Lessig Rips Obama Campaign On FISA

Via Greenwald, uber Obama supporter Lawrence Lessig writes:

[P]olicy wonks inside the campaign sputter policy that Obama listens to and follows, again, apparently oblivious to how following that advice, when inconsistent with the positions taken in the past, just reinforces the other side's campaign claim that Obama is just another calculating, unprincipled politician.

The best evidence that they don't get this is Telco Immunity. Obama said he would filibuster a FISA bill with Telco Immunity in it. He has now signaled he won't. When you talk to people close to the campaign about this, they say stuff like: "Come on, who really cares about that issue? Does anyone think the left is going to vote for McCain rather than Obama? This was a hard question. We tried to get it right. And anyway, the FISA compromise in the bill was a good one."

But Lessig is a "true believer" in Obama:

The flip on Telco Immunity gave Obama nothing, except the opportunity to do what he believes is right, in light of the compromises in the new bill. He acted to do what he believed was right. So the impression it gives -- of a triangulator, tuning the campaign to the song of the polls -- is misimpression.

Of course what is ridiculous about Lessig's claim is that he ignores that Obama said the exact opposite about FISA and telco immunity during the primaries. Was he saying things "he believed [were wrong]" then? Look, it is this simple. Obama was lying then or he is lying now -- I am hoping he is lying now. Lessig is arguing he was lying then. And thinks that is a good thing. Ah, the power of worship.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    telco immunity is a 'village' litmus test (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by tokin librul on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:29:15 AM EST
    barry-o must support it or demonstrate his disloyalty to the aristos and oiligarchs

    Can't wait to see (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:53:17 AM EST
    the "compromise" he comes up with for net neutrality.  Should be a doozie.

    Suppose Obama really just doesn't care, (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:31:41 AM EST
    doesn't have any real position on this at all, and that the two positions he has taken have just been those suggested as being politically most expedient by David Axelrod.

    Lessig is probably telling the truth when he says that people inside the campaign think that they won't lost any votes over this. They and Obama are being cautious, want to put this behind them, and are afraid of ads like this one (MPEG). It's an absurd fear, and of course we all know that Nancy Johnson got her rear end handed to her. But the Obama campaign is being really cautious--at least, that's what they think.

    Well to be fair to cynical calculators (5.00 / 6) (#10)
    by Faust on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:37:01 AM EST
    there isn't any evidence that they have lost votes over this. HOWEVER, there isn't any evidence that they have GAINED any votes either. That's what's so stupid. If Obama was going to get a 10 point bump in the polls for this I could totally understand him doing it. Not agree with it, but be sympathetic to the political move. That is not the case I'm afraid.

    In fact (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:03:29 AM EST
    the GOP ran ads just like that all over the country, and as you know, they suffered a historic loss and didn't manage to unseat a single incumbent.  So if the Democrats are afraid of Republican fearmongering on this, of all issues, they might as well be spooked by their shadow.

    I don't think the Obama campaign appreciates how many of the former Hillary supporters would be willing to get on board if Obama would simply start acting like a real Democrat.  They've decided the party consists of two categories - loyal Democrats who can be taken for granted and bitter dead-enders who are beyond reach - without recognizing that a third category exists.


    Why should FISA (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Nadai on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:12:47 AM EST
    be different from any other issue?  I'm not convinced Obama has any real positions.  I'm not even 100% sure he's aware of his inconsistencies until they're pointed out.  It's so hard to keep meaningless trivia like your own political positions in the forefront of your mind.

    and why shouldn't (none / 0) (#59)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:28:26 PM EST
    the government evesdrop on everything?

    You could ask him that question.


    this idea that dems don't have (5.00 / 11) (#3)
    by TimNCGuy on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:32:02 AM EST
    anywhere else to go other than to vote fo Obama really needs to be dealt with.

    The Obama campaign has said this about Clinton supporters.  And now they are saying it about Obama's own base.

    If we, as voters, want this kind of behavior from our politicians to STOP, then it's time we stop rewarding it with votes.  Prove Obama's campaign wrong.  If you do it starting NOW, maybe it would show up in the polling data and they would take note.

