Obama's Liberal Survey: Did He or Didn't, Does He or Doesn't He?

One of the complaints I've had with Barack Obama is the difficulty trying to pin him down on issues. His positions too often seem to shift over time.

Politico has a doozy today. Remember the questionnaire that Obama submitted -- the one where he later said he didn't mean some of the answers, but a staffer had filled it out incorrectly?

Turns out, the questionnaire has turned up, with his handwriting on it. There's the issue of parental notification for abortions. But to me, its the ones on the death penalty and gun control that stand out.

During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion — positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he has projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group’s detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat.

Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama’s answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who “unintentionally mischaracterize[d] his position.”

But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago nonprofit group that issued it. And it found that Obama — the day after sitting for the interview — filed an amended version of the questionnaire, which appears to contain Obama’s own handwritten notes added to one answer.


After being confronted with the handwritten version, the aides say:

Through an aide, Obama, who won the group’s endorsement as well as the statehouse seat, did not dispute that the handwriting was his. But he contended it doesn’t prove he completed, approved — or even read — the latter questionnaire.

“Sen. Obama didn’t fill out these state Senate questionnaires — a staffer did — and there are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now,” Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. “He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn't change the fact that some answers didn't reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do.”

Politico writes that the new questionnaires cast doubt on Obama's "ideological consistency and electability. " Even more,

Taken together — and combined with later policy pronouncements — the two 1996 questionnaires paint a picture of an inexperienced Obama still trying to feel his way around major political issues and less constrained by the nuance that now frames his positions on sensitive issues.

Regarding the death penalty and gun control:

Both versions of the 1996 questionnaires provide answers his presidential campaign disavows to questions about whether Obama supports capital punishment and state legislation to “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.”

He responded simply “No” and “Yes,” respectively, to those questions on both questionnaires.

But a fact sheet provided by his campaign flatly denies Obama ever held those views, asserting he “consistently supported the death penalty for certain crimes but backed a moratorium until problems were fixed.” And it points out that as a state senator, he led an effort to reform Illinois’ death penalty laws.

On guns, the fact sheet says he “has consistently supported common-sense gun control, as well as the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

No one should confuse Obama's admirable work in Illinois for death penalty reform with opposition to the death penalty. His goal was to reduce the number of innocent people sentenced to death. That's great and very important. But it's also wrong to execute anyone, and Obama has never opposed the death penalty. He's even voted to create more death penalty eligible crimes as a state senator -- in cases of brutal murders of the elderly and mentally disabled.

AS to gun control, now he's a supporter of the Second Amendment. But, he seems to find that every newly proposed gun control law is a reasonable regulation on the Amendment's protections.

He was once for abolishing all mandatory minimums. Then he promised a review of them. And now couches his support for ending them in terms of non-violent, first time offenders.

He was for decriminalization of pot, now he's not.

He was the last Democratic candidate to support medical use of marijuana, and then said while he'd end federal raids on drug providers in states where it was legal, he'd have to study whether marijuana really had a medical benefit.

For sources, see my earlier post, Obama and Defendants' Rights, Progressive or Not? AS well as these:

  • 12/14/07: The Democratic Candidates Discuss Their Crime Agendas
  • 12/3/07: Hillary Comes Out Against Crack-Powder Retroactivity (includes Obama's views)
  • 11/25/07: Obama and Medical Pot: More Research Needed
  • 11/12/07: Obama Touts His Death Penalty Reform Role (Also see this comment to the post)
  • O8/28/07: Obama Wants to Strengthen Drug War in New Orleans
  • 8/15/07: Obama Wavers on Crack-Powder Sentencing (includes his position on death penalty)
  • 7/1/07: Dems Debate Sentencing Reforms and Mandatory Minimums

    It seems Obama changes his views to fit his particular audience. And he has a "penchant" for blaming staffers for his mistakes.

    They allege Obama has a penchant for blaming his staff for gaffes ranging from missing a union event in New Hampshire to circulating opposition research highlighting the Clintons’ ties to India and Indian-Americans to underestimating the amount of cash bundled for his campaigns by his former fundraiser, indicted businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

    The Independent Voters of Illinois — Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) which provided the questionnaires with Obama's handwriting to Politico, is troubled:

    “One big issue was: Does he or does he not believe the stuff he told us in 1996?” said Aviva Patt, who has been involved with the IVI-IPO since 1990 and is now the group’s treasurer. She volunteered for Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, but voted to endorse the since-aborted presidential campaign of Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) and professed disappointment over Obama’s retreat from ownership of the questionnaire.

    “I always believed those to be his views,” she said, adding some members of the board argued that Obama’s 1996 answers were “what he really believes in, and he’s tailoring it now to make himself more palatable as a nationwide candidate.”

    Who can know for sure? Who wants to take a chance? Hillary's positions aren't much different than Obama's but at least we know where she stands. As I've said many times, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't and why should we buy a pig in a poke?

    Is Obama better than McCain? Of course. But there's another choice right now, one who is a straight shooter. Much as the media and Democratic party leaders wish it weren't so, the nomination race is not over. There are ten states with 12 million voters yet to weigh in -- as well as hundreds of superdelegates who can decide at the last minute. We should let them all have their say.

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    Thanks for this (5.00 / 17) (#3)
    by nell on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:32:54 PM EST
    I have found it really disturbing how many times Obama has pleaded ignorance on a variety of issues, both in terms of policy and in terms of personal stuff.

    I have started a running list, and these are just some issues that have stuck with me off the top of my head:

    He didn't realize Rezko was under investigation when he entered into the shady house deal, even though it was well established in the local Chicago papers.

    He didn't know about the 11 low-income housing units going under in his small state senate district that were owned by Rezko even as he asked for funds for these buildings.

    He didn't know the difference between a yea vote and a nay vote, so he "pressed the wrong button" six times...at least two of those times the votes were hotly contested and the vote was very close.

    He didn't know the Kyl-Lieberman vote was taking place, but somehow every other candidate knew about it.

    He didn't realize that his spiritual mentor and pastor of 20 years was saying very controversial things in church (er..but now maybe he says he did know...).

    He didn't know his top economic adviser, Austin Goolsbee, met with the Canadian government and suggested that his position on NAFTA was just political posturing.

    He was for the decriminalization of pot before he was against it because he, as a Harvard educated lawyer, did not know what decriminalization meant.

    He never saw a survey that he says misrepresents his views, despite the fact that his handwriting is on the survey.

    And this is just what I am thinking of off the top of my head! I am sure there are more.

    I get that politicians stretch the truth, sometimes they lie, sometimes they pander. I don't mind that, really. Hillary does this too.

    But what I see here is a really disturbing pattern of him pleading ignorance or blaming others and it seems that he is never held accountable for this pattern of ignorance. I mean we are either to believe that 1) he lies all the time, or 2) he really is ignorant...if it is the first, well, he needs to stop lying because he is losing credibility...if it is the second, he does NOT belong in the White House...

    I also think this pattern is very, very problematic for the general election...

    I agree (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by stevenb on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:20:45 AM EST
    I can't tell you how many articles the general online media has written about that shows Obama dancing around issues, dodging questions and having few convictions on any issues.  Sure, I'm biased towards Senator Clinton, but that is because she ISN'T playing with voters minds over Hope and Change when all Obama does is Hope we'll believe him and constantly change his answers.

    That people have swallowed his and Axelrod's "story of glory" hook, line and sinker is pathetic.

    Questions Surround Obama's Candidacy:


    To those of you (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Kathy on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 07:47:18 AM EST
    who keep warning us ladies that we have to vote for Obama should he make it into the ge because of the Supreme Court, I wonder if you still believe he will be a staunch supporter of Choice?  I have no confidence that he will do anything but make compromise after compromise, and women's reproductive rights does not seem to be something he holds as a core value (unless by value we mean, "present.")

    I choose Clinton because I know she will fight tooth and nail for reproductive freedom and myriad other core dem values.

    With Obama, who knows?


    I know what you mean (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:09:06 AM EST
    It brings a sickening feeling that the public does not really know this guy and the more I know the more I now question. I use to think he was the future of the Democratic Party. I now believe he is like a silicone rubber man. Pliable and nothing sticks. And the nothing sticks is not just referring to media dirt. I mean, he says what people want to hear. All politicians do. Know your audience. But one needs core beliefs and they can not all be "Whatever 'she' said".

    My war cry about Obama has always been 'What did he just say?'.  


    With McCain we know. (none / 0) (#142)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:10:55 AM EST
    Your choices as I see it:
    1. HRC - you know and are comfortable with her position
    2. Obama- you believe you know his position, but are not sure
    3. MCain- you know and are uncomfortable with his position.

    To be sure, with McCain, you know according to previous statements, he is pro choice as far as his own daughter is concerned. You also know as far as the conservative base is concerned, the rest of us do not get a choice.

    If it comes down to it, I'll take my chances with Obama over McCain.


    My option is (none / 0) (#169)
    by SantaMonicaJoe on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:54:39 AM EST
    voting Green Party on the presidential field to keep them on the ballot for the next election.

    Don't normally do a cross over, but it's been a long time since I have been so unsure of a major Dem candidate.


    Thanks Ralph (none / 0) (#182)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:20:52 AM EST
    We really appreciate your work in 2000.

    Not in a close state (none / 0) (#198)
    by SantaMonicaJoe on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:29:05 PM EST
    my vote won't count because I'm in a true blue state, and the electoral college will go for the Dem nominee.

    As for my work in 2000, I logged an s_ load of get out the vote calls for Mr. Gore.

    Did the same for Kerry in 2004 even though I didn't feel strongly about him. Did fundraising too.

    This time, I am unsure.

    Deal with it.


    If enough people in California (none / 0) (#214)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:25:00 PM EST
    take the same position, then the GOP will win the state.

