Matt Yglesias writes today:

I don't think anyone can seriously dispute that the current President of the United States violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act . . . . I wasn't alive in 1973-74 [when Nixon was forced to resign]. I have a vague sense that at that time America's elites operated with some sense of conscience and dignity, and it was taken for granted even among Republican leaders that one couldn't just break the law. . . . I don't really know what changed, or why David Broder and other gatekeepers of elite consensus can't see that something's gone wrong here, but I'm not happy about it.

Nicely put. But then he writes in his VERY NEXT POST:

[W]hatever disappointments one has with Obama (and there are sure to be more to come) -- he unquestionably represents a leftward shift relative to the sort of national candidates the Democratic Party has been putting forward in recent cycles.

I'm not sure what went wrong between Yglesias' writing of those two posts, but his lament about Broder sounds empty when he excuses Obama for ignoring the very same FISA law breaking and supporting the FISA capitulation. Because that is what Yglesias was doing there - rationalizing for Obama's FISA flip flop and capitulation. Let's not deal with the fact that Obama is doing precisely what he is lamenting about Broder in his previous post.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    I am very curious on where exactly (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:29:57 PM EST
    Obama has shifted leftward.

    Most importantly (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:34:24 PM EST
    With regard to the candidates he RAN AGAINST, not those in different election cycles.

    It is a red herring to compare his stance on universal health care to Gore's or Kerry's. It should be compared to what was offered as an alternative.

    And on the Iraq War, taxes, and most other policies, it is clear a President Gore would have been at least as progressive as a President Obama will be.

    But to me that is the secondary issue. I see my post as describing the primary issue.


    Nonetheless (3.00 / 2) (#43)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:14:10 PM EST
    Kerry and Gore were the subject of that post, not Hillary.  If you want to make the more subtle point that Matt's basis for argument is off, then please do.  It would be interesting.

    But unloading with this kind of quote gotcha-ism on Matt Yglesias, of all people (one of the bloggers least likely to engage in this kind of game) is just plain unfair.  And it makes you look bad, frankly.


    Nevertheless (5.00 / 5) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:22:54 PM EST
    It is a red herring to use Kerry and Gore (and I disagree with the statement that Obama is more liberal than them anyway) as the line of measure.

    that is a secondary point to my post - actually not a point at all to my post.


    Matt's falling into the ... (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:19:23 PM EST
    "ignore what he does, Obama's really a progressive" trap.

    Frankly, BTD, I don't understand why you take Matt seriously.  Didn't he graduate from college, like, yesterday?

    These boy bloggers shouldn't be derided, they should just be ignored.


    He did not graduate with a History major (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:11:43 PM EST
    I hope.  Or maybe a "vague sense of a History major"?

    Heh .. (none / 0) (#144)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:02:28 PM EST
    Nevertheless!!!! (none / 0) (#139)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:58:30 PM EST

    Busted dude.


    You take a very broad and vague (none / 0) (#138)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:50:47 PM EST
    second post and input into it what you want to read, but what Matt didn't say.

    He was clearly comparing Obama to past national candidates. And while I'd disagree with Matt on that he was not talking about FISA or any other specific issue at all.


    The only evidence I've seen lately (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:36:01 PM EST
    if on the gay marriage issue.

    He opposes a ban on gay marriage (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by myiq2xu on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:07:59 PM EST
    But skips the Chicago Gay Pride Parade to get a haircut.

    Flip-flop, flip-flop


    But I bet the haircut ... (1.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:03:42 PM EST
    was "fabulous!"



    Kevin Drum (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:30:21 PM EST
    has an interesting reaction to Yglesias:

    I agree that the David Broders of the world have been far too sanguine about the abuses of the Bush administration. At the same time, the difference here really is pretty obvious. Nixon broke the law repeatedly for purely political purposes: to help his friends, punish his enemies, and keep tabs on domestic groups he happened to personally dislike. There was no ideological dispute about the value of what Nixon did: once it became clear that he had actually done the stuff he was accused of, liberals and conservatives alike agreed that he had to go.

    Obviously that's not the case this time around. So far, anyway, there's no evidence the George Bush has done anything wrong for purely venal purposes. He approved torture of prisoners and violated FISA because he genuinely thought it was necessary for national security reasons after 9/11 -- and unfortunately, lots of people agreed with him at the time and continue to agree with him today. I too wish there were a broader consensus that Bush has acted illegally and ought to held accountable, but the fact that he hasn't met Nixon's fate doesn't really say all that much about how tolerant we are of executive lawbreaking. Ideological disputes are simply a different kettle of fish than personal vendettas.

    UPDATE: Apologies for the sloppy writing. Matt was writing about torture and FISA, and that's what I was responding to when I said Bush hadn't done anything wrong for venal purposes. I only meant to be referring to the lawbreaking surrounding those two issues, not literally everything Bush has done. The U.S. Attorney scandal, among others, quite plainly has a fair amount of venality associated with it.

    I think Bush has done so much stuff in bad faith that people assume it's all in bad faith, that it's not possible any of this lawbreaking could have been the result of a sincere but misguided desire to protect the country.  I thought The One Percent Doctrine - billed as an anti-Bush book, mind you! - was very illuminating in this regard.

    Well speaking of Suskind (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:35:48 PM EST
    I've always thought that the signature article on the Bush II Administration is this one. I no longer feel so haughty reading it though, because our people have started to sound the same way that the Bush people did then.

    Here's the thing (5.00 / 9) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:36:47 PM EST
    What Bush has done is worse than what Nixon did, which was petty ante stuff relatively speaking.