    At this point I think a McCain presidency would be less damaging with a dem controlled house and senate to keep him in check than to reward Obama's campaign.  Especially if NOT electing Obama puts some fear and backbone into the other dems that are caving on this issue with Obama.  And, it might just wake up the DNC as well.

    Alas, if Obama ends up losing ... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Demi Moaned on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:38:20 AM EST
    it will just reinforce the CW that Obama was 'too far left' and didn't 'move to the center' quickly or decisively enough.

    We have the miracle of modern polling (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:56:27 AM EST
    If he loses, I think the reasons will be pretty clear.

    Those who want the truth (none / 0) (#55)
    by Demi Moaned on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:54:36 AM EST
    ... can already determine this based on available polling. That doesn't seem to be stopping the Beltway Narrative.

    Believe me, we'll be lectured about how the country wasn't ready even from some in the left blogs.


    If Obama ends up losing, we do (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:04:05 AM EST
    have the option of writing to Democratic leadership, pols and organizations and telling them exactly why we refused to vote for Obama or other Dems who supported this atrocity if that is the choice we make.

    I currently use every solicitation from any Democratic pol or organization to tell them why I left the party.


    I have done the same as you (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by standingup on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:21:35 AM EST
    with every solicitation.  I think they are still in denial and actually believe their own BS that we have no where else to go since the Republicans are worse.  Personally, I am finding neither party acceptable and don't have to support either one.  I wonder if it is possible for the record high turnouts in the primaries to be overshadowed by record low turnout in the general.  

    So basically... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by skuld1 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:35:04 AM EST
    We are d*mned if we do, d*mned if we don't...  (sigh)

    In for a surprise? (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by blogtopus on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:33:38 AM EST
    Does anyone think the left is going to vote for McCain rather than Obama?

    I think there's a level of Shakespearean hubris involved with this campaign. Pride comes before... well, you know.

    Biggest burnout since McGovern, I'm thinking.

    Can Obama out-lose McGovern? (5.00 / 8) (#8)
    by madamab on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:35:58 AM EST
    Yes, he can!

    Compromise? (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by standingup on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:37:53 AM EST
    I continue to read about this game changing compromise that Dems accept as a reason for this FISA bill being acceptable.  Can someone tell me what is in the compromise?  The only compromise I am aware of is that Dems are caving and voting for the Republican version of the bill.  Did I miss something?

    And I am beyond tired of hearing that Obama can do anything he wants now because Dems have no where else to go.  I don't have to vote and anyone that wants my vote had better not take it for granted.  

    The compromise is that (5.00 / 13) (#14)
    by dk on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:39:25 AM EST
    Bush wants the bill for his reasons, and the Obama/Daschle/Pelosi wing of the Democratic party want the bill for their own reasons, and they have compromised on the marketing strategy.

    Now that's plain talking at its best! (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:41:39 AM EST
    very post political (none / 0) (#61)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:30:58 PM EST
    To me the constant message coming from (5.00 / 12) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:55:39 AM EST
    Obama's campaign and Dem leadership of "You Have No Where Else To Go" is the equivalent of a giant "F@ck You, You Have No Voice In What We Do."

    I am only one person and as they keep reminding me I have no control (or voice) over the party. What I still have is control over how I cast my vote and I refuse to give that vote away to party that honesty tells me that my issues are not going to count for anything.

    I will continue to tell the party that they are wrong. I do have somewhere else to go. There are other choices other than voting for the lesser of two evils.


    Sheesh.... (5.00 / 9) (#15)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:40:47 AM EST
    I hate this paragraph from Lessig:

    So the impression it gives -- of a triangulator, tuning the campaign to the song of the polls -- is misimpression.

    So its a misimpression because Lessig says it is. Well I guess we should all just check our own judgment at the door when we enter idol worship land.

    Yeah, totally idiotic thing to say (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:42:21 AM EST
    Yep - the impression is what it is (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:49:53 AM EST
    He is trying (miserably) to argue that the facts bely the impression.

    This is the best defense he can come up with?


