Merry Christmas, Barack. Now How About Doing Something?

I just got this over email.

Merry Christmas to you too, Senator.  I hope that your holidays are joyous.

By the way, the President just claimed the executive branch has absolute power.  Might I suggest you use some of your political capital and quit the 'aw shucks I'm new here' schtick? You did teach Constitutional Law.

Once again, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

UPDATE: From The Peoria Star Journal (courtesy of bi66er):

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., also supports congressional hearings.

"Once we have more information we'll know to what degree our laws were circumvented," Obama said. "But regardless, I am certain that we can do the intelligence gathering we need to do without eroding the civil liberties our founding fathers intended."

I do like how it's a matter of degree, though I wonder why he just sort of assumes we're going to get information about the degree to which our laws were circumvented.

Tags: Barack Obama, Senate 2006 (all tags)



Ditto and Amen!
but what a gorgeous family!
by wes wing 2005-12-20 06:18AM | 0 recs
Democratic Members of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

Patrick J. Leahy

Edward M. Kennedy

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Herbert Kohl

Dianne Feinstein

Russell D. Feingold

Charles E. Schumer

Richard J. Durbin

Funny, I don't see Obama's name there. I guess today must be the designated quarterly "Why isn't Obama saving the world?" whine day.

by bi66er 2005-12-20 06:31AM | 0 recs
And More
From today's Peoria Journal Star:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., also supports congressional hearings.

"Once we have more information we'll know to what degree our laws were circumvented," Obama said. "But regardless, I am certain that we can do the intelligence gathering we need to do without eroding the civil liberties our founding fathers intended."

by bi66er 2005-12-20 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: hmmm...
Hey-Ho, So this an issue only for the Judiciary, what part of the ridiculous DC machine do you work?
by brutus1 2005-12-20 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: hmmm...
>So this an issue only for the Judiciary

It's funny how that "division of labor" concept works out.

by bi66er 2005-12-20 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: hmmm...
He doesn't get a free pass for that, nor does any other senator.  Division of labor is for bureaucratic purposes - it allows legislation to move through the Senate, and formal oversight responsibilities to be divided.  But "it's not my job, ask them" would be a poor excuse for not taking an active role in a matter of principle and great importance for our republic.  Each senator takes an oath to uphold the constitution.

The quote you mention upthread is nice to see.

by arenwin 2005-12-20 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: hmmm...
>Each senator takes an oath to uphold the constitution.

The original complaint was basically that Obama hasn't been visible enough in speaking out against Bush's NSA spying policy. This is what my comment about the "division of labor" referred to. Literally, there is a policy and tradition of letting senators who belong to committees with oversight of the various issues of the day take the lead in making the public case for the Party's position on those issues. This is one of the reasons that Russ Feingold has been all over TV, radio, print, and web making the Democratic case against the Patriot Act. Is it necessarily because he's the best Senate spokesperson we have? No, it's because the Patriot Act is his issue. He's done the hard work, therefore he's the one who gets the responsibility and glory of making the public fight against it.

Sure, Obama or Clinton speaking out might theoretically generate more press coverage, but you know, Michael Vick could also be a great wide receiver. There are ways to win the ball game without having your best player play every position. The Senate Party Caucuses act as a team, and as with most teams, the members all have their own distinct and separate roles to play.

You are trying, I think, to make an argument against maintaining some kind of neutral stance on the policy. I agree that no one on our side ought to be staying neutral in this. However, this is a different issue than what Senate Democrat shows up on Charlie Rose or Hardball. Obama's not staying neutral so there should be no complaint there.

by bi66er 2005-12-20 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: hmmm...
I'm not at all concerned about who is showing up on the high profile national shows; let the senior people have their "glory."  This is the kind of issue that requires discussion in every local radio, TV, and newspaper market.  No one is better placed than a home state Senator - except, perhaps, a local Representative - to get attention in a local media market.  