    Remember Brandeis' admonition:

    Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
    --United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

    Just have to say here that (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:47:31 PM EST
    what Nixon did was not penny ante stuff, unless we now are okay with undermining the election process.  It's personal to some of us, too -- I know people who were on the infamous Nixon "enemy's list," and that wreaked havoc on a lot of lives.

    I feel so old, so old, reading commentary from people who weren't born yet so excuse themselves for having a "vague" sense of what happened.  Yeh, Yglesias can't read books about even recent history?

    Anyway -- other than the Watergate reference, the rest of this is absolutely on point.  Warrantless invasion of citizens' privacy is inexcusable, period.


    I'll just say this (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:51:33 PM EST
    I would give back Watergate in a heartbeat if we could have nailed those crooks on Iran-Contra.  Everything is relative.

    I agree ... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by santarita on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:20:46 PM EST
    I have no idea who Yglesias means by 'Republican elites" .  Would Agnew count or John Mitchell or Chuck Colson?  

    When our leaders violate laws, they can always convince themselves that they are doing so for noble reasons like national security.  


    Yes, domestic security was Nixon's excuse (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:37:59 PM EST
    because my generation was bringing down the country by exercising free speech in opposing the war.  So he had to defy the Constitution to save it, etc., etc.  

    It did give some of us good radar for detecting similar nonsense since, including from "our side."  The naivete of some in a younger generation now may be resolved when they finally see the result of misplaced trust today.


    Nixon used the CIA (none / 0) (#101)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:46:50 PM EST
    to pressure the FBI....It was very nefarious stuff...

    There was payola and cash payments in brown paper bags.

    For conspiracy buffs, E. Howard Hunt who headed up the "Plumbers" (Watergate burglars) has been implicated by some in the JFK assassination...

    Nixon was worse imho.  


    Bush is worse (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by santarita on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:42:30 PM EST
    Nixon wasn't as systematic and didn't come up with an ideology to support his lawlessness.  Bush and Cheney believe that the unitary executive gives the Pres. carte blanche.  Perhaps if Nixon hadn't been stopped by impeachment hearings, he too would have systematically placed loyalists in a lot of positions where they could do real damage  like Lurita  Doan at the GSA.  Cheney and Rumsfeld are said to have learned a lot from the Nixon Era.

    Bush Wins hands down (none / 0) (#132)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:36:37 PM EST
    As an insider, John Dean has said repeatedly that the Bush administration makes Nixon's look like pikers! It will be years, (if ever) before this mess is cleaned up on the domestic as well as international fronts. And the Democrat's can't wash their hands on this either.

    Worse but for one thing (none / 0) (#108)
    by lizpolaris on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:17:47 PM EST
    I might agree that Nixon was worse - except that he didn't waltz off on vacation and ignore terrorist's threats so blithely that we lost a national symbol (the WTC) and that he didn't arbitrarily bomb another country's citizens and infrastructure to smithereens on a whim.  (The start of VietNam preceeded him, whatever he may have done to make the situations in Laos and Cambodia worse.)

    Well Bush has found a confluence (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:38:35 PM EST
    he uses an argument that he might even believe about national security to smash away at his timid political enemies.

    In regards to what? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:40:50 PM EST
    Warrantless wiretapping specifically?  I agree that on paper, it's a more serious violation of the law, but I think Kevin's distinction makes sense.

    I do not (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:43:50 PM EST
    As an explanation for the behavior of the Village, sure. but as a loogical apporach, absolutely not.

    I stand with Brandies on this. You can stand with Border and Drum.


    Well (none / 0) (#21)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:54:09 PM EST
    It strikes me as absurd to impeach a President for unlawful conduct that, if he had only asked, Congress would gladly have legalized in advance.

    Interestingly (5.00 / 7) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:21:28 PM EST
    I do not. The act of deliberately breaking the laws, important laws intended to protect the civil liberties of citizens, and in particular to protect agains the very abuses that Bush enggaed in is indeed, at least to me, the very essence of an impeachable offense because it strike at the very balances which hold our Constitutional form of government together.

    I did not support impeachment not because I did not believe Bush deserved inmpeachment and removal, I strongly did, I did not support it because it had no chance and would be deleterious to our elecetoral chances in 2006 and 2008 elections.
    I argued for a Democratic Congress to hold the PResident to account and stop his illegal and unconstitutional practices. Instead, the Dem candidate for President is enabling and coveing them up.

    It is a dishgrace.


    But it's not just warrantless wiretapping (3.00 / 2) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:18:41 PM EST
    It goes on and on and on and on.  Bush's legal toadies, Yoo and Addington et al, have found thin rationales for essentially obliterating the Constitution and making the president effectively Emperor of everything, not just national security issues.  Yes, there's an ideological basis for that, but I don't see that as a legitimate counterargument to the fact that it's patently illegal.

    The Republicans in Nixon's time would not have stood for it.

    Essential reading for every American should be Savage's "The Return of the Imperial Presidency."  It's a truly frightening book because it catalogs an almost endless stream of law-breaking by the Bush administration based on the justification that laws made by Congress can't apply to the executive.

    The Bush legal theory is that the president can do any damn thing he wants to, regardless of constitutional or statutory prohibitions.

    There is literally no remedy for this but impeachment.


    Sure (none / 0) (#58)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:25:27 PM EST
    But I am not arguing that there is no basis for impeaching Bush, far from it.

    I understand that (none / 0) (#141)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:16:43 PM EST
    but I got slightly carried away in my dismay as I was writing...

    You did say, I think, that the reason GOP senators were willing to impeach Nixon was because what he did was a political crime, shall we say, not a constitutional one.

    I'm mainly arguing that I'm convinced that if Nixon had tried what Bush has done, the GOP senators of that day would not have stood for it and would have-- at least enough of them-- been willing to seriously consider impeaching him for it.