    Yeah and this is what he considers a fact... (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:54:09 AM EST
    I know it is false because I believe I know the man, and because I know some inside the campaign struggling with these issues.

    So there you have it. He believes he knows the man, therefore those of us foolish enough to form impressions without running it past Lessig's gut are doomed to be wrong.


    Did he look into his eyes (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:38:40 AM EST
    and see his soul?

    is misimpression even a word?!? (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:44:37 PM EST
    If these idiots really believe this: (5.00 / 13) (#19)
    by pie on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:42:36 AM EST
    "Come on, who really cares about that issue? Does anyone think the left is going to vote for McCain rather than Obama?

    I am committed to making sure they get the biggest surprise of their lives come November.

    Stunning arrogance and cluelessness.

    We not only had issues with Bush but also with his policies and his stance on executive power.

    I will not put up with another president who follows in those slimy footsteps.  I don't care what political party he belongs to.

    Norquist (channeling Dick Armey) (5.00 / 9) (#21)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:47:32 AM EST
    "Bipartisanship is another name for date rape," - Grover Norquist

    I'd say the same thing about compromising with bullies who don't compromise.
    This isn't a compromise and these guys know it. There are a very few principled Senators fighting this but the rest - I don't get it. It wouldn't cost them to stop this bill and frame it the way it should be.
    This reeks of complicity, not compromise.

    Fat Cats and Democrats (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:50:43 AM EST
    in this 1972 book G. William Domhoff used a phrase (which I'll paraphrase) The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is the NAME.  The subtitle to this book is "The role of the big rich in the party of the common man " and IMO today's Democratic Congress is just following the tradition of serving the Big Money interest.  
    Follow the money, I personally have never believed the myth that all that money came from the small donors.

    Hmm (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:51:32 AM EST
    Are all of the other Democrats caving to Bush because they believe this is the right thing to do, even though it won't gain them any votes?  Do we truly have so many selfless heroes in the Dem caucus?

    Mixed Reasons, I'd Say (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by BDB on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:42:21 AM EST
    A few examples:

    Feinstein, who doesn't need the votes, probably really thinks it's best.  She's never met an authoritarian measure she didn't like.

    Webb*, probably a mix of money and votes.  

    Pelosi, Reid, Gang of Eight:  Covering their own a$$es.

    * The next time someone tries to paint Webb as some progressive hero remind them that he voted against the Dodd Amendment.  Webb is very good on the war, the rest of his record is an extremely mixed bag.  But then he's another one of those former Republicans.


    I really love you BTD but................... (5.00 / 9) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:52:54 AM EST
    Soldiers in uniform walk around with copies of the Constitution in their pockets so they can always remember what the heck they are supposed be doing.  I always tended to view those soldiers as a little extreme, maybe even kooky - but I don't think I will be viewing them that way anymore since according to the Obama campaign most Americans don't really care about this issue.  I guess most Americans have forgotten what the Constitution says and what it preserves for each and every one of us......or at least used to.  None of this is okay.  I don't care when he was lying, I care about what he is doing and what he is doing is gross and disgusting to the nth degree!

    Byrd does the same thing (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:47:41 PM EST
    He's always whipping that pocket Constitution out.

    I see nothing wrong with that. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by AX10 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    It is not unreasonable that our military has a great
    worth of knowledge about the Constitution.  It is what they are defending after all.
    I also have a pocket copy the Constitution.

    Can I get my $500 campain contribution back? (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by COgator95 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:10:19 AM EST
    Barry-o has sold out the citizens of this country and he should not receive our votes nor our financial support. The man is a LIAR plain and simple and he's lost my vote with all of the pandering to the wingnuts on the right he's been doing lately.

    I will have to think hard whether I vote for Bob Barr or just leave the portion of my ballot blank when it comes to selecting a president.

    Since I live in CO specifically Mark Udall's district I feel triply betrayed because Udall sold us out too and our junior senator Salazar is a DINO and will most likely vote in favor of the 2008 FISA bill.

    What's the point of being a member of the Democratic party when we are sold out continuously by our elected leaders?

