Obama Shifts to the Center, Adopts Conservative Views

The LA Times reports that Sen. Barack Obama is "shifting towards the center" and adopting views Republicans would be comfortable with. Examples:

A handgun ban. The death penalty. U.S. wiretaps. Iran and Israel. Trade. On all of those issues, he has recently staked more moderate ground.

Barack Obama, as he introduces himself to the broader voting public, is emphasizing centrist -- even conservative -- positions on hot-button issues.


In recent weeks, he toughened his stance on Iran and backed an expansion of the government's wiretapping powers. On Wednesday, he said states should be allowed to execute child rapists. When the Supreme Court the next day struck down the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, he did not complain.

Centrists are taking notice:

"I've been struck by the speed and decisiveness of his move to the center," said Will Marshall, president of the centrist Progressive Policy Institute.

I'd add his outreach to the evangelical right as another example.

I don't think this is a vote-getting move, I think it's the real Barack Obama. It's something I've pointed out since the beginning of his campaign: He is not a liberal.

He has had no clearer message in this campaign than "there are no red states, no blue states, just the United States."

For those of us who believe there is a sharp dividing line between the parties and the Republican views are unacceptable, this is a disappointment.

We do have a comfort zone with Obama though, small as it is: Health care, social security. And I think the judges he will appoint, both to the Supreme Court and our federal courts, will be far better and less right-wing than those McCain would appoint.

I don't see his candidacy as the poster child for change he's promised, but perhaps change comes in increments. And, a little bit of change is better than the status quo and regression another Republican president would bring.

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    1992 deja vu? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by TChris on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:51:22 AM EST
    Sounds to me like the Bill Clinton strategy.  Running to the right on crime, like Clinton did, has never cost a politician an election.  And it doesn't surprise me that he wants to run away from claims (whether true or false) that his voting record showed him to be "the most liberal senator in 2007."  Like it or not, capturing the center is how presidential elections are won.

    However... (5.00 / 9) (#35)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:15:40 PM EST
    ...Bill Clinton entered office with a very liberal agenda that included things like universal health care, gays in the military, gender equal rights, and the like. He did not run the campaign proclaiming his admiration to Ronald Reagan.

    Left, right, and ??? (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Lou Grinzo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:40:10 PM EST
    This speaks to the fundamental dynamic in this election, in my opinion: The desire for something besides "politics as usual".  I'm sure people over "a certain age", as the saying goes, will no doubt laugh themselves hoarse over the very notion that there could be such a movement in the US, given the mind boggling power of the corporate media and campaign money, in general.  Or maybe they will just sit in a corner and weep.

    A large portion of the Obama supporters are, I think, reading not just their hopes and dreams into his candidacy, but most importantly this specific hope, to be freed from the tiresome, counterproductive mess that the US political system has become.  Obama and his campaign have been smart enough to run and act in a way, at least until very recently, that let those supporters continue to believe he's their knight in shining armor, and a key part of that strategy has been trying to sound as non-ideological as possible.  If my reading of this situation is right, this is the most brilliant, cynical strategy we've seen from a candidate in at least a generation.

    Right now, I expect Obama to win in November and to sorely disappoint many of his starry-eyed supporters after January 20, 2009 when they find out he can't and won't magically transform the US political system.

    Rachel Maddow often calls Bill Clinton the best Republican president in US history, and I suspect Obama will make a serious run at that title.


    That's a very good point... (5.00 / 5) (#89)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    ...and the reason why I think Obama presidency would be a disaster for the United States and for the Democratic Party.

    Bill Clinton would have gone down in history as the best president since FDR and LBJ if the Democrats in Congress treated UHC as a higher priority than embarrassing the white trash hick from Arkansas. To the extent Clinton failed, it was because of the Congressional Democrats' abandonment of the liberal progressive agenda.


    Obama had help conning his supporters (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by Josey on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:33:03 PM EST
    >>>>If my reading of this situation is right, this is the most brilliant, cynical strategy we've seen from a candidate in at least a generation.

    specifically from the corporate media and the Dem leadership.
    Obama's double speak is an admirable trait among cons.
    I'm just gratified to know that Obama didn't dupe all Dems.


    And official Obama Fans Jim Cooper/Sam Nunn (5.00 / 7) (#112)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:41:16 PM EST
    (and potential VP picks) were the ones who OPPOSED Clinton's universal health care plan and Clinton's gays in the military plan.  Since Obama embraces the Clinton foes, it's more accurate to say Obama is running on the platform Bill Clinton was too liberal and Democrats should run to the right of Bill Clinton.

    I guess... (none / 0) (#114)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:46:16 PM EST
    ...this is what "I don't want to refight the '90s" means. No UHC, no progress on civil rights, no nothing...

    While you're right (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:51:36 PM EST
    it seems to me that crime was a much more salient issue in 1992.  Arguably the Democrats had lost the 1988 election because of it.  There was reason for Bill Clinton to believe the Democratic Party was in need of a rebranding on crime issues, for better or for worse, in order to be viable nationally.

    I would have hoped for us to be in a better place now.  Just a little better, at least.  Then again, at least Obama hasn't executed anyone yet.


    There's a little bit of tension wrt (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:09:21 PM EST
    Obama's prior DP stance and his distancing himself from the Court's recent ruling.  

    But it's something that this pragmatist can live with.  And he needs to pick his fights carefully.  No meaningful gain would have been made by needlessly positioning himself in a GE in favor of excluding child rapists from the DP -- then we would have had another stupid Dukakis campaign situation to dig out from.  That way lies electoral madness.

    Child rape is not an issue that's likely to come up too often in the presidency, while at the same time the public enthusiasm for the DP generally, which he shares in his overall stance on the matter, seems to be waning, thankfully.

    I'll gladly accept his more enlightened view on the DP overall, but will be a little more interested in his stated views on matters -- Iraq, the economy, environment -- which as president he will play a major role in shaping.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:33:43 PM EST
    What would make you think Obama is saving his political capital up for a bold move on Iraq?

    Or (none / 0) (#162)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 09:14:39 PM EST
    any other progressive battle.

    Okay, it was Madison, but (none / 0) (#169)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:01:18 PM EST
    "Running to the right on crime has never cost a politician an election."

    The 1998 Dane County DA race. Dierdre Garton v Diane Nix v Peter Steinberg.


    Give me Bill Clinton and 1992 anytime. (none / 0) (#188)
    by bridget on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 12:42:59 AM EST
    I lived thru it.

    So to compare Obama to Bill Clinton is nothing but wishful thinking by the hopeful Obamafans. A 1992 deja vu? Hardly. Its laughable even to bring something like that up. It is like putting the apprentice on the same level as the Master. As if ...


    What in the hell (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by crabbydan on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:52:00 AM EST
    have we gotten our selves into? Start the dialogue to convince the American electorate on our progressive ideals, not present yourself as a 'compassionate conservative'!

    He is not a liberal (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:53:00 AM EST
    I have been saying this, right here in these threads, for months.
    he is not a liberal.
    and I disagree about the approach.  particularly on health care.
    if universal coverage is not the goal from the outset nothing will change and I think some tinkering around the edges will only give the gutless lazy congress critters a reason to do nothing important and tout it as revolutionary.
    its better to do nothing and wait for someone willing to make real changes to the system.  
    as for me I am starting to be absolutely sure I would be more comfortable with a democratic congress who has a testy relationship with a republican moderate than a gutless democratic congress with no courage to stand up to someone with whom the media and major "progressive" blogs can seem to find no fault and so who will be unchecked.

    Yep... (5.00 / 6) (#91)
    by otherlisa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:08:11 PM EST
    I've been telling everybody, and loudly, that he is not a liberal for months. His entire campaign is based on branding and marketing, and I am still flabbergasted that so many progressives fell for it.

    Oh well Jeralyn...... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:53:01 AM EST
    ...can't say that I am surprised. Obama himself never promised any other change than a change from Bush and post-partisan unity. Unless you were incredibly naive, which I am not, that could only mean centrist.

    Agreed---this is not a new Obama. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:55:29 AM EST
    He will get rid of SS too. His strongest core beliefs appear to be opposed to SS---and UHC, for that matter.

    On SS, Obama begins his day w/affirmations ... (5.00 / 5) (#111)
    by RonK Seattle on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:39:53 PM EST
    ... that are hard to distinguish from those recited by privatizers and the-sky-is-falling alarmists.

    Either he was not taking good notes during 2005's decisive battle, or he fundamentally disagrees with the reality-based consensus, or he's bending over backward to demonstrate empathy for the opposing point of view.

    Dangerous in any case.


    Please explain to me why I should not (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:57:41 PM EST
    characterize you and your opinion in a manner that would be deleted?

    You write that he begins his day with "affirmations that are hard to distinguish from those recited by privatizers"

    So what do we see, up front, on his website, as his basic affirmation (and exactly the same as he says in speeches and interviews and all other venues) -

    "Obam is committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. Obama will protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries alike. And he does not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age. Obama is strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security. "

    This, you tell us, is hard to distinguish from what privatizers say.
    So please, what adjective should I use to describe you?


    Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by daria g on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:22:39 PM EST
    Please explain to me why I should not characterize you and your opinion in a manner that would be deleted?

    Perhaps you could teach yourself how to be civil instead of expecting others to do it for you?


    daria g....tben seems incapable of (none / 0) (#158)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 08:11:32 PM EST
    posting without insulting anyone who does not agree with him/her...

    where in your quotation... (none / 0) (#128)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:28:13 PM EST
    of Obama's website does it say HOW he will obtain the goal with which he professes to aspire?

    sorry jeff (none / 0) (#133)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:51:28 PM EST
    its in the next paragraph. I didnt copy the whole page since I was addressing one simple point.
    If you go to his site, just find SS in the issues menu and its all there.