    They were a different breed of cat than today's GOP.


    Breaking the (none / 0) (#90)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:04:21 PM EST
    law begets the cowardly Congress, in part -- no excuses here, but...

    And breaking the law today because tomorrow it might be changed does not excuse it.  & I don't think Kevin Drum's distinction between breaking laws with intent to undermine the opposition as being more reprehensible than breaking the law in another context is valid.  And there are many who would argue, with good reason, that of the many legal violations, some, at least were aimed at damaging the opposition party, such as DOJ activities and dismissals, election practices, etc.  


    That is the rationale why.... (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by ineedalife on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:49:22 PM EST
    Presidential sexual affairs warrant impeachment. Impeachment is reserved only for the easy things, not the hard things.

    And please explain to me (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:32:38 PM EST
    how Obama represents a leftward shift?  You can say what you want about Kerry (and trust me, I'm from MA, I have a lot to say about him and I think he had a hand in the corruption among the current democratic party leadership that handed the nomination to Obama), but Kerry has a very long record in the Senate as a very solid liberal politician.  

    I seriously would be shocked if Yglesias or anyone else could make a factually based case that Obama represents a leftward shift.

    Haven't you heard? (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Pegasus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:48:02 PM EST
    Every four years, we put forward the librul-est librul ever to librul a librul.  So logically, he has to be a leftward shift.

    I wish it were so. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:53:11 PM EST
    On paper, Kerry had to have been the most liberal politician put forward by the Democratic party since, well, Dukakis (the previous MA liberal).  

    Seems to me that at least part of the reason that the Democratic leadership rigged the game in Obama's favor is that they became convinced they had to move to the right to win.  And Obama seems willing to comply.  And Yglesias is hardly a liberal himself, which is probably one of the reasons he is such a big fan of Obama.  So why does Yglesias write that Obama represents a leftward shift?  I don't get it.


    Um, yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Pegasus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:55:38 PM EST
    when you start talking about the "rigged game" my eyes glaze over.  Have a nice 4th, though.

    Believe it or not, I don't (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:57:33 PM EST
    care about the level of glaze in your eyes, Pegasus.  But you have a nice 4th as well.

    Unbelievable! (none / 0) (#25)
    by Pegasus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:58:37 PM EST

    Yglesias voted for Romney (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by catfish on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:59:55 PM EST
    Not that one vote proves anything, but still.

    Exactly. (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:09:55 PM EST
    And when I brought up that Yglesias is not such a liberal, I didn't mean to be talking out of turn.  I rather think that Yglesias is pretty up front about that, and I'm not even criticizing Yglesias for it.

    But what I find funny is that Yglesias, who himself isn't too liberal, spends this time justifying how liberal Obama is, even when Obama is clearly not so liberal himself.  If I had to guess I would say it's the CDS that got to him.  But now that Hillary is out, I don't know what the issue is.  Of course, this is the problem of most of the A-listers, which, I guess, is BTDs point.


    Liberalism (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:17:32 PM EST
    is like George Carlin's point about driving, where everyone driving slower than you is an idiot and everyone driving faster than you is a maniac.

    Many people who self-identify as liberals tend to think their own views define the leftward boundary of "acceptable" liberalism.  Everyone to their left is basically a starry-eyed idealist who doesn't understand reality, or something.  So if you're a moderate Democrat who calls yourself a liberal, other moderate Democrats tend to look awfully liberal to you!


    That is my approach with a modification (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:25:06 PM EST
    I delcare my positions to be the exact MIDDLE of the spectrum. the most reasonable and moderate.

    But I do so not from any real belief that they are so, but for political expediency.

    Obama should hold to his beliefs, if they were what he said they were on FISA, and declare them Centrist.

    That is my political strategy in a nutshell.


    That is a strategy for leadership (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:54:19 PM EST
    Wish Dems would adopt it.

    In November (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by IzikLA on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:00:16 PM EST
    Are we at all worried that people will, after all these movements to and fro by Obama, not know who the real Obama is and what he stands for?  Wasn't that, in the end, the thing that truly undid Kerry?  That is my big problem with all of this.  He has spun around so many issues since he won the primary that even I don't know what he stands for anymore and I thought I did.  Say what you will about Hillary but I don't think she would've changed much come the General Election and, as such, we would have known who she was and what she stood for.  People could've voted for her knowing.  I'm starting to fear that may not be the case now with Obama, and I think that is possibly going to be the biggest chink in his armor come November.

    That is brilliant. (none / 0) (#137)
    by catfish on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:55:49 PM EST
    How long have people known about such a strategy. It is so obvious why didn't I think of it.

    word! (5.00 / 8) (#19)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:51:51 PM EST
    Of all the candidates who started out, the Obama we are seeing now is the most right-center of the crowd.
    Hillary has really progressive instincts as much as she is pragmatic. Edwards was populist, concerned w/ poverty, and had better health and environmental and education plans. We don't need to talk about Kucinich and Gravel. Richardson, Biden, - maybe debatable but certainly they are longtime Democrats and we know their records.

    Kucinich and Gravel both were for (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:12:24 PM EST
    Gay marriage and Kucinich was for single payer health insurance. Obama's health care plan was (is) definitely less leftward than either Edwards' or Clinton's plans. Both were universal coverage plans and both had a non insurance plan that could have opened the door to single payer.

    Dodd was and is willing to fight against FISA.  


    Well what matters is (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by david mizner on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:33:47 PM EST
    not that he:

    unquestionably represents a leftward shift relative to the sort of national candidates the Democratic Party has been putting forward in recent cycles.

    but that he's unquestionably moderate relative to the kind of progressive president the country is ready for and needs.

