Saturday, June 21


I just thought I'd wander over to the land of the Cheetos to see what the reaction was to Obama's statement on FISA immunity. Lots of them are wailing, but I thought this statement from one of the diaries was so funny it hurts:

Did we all forget that he has to win the White House first before we can judge his true intentions?

And it's so typical. You read and hear that kind of thing all the time.

In what universe does an otherwise intelligent human being suggest that we should give the greatest concentration of power in the world to a man of whose intentions to use that power we have not the slightest clue?

Just sayin'.

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Friday, June 20


Oh. My. God.

I'm starting to believe he really IS related to Dick Cheney.

UPDATE: Talk about an arrogant narcissist!

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I wonder how many other progressive Obama supporters are going to find this a deal-breaker.

UPDATE: Obama backer Russ Feingold is not happy.

“The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration.”

Within 48 hours, Obama has reneged on two of his central planks, public financing of campaigns and telecom immunity. Feingold said the former was "a mistake," because the general election aspect of McCain-Feingold is not broken, only the primary element.

That's two strikes, Russ. Reconsidering your support?

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The buzz about Obama's renouncing public financing for his presidential general election campaign seems to be that it was (a) a smart move; and (b) not so deftly handled. But David Brooks' take on it, much as I hate to say it, reflects my own:

I have to admit, I’m ambivalent watching all this. On the one hand, Obama did sell out the primary cause of his professional life, all for a tiny political advantage. If he’ll sell that out, what won’t he sell out? On the other hand, global affairs ain’t beanbag. If we’re going to have a president who is going to go toe to toe with the likes of Vladimir Putin, maybe it is better that he should have a ruthlessly opportunist Fast Eddie Obama lurking inside.

All I know for sure is that this guy is no liberal goo-goo. Republicans keep calling him naïve. But naïve is the last word I’d use to describe Barack Obama. He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn’t smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics.

It's really a pretty fair column and worth reading it all. I've been asking for some time, what WILL BO fight for? What does post-partisan, new politics really mean to him?

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Thursday, June 19


I've been kind of surprised I haven't heard more about Obama's take on higher gas prices in the media. It's gotten some traction among the right-wing bloggers, but nothing like I'd have expected.

Barack Obama: "I think that... we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn't had an energy policy.* And as a consequence we've been consuming energy as if it's infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are."

CNBC's John Harwood: "So could the (high) oil prices help us?"

Barack Obama: "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money in their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more rapidly, particularly U.S. automakers..."

The obvious inference is that Obama doesn't object to $4 a gallon gas per se, just how rapidly the price increased. Most Americans hate it and want gas prices to go down as rapidly as possible. Obama wants to "help people to make the adjustment" to "new circumstances."

Is reducing the price of a gallon of gas a policy priority for Obama? Or does he, like Thomas Friedman, believe that the president should "guarantee people a high price of gasoline — forever."

Or perhaps he's like Andrew Sullivan, who regularly laments that "gas prices are too low," periodically forgetting to remind readers that he never learned how to drive (at least as of 2004).

* Says the man who voted for President Bush's energy bill.
[Emphasis mine]

Now, I'm a liberal Democrat, and I was shocked when I heard him say it. My immediate reaction was, you THINK you'd have preferred prices rose GRADUALLY? But that you have no problem with them rising in general? Man, talk about being out of touch with the working man and woman. All anyone does anymore at the office is talk about relative gas prices and mileage, who gets what. The Sage and I both have Honda Civic hybrids that we purchased before gas prices started soaring -- our idea was to help the environment. But now our kids always want to borrow them when they go on trips, and we get cards from our car dealer asking if we'd like to sell them. People are really starting to change their driving habits because of the costs, and everyone except the well-to-do is feeling the pinch.

Now I realize that many liberals and environmentalists have long maintained that until gasoline prices rose to an untenable level, Americans would refuse to conserve, and for many progressives, conservation has been seen to be the key to energy independence, NOT more resources, so they don't object to higher prices; indeed, they have championed them. But sorry, folks. The reality is that moderate to low incomes can't afford groceries bought at Whole Foods, which is more expensive than what you find at the corner grocery, and they cannot support high energy costs. Their cars are not the new, expensive, fuel-efficient models; public transportation in most towns and cities is inadequate or even non-existent, and people DO still have to get to work. In cities the size of Dallas, where I live, affordable housing may be 20 miles or more away from job centers, and many of our suburbs have no bus service at all. People are actually sacrificing food in order to keep their gas tanks full. And don't talk to me about car pooling. People aren't all working in manufacturing jobs anymore where the whistle blows and the whole workforce begins or ends their day.

So to say, "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment" doesn't sound very sympathetic coming from a guy who voted for the Bush/Cheney energy plan.