    Ask For It Back (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by BDB on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:44:56 AM EST
    The party reportedly gave a lot of Clinton donors their recent donations back.   Even if you don't get it, demanding it in clear, polite language that explains why should send a message.

    Obama donors could do this, too.  If you want to have any effect on him or the DNC, you're going to have to hit him in his wallet.


    Didn't Obama begin his campaign (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by Josey on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:13:08 AM EST
    asserting voters were cynical of politicians??  And of course, offering himself as a solution.
    Obama hasn't spoken that word in a long time.

    While this issue leads the headlines here (1.50 / 2) (#39)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:20:17 AM EST
    and at DK, it's not anywhere on the front pages of the major papers. Once again, this is an issue that does not register for the average voter.

    What that means is that Barack was smart to join the pack on this issue. No need to stand out, making a fuss about something that he would lose on in the end. He gave his reasons for the switch--and they were predictably unacceptable to people like BTD--but what's new, really? Calling Obama unfit to be president is an example of how overheated the Left can get. But, like Congress, in the end it's just the Left letting off steam. No real harm done.

    This issue will go away, Obama will move on, and the Left will be there in November. Life over a barrel is no fun.

    That may be backwards (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by sj on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:24:44 AM EST
    While this issue leads the headlines here and at DK, it's not anywhere on the front pages of the major papers. Once again, this is an issue that does not register for the average voter.

    How can it register with the regular voter when it's not a anywhere on the front pages of the major papers?  The word complicity just keeps coming up again and again in my head.


    What? The liberal media is not doing the bidding (1.50 / 2) (#63)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:34:56 PM EST
     of the netroots? How can that be?

    When the NSA--with the backing of the president--shows up at Verizon's door and says they need help stopping a terrorist, should we really expect Verizon to balk? Is it too much to ask that people who did what the president asked of them not be sent to prison?

    If telecom immunity is such a big deal, why is there no uproar about Congress' refusal to impeach a president who has clearly run afoul of the law?

    That is how the average person I talk to thinks. If the president gets a pass, why try to convict the people who helped him?


    It's going to offend people that do ... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:44:59 PM EST
    ...think ahead about the surveilance state. ome expectation of privacy is enshrined in the US constitution.

    Yourcomments also showing how fundamentally unserious you are.

    For me, I expect the state to spy--by one method or another.


    When you can't win you resort to name-calling. (none / 0) (#84)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:22:35 PM EST
    That's just bad debating, and it shows that you lack depth.

    If you expect the state to spy, why quibble over window dressing? I'm not saying that I like what the gov't does. What I am arguing is that when the gov't uses a company to spy, the company shouldn't be held legally responsible; the gov't should be. Democrats have refused to hold Bush accountable for his actions, so why get all worked up about holding AT&T responsible for their participation in crimes that we otherwise refuse to address?

    If you can't answer substantively, then please, hold your fire.


    I ABSOLUTELY expect Verizon to balk (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:49:24 PM EST
    if the NSA shows up without a warrant...or the paperwork for a warrant that's headed right for the FISA court.

    The FISA laws allow for a 72 hour window (none / 0) (#85)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:25:04 PM EST
    so the NSA need not have a warrant--or the paperwork for one--when surveillance begins.

    If I'm an exec at Verizon and the NSA shows up saying someone may be on the phone giving the go-ahead for a 9/11 attack, there is no way I'm going to stand in the way and risk being blamed for the deaths of thousands of people. You may say you would, but that is with the benefit of never having to make that call.


    Tell me... (none / 0) (#89)
    by kredwyn on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 08:18:47 AM EST
    what part of "or the paperwork for a warrant that's headed right for the FISA court." didn't you get in my last comment?

    I'm fully aware of the 72 hour window, which is why I think the FISA thing is fine...just the way it stood before this debacle.


    Well (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:24:51 AM EST
    that's the basic Democratic philosophy.  Unless you know it's going to cost you a ton of votes, always play it safe.  Glad to hear you are on board with it, that philosophy has put the country in a great place so far.