    If you are going to make the case (5.00 / 0) (#142)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:02:43 PM EST
    as to where he stands on SS - HOW he gets to that stand seems slightly important.

    My point is that there is a lot of talk about what 'we all would like'... and little evidence of how those goals will be achieved - or even more importantly, how Obama's experience makes him uniquely qualified to actually implement the changes necessary to accomplish the goals (which seems to be missing from his website).

    Lots of rhetoric... not so much on the substance thing... maybe I'm just too skeptical or cynical... and maybe I've been sold this bill of goods before.

    In any event, I'm not trusting of politicians in general - but the ones who claim their not like every other politician - well, that just sets off Alarms that scream the opposite to me in my head.... THEN - when it's proven they're just like every other politician (as your postings conclude by Obama's move to the center) it validates all the alarms and makes me want to run the other way.


    whoa - what was that all about? (none / 0) (#152)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:43:18 PM EST
    The issue was SS. I laid out his general position. You asked for specifics. If you didnt find them, they are - raise the cap on taxes. Whats not substantive about that?

    There are plenty of estimates out there (none / 0) (#168)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:00:46 PM EST
    and I realize they all differ to some extent... some even say there really is no crisis at this point... so... specifics as to how much the cap will be raised and on what estimates will he be basing that cap on would probably be a nice start.

    Then, once that's all been spelled out, defending the position as better than the other options available would seem like a fuller explanation to me.

    ... you know, us low-info voters, we have to be spoon-fed.


    yeah, apparantly (none / 0) (#172)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:45:26 PM EST
    but thats your problem, or Obamas, not mine. As far as I am concerned, you can do your own research, and make your own conclusions. Its your country too.

    I'm really just asking Obama (none / 0) (#177)
    by jeffhas on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:03:22 AM EST
    to do the research, make a conclusion, and convince those of us who are supposed to vote for him for President that his conclusion is correct.

    I know we're all supposed to go to his website to find out what his policy advisers wrote (and some of us have), believe it hook, line and sinker and then espouse said details onto blogs and such to try and convince skeptics that he really has thought this out...

    but it would be more comforting to hear it come from his own mouth.... it might give the whole process that air of Obama legitimacy.... you know, listening to him have a command of the facts so we knew he really thought out the problem from start to finish.


    Might be nice if Obama spent a little time (none / 0) (#149)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:11:45 PM EST
    fleshing out what his tax increase would actually do or if it was actually needed.

    Would it help Social Security's financing problems? Mr. Obama has no idea. One of his senior economic advisers admitted to me that no one on the campaign has run any detailed models or performed any rigorous analysis. When one proposes an enormous tax increase, shouldn't there at least be a spreadsheet somewhere? WSJ

    so let me get this straight (2.00 / 1) (#153)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:49:06 PM EST
    Donald Luskin, of National Review and the Ron Paul campaign, writes an opinion piece in the WSJ, of all places and you, good progressive that you are, find that his snarky putdown of Obama and his economic team so compelling that you have to spread it.

    Tell me please that you dont really believe this nonsense, but that you are just so caught up in spreading anythign negative about Obama that you have lost a bit of perspective.


    I do believe it is more than possible (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 07:12:05 PM EST
    or I wouldn't have posted it. I believe Obama taking the position that Social Security is in crisis is not based on the actual facts and that it puts the program in jeopardy. Funny thing, in 2005 the Democratic Party and I were in full agreement on this issue.

    Privatization of Social Security is something that at least one member of Obama's financial team strongly favors. So put me down as not being overly impressed with his financial team.


    the actual facts are, of course (none / 0) (#165)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:12:54 PM EST
    that after 2041, SS will be able to pay out only about 70% of the benefit level that we have today. That is a fact. Call it a crisis, a problem, or call it a ham sandwich, but it is something that a responsible national politician will deal with earlier rather than later.

    It is also a fact that starting within a decade, the Federal treasury is going to have to scrape together a lot more money to pay off the loans it recieved from the SS trust fund. Though not a problem for SS per se, it is a problem for taxpayers and the federal budget. That money will have to come from somewhere - and Obama's ideas are the most progressive way to raise revenue.

    Privatization is a totally phony scare tactic. In the best of all possible worlds for privatizers - a newly reelected Republican president intent on plopping down his political capital on this issue, plus a Republican controlled Senate and a Republican controlled House - with all that perfect storm of Republicanism, privatization sunk like a rock - it never even made it to a floor vote. Privatization is as dead as any political idea can be. Obama is strongly opposed. The Democrats who control Congress are strongly opposed. Even the Republicans are not so dumb as to stick their neck out for an idea that flopped so completely.

    The ONLY people who are talking about privatization are those who know nothing about American politics, or those who want to gin up some totally phony reason to slime Obama.


    who's fact? (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:52:58 PM EST
    after 2041, SS will be able to pay out only about 70% of the benefit level that we have today. That is a fact.

    That's an estimate.  Estimates are not fact.


    As jeffhas has stated, what you are (5.00 / 3) (#170)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:25:03 PM EST
    calling FACTS are not facts at all. They are estimates put out by the SSA using very conservative data points. Many highly well thought of economists believe that these projections will never become FACTS  and believe that the mantra that Social Security is in crisis is a phony scare tactic. One that use to be solely a Republican scare tactic.

    Now to your point about paying off the loans it recieved from the SS trust fund.  Since Josh Marshall is a favorite of Obama supporters, lets look at what he had to say about increasing the cap.

    If we start pumping a lot more money into Social Security coffers now it will by definition go into more government bonds, which is another way of saying that it will go toward funding our current deficit spending. In fact it will enable more deficit spending and probably more upper-income tax cuts because it will make the consequences of both easier to hide.
    If there is any sense in which the 'Trust Fund' is not 'real' it is that it must be paid back from general revenues. And that will only be harder the more other debt we're running up. So rather than solving the problem, I think we're actually enabling it.
    Lifting the payroll tax cap while Social Security is still running a big surplus not only solves a problem that doesn't exist it enables the very policies that put the program in danger. Perhaps this is all another way of saying that I'm not a fan of putting more hens in the hen house while the foxes are still at the door, or even in the house. TPM

    It would be nice if you actually knew the subject before you declared talking points were FACTS.


    OK, so lets trade quotes. You like these? (2.00 / 1) (#171)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:41:18 PM EST
    1. "In 1960, there were 5.1 Americans working for every one person drawing Social Security. In 1997, there's still 3.3 people working for every one person drawing Social Security. In 2030, the year after the Social Security trust fund supposedly will go broke unless we change something, at present projected retirement rates ---- that is, the presently projected retirement age and same rates ---- there will be two people working for every one person drawing Social Security.'

    And if nothing is done by 2029, there will be a deficit in the Social Security trust fund, which will either require ---- if you just wait until then ---- a huge tax increase in the payroll tax, or just about a 25 percent cut in Social Security benefits."

    2. "Now, if we don't act, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by the year 2029, and payroll contributions will only cover 75 percent of benefits. We mustn't break the solemn compact between generations. We must be guided by a strong sense of duty to our parents, but also to our children. Now, if we act soon and responsibly, we can strengthen Social Security in ways that will not unfairly burden any generation ---- retirees, the baby boomers, their children or their children's children.

    So I challenge my generation to act now, to protect our children and ensure that Social Security will be there for them after a lifetime of hard work. I challenge young people to do their part, to get involved in this national effort to strengthen Social Security for the 21st century."

    Damn phony Republican scare tactics. As expressed, in both cases, by President William Jefferson Clinton.


    Dates of these (none / 0) (#183)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:38:27 AM EST
    WSJ comments please?

    Sorry - WJC (none / 0) (#184)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:39:05 AM EST
    oh, and as to Marshall's points (none / 0) (#173)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:57:18 PM EST
    He is correct in the mechanisms, but I disagree with the conclusion he draws from them. Yes, if SS has additional revenue, through cap-lifting, then that money will be lent to the Federal treasury. But on what basis can he assert that the money would go to upper-income tax cuts? Ferchrissakes, when was the last time the Democrats supported a new tax-cut for the rich? Maybe Josh has forgotten, but we control Congress now. Especially with a Dem president, but even without, there is not going to be any new tax cuts for the rich.

    His logic breaks down a bit when he claims that it will make the problem worse. Having SS lend more money to the Fed means that the day of real reckoning, 2041, gets pushed back ever further. It does exactly what people like you seem to want - to make it even more accurate to say that whatever problem there is, it is NOT a problem with SS itself. Obama's plan, or some other mechanism to inject money into SS, means that the program itself will be able to pay full benefits for many decades to come - permanently self-sustaining perhaps. That should be the goal.


    You are missing much of the point of what (none / 0) (#174)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 12:56:44 AM EST
    Marshall is actually saying about increasing the cap. First and foremost Social Security is now operating at a surplus and will do so for at least the next 10 years (conservative estimate). If the cap is increased while there is a surplus to quote Marshall "those funds will by definition go into more government bonds, which is another way of saying that it will go toward funding our current deficit spending.  In fact it will enable more deficit spending." That part remains constant even if the Democratic Party does not provide tax cuts to the wealthy. This part also remains true.

    Our best way of ensuring the future health of Social Security is to stop running up the national debt now.

    And this also remains true.

    Otherwise, we're still risking getting played in the same bait-and-switch privatizers have been trying to pull for years --
    using regressive payroll taxes to fund current government spending and then telling future recipients that that money has disappeared and thus Social Security has to be phased out altogether.