If that's what the Senator is doing right now, reflected in the Peoria quote, then great!  If not, then I'd like to see it happen - not just him, all of them.  And over time, as more details filter out and investigations take place (or are stonewalled), progressively stronger statements on this matter are needed by Senate democrats in all their individual states.

This is not a run-of-the-mill legislative dispute; things will have to be loud, messy, and angry before the end.

So, no, I want to see more than non-neutrality; I'd like to see restoration of civil liberties and accountability for the Bush administration's disregard for them taken up as a national cause for Democrats - this means no one sits back.

I have no quarrel with Obama personally, as I've noted elsewhere in this thread.  He may be doing exactly what I would like to see in Illinois; and frankly, not being from that state, it's not something I'll spend a lot of time investigating.  I am reacting against treating this as just-another-dispute, business-as-normal.

by arenwin 2005-12-20 12:36PM | 0 recs
An Empty Suit?
I still don't know what all the netroots hubub is about a dude that has pretty much just taken up space and promised to campaign for another empty suit.

At this point Barak Obama would be the weakest Democratic VP nominee since Lieberman.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 06:32AM | 0 recs
Who said anything about VP?
Barack Obama is a first-term senator.  This expectation for him to run on a national ticket in 2008 is premature.  He has voiced no intention of appearing on the ticket that soon.  His star needs more time to rise.  The best way for him to use his public image is to get out on the campaign trail for our House and Senate candidates next year.  When the balance of power in congress swings more in our direction, Obama's own power will increase, at which point he'll be able to take a stronger public stance on the issues.  In terms of the 2008 national ticket, we have several good possibilities-- all of them GOVERNORS, NOT SENATORS.  Obama is too green now.  Give him time.  Give him time.  GIVE HIM TIME!!!!
by arlaur 2005-12-20 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Who said anything about VP?
There's all kind of hype about Obama being VP in 2008. I agree that he has potential, but have not been impressed by all the things he hasn't done.

The best way for him to use his public image is to get out on the campaign trail for our House and Senate candidates next year.

I am distinctly unimpressed with Obama's promise to fund raise and campaign for Duckworth. Even though he turned down the DLC's early effort to co-opt him into their ranks, for the most part he's acting like a DLC sockpuppet.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Who said anything about VP?
Do you have a link to where he promised to campaign for Duckworth?  I hadn't heard that one before.
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-20 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Who said anything about VP?
Check my original link, campaign for an empty suit:

The Duckworth campaign, orchestrated by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chief of the House Democratic political operation -- who nationally has been recruiting Iraq vets for House races -- will be boosted by Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama.
"I'm just solidly in Tammy Duckworth's corner," Durbin said Friday as Obama, standing at his side, nodded in agreement.

Emanuel, Durbin and Obama are national Democratic Party leaders who are expected to use their considerable fund-raising ability to assist Duckworth.

Of all the primaries to jump into feet first, Obama chooses to campaign against Cegelis. Thanks for nothing pal.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Who said anything about VP?
that's disappointing
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-20 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit?
There's a lot of enthusiasm for someone willing and able to articulate a unifying progressive vision.  That's incredibly rare at the national level.

For my part, I think the talk of Obama as a '08 ticketmate is greatly premature.  He's a young progressive with a great deal of potential and less than a year in federal office - but not yet a national leader.  I'm more than happy to give him time to grow politically, and see where that leads.  

But for all the buzz about Obama as a VP nominee, there are no indications whatsoever that he is angling for a nomination.  Quite the contrary, he's tried to dampen his celebrity so that he can actually do his work.  I respect that a great deal.

by arenwin 2005-12-20 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit?
There's a lot of enthusiasm for someone willing and able to articulate a unifying progressive vision.  That's incredibly rare at the national level.

Doing something besides flapping your gums is even rarer. Outside of the Black Congressional Caucus, Feingold, Kucinich and Dean are the only Democrats articulating and taking action to make a progressive agenda actually happen.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit?
It's not entirely clear to me what kind of action you have in mind.