    Well, no such politician has been forthcoming (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:37:22 PM EST
    so, hope. . .

    Indeed (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:37:35 PM EST
    Well said David.

    Except for the fact that Obama (none / 0) (#15)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:44:36 PM EST
    doesn't unquestionably represent a leftward shift in Democratic national candidates.  The rest of what David wrote is true, though.

    It's debatable (none / 0) (#23)
    by david mizner on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:55:55 PM EST
    Is Obama more liberal than Kerry? Probably not, especially on the environment.

    But because the policy debate has shifted leftward, Obama is running on programs generally more progressive than the ones Kerry ran on. This is a good sign for the party and the country but doesn't tell us much, if anything, about Obama. Any Democrat would have an health care plan at least as ambitious as Obama's, for example.


    Well, if it's debatable, it can't (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:05:52 PM EST
    be unquestionable, right?  

    And if we look at health care, Obama's policy specifically does not represent a leftward shift, as it is really only smoke and mirrors without the mandate that he assures us will not be a part of his plan.  Parts of it cosemetically look leftward, but since the overall structure of his plan is unsustainable, it really represents political pandering, not actual policy.


    I didn't say (none / 0) (#39)
    by david mizner on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:10:38 PM EST
    it was unquestionable. I suppose to be clearer, I could've said "what matters is not whether..."

    In any case, it misses the point of my comment. You arguing with no one.


    I got the point of your comment, (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:13:30 PM EST
    and, as I said, I agree with it.  But I also do happen to think it's important to stress that Yglesias' statement about Obama is wrong, because there are so many out there who actually believe it.

    Unquestionably? (none / 0) (#18)
    by ineedalife on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:50:23 PM EST
    I question it.

    And he is more a moderate than... (none / 0) (#95)
    by santarita on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:10:15 PM EST
    the progressive candidate that  many of his ardent supporters thought he was.

    In any event young Yglesias' contention would be taken more seriously if he actually did some side-by-side comparison of the positions of Kerry, Gore and Clinton.


    "he's a substantially more liberal (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:44:08 PM EST
    candidate . . ."

    where do they get this idea?! Along with the "new progressive era" crap?! If anyone could convince me of this (especially Obama), I'd be much happier . . .

    Read the context (none / 0) (#27)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:59:53 PM EST
    He's to the left of Kerry and Gore.  BTD took the quote out of context.

    Uh (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:07:21 PM EST
    It's very hard to see how the quote is taken out of context, considering it says right there in the quote that the comparison is to the candidates we've run in the last two cycles.

    It seems to me that because you want to agree with this statement by Yglesias, you are straining hard not to understand BTD's actual point.


    If you'll notice, I didn't take that quote (none / 0) (#70)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:35:58 PM EST
    from what BTD posted . . .

    Comparing what Obama is putting forward (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:01:05 PM EST
    in his campaign in a supposed "Democratic year", with a Demoratically controlled congress, with what Kerry and Gore put forward in closer electoral years, with a Republican congress in power, is the falsest choice I can think of.

    For Democrats, yes (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by andgarden on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:03:53 PM EST
    Republicans are more consistent about what they want, no matter the political climate. It's an interesting divergence, and I think it tends to make Democratic activists less effective.

    Very true (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:10:05 PM EST
    They rarely temper what they ask for according to the climate. If they don't get it, they just demonize Dems about it so much that they give in the next time around. (Can you spell FISA?)

    So funny.... (5.00 / 5) (#72)
    by masslib on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:38:14 PM EST
    "he unquestionably represents a leftward shift relative to the sort of national candidates the Democratic Party has been putting forward in recent cycles."

    Oh really?  He's the first Democratic candidate since FDR to run against universal health care.  What a farce.  He was to the right of every other viable primary candidate on domestic, pocketbook issues.  

    I know ... clueless jokers (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:48:17 PM EST
    "he unquestionably represents a leftward shift relative to ... "

    It is always the same nonsense from this demographic who picked the Clinton admin as the root of so much evil. Compared to today the 90s were downright radical, for heaven's sake.


    I know what went wrong .... It is the vague sense (5.00 / 4) (#73)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:41:46 PM EST
    although I would call it No Sense.

    It is always the same thing with a certain in crowd net demographic. Of course, Obama will be defended no matter what by

    certain twens and thirtysomething bloggers like Iglesias et al who make their living because they think they have a lot to say on their websites ... unaware that lots of it is pure nonsense simply because they lack knowledge and all sense of history. Yet they are being quoted over and over ... As if they had something really important to say.

    Here we got the problem. Not that Iglesias would really get it:

    " I wasn't alive in 1973-74 [when Nixon was forced to resign]. I have a vague sense ...

    A vague sense of what happened in the past, a vague sense of what happens in the presence. No wonder the nonsense these people write nonstop about the Clinton administration and Hillary Clinton. No wonder they are fine with it when Obama "disappeared" Bill Clinton from the presidential line-up.

    Obama more liberal than any other Big Dem we have had for some time?

    Arrgh ... Calgon, take me away!

    Maybe they really don't get the importance (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:49:18 PM EST
    of wiretapping restrictions, and how wiretapping has been used for government evil. Hard to believe, but maybe true.

     Not that there is any excuse for that - I can recommend the PBS "Watergate: 30 Years After" DVD for a good primer for those who did not spend the early 70's watching closely - or even alive.


    I agree (5.00 / 9) (#85)
    by Jim J on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:52:37 PM EST
    As we saw from their "coverage" of Hillary Clinton, I think the boy blogger generation came of age during a conservative ascendancy and have totally internalized the dogma of the time.

    They have little or no institutional memory of a reasonably well-functioning and relevant Democratic Party, and their sloppy writing and selective history reflects that.


