Holding Barack Obama Accountable

The Nation has an open letter to Sen. Barack Obama and is asking his supporters to sign it. The letter, Change We Can Believe In, seeks to hold Obama accountable to the positions he's endorsed while a candidate.

The letter will be delivered to the Obama campaign prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention on August 25. So far, more than 13,000 have signed. I just added my name. You can too. (Added: Big Tent Democrat writes why he won't sign here.)

Why is this necessary?

Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance--including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters.


We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised.
The letter then lists "key positions you have embraced that we believe are essential to sustaining this movement." Among them (at least the ones that resonate most with me):
  • Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable.
  • Universal healthcare.
  •  An end to the regime of torture, abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.
  • A commitment to the rights of women, including the right to choose abortion and improved access to abortion and reproductive health services.
  • An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.
  • Reform of the drug laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands who need help, not jail.

The letter concludes with this:

In other areas--such as the use of residual forces and mercenary troops in Iraq, the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan, the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the death penalty--your stated positions have consistently varied from the positions held by many of us, the "friends on the left" you addressed in recent remarks. If you win in November, we will work to support your stands when we agree with you and to challenge them when we don't. We look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue with you when you are elected President.

Stand firm on the principles you have so compellingly articulated, and you may succeed in bringing this country the change you've encouraged us to believe is possible.

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    Any chance he will just jump right into (5.00 / 18) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:02:37 AM EST
    line on this?  The Nation would have done well to hold obama accountable all along, not wait for this late date.

    I don't see the letter as any kind of real (5.00 / 6) (#160)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:55:04 AM EST
    effort to affect Obama's behavior.

    It's all about defending the now weak reputation of integrity of The Nation itself. It has been a shameless hack for Obama, but realizes that it has lost considerable credibility in foisting off on the progressive community as if he were a Messiah a man who every day finds another way to undermine progressive policies.

    The real point of the petition is to say, looky! looky! See all these wonderful progressive principles! Our guy hasn't sold them out yet! Not at all! These are all the things we should all care about, right??? Who cares about the rest??

    Of course, when Obama comprimises on any of them, they will simply revise the list, or explain that they of course meant by the list exactly what Obama now means -- until he changes again, at which point they will say they really meant that instead, of course, silly you.


    And it is just not The Nation (5.00 / 13) (#176)
    by TruthSayer on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:31:08 AM EST
    who has pushed this false Messiah. It also has been many so called Liberal MSM columnists and bloggers like Josh Marshall, dKos, Openleft, and yes even this blog Talkleft who have tried to present this guy as someone he is not.

    I'll say this - that even the Hilliary haters have had to have silently realized by now that Hillary would never have sold out on the issues that Obama has. And she would have continued to push for the middle class. When was the last time you heard Obama talk about the middle class in the way Hillary did other than in a polled score points throwaway line?

    I just don't get how the Netroots were, and some still are, able to be so wrong about Obama when all that was and is wrong about him was was right there all along as clear as the sun in the sky. Sorry to say but the 'judgment' of many who fancy themselves leaders or influential in the Netroots is not all that they think it is. They have and still do sell out progressive principles if for no other reason than - he is not McCain.

    Principles are more valuable than that.


    In a basic way you are right (5.00 / 11) (#196)
    by frankly0 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:07:03 AM EST
    about all those who continue to support Obama's candidacy despite his sell-out of so many progressive positions.

    In the end, the question has to be answered: how do you hold the man accountable for his undermining so much that progressives hold dear?

    I've heard all kinds of rationalizations of continued support of his candidacy, but never any authentic rational argument that comes to terms with the real issues involved in trying to force Obama to act like a genuine progressive.

    One thing that's 100% obvious is that Obama is not going to be swayed by such things as this absurd, toothless and feckess letter from The Nation. Anyone with unclouded eyes can see that from the standpoint of Obama and his campaign, the support of the progressive community is something he can simply take for granted. The focus is entirely on winning the "center" -- and any shift he can make to the right that might make that happen while minimizing the perception of "flip flopping" is a very good thing.

    And this goes as well for any "criticism" of Obama from the likes of Kos and any other (still quite few) "A"-list bloggers -- as well as from, say, both Jeralyn and BTD. While Jeralyn and BTD have certainly been far more forceful in their criticism, there is no reason to believe that, for Obama as a politician in particular, any of this means anything to him in altering his behavior.

    Looking at Obama's behavior over the campaign, my conclusion is that he cares about one thing, and one thing alone: getting the votes he needs to win. I expect that if he enters office, he will care about only one thing: maintaining enough popularity that he can win in 2012.

    If that is true -- and I rather doubt I'm wrong about it, given what I've seen -- then criticism of Obama per se is pointless. It's more about making oneself feel one has maintained one's own integrity than it is about truly expecting to change Obama, and improve the state of the country.

    Now, there is of course a powerful argument that critics of Obama can make for voting for him despite his great liabilities. Namely, that voting for Obama is still brings about a lesser evil than voting for McCain.

    But even that argument is never made effectively.

    To make out that argument, it doesn't suffice to say that in the four years Obama might be in office, as opposed to the four years McCain might be in office, Obama will support better policies.

    In the case of Obama and McCain, one must make the longer term argument: who is going to promote a political context in which, over the long haul of, say, the next 8 or 12 or 16 years, a more progressive and better nation might come about?

    Given that McCain would, almost certainly and by his own declaration (as I understand), not serve beyond 4 years, does it make more sense to let McCain win now, and reconstruct the pieces of a progressive movement in 2012? If Obama is unlikely to promote progressive policies, and is, given his personal characteristics, likely to turn out to be a deeply unpopular President like Jimmy Carter, should we simply allow McCain to win, in the expectation that McCain and the Republicans will themselves become only more unpopular, allowing a powerfully progressive sentiment to rise in 2012?

    I'm not claiming that these questions are easy to answer, or that the answers, when we come by them, will be attended with great certainty.

    But I never see any attempt by critics of Obama who continue to support him to come to grips with them.

    And yet they are exactly the questions that most basically divide many in the Democratic Party these days.


    I love the nation (3.83 / 6) (#184)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:41:55 AM EST
    Great magazizine.  They supported a different candidate, who cares.  The wrighting is top notch the research is excellent.  I love reading a magazine that I agree with 90% of the time, but get new information and new insights into my beliefs.

    I would love to read the conservative opposite of the nation, but it seems the conservative magazines lack the intellectual thought that they should have.


    Agreed!! (5.00 / 12) (#193)
    by Andy08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:57:34 AM EST
    I find it funny the Nation is surprised..really? Wasn't it clear to anyone that BO didn't seem to have any true beliefs? Anyone who believed his rethoric wasn't paying attention how did he rise through teh ranks in Chicago politics. He is an insider. Too late for The Nation. It mattered when HRC was an option. But The Nation and the faux-liberal based decided their hate for the Clintons was stronger and (as Jennifer Rubin so eleoquently out it) put "all intellectual integrity in a blind trust" and gallop along with the ephemeral fever caused by rethoric.

    Barack Obama is not the nominee yet. He would become the nominee during the Convention.

    The Nation wants accountability? Well, then nominate the candidate that will deliver it: HRC.

    Otherwise: you break it you own it.


    Shape Up! (5.00 / 14) (#3)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:10:20 AM EST

    Pretty please?

    Good grief.  Shape up or....what?  Nothing.

    I hear rumblings of buyers' remorse and it's growing.

    This campaign is tied?  TIED?

    What the Hell is wrong with these people?

    I don't think it would have been if (5.00 / 9) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:27:56 AM EST
    he had not run so hard, fast and blatantly to the right after he won the nomination.

    I am still waiting for the Democratic Party to be bold enough to nominate a Democrat who is strong enough not to go running for the Republican hills the minute they get into a Presidential bid.  It is almost Pavlovian at this point.  The Republicans run as Republicans - they work hard at selling their ideas - meanwhile we run as Republicans because we are too afraid of selling our ideas - and at the end of the day the charge that our nominees are "fake" or "just politicians" are hard for this yellow dog Dem to deny.

    "Yes but he has to do/say that to get elected" is not exactly a ringing endorsement of a presidential candidate's character.


    Wrong Dem nominated (5.00 / 16) (#39)
    by stevenb on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:01:16 AM EST
    Which is why Hillary Clinton should have been the Democratic nominee.

    Apparently too late for that and... (5.00 / 12) (#138)
    by Larry Bailey on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:43:41 AM EST
    ...it's a shame. Look what the rabid Obama supporters have forced on the Party: an image-happy pol with no positions of his own (or our own).  When you try to be all things to all people, you wind up being nothing to no one, and this is what we're left with.

    But it's too late to turn back, they say, and the Party apparatus is firmly his now, so we'll sit back, watch him slide a bit more, rebound with the big Olympics ad buy (assuming the Olympics aren't a disaster) and then grab the clear lead again with all the hoo-ha of the convention.  But, after that, we'll watch him slowly get eviscerated by the inevitable GOP attacks on his personal history and shabby associations -- as the worst is surely yet to come.

    What a shame.


    If he had waited until (5.00 / 7) (#133)
    by ruffian on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:09:05 AM EST
    after the nomination to run to the right I would have understood.  He started running to the right in January. The Nation should have called him on it then.

    Not January, after Wisconsin. (none / 0) (#145)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 07:56:51 AM EST
    I'd say 2006... (5.00 / 7) (#180)
    by kredwyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:36:53 AM EST
    If people didn't see this coming, they weren't looking.

    Dems can't run on their real ideas (1.66 / 3) (#123)
    by dualdiagnosis on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:27:12 AM EST
    They would lose. They have to run a stealth campaign and hope their supporters can see that they are just doing what it takes to be elected and then they will implement the real agenda.