    The president can do nothing without the (none / 0) (#208)
    by MMW on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:33:25 PM EST
    congress. Vote Dem for House and Senate. Aren't you tired of being threatened? This whole you must vote Dem, because McCain is whatever, is just BS. Stop, isn't it time they worked for your vote? Stop being a hostage. Are they serving your interest or theirs?

    YOU TRUST THE CONGRESS?!!!! (none / 0) (#213)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:23:16 PM EST
    I got news,  If McCain is president, he will get whatever SCOTUS nominee he wants.

    I am tired of being threatened. I say take the weapon from the GOP/Conservatives' hands.  I am tired of being threatened by partisans of both camps (HRC and OBAMA) that they will not vote for the Democratic nominee, if they don't get their way.   I will vote the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is.


    And you trust the President? (none / 0) (#215)
    by MMW on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:33:29 PM EST
    If you elect worthy leders, you have nothing to fear, but as far as I can see, Obama has no position he wouldn't give up to get elected again.

    A Democratic President and a Democratic (none / 0) (#216)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:58:47 PM EST
    congress are less likely to have an anti-choice SCOTUS nominee.

    Sometimes it really is that simple.

    To answer your question explicitly, I am not in the tank for either candidate. I plan on voting for the Democratic nominee, regardless of who it is. You clearly are in the tank for HRC. That's fine. You are entitled to be. However, If you think Obama is secretly anti choice, I would have to conclude you suffer from ODS.


    Obama's "punishment with a baby" (none / 0) (#218)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 03:06:46 PM EST
    remark has convinced me he is pro-choice.  Had some questions before.

    thanks, I missed that remark (none / 0) (#219)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 03:17:27 PM EST
    I am sure between taxes, moving my office and work I have missed a lot.

    Late to this party, (5.00 / 4) (#101)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:23:04 AM EST
     but I echo what a lot of others have said here: Barack Obama is a chameleon when he thinks there is no one to question what he says have always been his positions, so he can shift and nuance and outright contradict himself as the views of his audience dictate, and people lap it up; when the truth emerges, he blames others, and sends out surrogates and campaign officials to explain what he really meant.

    I'm not saying I want someone like Bush, who digs into a position even  - or especially - in the face of new information and changing circumstances, but I do not want someone who says he has "always" been for or against something when the record indicates otherwise - and that record is easily obtainable.  His inability to be accountable for the discrepancies in his statements and positions does not bode well after almost 8 years of a president who sees himself as being accountable to no one, least of all the American people.

    There's a difference between being adaptable to changing times and circumstances, and trying to be all things to all people; I fear that Obama wants to be the latter, and I think that is a risk we cannot afford.  

    What I find ironic is that for all the talk about how Obama is going to unite us and Hillary just polarizes us, I see her as being more likely to try to bring people together around core Democratic positions and policies because she believes they are the right policies and positions, while he is so busy compromising and giving in to the positions of others that no one really knows or understands what the goal is - and the end result is something no one really likes.

    This latest flap is just another bullet-point on a growing list of things that should have people asking questions and looking ahead to which one of these candidates will really make the best president, which one is more likely to fight for positions that Democrats believe in, which one will be able to stand up to non-stop conflict and crisis and not be paralyzed out of an inability to pick a position.


    I'd like to think he's liberal (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:36:56 PM EST
    and has views that I like. But given this history I have to admit I'm not sure. He's a politician of course. But does he really have any deeply held beliefs at all. I can't be completely sure.

    Which reminds me, what was the big argument that dubya won over many voters in 2000 and in 2004, oh yea, many voters voted for him whether he agreed with them or not mostly because they at least knew he had deeply held beliefs and stuck by them. Yea, that was it. But I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem this time.

    this is just too good (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:03:36 AM EST
    So you have to read between the lines to see what he's really saying. Sort of like you make your own interpretation of what you think he's all about and what he really stands for. Because he won't really say it, because he wants to get elected. And you don't understand why people just don't get that.

    Before Open Left (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:36:58 AM EST
    fell completely into the pit of the dark side, it was both amusing and horrifying to watch Obama supporters arguing with each other about what Obama really means or what he would do about X, Y or Z.

    It's really quite an achievement.  What I can't figure out is how he thinks he's going to be able to balance all those contradictory expectations of his devotees if he actually manages to get elected.  Watching him try to thrash his way out of the trap he's built for himself over a glass of bourbon will be one of the very small consolations of an Obama presidency.

    I wonder what the diaries on Orange Satan are going to look like then.


    Kind of like the 30% that still support Bush (n/t) (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:39:38 AM EST
    um, believing whatever Obama says, today, (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:28:06 AM EST
    regardless of what he said yesterday is a rather authoritarian orientation, if you ask me.

    Obama is the 'blank page' (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by 1horseNag on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:42:56 AM EST
    upon which people project not only their own hopes, but their own political positions. He is the ultimate mirror and that is how he hopes to get enough votes to be elected. As a result of this ploy we don't actually know what Obama believes in until he actually gets elected. That is what is so frightening to me.

    The deeply held belief (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by LHinSeattle on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:05:25 AM EST
    in Obama's case is his right to change positions on the issues, depending on the current career objective.  Looks like another of his deeply held beliefs must be that there's nothing wrong with acting like a weathervane.

    And blaming his discrepancies on his staff ... I think that is low. You can tell a lot about someone when you see how he treats his employees.


    I think you've hit the nail on the head (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:08:42 AM EST
    He was for his deeply held beliefs before he was against them. LOL.

    Consistency=Overrated (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by brad12345 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:38:20 AM EST
    Really, I hope whoever gets elected changes their minds now and again over the course of a dozen years.  Honestly: Do we really want a leader who says, "This doesn't seem to be working, but by God, we're going to keep doing it to be consistent"? I'd hope not. Any business or other organization would fail with that philosophy--and, yeah, no small part of the mess we're in stems from having a president who can't face overwhelming evidence that contradicts his previously held beliefs.

    I don't mean that you simply want someone who is willing to do whatever happens to be popular at any given moment.  But I don't think it's terribly helpful to contribute to the idea that one's opinions must remain static.


    Nothing wrong with changing positions (5.00 / 6) (#61)
    by shoephone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:01:10 AM EST
    over time. But there is a problem with lying about who filled out the questionaire.

    sure (4.75 / 4) (#94)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 07:30:02 AM EST
    There's nothing wrong with having evolving views - it can be admirable.

    But that's not what's happening here.  What we have here is someone claiming he never actually held those views - it was an overzealous staffer.  So either he had no control over staff or he's blaiming staff for positions he now finds embarassing.  That's not particularly admirable in my view.


    Question: (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:08:21 AM EST
    A huge part of why people are supporting Obama is because it's a bottom up organization. That the movement predated his candidacy and will out last it as well

    Bottom up?  Who is the bottom? Indies? Lefties? Republicans? To date all these people think they are the bottom or as you say, the top.  Well, I guess transparency is not important.  My head reels.  


    I've had to not post about 100 (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:15:21 AM EST
    additional responses to this. Every time I try one, I seem to cross some line or another. Darn. And some were so funny too. My head is reeling too. Maybe we just don't get it.

    Damage (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:19:21 AM EST
    I think that the political gamesmanship has destroyed any notion of ethical values or sense of truth.  We will lose cause now the alleged maverick who tells it like it is, will be facing the "bottom up" guess who is on the bottom leader.  

    So frustrating.  


    If you had seen the light, you would understand! (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:44:58 AM EST
    There is "before seeing the light," and "after seeing the light"--how you understand Obama's words depends in many cases on whether you are BSTL or ASTL.

    Corrente's Lambert came up with WORM--What Obama Really Meant. There is no need for WORM once the light has been seen, you have your epiphany, and you know you must vote for Obama. All becomes clear.

    It is only those who are "unenlightened" who still need to find rationale and factbased reasons for their choice.

    BTW, has Obama stopped using those lines about seeing the light or shaft of light coming down, the epiphany happening, and then The Great Knowing coming upon his followers?

    I had seen Obama as a fairly benign alternative to Clinton and Edwards until commenters who had usually been pretty rational and fact based began to attack any other commenters who dared to criticize Obama. The change was so marked, I felt I needed to learn more and googled a lot, went to sites which were taking a side (one way or another), and found my need to be able to know what a candidate stood for was met more by Hillary.  

    Paul Krugman's analysis of the differences between Hillary's healthcare plan and Obama's was very persuasive for me, as I see universal healthcare as the strongest underpinning we can give to the economy and to our citizens, along with maintaining SocSec as it is now constituted (with necessary small changes, if and when required).

    So, somewhat slowly, I became a Hillary partisan. I still am trying to learn what Obama intends to do as president--and I feel more strongly now than previously, back when I just casually knew about his stands on issues (the MCM said and says they are virtually the same as Hillary's), now that I'm learning more about how he came to power, what he's said in the past, how he trims and measures his responses, now I'm becoming much more firmly for Hillary--and now feel Obama is too much of a gamble to be given the party's nomination.

    I do not think he has built up enough political capital with the public, he has not become well enough known by the public to withstand what the Repubs will do with information we do know--and info we probably have no idea about. Plus the usual stuff they just make up.

    Mark Halperin last Friday warned Hillary that the press wants Obama to win and she'll have to deal with that every single day she stays in the race. What he doesn't say is whether the press (MCM or Mainstream Corporate Media) will stick with Obama in the general election or revert to its usual Repub favoritism. Will the MCM decide to destroy Obama in favor of McCain...?

    We know Hillary can withstand MCM attacks (altho they do decidedly hurt her--as in making an issue of a perfectly sane reponse to Timmeh's question about drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, a reply which Obama essentially echoed the following week! But the press declaredd it a terrible misstep and beat it like a drum. As in what they're doing now to dampen enthusiasm for her among her followers and potential voters by repeatedly telling them she has no chance of winning the nomination. It's all the MCMers are talking about--issues? Forget about those. The MCM doens't do issues or windows on reality.).