    I think that while you decry that philosophy, (1.00 / 0) (#58)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:27:50 PM EST
    it is one that your branch of the party has embraced. If more people truly held to their principles, people like Dennis Kucinich would garner more than 1% support in a national vote.

    The fact is the netroots haven't really stepped out on their own branch, either forming a viable third party or at least pushing the party significantly to the left. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both part of the DLC moderation movement, intent on not really rocking any boats. Perhaps if more people truly believed as you seem to, the country would change, but they don't, so it doesn't. And the reason is that while you mockingly cite our 'great place,' the fact is that an overwhelming majority of Americans are sincerely pleased as punch with who we are as a nation.


    Heh (5.00 / 7) (#77)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:30:23 PM EST
    If the overwhelming majority of Americans are sincerely pleased as punch, why do 78% think the country is "seriously off on the wrong track" while only 13% think it is on the right track?

    Voters were sold a message of change with Obama, not a message of "DLC moderation."  I don't see any reason to gloat about the fact that he flatly broke a filibuster promise that he made to the left in order to win the nomination.  This is a very, very old kind of politics, and it just ends up making a new generation cynical about the process in general and the Democratic Party in particular.

    It's not a valid argument to say "if people really wanted to rock the boat, they'd vote for a boat-rocker" when the candidate they voted for presented himself as a boat-rocker who would change the way politics is done in this country.  The fact that the people aren't going to get what they want this time doesn't change the fact that they want it.


    Well said. (none / 0) (#86)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:35:09 PM EST
    You make your point very saliently.

    When 87% say we're on the wrong track, that does not mean that they are unsatisfied with where we are; they just don't like where we seem to be headed. I do agree with your point, though to an extent. You had made an earlier point that electing typical pols had gotten us where we are, and I was making the counterpoint that in generall, most people are very happy to be Americans. We may not like our current track, but in general our system has gotten us to a very lofty position that the average American enjoys very much.

    Part of what Obama promised was to not be rigidly tied to the partisanship of Washington, and he has not been. If anything, people here at TL have complained that he is not partisan enough. So in fact Obama has rocked the boat, but people like you and others here and in the netroots in general simply don't like his sway. You would prefer he be a boat-rocker in the sense that he is constantly trying to capsize the Republicans, and he has never promised that. He has promised to be honest, and I think he has. When he flipped on FISA, he put out a long statement on why he did so. When he disagreed with the Court on the death penalty, he said so; when he agreed with them on guns, he said so. These positions were not earth-shaking, but they did rock the party boat a bit, though the death penalty is pretty much supported by both parties.

    So Obama is shaking up his own party; I like that. I think the Left is a bit too far left, and I'm glad our nominee will say so. When the Right is wrong--and they are often--he calls them on that, too. I know you don't like it, but I think it's great.


    NO (none / 0) (#66)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:41:38 PM EST
    Kucinich is not a good example of a Democrat.

    He's all the worst character traits and poliy cobbled together in a caricature.

    No European socialist acts like Kucinch.  he's just a hippy cartoon.


    So according to you (5.00 / 6) (#43)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:30:16 AM EST
    What that means is that Barack was smart to join the pack on this issue.

    I thought that presidents are supposed to be leaders not followers.  Oh, I guess this is the new politics, follow the pack.

    Presidents get to lead only after following. (1.50 / 2) (#60)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:30:13 PM EST
    You have to be able to follow the arc of public opinion before you can try to get ahead of it.

    New politics means Democrats win. I would think that might please you, at least somewhat.


    Am officially ill... (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by kredwyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:57:17 PM EST
    New politics==Democrats win...at the expense of the country's foundational documents.

    Republicans were winners without me (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by ineedalife on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:22:03 PM EST
    And they mostly sucked. But life went on.

    Now Democrats can be winners without me too. Life will still go on.

    I have only one vote. I won't be taken for granted.

    Every time Obama's camp says that I'm their bi*tch now, because I have nowhere else to go, I resolve that there are lots of places to go. I can stay home. I may not vote for President. I can vote for  a minor candidate. Or I can vote McCain. Being on the losing side of most presidential elections in my life hasn't killed me yet.