    Just look at gas prices and drilling, the leaders on the left are happy that prices have risen, if the market hadn't done it they would have raised taxes on gas themselves. They want people out of their cars, and could really care less if gas prices continue going up.

    They can't express that truth because they would get their asses kicked in November.

    That's just one example, there are many, many more.


    I hope that was snark. (5.00 / 12) (#130)
    by Fabian on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:10:04 AM EST
    Anyone running for POTUS is putting herself forward as a leader.  You don't lead from the rear.  You don't lead from the shadows.  You don't lead by following.

    Progressive Issues Would Sell if... (5.00 / 8) (#170)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:16:22 AM EST
    we only had someone clearly and steadfastly articulating them in language that appeals to voters' direct interests.  For example:

    Voters want national security: Are they getting it with Al Queda still quite active and our neglect of Afghanistan?  Are they getting it with our airport security questionable and our port security invisible?  Are they getting it while we are dependent on oil from the mideast?

    Voters want universal healthcare; no need to sell this.

    Voters want an energy policy that would free them from mideast oil and rising prices.  You need a Reagan-style talk to the voters about why drilling won't work, as long as it is accompanied by what will work.  People are listening now more than ever, but no progressives are doing the talking.  Whatever happened to creating jobs by turning this country green?  

    Progressive ideas aren't winning because no one is promoting them effectively, if at all.  I do not see national security and wise energy policy/security as "left" or "right" -- they are good for the entire country.  If we allow others to paint old labels on us and run from our ideas, we deserve to lose.


    That's bull (5.00 / 3) (#199)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:12:34 AM EST
    Do you think that if someone like Al Gore had run, he wouldn't have run on his real ideas?  And won?

    Head fake, at least (5.00 / 12) (#60)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:25:40 AM EST
    They could at least threaten to consider not supporting him or something milquetoast like that.  As it is, they've written out his first year of excuses for not getting stuff done for him.  If you can't handle pressure and lead at the same time, then you should probably give one of them up.

    Sen. Obama refuses to lead (5.00 / 3) (#134)
    by Josey on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:10:59 AM EST
    by personally denouncing Ludacris' despicable and disrespectful lyrics about other senators.
    Since Obama won't even stand up to ludicrous lyrics.....

    If we could just oulaw rap music (3.00 / 2) (#147)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:04:08 AM EST
    iut would solve all our problems.

    May be too late (5.00 / 1) (#211)
    by MichaelGale on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:48:16 AM EST
    probably is too late.  There is no where else to go.
    I believe that this letter will not do much good nor will any thing from citizens.  It appears the only think that gets Obama to respond is bad press. And you know how that is working!

    And no....Katrina will not change lanes at this point and support Hillary.


    Too late... (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by pmj6 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:11:10 AM EST
    Remember what Obama told a couple of African-American guys who were trying to do basically the same thing as this open letter except in person? That if they don't like how Obama goes about his business they have the option of voting for someone else or running for office themselves.

    Obama and his people know full well that the Nation has "nowhere else to go (TM)". As for me, however, I plan to use the first of the options Obama has so helpfully identified.

    By all means, vote McCain! (1.20 / 5) (#19)
    by inkybod on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:25:24 AM EST
    You're completely right -- vote McCain!  Then your progressive goals will surely be enacted!  This is such a rational line of thought.

    (laying on the snark heavily)


    Be rational yourself (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by echinopsia on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:06:49 AM EST
    Before you accuse others of being irrational: Read this

    I am being rational (none / 0) (#206)
    by inkybod on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:25:48 AM EST
    The original comment was, "Obama goes about his business they have the option of voting for someone else or running for office themselves."

    The link you provided referred to other options, such as not voting at all.  The poster insinuated that s/he'd vote for someone else.

    Hillary's been telling her supporters that in order to achieve her goals, we must vote Obama.  Why isn't anyone listening?


    I would be remiss (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:20:23 AM EST
    if I didn't note that BTD blogged about this on Wednesday.

    thanks, I just added his post (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:28:20 AM EST
    to mine and included that he wrote why he wouldn't sign it. (I didn't realize he had written about it.)

    Flip flop on offshore drillling? (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by jerry on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:34:07 AM EST
    I haven't followed closely, but AP reports a flip flop on offshore drilling.  Obama's response is apparently, "it's not a flip flop, my position on offshore drilling has always been lousy."


    Talk about oily politicians....?

    This is what disturbs me... (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by Teresa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:38:52 AM EST
    "The Republicans and the oil companies have been really beating the drums on drilling," Obama said in the interview with the Florida paper, "and so we don't want gridlock. We want to get something done."

    I would rather have gridlock than always be the side that gives in. Is this going to be our answer or Iraq and health care too?


    The Audacity of Sure, Whatever you want (5.00 / 6) (#96)
    by blogtopus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:15:10 AM EST
    I think Obama can have some fire in his belly from time to time, but UHC is something that can and will improve so many lives, and help our economy on so many levels, that it really is going to appear ludicrous that we waited this long, once it is set into place.

    Kind of like the child labor laws; imagine the kicking and screaming that went into getting THAT passed.


    That would be very nice but Obama is (5.00 / 2) (#169)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:16:17 AM EST
    not offering UHC and his previous poison pill Harry and Louise ads will help to make sure that we will not get it anytime some.

    Well, (4.33 / 6) (#36)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:49:12 AM EST
    he's talking about supporting legislation that gives Democrats a lot of progressive change on energy policy that otherwise won't pass the Senate. That's the nature of political compromise, and he's always said he's a pragmatist when it comes to getting things done.  The last God-knows-how-many years have proved that gridlock doesn't help advance a progressive agenda. I don't know if I would support the particular legislative compromise that's being hashed out, but I don't see it as a flip-flop on Obama's part when he says he might support it.

    Is there oil off-shore Chicago? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:57:49 AM EST
    There is... (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:01:46 AM EST
    ...but it's what you might call post-consumer.

    Excellent point (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by jerry on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:10:22 AM EST
    Folks that live on a coast that have had one oil spill know what it's like.

    I'd like Obama to take a walk in the Santa Barbara and Ventura coastline, where 20 years later, digging your toe in the sand can still bring up oily sand.

    And I disagree with TChris, in some cases, gridlock is better than ALWAYS being the party that compromises.

    Offshore oil is not ANY answer, solar/wind/geothermal and other more efficient solutions are the answer.

    Appointing Amory Lovins as Energy Secretary is a far better answer.


    Yeah I'll wait and see what devil is (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by TheJoker on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:01:23 AM EST
    in the details before I judge it. If alternative sources are a prerequisite in a real and major way, I can go with that. Easy.

    I understand. I don't much blame him for this (5.00 / 9) (#43)
    by Teresa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:03:26 AM EST
    particular compromise but I don't want lack of gridlock to be the standard on all issues. Especially health care...unlike drilling offshore, we have the voters on our side with health care and I don't want to give up anything there.

    Truly, TChris, my biggest problem with Obama is his stated desire for bipartisanship. I want him to choose what he compromises on carefully and to never compromise on health care or Iraq. I can live with that.


    I agree (5.00 / 5) (#48)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:13:59 AM EST
    that some compromises make sense in order to get things done and that some core principles should never be compromised.  I don't expect my core principles to be the same as Obama's in all respects.  I would be more than disappointed if he changed his position on Iraq as he did on FISA.  I don't think he will. On health care, as we learned during the Clinton administration, change is difficult to achieve even with compromise, but I believe he can bring about dramatic improvement, while McCain will do whatever insurance industry lobbyists ask of him while pretending to tinker around the edges.

    I think that most people would agree that (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Teresa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:30:47 AM EST
    Obama's best political asset is talking to huge audiences with passion when it is in his interests. If elected, I would love to see him go to the people on an issue like health care. Convince the people to put pressure on their representatives to do something about health care.

    I know he could do this but I'm not sure he will. He would win me over big time if he did that. I am not one of those that expects my party to never compromise and threaten to primary them if they don't. I'm usually the one making excuses for our party but there are a few issues worth fighting for. You can tell which two mine are.


    That best asset (5.00 / 8) (#98)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:16:58 AM EST
    is quickly becoming his Achille's Heel.  The R's are successfully painting him as a "celebrity" and "rock star" candidate who won't meet McCain in town hall style debates.

    To the contrary.  I feel that Obama is afraid of intimate, succinct dialogue.  The crowds provide a modicum of comfort.  Yes it plays to his strength (maybe), but it hurts him in the eyes of middle America who will see the R's paint him and compare him to Paris Hilton and Bono.  Hollywood is used as a punching bag by the right for society's ills.  Don't think that this line of thinking will not be used over and over.  It's starting to stick.


    I had written on another thread (5.00 / 6) (#156)
    by ccpup on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:44:51 AM EST
    about this.

    It's less linking Obama to A celebrity, but more to being a Celebrity.  And for many blue collar and rural voters -- as well as people in general -- celebrities are people who get paid obscene amounts of money and get treated like royalty for ... for what, exactly?

    For a voter working two jobs and just barely scraping by, someone being given so much for doing next to nothing (that they can see, at least) is sure to hit a nerve.  

    And for a charming candidate with next to no experience on a National Level to get these crowds and be crowned The One over a man who has famously given for our Country and then put in the long hours and years as a Senator can easily become galling.

    The Celebrity Angle feeds into his inexperience as well as the Just Who IS He? narrative.  If they can begin painting him as a man who is receiving the prize without doing the work (infamously "winning" over a woman who HAD done the work and was seen by over 18 million people as being deserving of it), everything else will be that much easier to swallow for the Voter.