    Can Obama withstand MCM attacks? Some say the way he handled the Wright scandal says he can. But the MCM chose to worship his speech, not really discuss the facts. What happens when it's rediscovered during the general election?

    So, this post by Jeralyn is very good in that it brings together in one place many of the discrepancies in Obama's "stands" (deliberate quotes).

    Hillary must stay in the primary race--and she very well may win. But it be against both Obama and the MCM.



    nothing bannable there (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:20:20 AM EST
    you're entitled to your opinion and you expressed it civilly and rationally. It's appreciated.

    once he gets into office ... (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by LHinSeattle on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:24:04 AM EST
    Every indication I can find however including his time listening to rev Wright tells me that he really is progressive at heart and that we can count on him once he gets into office to redeem the word liberal. What I can't figure out is why so many people who profess to be liberals can't see that.

    What I can see is that voting for Obama is like buying a pig in a poke. If you have to read between the lines to get what Obama's really saying, then what does he mean by "Unity?"

    And another thing: I don't think it's progressive to hump pulpits, express scorn and hate for those different from you, and scream about death and punishment. If you need to talk about Christian values, how about charity and forgiveness, brotherhood and compassion, and let you without sin cast the first stone?


    more info needed (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by bjorn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:44:46 AM EST
    If the movement predated his candidacy, why did the movement pick him to be "their" candidate?  What about his life or record stood out and made the movement choose him?  Why not Clinton or Edwards or Kucinich?  Maybe I am reading it wrong but it sounds like you are saying the great thing is if he wins is that it will be because of grassroots funding, but that funding base existed before him, it seems circular or I am missing something maybe?  if the movement had chosen Edwards would he be the one winning right now?  Did you just choose the blankest slate?  I am not being snarky, I am new here so I don't really understand who the movement is exactly?  

    Wondering the same thing (none / 0) (#210)
    by ruffian on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:45:23 PM EST
    I have heard this other places too, and have wondered when exactly a 'movement' picked Obama, becaus I sure missed it, and I thought I was pretty plugged in to all the political organizations.  I too amserious about asking.  I've heard it started from FaceBook?  Is that true?  How does that work exactly?

    But when will he stop fudging his position? (5.00 / 9) (#78)
    by cymro on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:41:25 AM EST
    Skex, I understand your argument. But if someone has to fudge their real principles and sidestep public conflicts just to become popular enough to get elected, and this stratagem is successful in getting him elected, what makes you believe he will suddenly develop a different personality afterwards?

    It seems far more likely to me that he would continue to value popularity over principles, and to seek to deflect conflict by adopting the same stratagems that got him elected. And you can bet that anyone who opposes the liberal principles which you obviously value will recognize this tendency, and take full advantage of it. And your principles, and mine, will be the casualty.

    That's why I'd much rather have a candidate like Hillary who is willing to fight and who is not in the least bit surprised when some people don't like her. Because if you stand up for what you believe in, you will never be universally loved. We've just had eight years of a president who tricked a lot of people into voting for him by claiming to be "a uniter, not a divider." That should be enough to demonstrate that political differences are real, and cannot be glossed over by smooth-talking candidates.

    Though I hate to think of this, when the Republicans so deserve to pay for the last 8 years, it would even be better to nominate a principled candidate who loses to McCain, and wait another 4 years to reap the electoral benefits, than to elect a Democratic President who doesn't have the courage of his convictions when confronted by the inevitable Republican opposition.


    Well said (none / 0) (#107)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:54:52 AM EST
    I would add, too, that if Obama were to win the presidency, he would be up for re-election in four years.  So it would be likely he would continue his "winning" strategy into office to keep that office.

    Bush was very good at "fudging" (none / 0) (#173)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:58:02 AM EST
    his actual stands. He was presented as a carefully crafted "compassionate conservative," and people could attach to him their own values. The only thing he was absolutely clear about was cutting taxes and appointing non-activist judges to the Supreme Court. For him, saving SocSec was getting his hands on the "lockbox" funds to give to his uberwealthy base.

    Remember those kind of weird things he said in debates? Which turned out to be dog whistle phrases to assure his conservative base that he wasn't really what he was presenting himself as?

    How well that worked out! Not.


    Skex...your comments were indeed thought provoking (5.00 / 3) (#116)
    by white n az on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:21:09 AM EST
    But I do take some issues with it...

    Bill Clinton ran as centrist and your assessment that "he spent too much time pandering to the very people who despised him" and about Obama, that "it looks like he's going to govern right" starts with a premise that I don't agree with and ends with conjecture that I feel it's likely we will never know. It's simply not possible to know how he would govern but Clinton had to deal with an active, aggressive Republican majority in the House after 1994.

    Not to worry though, after you suggested that it looks like he's going to govern right, you came back a few paragraphs later and stated that you don't know how he will govern.

    My issue though is with your conclusion...

    we can count on him once he gets into office to redeem the word liberal. What I can't figure out is why so many people who profess to be liberals can't see that.

    Considering that he has already run as far as he can from the term 'liberal', it's almost silly to expect him to do otherwise if he were to be elected.

    As for why 'liberals' can't see his being liberal, I think you can chalk that up to the fact that he lacks candor, genuine-ness and is so clearly demonstrating a candidacy borne almost entirely out of political calculation. Hillary is cast as being entirely politically ambitious which I would submit is preferable to being entirely politically calculated since it's not hard to anticipate how she would govern whereas figuring out how Obama would govern is akin to nailing Jello to the wall.

    That you would prefer the choice of Obama at the risk of not knowing how he would govern is yours to make and I am not going to fault that, but recognize that it requires a leap of faith that many 'liberals' do not necessarily wish to make unless there is no other choice.


    Commitment (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:55:03 PM EST
    From what I've read he seems to have few actual progressive commitments. He's really uncomfortable talking about issues.  He wanted to vote to confirm Roberts but changed when told that the vote could be a political liability.  Here we have a Harvard Law grad not realizing what damage a man with Roberts' Federalist Society ideology could do, but given his Milton Friedman Memorial Economics Team I wonder if he either cared or perhaps even agreed with Roberts' ideology. What could we expect from him in the way of court appointments? What could we expect of appointments to federal agencies?  Would he leave some of the Bush appointees in place? Would he appoint Republicans to those agencies? Would his White House staff be larded up with Republicans and DLCers like the DLC people on his campaign staff?

    I first saw him as simply having no deeply held beliefs as DandyTiger suggests. That was bad enough because even at my age I still believe that a President (or any office holder) should have some fire in the belly beyond mere ambition. It's what makes a person willing to do battle and maybe even get a little mussed up in the process. The willingness to spill blood to ram a policy home.  I thought that Obama's unity, reconciliation, compromise with Republicans was just schtick.  Now I think he may actually mean it.  What a tragedy that would be to have both houses of Congress, the opposing party on the run and big majority public support for progressive action and then squander it by compromising. The compromise, blunting progressive projects may be what he's after. His neoliberal economics (free trade, free markets, spotty regulations) are a tip I believe that an Obama Presidency would be a severe disappointment. His support for Blackwater and other contractors makes me both nervous and angry.

    This statement "And it points out that as a state senator, he led an effort to reform Illinois' death penalty laws." reminds me that his legislative record as an Illinois State Senator was created for him in his last two years when Emil Jones, the Senate President, gifted him the hard work of other legislators. Accepting that kind of credit, credit for the hard work of others, is deeply troubling.

    And constantly blaming subordinates is so Bush, so Republican.  I still remember when JFK took the whole public responsibility for the Bay of Pigs fiasco in response to a reporter's question during a televised news conference.  As I remember, the way the question was phrased, he could have spread blame with impunity.  He did not.

    And it points out that as a state senator, he led an effort to reform Illinois' death penalty laws.


    Obama doesn't get financing from (4.00 / 1) (#115)
    by FlaDemFem on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:13:40 AM EST
    big business?? What planet do you live on? Read this article from Harper's and see exactly how plugged into the system Obama already is. And as for Clinton's stand on gays, at least he tried. Unfortunately, the ingrained bigotry in this country didn't allow him to do what he tried to do, so he had to compromise. That is what politics is all about. Not being all things to all people as Obama tries to do, but in governing in a way that makes most people happy and not too many of them unhappy about the way they are being governed. If Obama thinks that he can get into office, which is unlikely, and then do as he pleases, he needs to reread the Constitution. The President has to get everything past Congress. Unless Obama is going to govern by using Executive Orders. He hasn't been in Congress long enough, or attending enough, to realize that not all bills get passed because the President thinks they are a good idea. Of course, when his ideas are presented as bills, he will give a speech and the entire Congress will swoon at his Obamaness and pass everything he wants passed. Yeah right..

    How do you know... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:50:29 AM EST
    ... that the deeply-held positions he adopted to get elected in inner-city Chicago are any more sincere than the ones he's adopting now to try to become President? The only thing I'm sure he believes is that he deserves to win. Granted, more than a few people have said the same thing over the years about Hillary, and there's some merit to it. But she's not supposed to be some magical new kind of candidate, and she's got more of a record to keep her honest.

    You're not dealing with electrability issues (none / 0) (#122)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:37:07 AM EST
    arising from this questionnaire.  That's the point.  Yeh, he's a pol who pretends he isn't a pol but really is a pol, and his fans will find out, etc.  And those of us who aren't fans aren't surprised by this as yet more evidence of Obama being a pol.

    It's what the Republicans will do with this that is the concern.  But you're not concerned about more nails in the coffin of what would be the general election campaign?  I am.


    Reading between the lines (none / 0) (#195)
    by Nadai on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:11:43 PM EST
    The problem is that reading between the lines is like a bunch of preachers interpreting scripture - you can make it mean anything you want.

    And frankly, I don't care whether his campaign is top-down or bottom-up.  I care what policy positions he holds, what he's done in the past, what he plans to do in the future, whether he keeps his word, whether he accepts responsibility for his inevitable screw-ups, and whether he can get anything done.  The rest is just theology.