    Notice the words used.  Regressive Payroll Taxes To Fund Current Government Spending.


    i understood his points very well (none / 0) (#180)
    by tben on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:03:06 AM EST
    It may enable more deficit spending in some technical sense - by having a pool of money readily available for the gov't to borrow, but that seems like a pretty trivial point. The gov't has no need for such pools of available money to borrow if it wishes to deficit spend - the govt can borrow money anytime it wants. Nor does this pool somehow force the gov't to deficit spend - as we saw in the last years of the Clinton administration, one can bring the budget toward balance whether or not the trust fund is growing.

    So sorry, its a silly point. The govt will deficit spend or it wont, for reasons having nothing to do with SS financing. Its an entirely separate question.

    Its interesting that you seem to favor his quote about how one ensures the future health of SS by not deficit spending. At least you seem to be dimly aware of the fact that the future health of SS is something that needs to be attended to. And of course, the reason why not deficit spending is an important way to ensure that future is because there will be a need in the future for the government to borrow money to sustain SS. His argument about lowering our debt now is so that there is room to let our debt grow in the future as we scramble to pay for the boomer retirement.

    Look, its not all that complicated. If SS is going to chug along for the rest of this century, paying out comparable benefits as to what exists today, then a lot more money is going to have to enter the system than is currently slated to be coming in. You can inject that money directly into SS, or indirectly through the Treasury. You can make it a regressive tax, a tax like the income tax, or a very progressive tax (like Obamas). What you cant do is to pretend that there is no issue here - that the problem just might not appear (sounds like the global warming deniers - we need more research!).

    Obama has put forth a sensible plan to address this issue. It raises money directly for SS, and in the most progressive way possible. All I hear from the critics is some version of "Krugman said its a bad idea because is plays into Republican memes, and they put forth their memes because they want to privatize". OR something like that.

    That is not a serious argument, on many levels.


    In the Reagan years, factually (5.00 / 3) (#175)
    by splashy on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 02:16:07 AM EST
    There was the same "scare" about Social Security. What they all decided - you know, the folks that love to take out of the fund - was to raise the tax on the Boomers so they could "save" ahead to take care of it. Thus the surplus was born.

    That surplus is supposed to start   paying out! The Boomers have been paying quite a bit extra because of that foreseen shortfall, so in reality they have been paying for the seniors that were getting SS while the Boomers were working, and for themselves too!

    I find this whole discussion about SS annoying, because that basic thing is left out. The reason the pols are freaking out is because they have "borrowed" that tax money that they insisted the Boomers put in to take care of themselves, and now the pols are expected to put it back so the Boomers can get what they already paid for.

    Boomers have been pretty much double taxed on SS their entire working lives. Now, the pols want to screw them again by forcing them to retire later, and take cuts, because the pols just couldn't keep their hands off it.


    he has not said he will (3.66 / 3) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:01:50 PM EST
    get rid of social security. Your statement of that as a fact is a falsehood. Stop it.

    Good Lord, Jeralyn (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by Jim J on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:06:37 PM EST
    People are allowed to have an opinion, regardless of whose blog this is. You stop it.

    state it as an opinion (none / 0) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:15:23 PM EST
    then. Saying you think he will get rid of social security is one thing -- saying he will as fact is not true and misleading.

    If you have support for your opinion, provide a link.

    No one is censoring your views by saying they should be on topic and factually supportable.


    Fine, but his economics team is (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:06:58 PM EST
    entirely made up of privatizers. The kind of payroll tax increase he proposes is the first step of the Liebman plan for privatization. Obama uses the words "retirement security" instead of Social Security in his campaign speech. His intentions on SS are perfectly clear to ME.
    As I said, one of his strongest political beliefs is in the supremacy of personal choice over government programs. This was his reason for rejecting SS.
    There is NO way that he can be committed to keeping SS as currently constituted, IMO.

    much better, Mark (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:16:46 PM EST

    I'll remember to phrase it that way in the (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:18:45 PM EST
    Some things just look obvious, Jeralyn.
    I had friends who said in 2000 that it was clear that Bush's overriding motivation for seeking the Presidency was to go to war with Iraq. Was that something he promised to do? No, just the opposite. However, it was a policy clearly in tune with his choice of advisers and his personal history.
    Just so with Obama.

    MarkL....some things look so obvious is (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:27:13 PM EST
    because they ARE....so far, it seems to me that we cannot trust the words being spewed, as the actions are just the opposite...just saying.

    Question (none / 0) (#185)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:44:50 AM EST
    Am I missing something, or will the Dem Congress, as wishy-washy as it may be on many issues, allow any privatization of Social Security? As long as seniors have the vote and vote in large numbers? I.e., are we perhaps worrying about the one thing the Dems in Congress will NOT roll over on?

    that is another untruth (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:37:32 PM EST
    His economic team is NOT entirely made up of privatizers.

    THe payroll tax increase is the most progressive solution out there.
    He uses "retirement security" when speaking about security for retirement. SS has NEVER, in anyones imagination, been a program designed or run to be the sole basis for a secure retirement.

    His intentions are not at all clear to YOU, becuase it is blindingly obvious that your conclusions are at total varaince with reality.


    Oops, i meant his reason for rejecting (none / 0) (#26)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:09:24 PM EST

    Changing the payroll tax ... (none / 0) (#38)
    by TChris on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:16:55 PM EST
    so that higher incomes are taxed and more money is paid into the SS trust fund is hardly a way to privatize SS.

    Are you (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:25:26 PM EST
    about that?

    Temporary surpluses created by increases in the payroll tax will be used to fund mandatory personal retirement accounts, under this plan.

    Also, IMO, raising the cap for incomes above 250K has two problems. First, it turns SS into a wealth redistribution program---i.e. welfare. The right wing has always been in favor of means testing because it would have the same effect, and weaken the political base of support for SS.
    The other problem I foresee is that it will be very easy to create an exemption which allows the wealthier people to direct their contributions into personal accounts, rather than SS payouts.
    This will be seen as a natural compromise.


    The question is Obama's policy, not Liebman's (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by TChris on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:31:46 PM EST
    If we're going to talk about his actual positions, as opposed to unsupported speculation, yes I'm sure.  From Obama's website:

    Obama is strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security.

    And social security has always been an income redistribution program.  It's welfare for the elderly, even if that phraseology is unpopular with social security recipients.


    It is not "welfare for the elderly" (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by RalphB on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:50:17 PM EST
    as much as you might like to think.  The fact that payouts are universal says you are wrong.  It's also disability insurance and survivor benefits for minors in the event of their parent's death.

    Pulling a line off his website is really lame by the way.  That line and the other >decade old boilerplate is worthless to tell his intentions.


    Define welfare. (2.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Faust on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:05:52 PM EST
    Of course it's welfare.

    I'ts a welfare program.
    It's a socialist program.

    Social security is a socialist program.


    Opponents tried that lame assertion (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by mikeyleigh on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:47:21 PM EST
    back when FDR first broached the idea of SS.  Why don't you come up with something new and different to say?

    You assume I'm using socialism as a perjorative. (none / 0) (#125)
    by Faust on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:24:21 PM EST
    You assume incorrectly.

    Perjorative or not, social security is not (none / 0) (#139)
    by mikeyleigh on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:33:58 PM EST
    a socialist program.  It is silly to say so. But I stand corrected.  I did make such an assumption.

    Amount of payouts (none / 0) (#186)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:47:53 AM EST
    are also directly related to how much you put in. So those with lower incomes put in less, get less at retirement.

    Don't forget that Bush was opposed to (none / 0) (#59)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:33:31 PM EST
    "privatization" in 2005, as well.

    Well (none / 0) (#117)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:52:45 PM EST
    his website also said that he would opt into public financing didn't it? Whatever is on his website today can ben erased tomorrow or so his history has shown. He'll just pretend that he was always for Social security privatization and just scrub the website before hand.

    Mean testing and shifting the burden of the tax... (none / 0) (#130)
    by Ramo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:40:59 PM EST
    ... are totally distinct issues.  Means testing restricts the upper middle class from benefiting from the program, turning it into exclusively an anti-poverty program.  It's true that these kinds of programs tend to have more limited constituencies, and therefore are more politically difficult to maintain.

    What Obama has suggested - making the social security tax less regressive - shifts more of the tax burden from the poor and middle class to the rich.

    As I said, completely different agendas.  Characterizing the latter ss some crypto-conservative agenda, and a proxy for privatization, is completely divorced from reality.  This is akin to suggesting that replacing the income tax with a sales tax would be a strongly progressive move because that would make the welfare state more secure.


    And furthermore... (none / 0) (#131)
    by Ramo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:44:35 PM EST
    ... Obama has suggested a "donut hole" to shield the upper middle class from the tax increase (and so the burden is entirely shouldered by the rich).

    It's the beginning. (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:29:21 PM EST
    Because now SS is viewed as a retirement insurance policy.  Obama's plan to cap the payroll tax, make the next interval of income exempt, but then beginning taxing wealthier people at higher levels turns the system into a welfare system. That will be an easier system to attack, IMO.

    has he said that he will support ss in it's (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:10:42 PM EST
    current form? i have read comments from him that gave me pause. it didn't seem to say yes or no. and he has advisors that make me very concerned.

    By the way, I did NOT say that Obama has (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:15:25 PM EST
    declared that he will end SS. Your statement of fact (about my comment) is false.

    you said (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:18:06 PM EST
    "He will get rid of SS too."

    Let's move on, you explained your comment.


    but (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by tek on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:24:13 PM EST
    he has said that SS is a drag on the economy and should be cut.

    There are shades and degrees (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:55:39 AM EST
    of liberalism, and Obama's pre-campaign resume shows he is probably somewhere in the middle of that liberal spectrum, a mix of solid liberal stances and moderate positions.  Iow, about the right mix to be a very viable general election candidate.