    If he were to win and the Dems pick up (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:09:54 AM EST
    all the seats they're planning to, they should be able to get a decent energy policy without having to capitulate to the Republicans on drilling.

    Of course, he still has to sell no-drilling to the public, but that is a separate issue from compromise.

    Of course it's a flip flop.  He said no, then he said yes.  Call it an inartful phrasing, or a refinement, or whatever the word du jour is, but he went one way and then the other.


    I agree (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:19:06 AM EST
    that a strong Democratic majority will produce a strong energy policy without significant compromise IF Obama wins.  That's one of the many reasons it is important to vote for Obama.  And it's a good reason for Congress to hold off on compromise legislation until we see who the next president will be and how strong the Democratic majority will be.

    Congressional pick ups (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:04:54 AM EST
    The Dems need to get to work on this as well.  I read all the time on conservative websites and blogs that the Dem lead Congress is at an all-time low of 14% approval.  Yikes.

    With primaries like the one in MA where Kerry is having to defend himself shows A LOT of internal party conflict.  The R's are already capitalizing on this.  The stunt they pulled the other day where they grand standed in front of tourists in the House.  The R's are painting themselves who want to talk about gas prices while Dems turned off the lights and went on vacation.

    Forget the football stadium junk and let's get our eye on the ball.  WHY is there such a vacuum of leadership right now???


    Why is there such a (5.00 / 6) (#107)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:27:55 AM EST
    vacuum of leadership right now?

    Because it's not the Clintons' Democratic Party any more.  It's, you know...changed!

    Now it's the Pelosi, Reed, Kerry, Daschle, Durbin, Kennedy, Mayor Daley party.

    Happy now?


    Is there a real leader in that bunch? (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:31:30 AM EST
    I think not.  

    well (5.00 / 9) (#114)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:37:38 AM EST
    I voted Hillary and caucused for her here in texas.  i worked very hard for her candidacy.  I am certainly not happy with the chain of events but it is what it is.

    I am taking my vote that Donna Brazile said wasn't necessary for Obama to win in the fall.  Me and my latino family have moved on.

    Hope the DNC is happy now.


    And what would this decent energy plan (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by Grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:03:35 AM EST
    be?  Seriously?

    Is it something that hasn't been invented yet?  Is it things we already have?  

    McCain admits that he's believed in global warming since 2002 (or before).  What would Obama do that would be so much better than what McCain would do?  

    Democrats are starting to bore me, frankly.  They always swear they have the solutions yet they do nothing about them.  They don't even publicize "the solutions" so the rest of us don't know what "the solutions" are anyway.  

    Would McCain be any better?  Well, at least McCain is talking about concrete ideas.  


    You are so funny! (none / 0) (#109)
    by Grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:30:22 AM EST
    You are implying that they have a plan...

    Which I believe they don't have.  They are playing it by ear just like the McCain campaign is doing.  

    They both want "alternative energy."  They both are for "offshore drilling" (as of today anyway).  

    If anything, I think this is a loser idea for Obama since I think McCain has been thinking about this for a few years now.  Corn ethanol isn't a solution, and McCain knows that but Obama doesn't.  

    Seriously -- I think Global Warming is a bigger issue to McCain than it is to Obama.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because McCain's adopted daughter is from an area that will easily be flooded out with global warming.  


    McCain and the Republicans on the Green (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:08:58 AM EST
    have made reducing dependence on foreign oil a big deal.  I'm not so sure it's a global warming thing as much as a foreign oil thing.  So they advocate (now) doing almost all the same things environmentalists advocate, like recycling, exploring alternate energy, and conservation.

    When I first heard this riff, I thought 'uh oh'.  The Dems still (I think) have the upper hand on perception of pro-environment concern, but they could lose a lot of ground quickly.

    For (R)s, it fits into their bellicose national security policies AND gives Americans an enemy to be against.  It is much, much easier to rile people up against someone/something threatening than it is to rile them up by pointing out how much better we'll be at some future point based on policy analysis.

    The trendier Green gets, the easier it is for Republicans to score points among environmentally friendly voters.  The environment is cool, now, and the main audience is no longer hard-core folks who understand complex scientific, economic and political issues.  The hard-core folks would not fall for Republicans' Green claims because they would be repelled by the enemy-war vibe.

    But if you're just generally aware that being pro-environment is good, and the Rs are all about taking the same action as Ds, then the environment becomes less and less a distinguishing factor.  Plus, the bonus is that Republicans aren't always urging people to make personal sacrifices for the cause.  When Dems (or a subset) argue that high gas prices are good because it encourages conservation, that is just not an appealing argument to most people, not this year.

    No matter how bizarre or hare-brained the Republicans take on an issue is, they go at it like attack dogs.  They fight for it.  People like that.  Dems really need to figure out how to do the same thing.  Attacking your own base doesn't count.


    oops! (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:11:27 AM EST
    this line:

    is no longer hard-core folks who understand complex scientific, economic and political issues.

    should have ended like this:

    is no longer hard-core folks who understand complex scientific, economic and political issues involved in saving the environment.


    You mean like the Energy Bill he voted for? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by nycstray on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:18:38 AM EST
    Didn't he claim he voted for that because of bios or something? I have a problem in that he seems to give up too much up front (or just flips like FISA). Same with UHC, does he have any compromise room in there? I'll be shocked (I tell ya!) if he gets much in exchange with his reaching across the aisle.

    And this is where his lack of experience comes in, imo. He hasn't shown he has the chops to get something for the people when he's reaching across the aisle. Nor has he shown it in the campaign. Nor has he shown any desire to tackle for the Dems.

    I was willing to get by his lack of experience before the primaries, but I was a bit uncomfortable with it. For me, to know him (so far) has not been getting to loving him. Or even hold your nose and vote liking him.

    And his "backers" don't add anything to the "confidence in him" factor.


    Wish we would have gridlocked Iraq (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Manuel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:31:53 AM EST
    and no child left behind and the Bush tax cuts and ...

    NCLB? (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:29:39 AM EST
    How could you gridlock a bill co-sponsored and negotiated with Bush by Teddy Kennedy?

    Gridlock may be a reason TO change position (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:35:38 AM EST
    but it doesn't mean he didn't change his position.  It's still a flip flop.  There is a difference between an action and the reason for the action.

    Sometimes gridlock is better than the alternative.  But with this it hasn't even gotten to the gridlock stage.

    Normally when two parties differ on positions, the negotiations precede the compromise.  Otherwise, it's just giving in to demands.


    Negotiations have been ongoing... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:52:52 AM EST
    in the Senate, producing a proposal in which the Republican negotiators have agreed to ideas that haven't typically been palatable to Republicans:  85 percent of new cars would run on non-petroleum based fuels in 20 years and support for renewable energy sources are part of the package.  No drilling would take place within 50 miles of a coast.  Again, I don't know if the final compromise will be acceptable to either Republicans or Democrats, or to Obama, but this is an attempt at broad energy legislation that both sides can live with.  It isn't a case of "giving in to demands," and negotiations have clearly preceded compromise.

    That is not the message that is getting out (5.00 / 0) (#126)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:46:02 AM EST
    to people.

    What it looks like to a lot of folks (the ones who don't have time to pour over proposals and discuss them constantly):  Republicans grabbed the initiative with a concrete proposal, Obama said 'no' then he said 'me too'.  Then responded to criticism of the flip by saying 'we need to compromise'.


    so when Obama was asked if he agreed to no (5.00 / 4) (#149)
    by kimsaw on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:15:46 AM EST
    drilling within 50 miles of shoreline, he wouldn't offer his position. He will wait for the compromise legislation.  A leader should at least offer his preferences, if he's going to lead toward a compromise. It will be a wait and see what the other side does administration, not how can I lead them to the right choice kind of governance. To me it was a leadership moment and all he wanted to do was wait until later. He does that a lot. I know its the GE,but a candidate well versed on the issues could offer a glimpse into their core principles. I'll take care of it later, or I don't want any harm to come from it, is clearly no more than uncommitted rhetoric.  

    Compromise does not change Washington, setting forth and working toward an agenda does. Compromise is Obama's agenda. Compromise is becoming a synonym for status quo.  What issue has Obama taken a lead on? Does he educate himself on the issues or not? It's hard to tell.  Is he a decisive leader or not? What will he stand up for, who will he stand up with? If it's politically  in his way he'll throw it under the bus. His Grandma has lots of company under there.  Does he have the conviction to lead on anything or is he a leader who just "borrows" all the time?

    My theory is he can give a speech with telepromptic precision and that's about it. I actually think he's from central casting that's the only thing that explains the adulation for a candidate with Obama's credentials.


    In 2009 (none / 0) (#185)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:43:58 AM EST
    the Senate with significantly greater Dem majority should not have to capitulate up front over major issues. And, on energy and climate change, the public is with change and true reform.

    Wait (none / 0) (#125)
    by bluejane on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:41:04 AM EST
    until he caves on privatizing Social Security to pander to his "youth vote" who are (so many) hankering to "invest" their SS contribution and let Social Security die on the vine, not realizing how SS works (everybody in).

    Perhaps now (none / 0) (#187)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:45:16 AM EST
    that the market has gone down so much they won't be so eager to privatize Social Security.

    It technically is not a flip-flop. (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:05:37 AM EST
    He still maintains that off-shore drilling is a dumb thing to do, but now says that getting real solutions on the issue is more important than the downsides of the drilling.

    However, this issue is an example of his really weak negotiation skills against republicans. Obama and all of his surrogates should have been hammering away at McCain for coming up with a completely bogus plan (offshore-drilling) that will have no realistic impact on gas prices.

    But his campagin hasn't even come up with a coherent, easy to understand counter-argument. Since the Republicans have been repeating over and over that drilling will lower gas prices and the Dems haven't come up with a consistent counter-argument, now more than half the country thinks that drilling will impact gas prices within the next year.