    It would sure be the first time someone (none / 0) (#211)
    by ruffian on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:55:20 PM EST
    ran as a centrist in the primaries and the GE, then governed as a liberal.  There is no liberal alter-ego that is going to take over as soon as he is sworn in. He is going to govern in the center, exactly the way he ran. That is who he is - a concensus builder.

    So what will all of you "liberal" Obamaphiles do at that point?  Will your 'movement' produce another candidate to challenge him in 2012?


    He didn't start the state senate until 1996?!? (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Exeter on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:39:36 PM EST
    Wow, I didn't realized that.  Geez... 1996, then he running for Bobby Rush's House seat from 1999 -2000 then running for Senate seat from 2002-04, then running for Prez since he got to the Senate.

    and we wonder why (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:42:20 PM EST
    he's never really done anything. He's just a professional office campaigner. Kind of makes everything make sense. Oh that's really sad. And scary.

    now I'm feeling sorry for him (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:46:03 PM EST
    as it looks like he's pushed (or more likely been pushed) too fast. Precisely because he's never done anything and has no record. And because of this, he can't possibly win the general. So I think if he gets the nomination, his political career is over. Really before it got started. That's so nice of Kennedy and Kerry and others to have done this. Can the democratic party stop shooting itself in the foot please.

    Who were the people who came to him (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:22:11 AM EST
    and asked him to run?  I want to know.  

    I've read that Kerry and Kennedy (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:30:13 AM EST
    and perhaps others were behind him pretty early. The theory being that it was a perfect time to run because he hadn't done anything yet and so would be more electable. And of course some have speculated that these and others got behind him thinking they would have more power whereas they would have little if Clinton were president. I can't find the links now, but I'll add them if I can track them down. I'm not sure this was a reliable story either since I don't remember where I read it. So take it with a grain of salt right now.

    I'm really dubious` (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:43:18 AM EST
    about this story-- not that Obama was basically recruited into doing this, but that Kerry and especially Kennedy had anything to do with it, and particularly with the motivations you cite.  Who knows waht Kerry thinks he's up to, but that's just not ever been the way Kennedy has operated.

    Democrats in Congress have never felt the slightest need to succumb to pressure from a Democratic White House, so the idea that a strong president like Hillary would be would somehow diminish either man's power (and truthfully, Kerry has precious little, and Kennedy not a whole lot more) makes no logical sense to me.


    Ummmm.... (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by oldpro on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 05:43:42 AM EST
    Kennedy vs. Carter in the primary for Carter's reelection?  You missed that?

    Not comparable (none / 0) (#201)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:52:47 PM EST
    Lots of people with no power in the Senate run for president.  And that was, what, 25 or 30 years ago or something?  We could go into Ted Kennedy family psychology for a while, but the bottom line is he tried that once and his heart clearly wasn't in it.

    Neither Kennedy nor Kerry are any kind of power brokers in the Senate.  And I say again, that's not Kennedy's style of working.  (Kerry would like to be, but he doesn't have the right stuff for it.)  Despite his extremely long tenure in the Senate, Kennedy's sole major chairmanship is Health and Education.  Important to you and me, for sure, but not what you'd call a power center.


    You have missed the point (none / 0) (#217)
    by oldpro on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 03:06:24 PM EST
    entirely....but let me say this to your convoluted response of "Lots of people with no power in the Senate run for president"...but lots of people don't run in a primary against a sitting Democratic president up for reelection.  No.  They don't.

    And it has nothing to do with who has power in the senate or what committee they are on.

    Here's the bottom line:  the Dem-guy establishment who couldn't get themselves elected president (and who despise the Clintons, who did get elected) went looking for a candidate to beat Hillary and they found the perfect standin.  They drafted him, backed him, gave him their staff for both his senate office and his campaign, fundraisers, lists, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Why Obama besides his 'ready/willing/able ambitions?'  Because only a black could split the AA vote away from the Clintons and you couldn't beat them any other way.

     Who did this?  Well, those who went public so far are Daschle (and his lobbyist DC wife), Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin and the Daley machine.

    Politics 101.  Don't believe it?

    Never mind.


    Oh? Read the story of Kerry picking BO (none / 0) (#123)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:39:02 AM EST
    to give the 2004 convention speech that catapulted BO to stardom.  (Sorry I don't have the link, but it has been here many times and can be googled up.)  

    What's that got to do with it? (none / 0) (#204)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:00:54 PM EST
    Obama was a pretty obvious choice for a Dem. convention speech under any circumstances.

    And once Kerry flubbed the campaign and lost the election to Bush, he sank back into persona non grata status, well deserved, in the party.  He is not even a little bit powerful within the party or the senate and never will be, no matter who's president.

    Look, I'm not saying he didn't encourage Obama to run.  He probably did.  But it's not because, as the comment said, he (and Kennedy) are fearful that a Clinton presidency would make him less powerful.

    Kerry is resentful of the Clintons because they're successful and widely loved, and he's a putz.  Teddy hasn't given up the fantasy of Camelot II: The Sequel, and the Clintons didn't get there the first time around.  Etc.


    Uh, no, not at all obvious (none / 0) (#224)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 04:48:38 PM EST
    as Obama still was a nobody then in national politics.  Put the timing together with when he got to Congress, etc. -- and find and read the story, as it's quite revealing about the power play to get Obama to run . . . and to run this year.

    Interesting Hypothesis (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by themomcat on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:48:52 AM EST
    Two guys who ran unsuccessfully for president, frustrated by 28 yrs. of Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush, add to that a few more Senators, Leahy and Dodd, etc. who see an opportunity to have a President that they can manipulate and don't forget Pelosi who is at this moment the most powerful woman in this country and Voila!....Obama for President. Not bad for a conspiracy theory if you believe in that stuff. ;-)
    But they forgot to calculate in the Clinton Factor. She is tenacious and very smart and has a better resume than Obama. And they forgot the electorate, who will be pissed in November if their choice isn't there fairly and will not vote the party line. Good Luck to Kennedy and Kerry.

    And here I've been thinking (4.00 / 1) (#82)
    by alsace on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 05:06:21 AM EST
    that it was Oprah, expanding her horizons from picking her fans' books to picking their president.

    I was lambasted (none / 0) (#102)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:32:00 AM EST
    at the Orange (back when I used to go there) for having the audacity to say that Oprah would make no difference and might even cost him a few votes. Some people don't actually like her!

    And a poll came out stating that more people would vote AGAINST a candidate with an Oprah endorsement than would vote for a candidate for that reason.  Still made no difference at the Orange.

    Where is Oprah now?  Must not be around because she made no difference -- or was a negative.


    Oprah's endorsement didn't bother me.... (none / 0) (#164)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:48:27 AM EST
    ...I saw it as due to her Chicago ties as much as anything else. But speaking of Oprah I wonder if she is laying a little low now because she realized early on that Obama was starting to irritate her base...i.e., white women.

    obama's enablers (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by teachermom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 05:24:08 AM EST
    I'm pretty sure Daschle was a major influence.

    Yes...and (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by oldpro on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 05:44:44 AM EST
    Daschle's lobbyist wife and Dick Durbin and the Daley machine...

    A couple of names (none / 0) (#108)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:57:14 AM EST
    I've heard Durbin and Daschle - Durbin being his senate "mentor" and most of Obama's senate staff used to work for Daschle.  Both were early endorsers.  (And Daschle, for one, doesn't really love the Clintons.  I believe Bill backed another candidate when Daschle initially ran for minority leader.)

    His Senate mentor (none / 0) (#205)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    was none other than Joe Lieberman.  Obama campaigned for JL against Ned Lamont in the primary.

    BINGO (none / 0) (#111)
    by suisser on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:05:10 AM EST
    Finally, the question that has been pestering me for a few weeks now.  So, who? When? and WHY him?

    He graduated from law school (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:49:05 PM EST
    in 1991 and ran for State senate and won in 1996. He was re-elected in 1998. He ran for Congress in 2000 but lost in the primary.  He was re-elected to the state senate in 2002 and in 2003, decided to run for U.S. Senate. He was elected in 2004, and began serving as Senator in January, 2005. In Feb. 2007, he announced his run for President.  

    Not to quibble, but the published (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Exeter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:18:07 AM EST
    Audacity of Hope in 2006 in started campaigning in Iowa in 2006, so I would say 2006-- I want to give him adequate credit for his campaigning; ) Also, remember, his big speech about the Iraq war was in 2002. Also, when did Dreams of My Father come out?

    Dreams *from* My Father (none / 0) (#88)
    by BrandingIron on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 06:12:50 AM EST

    came out in 1994, I believe.

    Dreams From My Father--1995 (none / 0) (#176)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:04:18 AM EST
    Just checked in copy I just got from the libary.

    Now, don't you go saying 2006 (none / 0) (#125)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:42:05 AM EST
    was when he started his prez campaign, since he still was promising in 2006 to serve out his six-year Senate term.  You must not get What Obama Really Meant by that. :-)

    I guess this time when the Republicans say (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:43:42 PM EST
    that the Democrats want to take your guns away... they'll have some evidence to back it up. I sure hope Obama doesn't blame some poor staffer for what will happen in November.

    No no no no no (5.00 / 4) (#75)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:08:31 AM EST
    Remember.  Learn the script.

    That'll be Clinton's fault.


    The latest explanation by (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by frankly0 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:46:57 PM EST
    Obama of the discrepancies between the amended questionnaire and his purportedly never changing views on gun control and the death penalty just don't wash.

    The explanation remains that a staffer just filled out the questionnaire for him, and that he somehow wasn't aware of the answers to the other questions -- the suggestion being that he only really saw the first page, where he had handwritten notes.

    But what sense does that possibly make, given that in the amended questionnaire, in question 24 of 35, the questionnaire has been modified from before? Before, in answer to the question, did he believe in parental notification of abortion for minors, he (or, supposedly a staffer) simply said No. In the amended version, here's what is said: "Depends on how young - possibly for extremely young teens, i.e. 12 or 13 year olds."