    OMG (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:41:24 PM EST
    I so agree with this, I wish I could rate this comment a 10.

    I'd recommend actual books (5.00 / 6) (#94)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:09:23 PM EST
    horrifying as the concept may be of retrieving information without electronic tricks and clicks.

    If Yglesias wrote this ridiculous justification for ignorance on a term paper, it would merit an F.  But such stuff goes on blogz and gets excused.  Why?  An entire generation must react first, then think?  

    Thinking thoughts worth my time in reading them requires research -- a level of knowledge that is attained by reading more than Wikipedia on Watergate.  So I appreciate the tipoff to not invest any time in reading Yglesias.


    Thanks. (none / 0) (#107)
    by ghost2 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:14:33 PM EST
    worth repeating:

    But such stuff goes on blogz and gets excused.  Why?  An entire generation must react first, then think?

    Thank you for saying this (5.00 / 5) (#83)
    by Jim J on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:50:33 PM EST
    I really struggle with the commonly-held concept that because something's written in a blog it is important by definition. This is possibly the most egregious intellectual error of modern times.

    It has to do with the continuing deification of the internet. It is still a bright, shiny object to far too many people who should know better.


    Could anyone tell me? (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by ghost2 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:19:40 PM EST
    who decided that Matt Yglesies and Chris Bower are worth quoting?  When was the last brilliant thought either of them had?

    Please, I don't want another network of privilaged males getting automatic respect.  No offence!


    The bloggers decided that amongst themselves (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:14:57 PM EST
    They stuck together like glue on the net (ca. 75% posters are male) and defended each other no matter what the subject ... Even later after websites split since there is only power in numbers. They all decided to love each other .... lol. Just like the village people. Same thing. No difference. And it will GET WORSE.

    The "little bloggers," the bread and butter of the "big bloggers" happily let themselves be fooled with all that "passionate" grassroot and netroot talk. Because folks in need of chats and friends become too easily addicted to "their" sites and "master." Often to the point of no return.  Blogging can become a sickness when taking to the extreme. The lack of proper and civil language ist the first sign things are going downhill.

    The blog masters could have done a lot of good for the liberal cause but many "failed" to accomplish   that. Instead They refused to hold the feet of the Dem bashing liberal TV and paper punditry to the fire. Why not? It would have ruined their future TV and paper careers always gleeming in their eyes.

    Instead they went all out and aligned themselves with The liberal punditry whose trashtalk has ruined it for the Big Dems and democratic presidential candidates like Gore for the last two decades and more. Somerby wrote the book.

    Today plenty of bloggers sit among the punditry  on TV and write the same stuff as the rest .... and we know who they are. If Dean et al sold out so did the Big Bloggers.

    Fwiw I didn't check out dkos - 75% of posters over there are male of course - more closely until yearlykos 06 - after I saw Moulitsas and Armstrong promoting their book on Russert. I knew right away how the cookie crumbled. Heavy duty bonding took place around the table. And it wasn't progress for the liberal cause. Then, When Olbermann started to post regularly on dkos, the circle closed.

    btw. I can't help thinking that after the koses and Ezrases watched Clinton-hater Arianna Huffington, the Coulter of the 90s, become the liberal Queen on the net  they must thought WOW! and copied her strategy. Name one Dembasher who has been embraced faster and with more enthusiasm by the "progressives" AH. Besides, like blogmaster Moulitsas told Russert, It's the best to be a Republican first before you join the Dem party und become a liberal. I used to find that ridiculous  but today .... not anymore. His fans ate those bonmots up like candy. And rightwinger's stuff has been co-opted with a vengeance on so-called progressive blogs. 24/7.



    Excellent post. Thanks. (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by ghost2 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:18:42 PM EST
    I know BTD wants to keep their feet to fire, and that's why he quotes them.  But I really don't want to give people respect they haven't earned.

    BTW, your comment reminds me of a post Taylor Marsh wrote during the primary.  It was regarding some juvenile threats she got from a blogger (who shall remain nameless).  I told her then, the said blogger never had a decent post in his blogging life, why should she worry about him, or worse put his comments in a prominent place? (To be fair, she wanted to illustrate the crappy reception she was getting from the new boys net club).


    Taylor Marsh must have quite some stories to tell (none / 0) (#146)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:57:37 PM EST
    I also like it that female bloggers are supporting each other and their own sites more and more these days.

    I didn't even know Taylor Marsh until the primaries rolled around and posters made all those nasty comments about her only because she supported Hillary. I finally followed a link to find out who she was and was glad I did. She is great :-)


    Watergate hearings were a national education (5.00 / 4) (#96)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:15:45 PM EST
    on the Constitution.  We desperately need this again.  Too many don't seem to know what our Constitution really stands for and how it translates into day-to-day governing -- and doing business, I might add.

    I think folks like Matt assume (5.00 / 5) (#81)
    by masslib on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:48:29 PM EST
    Obama to be to the Left of other presidential candidates because he's african american.  That in and of itself, an african american running for President, seems leftish to lots of people.  It's also that the biggest african american names in Democratic politics have mostly been to the Left of their white counterparts.  It's an assumption ure to lead to many disappointments.

    He's so far left he's on the right (5.00 / 4) (#91)
    by Dadler on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:04:30 PM EST
    Seriously, how can anyone claim Obama is a lefty on any issue.  He'd run screaming from the label "left" faster than he ran from his FISA "vows".

    I had funny talks with my Republican (5.00 / 5) (#93)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:07:07 PM EST
    friends during the primaries.  They usually ended with me saying that if Obama was really as far left has they were saying he was, I'd be for him.

