Why Flip Flop At All?

Sure, the flip flop attack probably won't cost Obama the election. But why not ask yourself this, why feed the line of attack in the first place? Maybe Obama is not really hurt by the flip flopper line, but please tell me how exactly it helps?

To me, the "it probably won't hurt him" line of defense misses the point. Explain to me instead, how the flip flops HELP Obama? Because, wrap it up in pretty packaging all you want, but Obama DID flip flop on FISA capitulation. Obama did change his position on public financing (I see all the upside to this one BTW, I just think he should have done it earlier), Obama has given strange and contradictory statements on choice. Given these mistakes, it was inevitable it seems to me to see the Media take Obama's use of "refine" on Iraq and make up a story - that Obama changed his position on Iraq withdrawal too. That one was flat out false, but the others were not. Obama created the opening, for no good reason. That is the point. It may not be potent, but it should not even exist.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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  • Perhaps Obama realizes he (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:07:05 PM EST
    will have trouble getting some Clinton supporters to vote for him.  Got to get the votes somewhere.  

    I am one of those troublesome voters. (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:12:31 PM EST
    My reasons for being reluctant to vote for Obama is not Hillary related. Had Obama chosen to lead a successful filibuster of the Bush Cover Up and Elimination of Rights (FISA) bill, I would have a very good reason to vote for him. Instead, his current course of action as highlighted by BTD's post just makes me even more reluctant.  

    I don't think the choice flip flop is fair (none / 0) (#10)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:17:16 PM EST
    I don't his words changing where his stance was and is.  I think people don't have enough to write about in a 24 hour news cycles plus you have the other side willing to take those words and stretch them to their most extreme meanings, which is where you get a lot of these "controversies" from. See Hilaries assasination comment.

    The FISA thing is a flip flop.  Unfortunately FISA is too complicated for most people to understand given the time they have to concentrate on these things.   You can't really educate people in a election year, especially on the national level.


    Excuse me but the Democratic Party had (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:41:59 PM EST
    about 2 1/2 years to educate the American public on FISA. IIRC the stories of Bush illegally spying on American citizens broke sometime in 12/05.

    The Dems are actually going against polling data on this issue. So as far as I'm concerned that excuse just doesn't wash. The Dems had plenty of time to win this argument and if that poll is correct the majority of Americans do not support this action.


    When the FISA story broke, (none / 0) (#145)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:49:42 PM EST
    my father--a guy who pays little to no attention to party politics--stood in his living room and announced that he considered the domestic spying program a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

    I agree with you (none / 0) (#189)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:31:01 PM EST
    They should have educated people.  They didn't (or we didn't)

    The "experience" issue is a factor for (none / 0) (#147)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:52:59 PM EST
    a lot of us.  That's why we didn't vote for him in the first place.  

    The more he talks, the more his inexperience reveals itself.  He's trying to slide to the Right or the Middle but he started out using the wrong wording so now his words seem more like flip flops.  He can call it refining or redefining or whatever he wants to, but they come across as being "change we didn't want."  

    Hillary was more subtle in her use of words.  Yesterday someone posted something Hillary said about the Partial Birth Abortion ban.  Hillary said she could support such a ban as long as it didn't affect the "life or health" of a woman.  "Life" is a very encompassing word which would include that "mental distress" that Obama seems to be caught on.

    Anyway, I'm still hung up on the experience thing.    


    Swiftboats & Willie Horton weren't FIRST (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by seabos84 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:10:34 PM EST
    attacks from the lying slime, they were just attacks that the lying slime figured out how to make stick.

    Of course it is important to detail what lies are in the the latest attack from lying slime, BUT

    IF the attack is NOT successfully shot down and shot full of holes and decapitated, then the attack might work.

    Sadly, detailing the lies isn't usually enough to shoot down & shoot full of holes & decapitate the attack gaining ground ---

    for that we need message.

    Hello DC Doormat Dems!

    Hundreds of Congresscritters!

    Thousands of Staffers!

    Tens of Millions in Salaries!

    Think any of you, this summer, can break away from whining about how mean and ornery the lying slime are AND instead come up with some great coutner message to the attacks?

    I'd love to, but

    I got a job, and IF I don't do my job,

    I'll be living under the bridge in cardboard box

    (I'm one of those tens of millions of people without a trust fund ! without affluent relatives !! Maybe you read about them in college? )

    so how about you'll FIGHTING for us peeeee-ons instead of whining how a bunch of lying slime are liars!


    Non-responsive. (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:14:00 PM EST
    I don't get it myself. (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:13:54 PM EST
    Maybe he's going for a huge win and thinks that the base will vote for him no matter what and so he can spend the next four months attracting as many conservatives as possible.

    If that is the strategy, I think it's flawed in two ways. First, ignoring or pushing away the base can backfire. We don't have to actually vote for McCain for damage to be done. A dispirited base can just sit at home. Second, I think there are people you shouldn't want in your tent because they disagree with your fundamental values. I'm happy not to sing kumbaya with people who think the government should be able to spy on its citizens. Was it Molly Ivins who said "you have to dance with them what brung ya"? I beleive Sen. Obama would do better being brought to the white house by people who believed in core democratic principles. A victory that is big but is based on votes of those who have many fundamental disagreements over core values could be disastrous in terms of implementing progressive policies.

    The problem is (5.00 / 3) (#143)
    by g8grl on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:48:08 PM EST
    that Obama didn't run on core democratic principals.  So he doesn't think that people who believe in those principals brought him to the dance.  He was brought to the dance by Hopey Changey folks.  Hope and Change have no party so he's happy to pander to Republicans.

    I'll say it again (and hope that my post doesn't get deleted).  Obama isn't much of a Democrat.  Democrats don't call other lifelong Democrats racist, they don't give up on UHC and they generally think the Clinton years were good for the country.


    Why flip-flop? (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:14:07 PM EST
    Because he thinks he's invincible?

    I sincerely believe he thinks that.

    when you live in a DNC (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:25:02 PM EST
    bubble with sycophantic Yes People who think you walk on water, it's hard NOT to believe you're invincible.

    See his very recent "when I was a United States Senator" quote for proof of how far down the rabbit hole he is.

    Man, that could be one HARD landing returning to the Senate in January.  Ouch.


    Obama said "Senator" in PAST tense? (4.40 / 5) (#27)
    by stefystef on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:34:37 PM EST
    Get out!  I knew Obama was an arrogant, self-absorbed person, but he is already addressing himself as a  former Senator, like he was already President???

    I know many people are holding their noses and voting for Obama, but I can't.  Obama figures he has all the left and Democrats in his pocket.  They kept saying "what choice do you have"?  "Where are you going to go"?  Just fall in line because McCain  is Bush Third Term.

    Well, I will not vote for McCain, but I will say this... McCain is his own man.  I don't believe he wants to be attached to Bush the same way Gore didn't want to be "attached" to scandal-ridden Clinton during the 2000 election.

    Obama's win is not a given.  


    yes (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:30 PM EST
    here you go:

    "I'm surprised at how finely calibrated every single word was measured. I wasn't saying anything I hadn't said before, that I didn't say a year ago or when I was a United States senator," said Obama, who is still a senator from Illinois.

    (from Tl's very own "Obama 'Puzzled' by Flip Flop Charges" thread)


    Thanks for the quote (none / 0) (#112)
    by stefystef on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:22:51 PM EST
    Very interesting quote from him.  I am waiting for him to refer to himself in the third person.

    Then the transformation from man to politician to immortal will be complete.  I guess it makes sense for "Church of Obama" to have his "coronation" like an old-time revival.


    I'm still waiting (none / 0) (#128)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:39:12 PM EST
    for him to begin referring to what his Presidency will bring to the American People!  (other than Hope and Change, of course)

    To refine (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by eric on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:17:19 PM EST
    is to change.

    Why he used that word is beyond me.

    Think hoodwink/okey doke/bamboozle (3.25 / 4) (#14)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:21:08 PM EST
    Change has become trite and ineffective.

    Three Card Monte (3.66 / 3) (#43)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:42:50 PM EST
    Con-man trick.  

    SiteViolator infernal pest tben buggin' again (5.00 / 2) (#150)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:55:40 PM EST
    Why hasn't tben been banned?

    He's only here to troll and bug, to promote his Master's uninformed and unwelcomed positions from an unhealthily obsessed views on Lady Vagina issues (yet curiously delicate and overly private about his own Sir Danglies.)

    He mass troll-rate posts unfairly and without reason.

    Why hasn't tben been banned?


    Why flip-flop? (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Belswyn on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:19:17 PM EST
    I don't understand it either. But, I don't understand why the Dems brought the bill forward in the first place. There are pressures pushing this bill forward that I don't quite understand.

    On NPR this morning it was suggested that Obama's change was the result of advice by John Brennan, and that Obama's seeking to bolster his credentials with the intelligence community.

    This might be true, but I find it very unpalatable.

    Digby posits (5.00 / 0) (#95)
    by sj on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:10:27 PM EST
    That there is no way that this was brought forward without Obama being on board.  John Brennan's reasoning is as good as any I've heard.

    I think Obama has (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Emma on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:22:06 PM EST
    fundamentally changed his position on Iraq.  He went from drawing a clear line in the sand:  all troops out in 16 months, to adopting HRC's position: I'll confer with the JCS and the generals and come up with a plan to end the war.