    This is an issue that the republicans should be on the defensive on, but since Obama's response has been so weak, it would now be a disaster politically if the Dems don't cave.


    Normally I'd agree with you (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:17:22 AM EST
    rjarnold and I wish to God you were right. But have you tried to convince Joe/Joan Schmuck about the offshore nonsense? It's freaking near impossible. I've tried (and given up) from every angle, from the environment, market forces, to just basic business tactics. Their eyes just glaze over, and say a swear word or two while explaining for the thousandth time how much it hurts to fill up.

    You probably have a point.. (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:36:51 AM EST
    My brother just told me today that he thought that the reason gas prices went down was because drilling started. I thought it was one of the dumbest things I've ever heard, but at least he was open-minded on it.

    But I still think that if the Democrats had been giving a consistent counter-argument, public opinion would at least be slightly less in favor of drilling.


    Too True (5.00 / 4) (#164)
    by CoralGables on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:07:27 AM EST
    Sadly, it is the point. The average person believes there is a bottomless pit of oil offshore and in Alaska. They have no grasp on the fact that oil is a limited energy source nor will you ever convince them. All they care about is what is the price per gallon today. They still believe the price will fall as soon as we poke more holes.

    McCain came to Florida yesterday pushing for offshore drilling. Do that in Florida and get away with it and you know times are sadly changing. Floridians now back offshore oil drilling. Channeling LBJ and Walter Cronkite...on the topic of maintaining offshore drilling bans, when you've lost Florida you've lost the war.


    You need a 'but' sentence fragment. (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:18:43 AM EST
    When you say drilling won't lower prices, BUT such and such will, and it's the same such-and-such each time, that could work.  For Dems, I mean.

    But the such-and-such has to be totally hammered on and stuck to, and said as if the speaker really believes in it.


    Wait (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by nycstray on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:24:20 AM EST
    He won't vote for a "dumb war" but will vote for other "dumb" policies?

    Actually, he may come out with Clinton's plan next week. Earlier than usual, but there may have been enough of a time lapse since she isn't in the news as much . . . .


    It is frustrating (5.00 / 5) (#73)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:40:30 AM EST
    that obvious facts are often rejected by people who refuse to listen.  I'm not sure what the Dems (or Obama) can do to convince people to believe the truth:  that drilling won't lower gas prices at all in the near future, or much at all in the long term.  Obama (and other Dems and economists and even Pickens) have made this point over and over, and a majority of people still think that more drilling is the solution.  

    "Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain."  - Friedrich von Schiller

    The answer is (5.00 / 5) (#75)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:42:20 AM EST
    build a better message machine, and convince the Dems to use it.

    Actual.ly, Steve, we had (5.00 / 10) (#83)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:56:29 AM EST
    a better message machine.

    Her name is Hillary.


    And Hillary is still (5.00 / 5) (#97)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:16:38 AM EST
    sticking to her guns on the issue.

    If you read the release, Hillary is actually explaining why off-shore drilling won't work (and cites the fact that even the Bush Admin's own study on the issue says that drilling won't impact prices), unlike Obama who usually just brushes aside off-shore drilling as "that old type of politics."

    She is also promoting a short term solution (regulating energy speculation), something Obama doesn't do in his speeches. I think that Democrats would clearly be in better shape on the issue if she were the nominee.  


    Wrong about Obama's speeches. (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:23:49 AM EST
    He has in fact spoken out against oil speculators.

    Interesting, but (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:37:05 AM EST
    I don't think he usually mentions that in his speeches. People want to hear a candidate say how he will lower gas prices in the short term. In every speech McCain is telling people this, but it seems to me that Obama usually focuses on long-term solutions.

    If regulating speculation really is a good solution, Obama should be mentioning it and explaining it in every single speech.


    With all respect for Obama, Krugman says (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by jerry on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:49:42 AM EST
    that oil speculators physically cannot play a role in the oil prices we are seeing.

    When given a choice between Paul Krugman and Barack Obama concerning economics, I'll talk PK everytime.  And I truly mean Obama no disrespect on that.


    Krugman may be right, I'm not economist, (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by kimsaw on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:52:57 AM EST
    But I did here on cnn, that speculation adds a small percentage to the price of oil.

    I heard him recently offer the same (none / 0) (#157)
    by kimsaw on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:51:39 AM EST
    I believe he's a little late or he's borrowing heavily from Clinton talking points, as Clinton had been discussion speculators during the primary.  

    Steve, agreed (5.00 / 4) (#191)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:51:39 AM EST
    we can't excuse our failures to communicate with elitist self-assurance that the public wants to be uneducated or is less intelligent than we are -- this is a sure recipe for losing. The average person is struggling to make ends meet, working, taking care of family, putting food on the table, sometimes working 2 jobs.  They may or may not have broadband, and lcertainly have less time than we all do to go online and search for facts that run counter to what they hear on the car radio on the way to work, etc. The Dems have to work on their message, and with unity and discipline, drive it home.  There can be no excuse for not doing this, but we seem to fail every time.  

    This has LONG been a handicap (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:49:54 AM EST
    of the Democratic party.  Conveying our ideas to the voting public to convince them they are better than the R's has been tough.  The R's are the masters of getting people to vote against their own interests.

    How did we get from the gas prices of 2000 when Clinton 42 left office to where we are today?  That's the point that the D's should be pushing.  However, we have Obama saying "bitter clinging gun religion" and "don't tell me words don't matter" against "gas tax holiday" and "stimulus checks".   Try telling Joe Schmoe that it was the Dems that pushed for the stimulus.  Many proclaim, "Bush gave me $600 and Obama wants to keep my gas tax in place!"

    The crafting of the language should be so easy but why do we keep losing the battle of ideas?  


    One thing that would prob help is (5.00 / 6) (#124)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:32:33 AM EST
    starting from the idea that it's your failure to communicate rather than their stubborn stupidity that's the problem.  When I say 'your' I mean a general 'your' not you personally.

    The tendency to talk down to constituents kills Democrats every time.

    Republicans have a straightforward proposal with an existing infrastructure to support it.  Democrats have plans for research and exploration of alternatives and tax credits and whatever.

    Above I suggested Democrats need a 'but', as in, drilling won't work BUT such and such will.  Without an equally straightforward and clear such and such, not many minds will change.  I don't know what such and such is, myself, but Dems need to come up with one (and not inflating your tires).


    It's not just "talking down" (5.00 / 6) (#194)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:57:40 AM EST
    but it's thinking down, i.e., believing you are superior; this is what has come across in Appalachia. The Kennedeys were massively educated and rich, but sincerely cared about the average person and those at the bottom of the rung. They showed their caring by going to the neighborhoods of those who most needed help, and by following through on policy.  I believe the Clintons have done the same.  All the "faculty lounge" Dem candidates who lose don't do this -- but is it how they talk or how they think as well?

    Yes! Exactly (none / 0) (#208)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:32:25 AM EST
    'Thinking down' is the problem.

    Even most liberals who got that the bitter-cling comments were offensive didn't get why they were offensive.

    Here's the difference between Ds and Rs:  Republicans want to win the election; Democrats just want to win the debate.


    I would say it's not even abou the gas (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by kimsaw on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:38:27 AM EST
    prices for many of us, but about the over arching issue that we need to help ourselves ease our energy crunch and insure our needs are met on our side of the ocean over time. This is more about energy independence than a debate on off shore drilling to reduce gas prices in the near future. A comprehensive approach is necessary, we cut our nose off to spite our face too many times. The truth is when we do things that at least look like we're working toward a solution, we win and eventually a problem is mitigated. It's about finding solutions through exploring all avenues.

    I'm not offering that off shore drilling is the way to go, but I don't think that dismissing it helps when the potential exist that it will over time help us become more independent from overseas oil.  If we can send a man to the moon, we can do anything we set our minds to as a nation. I'm in favor of an energy combo platter, all sources should be researched and explored.


    Pssttcmere08, what's up with the downrating? (none / 0) (#86)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:01:13 AM EST
    Doesn't surprise me very much (5.00 / 3) (#174)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:25:37 AM EST
    This is the same Senator who voted in favor of Cheney's energy bill and introduced and promoted a liquified coal bill which Gore publicly stated was horrible. He withdrew his support of the bill only after strong lobbying by environment groups who indicated that this would cost him their votes in the primary.

    OT (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:38:27 AM EST
    CNN just announced that McCain is vetting a Jewish 4-term Virginia congressman for veep...good move, even if he doesn't choose him in the end.  He'll get good local press, meanwhile, and energize those Rs.

    I saw that too (none / 0) (#78)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:52:30 AM EST
    that would definitely play well to a lot of conservatives and maybe help carry Florida a little easier.  The press he's getting from that doesn't hurt either.  It gives the base and the Jewish electorate something to think about:  "He's looking at one of ours!"

    But McCain could repeat the Lieberman fiasco of 2000 (Jewish VP). Didn't help us back then.  


    I don't know much about Cantor (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by jerry on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:54:57 AM EST
    But the first time I heard Sanctimonious Joe, I knew he was a schvantz.

    (Not sure if TL gets upset with Yiddish cursing....)


    Obama's Facade (5.00 / 8) (#69)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:34:04 AM EST
    is beginning to crumble a bit.  I've been an active participant and observer in Democratic politics now for quite some time and I can't recall a time when a publication that advocates Democratic ideals had to pen a letter/petition to remind the presumptive Democratic nominee about his positions during the primary.

    To me, it's the essence of, "hey buddy, remember us?  The one who brought you do to the dance?"
    Democratic supporters far and wide sense a ticking bomb in Obama.  He's WAY in over his head.  And in a small way,  I don't blame Obama.  He bought into his own press, thanks to a lot of people filling his head with the idea that after being a senator for less than two years he was ready to be president.