    As for governing, I don't think that an Obama admin will have the luxury, one that Clinton had in the 90s, of achieving mere incremental change.  Not with the solid Dem majority O is likely to have in 2009, not with the major problems pressing on this country today, very unlike the mere mid-level problems facing the country back in 92.

    Much will be expected of Obama and the Dem Congress, and tepid half-measures in legislation and milquetoast moderate appointments won't be acceptable for long with an impatient party and populace.  

    The expectation level will rightly be something less than what FDR faced in the Depression of 32, but something considerably more than what Bill Clinton experienced upon entering the WH.  It's only right and proper that an historic and inspiring candidacy have at least somewhat elevated expectations.  Think 1960 ...

    Alot was expected of the '06 (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by crabbydan on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:06:35 PM EST
    Congress, I'm sure not holding my breath with that bunch. Same goes for Obama, not one thing from his past experience gives me much 'Hope'. He thinks by running this marketing campaign is going to get him a mandate, think again. He presented himself as a solid progressive...and now this gobbeldy-gook?

    The 06 campaign by Pelosi & Reid (none / 0) (#64)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:41:44 PM EST
    made two errors of specificity, iirc.  First, talking up too much their ability to force Junior to change course on Iraq.  Someone there failed to do the right political calculations about actual numbers in Congress in favor of that posture and Rs' ability to use legislative trickery in order to stymie such efforts.  Dems promised too much here.

    Then promising too little:  Pelosi's unnecessarily firm clear-line-in-sand stance on taking Impeachment off the table.  Unnecessary and made cong'l Dems look weak.  

    All she needed to do was offer investigative hearings and state no impeachment can be considered or talked about until such investigations are complete.  

    Stupid political blunder.  

    Sometimes, maybe most times in fact, it's better to save the specifics in certain hot-button areas to when you've actually gotten elected and see what the situation is and what team (Congress) you have to work with and what's practical -- keep the rhetoric to general goals or make the specifics carefully qualified.  

    In this sense, O has been fairly good so far in keeping specifics with time lines and unnecessary promises to a minimum.

    He's also carved out a few areas (guns, DP) where he's not going to allow the oppo to tar and feather him as a weak or elitist doctrinaire liberal, as has happened so many times in general elections. Can't say as I blame him.  The guy obviously wants to win rather than just earn the applause of the purist left à la Adlai.  

    But he does need to stand his ground firmly in certain areas -- economic recovery issues, the environment, civil rights, withdrawal from Iraq within a reasonable feasible period upon taking office.    


    Just what can the electorate DO after (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:08:09 PM EST
    Sen. Obama & his thundering horde of coat-tailed Democratic legislators take over the District of Columbia?  I can almost predict their respective & collective pandering to the special interest groups--the much abhorred, never ignored lobbying firms who pay for their television commercials.

    Once in office, they will do as they have always done & voters won't be able to do anything until the midterm elections in 2010, at which time they will lose a few representatives & a couple of senators.

    Tepid.  Cautious.  Middle-of-the-road.  Accommodating.  Bi-partisan.

    Thus, a flailing economy, stalemate in Iraq, greater presence in Afghanistan, senseless pandering to do nothing about social security, filibuster by the GOoPerz on medicare reform & the Part D drug debacle, etc.  It's predictable.

    The reason the prophecy is so easy to write comes from the lack, the complete absence of any bold or forceful statements of what Sen. Obama intends to do.  Nada.  Status quo.


    don't forget the do nothing congress (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:16:38 PM EST
    under reid and pelosi who cave to republicans and run all over the democratic base. they have lower poll numbers that bush and there is a reason.

    So true on the ziff-dot-zero congress (none / 0) (#95)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:10:42 PM EST
    Several pundits have made clear that both Reid & Pelosi will most likely retain power when the new house & senate convene on Jan. 3, 2009.

    In fact, it is very likely that they will in many ways consolidate their positions & raise total bi-partisan compromise to an art form on the basis of trying to "avoid losing" seats at the midterms.  Which, of course, will lead to losing the seats because only a pro-active approach can hold seats.  Pfffft!


    oh there is always an excuse and (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:16:16 PM EST
    reason for not doing the right thing. at some point i pray the good citizens get sick of it.

    Erm (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    a mix of solid liberal stances and moderate positions.

    Don't you mean "conservative positions"?

    Execute rapists. Handguns for everyone. Retroactive immunity for telecoms.

    There are some things that you can't paint as middle-of-the-road, sorry. They're just nuts.


    What's more disturbing to me (5.00 / 0) (#120)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:57:40 PM EST
    than the conservative principles he feels all to comfortable supporting, but his lack of principle; I am struggling to find reasons to vote for Obama, but he makes this very difficult. I was willing to vote for Hillary, despite her more hawk-like stance in foreign policy, because I knew where she stood on other issues. With Obama, however, I'm not sure if he has principles or will continue to test the political weather and change positions accordingly.

    On KO's Monday show he is going to (none / 0) (#159)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 08:15:25 PM EST
    explain how obama can have his cake and eat it too, i.e. FISA

    Faster than I expected (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    So, Obama is not even going to wait until elected to reveal he is the next Clarence Thomas/Colin Powell/Condoleezza Rice?

    Make no mistake about it: he is only using the Democratic Party as stepping stool on the way up, just as he's used Chicago activist community, Jeremiah Wright's church, and everyone else he's been associated with. Once in office, he'll discard the Democrats, the Kossacks, the TPMers and, yes, the TalkLefters just as he's discarded everyone else.

    Oh, and if you think he's into protecting abortion rights, you are in for a very rude shock.

    i want to commend jeralyn for (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:13:44 PM EST
    her research and bringing important issues to all of us that need discussion. congrats and thanks

    Interesting article on the topic (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:15:15 PM EST
    Slavoj Zizek, odd man from Slovenia, but has some interesting things to say about society, change, capitalism, politics and culture.  I think his article is worth a read about how
    After the social tumult of the '60s capitalism usurped resistance itself, turning attempts at subversion into commodities.

    I think it's worth a whole discussion, cause I think this "movement" is such an example.  

    That article (none / 0) (#106)
    by magisterludi on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:30:05 PM EST
    speaks for me. I have felt that the only chance we have for change is outside the system as the system is the problem. Love to hear how others feel.

    I Like His Writings (none / 0) (#123)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:10:11 PM EST
    And saw him speak a couple of times. He is quite brilliant and often says things that are unexpected. For instance he had no problem with the Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamyan in 2001. Certainly, he is not a sentimental guy, pretty irreverent and has the great ability to make fun of himself.

    Anyway here is a double interview he had with Amy Goodman. You will not like his line regarding Hillary, be warned.

    Here is what he has to say about the elections, humor aside, he does have a point:

    `Everybody in the World Except US Citizens Should Be Allowed to Vote and Elect the American Government'

    Liberal, Centrist, Progressive??? (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:25:02 PM EST
    To me... I'm just not that worried about the labels.  I would have been able to find 'Solidarity' as BTD so thoughtfully put forth in another thread for almost any Dem Candidate.

    My problem with Obama is that I believe he is a charlatan.

    A silver-tongued gifted orator, that came forward espousing how much of 'a different kind of politician' he was... turning a page from the old politics.  But as the campaign unfolded, with Rezko/Wright/Ayers/No-Pac money pledge/Hopefund/Exelon/FISA,etc. I find EXACTLY the same kind of politician... and lots of 'Old Politics' as usual.

    Again, to me only, I began to develop a problem, whereby every time I hear him speak - I think he's going to sell me something I don't want to buy.... and then he's going to sell me down the river too.

    If Bill Clinton was Slick-Willie... what do we have in Obama?

    Everytime I come to (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by txpolitico67 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:31:28 PM EST
    this blog, it seems that there is a nominal amount of trying to convince oneself that Obama is going to be better than McCain.

    Right now, to me, they are about 2 inches apart in policy.  Remember, McCain was the first "Maverick", and if Obama thinks he is going to gain ground on taking a centrist tack on that level, he's got another thing coming.  The media crowned McCain the more independent/moderate thinker.

    Obama is liberal in Hyde Park and in his safe enclaves.  But in front of a larger group, he ain't no progressive.  Thanks Jeralyn for pointing out the obvious but your observations solidify my gravitation towards the Greens.  If the Dems cannot put forth someone who knows who to take "safe" paths towards elected office without abandoning Dem ideals, the party is dead.  FDR is our standard bearer...wonder else who came close?  


    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:13:11 PM EST
    At this stage I do want McCain to win. I think he'd make a better president. At the very least, he's not going to privatize Social Security (no Republican is), and he's more likely to end the war in Iraq ("only Nixon could go to China," and all that). He's done more to confront Bush on torture than any Democrat. I haven't decided whether I'll vote for Hillary or McCain in November, but I'm not ruling out McCain.

    McCain 2000 (none / 0) (#166)
    by weltec2 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:44:25 PM EST
    is who you're talking about.

    I'm sorry but the McCain of today is not the man of eight years ago. The war was hard on McCain. I see him now making errors of fact that he would never have made eight years ago. I see him bewildered and confused about serious issues some of which you mention yourself like torture, the war, and so on including taxes for the wealthy that he used to be against.

    This is not the McCain of the Straight-Talk Express. This is a McCain exhausted from years of struggling with hypertension (which he claims -- I am not convinced -- to have under control)... years of struggling with nightmares from what they did to him in Vietnam. As a fellow vet I have a great deal of respect for McCain. But for someone who has been through as much as he has... he is just too old.

    It would be almost cruel IMHO to subject someone who has been through as much as he has to the pressures of the presidency... especially at his age.


