MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

On Friday afternoon I was able to speak over the telephone with Sen. Barack Obama, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, while he was driving from a rally to the airport to catch a flight home. This was the third in an ongoing of interviews with Democratic presidential contenders, which began with Russ Feingold back in May before he had dropped out of the race and proceeded with John Edwards. Hopefully it will eventually hit all of the candidates in the race, perhaps continuing as early as two weeks from now at the AFSCME forum in Nevada, which I am in the process of finding the funding to attend and cover.

As with my other interviews from the week of the DNC's winter meetings, which included Edwards as well as Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, many of my questions came from either this comment thread or via email. You can listen to the interview by downloading the .mp3 here (warning: very large file) or read the transcript -- which covers healthcare, Iraq, Iran and getting people more involved in politics, among other things -- below.

Jonathan Singer: Hi, how are you doing?

Barack Obama: So did Schumer tell you all his trade secrets?

Singer: He tried to give me as much as he could. He's got a lot in that mind -

Obama: He does.

Singer: - that he keeps to himself. He's got a lot of trade secrets he doesn't want to get out.

[Laughter]

Singer: You talked today about battling against cynicism within the electorate, trying to get people more involved. We were talking yesterday briefly about one process reform we have in Oregon, vote-by-mail. I was wondering if you think that there can be process reforms to get people more involved or there needs to be a more systematic change as well?

Obama: I think all of the above. I cut my teeth on organizing, first in the community and then when I came back from law school and organized a voter registration project called Project Hope that registered about 150,000 new voters. But it was painstaking. The barriers that we still have in place for people getting involved just in exercising enfranchisement is still significant. We need to tear those down.

This week, Schumer and I introduced a bill dealing with deceptive practices, some of the nonsense that we saw in 2006, people calling up and saying that their polling place has been moved or that if you have a parking ticket you can't vote, spreading disinformation. We need to have a Justice Department that actually is prosecuting that stuff. And if it's not our bill, what it does, it allows a private right of action so the voter himself can take that to court and challenge it before it's too late for them to vote.

I personally think that we should seriously consider, on a state-by-state basis, moving away from partisan gerrymandering because I think it discourages the kind of robust debate that we need to have. If people feel like this is a 90 percent Democratic district or a 90 percent Republican district, then at a certain point folks start opting out of the process.

So those are all procedural forms that could make a difference. Now ultimately, though, elected officials and candidates themselves need to break down some of these barriers. I think the internet has been an invaluable tool to help connect candidates to potential supporters.

But I think there is still a hesitancy on the part of a lot of campaigns because they want to control the process themselves. I'm leaving George Mason University where a group called Students for Barack Obama just organized a 3,000-person rally. We had nothing to do with it. There's no way we could have given the time constraints we were under to organize something that good. But if candidates are willing to loosen the reins a little bit then that encourages people - especially young people - who will have other opportunities for public service to get involved.

And then the final aspect of it is message. I don't care how open your process is. If politics are timid, people aren't going to be excited, they're not going to get involved.


Singer: One of the things you spoke about today was getting universal healthcare - and quickly. Learning what you have over the past two plus years in the Senate as well as your time in the legislature down in Spingfield, what do you think you'll need to do as President to get that done so that people don't just think it's a candidate saying, "I'm going to do it"?

Obama: I think a new President has to... Let me put it this way: First the candidate would have to describe this commitment with some specificity, which isn't to say you've got the whole plan worked out perfectly ahead of time or that there's not going to be any compromise or modifications. But you have to run on the notion that by the end of your first term you're going to have healthcare for all.

That then would give you, should you win, a mandate. And you have to use that mandate. Quickly - in the first 100 days before the corrosive process of Washington starts setting in.

There are going to have to be compromises. There is a powerful -

[Phone cuts out]

Obama: That's my fault, Jonathan. That's probably a sign that I was talking too much.