    The letter will mean NOTHING.  Kinda like the letters the Dems used to send to Bush that were "strongly worded".

    We see how well THAT worked out.  

    BTD is right about this.. (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by rjarnold on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:53:53 AM EST
    I don't think that there is a realistic chance that this will mean anything to Obama.

    Obama and Clinton both centrists? (5.00 / 5) (#141)
    by TimNCGuy on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 07:08:09 AM EST
    As many here have posted, MAYBE both Obama and Clinton are centrists, especially when compared to true progressives.

    BUT, the big difference I see is:

    Clinton always promises to FIGHT for you on her policy positions.

    Obama always promises to reach across the aisle and compromise on his policy positions.

    It makes me so sad (5.00 / 4) (#150)
    by stillife on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:21:16 AM EST
    b/c we could have had her.  I supported her because I've been longing for a fighting Dem.  Yes, she's more centrist than I am on some issues, but she has the b*lls and the brains not to back down.  

    Call me a tinhat, but I suspect the reason that the DNC got behind Obama (not to mention the Big Money contributions) is precisely because they knew who was the real candidate of change.  

    I no longer consider myself a Democrat, although I haven't changed my registration (only b/c NY is a closed primary state).  When my son, his GF and his other young friends say they're voting for McCain, I don't beg them to vote Dem like I did in 2004.  I just say, "Do what you gotta do."  And I may be joining them.


    Bjut examining Senate records, both (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:28:21 AM EST
    consistently capitulated to Bush. See PATRIOT.

    I hope that (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by pie on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:36:37 AM EST
    Hillary has learned more, and I think she has, in the past seven months.  I expect her to play it less safe (her FISA vote was a great start) and broaden her appeal to dems from now on.

    I don't expect much from Obama except more of the same.


    "accountable to the positions,,, (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by Cal on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:18:31 AM EST
    ...he's endorsed while a candidate. Hmm?  Would that be the oh-so-five-minute-ago positions, today's positions, or the positions he is yet to announce?

    Houston, we have a problem.

    I don't mind him tacking to the right, except (5.00 / 2) (#179)
    by WillBFair on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:36:31 AM EST
    that he's so clumsy about it. He lurches, which tends to frighten the horses.
    The Clintons invented the strategy years ago and used it with precision. In today's favorable political climate, it's stupid to be so blatant about it. People see right through it, which will cost Obama with the left, right and center.
    As for The Nation., and the rest of the far left, they never had the brains to appreciate the Clintons' policy agenda, and they're still expecting a far left messiah to wave a magic wand and convert the red States, or make them disappear.

    Your link does not (none / 0) (#209)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:33:53 AM EST
    work... any suggestions?

    Holding Barack Accountable By Voting For Him! (5.00 / 11) (#181)
    by bmc on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:37:38 AM EST
    Basically, this letter is obsequious, placating, subservient and pathetic.

    They're going to "hold him accountable," exactly how? By voting for him?

    If progressives are already feeling the need to issue this tepid, placating and begging letter to their "presumptive nominee," who clearly has dismissed their progressive policy platforms to this point, which is why they feel compelled to write this letter; how exactly are they going to hold him accountable once he's been crowned king of the world?

    This letter, in tone and content, is really a load of crap. Obama doesn't care about their values; he only cares about their votes. They've sent him a message that he's got their votes. What more needs to be said?  

    I could not agree more. (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by WillBFair on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:44:36 AM EST
    It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

    No consequences, no accountability (5.00 / 3) (#189)
    by Radix on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:48:17 AM EST
    Since, other than tepid language from the Nation, there are no consequences for Obama, in ignoring their list, how is he being held to account exactly?

    I agree with BTD on this and this was also (5.00 / 2) (#195)
    by Salt on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:01:06 AM EST
    what was infuriating when Democrats would express Obama and Clinton as the same they were not not even close, she was clearly the committed Progressive.  And I also agree with the commenter that the plea is pitiful really pitiful providing the appearance of another uninformed electorate just voting for a particular group think not informed choice, sad very sad.

    I gave up on The Nation months ago, (5.00 / 8) (#200)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:14:18 AM EST
    when the magazine that appeared in my mailbox every week morphed into "Obama Weekly," and was filled with Hillary hate; I canceled my subscription.

    As we discussed in BTD's post on this subject, the letter from The Nation is too little, and it's way too late.  The time for them to be holding his feet to the fire, to exerting pressure on him - and the other candidates' - to hold to a more progressive agenda, was before the race was over, not when it was still in doubt.

    But they were increasingly in the DK-MoveOn mold of believing the hype and hyperbole without any evidence other than Obama's rhetoric, and they jumped on the bandwagon early.

    I am inclined to think that part of this effort on The Nation's part is to convince what I suspects are a lot of people like me to return to the fold; what they have not counted on is that those of us who left are not inclined to be wooed with The Nation's words any more than we were wooed by Obama's.

    Had The Nation stuck to being advocates for the liberal, progressive agenda, and examined the candidates in that light, rather than allowing themselves to be sucked into a Movement based on personality, their credibility would be intact and there might not be a need for this letter.  Had other organizations, pundits, media outlets and others held to examining actual issues in the same way, I suspect we would not even be talking about Obama because his campaign would have been revealed to be little more than smoke and mirrors a long time ago.  And even the DNC's manipulation of the process would have been of no use.

    Obama doesn't give a rat's patootie about what The Nation wants; his candidacy is and always has been about what he wants.  What slays me is that he seems to have so much more interest in modifying and changing and abandoning the positions that originally persuaded millions of liberals to vote for him than he does in accomodating and respecting those very voters by holding to those positions.

    I guess there's a reason he's accompanied by a bus at every campaign appearance, huh?

    if obama is not paying attention to the (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by hellothere on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 11:24:41 AM EST
    desires and needs of average americans right now, he won't if and when he is elected. it is that simple. so make your decisons based on that if you feel he isn't doing it of course.

    I don't think ... (4.60 / 5) (#6)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:12:29 AM EST
    Obama has wavered on any of the six bullet pointed issues.  Nor do I think the left is in complete agreement on the best policy in Afghanistan or the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.  On the other hand, a respectful reminder that those of us on the left care about the bullet pointed issues and expect Obama to stand firm on them can't hurt.

    Universal healthcare? (5.00 / 9) (#8)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:15:17 AM EST
    What's that doing on the list?

    His plan won't lead to universal healthcare.  He hasn't 'promised' that either.  

    The Democratic Party has, tho...in the past.  Wonder if it'll be in the platform this year with this candidate?


    A lot of people have heard what they (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:21:16 AM EST
    wanted to hear not what he was actually saying or doing for that matter.

    I used to like her (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:41:03 AM EST
    now she strikes me as the type of person who likes to hear herself speak.   I wonder what she would say about the petition/letter being sent to Obama?

    She, like other in the tank supporters of BHO will just "there there" the signers.


    She was horrible (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by IzikLA on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:24:19 AM EST
    This whole entire campaign.  A total disgrace if you ask me.  I have a problem when people can't even pretend to be unbiased while being a supposed Political Analyst or what have you.

    He doesn't have a UHC plan (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by ChuckieTomato on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:19:19 AM EST
    As far as I know, he hasn't campaigned, or even mentioned favoring rehabilitation over incarceration.  

    From his website (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:25:23 AM EST
    Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.


    Obama will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior.



    Isn't his website (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Grace on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:20:07 AM EST
    sort of a joke?

    I mean, the surge worked and then it didn't work.  

    They can play with the website at will.  Anything there today can be gone tomorrow -- and you know it!  


    Oh, My! (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by ghost2 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:33:05 AM EST
    Orwell must be pleading like crazy up there to come back!

    The other day, there was this nugget out of the Florida event (the one when Obama got heckled):

    During his speech, Obama was interrupted by three men who stood up with a banner asking, "What about the black community, Obama?" Many in the crowd began chanting, "Yes, we can," the Obama campaign mantra to counter the criticism.

    This is so close to The Animal Farm that it scares me!!  Yes, that's the famous line of the book, "four legs good, two legs bad" comes from.  From the Sheep chanting it every time someone asks an inconvenient question.

    Then, we also have the equivalent memory hole of the 1984 book.  


    On the other hand (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:22:26 AM EST
    didn't Obama himself quiet the chanting and answer the question, acknowledging it as valid and addressing directly the issue raised; he did end with "if you don't like my positions," you can exercise your options to vote for someone else, but he did acknowledge the question. Credit where credit is due, imo.

    "ex-offenders"? (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Fabian on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:13:18 AM EST
    Wouldn't it be better to do all that while they are incarcerated so they would be better prepared when they are released?

    I'm not clear on what an "ex-offender" is, actually.


    I stand corrected if that is on his website (none / 0) (#25)
    by ChuckieTomato on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:33:54 AM EST
    That still does nothing for repeat non-violent drug offenders. A drug abuser is likely to repeatedly re-offend. Non-violent pot smokers still could eventually end up in prison under that program.

    But compare his drug policy positions (none / 0) (#148)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:06:56 AM EST
    as a candidate for the Senate in '04.

    (and performance as a Senator.)


    The left and Afghanistan (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Andreas on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 05:34:52 AM EST
    It is not a left-wing position to support US imperialism in Afghanistan.

    WSWS on Afghanistan


    His vote on the Bush cover up and elimination (5.00 / 5) (#168)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:13:11 AM EST
    of 4th Amendment rights bill (aka FISA) does induce confidence that an Obama administration will end the abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.

