You continue to make my (none / 0) (#154)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:47:04 PM EST
    point for me.  Yes, pro-choice people are not FOR abortion.  Republicans have framed it that way in order to get support of anti-choice people. I'm just telling you that you are doing the same thing. It's a smear of the GOP to call it pro-abortion. It's the same smear used by you to attack universal healthcare calling it "mandated healthcare" and "universal tax." Because the right-wing will attack it does not mean it shouldn't be done. If anything, all the more reason for it. If they're against it, it's probably a good thing. But your arguments keep only re-affirming my points.

    And you continue to miss the point (none / 0) (#158)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:50:02 PM EST
    We are talking about Hillary Clinton's plan of mandating coverage.  The only way to do that is to implement a tax.  She isn't saying that.  And when that gets pointed out she is going to get crushed for it.  That is reality.  

    If you want to push for universal health care, that's fine.  But be up front about it.


    We are (none / 0) (#161)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:57:49 PM EST
    talking about how Obama supporters keep making the argument against universal healthcare using GOP talking points. You did not say that we should be up front about the taxes involved until I told you that your framing was classic GOP.  Then, you made it into a "be up front about the tax" argument.

    Everyone knows it won't pay for itself. No one has any delusions about that. Part of the money would be from rolling back Bush's $60b a year tax cuts for the wealthy.  

    I am just telling you that using GOP framing and talking points to fight against universal healthcare does not get you the support of liberals that have been for universal healthcare (and the taxes it requires) from the beginning. When a Progressive begins to sound like a Republican, we've got problems.


    I am NOT (none / 0) (#164)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:04:55 PM EST
    fighting against universal health care.  Please read what I wrote.

    I oppose Hillary's attempt to claim she has cornered the market on universal health care because she has a mandated coverage item.  

    I opposed mandated anything UNLESS you make it clear what that means.  


    I see (none / 0) (#166)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:08:18 PM EST
    that your argument has changed once I exposed the GOP talking points in your original one.  Please understand, I'm not trying to be disagreeable...just pointing out that your argument has changed 3 times thus far.  Your original argument was indeed that HRC's plan is bad because it's mandated and involves a "universal tax" Now it has become that you don't like it because it's unclear.  Sorry, I don't buy it.

    As a general rule (none / 0) (#168)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:13:28 PM EST
    whenever you start assigning beliefs to the other person in an argument you are no longer arguing in good faith.  The depth my argument has changed as we have continued along the discussion but it is still the same point.

    My very first comment said it was a universal tax, which you agree with, and that it will never pass.  Notice the complete lack of judgment on the merits of the plan?   There is no way that a new health care tax will come into being at this time.  

    My original point is the exact same point as I am making now.  Mandated health care will require a tax.  You can't avoid that point.  And such a tax will never happen in the next few years.  

    I have stated, on several occasions, that I personally SUPPORT a universal health care plan.  But I am not the one who will be fighting it.  Republicans and conservative Democrats will be.  


    Where we (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:20:23 PM EST
    disagree then, I suppose, is that I want to START from universal. I don't want to start from the point of compromise.   But in all honesty, you did begin to frame this debate as mandated, tax= bad. That to me is not good faith liberalism and support of universal healthcare...that's an attempt to denigrate it, IMO. Had you said "Republicans will fight us on UHC because it requires taxation and should remember that" would have been different.

    My first comment on the subject (none / 0) (#173)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:22:58 PM EST
    was this...

    And Hillary attacking Obama because she seems to think she has a monopoly on the term Universal Health Care simply because she is advocating to implement a universal tax that will NEVER pass, is certainly not something to give her praise for.

    Where did I say that it was good or bad?  I was pointing out the cynicism of her attack and I got a bunch of people coming to defend the honor of universal health care, which I was NOT attacking.


    You adopted GOP TPs (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:27:10 PM EST
    so they reasonably assumed you were against uhc.

    We'll have to (none / 0) (#175)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:26:45 PM EST
    agree to disagree. I think your intent was clear on the very first go-round. To paint UHC as negative. Using GOP points to prove it.  By making it about "universal taxes" and "mandated Healthcare" you didn't need to spell out whether you thought that was good or bad. The word choice did it for you.

    Yep (none / 0) (#177)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:27:35 PM EST
    Right (none / 0) (#178)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:29:36 PM EST
    You know my intentions better than I do.

    I was pointing out that Hillary was being a hypocrite.  I was quite clear on that point and I will stick to it.  She was.  

    I wasn't making about UHC or mandates.  She differentiates herself on the mandates and claims that this is why her plan is universal but Obama's is not.  That is HER framing.   After pointing this out a bunch of Hillary supporters went after me because I pointed this out.