    I always thought HRC's position was better, and I don't think anybody gets us out of Iraq in 16 months or 16 years.  So I never believed Obama when he said out in 16 months.  

    So, at this point I don't necessarily care what Obama's "plan to end the war" actually is, or how it's been "refined" in the past 6 months, because I don't think it can be delivered upon in the ways he's represented.

    But Obama has flip-flopped.  His position on withdrawing troops from Iraq has changed substantially in the past 6 months.

    "I Don't Know Who This Guy Is.." (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:24:42 PM EST
    That's what my dear friend--who's black, New York, Puerto Rican, strong working class roots, and a lifelong Dem--said to me over the weekend when we were talking about Obama's recent FF's.

    And it hit me: if my buddy, who's practically a walking Democratic Party demographic, can't be sure who Obama is, how can anyone else?

    That's why the Obama FF Strategy is truly bizarro. You don't need to scurry off to the right when you've got a disaster of a sitting Republican president with a 30 % approval rating, and when you've gained the large part of your support by marketing yourself as THE NEW ALTERNATIVE.

    Unless...unless...Obama's "retreat" to the right is, in fact, a return to who he actually is. And the Obama of the primaries was a politician who deliberately spoke in vagaries, knowing that many people were projecting their (unrealistic) hopes onto his blank canvas, hearing what they wanted to hear.

    I hear doubts (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:32:22 PM EST
    and grumblings about Obama more often than I do anything about his policies, where he stands on issues or his "inevitability".

    In my fairly large circle (LA, NYC, Paris and WA State), there's no sense of excitement for him and no one I know is really excited about the prospect of voting for him.  In fact, many believe Obama is the DNC's candidate, not the Dem Voters'.

    Add to that the "blank slate" aspect of his candidacy, and I suspect many will become confused about just WHO he, exactly, is and either sit out the Election altogether or vote for the Devil they know (McCain) instead of the Devil they don't.


    There is a good article in the (5.00 / 0) (#69)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:54 PM EST
    San Francisco newspaper today (I linked to it in an earlier thread last night) that talks about Conservatives voting for Obama.  

    One of them mentioned that the Republican Party is such a mess, that Bush has destroyed it, that they think it would be better to elect Obama then come back with a new Republican Party in 2012.  They are unhappy because they want the "fiscal conservative/small government" Republican Party they used to have.  

    I don't know if they think Obama is a fiscal conservative.  At least one thought he might be like Clinton's third term (so why the heck didn't he vote for Hillary if Clinton was so good?).

    The article was very interesting and had some great quotes in it -- but I don't know if the  Conservatives quoted in the article are representative of all Conservatives.  


    that's interesting (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:58:25 PM EST
    but, remember, we're talking pre-GOP noise machine against Obama.  These are the dog days of the campaign when everyone's keeping their powder dry.  When the GOP and the Media go full barrels against Obama, I suspect these "conservatives" may think twice and either a) vote for McCain, b) vote for Barr or c) sit this one out ... as many Democrats may do.

    It could be 1972 and McGovern all over again (record-breaking high turnout in the Primaries, record-breaking low turnout with a Dem loss in the General)!


    That's actually pretty funny. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:22:03 PM EST
    Republicans voting for Obama to have a shot at a better Republican candidate in 2012, and Democrats voting for McCain to have a better shot at a real Democrat in 2012.

    And if he was for real in the primaries, then (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:35:52 PM EST
    Obama better start being clearer about who he is, or he's going to lose. As the new guy, the unknown quantity, the winning game for him isn't a move to the center. He's got to project a strong "brand", as it were: This is ME, and when you vote for me this is what you're gonna get.

    Whoever in his camp--Axelrod?--is pushing the rightward rope-a-dope should be sent out to the same pasture as Mark Penn.


    Iraq flip (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Emma on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:25:49 PM EST
    Why flip-flop on Iraq?  Because his original "out in 16 months" is never. ever. ever. going to happen.  He needs a more realistic policy now that he doesn't have to draw a sharp distinction between himself and HRC on this issue.  So, he adopts HRC's policy.

    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:30:20 PM EST
    Had to come back with a clarification three times in one week:

    Faith base initiatives
    Abortion stand (mental stress)

    Before that it was FISA and public funding.
    Whether you call it flip flop or whatever, it does leave the public questioning either his ability or integrity. It's time for him to offer solutions to the problems that are decimating American's across the country. Hopes and dreams may not be enough if the economy continues to tank.

    "First impressions" (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:36:20 PM EST
    -- as a candidate in the GE and not in the Primary -- are hard to shake and if many Voters become aware of Obama's need to "refine" what he says, they may decide he's not to be believed or trusted and tune him out altogether.

    He needs to learn to pick a position -- throw a dart at a dartboard if need be, for God's sake! -- and just stick to it!  No wiggle room, no "refining", no WORM.  Just show a spine and the voters will love you.  Bend over backwards to please everybody and you lose their respect and attention.

    And eventually the Election.


    The Flip Flop could possible cost him the election (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by Saul on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:36:24 PM EST
    I am not convinced that you can take them lightly.  He is only 5 points ahead nationally.  Thats not much.  It also depends what we mean  by flip flopping on Iraq.  If you say its only a flip flop if its a 180 degree turn on what he originally said then so far probably not.  But if he keeps refining Iraq as time goes by then it could be a variation to many as a flip flop.  Time will tell but too many flip flops will destroy on whether you are sincere in anything you say and therefore people will no longer have any respect on what he says and  will stay home in November.

    If anything can (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:38:38 PM EST
    it will be this.

    Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Jane in CA on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:00:08 PM EST
    Again, anecdotal only, but of the three people I know who were planning to vote for Obama, two were voting for him because of his stance on Iraq.  Already one has said he will not vote in November due to the Senator's latest spin on Iraq.  The other (my boss) hasn't said, but I know he must be very concerned.  Iraq was HIS issue this election, and I know he already had grave concerns about Obama's ability to stay the course based on FISA, NAFTA, Public Financing, etc. before this latest "refinement" on Iraq was even unveiled.

    The third doesn't count.  It's my brother, the misogynist libertarian, who can't articulate any coherent reason at all that he wants Obama to be president.


    Whoops (5.00 / 0) (#100)
    by Jane in CA on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:14:03 PM EST
    I thought BTD was talking about the war as well.

    I still think that's going to kill Obama with his most enthusiastic base (who signed up for him because of his antiwar "credentials"), but BTD is right that the flip flopper label will hurt him with a much wider swath of non-single issue voters.


    Misogynist libertarians (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by tree on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:17:18 PM EST
    are one of his core constituencies, at least on the intertoobz.

    I assume you mean FISA (4.00 / 0) (#52)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:47:20 PM EST
    but I still think the war is a bigger problem.  I have seen it said here that his new was position is not new, and that may be, but that is not the impression many of his most ardent supporters left the primary with apparently.
    based on conversations this weekend.  FISA was almost never mentioned.  Iraq was mentioned a lot.

    You assume wrong (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:49:25 PM EST
    The flip flopper/not standing for anything meme is what killed Kerry and it is what can kill Obama, if anything can.

    oh (5.00 / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:50:29 PM EST
    then I agree completely

    also (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:54:25 PM EST
    I dont remember Kerry giving them half the ammunition Obama has given them.
    I just got a disgruntled dem mail this morning with a gigantic list of flips.

    Kerry gave them the soundbite of all time (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:57:09 PM EST
    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:20:14 PM EST
    may have too but we just don't know it yet.

    O have given them (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:30:42 PM EST
    some extremely choice soundbites.  we just wont  hear them until after the convention:

    . . . said Brown, who is perhaps best know as a creator of the independent expenditure Willie Horton ad that helped elect George H.W. Bush in 1988. "Most haven't looked at the issues. They don't know Barack Obama. It's all about delivering messages to those people during that moment in time when they're listening."


    Yup. (none / 0) (#198)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:06:09 PM EST
    Just can't beat "I actually voted for it....before I voted against it."  Or vice versa.  Or...

    Yeah.  That was a classic and will live in politics for all time.


    he's passed flip flopping (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by environmentally blue on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:36:57 PM EST
    and this says it all.

    And, I think it's great.

    obama has attained "shapeshifter" status (1.00 / 1) (#37)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:39:11 PM EST
    Same here.... (5.00 / 0) (#201)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:10:34 PM EST
    I've been shifting shape ever since I ended up under this damn bus.

    Gettin' crowded and it's becoming kind of a cranky bunch...


    There is a good reason (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by HenryFTP on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:38:47 PM EST
    and that's because Obama and his team have been very well attuned from the outset to the corporate Media. As Paul Rosenberg has astutely noted, Obama's "postpartisan" and "unity" rhetoric resonates with the corporate Media's "bipartisan" and "Unity Party" themes that various elite Serious People intone on television and wax upon in columns.

    While Obama's recent statements have exposed him to the "flip flop" attack and have dismayed many Democrats, they have largely followed elite Serious Person opinion and given him some protection from being attacked in the corporate Media as a "liberal". Recalling the infamous Gibson-Stephanopoulos debate, I predict he'll start waffling on tax policy as well.