    Prediction about McCain (none / 0) (#182)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:14:03 AM EST
    I don't now recall where I saw this, but someone on the Net predicted that McCain would withdraw from the Presidential campaign in mid-August citing health reasons.

    I did not know McCain suffers from nightmares from his Vietnam experiences. A corporate lawyer for many years, I'm back in grad school in psychology; write a paper last semester on PTSD in combat Veterans.  I think it must be hard to avoid PTSD or other "anxiety disorders" from combat, but I didn't know about McCain. I had occasion to read many parts of the lengthy class action complaint by Iraq/Afghani vets vs. the VA -- it's astounding how we've abandoned our soldiers.


    Identity Crisis (5.00 / 4) (#98)
    by WakeLtd on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:15:48 PM EST
    What is so galling to some of us about Senator Obama's rapid transition to "centrist" positions is that this is exactly the sort of thing he said he would not do. He sought to distinguish himself from certain Democratic Party rivals (who will not be named here, since we are no longer permitted to recall that they once existed, walked this earth, and spoke to us)- Senator Obama said he was different than his rivals for the nomination, because he would not "say anything to get elected". He suggested strongly that he could be relied upon to remain true to the positions he outlined during the primaries. He was not going to engage in the switch-and-bait of "old politics". He made this a central point of his identity as the one who would bring "change you can believe in". Now, we are told, the only important thing is to get elected, and policy positions that remotely threaten that goal are counter-productive to this one all-importnant goal: electability. At some point, the problem becomes, when you are all things to everyone, you are nothing to anyone.

    You can always count on Obama ... (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:20:39 PM EST
    he'll always let you down.

    And I think liberals, progressives and even centrists are going to learn this more and more in the days and weeks ahead.

    I'm reminded of a quote from CITIZEN KANE:

    I suppose he had a private sort of greatness, but he kept it to himself.

    What's his baseline? (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by davnee on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:55:25 PM EST
    That's what is so frustrating about Obama.  His lack of record, and his maddeningly and cynically vacant and valueless primary campaign, makes it very difficult to asses when he is tacking right because he is just doing what politicians need to do and when he is actually moving closer to his own views.  

    He strikes me as decidedly non-ideological myself.  I see his liberalism, to the extent there is a record of it, as having been driven more by the reality of being a black politician in inner city Chicago than anything else.  You aren't going to get ahead there as a conservative.  I think he's far more of a pragmatist than either Clinton could ever dream of.  For them, pragmatism is an approach.  I suspect for Obama it is a belief system.

    So where does that leave us?  Well being a pragmatist with a D attached at the end of his name means he'll have to make the center-left his starting point for compromise rather than center-right.  So I suspect we'll get center-left judges rather than center-right etc.  But I'd fully expect him to be unabashed about compromising away liberal positions when convenient to his own power or idiosyncratic viewpoints.  School vouchers for instance or faith-based initiatives for another.

    And one other thing that I believe about Obama is that he is a company man through and through.  Money grants power after all.  So I expect regulation and reform to be as dirty a word as a Dem can passably make it under Obama.

    All the above, if true, is disappointing, but still much better than McCain policy-wise.  I'll readily grant that.  Getting the half loaf rather than none is typically preferable.  But then again not always.  Are there considerations that trump policy, even in admittedly desperate times like these?

    • Protesting the corruption of the process and the rot in the party itself, that many see.
    • Not trusting that the man has any empathy or respect for who you are and what you need from your government, which many don't.
    • Refusing to validate the "Obama Movement," which many find appalling.
    • Not trusting the man's character or qualifications, which many don't.
    • Refusing to reward dirty tactics like race-baiting your fellow good Dems and unabashedly profiting off sexism, which many believe went beyond the pale of decency even for politics.  
    • Expressing disappointment that your preferred candidate, and very nearly the first woman POTUS, got screwed, which many can't forget.

    Your mileage may vary on whether you believe any or all of the above are valid considerations, or even if valid then worthy of contributing to the election of the undeniably less liberal candidate and all that entails.  But I think it is undeniable that many are struggling with this calculus, far too many for it to be breezily dismissed as the bitter knitting of a few dead-enders.

    Health Care and Social Security? (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Chisoxy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:16:51 PM EST
    His comments on both of those are nothing to give me comfort. If that's truly all we have left, then we are completely empty handed.

    Can't go along with Jeralyn's (5.00 / 3) (#164)
    by cal1942 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 09:27:17 PM EST
    "comfort zones."

    "We do have a comfort zone with Obama though, small as it is: Health care, social security. And I think the judges he will appoint, both to the Supreme Court and our federal courts, will be far better and less right-wing than those McCain would appoint."

    There is no evidence to suggest that health care, Social Security or judicial appointments are in safe hands with Obama. Quite the contrary.

    It was Obama who was unable to consider the ramifications of the Roberts nomination and was only dissauded when he was told there would be political damage.  He was never able to consider the effect such a choice would have had on the nation.

    I see no evidence that Obama would advance a truly helpful health care program. His policy during the primaries advanced a voluntary system that would have no effect on lowering rates, etc.  There will still be millions without coverage and insurance rates will remain high.

    I can't see how anyone could trust Obama regarding Social Security.  It was the Obama economics team that was staffed with privatizers. There's real reason to fear an Obama Presidency concerning Social Security. My feeling after the Social Security war of 2005 is that the Democrats only came together to oppose Bush, to keep Bush's feet firmly planted on the third rail.  Left to themselves, I have little faith that the current crop of Democrats in Congress, especially the Senate, would offer resistence if a Democratic President proposed a privatization scheme or reduction of benefits or other scheme that would reduce the efficacy of Social Security.  When Obama brought Social Security into the primaries he did so unecessesarily.  That in itself was and is frightening.

    Insofar as McCain is concerned I would expect a Democratic Congress to resist any tampering with Social Security for the same reasons that they fought Bush.  The Senate could force McCain into more moderate justices. That would require a bit of spine but it's certainly doable. I would expect Obama to appoint justices that Republicans approved just to give the impression of bi-partisan cooperation.

    Regarding health care the Congress would have an opportunity create a new third rail.

    Obama has demonstrated nothing to inspire any level of comfort on any issue.

    We should bear in mind that the Congressional office holders that supported Obama are the most frustratingly timid of the lot.

    How Obama-Hate clouds all thinking (3.00 / 2) (#54)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:30:00 PM EST
    Moving to the center is something that every general election candidate who has ever run, has done. Possible exception is Barry Goldwater. Bill Clinton wrote the book on how to do it.

    Why is this? Gee, can we possibly figure this one out? Running for president is an enormous waste of time unless you actually win. You cannot possibly win by being the shining noble leader out on the edge of an ideological movement. The great inertial force of "the people" will not vote for that. Even in the depths of the Depression, FDR could not actually run as any sort of a revolutionary.

    Obama is not a liberal? Sorry, I know the risks of being disrespectful to the blog owner, but this is absurd nonsense. Obama is not Kucinich, but he sure as hell is every bit as liberal, if not significantly moreso than this site's formerly favorite candidate. Check out any and all polling of the American people to see what their perception is, of where each of the candidates stand on the spectrum.

    Yes he is emphasizing his more moderate views in order to connect with those voters who he needs in order to win the election. Isnt it ironic that the same people who drone on constantly about how weak a candidate he is, are the same ones who criticize him for doing what is necessary to win.

    What would Hillary be doing around this time? She is smart - she would be going full bore toward the "Reagan Democrats" - i.e. sounding a lot like Reagan.

    Obama is not what he and his backers (5.00 / 5) (#60)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:35:57 PM EST
    said he was, which was a candidate who would transform US politics. Even you admit that he is as extremely conventional.
    Why choose such and untested, inexperienced candidate if he doesn't even represent something new?

    Odd change of face for Obama backers (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:40:28 PM EST
    During the primary: "Vote for Obama because his means everything he says".

    During the general election: "Vote for Obama because he doesn't mean everything he says".


    Exactly (5.00 / 5) (#75)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:50:39 PM EST
    And I would add a few clauses to yours:

    During the primary:  "Vote for Obama beause he means everything he says.. whereas that evil b1tch Hillary is a triangulating DNC centrist who will do anything and say anything to win."

    During the general election:  "Vote for Obama because he doesn't mean everything he says... and it is really smart strategy to triangulate, move towards the center, and do anything and say anything to win."

    It is really tough to swallow the post-nomination 180.


    That's Exactly Right! (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:53:25 PM EST
    So now to hear about Obama being, you know, a conventional politician, nothing to see here, move along, (but vote for him no matter what he does) strikes me as an extremely cynical form of bait-and-switch.

    It seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by weltec2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 02:40:25 AM EST
    that we have been saying this for a long time now. With Hillary we knew what to expect. With Obama we could see the conn behind the curtain. And now, Obama supporters want to say that the slight of hand, the changing of the script is just fine with them. Well it isn't fine with me. I keep wondering just how far this contortionist is going to bend is promises.

    And BTW, HRC is not my former favorite. She is my current favorite, but I will vote for BO anyway because HRC is not the nominee. I'm not happy about that either.


    you too? (1.00 / 2) (#70)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:46:32 PM EST
    I did not say that. Why do you claim that I did? What is your problem?

    Real liberals... (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:49:19 PM EST
    ...do not hob-nob with slum lords, praise Ronald Reagan, or claim to be above partisan politics. The guy's not a liberal. It may take some time for it to sink in for you.

    It might be useful to point out that... (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:51:32 PM EST
    ...Obama-love does not do wonders for rational decisionmaking either. Look at the guy's actual record and tell me you are proud of what he's done.

    tben - you're wrong! (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by Josey on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:42:04 PM EST
    >>>>What would Hillary be doing around this time? She is smart - she would be going full bore toward the "Reagan Democrats"

    Reagan Dems voted for Hillary in the primary. Now, they're supporting McCain.