    Obama does not offer an Universal Health Care Plan even through he falsely claims it is universal in his champaign speeches. His poison pill Harry and Louise ads against UHC during the primary will IMO make it harder to pass anything close to UHC and his willingness to run this type of ad indicates to me a real lack of commitment on this issue.

    Obama's willingness to continue to repeat right wing talking points on women's choice issues is troubling. At least threes times that I know of, Obama has stated that women need to seek the advice of their physician, their family and their clergy prior to making a decision on having an abortion. He has also reinforced the right wing talking point that women may abuse the existing mental health provision to obtain late term abortions.

    His failure to commit to eliminating contractors in Iraq and his recent statement that Black Water has gotten a bad rap is troubling. Also, by his own words he does not intend to end the occupation of Iraq any time in the near future. He has always said that he will maintain an unspecified number of troops for an indefinite period the fight al-Qaeda (combat forces required), train Iraqis, secure American embassy etc.) At least one of his advisors is on record as saying this could be as high as 80,000 troops remaining in Iraq.


    Black Water? (none / 0) (#175)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:29:17 AM EST
    DO you have a link to the statement by Obama you reference on Black Water? This I gotta see.

    You would force me to use my primate google skills (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:07:35 AM EST
    Sen. Barack Obama has not been a fan of private police like Blackwater in war zones, and some news outlets even reported that they were spurned for his trip last week to Afghanistan and Iraq. But Whispers confirms that Blackwater did handle the Democratic presidential candidate's security in Afghanistan and helped out in Iraq. What's more, Obama was overheard saying: "Blackwater is getting a bad rap." Since everything appeared to go swimmingly, maybe he will take firms like Blackwater out of his sights, the company's supporters hope. U.S. News

    last week or so (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by CHDmom on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:08:18 AM EST
    just google it, I can't do links here but when he was in Irag usnews and other have this.  "What's more, Obama was overheard saying: "Blackwater is getting a bad rap."
    also back in Feb The Nation Jeremy Scahill reported "A senior foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has told The Nation that if elected Obama will not "rule out" using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. The adviser also said that Obama does not plan to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009

    good point, the letter doesn't say he (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:20:42 AM EST
    wavered on those issues, it's asking him not to and saying because he's wavered on other issues like FISA they have some concerns on these which are among the most important issues to progressives.

    Wavered on FISA? (5.00 / 12) (#22)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:28:24 AM EST
    That is the kindest, most generous description of his complete reveral on the vote and his failure to fillibuster the bill.

    So, trust is certainly the issue now.

    I think Obama jumped the shark with that vote.


    If that's a "waver"... (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:15:16 AM EST
    ... then what would Obama have  to do, to do more than "waver" on Constitutional issues? Come out in favor of the divine right of kings?

    Hey lambert (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:22:39 AM EST
    Any chance you could approve my registration request over at Corrente?  

    I promise to be good.  ;)


    I just checked (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:53:44 AM EST
    You are in fact -- believe it or not -- already approved.

    Clear your cache and cookies and restart your browser. Let me know if any problems at lambert_strether DOT corrente AT yahoo DOT com.


    I'm not approved yet, and I don't know why. (none / 0) (#204)
    by masslib on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:21:13 AM EST
    As long (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:00:42 AM EST
    as he gets to wear the crown!

    We need Bilmon. (none / 0) (#137)
    by ghost2 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:36:11 AM EST
    He completely disappeared.  But he wrote a very funny mock 'year in review' during the height of Bush worship in 2002.  Sad and funny at the same time.

    Bilmon, we could use your talents!!


    He wrote a great diary on McSame (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by byteb on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:32:59 AM EST
    a couple of days ago at Dkos. It was Numero Uno on the Rec list. It was good to read him again.

    OK - -- Sigh (3.50 / 2) (#28)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:37:33 AM EST
    We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense.

    Obama does it cause he believes it's right, you really super duper smart people.

    One word -- (5.00 / 5) (#55)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:19:49 AM EST

    Oh, wait. You're saying Obama believes gutting the Fourth Amendment and giving retroactive immunity to the telcos is right.

    Tell me again why I should vote the D? I keep forgetting. And I was so looking forward to the restoration of Constitutional government. Silly, silly me.

    I bow to your superior smartness, Edgar08. [snort]


    That's what he said (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:34:52 AM EST
    He denied supporting FISA because of political pressure.

    He said sometimes politicians do something they think is right, and that was the case with Obama and FISA.


    I had to delete your prior comment (none / 0) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:57:30 AM EST
    for name calling, this was a little better, but you know the rules.

    They're not really morons (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:33:09 AM EST
    But I don't trust that letter at all.

    You wrote a lot about how Obama didn't articulate any principles in the primary.   Anybody could see that.  Principles and issues were not the guiding message of his campaign, when it came to discussing them, he was always the least informed, and the least impassioned.  When it came to putting himself on a pedestal and building the myth of himself as a system changer (you're a lawyer, when has the system ever changed?), THAT'S what he articulated.  There is no doubt about that!

    And then The Nation writes this:

    Stand firm on the principles you have so compellingly articulated, and you may succeed in bringing this country the change you've encouraged us to believe is possible.

    So here's the thing!  

    It will be much easier for them to talk about how Obama betrayed principles that Obama articulated than it will be for them to admit that they backed a candidate who articulated no principles.  

    The letter infuriates me.  And of course I call them names to express that outrage.

    But if they're not morons, the other option could be something worse.  A more serious and thoughtful reply, one that I think about long and hard before I post could be worse.

    What's the letter about?  Accountability?

    From The Nation?


    The Nation has lost its credibility. (3.66 / 3) (#92)
    by Mari on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:08:45 AM EST
    I can't believe there was a time when I took their writers seriously. The Conservatives were right about one thing: many liberals are elitist and out-of-touch with ordinary people and frequently political reality.

    I subscribed to that magazine for 8 years, but became slowly disenchanted with its lack of populist passion and rigidly ideological writing.

    I remember seeing Katrina Vanden Heuvel on one of political shows becoming all excited when Pelosi became the House Speaker. Vanden Heuvel was so naive. Even I knew, that simply electing representatives with a d after their name would not make a difference. Sure enough, a few days later, Pelosi announces that impeachment is off the table.

    This year, they joined in the misogny of Clinton bashing trying to prop up Obama. History will judge that publication harshly.


    I'd still (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:44:46 AM EST
    Rather be a moron than a mysogynist hypocrite.

    I like the Nation (3.50 / 2) (#178)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:34:01 AM EST
    so I signed it when it came out...

    Katrina vanden Heuvel had a nice soundbite on This Week. She said MCCain puts "a polite face on war mongering."  Jan 2008

    Most of the people I know believe activism will be required to keep Obama on the right track and this is just part of it.

    Thanks Jeralyn. I just (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:05:11 AM EST
    added my name to the list.

    Thanks Jeralyn (none / 0) (#4)
    by Amiss on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:11:03 AM EST
    I added my name as well.

    Me Three!!!!! (none / 0) (#9)
    by TheJoker on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:15:59 AM EST
    I see the night patrol (none / 0) (#7)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:12:46 AM EST
    is alert as usual.

    yes, let's get a hardcore liberal nominated! (none / 0) (#11)
    by inkybod on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:20:06 AM EST
    Obama's best bet is to be seen as extremely liberal, just as the Nation would want.  Then we'd have a nominee that's perfectly on point, issue for issue, but who also is sitting on his butt in Illinois because he wasn't elected.

    Let's keep this in perspective.  He needs to move to the center pragmatically.  

    The Nation and the rest of us have two options: ramp up the left wing criticism and help bring your candidate down, or hold off until the election to see what a real far-sighted progressive will do.

    Obama will be an excellent and forward-thinking president.  Just let him attract swing voters so he can get into office.  

    Without them, he'll be a by the book democrat, but he won't be president.

    Each time you think about calling Obama out at this moment, keep in mind that by doing so, you're supporting McCain.  If he's elected, he will drag  us into a war with Iran and will nominate conservative judges to the supreme court.  Let's get him elected and then evaluate his results.  Please.

    okay (5.00 / 9) (#15)
    by Steve M on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:21:33 AM EST
    ...you're doing a parody of an Obama supporter, right?

    Dad always pointed to Frank Sinatra (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:34:24 AM EST
    as a good example of unintentional self-parody.

    That's the waning years Frank though by the way.


    Your Dad was right.... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:44:40 AM EST
    but at least Frank could sing!

    Oh, please... (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by otherlisa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:25:03 AM EST
    I'm not asking for a "hard core liberal." I am asking for a candidate who commits to some basic Democratic (both small "d" and big "D") principles. Capitulating on FISA is unacceptable. Flip-flopping on offshore drilling, not so great either. Floating the name of an anti-choice Blue dog Democrat for VP, give me a break.

    And if you've hung around this site for any length of time, you ought to know that responding to valid criticism of Obama by threatening us with McCain ain't gonna fly.


    disagree completely (5.00 / 10) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:25:04 AM EST
    calling out Obama when he missteps is not supporting McCain. We can support a candidate and seek to hold his feet to the fire.

    We don't have to wait until he's elected. He needs to know now that those who championed and heralded (and even those who reluctantly support) his candidacy are doing so for a reason ....they trust he will act in accordance with his expressed policy views.


    holding Dem's feet to the fire (none / 0) (#29)
    by inkybod on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:37:59 AM EST
    Is exactly what makes Dems self destruct every time.  Repubs know that their candidates will claim to be "uniters, not deviders" during the campaign, but once elected will drive the conservative point home.

    Let's learn something from their book and give our guy a break until he's actually able to make good on some of these issues, instead of speculating as a candidate.  He'll be much more progressive than McCain, who is the only other viable alternative.