    I still think the most important primary that Obama won was the National Media Primary, having first become the anointed Media anti-Clinton candidate, and then becoming the presumptive Media nominee long before the primaries were over. I persist in thinking that Obama's rightward moves have not been made because they are vote-winning strategies per se, but rather because they are aimed at neutralizing McCain's advantage in the Media General Election. In particular, the Media will find it much easier to report that Obama is maintaining his lead in the polls because of his "moderation" rather than reporting that he is leading in the polls because the voters are angry and want to throw out the bums in Washington who have led the country to disaster. The Media are far too invested in those self-same disastrous policies, and Obama's "accommodation" of those policies makes him Responsible if not downright Serious and thus at least a worthy adversary to War Hero Fighter Jock Maverick John McCain.

    Given the continuing strength of the Media in influencing voter attitudes, as dismayed as I am I can readily understand why Obama thinks winning over or at least neutralizing key opinionmakers is a more effective strategy than the bolder Trumanesque approach I would prefer.

    That may heve been his thinking (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:48:16 PM EST
    but it clearly is faulty.

    the flip flop meme is MUCH worse for Obama than the :liberal" meme in THIS election.


    I think it's faulty too, (none / 0) (#70)
    by HenryFTP on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:52:33 PM EST
    but for the country's sake I hope I'm wrong.

    Talk about inside baseball! (5.00 / 0) (#91)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:04:24 PM EST
    If your analysis is right, and Obama's strategy is all about winning the Media Elections, then what an ironic situation we're looking at here! We've got a candidate who's built his creds on the fact that he's an "outside the Beltway" alternative, who is nevertheless playing the most Inside Baseball campaign possible.

    Whew. That's something to wrap my head around today. Not to mention the even bigger deal: that our democracy  has entered that post-post-modern stage where 100 percent of a candidate's strategy is about capturing controlling the media narrative.

    Nothing else matters.


    The 2006 mid-term elections (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by HenryFTP on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:18:10 PM EST
    challenged the notion that capturing the Media narrative was the only thing that matters. But I agree that we're engaged in a fundamental struggle for our republican form of government. I think that an Obama victory achieved in part by catering to elite Opinionmaking be something of a setback in that struggle, particularly in view of the gains so hard won in 2006.

    Yes, but (5.00 / 0) (#123)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:35:10 PM EST
    will voters fall for it?

    Look what happened in New Hampshire and in many states after.


    Win the battle, lose the war (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:38:01 PM EST
    I have to thank you, because your line of argument here has helped me pin down just what has been troubling me most about Obama this last month.

    It's more than the flip flops and the scramble to the center. It's the cynicism. In three weeks, we've traded the promise of "Yes, we can" politics for "No we can't...gotta play it by Media Rules if we want to win."

    I grew up around ward-style politics, my family was in it, so I'm a pretty tough skinned pragmatist when it comes to pols and their ways. Still, I do believe that the way you win the game is the way you gotta keep playing it. An all- Media Narrative strategy may win Obama the presidency, but it's going to end up a hollow victory in the longer run--for Obama, the Democratic Party, for all of us.


    I think that you may be (none / 0) (#40)
    by eric on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:41:16 PM EST
    on to something.  Good post.

    sounds a little like wishful thinking, but time (none / 0) (#53)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:47:21 PM EST
    will tell that story....

    I think he will govern (none / 0) (#64)
    by HenryFTP on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:01 PM EST
    in much the same way he has campaigned. As well he might, given the vulnerability of Democratic Presidents to concerted attack by Beltway insiders and the Establishment (Carter driven from office, Clinton impeached and vilified (even while gaining in popular support in the country).

    Regarding the tax policy waffling... (none / 0) (#140)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:46:58 PM EST
    I understand he has at least one known Supply Sider on his economic team...

    I don't like the idea of that.  "Trickle Down" didn't work that well.  


    The $64,000 question. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:40:51 PM EST
    Why Flip Flop At All?

    I've been asking it and not liking the answers I'm getting from Obama supporters.

    most of the ones I spoke (5.00 / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:44:24 PM EST
    to over the holiday, and there was several, hardly seem aware of the flips and flops.
    to an extent that was disturbing.  I suppose there are plenty of places on the web where is these things are discussed at all they are only "put into context"

    If I were an Obama (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:39 PM EST
    supporter, I wouldn't want to mess up my beautiful mind with inconvenient truths about the candidate.  Therefore, I'd pay almost no attention to the news, or else I'd rationalize his position changes into pretzel-shaped pieces, much as his supporters are doing in this very thread right now, as a matter of fact.  :)

    I especially like this one:

    He has to do this in order to win in November!


    Pie....did they tell you to check his website? :) (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:47:49 PM EST
    Heh. (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    Most of them have finally realized the silliness of that advice.

    anglachelg (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:42:25 PM EST
    has a typically insightful post up about his thinking on some of the flips and flops.
    its called Classification.

    I wish Obama would tell (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by bjorn on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:48:45 PM EST
    why he has flip-flopped on FISA.  He and his advisors are the only ones who know why they are doing it.  Seems crazy to me.

    It's baffling (5.00 / 5) (#89)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:03:47 PM EST
    It's like they think the "liberal" label is such political poison they'd rather have a "who knows what he is" label.  The idea that he's a man of conviction, that he has solid principles, that's all going by the wayside.

    Lots of Democrats run to the center in the general election.  But I cannot remember a candidate who has embarked on such a hasty, clumsy shift on so many issues almost immediately after securing the nomination.  It's way too obvious.  When you move to the center, you're hoping to present yourself as authentic, not looking to hang out a neon sign that says "HEY, I AM MOVING TO THE CENTER HERE."

    It seems Obama is very consciously running as the "I'm whatever you want me to be" candidate.

    Exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:11:42 PM EST
    The idea that he's a man of conviction, that he has solid principles, that's all going by the wayside.

    Why his supporters refuse to see this is beyond me.


    its because (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:20:09 PM EST
    for many of them convictions and principles never had anything to do with it.

    Implore Obama to unflip his FISA flop tomorrow (5.00 / 0) (#116)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:28:50 PM EST
    Chuck Schumer pried his @ss loose from his prime seat in the schvitz at the Senate Spa to throw himself selflessly at TV cameras last week, vowing to stand up and oppose the FISA cave-in.

    This could have been to hype his wknd appearance as scenery that chews itself on Law & Order: Criminally Over-Acted. (Sen was speechifying).

    More likely the photo-op was a predictable scrap of Dem theater to deflect the ire of the rabble-ATMs during the Dems holiday cookouts done old-fashioned Dem-style -- off @sses fully ablaze from their pants on fire -- before returning rested and refreshed for yet another mass cave.

    (I'm discounting the possibility that Sen Schumer appeared in a rare moment of strong, unwavering principled leadership from the Jellycrats because I'm too unfamiliar to ascribe that one occurrence and certainly not a whole category.)

    In any case, now that we have Obama, the Best Speechmaker Evah, in the Senate and running for Prez, he should be leading the charge to stamp out this bill. He should be leading the charge to shut down this disgrace.

    Get your dialing fingers and send buttons ready to remind them that the days of trusting them to represent you in good faith are over, but you will keep an open mind and reward good behavior.

    Sen. Clinton should filibuster (none / 0) (#141)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:47:14 PM EST
    A filibuster is a good opportunity to clarify the differences between protecting America and having no accountability.  If she filibusters, she'll be on TVs all across the country clarifying the essential components of the Democratic platform and helping to consolidate the base.

    Obama not HRC's the Presumptive Leader of the Dems (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:02:40 PM EST
    For gawd's sake Sen Clinton is not on the ticket. Get over it. Move on.

    As Rahm Emmanuel, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean have emphatically told us and media, Clinton supporters were replaced weeks ago by masses of shiny New Democrats Obama has brought in and will continue to do from the Republican side of the aisle..

    Get behind the party message: Support Obama or STFU and get over your unhealthy Clinton obsession already unless you want Obama to appear even more inept that he already does.


    Are you promoting one party rule (none / 0) (#177)
    by my opinion on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:16:33 PM EST
    and no freedom of speech?

    Ok. I jumped the gun. Missed your point. (none / 0) (#178)
    by my opinion on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:18:29 PM EST
    Hillary should filibuster (none / 0) (#179)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:28 PM EST
    I'm not stuck in the past.  Are you?

    As Dem LEADERSHIP Obama should show his skill (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:45:19 PM EST
    ... and his supporters should stop hanging off Sen Clinton and stop trying to deflect Obama's glaring weaknesses and flip flops this way.

    Jeez, if the Dems don't already have buyer's remorse over pushing his wheezing carcass over the "finish" line in the primaries, then continuing to hide behind Sen Clinton isn't going to generate confidence.


    Why Not? (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:59:58 PM EST
    So Obama's not going to, why does that mean no other Dem senator can?

    Indeed, by what your saying, any Dem senator who DOES filibuster is showing the kind of leadership many of us want to see.

    So she's not the nominee. She's still my senator. I'm not going to hold it against her that she does not filibuster, but I would sure stand behind her if she did.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:06:23 PM EST
    I would love it if she would filibuster, although some would portray it as just an attempt to show up Obama after his highly-publicized change of position.  Then again, maybe that's part of why I would love it.

    But nevertheless, when someone who says "Obama can't possibly vote against the bill, the GOP would paint him as soft on terror" also says "but gee, Hillary ought to filibuster!" I think it's fair game to call that a weaselly stance.  I don't like people whose best defense of Obama's lack of political courage is to try and point out that Hillary also lacks it.