    So, why doesn't Obama have (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:07:04 PM EST
    the Klan or rappers whose lyrics are highly degrading of women, or neo-nazis, headline major campaign rallies for him?  I mean, he could make a couple of comments about how he disagrees with their views, but if they could pull in voters, why not go for it, right?  Oh wait, I guess that's only ok when it's gay people you need to bash to win a critical primary.

    Spare me.

    The contradiction is easily explained ... (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:03:14 PM EST
    by this line:

    I wasn't alive in 1973-74

    To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, if you're a child don't comment on political campaigns meant for adults.

    if one can just dismiss matt for what he is (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:29:20 PM EST
    He believes it so I can't say he's lying but his observation that obama's foriegn policy proposals are to the left of bill's is so wrong that one can either request some substantiation or simply move one knowing that matt is not worth reading at all.

    Its the thing that I think makes blogging pundits susceptible.  I don't know how to put it.  Its all about creating a myth of something.  Enough people repeat "neo-liberal" bill this or "neo-con" bill that and suddenly obama's proposals are more left simply by default.

    In relationship to the myth of bill Clinton that's been created by shameful self-promoting pundits.  In relationship to that fairy tale, yes, obama's foreign policy is to the left of that.


    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:29:42 PM EST
    Just like with the FISA debate, let's ignore a very specific promise he made in favor of a vague, general statement that can mean anything.

    "We'll do the responsible thing."  Gee, that's a bold position, on an issue where every single person thinks their stance is the responsible one.  I disagree with you that Obama is to be congratulated for adhering to a position that isn't actually a position.

    You don't seem to be noticing that (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:45:46 PM EST
    again and again he is watering down his commitment to getting out of Iraq as rapidly as possible, turning it into a nearly empty statement that could be satisfied even if there were endless delays in that withdrawal.

    How is it that everyone else can see that he is doing so and you can't?

    Really, this is becoming a Kool-Aid issue, if you can't see how his position has become more "nuanced" and susceptible to "conditions", basically giving him the leeway to do pretty much as he pleases in delaying a withdrawal from Iraq.

    At some point, try to be honest with yourself and acknowledge how you have refused to see the change in Obama's rhetoric about withdrawing from Iraq. Everything he is now saying is far more consistent with him maintaining a force long beyond what people were expecting before -- and yet you want to pretend that he's changed nothing.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:59:03 PM EST
    I'm literally laughing at the absurdity.  "What's wrong with his position that we should act responsibly?  Do you want him to act IRRESPONSIBLY?"  You're hilarious.

    Yes, and Hillary was (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:30:08 PM EST
    and still is, called a "hawk" for saying... wait for it... she was committed to withdrawing our combat troops in as expeditious a manner possible, without endangering them or provoking a chaotic situation in country.

    In contrast, of course, to Obama's position of... withdrawing our combat troops in as expeditions a manner, etc....


    Kool-aid kills brain cells (3.71 / 7) (#32)
    by myiq2xu on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:05:26 PM EST
    Matt is one of the sippy-cup kidz.

    Wholely unfair quoting, BTD... (none / 0) (#26)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:59:05 PM EST
    You're nitpicking a contradiction where none exists.  Obama is to the right of Yglesias, you, me, and the rest of "us" on FISA, but to the left of Kerry and Gore on health care, climate change and foreign policy (the sentence immediately preceding the one you pasted).  Ergo, he represents a leftward shift of democratic presidential candidates on at least those issues.  That strikes me as pretty inarguable.

    Can you explain the outrage here?

    Other than tearing asunder the Constitution (5.00 / 8) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:14:11 PM EST
    Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

    For the record, there is nothing that I have seen that makes Obama to the Left of Gore on foreign policy at all.

    And on climate change, surely you jest. To the Left of Gore on CLIMATE CHANGE?


    Oh, stop it (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:21:19 PM EST
    Now you're playing the same out-of-context game with me.  Yes, to the left of the Gore 2000 campaign on climate change.  You seriously want to argue otherwise?  Gore supported cap and trade in 2000?  Really?

    Just stop.  Yglesias writes very carefully considered blog posts.  If you want to disagree, that's fine.  But here you're just frothing about imagined contradictions.  Making your more subtle arguments in the same tone Matt uses might get you more converts.  Right now, you're just preaching to the choir.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:27:08 PM EST
    "Very carefully considered blog posts"?  The guy doesn't even stop to check his spelling, for God's sake!

    What Steve M said (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:30:57 PM EST
    you gotta be kidding.

    On the substance (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:33:12 PM EST
    you ignored my point.

    On Gore on climate change - Gore in 200 versus Obama in 2000, who do you think was better.

    And the Gore who exists today in 2008 versus Obama 2008, SURELY you jest!

    Heck, George H.W. Bush on civil rights was to the Left of FDR. Who do you think was more progressive? Where do you think FDR would have been on civil rights in 1990?


    Ha (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:36:06 PM EST
    That's a great analogy, but I like OrangeFur's comparison between Lincoln and Reagan even better...

    When it comes to writing (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:16:52 PM EST
    very carefully considered blog posts, I'll grant you that Yglesias has a "vague sense" of what that means.

    To the Left of Gore on CLIMATE CHANGE? (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:33:01 PM EST
    Still trying to wrap my head around that one . . .   ;)

    Judged in the context of his own times... (5.00 / 5) (#68)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:34:16 PM EST
    .. Obama is not very liberal at all. His positions today make him a conservative-to-moderate Democrat. I'd argue that Kerry was more liberal relative to the public in 2004 than Obama is now.

    Obama may be more liberal on health care now than Gore was in 2000, but only because the discussion on health care has moved to the left. Similarly for gay marriage. He's less liberal on health care now than Hillary Clinton now (or in 1994, for that matter), and less liberal than Al Gore on gay marriage now.