    How does that make me wrong? (2.00 / 0) (#116)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:50:47 PM EST
    I agree - she appealed to Reagan Democrats during the primary, and won a lot of their votes. All I said was that in the general, she would have continued to mine that demographic.

    Its proof, doncha see, of what a "liberal" she is,,,hehe. And someone who would never "run to the center"...hehe


    The difference is... (5.00 / 3) (#126)
    by sj on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:24:30 PM EST
    ... the Reagan democrats came to her.  She didn't have to veer off in a direction to appeal to them.  She's more conservative/moderate than I am by far, but I knew where she stood.  And, by and large, I could live with that.  In my view, she appealed to the best parts of that coalition.

    Unfortunately, again in my view, Obama's approach is an appeal to the worst parts.  He went for the "cult of personality" part, by praising Reagan the man, not by outlining a position.  We'll see if that approach is successful.  I just find it disheartening.


    huh? I dont understand what you are saying (2.00 / 0) (#132)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:49:55 PM EST
    First off, Obama did not praise "Reagan the man". He observed the obvious, that Reagan transformed American politics - he reset the landscape and ushered in a conservative era. For all his virtues, bill CLinton was not able to do the same for our side, in fact the GOP took over Congress to disastrous effect on his watch.

    Obama aspires to have the same transformational impact that Reagan did - but for our side. Whats wrong with that? The gross mischaracterizations from the Clinton campaign on this issue were beyond belief. It was one of the things that really really pissed off a lot of people - that Hillary would try to pretend that Obama wanting to have a Reagan-sized influence could be characterized as "praising Reagan".


    The quote (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by sj on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:43:06 PM EST
    "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing"

    How is that not praise for Reagan himself?


    well, it is praise in the sense (none / 0) (#147)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 05:24:30 PM EST
    that he recognizes that Reagan understood the feelings and frustration of the American people and tapped into it with optimism and a rhetoric that spoke of dynamism. Thats an obvious, and true statement. How can you deny it? The guy won 49 states.

    He says nothing whatsoever complimentary about what Reagan actually did with the power that he won by so tapping in. In fact, Obama has always and consistently been as much of a critic of Reaganism as any good liberal.

    When things are bad, the people are ready for something new. They dont necessarily know what exactly the right policy would be to solve the problems at hand. Its always a leap of faith, embracing a vision that sounds good. Reagan gave them such a vision. And it was a terrible legacy he left. But you cant deny the skill in speaking to people, convincing them, and building a lasting political movement.

    Lots of us were very frustrated with Bill for not doing that. It wasnt all his fault of course, but he left our party in much worse shape than he found it, and his reelection (49%, rather than 49 states) was waged on trivial, incremental issues. In the grand historical sweep, those 8 years will probably be seen as an oasis in the midst of the Reagan-Bush era. Obama wants a new progressive era.


    That's what I said (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by sj on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 05:30:35 PM EST
    He praised Reagan, the man.  The man who
    "understood the feelings and frustration of the American people and tapped into it with optimism."  

    He didn't praise his accomplishments.  Oh wait, yes he did.  To quote you again:  

    He observed the obvious, that Reagan transformed American politics

    But I was originally referring to my original quote.  Where he praised Reagan, the man.


    well ok then (2.00 / 0) (#150)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:17:58 PM EST
    if thats all you meant, then I apologize for misunderstanding. I thought you might have been aligning yourself with the dishonest arguments that the CLinton campaign and their supporters made - that Obama was praising Reagan POLICIES.

    I too praise Reagan on the purely political-mechanistic grounds of being able to be a successful politician and move the country in the direction he wanted to. Please, please, please Mr. Obama, be that kind of a force for us!


    I don't know how you could have thought that (none / 0) (#179)
    by sj on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:30:54 AM EST
    I specifically said that he appealed to the "cult of personality part".

    Nevertheless, apology accepted.


    Why the constant Clinton references? (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by WakeLtd on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:50:43 PM EST
    I find it odd that in defending your arguments for Obama - and you do seem defensive about it - you constantly use phrases like "dishonest Clinton supporters". You do this in multiple postings. Hillary Clinton has suspended her campaign, and in fact, has publicly endorsed Obama. It seems to me it is time to move on to positive arguments that promote the Obama candidacy, if that is the case you are attemtping to make. I don't see the point of your arguments when they are consistently based on the premise that any questions, comments, or criticisms of Senator Obama's agenda is based on the allleged "dishonesty" of his former Democratic rival's supporters.

    Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Josey on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:01:34 AM EST
    never intentionally offended a large portion of Democrats. Obama did.
    One of Obama's strategies for "winning" the nomination was by dividing the party via race-baiting, falsely accusing the Clintons of racism and perpetuating the meme that the Clintons were evil.
    Obama is a divider, not a uniter.

    you are not being disrespectful (none / 0) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:42:16 PM EST
    but please, this is not about Hillary or whether she would have been better. This is about Obama and McCain.

    "Obama hate clouds all thinking" (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:44:05 PM EST
    is NOT disrespectful??
    Tben is one note Charlie with that refrain.

    thats not how it seems... (1.25 / 4) (#79)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:54:49 PM EST
    It seems to be the daily Obama-bashing session. It seems, in all honesty, as a means of keeping a loyal readership by throwing a piece of red meat in the midst of the ususal suspects and letting them have at it.

    It seems that way because, as you probably know full well, what Obama is doing is neither dishonorable, nor dishonest, and it is not in anyway illiberal. He is emphasizing different things to appeal to a different audience. I mention Hillary only because you and everyone else here seems to see her as a very smart politician, and all of you KNOW perfectly well that she would be doing the exact same thing if she were the nomnee.

    And if she were doing so, NONE OF YOU would be saying the things you are saying now, NONE OF YOU would be claiming she were not a liberal. All of you would be cheering her on and produly pointing to how a smart politician goes about winning. Just like Bill did.

    So why not have the same attitude with Obama? I hypothesize hatred. I hope that is wrong, but I really dont see any other explanation.


    There is no point at all to imagining (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:58:37 PM EST
    what Hillary would be like as a candidate.
    You allow yourself perfect freedom to make any charge at all against her, based on your own speculation.It's quite dishonest.

    I made no charge against Hillary (2.00 / 0) (#107)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:31:42 PM EST
    She would behave the same way Obama is behaving. That is a good thing. She would not deserve criticism for it, nor does he.

    jeralyn, btd and chris are all bringing (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:02:14 PM EST
    up imporant issues BEFORE  the election for a reason ie discussion. ss, iraq, fisa are all important issues. they need to be discussed and i think you do a diservice here by trying to put it in a "throw meat" attitude.

    Sorry... (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:10:16 PM EST
    But if the best you can do is to say "he's no different than Clinton", then that kinda kills the very rationale for his candidacy, no?

    At least with Clinton, we knew we had a tough, smart, dedicated fighter for liberal causes like universal health care. You have nothing of the sort in Obama.


    Can't we Have better Strategy than Aping Opponents (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:38:12 PM EST
    I am concerned about several of Obama's positions as much because they appear to be based on superficialities, not true understanding of the issues.  For example, in taking issue with the Supreme Court decision against the death penalty in child rape cases, Obama did not appear to have looked into the underlying rationales for the decision.  In addition to the basis of the decision in legal precedent is the policy of encouraging reporting of child rape. A huge percentage of sexual offenses against children are committed by family members or friends, & allowing the death penalty in such cases would  have a chilling effect on reporting.
    What's more distressing, however, is that Dem candidates seem to have no better strategy than falling back on Republican memes as elections approach. Our DEM leaders/candidates seem so eager to prove their national security (NS) creds due to fear of appearing soft on NS. Why can't they devise campaign strategies based on what real security means? I see Obama's lately articulated positions on the death penalty in child rape cases as well as on FISA as defense against the straw man of being accused of weakness on NS. If anyone doubts the Dems' real fears here, watch the Firedoglake video of Senator Feingold speaking about Dems' attitude toward FISA. In response to interviewer's question as to reasons for the apparent caving by Dems on FISA, Feingold says, unequivocally, that fear of vulnerability in upcoming elections on national security matters.
    But why are we Dems allowing Republicans to shape the dialog on national security? Why can't the Dems devise an effective campaign strategy that is consistent with Dem belifes, and educate the American public to our thinking? It seems to me that our nation is not made more secure through telecom immunity, unbridled search & seizure, torture, near financial insolvency of the federal government due to reckless wars and sale of government functions to non-accountable contractors, and that a truly effective campaign could make this clear. Afraid on Republicans scaring voters before the GE?  Well, I'm afraid because the Republican strategy has ignored Afghanistan, left our seaports and airports largely unprotected, etc., left us behind many industrialized & 3rd world countries in education, health, etc.  Republican policies secure neither our present nor our future. Of course, designing an effective Dem message cannot be accomplished if Dems begin with the assumption that it's not possible as an excuse for not trying.  

    The difference in Clinton and Obama, tben (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:13:04 PM EST
    is that being a different type of politician is the signature of what his candidacy has been about.

    Clinton's signature for her candidacy was (to me), UHC. There is absolutely no way she would have moved to the center by giving up her mandates if she had won the nomination.

    She never denied being a politician. He said he was different and now, even you, admit he isn't. That's why his shifts the past few weeks are being pointed out. Had Hillary moved away from her stance on health care, I'd be the first won screaming about it.


    dont mischaracterize (2.00 / 0) (#102)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:27:12 PM EST
    what I said.
    I said he is doing what is smart for any general election politician to do. THat does not mean that he is the same as any politician.
    Being an unconventional politician doesnt mean that you never do anything that a regular politician does.