    Hope You're Referring To Someone Else (none / 0) (#202)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:13:06 PM EST
    who says ""Obama can't possibly vote against the bill,..." etc. because I never have and it isn't my position.

    I'm angry about this shift, and by Obama's lining up with those Dems in Congress who are foisting it.

    Not a Hillary supporter, but in this case if she did something powerful like filibuster this, I would support her on it and respect her for it.

    And I think other people like me (Obama supporters, but not Clinton haters) might feel the same.


    Absolutely not true Steve (none / 0) (#203)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:15:33 PM EST
    Obama is the Dem candidate.  He's running for Commander in Chief.  If the GOP makes ads that say Sen. Clinton is weak on terrorism, it doesn't affect the election.  But if Obama is shown as undermining the government's ability to protect us, 527 ads using his words against this version of FISA would be very effective.

    Since he's supporting it now, any smears they make are easily scoffed at, given the differences in last years FISA bill and this one.  Yeah, we know this bill is worse, but the target audience for anti-Obama smears don't know it.


    No one's hiding behind Hillary Clinton (none / 0) (#197)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:03:14 PM EST
    Why do you keep bringing this back to Obama?  My post says Sen Clinton should filibuster, regardless of what Obama does.

    My preference is that Obama stay focused on the presidential race.

    Hillary should filibuster this.  She said she was against telecom immunity.  She's not running for president.  I pay her salary, it's her job to stand up for the constitution and it's a good opportunity for her to help Americans understand why the telecom immunity component is dangerous.  It's what she's good at, and it would be helpful to the Dem party for her to speak to the party's base about the issues we stand for.

    Wanting her to do her job has nothing to do with Obama.  Please don't bring this back to some nonsense about me thinking she's still on the ticket or needing to hang on her.  I've moved on, so don't imply I'm still stuck back in the primary.


    The Landslide Gambit (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by WakeLtd on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:51:40 PM EST
    I think there is a strategic explanation for the flip-flops, the semi-flip-flops, the refinement of positions, the changes in emphasis, and all the other newly-minted nuanced statements coming from the Obama camp. I think that they believe that this election can have historic landslide potential for Obama. So they want to have something to appeal to all voters. It is a prediction I first heard from the most ardent supporters who talked in terms of Obama winning 80% of the popular vote. I dismissed that idea at first, working on the assumption that this election would be another squeaker, like the past two elections. Maybe I was thinking too small. They have a lot of cash and I think they are going "all in". Some would say they are trying to "buy the pot". Of course, they could end up with a busted hand.

    I believe obama truly believes, he cannot (4.40 / 5) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:03:31 PM EST
    be knocked down by anything....hopefully, the truth will set the electorate free.

    Hopefully he will lose? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:53:58 PM EST
    Talking Left?

    you think Obama (none / 0) (#110)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:21:13 PM EST
    is a leftie?

    If obama is a lefty, McCain must be one too (none / 0) (#118)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:31:11 PM EST
    no kidding (5.00 / 0) (#125)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:35:37 PM EST
    but then, that is exactly what the right wing thinks.

    Obama-the-Candidate is a product, (4.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:52:45 PM EST
    one that has been built from the ground up, starting from long before David Axelrod ever landed Obama as a client.  He has an impressive resume, but get under the surface and there isn't much there - it's veneer.  His books - well, who knows how much is the real thing and how much is fictionalized, but again - it's a "feel-good" story about someone who succeeds against the odds, even if, once you peel back a few of those layers, the "odds" are not all that daunting.  He claims to be all about the little guy, but when his constituents were freezing in Rezko-developed and managed buildings he was nowhere to be found.  He hasn't even been able to take his Senate responsibilities seriously and yet, he wants to claim that his "judgment" is far superior to anyone else's.  

    Obama-the-Product, now king of the internets and master of online marketing, wants/ needs to be in more homes than Kleenex or Bounty or TV Guide or Land O'Lakes butter, so he's selling himself to whomever he can, however he can - even if that means that he's reversing course or side-stepping a position or abandoning one altogether.  

    He would not say he is flip-flopping - he would probably say that he is delving into the needs of all the people, finding what resonates with them and identifying elements of his platform that can appeal to them.  He's a product, one that a lot of people are wary of being able to perform as advertised.

    Somewhere along the way, while Obama was writing this story, he forgot that it's important to be a real person, with something real at his core, and that is why he's doing this.

    With all due respect, Anne, (none / 0) (#94)
    by HenryFTP on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:09:55 PM EST
    you would never have gone very far on Madison Avenue. The Obama campaign has been mostly about the sizzle, not the steak.

    Obama is hardly the first Democrat in recent years who has seemed less than enamoured of the "product" (i.e., Democratic policies). Obama would much rather stick to delivering his "message" rather than delivering on policies. Given the fact that our allegedly most esteemed political writer, David Broder, openly professes boredom when Al Gore talks about climate change or Hillary Clinton talks about energy policy, can any of us really be surprised that the Party Establishment preferred a guy who is really good at "message" and somewhat indifferent to actual policies?


    Oh, I agree, Henry - for sure about the (4.50 / 2) (#114)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:23:46 PM EST
    Madison Avenue part! - but I think we have a confluence of hollow man, compliant, lazy media, and easily manipulated electorate.

    The last candidate I think was so devoid of substance was George Bush, but the difference is that I don't think Bush ever groomed himself for the presidency the way Obama has.

    Reminds me of an article I read a few years ago on the marketing of Claritin - which despite being abysmally ineffective became the best-selling drug on the market, and it was all about direct-to-consumer marketing and working the doctors who would prescribe it.  Was amazed to learn that millions of people had been spending billions of dollars on a drug that was less effective than the placebo it was tested against.


    Quite simply.... (3.50 / 2) (#44)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:43:06 PM EST
    Obama has not flip-flopped.  He has appropriately refined his positions as necessary to meet evolving campaign necessities - further disclosure, clarification, changing circumstances, etc.

    A flip-flop is when one compeletley switches sides of an issue, as John McCain has done repeatedly.

    For example - Obama is still strongly supports pro-choice, but added that he does not believe "mental distress" should be a reason for terminating a late stage pregnancy.  If he had announced that he has decided to abandon pro-choice in favor of anti-abortion, that would be a flip-flop.

    But probably not among irrational Obama bashers.

    False (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:46:56 PM EST
    Obama promised to filibuster ANY bill that contained telecom immunity.

    Now he will vote FOR a bill with telecom immunity.

    that is a complete flip flop.


    BTD, I'm going to argue for your man now: (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:10:15 PM EST
    It was not a "flip flop."  

    Yes, he said he would filibuster any bill that included telecom immunity - but then he had "a change of heart."  He has spoken about "change" all along and so, this is keeping his word that he is going to bring "change" to Washington.  And the first way he is doing this is by having a "change of heart" over telecom immunity.  If one wants to get greater things accomplished, one must behave in a "post-partisan" way which allows one to make decisions without any partisanship at all.  The declaration he made of filibustering any bill was a partisan declartion -- and now he is "post partisan."  Telecom immunity, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, is a post-partisan idea.    

    We must all move on.  A "change of heart" is in our best interest and is not a flip flop.  

    (Do I get an A for this?  I love this debate thing!)    


    Really good (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:12:17 PM EST
    I nominate you to fill this position on a permanent basis.  Unless, of course, we decide a "change" is required.

    That's one..... (3.50 / 2) (#67)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:36 PM EST
    .....but it doesn't merit categorizing him as a flip-flopper.

    And in regard to the larger subject of illegal eavesdropping and civil liberties, he's far better than the alternative, which is a continuation of all things Bush.


    Why (none / 0) (#137)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:42:03 PM EST
    He's better than the alternative. Why especially in this election cycle should we accept that as a legitimate reason. We had the country behind us to have a true Democrat in the WH in 2009. There was never any reason to play into the Republican brand, it's trashed.

    Obama has never been strongly pro-choice. (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:48:35 PM EST
    And wouldn't you say that going from pro-public financing to anti-public financing is a complete switch?

    He's pro-choice. (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    Period.  He has not "flip-flopped" on the fundamental issue.

    You can't be strongly pro-choice and (5.00 / 0) (#77)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:56:15 PM EST
    desire to be a Roberts supporter at the same time.

    B.S. (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:58:06 PM EST
    Not only does that not make much sense grammatically it makes no sense logically.

    It's no different than religious folks who say that if you don't fight to outlaw abortion you aren't pro-life.  


    BO anti-contraception outreach is a HUGE flipflop (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:11:11 PM EST
    Stumping for weeks with Sen Casey Jr (who has vowed to use his office to overturn Roe. He would deny women choice based on the stand that fertilized eggs have more constitutional protections than disposable fertility pods carrying them).

    He's reaching out to no=choice evangelicals.

    That is NOT what a pro-choice candidate who will liberalize the courts looks like.


    It's fun when (3.00 / 2) (#75)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:54:12 PM EST
    you completely make things up isn't it?

    When has Obama ever voted, in the Il state legislator or in the Senate, for a bill hostile to pro-choice rights?

    When did Obama become anti-public finance?   He opted to forgo public financing.  That doesn't make him anti-public finance although I don't know if he was ever terribly excited about public finance.