This link provides access to his legislative record (ignore, of course, the usual meaningless list of concurrent resolutions and "sense of the Senate" resolutions).  It strikes me as a bit more than an "empty suit's" record of involvement in crafting or proposing legislation.

by arenwin 2005-12-20 11:48AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit?
He also, by the way, is one of the best prospects on the horizon to form a kind of political and oratorical bridge between this kind of rhetoric - foundational civil rights - and this kind - economic populism.

All this, too, is about potential, which is fine by me.  Even if he tracked the meteoric rise of JFK, he'd not be a national nominee until 2012.  IMO: ask me in 6 years or so.

by arenwin 2005-12-20 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit?
Really, we don't need to worry about this. Arguing with Gary is a waste of time.
by jkdism 2005-12-20 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit
Words of wisdom from an empty suit 55 comment newbie.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: An Empty Suit
You're right, Gary. It really doesn't take long to know not to waste my breath...
Ah! But I'm responding to you! You win, Gary, you win!
by jkdism 2005-12-20 12:12PM | 0 recs
When Feingold, Levin and the other guy
made their statement against domestic spying yesterday, I was wondering where everybody else was. They could have used some camera friendly, and legally articulate, backup.
by thief 2005-12-20 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: When Feingold, Levin and the other guy
I haven't heard anything of note from Obama about Iraq either. Color me unimpressed and show me results.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-20 09:10AM | 0 recs
Give him time . . .
The "political capital" held by Barack Obama is relatively small-- he is the junior senator from one state.  Yes, he has national visibility.  And, yes, many Democrats are keeping an eye on him as a future star.  But the actual power he holds at this moment is pretty small.  He HAS been doing good work for Democrats-- he got out and campaigned for our victorious gubernatorial candidates last month, particularly Corzine.  If Obama were to suddenly take a public tone of anger and outrage, he would lose a lot of his appeal to the population.  As it stands now, if he comes off with the "aw shucks" demeanor, what's wrong with that if he votes the right way on our issues and campaigns for our candidates?  He can't be the head-honcho party-leader right out of the gate!  Give him time!
by arlaur 2005-12-20 06:35AM | 0 recs
If y'all don't want Barack Obama
I'l take him as my senator.

In fact, I'll trade you both of my senators -- Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby -- for Obama. I'll even throw in a fifth-round draft choice.

by Quaoar 2005-12-20 06:36AM | 0 recs
no thanks!
I'm quite happy with Dick Durbin (the Minority Whip) and Barack Obama, thank you very much :)
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-20 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: no thanks!
OK. I'll sweeten the deal. I'll throw in Roy Moore, a plate of Alabama barbeque and a side order of cole slaw.
by Quaoar 2005-12-20 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: no thanks!
I'll take a plate of Big Bob Gibson's barbeque and you can have...the Cubs. We're not giving up Obama or Durbin or the World Champion White Sox.
by elrod 2005-12-20 08:20AM | 0 recs
by jgkojak 2005-12-20 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: What's Bill Schneider smoking
I generally ignore Bill Schneider.  His segments are almost always just a repackaging of conventional wisdom.  He's the classic opinion follower, rather than opinion leader, and his reading of polls tends to be very superficial - nothing that I couldn't have gone well beyond without his help.
by arenwin 2005-12-20 07:12AM | 0 recs
For the record
Having Barack Obama in the Senate is one of the few things that gives me hope and makes me feel like I've got representation in this messed up government -- even though I'm not from Illinois.