    The idea that mandates were her "signature" seems kind of silly. The mandate issue got a lot of attention because it was a competitive primary, and the mandates issue was one of the few points of difference between the candidates. But it is a trivial matter, since the actual details of UHC will be worked out in Congress, and the details on mandates will probably be similar to Obama's position - and not far from Hillary's. Ie there will probably be an individual mandate, but it wont kick in for a few years till there is some assurance that an affordable policy is really available to evryone.
    As to what Hillary would actually say about this detail on the campaign trail - well I am pretty damn sure she would figure out what she needed to say, and say that. We would hope so, no?

    (thats not to say she, or Obama, would say ANYTHING - you emphasize different aspects of what you basically believe, you leave doors open that you might be 99% sure you want to close, so that people realize that you listen to their concerns etc.)

    Bottom line of what I find so funny from the Hillary people, is that all the self-righteous denunciations of what Obama does are necessarily couched in the idea that what he is doing is no different from what she would do. If he is a lying sleazeball, then so is she - she just never claimed otherwise. That is kinda funny, you must admit...


    You write a lot. Try saying something, (5.00 / 0) (#105)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:29:54 PM EST
    sometime, ok?
    One could have read ALL of your comments on here in the last week and have no idea what you find attractive about Obama as a candidate---besides that he is a winner.

    It's also funny to see his supporters try to (5.00 / 0) (#122)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:04:34 PM EST
    rationalize everything he does as being the right thing. We all do this.

    I only responded to what you wrote because of what you said about the daily Obama bashing. Pointing out these shifts isn't bashing. I'm not surprised that he is shifting some and I know that any other candidate would do the same. That's what politicians do.

    I don't agree with you on the health care issue. Obama is starting at the center so it won't get better unless Hillary and others can pass something better than he proposes. John Kerry said the issue is dead before we've even started. I do think he would sign a bill with mandates but I don't think he'll ask for one and that's a big deal to me. It's not an issue Hillary would have given up on in advance.


    but mandates are (none / 0) (#134)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:00:18 PM EST
    simply a necessary evil.

    Hillary's mandates are mandates on individuals. Either buy insurance or be penalized. They are not some wonderful benefit that we should be drooling over. They [probably] are necessary so that young healthy people, who will not be using many services, can be forced to subsidize everyone else - and thus make the finances work out. And Obama has repeatedly stated that he would consider them if 1) truly affordable policies really were available to all - i.e. that the benefit scheme that we pass will has shown itself to work well and 2) if it turns out that the mandates really are necessary for the fiscal health of the system.


    to finish the thought (none / 0) (#135)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:07:36 PM EST
    Therefore, it seems not to make much sense to go to the mats insisting that the mandates be part of the original bill, or, even worse, that they kick in on day one (before we can be sure that all the benefits are well-structured so that everyone can really afford a policy).

    And thats why I highly doubt that Hillary would go to the mats over mandates-up-front. She kinda took that position in the primaries because, as I pointed out, it was one of the few policy areas where there were easily [mis]characterizable differences between OBama and her.


    Mandates are part of UHC (none / 0) (#137)
    by waldenpond on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:26:25 PM EST
    Sor many, the issue is not health insurance... it is an issue of health care, access and quality of care, underserviced areas etc...

    A health insurance plan does not address many of these issues.  Other countries have mandated health insurance and then regulate the insurance and health care industries... reducing but not eliminating profit and thus the cost of health care to the community as a whole.

    It makes no difference to access, to subsidize health insurance industry profits at the tax dollar trough without the intent to regulate.  (Obama seems to prefer the Repub model of regulation-non).  The insurance industry is quite profitable on it's own.  For me, a health insurance plan is just another way govt is socializing risk while it continues to protect corporate profit.

    A health insurance subsidy plan is Libertarian Paternalism.  Not health care.


    I dont understand how this relates to mandates (none / 0) (#146)
    by tben on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 05:13:29 PM EST
    Hillary's mandates are, as I described, simply a way to increase income into what is otherwise a system very similar to Obamas. And he has said he would consider mandates if necessary.

    I guess you are coming from a very different place? I dont want to mischaracterize your position, so please expand on it a bit. As I read it, you seem to object to "corporate profits" - meaning you are against private sector involvement in health care? Is that correct? If so, all I can say is that there is very little, if any, political support for such an approach, so it doesnt seem very relevant to this year's campaign. But maybe I misunderstand your point...

    Could you also specificy in what manner Obama's  regulatory ideas are different from, say , Clinton's?


    funny. (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:24:56 PM EST
    she just never claimed otherwise

    exactly!.... and he did - Now THAT'S funny!... That you support it? - even funnier.


    Obama is supposed to be (5.00 / 0) (#141)
    by Grace on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:49:16 PM EST
    "new politics" -- not "old politics."  Hillary was old politics.  She could have done anything old politicians do because that's who she was.  

    Obama is supposed to be a new cleaner type of politics.  No more bait and switch.  No "bamboozling."  "Change you can believe in" -- that's his motto.

    Obama needs to get back to basics and do what he said he was going to do.  Quit trying to bamboozle us.  Stop playing Three Card Monte with issues.  

    I have a hard time understanding how people who have supported Obama since the beginning can justify these constant changes in positions.  It's not like you can go to his voting record and say "Oh!  See that vote?  That's how he really feels" because he doesn't have a long or consistent voting record.  So, how do you justify it?  Why is your "New Politics" guy playing "Old Politics"?      


    We need a chuckle, thanks (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by katana on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 07:26:39 PM EST
    ...I mention Hillary only because you and everyone else here seems to see her as a very smart politician, and all of you KNOW perfectly well that she would be doing the exact same thing if she were the nomnee....

    You're putting us on, right?

    You mention Hillary for the same reason you always mention her (or her husband)--to put her down.  

    Now, I realize that the instant you're challenged about this, you'll  indignantly explain that you're not a hater, not you, you're simply a clear-eyed analyst of politics.  It's we, those of who neither adore Barack (he's Barack to me, just as she's Hillary to you) the way you do, nor are willing to forgive him his every slippery, squalid maneuver who supposedly are the haters.  

    The thread is about Barack and his shift (or might one say, sprint) to the center (or one might say, the right).  It is not about Senator Clinton.  But that has never mattered to you. If your idol is criticized, your only defense is to tell us Senator Clinton would do the same, or worse.  As you have been doing for months and months.  

    And, no doubt, as you will keep on doing until the election.  If not beyond, may Heaven help us.


    Appeasment not change (none / 0) (#1)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:49:10 AM EST
    I was so looking forward to a populist Democratic message.  

    They have their Gitmo Willy Horton... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:50:40 AM EST

    what does this refer to? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:52:29 AM EST
    I don't see your point. Is this on topic?

    I thought it was on topic, re: repub values (none / 0) (#16)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:03:24 PM EST
    being embraced by obama....sorry if I offended

    I wasn't (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:06:08 PM EST
    talking about your comment but Salo's on Willie Horton.

    Your's was deleted because it was just a slam on his experience and qualifications.


    well (none / 0) (#83)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:58:03 PM EST
    according to a few news sources, one fot he recently released Kuaiti detainees from Gitmo has been found involved in a Mosul car bombing.

    I tend to think Gitmo should be shut down but I suspect this incident will complicte those efforts.


    Comments with insults (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:00:28 PM EST
    and no substance are being deleted. The topic is not  his experience or qualifications for the Presidency or whether you dislike him or don't trust him for personal reasons.

    The topics are his ideological positions on issues and contrast to McCain -- and as a corollary, the need to do this as an election strategy.

    as you said in the post (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:04:45 PM EST
    I do not believe it is an election strategy.
    I wish I could believe, as some do, that it is.  I would vote for him in a minute.  I have absolutley no problem with it as a strategy.  it is what Clinton did to win and what Hillary would have had to do to win.
    I think it is what he believes.  I believe his "liberal" voting record, such as it is, only shows his willingness to vote the way he needs to to win and keep winning.

    and the important votes? what are they? (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:08:42 PM EST
    iraq? no winner there! fisa, no winner there! and look at his comments on social security. bill clinton did not win the primaries by creating division either. that IS A MAJOR DIFFERENCE.

    we seem in my mind to be chasing a dream and refusing to look at the red flags right in front of us. some are too quick to give him a pass. isn't it time to stop giving obama passes and confront him? we can't afford another president with too many passes from either side.


    This is a great (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:11:14 PM EST
    reason for Hillary to remain an active presence in this election.

    divided government (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:11:46 PM EST
    sometimes stalemate is best.

    If your perceptions of Obama are correct (none / 0) (#58)
    by riddlerandy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:32:19 PM EST
    we will have a stalemate either way.  

    BTW, anyone have a count on how many 5-4 SCOTUS decisions there were  this term?


    personally (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:44:11 PM EST
    I do not have one whit more confidence in Obamas SC picks than I do McCains.
    I know this is not the fashionable position.

    His SC picks will likely occur (none / 0) (#80)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:56:54 PM EST
    in his first year, and maybe one or two in the first 6 months.  They'll be an early test of just how he intends to govern.

     And I predict he'll have two moderate-"liberal" seats to fill, and he won't be picking anyone who is, at the very least, to the right of either resigning mod/lib Justice.

    Heck, when New Democrat (i.e. DLCer)  Bill Clinton got his first chance, very early on, his first choice was a liberal's liberal -- Mario Cuomo.  Even his second choice -- George Mitchell -- was a pretty fair lib.

    I expect Obama to have a fairly bold but not revolutionary pick for the first one.  Perhaps a woman of more substance or persuasive power than Ginsburg, who isn't bad.


    and frankly (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:59:57 PM EST
    you predictions mean very little.  the fact is you have absolutely no idea what he will do.