    I know that I find public finance to be a sheer waste of time if 527 organizations can do whatever they please with no regulations.  


    Apparently (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by Jackson Hunter on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:11:20 PM EST
    it is for you.  He not only promised to use Public Financing, he banged away at Clinton for refusing to make the same vow, and then he turns around and breaks his promise.  Here in the real world we call that lying.  If he had used it once as a throwaway line in some random speech, that would be different, but he focused on it.  I don't have a Public Finance fetish, but you can say that PF is not necessarily good policy and also say Obama was disingenuous at the same time.  It was a flip flop, pure and simple.



    And thus flip-flop (none / 0) (#102)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:17:17 PM EST
    joins the ranks of words that once had meaning but no longer.

    Let me try this again.  Does the fact that he chose not to accept public financing mean that he opposes public financing?

    And in the real world I am accustomed to lying and breaking a promise are 2 different and distinct acts.  But my real world may be different than yours.


    OK let me have a try (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by tree on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:31:20 PM EST
    Does the fact that he now chooses not to accept the constraints of  public financing mean that he didn't pledge to accept it earlier in the campaign? Of course not. That's a flip-flop in his position. The word has meaning whether you wish to acknowledge it or not.

    Lying and breaking a promise can be one and the same IF the intent to break the promise was there when the promise was made. Regardless, breaking a promise is changing one's position, and thus is a flip-flop. In the real world, not in the spin zone.


    What if I said (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:35:24 PM EST
    I was pro-life but then opted to have an abortion myself? At the very least that would be saying that I object to other people having abortions, but in my case it was OK for me to do it. Hypocritical, no? So Obama is for public financing of other people's campaigns, but not his? Hypocrite, anyone?

    Really, (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by frankly0 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:37:49 PM EST
    and truly, you are a shameless apologist for Obama, aren't you?

    Look, Obama promised that he would take public financing in this very election cycle (his only condition being that he would need to negotiate with the Republican candidate first). He then turned right around, and, without any serious and obvious attempt to negotiate with McCain, refused to accept public financing.

    It doesn't matter whether that constitutes a "lie" or a "broken promise". It's a flip flop in either case, and just about as bad and blatant as they get.

    And how is it in any way better if somehow Obama still claims to be in favor of public financing, despite his own refusal to abide by it? Wouldn't any fair minded person say that it's only worse that he would do so, because it shows what a hypocrite he is on the issue -- declaring that public financing is a goal of his, but refusing to adhere to it when it serves his personal ambition to forgo such financing?

    Really, you'll find a way to justify anything the man does, won't you?


    Hardly (none / 0) (#138)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:45:43 PM EST
    I reserve my criticisms of Obama for blogs where even the slightest criticism by an Obama "apologist" is trumpeted through the halls as proof of how horrible he is.

    Not that I am terribly concerned with your opinion of me.  You have been one of the shameless critics of Obama for months on numerous blogs.  Nothing was too petty for you, and that continues on today.

    You don't really care about public finance.  You care about branding Obama with a label that was proven to damage the last Democratic candidate.  


    Actually, (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:56 PM EST
    I care a great deal about public financing of political campaigns.  I think that the amount of money spent so far in this campaign is an abomination. Until we finance all campaigns publicly, we are going to continue to get the elected officials the special interests buy for us.

    "Real World' vs. Politics (none / 0) (#122)
    by daring grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:34:58 PM EST
    Ah, there's the rub...

    Lying or breaking a promise or changing your mind, either for actual substantive reasons or for just for strategic expedience.

    I guess I live in a different 'real world' from some. because these are all different in my 'real world' than they are in the world of politics.


    It means.... (none / 0) (#132)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:41:02 PM EST
    ....his opponent was already gaming the system in the primaries and the Republicans were setting up a huge 527/RNC coordinated campaign, so Obama, seeing that many small donors instead of special interests were funding his campaign, made a rational decision for a variety of good reasons.

    I'd like to know how those (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:33 PM EST
    donors giving $30K+ are "small donors" and not special interests?

    Also, isn't Moveon.org a 527?  Was Obama planning to stop them?  Could he stop them?  

    Everything he had to say about not accepting public financing sounded like something from Pinochio or that old Jon Levitz character from SNL (the one who was married to Morgan Fairchild?)  


    that one was good! (none / 0) (#144)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:49:11 PM EST
    keep um comin please.
    humor is good.  you did mean that as humor, didnt you?

    Not true (none / 0) (#167)
    by trillian on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:08:56 PM EST
    From the Chicago Trib today....

    ...To which FactCheck.org replied: "We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain's total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1 percent of the [Republican National Committee's] receipts."

    Here's a final word from FactCheck: "[T]he Democratic National Committee has historically been far more reliant on PAC and lobbyist money than the RNC. In 2004, PACs provided about 10 percent of the DNC's total fundraising and only about 1 percent of the RNC's total....

    Except FISA (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:48:43 PM EST
    He said he would filibuster, and then flip-flopped.

    And, in my opinion, the bill is not "the best we can get," nor is it even necessary.

    But that doesn't deserve categorizing him as a "flip-flopper."  He's just wrong.  I don't like it, but it doesn't even put a dent in my support for Obama over McCain - a true flip-flopper.

    If flip-flopping is a paramount issue for you, Obama is your best choice.


    That's not a huge crock of sh!te you smell (1.00 / 1) (#195)
    by Ellie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:57:16 PM EST
    Obama has not flip-flopped.  He has appropriately refined his positions as necessary to meet evolving campaign necessities - further disclosure, clarification, changing circumstances, etc.

    But an exquisite rustic ceramic with a delightful pot pourri of the finest dungs, collected from a panoply of humans and beasts alike, and set before dung beetles, blow flies and other royalty of the insect kingdom to celebrate a new age of plenty.

    YES -- Team Obama's on the ascendancy and the BS is sure to be torrential.


    What's changed is that he's our nominee. (none / 0) (#101)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:14:30 PM EST
    Obama the Senator can filibuster FISA.  

    Obama the Dem nominee has to let the rest of the Senate fight this, or else he's handing the GOP custom made 527s ads while they claim he's undermining our defense against terrorists.

    This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That's why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.

    It's one thing for some other Senators to get blasted with the terrorism nonsense, but it's a whole other thing if people think the Commander in Chief is weak.


    Oh (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:18:46 PM EST
    So what he meant was, I will filibuster any bill that contains telecom immunity, unless you make me the nominee in which case I will no longer be able to.  Somehow he left out that last part, though.

    FISA is really not that salient an issue for Republican fearmongering, as every poll shows, as the 2006 election results show.  You know what is a salient issue?  Talking to hostile leaders like Ahmadinejad without preconditions.  The idea you keep pushing, that Obama has magically made himself immune to attack ads by voting for the FISA bill, is just silly.  They will run ads all day calling Obama soft on terrorism, they will run ads all day highlighting his words about talking to hostile leaders, and if that's the kind of stuff that makes you wet the bed then you might want to change the sheets right now.


    Peter Beinart is looking better and better (none / 0) (#107)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:20:08 PM EST
    which is totally scary (none / 0) (#130)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:39:24 PM EST
    in and of itself

    I don't think so. (none / 0) (#131)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:39:39 PM EST
    The tide is changing.

    On Iran, top military officer sounds like Obama
    Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen urges diplomacy, not use of force

    I don't know who their polling, but I don't think a lot of people want our President to refuse to speak to leaders of dangerous countries (Iran) because it might "validate" them.  America is tired of this war, they're fed up with the way Bush has mismanaged the fight against terrorists and they can run all the ads they want about Obama being soft.  His support of FISA contracts them.  

    As far as what he said last fall, I wouldn't put words in his mouth.  I have my own concerns about Obama, but I hope the Senate filibusters without him.  


    Oh man (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:57:02 PM EST
    You really think the FISA vote is not just a defensive maneuver, but actually an offensive argument Obama will be able to deploy with centrist voters?  "How can they say I'm soft on terrorism, I voted for the FISA Amendments Act!"  That's ridiculous.

    What I find amazing is that you are able to take actual evidence into account in assessing whether Obama's stance on talking with Iran will be an electoral detriment to him, but somehow, when the issue is FISA all logic and evidence goes out the window.  "Who cares that the Republicans ran on FISA in 2006 and didn't unseat a single Democrat, this year is different for some reason!"  "Who cares that polling consistently shows most Americans believe in a warrant requirement, Obama will be fatally smeared if he votes that way!"

    It's almost as if your interest in considering evidence varies depending on which side of an issue Obama is on.  For some reason, the fearmongering ads about talking with Iran without preconditions will never work, but the fearmongering ads about the FISA Amendments Act will be crushing.  No reason given, which is just as well.


    You know there once was a time (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:01:26 PM EST
    when you discussed politics and political strategy.

    Now you are pretty much only interested in attacking Obama and his supporters.

    Sad to see.


    whats sad (none / 0) (#163)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:04:09 PM EST
    is that is all you see in his comment

    Hold up (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:19:41 PM EST
    Was Obama NOT running for the Democratic nomination we he promised in no uncertain terms that he would filibuster ANY bill that included telco immunity?

    I could have sworn he was running and was not anointed the other day.

    BTW, your attitude is precisely listening to your inner Dick Morris. You need to listen to Peter Beinart.