    Dude (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:26:15 PM EST
    You've been spouting GOP talking points throughout the subthread. You lost the argument with the GOP the moment you stepped int he ring.

    That is the point here.


    You guys are using (1.00 / 1) (#179)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:31:02 PM EST
    this GOP Talking Points defense as an excuse.  

    Call me a Republican shill all you want.  It doesn't change what the debate will be about if you demand a mandate.  This isn't spin.  It is what will happen.


    I don't believe (none / 0) (#183)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:57:10 PM EST
    anyone is calling you a Republican shill or anything of the sort. I'm very clearly letting you know that regardless of your intent, your framing and word choice made the argument for you.  You lost the argument when you chose to go after HRC's plan using classic GOP talking points that have been used for decades to denounce universal healthcare. Your argument has changed and bent multiple times to backtrack your original statement that you are trying to take back without actually taking it back.

    Just letting you know that I've seen this kind of word choice and denouncement of uhc without actually, you know, denouncing it outright. Before this election season, I've only seen it from the right.


    I give up (none / 0) (#187)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:04:39 PM EST
    I can only explain myself so many times.  Believe whatever the heck you want.

    So, you are also against single payer? (none / 0) (#137)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:33:41 PM EST
    I used to think that Obama supporters excused his talking points on UHC because, well, that's Obama's position. Now I see more and more that many of his supporters really don't support Universal Healthcare. That's scary.

    I am in favor of both (none / 0) (#142)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:36:43 PM EST
    Universal Health Care AND Single Payer, provided it is done properly.

    But that doesn't mean that I am going to sing the praises of either while ignoring the very real opposing arguments that will certainly sway millions of voters.

    We have an opportunity to move this country towards universal health care right now.  I don't want to see it squandered by trying to revolutionize the industry all at once.  That will surely lead to failure.


    I'm glad you support it. I just don't think we (none / 0) (#152)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:46:10 PM EST
    should give up on anything before we even fight for it. Go all out and then, if you do have to compromise, you end up where Obama is starting out. We have the people behind us on this and we need to fight for it now.

    p/s You Hawkeyes cannot have my basketball coach.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:06:16 PM EST
    Actually the hawk comes from being a Seahawks fan.  The flyer comes from being a Philly Flyers fan.  I've used this moniker for about 10 years now.  It's useful because it is always unique on websites and I know that I have visited a site before if the user name is taken.

    Well then, (none / 0) (#130)
    by sas on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:28:28 PM EST
    I guess it's not hypocritical for Obama to play politics as usual, putting out mailers that ever so shade the truth.

    Same old, same old - so much for change.


    If you are looking for a messiah (none / 0) (#138)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:34:46 PM EST
    that will take you to the promised land then I have several books I can recommend to you.  Bible, Koran, Mormon, etc.  I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for.

    Personally I'm looking for someone to make the Democratic Party the dominant Party it was from 1930-1952.  I'm looking for someone who can bring in millions of young voters to the Democratic Party rather allow them to succumb to the lies of the Right Wing Noise Machine.

    This notion that Obama needs to be Jesus and never throw an elbow is just plain silly.


    The same party (none / 0) (#143)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:37:48 PM EST
    that forced on us the income tax, social security, major government programs and government spending for the good of our economy and our people? That Democratic Party? That's the one I want too. But a candidate that claims universal healthcare is a bad thing and throws around GOP talking points will not be the one to do it I'm afraid.

    The income tax (none / 0) (#156)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:47:53 PM EST
    was popular on both sides of the fence, which is the only way they were able to get an Amendment, it was actually passed under a Republican President.

    Regardless, perhaps you feel a full frontal attack on UH is the way to go, I prefer an incremental approach that is more likely to work.


    IncomeTax Amendment (none / 0) (#202)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:43:31 PM EST
    It was a result of the progressive movement in the early 20th century.

    Both "sides" weren't 'for it.'

    Conservatives always opposed the income tax.

    There were considerable progressive wings in both the Republican and Democratic parties during that era.


    Framing (none / 0) (#120)
    by tek on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:16:25 PM EST
    is supposed to be the way to the WH, according to Obama.

    Maybe not so liberal (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Mike Pridmore on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:23:47 PM EST
    I noticed that, contrary to what some of his supporters have said, the idea of voting present on some bills was not the idea of supporters of a woman's right to choose but was the idea of Senator Obama himself.  And I also notice questionable actions on gay rights.  I discussed that here and why I think Obama might have been playing politics instead of upholding liberal values.

    Yep, that's what Illinois NOW says -- (none / 0) (#56)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:44:17 PM EST
    and tears apart, on its website, his explanation . . . nonvote by nonvote by nonvote. . . .