    Does it in any way pass the smell test that a staffer would presume to offer such a detailed response, down to the age of the children -- amending the previous response -- without passing it by Obama himself?

    And does it in any way pass the smell test that on this particular question 2/3 through the questionnaire, Obama would be asked for such a detailed response, and offer it up, but that on a question as fundamental as, say, whether he believes in capital punishment under any conditions, or believes in banning handguns, he would not be asked his opinion, to make sure it was correctly represented?

    Really, who besides a fool can believe in his explanations here?

    But I guess our media is too busy putting comfy pillows under Obama's head to trouble him with awkward questions about this.

    Seems reasonable (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by rilkefan on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:04:58 AM EST
    to conjecture that he gave brief, unnuanced responses as a first cut and added some shading later without submitting the whole thing to a detailed policy process.

    Don't get your objection here (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by frankly0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:19:35 AM EST
    It makes no sense that he would make a clear exception for a question about parental consent for abortion with minors, down to the age of the exceptions, but would NOT make any qualification whatever with regard to capital punishment or banning handguns in the same questionnaire. Insofar has he supposedly had positions on these issues that he has always held, how could he not have been able to express them in any way if he was asked those questions?

    The clear implication of the Obama campaign response in any case is that Obama effectively wasn't even aware of those questions, that a staff member dealt with them entirely on his/her own. That idea just makes no sense, given that Obama obviously responded in a detailed way to one of the questions.


    How many staff members (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:46:47 AM EST
    do junior state legislators in Illinois have?

    In Massachusetts, they're a pretty rare commodity.  Staffers are attached to committees, but not so much to actual legislators.  I think my veteran Mass. state senator had one part-timer, my long-time rep none.


    iirc - Obama said he had no staff (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by Josey on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 03:21:26 AM EST
    when he was "explaining" he had no Illinois senate records.

    This is the "aha" then -- good catch (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:44:54 AM EST
    if he said he didn't have staff but then blamed the "mistakes" on the questionnaire on staff.  And we can bet that the Republicans have the quote you saw.

    Hm... this is something which could be (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:49:48 AM EST

    State senate staff? or campaing staff? (none / 0) (#180)
    by jawbone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:07:47 AM EST
    Which "staff" filled out the questionnaire?

    that's the problem (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:22:56 AM EST
    His first answer on so many things is one of absolutes -- he's against the death penalty, he's against mandatory minimums, he's against laws criminalizing marijuana -- then he comes back and adds exception after exception until his position is all gone and morphed into something else entirely.

    Staff (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:26:19 AM EST
    He claims he only had one staff person as a State Senator, that is why he was not aware of so many things.  How many staff members did he have?  

    Might be true... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by oldpro on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:36:59 AM EST
    speaking from my own experience...

    In my state, our legislators have one staffer each, year round....senators get two during session, reps one.

    As new staff to a new legislator in '94 I don't think I ever filled out a form for anything without her oversight - I wouldn't have risked it - and never did election stuff on state time or with state equipment on state property.  In our state that would have been illegal.


    But (none / 0) (#110)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:02:34 AM EST
    That's not the issue - wouldn't this be before he was a state senate?  So the question is, how big of campaign staff did he have?  Most are quite small for that type of campaign.

    Re: staff (none / 0) (#132)
    by wasabi on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:54:24 AM EST
    If the questionaire was filled out in 1996, then the staffer was a campaign aide.  At the time he filled it out, he was not yet elected to any office.

    You must have hated Kerry (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by rilkefan on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:29:11 AM EST
    Too much nuance, couldn't stick to a simple clear position, as if the world was complex, as if one can be pro-choice and not oppose constituent-popular restrictions on medically unnecessary procedures in the last months.  Like with Clinton's AUMF vote - even though she clearly said that the evidence didn't support an invasion, she was obviously pro-war, because, you know, that's what a Yes meant.

    My scenario still seems entirely reasonable to me.  Obama didn't at first have the political instinct of avoiding simple ballpark answers on difficult questions; he didn't have the resources to carefully and consistently vet everything going out of his office or the requisite paranoia about how people might uncharitably parse casual documents in twelve years.


    I was for Kerry before I turned against him. (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:50:23 AM EST
    obama & his staff (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by teachermom on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 05:26:16 AM EST
    My, my, if he can't control his staff, how can he be trusted as president to control -- oh, never mind.

    Lol, if he can't control a staff of one? (none / 0) (#100)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:21:13 AM EST
    Ugh (4.20 / 5) (#57)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:48:58 AM EST
    Had he devoted one second's thought to parental notification?  Having an age limit on it makes absolutely no sense.  How many girls under 13 are made pregnant by someone other than a family member?  These are the girls that most need protection from family, seems to me.

    Lots, unfortunately. (none / 0) (#127)
    by SKI on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:47:41 AM EST
    I'm guessing you don't have a lot of contact with a wide range 12 & 13 year old girls today.  I consult for a 2 doc OB practice and, while it isn't a daily or even a weekly thing, it isn't uncommon either.  And we are in a fairly rural area. I know from colleagues that it is far worse in urban areas.

    Um, wow (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:58:13 PM EST
    I don't really disagree with most of what he says, but wait until the Republicans get at this.

    "Barack Obama wants to raise your taxes. He says so right here [enlargement with highlighting]."

    As to gun control (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by rilkefan on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:01:15 AM EST
    "AS to gun control, now he's a supporter of the Second Amendment"

    would more accurately read, "As to gun control, now he's a supporter of my reading of the Second Amendment which ignores the introductory clause" - which I think would still be a misreading, and is followed by a demand to prove a negative.  And to get the claim of a change out of that "Yes" is pretty puzzling.

    Didn't he sponsor or cosponsor a bill... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Exeter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:22:17 AM EST
    ... in the Ill state senate that made it a felony if you don't have your guns locked up and someone takes them and commits a crime? Maybe it was just unfair NRA spin, but I remember hearing something along those lines.

    That's all in my earlier post (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:25:20 AM EST
    with quotes from reputable news sources here.

    on the one you mention (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:27:33 AM EST
    Chicago Defender December 13, 1999,

    Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.

    He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms...

    Ouch... (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by Exeter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:47:34 AM EST
    I can see the ad for that one. That's not going to fly in the rural areas.

    talk about inciting the base (n/t) (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:51:03 AM EST
    and he only bowled a 37 :-) (n/t) (none / 0) (#60)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:59:30 AM EST
    bowling (none / 0) (#67)
    by bigbay on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:26:52 AM EST
    apologies for being off topic, but he probably lost 3-5% percentage points for the bowling fiasco. That is what people will talk about in the office, because they can do it in a light-hearted way.

    When Bush the First went bowling (none / 0) (#134)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:54:59 AM EST
    in my town and showed again that he was not one of the people, it made the news nationally and added to his "elitist" problems (also clearly not having bought his own groceries for decades, etc.) that cost him the re-election.

    But in this case, I'm sure it was Clinton's fault for not giving Obama lessons on gutter balls.:-)


    Yeah -- that was his "Dukakis in a tank" (none / 0) (#144)
    by Exeter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:15:17 AM EST
    ...moment or Kerry in the hunting jacket. Of course, the media won't snicker about it and replay it over and over, so it probably won't become an issue.

    If Obama is a more liberal (5.00 / 9) (#50)
    by hairspray on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:41:27 AM EST
    politician than he makes out to be, I will be happy.  Right now he appears to be wishy washy and it is hard to know where he stands.  I am afraid that should he be elected we will be treated to a president who wanders all over the place, depending on who is pushing him.

    John McCain has mastered the art (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:39:55 AM EST
    of saying lots of different things to lots of different audiences to get himself elected.  He is the artful dodger though.  The media rarely if ever calls him on it.  McCain always seems to convince people that he is absolutely firm, transparent and reliable.

    Obama seems to be trying to perfect this art himself - and I believe he has some innate talent - but I don't think he can hold a candle to McCain in this game of deception.


    Liberal huh (none / 0) (#212)
    by cal1942 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:17:48 PM EST
    Goldman-Sachs and many other Wall Street and corp types have backed him. They will call in their chits. You don't really think he got all that money from folks chipin' in 20 here 50 there do you?

    For my money his Milton Friedman Memorial Economics team of Cutler, Goolsbee and Liebman, his support of free trade, free markets,etc. make him an economic elitist. There's simply no getting around that.  If he were a liberal he would have gotten his economics team from say EPI or some other left of center economics think tank. As far as I know he didn't bother to talk to any of these people.  

    Obama was on the DLC's list until a group of black activists (blackagendareport.com) pressured him into removing his name.  Nonetheless Obama is the DLC's chosen one with enthusiastic backing from Al From and I believe Harold Ford.  His campaign staff contains a few DLCers.

    Liberal he ain't.

    IMHO it's not possible to be a liberal while embracing right of center economics.


    changing your position on (5.00 / 7) (#53)
    by cpinva on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:44:57 AM EST
    an issue isn't, by definition, bad. it depends on why the change took place: you receive more current or reliable data, causing you to change your original stance. perhaps you do some more intense critical analysis, resulting in a different conclusion. nothing inherently wrong with that. i wish more people would, including politicians.

    these are among the many legitimate reasons one might have for changing a position, whether you agree with that change or not. however, historically, "gee, i didn't really read the question." and "gosh, i didn't actually fill that out, some staffer did, using my handwriting, so those aren't really my answers." have not been considered among those legitimate reasons for change. plus, blaming your screwup on some poor staffer is pretty low class, even by politician standards.

    if i have to constantly "read between the lines" to glean the true meaning of anything someone says or writes, than they're pretty damn useless to me; i don't have that kind of time, and i shouldn't have to.

    It's easy to understand his appeal (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by dianem on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:04:14 AM EST
    No matter what a person's position is on any issue, Obama supports that position, or has at some point. He's not an empty suit... he is a talented politician who projects a black screen onto which people project their hopes and dreams, and he promises to fulfill them.