    Why doesn't he just vote Present or (none / 0) (#187)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:27:24 PM EST
    not show up at all for this bill?  It would ba a lot easier on him, wouldn't it?  And it would be treating this bill like he's treated almost every other controversial measure he's ever had to vote on...  

    Just don't make a decision.  He'll save himself a lot of grief.  He can be both for and against the bill and no one will know the difference.  <rolleyes>


    WOW! I think I just answered the main (1.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:31:42 PM EST
    question on this thread:  Why flip flop at all?

    Obama is flip flopping because HE IS NOT USED TO MAKING A STAND ON CRITICAL ISSUES!  He's used to voting "Present."  He's used to just "not showing up to vote."

    HE'S NOT A DECIDER!  He's one of those people who can't make a decision!  

    Now that he is running for the highest office in the country and people want him to come out one way or the other -- HE CAN'T!!  All he knows how to do is to wobble around in the middle!  

    Good grief!  I'm surprised it took me this long to realize it.  Obama is just one of those super indecisive people who can't decide what he wants most of the time...  


    Nonsense, He's made a very clear decision (none / 0) (#200)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:09:20 PM EST
    This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That's why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.

    By taking this stand on FISA, Obama is undermining the GOP's ability to claim he's putting Americans at risk by not giving the government the tools it needs to protect us.


    Why did he flip flop? (2.00 / 0) (#84)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:58:49 PM EST
    BTD, you spent a good part of 2007 posting about redefining the center in politics. It's always about the center in this two party system.  Obama is just trying to redefine the center by staking out positions and then refining, redicing, changing course according to the whims of the day, and then making them his.

    If you look at Pres. Clinton's 1996 run against Dole you will see that Pres. Clinton did this as well with NAFTA, Welfare Reform, DOMA, etc...It's called Nuance, capitualation, flip-flopping, etc...until it just becomes politics.

    Frustrating, yes. Surprising, no. If Obama becomes President then I would suggest he would have vetoed the FISA bill. It's about getting elected first and governing second.

    Making sausage isn't pretty, but it does taste good.

    Um (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:03:50 PM EST
    Gawd, I hope that is not the message you got from my posts.

    "Moving to the middle" is the OPPOSITE of "defining the middle."

    Obama should have taken his existing positions and said "THIS is the middle."


    well, (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:41:25 PM EST
    Part of my post was tongue in cheek, part not.

    Obama is redefining the center by pretty much saying that whereever he is that day is the center. Sort of like, "No matter what's happenin', my toes keep on tappin'"


    You miss the point! (5.00 / 3) (#93)
    by pie on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:09:43 PM EST
    It's about getting elected first and governing second.

    By doing this, he may very well be jeopardizing his election chances, because people do not know what he stands for.

    "He'll say anything to get elected" does not translate into "he'll be a decisive leader" either.  He's losing more credibility by the day.

    This country is in a world of hurt after eight years of Bush.  Why in God's name has this guy been picked to start to fix the mess?



    I would be willing to wager right now (none / 0) (#148)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:54:53 PM EST
    that Obama will never veto a bill. Never, even if he serves two terms.

    I'll make a possible exception for a left-leaning bill.


    I like your "inner Dick Morris" theory (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:10:38 PM EST
    as an explanation.

    Well, I don't like it, but it satisfies the evidence.

    Creeping me out (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:56:18 PM EST
    The outer Dick Morris is bad enough - imagine what the inner one must be like.

    Which reminds me (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:15:59 PM EST
    Peter Beinart Gets It, Some Left Blogs Don't. Atrios and Chris Bowers are two that do not get it.

    I think the deal is (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:19:52 PM EST
    that Bowers and Atrios have the impression that Obama is running away with this election. I'm not convinced of that myself--yet.

    its good that you dont t hink that (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:26:57 PM EST
    my favorite Kos moron posted about Stu Rothenbergs piece at real clear politics.
    they loved this part:

    Indeed, almost every bit of national- level data reflects problems for the Republicans.

    this part didnt get quoted:

    And yet, it's simply too soon to declare the presidential race over. Especially since it has barely begun.

    Unlike many other kinds of elections, the presidential race is to a large extent about the candidates. McCain's own image is much better than his party's, and for all of Obama's strengths and appeal, the Democrat isn't without liabilities and weaknesses.


    I agree with Andgarden, but also think (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:31:11 PM EST
    there are a few more reasons why Atrios and Bowers aren't too disturbed by the recent "refining":

    1.  The Atrios/Bowers wing of the left blgosphere just don't care about FISA as much as the BTD/Greenwald wing; which is partly a result of the fact that

    2. Iraq is the number one concern for them.  It is the number one reason they broke for Obama over Hillary, and Atrios even proves this in a post today asserting that Iraq was the ONLY reason Hillary lost.  

    They are really still all about the war.  Anything else Obama says is pretty much white noise to them.

    will they be surprised, (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by sancho on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:48:20 PM EST
    should obama win the election (or be declared wiiner as he was the nomination), when obama does not end the war? (because he won't.)

    or will they think that obama's not ending the war is hillary's fault?

    or will they even notice that the war has not ended with obama as prez since they will be so happy to have "their" candidate as the face of u.s. imperialism?


    I think the reason they never (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:34:10 PM EST
    saw Hillary as being acceptable is a little more complicated than you or they put it. It deserves its own analysis, but doesn't really fit here.

    I trust a book will be written (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:38:09 PM EST
    -- or at least a very interesting, detailed article in Vanity Fair or something -- which will go behind the scenes and reveal just how sordid and undemocratic the Destroy Hillary At All Costs crowd really was.

    Well, sure, I agree it is (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:40:43 PM EST
    complicated.  That is why I said the war was the number one reason, not the only reason.  However, I do think that Atrios, at least, believes that the only reason he rejected Hillary was because of Iraq.

    Caring ab9out Iraq and FISA capitualtion (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:37:16 PM EST
    are mutually exclusive? News to me.

    Who cared more about Iraq in 2007? Who fought to not fund it?

    I do not agree with your comment at all.

    I am not voting for McCain.


    Oh, and reading what you wrote (5.00 / 0) (#60)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:49:10 PM EST
    I think you took what I said to mean that I don't think you prioritized the war.  If that is how it came off, I apologize.

    I was focusing more on the flip side of that (i.e. that Bowers/Atrios prioritize the war).  I know you prioritized both FISA and the war.


    I'm sorry, but you are totally (none / 0) (#46)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:44:15 PM EST
    warping what I wrote.  Please show me where I said those goals were mutually exclusive?  Heck, I think both of those issues are incredibly important, so if I thought they were mutually exclusive, I would think I was a split personality.

    What I think most people who read what I wrote would understand is that life is about priorities, and different people have different priorities.  You, for example, declare time and time again that you don't know much about the healthcare debate, and aren't bothering to.  Does that mean you don't care about healthcare?  Of course not.  But clearly it is less of a priority for you as an issue than, for example, FISA is.



    I read your post (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:51:21 PM EST
    Maybe you meant something else but what you wrote says what it says.

    To wit, you had to choose between FISA and Iraq. I reject that.


    Well I'm sorry if you read it that (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:00:36 PM EST
    way.  What I wrote was that they don't care as much about FISA capitulation as you and Glenn did, and that for them the war was the overriding issue.  I did not write that you do not care about Iraq, and I certainly didn't mean to imply it.  

    In fact, I agreed with you all throughout last year when you were giving those guys a hard time for supporting the Democratic Congress' pitiful display when it came to Iraq.


    except for (none / 0) (#33)
    by eric on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:37:48 PM EST
    the fact that even Atrios doesn't seem to think that Obama will get us out of the war.

    True, but he aims (none / 0) (#50)
    by dk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:46:45 PM EST
    his sharpest vitriol at people who supported the war in the first place. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, of course.  Those war supporters obviously deserve a lot of criticism.

    It's the Constitution, stupid (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by MsExPat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:44:27 PM EST
    Atrios thinks it's all about the Iraq War.

    But I --and I daresay a lot of the folks on this site would agree--it's really all about the Constitution. Separation of Powers. The Rule of Law.

    The neo-cons and Repubs stepping on the Constitution is what's allowed Iraq, Guantanamo, illegal wiretapping, messing with the judiciary, etc., etc. to happen.


    atrios doesnt get it (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:22:44 PM EST
    tell me about it.  he posted this:

    I, too, am constantly amazed out how the various pundits are unable to comprehend that Senator Clinton's Iraq war vote was the only thing standing between her and the nomination.

    She could have - and almost did! - win anyway, but without that there would have been no opening. In some ways we've gone backwards. Our elite press did understand in 2004 that the only reason someone like Howard Dean had an opening was because of his Iraq war position. Of course, they also saw his potential win as proof the Democratic voters were all dirty f*king hippies who would doom the party for eternity and believed the only way for the party to recover was to essentially expel all registered Democrats from it. But they're hideously stupid people who are wrong about everything.

    there are so many crazy things about that its hard to know where to start.   I used to respect the guy.


    Yup (none / 0) (#157)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:00:16 PM EST
    Maybe BTD will open a thread about that Atrios post later, or we'll bring it up on an open thread.  It really does need some debunking.