There's going to be a lot of suffering between now and when The Chosen One gets new, more robust CAFE standards passed by Congress. And just how many low and moderate income people does he think will be able to rush out and buy a new vehicle anyway? It sounds very offhand, detached, and unsympathetic to the plight of the Democratic base, frankly.

Oops. I forgot. Obama's campaign has a new coalition of Democratic voters. And it doesn't include the non-AA working class.

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Joe Scarborough was making much of this on today's Morning Joe show:

The [Iraqi] foreign minister said "my message" to Mr. Obama "was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress." He said he was reassured by the candidate's response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain. Mr. Zebari said that in addition to promising a visit, Mr. Obama said that "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field." [Emphasis mine]

Joe pressed Harold Washington to explain away the conclusion one might reach that Obama does an awful lot of back-door reassuring that he really doesn't mean what he's telling voters (e.g., Canada and NAFTA during the Ohio primary). Harold responded by saying that Americans should be reassured that they'll have a CIC who'll do the responsible thing. Joe wasn't buying, and asked why doesn't Obama just tell that to the American people rather than campaigning on a fixed date withdrawal? Washington stuttered and had no good answer.

To the Blogger Boyz and all the rest of the BO kool-aid drinkers who have projected their hopes for a rapid end to the Iraqi conflict under a president Obama, I have eight words from history:

Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam War.

A lot of us hung our hopes on it. It was political truthiness as usual. Nixon had no secret plan, he didn't do what he said he would, and he didn't have to once he'd won the election.

What will you do when you find out that Obama has the same priorities as George W. Bush (keeping us safe from terror) and not as Hillary Clinton (ending the Iraq War, universal healthcare)? Do you really, looking at Barry's history and resume, get a good sense of what really matters to the man, what he'll fight for, how he'll govern?

I hope, I really do hope, that you're not in for an awful disappointment, even a betrayal. Because if you are, we'll all suffer right along with you.

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Tuesday, June 17


Like some other pro-Hillary bloggers, I've posted very little since Hillary's concession speech as I sort out my thoughts and feelings and determine where I go from here.

As to my vote for POTUS, well, that will never go to John McCain. The only question now is whether I support Obama or sit out the presidential race while voting for down-ticket Dems.

There is one other certainty, however. I will continue to protest the DNC's actions in permitting itself (perhaps even engineering the whole thing) to become a party built around a single individual, for the benefit of a small group of political insiders, and devaluing its traditional base of working-class Americans, minorities (other than AA) and women. The big tent has shrunk to a pup tent, and the progressive agenda, which appeared to have such a promising future at the beginning of this election cycle, seems to be in the hands of those who would dismiss or amend it so as to seem unrecognizable by traditional liberals.

DNC actions since Hillary conceded, including Howard Dean's efforts to keep her off the convention ballot, suggest to me that there is indeed an insiders' desire to diminish or destroy the Clinton legacy and to curtail any influence Bill and Hill might exert in the future.

There is an ugliness here that continues to disturb hardcore Hillary supporters, even those who have already pledged to back Obama. And while polls may indicate that women in general are voicing support for BO, the party and the Blogger Boyz are still "not getting it" -- the women and men who are most vocal in their refusenik status are activists, volunteers, and donors, the kind of people the party has relied on for generations to stuff the envelopes, man the polling places, and turn out the vote. While our numbers may not demonstrate voting power (and I question even that), we are not so expendable as they seem to think. We are informed and we are influencers, people who will continue to talk politics with our friends and coworkers, and our dissatisfaction with the nominee and the party will be heard and have repercussions beyond our single votes.

So to my options:

Do I continue as a Democrat and work to "change" the current direction of the party from the inside? Or do I change my registration to Independent in protest, as I currently favor? And do I fall in line with a candidate I mistrust and dislike as much as I do Obama? I don't give a flip about party unity; I'm not exactly thrilled with the Democratic Party leadership these days OR their idea of "unity" (read: caving in to the opposition Bushies and Rethugs, and including giving comfort to the Clinton-haters). If party leaders had really been all that desirous of unity, we would have seen fairer treatment of HRC and her voters, and she'd now be our nominee. After all, poll after poll during the primaries showed that Obama voters would be satisfied with Hillary, but the reverse? not so much.

I'm still considering.

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Monday, June 16


Al Gore has endorsed Barack Obama for POTUS. Other than asking for donations to Obama's presidential candidacy, this is all he says:

Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges -- including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.
Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement. He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action.

With the help of millions of supporters like you, Barack Obama will bring the change we so desperately need in order to solve our country's most pressing problems.
On the issues that matter most, Barack Obama is clearly the right choice to lead our nation.

We have a lot of work to do in the next few months to elect Barack Obama president and it begins by making a contribution to his campaign today.

Pretty tepid, wouldn't you say?

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