    There's an episode of "Word Girl" (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by Fabian on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:57:04 AM EST
    people should watch.  It's about an election for mayor and the super villain can't rely on his usual mind control devices and instead resorts to promising people whatever they want.  Naturally, what one person wants, another person doesn't and he needs to wrap up the election fast before his contradictory promises catch up to him. (PBS)

    (It reminds me of The Tick - with a cuter hero and vocabulary lessons.)


    Obama is CLEARLY pro-choice. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by LatinoVoter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:11:32 AM EST
    'Punished with a baby'

    "Not that Obama was counting on the Evangelical vote, but CBN's David Brody is making much of this:


    I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

    Via Ben Smith.

    Ouch. I hope I wasn't a punishment.

    I don't disagree with him (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by themomcat on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:19:36 AM EST
    He is a father and very protective of his girls, I fully understand that and support him. However, it was a poor choice of words.

    No they aren't. (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:51:39 AM EST
    What he is saying is that he is not going to make his daughter go through an unwanted pregnancy to punish her for having sex - which is legitimate and upstanding as far as I am concerned.  You don't use a baby as some sort of "teaching tool" or as punishment - that is wrong for the baby, the pregnant girl and everyone involved.  It totally trivializes the child's life for one thing.  Babies aren't rag dolls to be used to teach people a lesson.

    Was his phrasing problematic?  Yes.  But he was discussing one of the scenarios that some girls face when they tell their parents they are pregnant.  Some girls are told that being pregnant is "God's punishment" for a sin.  It is an awful way to bring a child into this world.  Obama is saying he wouldn't do that to his kids and that is a good thing.


    And as we all know... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Lou Grinzo on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:37:43 AM EST
    ...word matter.

    doesn't have a point of view (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:18:11 AM EST
    and the world is at his command. OMG, I finally get it. He's the nowhere man. Snark. But such a cool video and song of course.

    I don't understand... (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by OrangeFur on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:47:23 AM EST
    Obama never says that he changed his mind--he always pretends he's always been consistent. This leads to such ludicrous statements as this claim that he didn't fill out the questionnaire with his handwriting on it, and that comical evasion of the video in which he said he was in favor of single payer.

    Just say you changed your mind. That's a whole lot better than clumsy lies about who filled out what survey or what you really meant despite the meaning being absolutely clear on video.

    He Doesn't Have To (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by BDB on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:58:29 AM EST
    Because the press never calls him on it.  And won't until they once again think Clinton is done (as they did in the week leading up to March 4 when they thought she'd lose the vote in Texas).  Then, of course, Obama's inconsistencies will be big news.  

    Oh, Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by BDB on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:08:35 AM EST
    More evidence for my theory Obama's media lovefest doesn't survive Clinton's defeat - here.  Obama seems unsure of his answers, testy, and gets called out for saying something mean about McCain.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#89)
    by BrandingIron on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 06:17:56 AM EST

    wasn't Obama the one yammering on about how he was "right the first time" with the Iraq War issue?  And extending that into a "the person best suited for the Presidency should be right the first time, always" (paraphrasing here) notion?

    I'm tired of this (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by phat on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:02:00 AM EST
    If just one strong candidate would just stand up against the death penalty and not be wishy-washy about it, we'd see the end of executions in this country.

    This is about leadership, for heaven's sake. Just lead. Get ahead of the issue. Americans are figuring this out. Stop being afraid.

    In the 50s and 60s our elected officials in places like Iowa led on this issue and weren't afraid to meet the opposition head on. In Nebraska we have Senators who aren't afraid of the issue and are doing quite well.

    This pussy-footing about the death penalty has to end.

    I'm sick of the "nuance". Both Democratic candidates have this problem, I'm afraid.

    It's getting very very old.

    Why can't one, just one of these people do, with the death penalty, what Al Gore has done with global warming?

    Edwards would be in a perfect position to do this. I'll bet he still won't touch it with a ten foot pole.

    It's getting out of hand and this lack of commitment ties the hands of local leaders doing the serious policy work. Corzine stepped up. Tim Kaine has stepped up. What about these so-called national leaders?

    This issue is a perfect example of the lack of will of our national leadership. It's galling.

    Isn't this getting ridiculous (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by expertlaw on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:07:39 AM EST
    So you're saying that Barack Obama once said something like,
    The examination of possible racial and regional bias should be completed before the United States goes forward with an execution in a case that may implicate the very questions raised by the justice department's continuing study. In this area there is no room for error.
    Suggesting less interest in the fact that people would be executed than in making sure that only guilty people were executed?

    That's an appropriate observation for a death penalty advocate to make, but I just quoted Bill Clinton. More analaysis of Bill's views can be found here.

    As for Hillary Clinton, at least according to the Pew Forum, there's no murkiness - "Clinton has been a longtime advocate of the death penalty" - although she shares some of Obama's concerns about executing the innocent.

    To me, this unending series of rants and complaints against Obama comes across as backbiting. I'm agnostic between the two candidates, although I prefer Hillary Clinton's health care reform package, so I'm not recoiling so much at the partisanship as I am at the tactics.

    Health Care is the only difference but... (4.50 / 2) (#117)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:22:13 AM EST
    But look at the entire campaign which now seems was designed to create a illusions that there is no difference between the candidates. Are we sure Rove was not running this? Maybe this is Teddy's health care plan. This whole campaign has been carefully planned and been successful. Blur the line so that people can see no difference and just toss a coin. But there is a difference and it is now just showing up. Four months ago I would have said the same thing. Either/or. Now I am seeing a Madison Avenue type of marketing on a product. Obama.  

    Kind of hard to take Bill seriously on this (none / 0) (#191)
    by fuzzyone on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:55:59 AM EST
    when he infamously rushed back to Ark mid campaign for the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a man so mentally retarded that he left the desert from his last meal "for later", a man who now could not be executed since the Supreme Court has now banned the execution of those with mental retardation.  Truly one of the most grotesque acts in the modern history of political campaigns.  

    This is one of the things, along with gutting assistance to the poor, that I have never been able to forgive him for and that make all the claims here that he was a great president absurd.  (He was a better President than anyone else in the last 40 years, but that is faint praise indeed.)


    Do the math (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by Kathy on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:02:57 AM EST
    do you know how old Clinton was when she was a Goldwater Girl?  What were you doing at that age?  What were you doing when she volunteered at an Alaskan fishery?  What were you doing when she was on the cover of Time?

    When she was in college she was for (5.00 / 3) (#148)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:17:54 AM EST
    McCarthy. She was in high school when Goldwater was running for President.
    You seem to have difficulty relating facts accurately.
    Why don't you put a little more care into your comments, and check the things you say about Hillary. Right now you are not convincing anyone of anything.

    Here's an interesting snippet from her Wikipedia bio:

    he served as president of the Rockefeller Republican-oriented[17] Wellesley Young Republicans organization during her freshman year[18][19] and with them supported the elections of John Lindsay and Edward Brooke.[20] However, due to her evolving views regarding the American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, she stepped down from that position;[18] she characterized her own nature as that of "a mind conservative and a heart liberal."[21] Active in campus affairs, she sought to work for change within the system, rather than take then-popular radical actions against it.[22] In her junior year, Rodham was affected by the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.,[8] and became a supporter of the anti-war presidential nomination campaign of Democrat Eugene McCarthy.[23] Rodham organized a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley's black students for moderate changes, such as recruiting more black students and faculty.[24] In early 1968, she was elected president of the Wellesley College Government Association and served through early 1969;[22][25] she was instrumental in keeping Wellesley from being embroiled by the student disruptions common to other colleges at the time.[22] A number of her fellow students thought at the time she might someday become the first woman President of the United States.[22] She attended the "Wellesley in Washington" summer program at the urging of Professor Alan Schechter, who assigned Rodham to intern at the House Republican Conference so she could better understand her changing political views.[24] Rodham was invited by Representative Charles Goodell, a moderate New York Republican, to help Governor Nelson Rockefeller's late-entry campaign for the Republican nomination.[24] Rodham attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, where she decided to leave the Republican Party for good; she was upset over how Richard Nixon's campaign had portrayed Rockefeller and what Rodham perceived as the "veiled" racist messages of the convention.[24]

    That last sentence is quite interesting. Since you believe early life is destiny, you obviously will find it impossible to believe that Hillary is running a racist campaign this year (which of course she is not, despite accusations to the contrary).


    Gee... (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:56:09 AM EST
    But then she managed to fool Saul Alinsky and he offered her a job.  Imagine that, Saul Alinsky was fooled by this Goldwater girl.  My my.  Then she went and did voter registration in El Paso.  

    Kathyyyyyyyy (none / 0) (#171)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:56:43 AM EST
    We were all looking for you.

    a few points (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:16:19 AM EST
    There are several inaccuracies here, but I'll just mention a few:

    Bankruptcy bill - passed in 2005.  Clinton did not voted but she issued a statement opposing the bill (vote was not close:  about 74-25).  Clinton did voted for the bill in 2001 (not 2000 as you say) when it passed by the Senate 82-16.  Also supported by such prominent Obama backers as Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.

    (And here I thought Obama supporters were ok with "evolving views".)

    Gergen backs up Clinton's story - as you note.  So your entire spiel about how she was actually for NAFTA is wrong by your own admission.  Further, there is a difference between disagreeing with a foreign leader and undercutting your own administration's policy.  Would you expect Michelle to publicly chasticize Obama on policy?  

    She lost on health care, in large part because she was pushing for universal coverage.  That's an admirable goal and it's too bad she lost.  But the answer to that is to do a better job next time.  Not to push for less than universal coverage which is the lesson Obama learned, apparently.

    The Iraq was stuff has been over a million times.  I would suggest you again read her speech before the 2002 vote.