    Maybe Obama is being honest. Maybe (none / 0) (#17)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:23:02 PM EST
    he stopped lying to us. Everyone (except Richardson the twit) ran to the left in the primaries (Clinton got more liberal every day, Edwards reinvented 90% of himself). Maybe these flip flops have no real tactical meaning, but are just Obama being Obama.

    which is to say (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by sancho on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:49:51 PM EST
    that maybe none of the dem. cadidates is different than any others? i sometimes think this.

    Very few women (none / 0) (#194)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:55:49 PM EST
    think that...not even sometimes.

    In a debate, arguing FOR the (none / 0) (#22)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:29:50 PM EST
    flip flop position:

    Obama is smart because it shows that he can change his mind, easily, without any qualms and without fear of upsetting voters -- and this is a good thing to have in an executive.  It shows that he is powerful and in charge.

    "Refining" is not really flip flopping.  It's more like "sifting" or "shifting."  It's taking a larger idea and narrowing it down to smaller, more defined ideas.  

    Obama is not a "flip flopper."  He's a "sorter" and a "redefiner."

    Do I get an A in this class?  ;-)  

    Yes, you get an A (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:57:01 PM EST
    Obama has not changed sides of any fundamental issue.

    That's pretty good (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:58:48 PM EST
    You advocate for Obama better than pretty much any of the actual Obama advocates at this site.

    On one of my favorite old political (none / 0) (#135)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:41:53 PM EST
    websites, we actually used to "debate" political topics like real debaters do.  

    For example:  "Let's debate gun control!  Do you want to be for or against?"  Once you picked a side, you debated for that side whether you believed it or not.  It was actually a lot of fun.  (There were also some really brilliant people who posted there -- a mix similar to here, maybe even some of the same people.)

    Anyway, I enjoyed it.  It's never good to take your politics too seriously because you'll make yourself crazy!  ;-)    


    Just curious (none / 0) (#45)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:43:55 PM EST
    But if Obama votes for the rumored Amendment to the Bill that eliminates telecom immunity and then votes for the bill after the Amendement fails, how does that influence the flip-flip meme?

    to me not at all (5.00 / 6) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:45:57 PM EST
    His promise was to flibuster ANY bill that contained telecom immunity.

    Now he will not only NOT filibuster such a bill, he will vote for it.

    It is a complete flip flop. Utter.


    So (2.00 / 0) (#78)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:56:23 PM EST
    even if he votes in favor of stripping the telecom immunity the fact that he won't filibuster the bill makes him a flip-flopper?

    I think you are being needlessly static in viewing Obama's opinions.

    If Obama were to say that he probably would never order an unilateral preemptive attack on Pakistan, would that make him a flip-flopper?


    Come on (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:12:28 PM EST
    On the issue of filbustering such a bill, he flip flopped.

    Hell, on the issue of OPPOSING a bill with telco immunity he flip flopped.

    It is an subjective fact that Obama flip flopped. you are being a ridiculous fool now. Do you have something better to offer?

    BTW, you ask "If Obama were to say that he probably would never order an unilateral preemptive attack on Pakistan, would that make him a flip-flopper?"

    You sneakily add the word "probably" and change the phrasing of what Obama said previously. that has nothing to do with his flip flop on FISA.

    If he said, however, that "even if Pakistan refuses to attack Al Qaida, I will not order an attack on Al Qaida in Pakistan," then he would be flip flopping.

    Honestly, why are you here? Are you convincing yourself with this nonsense? This is weak sh*t from you.


    Why am I here? (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:24:59 PM EST
    As at least a minor bulwark against the at times blind hatred of Obama that occurs on this site.

    There was absolutely no reason to go into pitbull mode with your response.  I was trying to have a civil discussion about this but you chose to start acting like an ass.  

    My point about this flip-flip controversy is that the term has taken on a life of its own.  Whereas flip-flop once meant to flip from one position to the complete opposite it now covers anytime someone doesn't do what they said they were going to do or changes their position on the periphery.  

    I don't really have a problem with the FISA thing being called a flip-flopped.  He chose to do not do what he said he would do so that qualifies in a sense.  Personally I think it simply is a failure to stick to your guns on an issue and not a change in position but to each their own.

    But the notion that he flip-flopped on other issues is specious at best.

    FTR, I never heard of a subjective fact before.  


    You insult our intelligence (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:31:16 PM EST
    by protesting that Obama did not flip flop on FISA Capitulation.

    You really do no one any good when you make such a foolish argument.


    Actually (none / 0) (#136)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:41:57 PM EST
    I'm trying to get an understanding how his actions on FISA have suddenly turned him into a flip-flopper.

    I'm not arguing about whether he is or is not a flip-flopper.  That would be a pointless argument.  I'm trying to understand this particular issue is enough to label him a flip-flopper for the GOP.


    "flip-flip . . . (5.00 / 0) (#121)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:33:18 PM EST
    . . . the term has taken on a life of its own".

    that has certainly never happened before in american politics.

    see Kerry, John - windsurfing.


    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:39:16 PM EST
    What you are doing is inventing your own definition and then complaining that people aren't adhering to your made-up definition.  Like many of your arguments, it's 100% pedantic, and pedantic arguments have a way of irritating people.

    Just as a starter, here are two articles - both of which predate the 2004 campaign, as it happens - in which a broken term-limits pledge is referred to as a "flip-flop."  This concept that breaking a promise is something distinct from a flip-flop exists solely in your head.

    You may see yourself as a "minor bulwark" against Obama-hatred but, in my experience, empty arguments actually tend to increase the conviction of the other side, not decrease it.


    Yes empty arguments (none / 0) (#155)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:00:03 PM EST
    I know.  I'm so vacuous.  If only I could have the intellectual fortitude to argument with a bunch of people I agree with.  And when they make ridiculous arguments I'll just ignore them and move on.

    I'll give you 3 guesses as to who started the whole flip-flopper description in the media.  

    What is ironic was that in 2004 I found the flip-flopper smear to be a shallow attack based on parsed information.  Little did I realize that in 2008 I would see the same sorts of attacks coming from the Democrats AGAINST A DEMOCRAT.

    Flip-flop is a label.  It is designed to impugn the actions of a politician.  Personally I think that pointing out that someone broke a pledge is more indicting than calling them a flip-flopper.  But then again I became fairly desensitized to the phrase after 2004.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:06:36 PM EST
    I don't think BTD is "attacking" Obama, notwithstanding the tendency of Obama's supporters to get hyper-defensive any time he is criticized.

    I think he is pointing out the evident fact that Obama will take political grief for changing his position on these issues for purely political reasons.  I certainly don't think BTD is urging anyone to vote against Obama because he is a "flip-flopper."

    BTD's sole argument, as far as I can tell, is that Obama is hurting himself politically with this strategy.  Now, agree or disagree, but saying "that's not really what a flip-flop is!" or "what's so bad about flip-flopping?" is really beside the point.

    I can opine that Kerry lost because voters saw him as unprincipled and all over the map on the issues, without saying that I agree with that perception, or that I'm glad Kerry lost.


    Filibustering is a mere tactic..... (none / 0) (#87)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:00:37 PM EST
    ......and Telecom immunity is an amendment, not the whole bill.  Obama has not flip-flopped on the broader issue of illegal eavesdropping and balancing civil liberties with security.

    Absurd (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:07:45 PM EST
    Of course he flip flopped. You said so yourself in other comments.

    BTW, filibuster is the reason why Bush's plan to privatize social security was stopped.



    Perhaps the flip flopping (none / 0) (#88)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:00:50 PM EST
    is over for now, and hopefully for the rest of the cycle. I'm sure the campaign views their changes of positions as justified, which will create no lasting damage.
    That having been said, flip flop becomes the last refuge of a sinking ship and USS McCain is leaking. Why give up on a tried and true tactic? Heck, even if there are no more flip flop opportunities the republicans will probably invent some more.

    I believe he does see his (none / 0) (#113)
    by my opinion on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:23:03 PM EST
    changes in position a gain. This may have been his campaign's plan for a long time. Step one divide the Dems. Win primary by doing that. Step 2 move towards what is remaining and divide them. Use double speak to keep your original base in line, thus winning the majority of remaining votes.

    I am not saying I agree with that strategy, just that I think that is what he is doing.

    Was the abortion flip-flop just carelessness? (none / 0) (#139)
    by davnee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:46:22 PM EST
    Is it possible Obama doesn't really understand the complexities of modern abortion politics, so he didn't fully realize the anti-choice import of his words as he tried to make nice with his audience?  This kind of carelessness would be alarming coming from a putative con law expert like Obama, but frankly he puts off lots of signals that he isn't nearly as prepared as he should be on issues.  This episode perhaps should go in the empty suit/GWB redux category.

    Personally, I think the more likely explanation is that he just doesn't  care period about abortion rights and isn't fully pro-choice, so he's happy to pander to the right on the issue because he's not invested in the issue he is undermining.

    But to bring this to the point of the main post, why is he pandering/flopping on this issue period?  What does he have to gain?  Are the votes he could win through a dogwhistle like this enough to justify it?  You'd think Obama of all people, given what went on in the primary and lingering doubts and bitterness, would be working hard to make nice with Dem women.  Undercutting Roe v. Wade when talking to fundies is not the best way to go, especially when you have already been quick to wave around the coat hanger when riding herd on female Clinton voters.  I just don't get it.  I don't get the strategy.  Unless of course there is no strategy, and the dude just doesn't understand, doesn't care, or both.