    I was an idealist in 2000, hoping to get a Green on the ballot in 2004, instead of only have the choice between two corporate appeasers.  Now I see that elections don't facilitate the idealist agenda.  Pragmatism is the only perspective that produces real results.  


    You voted for Nader? (5.00 / 6) (#32)
    by otherlisa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:41:14 AM EST

    Look, you don't get to make yourself feel better now because you made a bad decision in 2000. And I'd say you've transferred your revolutionary romanticism to Obama, and that kind of thinking is just as harmful now as it was in 2000.


    all I'm saying (none / 0) (#202)
    by inkybod on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:19:55 AM EST
    is that Repubs maintain a united front behind their candidate, regardless of the issues (when was the last time we've heard real criticism of McCain on immigration or any other issue that he's bucked his party for?  It was before he was the nominee).  You know what this produces?  A won election.

    When Dems kill each other based on a few issues here and there, it comes across as, "S/he can't even get the support of their own party!"

    I'm not saying that we shouldn't hold Dems accountable for their actions in office, but this is still the campaign.  He's not in office yet and all we're seeing is him in candidate mode.  There has to be some balance here between support and the issues, and IMO, people are blowing this out of proportion.


    Gore wasn't (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:41:41 AM EST
    A corporate appeaser.

    If elected, Obama will begin running (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by kempis on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:20:08 AM EST
    for re-election in '12. Now that we see who he thinks he must be to win a general election, we can pretty much count on his being this guy if he's president. And that's not a progressive.

    But I don't think progressives chose him because of his policy positions. If they did, they must no longer want to fight for universal health care.  


    Bingo (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by Boo Radly on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 07:14:03 AM EST
    UHC - Kerry already stated "it ain't gonna happen" with his most acid distain. I do not understand why people are still thinking any of the D issues are going to be addressed by Obama. He is backed by the DNC/"leaders" - the latent influence is not veiled at all. It's been ham-fisted from day one. Simply because they think they have a captive voter block in each loyal D. It has been so horrific under Bu$h - they lost sight of what counts. They are clueless and it will not work. Voters do not want "symbols" or "words" - they want REAL. Not more of Bu$h et al even if it is a "dem". What "D" issue has BO stood up for? This 'primary' has been a fairy tale - an ugly one.

    It was the DNC. No question. (5.00 / 1) (#205)
    by Angel on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:22:07 AM EST
    Criticism of Obama is not the same as (5.00 / 10) (#53)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:19:03 AM EST
    support for McCain.

    Besides, if the Nation list had 'held his feet to the fire' during the primaries instead of swooning over him without looking into his record, folks would not need to be scrambling, ineffectively, at the last minute now to make up for it.

    And please, please stop with the ultra-secret true liberal riff.  There's no evidence whatsoever to support the idea he's anything but a centrist.  The 'real' progressive idea is something projected on him by unrealistically optimistic supporters.  Along with 'transformative' and 'ascendant' and all the other adjectives bandied around without basis.


    Not true (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:29:59 AM EST
    that there's "no evidence" that "he's anything but a centrist."  Here's some evidence.  And here's more.  And here's Jeralyn saying that he's "very similar" to Hillary on key progressive issues.  Do you think Hillary is centrist rather than progressive?  You could also look at his website, which details his position on issues.  You'll find that his positions tend to be quite progressive.

    Sen. Obama's vote for FISA (5.00 / 9) (#68)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:33:40 AM EST
    was not progressive, nor was his failure to speak out against the Bush admininstration's proposed regs. on birth control.  Including Donnie McClurkin on stage during campaign rallies--not progressive.  Saying he'll buckle on off-shore drilling if there is enough stuff in the bill he favors--not progressive.  

    So, here's why the constant calls to go (5.00 / 9) (#89)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:02:58 AM EST
    to Obama's website (your first link) is like nails on a chalkboard: for my entire adult life, I have known that campaign-produced literature (real or digital) is propaganda.  It's no more than whatever words on a page makes a candidate look good.  What someone says in their propaganda matters, but not much.

    The idea that someone's website should be treated as a valid source for truth (as opposed to 'truthiness') is bizarre.  

    The link is to a page comparing Obama and Clinton's votes to prove which one is more 'progressive'.  There are 4 group ratings listed.  And what a coincidence, they all show BO with a better record than Clinton!  But I wonder, what are the chances that these are the only 4 ratings groups in the entire progressive world?  Or could this page owner possibly be cherry-picking the data?

    And, slightly off-topic, I really think that after this year, all the various pacs and interest groups that put out ratings should figure out a way to account for present and skipped votes.  Because if there are 10 important issues for a particular interest in a session, and one candidate only shows up to one but votes in the group's favor, while another candidate shows up for all 10 but only votes the 'right way' 9 times, is it really fair to present that the first candidate has a better record?


    I disagree. (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:15:02 AM EST
    I've been called "lame" here for pointing to a candidate's website, but dismissing a candidate's stated positions as "propaganda" makes me wonder what isn't propaganda in your view.  I have no reason to believe that Obama's positions are any different than his website says they are. Educating voters about a candidate's positions is the whole point of having an issues section on a website.

    I'm not going to spend all night looking up more ratings of Obama's relative progressiveness.  You said there is no evidence and I gave you evidence. Now I'm going to bed.

    Ok.... (5.00 / 5) (#115)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:37:44 AM EST
    I wasn't the one who called you 'lame'.  I would like to be very clear about that, since I don't want to get deleted for a comment I did not make.

    Pointing to the website has become rather a joke here because that is the standard response from Obama supporters who can't name a single policy position he holds but whose support for him rests entirely on faith in his hope-change rhetoric.  It has happened so many times that sending people to his website causes eyes to roll and throats to groan.

    You are obviously not in the same category, but it's difficult to eschew such well-ingrained responses.

    Finally, I didn't say the list in itself was propaganda.  Cherry-picking is.  If I said the Celtics win all their games against the Lakers, but only put forward the 4 games they won and none of the ones they lost as evidence, that's propaganda.

    I didn't go to either candidate's website before I voted in the primary because I wasn't at all interested in a lot of spin.  I went out and researched their votes and experience myself.  There are a great many cites that have full information and not just the things a candidate wants people to know about packaged up in a nice, palatable, easy-to-swallow box.

    The point of candidates' websites is NOT about educating voters.  It's about getting them to like you.  Big difference.


    web site (5.00 / 10) (#117)
    by CHDmom on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:52:30 AM EST
    My problem with relying on Obama's website, is every time he changes his mind on something, they scrub his site. So how do we trust what we read as his policy will be there tomorrow? Just today in Fla he said he never said he would put a NASA program on hold to pay for education. BUT the origonal education PDF said exactly that.
     Now that sentence is scrubbed from his 15 page PDF, it's a shame that people feel they have to take screen shots of his site, because they scrub things so often.
     At least if you go by what he says there is a record of it usually in print or you tube ect, so he can't pretend it wasn't his policy.

    Sorry, wrong link. (none / 0) (#65)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:31:40 AM EST
    Don't You think Clinton is (none / 0) (#77)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:52:27 AM EST
    A Centrist?

    Compared to me, yes. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:55:04 AM EST
    Compared to the country as a whole, I think Clinton and Obama are both progressives.

    Compared to you (none / 0) (#82)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:56:00 AM EST
    What is Obama?

    As I said, (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:07:51 AM EST
    I am to the left of both Obama and Clinton, who have virtually the same viewpoints on nearly all issues, and so I tend to see them both as mildly left-centrists, if there is such a thing.  But compared to the country as a whole, and certainly compared to McCain, they are progressives.

    Compared to you (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:09:42 AM EST
    Clinton is a centrist.

    Compared to you, Obama is a long paragraph.


    Again (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:55:26 AM EST
    presenting progressive/liberal ideas with PASSION and TRUE articulation would win over the "center".  The way things are going right now we are proving Karl Rove right when he said that the USA was a 'center-right' country.

    I doubt that seriously.  Progressive ideals are better for the general population and the greater good (paraphrasing Clinton 42 here).  We just need a great communicator to convey that message.  


    To the Nation (none / 0) (#24)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:31:49 AM EST
    I remember that song, what were the lyrics: Too little too late...

    Stellaaaa....Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (none / 0) (#42)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:02:57 AM EST
    I always get lyrics wrong (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:30:22 AM EST
    Beast of Burden, I thought was "pizza burnin"  for years.  

    I'll never be your pizza burnin' (5.00 / 0) (#161)
    by Burned on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:57:07 AM EST
    Did you sing it out loud? :)

    Yep...with gusto (5.00 / 2) (#183)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:40:11 AM EST
    gee, thanks Stellaaa (5.00 / 0) (#162)
    by ccpup on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 08:57:48 AM EST
    Now I'm craving pizza.  At 10 in the morning.



    Ha! Then you'll love this. (5.00 / 2) (#203)
    by tree on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:19:58 AM EST
    Joe Cocker at Woodstock, "captioned for the clear-headed".

    "....Oh baby, hoggify...All I need is my butt and I.."


    Obama is a shoo-in. Forget (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:16:45 AM EST
    the letter.


    Great! (5.00 / 7) (#56)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:22:34 AM EST
    That means we can hold his feet to the fire immediately. We don't have to wait.

    Maybe Obama could fix his broken health care plan, or even come out in favor of HR676?


    Except if we criticize him, (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:23:40 AM EST
    we are aiding and abetting the enemy.  

    Although (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:58:11 AM EST
    I don't plan on voting for Obama, you are right on this.  These types of actions just give the opposition ammunition.

    Maybe they should take a clue from Keith Obermann and someone needs to take Obama into a small room and remind him WHY he is in the position he is in now.

    He can come out a little more enlightened as to why he is supposed to be the standard bearer of the D's platform.