    Finally, none of this - NONE OF THIS - is relevant to the question of what Obama said about this questionaire.

    the screed you are replying to (none / 0) (#186)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:44:17 AM EST
    has been deleted.

    You missed this (5.00 / 3) (#150)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:22:21 AM EST
    Canada denied talking to the Clinton camp.

    OM is a great Clinton advocate, isn't she? (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:25:05 AM EST
    From yeserday's conversation, let me (4.33 / 3) (#136)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:01:40 AM EST
    remind you that length and depth are separate measures of a person's comment.
    What Hillary said about Tuzla is not material; what Obama said about the questionnaire is, being directly related to his political values.
    Furthermore, it's simple FALSE that there was no danger in Clinton traveling to Bosnia.
    Are you telling a COMPLETELY UNTRUE story just for POLITICAL GAIN? I would be SHOCKED if that were true.

    One point about UHC: the biggest sticking point---on which the insurance companies would not budge---was mandates. You knew that, right?
    She wanted mandates; the insurance companies did not.
    You do know that Obama is taking the insurance companies' side on this, right? Just like he did int IL.

    If you are going to answer history with (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:13:14 AM EST
    falsity, what's the point?
    Do you deny that Hillary was for mandates in 1993 and that this was a major---if not the overriding---objection from the insurance companies?
    Is so, please refresh your "memory" with some truth.

    Insurance co's DO NOT support mandates! (5.00 / 3) (#168)
    by allimom99 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:53:59 AM EST
    That means they must cover everyone, regardless of how sick. That is why they claim "pre-existing conditions" and cherry pick, and do whatever else they can do to deny care. I spent 8 years working in the insurance business. these companies are NOT IN BUSINESS TO PROVIDE CARE - they make their obscene profits by DENYING it.

    Please do your homework - Obama IS on the side of the banks & insurance companies. Some progressive.

    An Edwards supporter


    Ok, you got me---I stand corrected (3.00 / 0) (#172)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:58:02 AM EST

    An MD friend of mine was offered a (none / 0) (#199)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:30:40 PM EST
    "deny care" job with an insurance company a few years ago at 250K. He turned it down.
    He works in trauma medicine in a poor area and treats lots of people for free.
    Needless to say, he is not especially popular with the administrators.

    A question for ObamaMaMa (none / 0) (#183)
    by hopeyfix on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:21:59 AM EST
    Were you planing on taking vacations on Bosnia that year? Would you have taken your kids or something there that year?

    It seems you truly believe it was super safe and nice.


    You didn't respond my question (none / 0) (#193)
    by hopeyfix on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:05:43 PM EST
    Would you have gone there in the time?

    I know I wouldn't.


    I think that Obama is allowed to change his views (4.00 / 1) (#81)
    by maritza on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 04:57:47 AM EST
    People change their stances all the time.  There is nothing wrong with that.  McCain has and he isn't getting any grief from that (before he did not want to make the tax cuts permanent and now he does).

    The question really is not what was his views then but what are his views now.

    In terms of gun control, Obama has said several times in the past few months that he believes in the second amendment and the right to bear arms.  So that is his view then.

    I personally was more liberal 10 years ago than I am now.  10 years ago I was very much for gun control.  Now I am not.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    But you don't get that he said (none / 0) (#129)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:50:36 AM EST
    these were his staffer's views or something, not his.  So Obama said it wasn't a change of his views.  

    The point is, are you sure you even know what his views were and/or are, much less what they will be -- or not?  


    And remember (none / 0) (#163)
    by hookfan on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:48:15 AM EST
    "What about the supreme Court" as a basis to vote for Obama whether you like him or not. Well, if we can't determine his real views, what about the supreme court? Who will he put up?

    Yep, I won't forget the Casey endorsement (5.00 / 2) (#177)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:05:07 AM EST
    as that puts up a real red light for me about Obama on reproductive rights issues -- and thus who would influence him on SCOTUS appointments.  Add that to Obama's initial intent to vote for Roberts, and the "think about SCOTUS" argument to vote for him just isn't working for me.  Better that I work for a stronger vote in the Senate to defeat appointments, if need be, by either Obama or McCain.

    Clinton's appointments would not worry me at all, because her record on reproductive rights issues is clear and consistent.  There 'tis.


    Hmmm... (3.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Alec82 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:29:06 PM EST
    ...we're actually debating a questionnaire from 1996?

     This just in: Senator Clinton's secret senior thesis on radical activist Saul Alinsky...from the 60s!

    You must be VERY young (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by doyenne49 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:32:19 PM EST
    if you think 1996 is long ago.

    He is (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:34:48 PM EST
    He was born in 1982. I bet you were born in 49, no?

    Actually that's my age, but close! (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by doyenne49 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:35:57 PM EST
    And you're right--he would have been 14 in 1996!

    Obama, on the other hand, is just about my age (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by doyenne49 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:37:23 PM EST
    and should have known what he was doing in 1996.

    1996... (3.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Alec82 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:00:11 AM EST
    ...is ancient history in politics.  That was the year President Clinton campaigned on DOMA and welfare reform.  Two years before the bombings in Africa, a few years after the GOP insurgency and a year after Oklahoma City.  A lot has changed, politically and culturally.

    All of which made Obama. . . more conservative? (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by andgarden on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:01:39 AM EST
    Ah yes, ancient history (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:05:40 AM EST
    To folks who are 26, yes it is. That's about the median age of Obama supporters, no?

    No wonder Reagan doesn't seem as evil to them. They all remember him as some doddering, lovable grandfather type.


    The doddering lovable grandfather (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by kredwyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:13:03 AM EST
    who had 40% of the fathers in my old neighborhood riffed when he "downsized" the DOE. My own dad missed it by -->* that much.

    Lots of people moved to NM that year.


    To me... (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by kredwyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:10:56 AM EST
    Watergate is ancient political history. However, when interviewed about the rationale behind the impeachment of President Clinton, Rep. Henry Hyde pointed out that the Clinton thing was probably in retribution for Watergate.

    It may be history...but it ain't forgotten history.


    As Obama himself said (none / 0) (#197)
    by Nadai on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:24:18 PM EST
    (mangling William Faulkner)  The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past.

    Alec, the questionaire was in 1996 (5.00 / 10) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:36:41 PM EST
    but his answer denying they really were his answers or reflected his views was last year.

    Did you apply the same reasoning (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by badger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:55:47 PM EST
    to Clinton's supposed lie about sniper fire in Tuzla, or does this line of argument only work for Obama?

    I think they are different (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:17:23 AM EST
    Hillary's misstatement on Bosnia I attribute to well established principles of memory that affect how one remembers past events.   As I noted elsewhere, and from an article I wrote some years ago on the topic,

    Memory does not function like a video recorder. A video recorder captures a scene or an event and stores it on tape. The recorded image does not change over time. It is not altered by external or subsequent events. Memory, on the other hand changes and fluctuates, based upon several factors.

    When someone experiences an important event, it is not simply recorded like a movie on a videocassette. Rather, the person acquires fragments of information from the environment. This information then is combined with information previously stored in memory, with information acquired after the event occurs, and even with the individualís prior expectations. The result of this amalgamation is the personís memory of the event.

    Psychological experts inform us that the memory process can be divided into three stages. The first is the acquisition stage, referring to the individualís perception of the event, and the entry of the information into the memory system. This is followed by the retention phase, during which time elapses before the witness tries to remember the event. The final stage is the retrieval stage, which occurs when the witness tries to recall the stored information.  

    Most likely, her original memory of the experience  was later influenced by post-event information or pooled information from other sources.   I think while she ended up with a blended memory, she didn't intentionally create a new memory.  I don't think she lied, I think her memory of an experience changed over time.


    Plus, its not as if... (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Exeter on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:33:09 AM EST
    Hillary was landing in the Bahamas and she made it sound like it was a war zone. It was a war zone. There were warnings to be aware of snipers. She literally went on hundreds of these types of trips and I'm sure some were more dangerous than this one and she may have gotten confused in her recollection.  In any event, its not that big of a deal and certainly not the grandiose "I went to the school of hard knocks" whoppers Obama tells every day during his stump speech-- that actually is premeditated and he knows he isn't being forthright.

    I agree with you Jeralyn (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by badger on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:49:30 AM EST
    besides thinking the Bosnia thing is totally irrelevant, as it doesn't relate to policy or really to character (at least in the political class).

    I thought I was replying to Alec82 - maybe I clicked the wrong link - because the "1996 is sooo long ago" argument would apply to Clinton as well - I don't recall seeing Obama supporters notice that then.


    2008... (4.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Alec82 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:16:56 AM EST
    ...was not that long ago. ;-)

    Come on... (none / 0) (#77)
    by ROK on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 02:33:50 AM EST
    It was simply a politcal exaggeration to make her sound more prepared for what she could inherit from Bushco...

    I don't see any reason to continue making excuses for her, however "scientific" it might be. She exaggerated. She's a pol and that's what they ALL do.

    Move on...


    Its called an embellished sea (none / 0) (#80)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 04:38:40 AM EST
    story in my old service vernacular.  She was called on it.  Should not trust any of her sea stories that happened before the Bosnia trip.  

    Plus... (none / 0) (#203)
    by Radix on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:00:40 PM EST
    My understanding is that HRC recorded the Bosnia issue accurately in her book. While Obama made his misstatements about his father's connection to JFK and his Selma conception the same in his book as on the campaign trail.

    Personally (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:27:42 AM EST
    I'm pretty annoyed by the Bosnia exaggeration.  But it's not about policy, which she's been consistent on.  The '96 questionnaire is just one more thing that makes it abundantly clear Obama is a pig in a poke and we have absolutely no idea what he'd do or advocate if he was actually elected.

    I'm annoyed as well (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by ChrisO on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:00:51 AM EST
    I don't think it disqualifies her in any way, but it's very difficult to defend. I get what Jeralyn says about memory, but I have to believe that being shot at is something you either remember or you don't.