    I'm beginning to think (none / 0) (#79)
    by Fabian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 02:54:13 PM EST
    that this may be a banner year for minor party candidates.

    It might make the Two Parties realize that their biggest threat is not each other.  


    I think it's great that you're independent enough (none / 0) (#87)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:40:34 PM EST
    to have that attitude. If you don't like Barack Obama, you should not feel like you have to vote for him. As you said, there are any number of options you have.

    There are, however, a whole bunch of people who desperately want to avoid having John McCain continue Bush's policies, and for them Obama is the only viable alternative. He may suck, but he's not John McCain, and this year that is really all he has to be.


    One little detail. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by echinopsia on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:13:48 PM EST
    You have to be able to follow the arc of public opinion before you can try to get ahead of it.

    Public opinion is AGAINST the FISA bill.


    I would say more indifferent. (1.00 / 0) (#88)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:41:57 PM EST
    Officially opposed, sure. But it didn't even lead Campbell Brown's show on CNN tonight. I really don't think it's a big deal. Jesse Jackson apologizing to Obama was a bigger story.

    Barack Obama: Go along to get along politician (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:31:45 AM EST
    But that's been Obama's MO (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by abfabdem on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:32:41 AM EST
    from his first state senator job - do not stand out from the pack, do not take a stand for principle, do not use any political capital.  So why are his supporters so surprised now?  They just had to look at his record for years and years, from state to US Senator.  He wasn't a leader then, he is sure not going to be a leader now.

    But he will get elected (maybe) (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:35:13 AM EST
    Some people don't care about anything more than seeing their team win.  It's kinda nice, really, to not have anything at stake and to look on unconcerned as the Democrats duck one tough issue after another.

    This is sort of what Bill Clinton meant when he said Obama has attracted a lot of support from "people who don't need a President."


    Bill's super smart. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:46:49 AM EST
    I think this sheds some light on (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by tree on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:55:50 AM EST
    the 30%(or is it 25% now?) that continue to support Bush. They are team cheerleaders who are all about personal loyalty to Bush no matter what. What we are witnessing now is the spectrum of Obama voters who vary from pure issue and principle voters to pure team voters.

    Bush, for all his failings... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:49:26 PM EST
    ...and ontradictions has been a good Republican.  That's his 30%. Conquest and Tax cut.

    He'll lead. You might just not like the direction. (2.00 / 0) (#64)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:36:45 PM EST
    the roots are quite a large thing now (none / 0) (#62)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:34:48 PM EST
    don't kid yourself.

    I know they're big. That's not what I'm saying. (2.00 / 0) (#65)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:39:13 PM EST
    They're just not so big that they represent the average person. They are also not large enough to drive debate on major issues, eg, FISA and impeachment.

    What we say and do here is largely confined to a small population of people; the netroots have become one large trade association for news junkies and politicos.


    dumb tuff like this (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Salo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:46:25 PM EST
    will shave away Obama's vote in swing states.  Count on it. He deliberatly misrepresented what he was made off in the primaries.

    Not Significantly (3.00 / 0) (#75)
    by daring grace on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:12:26 PM EST
    In a season when so many bottom line anxiety issues related to day to day living are front and center for so many voters I doubt if this (and anything anyone said in the primaries) will strongly influence many voters, swing state or no.

    But it's a long time between now and election say so we'll see...


    It will influence (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:32:47 PM EST
    the activists whom Obama needs to have beating the street for him from now until November.  When you run to the center, whether you gain votes or lose them, you inevitably depress the enthusiasm of the people who are willing to work hardest for your election.

    The Activists (none / 0) (#81)
    by daring grace on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:00:40 PM EST
    You could very well be right about that.

    It will be interesting to see the nature of the activists he has for GOTV.

    In the past when I've been involved with local GOTV for national elections or primaries, I worked side by side with people who were less engaged in some of the issues important to me (like the invasion/occupation of Iraq, for example).

    They were more focused on anti-poverty, pro-working poor and social/economic justice. Maybe this will dampen their enthusiasm and work for Obama. Honestly, I couldn't predict.