    You are either with Obama (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:02:23 AM EST
    Or you are with.... the republicans.

    I know (5.00 / 5) (#106)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:25:52 AM EST
    sometimes sarcasm doesn't convey well online.  My vote is mine and it isn't the Dems or the R's until I decide.

    I have made the conscious decision to vote Green party.  And just to give you one reason (although there are a myriad), is Donnie McClurkin.

    I have been fighting for gay and lesbian rights since I was 17.  I'm 40 now.  When I see Obama and Donnie McClurkin, a rabid homophobe, campaigning together in SC, that was my deal breaker.  

    Google Donnie McClurkin and his comments on gays and lesbians.  I refuse to support anyone who seeks this kind of person out to get votes.  The Green Party is FAR MORE progressive on gay issues anyway.  Mine isn't a protest vote, it's one of integrity.  If that's the case, to vote for Obama, I may as well become a Log Cabin Republican.  Ain't. Gonna. Happen.


    An alternative (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:09:09 AM EST
    You're with McCain+Obama, or you're in favor of creating better choices.

    From my perspective (5.00 / 5) (#88)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:02:40 AM EST
    I see relentless criticism of Obama in these threads and almost none of McCain.  That puzzles me.

    None of us like McCain. (5.00 / 8) (#99)
    by Valhalla on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:19:01 AM EST
    There's just not much to debate about it.  I know I'm not voting for him.  Anyone who is voting for him as a protest vote is not voting for him because they like his policies; that's not what a protest vote is about.

    I disagree with pretty much all of his policies.  I don't need to discuss that, except maybe to throw down about whether I disagree more strongly than another commenter.  But that's not all that interesting, either.

    This pretty much covers McCain:  he's a bad campaigner, his policies s*ck, but he's got a pretty decent media shop and as a result, some effective ads.


    Because this thread (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:21:50 AM EST
    is about Obama.  Not McCain.  I believe Jeralyn is one who favors us to stay on topic.  I am trying to NOT get banned from her diaries as well.

    Not just this thread. (5.00 / 4) (#105)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:25:40 AM EST
    Every political thread contains attack after attack on Obama, and comparative silence about McCain.

    TChris (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:31:05 AM EST
    I feel that because of Jeralyn's support of Hillary in the primary some come here to voice their concerns about Obama.  Jeralyn is nice enough to let us have a forum when no one else is going to let us have a place to voice our disapproval with Obama's stances. We could go to No Quarter and the others that have gotten more traffic but TL was an oasis in a sea of Obama mania this spring and summer.  Besides, I think that dissent keeps someone on their toes.

    If you want to see some serious McCain bashing, to to Michelle Malkin's website.  They call him a host of names and go after him rabidly.  OR maybe post something that would exact some criticism on McCain in one of your diaries.  Surely you would get some great reaction from ardent Obama supporters.


    And your point would be? (5.00 / 4) (#163)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:07:17 AM EST
    I've never understood the logic of statements like that. The reasoning, if I may call so call it, seems to go like this:

    1. 90% of the A list supports Obama and bashes McCain constantly.

    2. Therefore, 90% of the content of this blog should support Obama, and bash McCain constantly.


    Even from a business model perspective, this is a silly argument; if you write nothing that differentiates you from other blogs, why would readers come to you? Why not simplify matters, and eliminate all the voices except The Obama 527 Formerly Known As The Kos Community?

    There's also a moral issue; many, many [not Obama] supporters were purged from other blogs, among them prominently Kos. It hardly seems fair to purge them here, when this site became a refuge for them -- and purging is the only option left, unless they decide to post material acceptable to the 90%,  although they don't believe in it, or STFU.

    Seems anyone with an attitude like this is the problem, not the posters and commenters. Some may want to hammer down any nail they see sticking up, but democracy doesn't work that way.

    Sometimes. you just have to harsh the mellow.


    It shouldn't (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by blogtopus on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:23:20 AM EST
    "Nobody beats up on my little sister... except for me!"

    It's an old story. We expect more from Obama... we expect that crap from McCain, because we don't support him and could care less. Because Obama is our face to the world, and presumably our voice, we want to make sure he is saying what we want him to say.

    Sure, there are a lot of angry folks out there, who would like to see Obama go down in a hubristic pillar of fire for his campaign's deplorable actions (or lack thereof) earlier this year, but most of us just want him to be the candidate he presented himself as in all those awesome speeches he gave in the past.


    I criticize (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:37:11 AM EST
    People who supported Obama (even tepidly) more than I actually criticize Obama.

    (Well at this point at any rate.  The primary is over.)

    Does that help?


    What I mean is (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 03:57:21 AM EST
    I have no problem with Obama being centrist.  

    I have a problem with people who pretend or pretended he's or he was something other than a centrist.


    Sounds like you have a problem... (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by lambert on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:12:57 AM EST
    ... with the entire Obama Fan Base, plus the way Axelrod decided to package his client.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?


    The posts are not about McCain (5.00 / 6) (#116)
    by oldpro on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 02:47:35 AM EST
    so if the three of you don't write about, criticize, McCain...how would we stay on topic by going there?

    McCain, so far, is not the issue for most of the writers/bloggers/commenters on this site.

    Few of us will vote for him, no matter what.

    Problem is, few of us will vote for Obama either.  And this is new for those of us who have NEVER not voted for the Democratic nominee.

    And he is screwing up just as we suspected he would.  So...everyone including the bloggers on this site have noticed and commented/criticized him for these mistakes.  They will cost the election.

    And you think we should talk about McCain?


    We can do that after the election when it will be time to criticize his administration.

    That will be AFTER we finish criticizing the Democratic Party for screwing up what should have been won in a walk.


    Many (5.00 / 3) (#201)
    by TChris on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:16:02 AM EST
    of my posts have criticized McCain.  That doesn't stop the comment threads on those posts from devolving into Obama bashing.

    I don't think any of us (5.00 / 7) (#207)
    by samanthasmom on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:27:37 AM EST
    disagree much with what you write about McCain. We very much resent that the selection of Obama as the Democratic nominee is placing us in the untenable position of having no one to vote for. Many of us of tired of voting against someone instead. We know that McCain will not be a good president but are not necessarily convinced that he isn't the best choice for the long haul. And we want our party back. So voting against it may be the best strategy for that, too. It's not really about McCain for us at all.

    Criticism of Obama (5.00 / 6) (#182)
    by Coral on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:39:45 AM EST
    has been suppressed or attacked on many progressive blogs and by the Democratic establishment. This site has served as a refuge for many of us who have been disillusioned and angered by the attacks on HRC. It is appalling to see Obama moving to the right without criticism from those who were so quick to bash Hillary.

    What would the outcry be from those quarters if HRC had nabbed the nomination and then voted for FISA and flip-flopped on offshore drilling?

    I remember the outcry against her support of the gas-tax holiday and the praise lavished on Obama when he disagreed -- though at worst the gas-tax holiday would have little effect on the price of gas. Off-shore drilling is a boon for the oil companies and a threat to the environment, while doing nothing to solve our energy problems.

    I would love it if Obama himself would start attacking McCain instead of floating names of VP candidates that are deal-breakers for me. Maybe then I could focus on how bad McCain is (which he undoubtedly is). Obama needs to pay attention to the portion of the Democratic base that his primary campaign has alienated in this extremely important election year.

    End of rant.


    McCain is and always has been an unacceptable (5.00 / 8) (#190)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 09:49:56 AM EST
    option for president. I know why I will not vote for McCain. I really don't need any more reasons.

    After the primary, I did not find Obama acceptable either but I left the door open somewhat for him to give me actual reasons to vote for him other than he was not McCain. His vote for FISA closed that door completely. As far as I'm concerned any elected official who abandons their oath of office to protect and preserve the Constitution does not qualify for their current seat let along for becoming President of the United States. His vote provided the means necessary to cover up the crimes committed by Bush and his administration, eliminated 4th Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution, strengthened the precedent that the President is Above the Law and left the additional presidential powers that Bush established firmly in place for use by Obama and his administration.

    To me this action alone, make Obama unacceptable as well.


    Some Vic Chesnutt lyrics (none / 0) (#128)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 04:24:41 AM EST
    They don't have to send a letter, they can send a song:

    well, how are you with issues
    lately you've been a half-assed activist
    you've been seen sashaying around the picket line
    wearing scarcely any sign
    oh, but always vocal in love and strife
    and the politics of your all important life
    well, I'm sorry but your routine is coming off a bit ragged
    and I ain't got time for the niceties
    or rather I was never, never fond of the niceties

    comments over 200 (none / 0) (#210)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 10:35:37 AM EST
    this thread is now closed.

    Isn't the VP choice the best way (none / 0) (#213)
    by MarkL on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 12:54:31 PM EST
    at this point for Obama to show commitment to progressive causes (or not)?

    Losing Subscribers (none / 0) (#214)
    by Moishele on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 01:28:00 PM EST
    I'm wondering how many subscribers The Nation lost in it's rapturous embrace of Barack Obama. We let our subscription lapse because we didn't want to watch them shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. The last few copies we got ended up in the trash unread. All we had to do was look at the cover art to know they were yet another homage to Obama, and yet another attack on Hillary.

    Maybe someone in their editorial office woke up and realized they needed a lot of CYA as far as Obama is concerned. Otherwise they'll end up being another defunct liberal magazine.

    I don't get it. (none / 0) (#215)
    by Avedon on Sun Aug 03, 2008 at 06:55:59 PM EST
    The only thing I remember Obama actually saying he'd do is that he'd filibuster any FISA bill that included retroactive immunity - and instead he supported it and voted for it.  Isn't that kinda Game Over as far as getting him to be whatever it is they think he promised to be.