    Put another way, without taking context into account, Ronald Reagan was much more enlightened on racial issues than Abraham Lincoln. After all, Reagan never contemplated slavery.


    For one thing, Gore and Kerry (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:03:05 PM EST
    knew they would be working with a Republican controlled congress. What they proposed was not what they would have liked to propose.  What Obama is proposing presumably is.

    Sure (none / 0) (#35)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:07:36 PM EST
    Which is a valid point, albeit a subtle and arguable one.  And it's worth discussing in a frame other than "ZOMG huge contradiction!".

    But yeah: clearly the american public has moved to the left on a ton of issues.  And thus we have the most left-leaning candidate in at least a generation on the ballot.  And those facts are probably related.


    Seriously? (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:11:44 PM EST
    You believe that Obama is more liberal than Dukakis?  How do you figure?

    Dukakis (none / 0) (#46)
    by anydemwilldo on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:16:26 PM EST
    Dukakis ran 20 years ago, which is pretty close to the informal "a generation" usage I mentioned.  But if you insist, sure: "most left-leaning candidate in 20 years" works just as well, rhetorically.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:24:09 PM EST
    there have been a total of THREE Democratic candidates for President since Dukakis, so the point is rather banal, then.

    I'm not sure I'm prepared to concede that Obama is to the left of any of the three, frankly.  Certainly I have trouble seeing much space between him and Kerry.  In terms of Clinton, while it's sort of apples and oranges to compare how one candidate campaigned with how another candidate actually governed, it seems to me that a lot of the distinctions between Bill Clinton and Obama were valid only for the duration of the Democratic Primary and have now expired.

    One issue where Clinton was most definitely a centrist was trade.  Do you really want to try and make the case that Obama is measurably to Clinton's left on trade?


    It seems that the two areas (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:30:36 PM EST
    where Bill Clinton was most consistently criticized from the left (Trade and Welfare Reform) are, in fact, the two areas of the Clinton years that Obama most wants to be identified with and carry forward.

    Otherwise, I'd say on the whole that he will either stay the course with or move to the right of previous Democratic candidates.


    I love Obama on trade (none / 0) (#59)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:26:28 PM EST
    He is right there with Clinton.

    course I am a free trader.

    Clinton, Obama and I are liberals on trade, in the 19th Century sense of course.


    Heh (none / 0) (#62)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:29:35 PM EST
    But there you have it!

    Let's flip the question around - if Bill Clinton were running this year, which of Obama's positions would he refuse to adopt because they're simply too far to the left?


    Bill clinton would be to the Left of Obama (5.00 / 6) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:35:17 PM EST
    in this election imo.

    On health care for sure.

    I wrote a post about that the other day.

    In 2008, Bill Clinton would not run his 1992 campaign because he would not have to.


    Exactly. Remember Bill Clinton ran on (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by masslib on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:45:35 PM EST
    Universal Health Care, gays openly serving in the military, progressive taxation, FMLA, and yes, welfare reform(but until someone runs on reinstating the welfare program, I assume all Democratic powerbrokers support it).  Obama is certainly not running to the left of that agenda.

    ITA Compared to Obama Bill Clinton was (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:56:09 PM EST
    downright radical in todays's sense of the word not  in the real sense of it, of course.

    I am off to find your other post. Hope I find it :-)


    The real question is (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:01:22 PM EST
    whether a politician will push the envelope as far as he can, the way Reagan did, or whether he will be cautious and stick with taking whatever he can get, the way Bill Clinton did.

    Obama is shaping up to be another Clinton in terms of political caution.  Whether he's more or less liberal in his heart of hearts, who knows, who cares.  My dad used to say "how you practice is how you play."


    My point is (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:16:41 PM EST
    the post is intended to excuse taking a Far Right extreme position on civil liberties and the Constitution by Obama. It is indeed a contradiciton to complain about the Village's morphing on law breaking and then ignore the elephant in the room - to wit, Obama's extreme right position on FISA and civil liberties.

    Others of course can take you on as to whether in fact Obama is all that Left.

    My point is a different one.


    I for one (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:43:46 PM EST
    can't get past the ridiculousness of his excuses long enough to say I agree with your real point.

    But I do agree of course - lamenting the tolerance of lawbreaking and then condoning the enshrinenment of it because your guy is leading the way is indeed breathtaking.


    I wish there was really a way to know (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:19:53 PM EST
    how far left the public is willing to go on universal health care and climate change.  I want to believe it is further than most candidates are willing to ask right now, but that uncertainty is what keeps the candidates tethered to a centrist position.

    For example, did Kucinich get no traction because of his policies or his personality?

    Dash it all, I want a scientifically controlled experiment!


    His height? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:22:11 PM EST
    Actually, I was surprised to learn this year that, in the Iowa caucuses last time around, he told his supporters to go to Edwards/  Thus negating, in my mind, Kucinich's strong point of voting against the AUMB.  

    Sad to say, I bet you are right (none / 0) (#57)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:25:18 PM EST
    Obama on withdrawing U.S. military (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:14:39 PM EST
    from Iraq:


    Good grief. (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:43:06 PM EST
    How many other promises from the primaries will be tossed overboard? Public financing, NAFTA, FISA, Iraq...

    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:47:01 PM EST
    He's just clarifying various inartful statements.

    Iraq is different (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by frankly0 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:01:42 PM EST
    It's his signature policy. It was the rallying cry of the vast majority of anti-war activists and bloggers to turn out for Obama and against Hillary. His 2002 speech opposing the Iraq war was always the keystone of his case for his "judgment".

    How does he whittle away even at that allegedly strongly anti-war position and keep the esteem of his most rabid supporters?