    I totally disagree. (none / 0) (#83)
    by halstoon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:17:42 PM EST
    If anything, people in swing states will see him stepping up against terrorism and not caving to the party's far-left wing.

    heh. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Faust on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:33:40 AM EST
    It is amusing watch people contort themselves over this one.

    Personally I think he's lying now.

    It's upseting, but frankly I'm just as upset at the congressional dems as a whole. This is a group effort.

    If he was getting some points out of this it would bet better. But I don't see where it does anything but keep him from being percieved as a deviant from the party line. Given that he was supposed to bring "new politics" I'm don't think he needs to be safe in this way.

    Why not be a maverick? o_0

    I like my new theory (5.00 / 14) (#7)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:34:55 AM EST
    He was lying then AND he is lying now.

    Not mutually exclusive (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:36:46 AM EST
    that's for sure.

    I Like It, Too (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by BDB on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:47:35 AM EST
    He never seemed invested in this issue (neither did Clinton).  His only interest is in taking the most expedient path politically.

    This, in my mind, is why Obama was the worst choice as centrist (aside from his lack of experience and that he was more right-leaning on domestic issues than any of the other candidates).  Guys like Lessig will always defend him.  He will never really get his feet held to the fire.  Clinton would've.  


    Yeah (none / 0) (#17)
    by Faust on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:42:08 AM EST
    yeah yeah. Cynical as I am I'm not that cynical. I believe on some level even politicans do have a set of beliefs that they continually compromise.

    I DO think that politicans must have a somewhat different psychology than average people that allows the ammount of compartmentalization that they do, but I think they also have a baseline that they run on. I don't think that Obama is exceptional in this regard.


    His flippin lips are moving! (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:58:26 AM EST
    I agree.... (5.00 / 17) (#13)
    by madamab on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:38:58 AM EST
    in a larger sense, this is not about Obama, it's about the direction of the Democratic Party. The appeasers versus the warriors.

    This was the year to pick the warrior. Instead, the Party picked the appeaser, the man with the kumbaya rhetoric, who has Republicans on his cabinet and VP lists, who is desperately pandering to the evangelical Christians, who is running from Democratic principles as quickly as he can.

    This choice may prove fatal to the Party.


    And the ultimate irony.... (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 10:46:04 AM EST
    ...everything you said plus that the appeaser has the enthusiastic and unbridled support of the majority of the former warriors.

    warrior vs. appeaser (5.00 / 7) (#32)
    by noholib on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:03:42 AM EST
    madamab, you are absolutely correct.
    It's why I never warmed up to him at all. Way back in February, either Edwards or Clinton looked like more of a fighting Dem.  Why "compromise," or rather  "capitulate" with a thoroughly discredited, failed Republican President and his party?
    If there ever was a time for fighting Dems, this election is it.  What a blown opportunity, for the sake of an elusive re-alignment?!

    I'm left with a sensation that has come (5.00 / 4) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:04:04 AM EST
    and gone in the past, and that is that some of our Dem leaders are complicit in allowing the illegal wiretapping and are afraid of their complicity being exposed.

    More to the point (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:11:33 AM EST
    Weren't Pelosi and Reid part of a gang of eight that may have known about certain things that they gave a pass to and now can't have America knowing they did?

    IMO it is actually worse than warrior vs (5.00 / 8) (#54)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:50:50 AM EST
    appeaser.  At a time when the Republican Party and conservatism was at its lowest, Obama chose rhetoric that actually helped diminish the perception that the Republicans were the main cause of the dismal state the country is in now. To me, he actually helped to some extent rehabilitate the Republican Party.

    Amen to that. (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by mm on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:51:05 PM EST

    This was the year to pick the warrior.

    Even in a good year, it is always difficult for a Democratic presidential candidate to be a progressive warrier.  This is still the USA.

    However, the party seems to have mangaged to put forward a candidate who is going to have to be more conservative, more of an appeaser, than any other candidate they could have possibly put forward.

    Candidates Diverge on How to Save Social Security

    How do you like that for a headline?  I'm sure Father Tim is smiling in heaven right now.

    We have David Broder's hand picked candidate.