My old leftist pal and former Idahoan (he calls himself a refugee, I say he’s a defector) Portland-based talkshow host Radical Russ Belville is up in arms about the FISA vote (though he’s not quite as cutting in his remarks as Jesse Jackson). He writes:
The ultimate knife in my heart right now is that Barack Obama voted for the bill and Hillary
Clinton voted against it. I’ve been a longtime registered independent and since moving to Oregon, a registered Green. But to support “change you can believe in”, I switched my registration to Democrat.
That’s the last time I do that. Tomorrow I’m back to Green. Obama still has my vote, as McCain is reprehensible and the Supreme Court too important, but he gets no more of my money and the yard sign is being returned to Obama HQ (with my scribbled “Capitulation I Can’t Believe In” on it). If I wanted a yard sign for a candidate who supported retroactive immunity, more faith-based initiatives, more handguns, more death penalty, and no public campaign financing, I could’ve just recycled my neighbor’s Bush signs from the past two elections…
Obama has made a huge mistake. In the parlance of football, he’s not playing to win anymore, he’s playing not to lose. He’s so terrified of giving the Republicans the “Dukakis in a tank / Kerry on a windsurfboard” moment that he’s forgetting to “dance with them what brung ya”.
One person expressed his displeasureon MyBarackObama.com (Hat Tip: Stop the ACLU):
It was all you talked about.
Then the FISA bill you gave the telecom companies retroactive immunity - something you said you were against - and voted FOR it on the senate floor.
Third party candidates, here I come. You’re no different than McCain
The netroots is really ticked off over this. The answer is found in part in Russ’ post:
What energized the Obama movement was so many of us fed up with the “politics as usual” that puts party, corporations, and money before people and the Constitution. We ache for change and long for a leaderwho wil lay it all on the line to defend our cherish freedoms. Someone who has principles and courage.
They thought Obama was different.Had Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden been the nominee, this wouldn’t have been as big of a problem, but if a candidate is viewed as being “different” or a “transformational leader” we expect them to: 1) never compromise and 2) never behave like a politician.
An example on the Republican side: After six months of solid reforms to ethics laws, school choice scholarship, a law allowing school districts to adopt supplementary curriculum on global warming and Intelligent design, and five tax cuts, many conservatives turned on Bobby Jindal in a heartbeat when he agreed to sign a huge pay increase for legislators that he disagreed with in order to insure that he could get other reforms passed in the future. Another governor could get away with it. Bobby Jindal’s star has fallen in the eyes of some people, because he’s not just the Governor of Louisiana, he is someone they expect to be a perfect conservative like Reagan was (even if Reagan didn’t reach this higher plane of conservativism until after his public life ended.)
What Obama did was even worse because it was pure politics and a reversal of his campaign promise for no other reason than to put himself in better position for this Fall. Unlike Jindal, Obama has fostered the expectations. He has embraced the mantle of being a transformational leader and his supporters are getting a let down.
This along with the fact that he’s not exactly pulling away from McCain at this point raises old doubts about electability. Today, a scary thought occurred me. Could this lead to Hillary Clinton unsuspending her campaign?
It’s an unlikely scenario, but her vote against FISA could indicate a shift in strategy. In the primaries, she ran to the right of Barack Obama. In the post-primaries, she could run slightly to the left. What would need to happen is for Obama to fall behind. This would be a big contingency. Obama hasn’t trailed McCain in any poll in 2 months. If polls leading up to the convention show Obama falling behind by 6-9 points and the Democratic base upset, she could run as a candidate who could go against McCain on experience and calm the base’s concerns about FISA, abortion, and other issues. She could give the Super Delegates as well any ticked off Obama delegates the chance to dump their guy.
Of course, what am I thinking? Would Hillary Clinton really turn on a candidate she’s endorses? Would she really be that backstabbing to use him to retire her gross debt, and then doublecross him with a week to go before the convention? Would she be that low down, devious, and decptive? Folks, it’s Hillary Clinton.
Like I said, possible, not probable.
Obama in the Plains
Barack Obama has promised to focus on some unconventional targets in his race for the White House. One of them being North Dakota. In the latest Rasmussen poll, McCain leads the State by 1 point. This election cycle, I’ve learned not to rely on one Rasmussen poll given earlier polls showing Obama leading by 3 points in CT.
However, the scarce polling done in North Dakota has had little great news for McCain. Obama has kept it within single digits. The goal has got to be to drive McCain to spend time and money in places like Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana to keep him from really enganging Obama in Ohio and Michigan. If you see John McCain spending any time in these three states, you know before the vote that Obama has won.