    Repeat a lie (none / 0) (#63)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:47:45 PM EST
    often enough and it becomes the truth.  Even though it is still a lie

    You really ought to read links before (none / 0) (#80)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:55:24 PM EST
    posting them.  Thanks!  It's a nice summary of both sides, and not taking sides -- but with even more info. I had known a lot of this but not that Illinois NOW wouldn't even endorse him for Congress in 2004, either, because of these excuses.  And your link affirms what I wrote, discredits the woman who claimed to speak for them (from another state), etc.  As I said:

    "The current president of Illinois NOW, Bonnie Grabenhofer, issued a statement this week accusing Brett Howard of 'misleading people and using her very old affiliation with NOW to help distance Senator Obama from his vote of present on key bills.' [Grabenhofer] said that the Illinois branch of NOW did not support the strategy of voting present, at least as far as the 2001 votes were concerned, and added: 'At that time, we made it clear to the legislators that we disagreed with the strategy.'

    !A lobbyist for Illinois NOW, Susan Bramlet Lavin, told me that 'we asked our legislators to vote no' on the 2001 bills and never endorsed the Planned Parenthood strategy of voting present. 'They were horrible bills, and we wanted no votes,' said Bramlet Lavin. She said that Illinois NOW declined to endorse Obama when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004."

    I've bookmarked the link for use again, not just Illinois NOW's link.


    OK (none / 0) (#101)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:04:24 PM EST
    I am not sure why Now takes precedence over Planned Parenthood.  Can you help me understand that?  

    What happened with the bills in question?

    It's bad enough to point to the sausage making in Washington, where we at least have recorded information about it.  But to talk about the tactics in the Illinois legislature as if we had any real knowledge is just plain silly.


    Neither takes "precedence;" I read (none / 0) (#155)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:47:32 PM EST
    the explanations from each group as well as his, I search for third-party sources such as contemporaneous press coverage, I use my "common sense" (as Obama says) on explanations of politics and legislative processes, etc. -- there is plenty of "recorded information" -- and then I make up my mind.  And NOW's side -- especially as Brett Howard's claims have been discredited -- makes more sense.

    (It ought not be surprising that women's groups may split on endorsements, since women don't vote in a bloc; you may have noticed they're split on the candidates, far more than is the AA vote.)

    Also, I don't discount what Obama did -- or didn't do -- in the Illinois legislature, as we are told to take it as an important part of his record, with his short time in Congress . . . and having missed almost 40% of votes in his first year in Congress alone, far more than any other candidate from Congress (Clinton has one of the best of those records and found a way to be there).  

    So his record in Illinois becomes even more important, especially for me and many of us on women's issues.  Not just because they're women's issues, and we're women, and we have daughters, etc. -- but because they may tell us something about whether he would be more than "present" (where I come from, we call it "having a pulse":-) on more attacks on Roe v. Wade, on Supreme Court and other judicial appointments, and more.


    Really? (none / 0) (#172)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:20:43 PM EST
    Why does NOW's side make more sense?  Did these bills pass?  Did any other bills along these lines pass?  

    Planned Parenthood gives Obama a 100% rating.

    NARAL has given him a 100% rating for each year he has been in the Senate.

    So 2 pro-choice groups give him perfect marks but apparently that isn't enough.  Why is that?  Because on some votes on some really crazy bills he chose to bow out rather than be painted by the Right as being a radical abortionist, which would serve no purpose. FTR, I have seen many Righties make that very claim BECAUSE of his votes in the Illinois legislature.

    Being a legislature is about more than simply what you vote for and what you don't.  And, IMO, you are simply looking to make things black and white to push for your candidate.


    Joseph Lieberman against Lamont. tsk tsk

    Irrelevant (none / 0) (#182)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:57:07 PM EST
    The merits of either group aren't the issue here.  I think we all agree that they are legitimate representatives for reproductive rights, yes?

    They are, but the point is that (none / 0) (#188)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:05:14 PM EST
    as organizations they have bent to political whims and have made errors in judgement.  So lately I have not been inclined to accept their strategies as the most effective in gaining their goals.  Just an opinion based on what I saw happening in 2006.

    That's fine (none / 0) (#189)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:09:26 PM EST
    But with regards to Obama I have seen several posters here question Obama's stance on reproductive rights because of his present votes in the Illinois legislature while ignoring his ratings by 2 prominent pro-choice groups.

    I think more than not (none / 0) (#191)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:21:47 PM EST
    what they were questioning was why present and not a definite stand.