    That said, my response to Obama supporters who bring that up is "so if she was being shot at she would have foreign policy experience, but she wasn't being shot at, so she doesn't have foreign policy experience?" I think if people want to use this to question her credibility, well, she brought that on herself. But I was furious when I saw some clown on ABC News saying that it goes to her claims of having foreign policy credentials.


    That's not really the issue (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:11:38 AM EST
    The questionaire was from 1996.  It came to light last year.  Obama's campaign said that he never saw it, it was filled out by a staffer, etc. etc.

    Now, that statement (from less than a year ago) is inoperative.  That's the issue.

    If the campaign had initially said, "yeah, that's what he believed, but his views have changed as he's learned more about the issues and besides it was 12 years ago," it wouldn't be that much of an issue now.

    But it appears they lied - again, just a year ago.  And blamed staff.  So ... it's an issue.


    Keep Pushing, Sisyphus (1.00 / 0) (#156)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    But that boulder just keeps rolling back over you, doesn't it?

    No matter how you say it, "BUT CLINTON DOES IT TOO" doesn't take away from what a hypocritical liar Obama is turning out to be.

    Truth hurts. He's a pol, and a slippery one at that. Deal.

    Didn't this get deleted? (1.00 / 0) (#206)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:11:11 PM EST
    And why are you giving everyone who responded to you a "1" rating?

    yes it's been deleted (none / 0) (#222)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 04:43:12 PM EST
    and those ratings erased.

    But, but, but (none / 0) (#98)
    by Lil on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:11:49 AM EST
    Hillary said she was ducking fire! That's the story don't you know. Obama doesn't lie, embellish, spin; he is above the fray, above being a politician; this exxageration of his must be false.

    Yep that's some real grassroots. there. (none / 0) (#99)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:18:18 AM EST
    Seems more like they also figured out a way to co-opt the people powered movement too. The question is, what do they want to do with all that power besides keeping it out of the hands of the Clintons? I'm still waiting for an answer.

    Is it possible that Obama (none / 0) (#104)
    by BlueMerlin on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 08:44:08 AM EST
    will say anything to get elected?  

    Jeralyn is a great advocate (none / 0) (#120)
    by dem08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:29:01 AM EST
    But three points, respectfully,

    First, Is it really a winning issue to say that Obama's views change over time? I think voters do not vote on issues. I think nobody with the exception of a very small group can understand what Hillary or Obama mean in their Health Care Plan. Robert Reich says that Obama's probably will cover more people than Hillary's, but the point is that elections are decided on personalities and campaigns.

    Second, is it really a winning issue to say that one opposes Obama's views even though they match Hillary's, and therfore I will vote for Hillary. Isn't that saying, "At least we KNOW she will disappoint us on Death Penalty, Minimum Sentences, etc.?"

    Third, it is graceless of Obama to blame his staff, but I blame Hillary's Staff for the Tuzla Fiasco. She has a CLEAR advantage on foreign experience. She is the one that the campaign is running ragged (last night she sounded so hoarse, she might have won sympathy votes). It is the Staff's responsibility to stay on top of things.

    It is an imperfect analogy, but the staff is like the candidate's attorney in a trial. The candidates appearances are their Testimony. The Staff should research and define and guide and correct the Testimony immediately. On December 28th, Hillary's "I don't recall anyone offering me a cup of tea" remark was a flag. Why didn't they see it.

    Honestly, the way Hillary is served by her husband and her staff makes her sympathetic to me. I think she is badly served.

    The issue is Obama's problem with the (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:36:21 AM EST

    Except (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:53:12 AM EST
    Obama - and his staff - have never argued that his views "changed over time".  They argued last year that he held the same views then as he does now, but that an unauthorized staffer incorrectly filled out the form.  What we are now seeing is that it is highly unlikely that story is true.  Yet they are still trying to blame it on staff.

    It's that he said these weren't his views (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 09:57:34 AM EST
    -- do you get that?  Not this his views changed over time but that he disavowed that the views on the questionnaire's ever were his views, and that he said it was a staffer who filled it out, and he never saw it . . . but that now there is evidence that he did see it, with his handwriting on it.

    So the issue isn't what he said or didn't say in 1996 -- it's that he lied in 2008.  And that we still don't know, therefore, what his views really are.  Do you?


    I don't think this (none / 0) (#153)
    by dem08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:28:28 AM EST
    issue sticks.

    If you think this is a good issue for Hillary then we disagree. Nowhere will someone find a video of Obama claiming how he filled out this form in 1996 is a reason we should vote for him.

    But, actually we never know what a candidate will do or be able to do. W ran against "Nation Building" and we will be in Iraq for a long time. The joke back in 1966 was that LBJ was stymied because he lost the last page of Barry Goldwater's Platform, so he did not know what he was supposed to do next.

    I saw a Clinton spokeswoman on Larry King last night. She had this lovely accent, Texas, she was charming, she mentioned about 8 reasons Hillary would be a good president. I think she was effective.

    Bush Senior called these type of arguments over surveys "inside baseball" and he was correct. If one is looking for debate points, these discussions are helpful. If one is trying to change the momentum of elections, one has to go farther. I do not think Obama is a liar, but that is what the overall charge is. At this point, I cannot see Hillary or her campaign making this charge openly or making it stick.

    My question, rhetorical because I think the answer is 'no', is "Are these really the issues that will turn things around for Hillary?"


    Just because it doesn't turn things around (none / 0) (#160)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:36:01 AM EST
    Doesn't mean we should know as much about Obama as possible before he starts getting the General Election treatment.

    Your comment is a strawman because I'm looking up and down this whole thread and I'm trying to find one person who said "this turns things around for clinton."


    we disagree (none / 0) (#165)
    by dem08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:49:25 AM EST
    even on strawmen. I am not knocking anyone down, or at least I am not trying to knock anyone down here.

    Talk Left is a pro-Hillary site. My question is sincere. There are issues that help Hillary, and clearly enforcing the morale of Hillary-supporters helps Hillary.

    But implicit in an argument about Obama's many "exaggerations" and this story is that these are good issues. I am not a political science expert or involved in any campaign.

    Jeralyn wrote

    "One of the complaints I've had with Barack Obama is the difficulty trying to pin him down on issues. His positions too often seem to shift over time."

    I asked if that was a good issue, and was this survey a good example of Obama's untrustworthiness? I don't think so, but I am one person writing in a comment section on a blog.


    You wrote (none / 0) (#175)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:02:13 AM EST
    If one is trying to change the momentum of elections, one has to go farther.

    No one said this would be enough.

    And indeed there is more.  


    OT - Update on Tuzla (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by cmugirl on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:23:02 AM EST
    Thank you (none / 0) (#167)
    by blogtopus on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:52:08 AM EST
    Now if we could get the rest of the press and Obamabots to take their fingers out of their ears and open their eyes, they might see she (and the Secret Service and her military escorts) were legitimately concerned about her safety from snipers at that time.

    P.S., about Canada: care to back up (none / 0) (#138)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:03:19 AM EST
    your claim with a source or two? The actual story is not as you say.

    in fact, what happened was that the PM's (none / 0) (#149)
    by MarkL on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:21:53 AM EST
    office was trying to slime HILLARY, not Obama.
    What was reported from the PM's office was never substantiated, to my knowledge. However, the Globe and Mail reporters discovered independently that Goolsbee had made assurances about NAFTA.
    Looking at the story objectively, you see on the one hand that we know exactly who  in the Obama campaign spoke to representatives of the Canadian governmnet; on the other hand, you have a vague assertion that someone from the Hillary camp did the same thing.
    Why can no  one say which of Hillary's advisers made the call? hmm?

    "Supporting vapor" (none / 0) (#174)
    by Boo Radly on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 10:59:54 AM EST
    was a statement in a post here yesterday regarding BO's "fans" which summed it up for me. Jeralyn has succintly listed most of the things that concern me regarding BO's candidacy with great clarity. Then we are hearing the W.O.R.M.'s. Bleesh. His candidacy is indefensible.
    I hold the party "leaders" responsible - and call them unscrupulous. Politics as usual is not acceptable with the problems the present administration has saddled this country.


    A vote for LBJ was a (none / 0) (#178)
    by SantaMonicaJoe on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:05:58 AM EST
    "vote for peace"in Vietnam in 1964.

    Lookie how that turned out.

    I know a number of older solid Dems, who take PRIDE in not falling for LBJ's "vote for peace" line.

    I like LBJ's domestic approach, but supporting Goldwater isn't a crime. It shows growth.

    Most of the young voters currently supporting Obama are going to cringe when they look back on how they drool over this guy. It's a function of growing up.

    Please don't let (none / 0) (#187)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 11:45:31 AM EST
    Obamamama hijack the thread. This is about Obama's survey. Don't take the bait. And hijacking threads isn't allowed.

    Change Over Time (none / 0) (#196)
    by OhioBuckeye on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 12:19:59 PM EST
    I do believe that we all change positions over time.  After 911, a lot of views changed.  The world that was in 1996 is not the world we have today.  

    Moreover, stop arguing the Pro-Choice debate.  It is dumb.  It is NEVER going to be over turned because if the Republicans really wanted to over turn it or any politican, it would have been done already.  

    There are issues that each side argue over and over again and nothing really ever changes, with the exception of pre-emptive war that the Bush Administration has crammed down our throats.

    Lets face it, we can list numerous reasons for why we should not vote for Clinton and numerous reasons why we should not vote for Obama.  The fact of the matter is that we really need to focus on why we CANNOT VOTE FOR MCCAIN!

    Oh and McCain waffles on positions too.  He was not for the Bush tax cuts before he was for them.  Ugh!  

    Comments Closed (none / 0) (#223)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 04:46:51 PM EST
    We're over 200 comments. The thread got hijacked by  ObamaMama, most of whose long screeds have been deleted. S/he has also been banned for ignoring warnings and 1 rating comments s/he disagreed with.

    So if the remaining comments don't make sense, that's why.