    If even on this account they give him a pass, I don't see how their support can be accounted for without talking about a personality cult. Every flip flop he performs on a major issue strips away still another rationalization his supposedly progressive supporters might have had for their abnormally passionate dedication to him.

    At this stage, what's left but personality?


    He's willing to refine which policies? (5.00 / 3) (#87)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:54:23 PM EST
    Obama has had several -- immediate withdrawal, withdrawal in 16 months, then most recently indefinite withdrawal.  Yeh, I'd say that the range of policies there needs some refining.

    He's on CNN live (none / 0) (#106)
    by Grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:08:14 PM EST
    right now and they are trying to pin him down on Iraq.  

    unintentionally funny!! (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by ghost2 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:28:29 PM EST
    ... they are trying to pin him down on Iraq.

    I loved the part where he explained (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:42:47 PM EST
    that, unlike Bush, who listens to what the generals tell him before he decides what to do, Obama is going to tell the generals what their mission is.  He plans to define their mission.  And that is the difference between Obama and Bush.    

    Lawyerly much?  


    I think pander is the (none / 0) (#67)
    by dk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:33:23 PM EST
    better word when talking about Obama on gay rights.  He panders to black evangelicals with Donnie McClurkin, white evangelicals with anti-gay marriage position, and gays with speaking out against the California amenmdnent (I actually don't like saying he "opposes" it, because since he's not a CA resident, he is not voting on it).

    FISA in perspective (none / 0) (#104)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:01:48 PM EST
    It seems unlikely that the telecoms were ever going to face any real prospect of losing a jury trial on this.....if they ever got to trial.....

    The telecoms made no money in rolling over for the government.  Right there, you have lost a lot support from those who would otherwise love to tag big companies....

    The telecoms did it, they themselves would argue, to help protect the nation--and they relied on the government--just like any number of Democratic Senators who voted for the resolution on Iraq, such as Edwards.  If you want to blame someone, blame the federal government for lying to the telecoms, the argument would have been.....

    That argument would have been hard to beat....

    The FISA compromise is not a good one....But immunity is not the end of the story....Human Rights commissions often operate after a grant of immunity....

    It is more important to stop future abuses from happening....Sure, in theory, suing the telecoms, even if you couldn't win, would drag them through years of discovery and millions in attorneys fees, and be a deterrence....So, opportunity lost, but there are other ways....

    Actually (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:18:08 PM EST
    That is misunderstanding the argument and having no perspective about what this fight is about.

    Sorry, you really address nothing involved in this dispute.

    Let me answer you in the most blunt way, indemnify the telecoms if you like, but do not make them immune.


    Sure, that (none / 0) (#116)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:32:13 PM EST
    would be fine....

    But in that event, the litigation is all about discovery--the telecoms would not suffer financially....And there are other ways of obtaining the information....

    I do not disagree with your basic approach, but the idea that the telecoms would face the music in court never seemed viable in the first place...

    The much greater concern is what the powers are going forward.


    Not omly going forward, (none / 0) (#118)
    by pie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:35:45 PM EST
    but understanding exactly what happened and who was listening to whom in the past.

    Yup (none / 0) (#123)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:57:38 PM EST
    But that can be done even if the current FISA bill passes.

    Armando says (and I think one version of the Democratic alternative said) indemnify telecoms--that gets them off the hook financially; so, we aren't talking about making them pay or "lose" a lawsuit.

    You say, and I agree, to get to the bottom of it....I think a Commission could be appointed by Pres. Obama to find out the truth....And with telecom liability off the table, you're more likely to get better cooperation (and fewer "I don't recall" answers.)

    It is bad precedent to let the telecoms get away with it.....But much can still be salvaged too.


    PLease elaborate (none / 0) (#122)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:56:34 PM EST
    on the "other ways" of getting the information, without making them testify in court. You said yourself the point is not punishment, but discovery.

    I believe that (none / 0) (#129)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:07:12 PM EST
    discovery would most likely be more comprehensive in the context of a Civil Rights Class Action.....That is why the FISA bill is crummy.

    But Congress has subpoena power too.  Private lawfirms could be contracted out to do the depositions, etc., as has been done in the past, like in the S&L and RTC litigation.  Special legislation could be needed.  But I would think as is, without any new laws, the Attorney General could conduct a fairly good investigation.

    If we are talking about having the federal government indemnify the telecoms, then spending federal money in an investigation of the telecoms seems doable too.


    I'm probably less convinced (none / 0) (#131)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:33:03 PM EST
    than you that Congress would actually use their subpoena power without some major propping up. I am with you (and BTD) on indemnity.

    They may use the line (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:00:39 PM EST
    they were simply complying with a government request, but the fact that Qwest refused that request (by telling the administration it was not legal without court warrants) puts a totally different face on it.

    That would be good evidence (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:15:19 PM EST
    Not sure it would get before a jury....Different companies, different requests...or, so the argument would go....

    I still think you need a bad guy, and if the telecoms didn't make any money (at least directly) off of giving the info over, the bad guy would be the federal government.  It would be a classic "empty chair defense"--you got the wrong guy, and the real bad guy is not before the court...blah, blah, blah.


    I already explained it (none / 0) (#133)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:03:48 PM EST
    Saying "we'll be responsible" is not a position.  It could mean anything.  Everyone agrees with being responsible.

    What's hilarious is watching you argue that because he said "we'll be responsible" then, and he's still saying "we'll be responsible now," that his position is completely unchanged.  Even the White House Press Secretary isn't often that much of an apologist.

    Wasn't tben banned from BTD threads? (none / 0) (#136)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:19:04 PM EST
    Please, no thread hijacking here -- this topic is too important, requiring full discussion.