    PP is one; what is the other? (nt) (none / 0) (#206)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 12:56:18 AM EST
    I tried to give you a reasoned and fair reply (none / 0) (#205)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 12:55:22 AM EST
    and I get this from you.  Pffft, you are worthless.

    nope (none / 0) (#87)
    by Mike Pridmore on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:57:37 PM EST
    There are two different versions of this going around.  One where it was their idea and one where it was his.  If it was his then they just went along and are giving him political cover by accepting that.

    I question his (none / 0) (#136)
    by sas on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:32:48 PM EST
    commitmant to gay rights too.  In fact, he hasn't said a thing and may not be committed at all.  Anyone seen anything?

    Hillary has sent a letter to GLBT organizations, standing behind the cause for equality using civil unions.

    I'm very suspicious about some of the people close to his campaign, reported homophobes.

    More and more, I'm suspicious of exactly who he is.

    Anyone have more on this?


    Who He Is (none / 0) (#203)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:54:21 PM EST
    For an old New Deal Democrat I look at his team of economic advisors:

    David Cutler:  an advocate of high profits for the health care industry.  This is probably why Obama's health care plan does not include a competing government insurance plan

    Austen Goolsbee: Highly resistent to regulating the financial services industry, author of Obama's enemic $500 tax credit as a solution to the mortgage crisis

    Jeffrey Liebman: Advocate of privatizing Social Security.

    Obama hired them.  They are who he is.


    Amen (none / 0) (#211)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 08:49:12 AM EST
    The people who criticize Clinton as being Neo-con do not realize that the Bill Clinton advisors who moved to the Obama campaign are the most Republican Light of the old Clinton Camp.

    See the firstread report (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by catfish on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:10:30 PM EST
    From firstread, Obama says:

    Don't listen to the naysayers ... THEY're laughing at you ... THEY're trying to tear US down. WE know better.

    Gee, I wonder why the cult meme refuses to die?

    Yup, (none / 0) (#210)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 07:50:31 AM EST
    once again he uses the exclusionary "we."

    At the time he linked it, that was the title. (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:30:20 PM EST
    Politico changed it because the all powerful Kid Oakland told them to.

    Heh (none / 0) (#134)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:31:06 PM EST
    Good for KO.

    Yeah, now if we can get him to fight for (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:42:01 PM EST
    fairness on both sides. BTD, Delaware Dem of all people has a number one diary saying he won't vote for HC in the unlikely event she wins, because she defended herself. Not one word over there on what the mailers say and the GOP talking points.

    I'm glad that Chris Bowers can still point out a weakness in Obama because he's about the only supporter who will. Not defending liberals would have warranted a front page post and many diaries in the past.


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#153)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:46:28 PM EST
    he was always um, well you know. Delaware Dem I mean.

    WWDPS (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by white n az on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:13:43 PM EST
    What would Deval Patrick say?

    we'll have to wait a few weeks (none / 0) (#192)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:28:20 PM EST
    for Obama to "share" it in front of the cameras.

    OH! So that's what he was scribbling... (none / 0) (#193)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:36:03 PM EST
    During the debate I was wondering what the heck Obama was doing doodling on his little piece of paper every time Hillary spoke.

    He was just preparing for his answer of course: WWDPS WWDPS WWDPS WWDPS
    What Would Deval Patrick Say?

    I hope he had permission.


    channeling? (none / 0) (#194)
    by white n az on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:41:06 PM EST
    I suspect that he's more liberal than he lets on (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by white n az on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:51:15 PM EST
    but he obviously grasps the notion of the effectiveness of having a squishy point of view that has flexibility. I think that his 'present' votes and his many claims of voting errors in Illinois Senate that allows his recorded vote go one way but his correction go another adds to the squishiness.

    In the end, it will serve him well in the general election (assuming of course) and it will make the Republicans crazy as they will continually try to tie him down.

    Clearly there is video of him claiming to support single payer health care in a speech given to the AFL-CIO in Illinois in 2003 and it drives Hillary and staff crazy that the media allowed him a free pass on that change of position.

    I have wondered about whether either or both Hillary and Barack would pivot once elected and come out in favor of single payer health care as it's clear that it's a position that would set off an avalanche of money against them if they took the position prior to election. Of course, being President is no guarantee that whatever health care programs they actually pursue will ever make it through the legislative branches. The President has veto power and bully pulpit power but to exact legislation isn't necessarily the easiest thing too get done.

    I think the risk he runs (none / 0) (#197)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:13:40 PM EST
    of being so ill-defined is that, should he make it to the ge, the repubs will surely define him in many, many negative ways.

    The media listens to republicans.  It's how they get paid.


    If he doesn't define himself (none / 0) (#199)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:02:22 PM EST
    the R's will do it for him and nobody will like how that works out.  One of the worst things about Kerry is that he wasn't short and definite in answer to questions, so the R's just made him look like whatever they wanted.  Flip-Flopper, hyper-liberal, coward, defeatocrat, you name it.