    Nope, like most things in life (none / 0) (#104)
    by riddlerandy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:29:11 PM EST
    it is a matter of probabilities.  When it comes to SCOTUS picks, I like my chances a lot more with someone Laurence Tribe has lauded than someone who voted in favor of Alito.  

    Republican Senators are not afraid to filibuster (none / 0) (#140)
    by ruffian on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:40:34 PM EST
    I think Obama's picks will be to the right of Ginsberg.

    and (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:57:41 PM EST
    you miss the point.  a stalemate with a republican they do not fear, and would in fact be eager, to confront is a far far different thing from a president of their own party, so branding would be an  issue, who has a few million dittoheads who are willing to hit the streets with sandwich boards every time anyone dares to challenge him.
    frankly every day, and with every new equivocation from the "left",  I find the prospect of an Obama presidency more alarming.

    It was clear to me round about the time (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:18:19 PM EST
    he showed up on dkos in 2005 that he was no liberal.  My interpretation of his 2004 Convention speech has changed dramatically since I first heard it and he made me cry.  At the time, I interpreted his speech to mean that those of us who were solidly blue were not the enemy and that we were advocating for American idealism - as I always have thought myself to be doing - but now I read that speech understanding that his emphasis was really more on the purple and red folks than those of us who were true blue.  I read that speech to mean that he wanted to bring those purple and red folks over to the Dem column not because he believed he could show them why the blue way was beneficial, but because he is more purple and red than blue himself and sees our party as being more purple and red than blue anymore.  It was a clever speech.  Fooled me.

    hmmm, as i recall obama (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:23:54 PM EST
    was not received well on his diary re: religeon on dkos. the thing is the old saying about fooling the people and all has some merit here. what i am trying to say is this. obama wants to bring these repubs, young people, etc over. my personal opinion is that the repubs won't vote for him now or ever. the young might vote but not in the record numbers that the dems hope. also they will return to their roots so to speak. if mom and dad are repubs, chances are down the road a good number of them will do so. i think the repubs, many independents will not buy obama's campaign stragedy.

    I was talking about the Roberts (none / 0) (#51)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:27:27 PM EST
    Alito battles.  I don't think he personally ever came back after that.  The discussions about his desire to bring religion to the Democratic Party took place without his personal input.

    well i don't think i'll go to dkos to research, (none / 0) (#53)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:29:44 PM EST
    and this ole memory is so so. but i do remember a number of comments about a number of posters personally taking him to task for his diary on religeon. am i wrong about that? thanks

    As I recall, the religion discussion was (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:40:52 PM EST
    largely centered around his speech to that evangelical convention, but I don't remember him actually coming to dkos with a diary on religion - it is possible that I missed it though.

    Anyhow, my opinion of him was largely changed by the Roberts Alito thing - by the time the religion discussion rolled around, he was no longer surprising me.


    There is an error in your post (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:02:19 PM EST
    Will Marshall is not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination.

    I think you should correct that.


    He's a neoconservative of the worst sort. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:07:47 PM EST
    Thanks, I just did (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:07:12 PM EST
    I saw the word "progressive" and assumed that's what the organization was. The article clearly notes it is a centrist group, so I changed the post to reflect that. Much appreciated.

    The definition of what the center is (none / 0) (#47)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:25:09 PM EST
    is a good question when one is talking about that group imo.  They've always struck me as conservatives staking out "the center" which falls somewhere well inside the Conservative movment and is no where near what the center might be if Democrats/liberals/progressives were actually factored into the equation.  That's just my opinion though.

    You might want to look Will Marshall up on wiki.


    Maybe he does have a chance to win (none / 0) (#39)
    by riddlerandy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:18:02 PM EST

    I hope so (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:19:18 PM EST
    The alternative is dismal.

    jeralyn, i personally think that (none / 0) (#55)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:31:22 PM EST
    obama's rejection of the town hall meetings is a serious mistake. that would give him the opportunity to address these issues in a give and take environment. i don't say do it with mccain but i was taken back when i read he didn't want to do that. this is an issue that could be fleshed out.

    That's one of the things I think he (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:43:14 PM EST
    made the right call on.  McCain is much, much better at extemporaneous discussion than Obama is and in a town hall enviroment with them side by side that would be painfully clear.

    oh i agree, doing that with mccain (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:57:23 PM EST
    would be a big mistake. but i do believe he could and should do some informal discussions with voters.

    PS. Brevity is a virtue. (none / 0) (#73)
    by MarkL on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:49:50 PM EST
    Your original comment could have been made in 2 sentences.

    A USA NOC ? (none / 0) (#84)
    by Tim V on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:58:26 PM EST
    Why I Like the Idea of a National Oil Company for the USA for Green River and Bekkan

    The goals of a corporation are not necessarily the same as the goals of the country. A corporation seeks to maximize profit or to maximize shareholder value. On the other hand a nation has other goals such as national security and over all growth of the economy.

    Let's consider the Green River and Bekkan Valley oil shale deposits. Together this deposit could amount to over one trillion barrels of oil. Estimates of the production costs of extracting this oil range from $30 to $70 per barrel. With oil now at $140 per barrel it makes sense to begin drilling now. A USA NOC (national oil company) could have the following goals: 1) improve national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil 2) vastly increasing supply even if it means losing money on the margin. For instance if the ultimate cost to extract the oil were even $150 per barrel, the benefits to our national security and the benefits to the over all US economy and the American consumer might make it still a reasonable decision to drill.

    A private company would certainly not drill if the production costs exceeded the current price of oil. Also a private company would sell the oil to China if China would pay a higher price.

    Of course there are reasons to prefer a private company. They have the knowledge and the experience and the efficiency to do the job. What would prevent the NOC from using the big oil companies? Nothing! The NOC could make arrangements with the oil companies that would benefit both parties.

    I am NOT suggesting that this proposed USA NOC would or should nationalize the assets of Exxon or any other big oil company.

    Drilling in the Green River and Bekkan is only a small part of a comprehensive energy approach that will need to include nuclear energy as well as conservation from hybrid electric and fuel cell cars. Obviously alternative and renewables will also be a part of the mix. A NOC could also be more environmentally friendly that a big oil company.

    My question is this: Why not consider such a NOC?

    He became president of Harvard Law Review by (none / 0) (#100)
    by NCarolinawoman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:20:28 PM EST
    aligning with conservatives. Obama's opposition was further to the left.

    I heard E.J.Dionne say this several months ago while on the Tim Russert show. (the show that Russert had on Saturday nights, not MTP). When I heard this, some more red flags went up for me.

    Now I am not a lawyer (artist by profession), so I am not sure what Law Reviews do. Would  there be a paper trail on what Obama wrote while he was president of this organization?  

    I should have said Obama's "opponent", (none / 0) (#119)
    by NCarolinawoman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:55:35 PM EST
    rather than "opposition".

    I think (not sure) that he was not published (none / 0) (#160)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 08:28:16 PM EST
    in the HLR during his tenure...

    It is my understanding (none / 0) (#187)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:56:59 AM EST
    that Obama has published nothing as law review President. To become Editor of a law review, generally one must publish an article, or at least a note.

    Obama bad, mccain unspeakable (none / 0) (#138)
    by pluege on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:28:27 PM EST
    Obama's movement to the center-right sucks, but I firmly believe HRC would of done the same thing. HRC  had a better position on healthcare and social security.

    But as far as the supremes are concerned, blocking the total overrun of the court with rightwing ideologues is so crucial and so fundamental that no amount of Obama pandering to the idiots of the center-right and right could stop me from voting for the democratic nominee. bush has taken the US so far to being a police state that a mccain victory would  absolutely wipe out any last vestige of the United States and the constitution as we knew it 8 years ago.

    I know I will be pillaged for this... (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by jeffhas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:16:28 PM EST
    but McCain has always been center right... That whole 'Maverick' schtick.

    As someone else said upthread - there's really about 2" of difference between McCain and Obama on issues.

    So then it becomes an issue of the man; his substance, style, experience, openness and trustworthiness.  On those counts... in my humble opinion... there's a good argument that McCain wins.

    Even if you state Obama 'could' be more left than we see right now, that this tack is just a political move... the fact that McCain has other positive attributes still is a mitigating factor.

    I'm not saying I'm voting for McCain (although I'm leaning that way) - but he's not Bush by a long shot... and my disdain for Obama, his tactics and his subterfuge are causing me great pause for concern.


    Kerry considered McCain as a running mate... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 09:06:55 PM EST
    ...in 2004. The whole idea of "McSame" is rather unfounded, IMO.

    Obviously unfounded IMHO (none / 0) (#163)
    by RalphB on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 09:21:55 PM EST
    VOTERS BEWARE!! (none / 0) (#181)
    by Yotin on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:09:46 AM EST
    Obama started off his quest for the nomination by citing the one anti-Iraq war speech he gave while running for office in the most liberal district in Illinois, thereby, attracting the left and anti-war activists, who became the grassroots of his campaign.

    Then, he played the race card on Bill Clinton's characterization of Obama's anti Iraq war position as "fairy tale" to solidify the black vote behind him.

    After he had the black vote behind him, he stood the NAACP meeting in New Orleans so as not to be seen as just another black candidate in order to win the white vote.

    Then, we started to hear his shift in his foreign policy positions toward the center. The centrists in the democratic party easily forget what Obama stood for just the day before and the left and anti-war activists are too deft to hear Obama's move toward the center. And the blacks can't get past the color of their skin to see that Hillary has a 96% rating by the NAACP, better than any other on the Hill including Obama.

    Now that he's the Dem nominee, he's beginning to sound more like a GOP candidate.

    This man is an impostor and a fraud. VOTERS BEWARE!