And he is on the record expressing his strong concerns about the Patriot Act and the usurping of power by this White House. Sen. Obama's latest podcast is up on his Senate website at

I think he's definitely on the right track. Do you think maybe we could give the guy a little more than 12 months to take over the entire Washington establishment and remake it just the way we want?

by barkingmoose 2005-12-20 07:36AM | 0 recs
Hey stop yer moanin'
We've got Arlen "I a conservative when I am in trouble or in pre-primary election years  but unenthusiatically liberal all other times" and Rick "You'd be surprised to learn that I've never had a private sector job in my life" Santorum
by kmwray 2005-12-20 08:00AM | 0 recs
Why go after Sen. Obama?
It is rather puzzling and disturbing to me that this website would take the time to bash a genuine progressive like Sen. Obama.  Not only does the Senator vote the right way (meaning the progressive way), but he also isn't afraid to advocate in public a progressive vision of this country and the world.  Why not spend all your time and effort attacking the ridiculous and regressive policies of this Republican Congress and Administration.  While there are some Democrats (i.e. Joe Lieberman) who may deserve a kick in the pants from time to time from fellow Democrats and progressives, Sen. Obama deserves no ridicule from any progressive.  He is a champion of the progressive cause and I would be more than willing to vote for him against any other Democrat in the 2008 primaries.  I hope one day he becomes President Obama.
by ColumbusAggie 2005-12-20 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Why go after Sen. Obama?
Ditto. People arguing for him to "do something" need to have a little more patience.
by timraines 2005-12-20 11:57AM | 0 recs
How dare he
wish you a Merry Christmas which some intern at one of his offices probably had the responsibility of carrying out.
by zt155 2005-12-20 08:27AM | 0 recs
Mutually exclusive?
Since when have sending holiday greetings and being an effective Senator been mutually exclusive? I'm pretty sure that the posing for Christmas photos with the family isn't the reason Obama isn't calling for impeachment.

Beyond calling for an investigation, what is there for him to do? I don't really get from his comments that he's wrongly assuming anything about what we're going to learn. In saying, "once we have more information," wasn't he referring to the information that will come out in an investigation? It's a little hard to tell since the original article pretty much glossed over him.

There's a lot of commentary in this thread about Obama '08 and what he should and/or should not have gotten accomplished by now. It seems to me that after the convention speech, so much was expected of him to just walk into the Senate and become some Paul Wellstone/Martin Luther King/Bobby Kennedy/Bill Clinton/Franklin Roosevelt Super-Progressive-Volton-Democrat everyone could follow. I think that was a really unfairly high expectation and Obama's been intentionally keeping a low profile ever since. That said, he could certainly speak up a little louder on certain issues...

by Scott Shields 2005-12-20 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Mutually exclusive?
Could you tell me what issues you want Sen. Obama to speak up more loudly about?  I keep hearing this complaint but I never hear the specific issues.  Could it be that Sen. Obama does not follow the progressive orthodoxy 100%?  If he is with progressives 95% or 99% of the time does that make him some sort of sellout?  I still can't believe that some people are wasting their time attacking this man.  He can't be all things to all people.  That in my opinion has been one of the major problems with the last two Democratic Presidential nominees.  The American people want someone who speaks from the heart with conviction/clarity and who is willing to sometimes offend some people (including those who support him or her).

And for those who say he may not be experienced enough to be elected President in 2008 I would simply say that President Bush only served one full term as Governor of Texas before he became President.  He also had no foreign policy experience before his election.  Sen. Obama served 7 yrs. in the Illinois Senate.  If he were to run for President in 2008 he would have a full 4 yrs. served in the US Senate where he serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte.  He would have more significant foreign policy experience than 4 (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II) of the last 5 Presidents.  Conventionally wisdom states and election results show that Governors not Senators win the Presidency.  I believe that will change in the post-9/11 world (especially with no incumbent running), but I also believe the longer you serve in the Senate as evidenced by Sen. Kerry's campaign the more votes you have cast that can be distorted by your opponent.  In other words, I think the perfect candidate for Democrats in 2008 is someone who has some state governmental and foreign policy experience, but hasn't served in either the House or the Senate for more than 6 - 8 yrs.  It seems to me that Sen. Obama and possibly Fmr. Sen. Edwards fit the bill.

by ColumbusAggie 2005-12-20 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Mutually exclusive?
Barack Obama is the rising star of the Democratic Party. He is not ready to be president in 2008 but in 2012 or 2016 he will be a seasoned presidential candidate.