    It's a very small bit, (none / 0) (#9)
    by spit on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:59:57 PM EST
    and it's available via a link in the post. In case anybody missed it up there, it's available here.

    As for why I think it's bad, it's taking the charge that he's liberal and saying "nuh uh! There's nothing liberal about X, Y, Z!". As though "liberal" is a bad thing, a label from which he must defend his "common sense" ideas. Because it's "common sense", which is, I guess, inherently "not liberal".

    This is a response (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:32:10 PM EST
    to a now deleted comment.

    I think it's fair to say (none / 0) (#15)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:06:34 PM EST
    he isn't a liberal. Liberal to today's ears means LBJ-style big-government social engineering, 60s-style profligate gov't spending and vehement anti-militarism, 70s-style PC speech policing... And he's not that. He's got socially progressive policies but with a different slant, more libertarian in many ways. Maybe that's why Libertarian Democrat Marcos likes him.

    The post-Boomers have grown up steeped in a RW propaganda media environment. This is the result - the Libertarian Democrat.

    You think? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:13:17 PM EST

    Yep, I do (none / 0) (#40)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:35:20 PM EST
    Do you disagree?

    I think it explains the choice of some of his advisors and the mix of policies and rhetoric he's put together. I also think it's the only way progressive policies can resonate now in an electorate that's been propagandized the way it has. It's very far from being a right-winger himself, as too many here accuse him of being. It's more a matter of adaptation to a different climate than the  60s when liberalism was looked on favorably, when now it's considered discredited. It's more than rebranding liberalism that's needed. More like rethinking the goals of liberalism but with better and more adapted strategies.


    So now Liberalism needs re-branding (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:58:09 PM EST
    like it was some kind of soap or car.  And of course now watering down Universal Health Care is making it better.  Sorry but I don't understand why Liberals have to be re-thought and and made better.  By doing what making them more conservative?  Sorry but to me this is no defense of his position it condemns it more in my eyes and I've always thought of myself as being rather conservative I don't mean to offend but it seems to me you bought into the right wing propaganda.

    Rebranding like some kind of soap or car (none / 0) (#99)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:04:09 PM EST
    But of course. This is America, is it not?

    Let me ask you this - if you speak to people while they have their fingers in their ears saying nah nah I'm not going to listen to you you're icky, are they going to hear what you're saying?

    Or should you get them to let down their guard enough to take their fingers out of their ears first?


    If a person is as you say (none / 0) (#110)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:10:56 PM EST
    have their fingers in their ears saying nah nah I'm not going to listen to you you're icky, are they going to hear what you're saying?

    What makes you think their going to listen when they take the fingers out of their ears?  


    At least it gives some chance (none / 0) (#118)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:15:32 PM EST
    instead of none, right?

    If you say so (none / 0) (#127)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:23:38 PM EST
    my experience has been that with persons who are not willing to listen to another's argument usually will remain closed minded to discussions but there are always exception.  My point was that there is nothing wrong with being a liberal and that when the so called and I emphasize the so called progressives allowed the extreme right talk show host to make them feel ashamed of being liberals they opened the door for further erosion in their cause.  Libertarians are a different breed altogether.  BTW I am not a Liberal I am rather conservative and I would defend being one no matter what some extreme left wing commentator tries to say.

    The word is a lost cause (none / 0) (#147)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:41:11 PM EST
    for a generation.

    But I distinguish between words, which go in and out of fashion, and are subject to misuse and misunderstanding, and political ideas and actions, whatever they're currently labeled.

    Perhaps I'm alone in doing so.


    I am not arguing your point as to the (none / 0) (#159)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:52:44 PM EST
    reality of what is perceived.  But the fact that Liberals allowed the extremist to dictate what they could or not call themselves has been the cause of a lot of good Ideas to be smeared by just calling them liberal Ideas.  It is similar to the position of some of the democratic elected officials who have married themselves to the cause of bi-partisanship without taking into account the consequences that come along with trying to appease the likes of a Bush or any of his followers.  Republicans in Congress only talk of bi-partisanship when you are willing to go along with them.  Maybe it is time Democrats, Liberals, Progressive made the real statement that they won't take it anymore.  Or, is that too much to ask.  Just my opinion.

    I think he is (none / 0) (#53)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:40:26 PM EST
    a down the line Dem progressive, maybe not so good on health care. But I am no expert on that.

    But not a liberal (none / 0) (#74)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:53:44 PM EST
    Which is why he feels comfortable dissing the word and making the distinctions he does in this case.