    His position on women's rights is consistent. (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:56:41 PM EST
    I believe his use of the words "mental distress" were simply a way to speak to anti-abortionists concerns using their terms and finding common ground by respecting their fears.  Although I think no one, not even the government, should be able to prevent an abortion, I don't think their concerns about what they call "abortion on demand" are completely invalid.  

    Coopting anti-abortion language (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by davnee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:06:05 PM EST
    in order to make nice with the religious right by validating their own anti-abortion tropes is not the best way to motivate me to get in my car and drive to my voting precinct in November.  But I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who don't care about reproductive rights to take my place.

    Obama's pro-choice voting record (none / 0) (#176)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:15:39 PM EST
    is what I would hope gets you to the polls.  Not something he said to a Christian magazine reporter.  He is not a stealth anti-abortionist.

    You are too funny to argue with. (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by davnee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:21:38 PM EST

    Wow (none / 0) (#158)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:00:35 PM EST
    Do you think, in the real world where we reside, women are going to their doctors every day and saying "I've just decided, I want a third-trimester abortion" and the doctors are like "okay, get up on the table"?  Do you really think late-term abortions are happening all the time for no good reason?

    Of course I don't think that, nor did I say it. (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:12:09 PM EST
    I think no one, not even the government, should be able to prevent an abortion

    I personally know women who have used abortions as birth control because they didn't bother to use birth control while they were doing drugs.  I PERSONALLY KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE.

    Obviously that is the exception that proves the rule.  And I fully believe that if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, kill a fetus, however you view it, she has the inherent right to do so.  Period.

    However, anti-abortionists have valid criticisms.  They disagree with me.  And they vote.  They gave us Bush because they disagree with people like me.

    That is why I firmly believe that when we do not fully address their concerns, when we act like an abortion is not taking a life, we create more problems for ourselves with those who know very well that we are using blinders.

    Abortion is not as black and white as each side would like to think.


    You didn't answer my question (none / 0) (#184)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:21:54 PM EST
    I asked specifically about third-trimester abortions.  Do you think the anti-choicers have any legitimate concerns whatsoever about "abortion on demand" in the third trimester?  Because we're talking about restrictions on late-term abortions here.

    I personally believe that a woman's right (none / 0) (#188)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:28:17 PM EST
    to terminate a pregnancy includes late term abortions.  

    Many people don't agree with me.


    Okay, I give up (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:33:19 PM EST
    No point in having a discussion with you, since you don't respond to questions or arguments.  You just post whatever pre-written speech was in your head.

    Sorry, I didn't answer your question (none / 0) (#192)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:34:15 PM EST
    Yes, women who use drugs and do not deal with a pregnancy early enough can find themselves in a position of wanting a late term abortion.

    Obviously it's not going to be a significant number of cases, but while the option is available, anti-abortionists have ammo to convince themselves that the baby killer liberals are the bad guys.  Hence, they vote against our issues.

    I don't advocate giving them what they want.  I think we need to listen to their valid concerns.  


    Not carelessness at all (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:10:52 PM EST
    I refer you to this really excellent post by Supreme Court analyst Jan Crawford Greenburg:

    Written nearly a decade ago by Cynthia Dailard for the Guttmacher Institute, a leading think tank on abortion and reproductive health, the report details how pro-choice politicians have long sought to use the "mental health" exception as a way of seeking "common ground" with voters on the Right.

    Back then, the proposals seemed cost-free -- politicians could offer up a restriction, knowing that even if it passed, a Supreme Court composed of four liberals and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor would strike it down. Of course, much has changed since O'Connor retired three years ago: Today's Supreme Court could well uphold these and many other restrictions.

    In 1997, for example, then-Sen. Minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) proposed a then-clearly unconstitutional amendment to the so-called "partial birth" abortion ban that would have prohibited post-viability abortions for any woman with a mental health condition -- no matter how severe.

    Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill.) offered an even more restrictive (and equally unconstitutional) proposal the following year--one that excluded women with mental health problems, but added the requirement that two doctors must approve the abortion before it could proceed.

    So in some ways, Obama is carrying on a grand tradition of "sacrificing the mental health exception in order to appear reasonable in the context of the post-viability abortion debate," as Dailard put it. It's just a different time, with a different Supreme Court that could well not blink when faced with these restrictions today.

    In other words, since pretending to give ground on the "mental health" issue has been a staple of Democratic politics for many years, there's no way that Obama just happened to accidentally go there, on that exact issue, through "careless language."  Greenburg's post, however, explains the reason why this might not be a risk-free pander any more.


    I agree on this post (none / 0) (#181)
    by davnee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:47 PM EST
    I just floated the carelessness explanation, because I'm so flabbergasted he's deliberately pandering on choice.  This is a Dem cycle so there is no great need to pander to the right.  But more so  you'd think Obama would be particularly careful not to jab a stick in the eye of women in his base after the primary.  Let him stick with faith based initiatives and school vouchers if he wants to pander to the right.  But I guess his campaign really believes they can play electoral chicken with liberal women and win.  We'll see.

    He absolutely has to pander to the right (none / 0) (#186)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:25:01 PM EST
    Half the Democrats are still mad at him and the DNC and might refuse to vote or worse, switch to McCain!  Of course he has to try to get voters from the Republican side.

    Absolutism (none / 0) (#146)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:50:54 PM EST
    No thanks.  If a position short of perfection is a requirement to be a pro-choice advocate, count me out.

    Obama never said he was a perfect candidate and would govern by strict ideological principles.  In fact, he has clearly and repeatedly stated the opposite.


    Right so according to you he didn't flip (none / 0) (#156)
    by davnee on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:00:06 PM EST
    at first.  He was just revealing the truth that he doesn't fully support Roe v. Wade as currently applied.  The inartful flip came when people to the left were surprised at that revelation and he started fumbling for words.  If that's indeed the case, as you seem to believe, regarding his true position on reproductive rights, then I'll vote accordingly.

    According to me..... (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:12:39 PM EST
    .....he believes (like most people) there's a good reason late abortions are illegal and mere "mental anxiety" does not qualify as an exception.

    Otherwise, he totally supports choice.


    Interesting (none / 0) (#185)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:24:44 PM EST
    Considering he personally sponsored a bill in the Senate, the Freedom of Choice Act, which provides for the exact opposite.

    According to reports.... (none / 0) (#142)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:47:47 PM EST
    The McCain camp is more worried that Obama is appropriating the center than they are happy to have contrived a flip-flopping meme.

    Obama and his campaign geniuses (none / 0) (#149)
    by pluege on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:55:26 PM EST
    Explain to me instead, how the flip flops HELP Obama?

    two explanations (both completely false in their analysis):

     1) the Obama campaign geniuses have determined that Obama needs to "tack to the center" (a.k.a. sound like a republican) in order to win in November. Flip Flopping is necessary for Obama to espouse center-right positions.

     2) The Obama campaign geniuses have also determined that Obama needs publicly stick-it-in-the-eye of progressives and Obama's grassroots base for Obama to win in November and prove to the great American middle Obama's independence - more republican meme swallowing.

    Obama's campaign geniuses are clearly some of the dumbest people on Earth.

    If the Dem party was not still split (none / 0) (#161)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:02:52 PM EST
    Obama could be well left of center and still get elected in a landslide.  Since a lot of Hillary supporters are saying they will either vote for McCain or not vote at all, our candidate needs to garner votes from right wing and conservative voters.  Hence a strong outreach to evangelicals and the proposed expansion to Bush's faith based initiatives.  

    I don't call Obama's positions on the issues cited here "flip flops," but perhaps that's because I think the term denigrates his thoughtful and sincere response to the necessity of reaching outside the base Dem for votes.  I also don't think he's sticking us in the eye.  We need a president who can be flexible in responding to our countries challenges, not one that is stuck in dogma.


    another limitation of electoral politics lens (none / 0) (#169)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:10:34 PM EST
    obama probably now exists in a situation where nothing he says or does -- within reason of course-- is going to cost him the election.

    The media will fawn.  The republican brand is that bad.

    This nullifies discussion about obama doing things or not doing things to get elected.

    And refocusses discussion on obama doing things or not doing things because he believes its the right thing to do.


    He probably doesn't even need the money at this point.

    Why?  Because he thinks the possibility of intercepting a terrorist plot on the tcom backbone outweighs the erosion if liberties.

    Its worth considering.

    BTD, (none / 0) (#175)
    by frankly0 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:15:10 PM EST
    why are you giving Obama so much grief over his flip flops?

    What can't he just have his waffles?

    "If the Dem party was not still split.... (none / 0) (#205)
    by sallywally on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 11:04:40 PM EST
    Obama could be well left of center and still get elected in a landslide.  Since a lot of Hillary supporters are saying they will either vote for McCain or not vote at all, our candidate needs to garner votes from right wing and conservative voters."

    So now Obama's pandering is the fault of Clinton and her supporters?

    Or put another way, since he can't win with Democrats, he has to win with Republicans?

    If Obama were not pandering to the right, he might have over many Clinton supporters for demonstrating, if not courage, at least good sense, good political instincts, and by far the most important: the desire to actually stand for Democratic values.

    Instead, he continues to alienate not only Clinton voters, but as well many of his original followers and swing voters who feel he can't be trusted.