Puting Obama on the Democratic Ticket as Vice President with a strong foriegn policy/national security nominee with a centrist moderate ideology will be appropriate. After 8 years as Vice President. Obama will be the front runner for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Regarding the 2008 Democratic Presidential nominee.

1)Hillary Clinton(NY) and John Kerry(MA) and to an extent Russell Fiengold(WI) are part of the November Does Not Count Group- They are weak General Election candidates.

2)Edwards(NC)and Warner(VA) lack foriegn policy and national security experienc.

3)Bayh(IN)is too Lieberman-lite to win the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination

The last three finalist for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination is
1)Joe Biden(DE)
2)Wesley Clark(AR)
3)Bill Richardson(NM)

Out of the 3 finalist.

1)Wesley Clark lacks political experience- He has not held any elected office plus certain liberals are unfriendly towards the military.

2)Joe Biden- has a 30+ year senate career.

That leaves us Bill Richardson-NM

Bill Richardson is the current Governor of New Mexico- a swing state in the Southwestern Region(New South). Richardson served as UN Ambassador and Energy Secretary under President Clinton and He served in Congress for more than 15 years.

The strongest 2008 Democratic Presidential ticket is the Bill Richardson/Barack Obama Ticket.

by CMBurns 2005-12-20 01:48PM | 0 recs
2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination
They are 9 likely Democratic Candidates for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination

1)Hillary Clinton (NY)
2)John Kerry(MA)
3)John Edwards(NC)
4)Joe Biden(DE)
5)Wesley Clark(AR)
6)Bill Richardson(NM)
7)Evan Bayh(IN)
8)Mark Warner(VA)
9)Russell Fiengold(WI)

1)First Divide The Candidates in to two categories- Hillary vs Anti-Hillary.
The Anti- Hillary Candidates are

2)Divide the Anti-Hillary Candidates into three sub groups- November Does not count,Economic Security,and Homeland security.

November Does not Count

Economic Security

Homeland Security

The NDNC- believe in liberal ideological purity so they will support Fiengold(WI).

The Economic Security candidates are divided into two groups The Southerner(Edwards-NC) and Warner(VA). and the Non Southerner (Bayh-IN). The Southern Democrats will most likely support Warner(VA).
Between Warner(VA) and Bayh(IN). Bayh has foriegn policy experience.

The Homeland Security is divided into two groups- The Clintonites(Clark(AR)and Richardson(NM) and the Non Clintonites(Biden(DE). Regarding the Clinton candidates- Clark lacks political experience- and does not have experience on domestic issues.

The race between the Homeland Security candidates is Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. Richardson(NM)has gubenatorial experience.

The winner of the November Does not Count Category is Russell Fiengold(WI)

The winner of the Economic Security Category is Evan Bayh(IN)

The winner of the Homeland Security Category is Bill Richardson(NM)

Regarding the three finalist for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination


Divide the three candidates into to groups- Liberal Ideological purity(Fiengold(WI) and Non Liberal Ideological Purity(Bayh(IN)and Richardson(NM). Bayh is too Liberman-lite- so he will have a tough time winning in the Primary.

The two remaining Anti- Hillary Candidates are Russell Fiengold(WI)and Bill Richardson(NM). Most of the Anti Hillary Candidates want to win in November 2008 so they will support Bill Richardson(NM).

Richardson(NM) will on the 2008 Democratic Presidential ticket as President or Vice President. - My guess is that Richardson(NM)will be the 2008 Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee-
Richardson(NM)is the Democratic Party's Dick Cheney. except Cheney did not become Governor of Wyoming in 1994.
Richardson and Cheney are both Western Democrats
Richardson and Cheney both served more than a decade in Congress during the 1980's - Both served as their parties Whip while in Congress.
Richardson and Cheney were members of the Presidential Cabinent. Richardson served in the Clinton Adminstration as UN Ambassador and Energy Secretary and Cheney served in the first Bush Adminstration as Defense Secretary.