    I think liberal and progressive as they're currently being used have real differences. "Progressive" may have started as a way to get away from the demonization of the word liberal but I think it's now taken on the realities of the current political environment in a way that the older word hasn't.


    Well (none / 0) (#83)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:55:54 PM EST
    I am not a liberal either so I guess I do not care that much.

    Me I would avoid the word if I was Obama.


    Just a PC speech guy ;) (none / 0) (#91)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:59:03 PM EST
    That is a Centrist position (none / 0) (#95)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:00:54 PM EST
    Heh (none / 0) (#102)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:05:02 PM EST
    Go for it.

    I don't (none / 0) (#108)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:08:43 PM EST
    I don't think he is. This is my main problem with his candidacy. Tactics and doing what all other politicians do during campaigns aside, I don't think that Obama is a Democrat. His choice of people to advise him on healthcare is beyond reprehensible to me (Jim Cooper?!?) and his economic advisers leave a decidedly Republican taste in my mouth... However, socially I think he's courting the anti-war vote. That alone does not make him a true Dem IMO. Ron Paul is against the war, too.  I feel that Obama is using the Democratic Party to catapult himself into the White House and he has no desire to be a Democrat nor be labeled as one.  

    yes (none / 0) (#139)
    by sas on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:35:07 PM EST
    me too!

    IF (none / 0) (#169)
    by rooge04 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:16:03 PM EST
    anything, I think he keeps trying to dodge the label as much as possible.  He's trying to be all things for all people. The only thing I've heard consistency on is change and the war vote. Which was not consistent in 2004, but like he told Russert, that was because Kerry was running then...so he couldn't very well rip the nominee.  Apparently, changing your mind about the war vote is okay depending on the situation. As long as you're not HRC, in which case, whether you change your mind or explain your position (complex, I know) you're still wrong.

    Yes and (none / 0) (#22)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:19:01 PM EST
    "Progressive" seems lately to mean whatever the user wants it to mean. It's an empty bucket. Pour in it whatever you want. "Common sense"-- sure we can use that. How about a little mixture of sexism? If it helps the big O-- sure why not. "Liberalism"? Does that help Obama? Naw too clarifying and smacks of "the past". Besides it might give McC something clear to shoot at. Lack of clarity and obfuscation, iirc, is the hallmark of the proverbial used car salesman. I really would like to know what Obama is selling us.

    You don't know what progressive means? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:39:14 PM EST

    I used to know. . . (none / 0) (#70)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:50:58 PM EST
    However seeing what many progressives tacitly, and perhaps overtly, defend and allow (consider sexism,using rw talking points against a democrat, defending, if not outright lifting of others' statements and not giving credit, useing ageism, etc.) I'm not sure it has any clear definition or meaning. Now Obama, apparently a progressive, distances from "liberal". Guess now "progressive" isn't that anymore either.

    You expect (none / 0) (#88)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:57:40 PM EST
    everyone on the internet to know what they're talking about? Particularly when they're in the grip of candidate mania? Well...

    So now (none / 0) (#96)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:01:16 PM EST
    Obama's "progressive" supporters, including major bloggers don't know what they are talking about? Thanks that's helpful.

    More like a temporary suspension (none / 0) (#105)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:06:53 PM EST
    of higher faculties.

    Perhaps they have been seduced (none / 0) (#170)
    by facta non verba on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:16:06 PM EST
    by the allure of winning an election, no matter that the prize of true change is diluted by Obama's centrist positions and the myth of bipartisanship. Frankly, I'm disappointed in Josh Marshall and Arianna Huffington and the Daily Kos. In some case, I can't distinguish their hatred of Clinton and Edwards from the right-wing machine. Lawrence O'Donnell's column on the Huff Post back in late January when he called Edwards "a loser" was the breaking point for me. It was unacceptable. And those tactics are being repeated on Clinton. It is still unacceptable.

    Edwards framed to his credit the Democratic position on a whole host of issues calling it "a moral imperative." Clinton took up much of that mantle upon Edwards' exit and so we have a majority of the party accepting a very Left and Progressive Liberal bent on the issues. And here is Obama dragging the Party to the center and perhaps even the right. It is not what I believe in and so Nader/McKinney now looks very appealing.

    I understand Obama supporters like his approach though I think plainly naive to think that the GOP is just going to roll over. That's not in their nature, unfortunately it is in ours. We are fighting battles we fought in the 1870s. We need a fighter, not an appeaser. Then the unity argument is specious at best because if Obama loses the left of the party, what kind of party is that? He won't get his picture taken with Gavin Newsome, a progressive mayor who to his credit brought universal health care to San Francisco. Yup 49 square miles of the US already has universal health care. You can't take it with you but as long as you remain inside city limits, you have coverage. That's leadership.


    If... (none / 0) (#81)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:55:27 PM EST
    If "progressive" is an empty bucket, "liberal" is a full one and it behooves anybody to distance themselves from it in a campaign context. The book on attacking "liberal" has been written and rewritten so many times that it's ingrained into the US political DNA. The word has been ruined, so grieve if you must but don't get up in arms about its misuse (or any other use).

    Libertarian (none / 0) (#204)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 12:04:10 AM EST
    Words, words, words.

    Hope you're not referencing any relationship to the Libertarian Party.

    The Libertarian Party- more Republican, than Republican in many ways.   Founded by the Koch family.  The basic belief is that freedom means the freedom of the very wealthy to dominate everyone one else without any restraint, regulation of any sort.  Among their first goals is free market without any regulatory structure, etc.

    It goes on but the long and the short is that the rich are not limited in any way from screwing over everyone else.  


    No, definitely not (none / 0) (#207)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 01:02:20 AM EST
    Libertarian in the sense of J.S. Mill-type classical liberalism - as distinct from modern American big-state liberalism, which Europeans (and most everyone else) call social democracy.

    There are various strands of thought that go under the name libertarianism, and I'm certainly not up on them in any great detail, but that's the one I had in mind.


    Average smart (none / 0) (#27)
    by koshembos on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:23:30 PM EST
    The post and the comments are a little beyond me. being just about average smart, I wonder what am I missing?

    Does it say that Obama is no keen of being called Liberal?

    Is such a statement a stretch?

    Has Obama recently adapted this tactic to inoculate him in the GE?

    Have more tolerance (none / 0) (#39)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:34:27 PM EST
    Barack Obama is very smart about how human beings operate.

    Obama may say the word "not", but you can't just think of "not an elephant". You have to think of an elephant to think of "not an elephant". Obama is slipping one past the "conservative" goaltender, by saying "not liberal", but at the same time he is linking the word "liberal" with all those good things he seems to be saying are not "liberal". What's more, he is speaking truthfully, because you don't have to be styled a "liberal" to recognize a good thing, and the people whom he is addressing are not styled by themselves, or the media, or politicians, as "liberals". Just because so-styled liberals think something is good doesn't make it a "liberal" thing.

    Now, on the other hand, a right-wing caricature of a "librul" is a person easily offended by "unapproved" usage of a term. So please, everyone, do not act like a right-wing caricature of a "librul", and instead act like a liberal--that is, a person of great tolerance, willing to share good things with people who are not styled like us. Visit the SPLC's Tolerance website for some ideas on developing this tolerance in ourselves.

    I am a Centrist (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:36:19 PM EST
    I do not understand why Obama is even bringing up the word liberal.

    He will let himself be defined by labels instead of issues because he does not argue for issues, he argues for "change."

    The GOP will try to make it "liberal" change, whether it is or is not.


    the word "not" (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:48:14 PM EST
    Alright, that's fine, a Centrist can be liberal, too, in the sense of tolerance and generosity. This is the meaning of "liberal" we most want to rescue, regardless of political alignment. Also the sense of "well rounded", as in a liberal education.

    The word "not", by the way, can mean "opposite of" but it can also mean "not restricted to". This is how come "euclidean geometry" is a special case of, rather than an opposite of, "non-euclidean geometry". It's a rather subtle aspect of the word "not" that needs some digestion.

    I used to think Obama was channeling Joe Lieberman, but not anymore. Obama is moving with the flow. I noticed long ago that he was practically the only Democrat who responded to right wing attacks with witty rejoinders instead of "How dare you! I'm telling my mommy on you!" It was, for a while, the only thing I liked about him. It all is very good. I can't wait to see how Obama handles the storm of crap the righties are going to throw at him; but the dignity with which Obama is going to take that kind of stuff may be part of why that McKinnon guy decided not to be involved in it.


    And yes ... (none / 0) (#75)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:53:52 PM EST
    ... I think for far too long Obama talked about "change" without saying what to "change". It makes susceptible people feel the glow of a great leader, when what you want is for everyone to feel the glow of a light bulb lighting up over their heads, and for that you need specifics. So he has had that problem.

    But what we need is not people who feel good all over when they hear the word "liberal"; we need, instead, people who are immune to right-wing word abuse. Obama is going for the latter.


    Oh I see (none / 0) (#52)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:40:16 PM EST
    for Obama "not an elephant" actually means "is too an elephant". thanks for clarifying that. I wonder what else obama means?

    who knows, the guy absolutely (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:47:28 PM EST
    gives me no idea what he might be.  that's my problem with him.  