The 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination will be between Hillary Clinton(NY), and the non Hillary Clinton(NY)candidate.

The non Hillary Candidates

Kerry(MA) and Fiengold(WI)are the November does not count canidates.

Edwards(NC),Bayh(IN) and Warner(VA) are economic security -NASCAR candidates.

Biden(DE) and Clark(AR)are homeland security- post 9-11 candidates.

Fiengold(WI)will be the winner of the November does not count category.

The economic security/NASCAR canidates are divided into two groups- Southerners(Edwards-NC)and Warner(VA) and non southerners-Bayh(IN).
Southerner will overwhelmingly support Warner(VA). In the matchup between Warner(VA) and Bayh(IN). Warner(VA)is popular with the progressive liberal wing of the Democratic Party than Bayh.

Biden(DE)will be the winner of the Homeland Security Category.

The Anti Hillary Candidates will be
1)Joe Biden(DE)
2)Mark Warner(VA)
3)Russell Fiengold(WI)

The Anti- Hillary Candidates are divided between ideological purity(Fiengold-WI)and non Ideological purity(Biden-DE)and (Warner-VA). Biden(DE)carries alot of negative baggage- his 30+ year Senate carrier is a liability and his 1988 Presidential campaign was a disaster.

The Anti-Hillary Candidate race is between
Fiengold(WI)and Warner(VA).

Warner(VA)wins based on percieved electability.

I see a Mark Warner/Bill Richardson occuring.

A Governor from the Border Southern/Mid Atlantic Region (East Coast) as the Democratic nominee for President. and A Governor from the SouthWest Region(West Coast) as the Democratic nominee for Vice President.

Mark Warner(VA)is a Governor from a Southern State. - Last 3 out of Five Presidents-excluding Reagan and the First Bush were Governors from the Southen States- Jimmy Carter(GA),Bill Clinton(AR)and George Bush(TX).

Warner(VA)left the Governorship after one-term in office then seeked his parties nomination for President- ie Jimmy Carter(GA).

Warner(VA)was a CEO of a corporation before becoming Governor of Virginia. ie George W. Bush(TX).

Warner(VA)has a boyish charmish personality. Centrist Moderate Ideology- Bill Clinton(AR)>

by CMBurns 2005-12-20 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination
     Try the decaf, Monty.
by Ron Thompson 2005-12-20 04:59PM | 0 recs
Obama- needs to move to the center if he wants to
be a strong general election candidate for national office in 2008.

The percieption is that the Women Politicians like Hillary Clinton and Black Politicians like Barack are hold the negative liberal stereotype as being weak on security/soft on crime.

Liberal Black Leaders are marganalized as being another Louis Farrakan.

In order for Barack Obama to win in November 2008. He needs to appeal to married Suburban White Female voters with Childern- (Soccer Moms and Security Moms).

Obama needs to show voters that he is tough on violent criminals that reside in the inner cities. Obama needs to be friendly to the jewish community(-black voters are branded as anti semantics). Obama also needs to be in favor of reducing welfare benifits to teenagers who have children out of wedlock, In order to appeal to white suburban voters in Red and Purple states.

by CMBurns 2005-12-20 01:23PM | 0 recs
Beautifully Written
     Even a dim bulb like George W. Bush understood that political capital is only worth something when it's spent.
     Maybe we expect too much from Sen. Obama, who's still about 98th in Senate seniority. But all of us see his great ability, and to whom much is given, much is asked. If Barack Obama thinks George W. Bush is a dangerous threat to our liberties, he should say so. If he thinks Bush is the kind of guy he'd like to have a drink with (if only Bush weren't a dry alcoholic) he should say that. And that seems to be what he's saying.
by Ron Thompson 2005-12-20 04:57PM | 0 recs


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