    Why does it matter to you? (none / 0) (#66)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:49:07 PM EST
    You've already stated that you won't vote for him.  You prefer Bomb Bomb Iran be in the White House.  So why do you care what he stands for?

    Becasue I don't of necessity (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:58:54 PM EST
    want McCain in the white house, but Obama is an empty shell and has given me no notion of what he really stands for.  Given the choice, I don't have much of a choice since I'm not going to vote for someone who could be the left's version of W.

    It is unfortunate (none / 0) (#55)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:42:12 PM EST
    that Mr. Obama is unwilling to fight for the word Liberalism.  IMO, it is time to pick up that word and defend it again.  One of the great failings of Democrats for the last 20 years was to allow Conservatism to be a badge of honor and Liberalism to be a badge of shame.  

    Personally I wish some politician would make this speech but sadly it is abundantly clear it is beyond any Democrat to fight this fight.

    I am disappointed in Mr. Obama for not fighting this fight.  But, Hillary supporters, please don't stand on a high horse about this matter.

    Yeah but Hillary is not a liberal either (none / 0) (#97)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:02:18 PM EST
    That is the ironic (none / 0) (#117)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:15:22 PM EST
    part of this diary.

    Why? (none / 0) (#157)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:49:01 PM EST
    More ironic by that measure is my self=proclaimed Centrism.

    But I do not go out of my way to denigrate liberalism.


    Hillary Is Not A Liberal, according to her (none / 0) (#100)
    by AdrianLesher on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:04:23 PM EST
    She's a "progressive," willing to be associated with the late 19th and early 20th century meaning of liberalism "when it meant freedom to achieve,", but not when it means "Big Government." Here's the video from one of the debates.

    Is it that hard to be objective?

    So you agree (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:06:36 PM EST
    Obama is not a liberal right?

    Neither is Hillary.

    And neither am I.

    How about you? You a liberal?


    Buyer's Remorse Starting Early? (none / 0) (#106)
    by pluege on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:08:05 PM EST
    Chris Bowers is one of the biggest Obama fools out there that will wake up some day and not like what he so blindly, unthinkingly, irrationally fomented.

    I'm wary of "progressive"... (none / 0) (#113)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:14:24 PM EST
    ... since I came across the term mostly in the context of Ralph Nader's 2000 run. Since then I've associated it with people who proudly torpedoed the Democratic Party because they thought they were too good for it.

    I still use the word liberal proudly. We're going to be at a disadvantage as long as Republicans can proudly call themselves conservative in front of a general audience, while we run for cover at the prospect of being called liberal.

    Progressive really means that (none / 0) (#162)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:01:51 PM EST
    you make use or are interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  That is why I usually use the term "so called progressives" because in my opinion it means something different to them.

    I was browsing when I found this (none / 0) (#114)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:14:39 PM EST
    liberalism; a: a  movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b: a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties dcapitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party

    I wonder which definition he was "defending"

    See the video I link to above (none / 0) (#125)
    by AdrianLesher on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:22:49 PM EST
    where Hillary defends (b), but not the contemporary meaning of liberalism.

    Then she must be an economic liberal (none / 0) (#128)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:25:38 PM EST
    And the race will be too close... (none / 0) (#151)
    by tsteels2 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:45:35 PM EST
    To give this sort of ammunition.  The prize is the presidency.  Tavis Smiley (who organized the SOBU conference) knows this yet he still went there.

    Sounds like someone's trying to pin him down (none / 0) (#163)
    by goldberry on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:04:49 PM EST
    As long as he remained amorphous, post-partisan and transcendental, he could be a stealth candidate and appeal to everyone.  He was the Tofu Candidate.  You project whatever flavor political ideology you like onto him.  
    So, it sounds like he is finally being defined by some exteranl force and he has to explain the lipstick on his collar.  
    "Honey, I know it looks bad but I swear I never touched her.  SHE came on to ME."
    Yeah, right.  

    I am not surprised (none / 0) (#195)
    by PennProgressive on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:41:38 PM EST
    that  Obama does not defend liberalism. He calls some of the positions "common sense" because he wants to blur the distiction between some aspects of liberalism and some aspects of conservatism so that he can be the crossover candidate to attract republicans and independents. The so called progressive bloggers (should we continue to call them progressive---why?)do not care that his voting record is less progressive than HRC's or that his health care proposal and the economic plan are definitely less progressive than hers. He may not even be liberal. Who cares? The transformational candidate wants to win by doing whatever he can. And the rest of the country is falling for it.

    Obama (none / 0) (#208)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 01:44:59 AM EST
    Obama has thrown so much of my belief systems under the bus, I'm beginning to think he's thrown ME PERSONALLY under the bus....