[Laughter]

Singer: No, no worries whatsoever. Another source, I think, of cynicism, not just within young people but among the 60 to 70 percent of people in polls and the 55 percent of people who voted Democratic in 2006, is that the President is moving in exact opposite direction on the issue of Iraq - and not just on Iraq but on Iran as well - than the majority of Americans seem to want. What can be done, both in the next two years, and what can you do as President to restore Americans' faith that the President is indeed responsive, particularly on an issue as important as the war?

Obama: This week I introduced a very specific plan in the form of a bill - legislation - that would begin a phased withdrawal with the target of having all our combat forces out of Iraq by March 31 of next year. And that is what I would do right now if I were President and it's consistent with what my position has been throughout, which is we shouldn't have gone in in the first place, once we were in we had some responsibility and a national security interest in stabilizing the situation, but that stability is only going to come about if there is significant political compromise between the various Iraqi factions. It can't be imposed militarily.

So I'm hoping to get a vote on this bill. There are other strategies that have been presented. Russ Feingold has a bill. He's been consistent as I have in our oppositions to the President's misguided policies. I think Chris Dodd has a cap, at least on the surge. And Senator Biden has the non-binding resolution, which at least sends a message that the majority of the Senate is opposed to the President's policy. But I guess my point is that opposing the escalation is a distraction from the larger issue, which is that we need to deescalate.

Now in terms of the future, I think the next President is going to be cleaning up this mess for some time to come. And what citizens can do is essentially make sure that they're keeping the pressure on. Sooner or later the political system responds, and I think the November elections fundamentally changed the political climate in a way that puts more political pressure on the President.

Singer: Now for the people who feel like they're undergoing deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra put it, in terms of American policy towards Iran...

Obama: I think the major difference is that there will not be any tolerance, I think, on the part of this Congress for unilateral action by the United States against Iran. You're not going to get the kind of authorization language that you got for Iraq. And that provided the President, frankly, a lot of cover for a long time. And it boxed a lot of folks in Congress into a policy that wasn't going to work, and made it made it more difficult to oppose these subsequent moves.

Listen, Jonathan, I'm actually about to get on a plane.

Singer: I appreciate your time.

Obama: I hope that was helpful.

Singer: As a fellow SCIAC person - I went to Pomona, one of your rivals...

Obama: Those are nice schools. Nice, small liberal arts colleges, schools. They were good. I hope I get the chance to see you again, Jonathan.

Singer: Have a safe flight.

[THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.]

Tags: Barack Obama, Democratic primaries, Interview (all tags)

Comments

57 Comments

lost connection just in time

to not get specific about how he would do universal health care. Why not actually ask him to complete the prior partial statement, where he was beginning to go?

Sigh and alas.

Better luck getting a clear statement on anything (other than Iraw; he is getting clearer there) next time.  

So glad you spent time joshing about colleges. That was useful. Kind of what I expect from Larry King.

by DrSteveA 2007-02-08 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: lost connection just in time

So now Obama is faking a lost connection to avoid the UHC discussion?  Don't be that kind of person... you're better than that.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-08 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: lost connection just in time

So now Obama is faking a lost connection to avoid the UHC discussion?"

Obama is the only candidate running who actually sponsored universal health care legislation so he owns the topic.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:29PM | 0 recs
citation/source for Obama sponsor UHC?

please cite where Obama has sponsered UHC?

Kucinich has.
Edwards has announced a plan.

Obama...?

by DrSteveA 2007-02-08 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: citation/source for Obama sponsor UHC?

Look in my diary, there's a posting on Obama's Universal Health Care legislation with a link.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Good interview. Too bad the health care discussion got cut short.

by dblhelix 2007-02-08 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Good questions.  But could the next person who interviews him ask how liberals should be "bipartisan" with people who have explictly stated that their goals include castrating, tossing anvils to, and drowning said liberals - and whose actions over the last 6 years have backed up those statements?  

His response will no doubt be along the lines of "that is not how the majority of traditional Republican voters feel, and those are the people I am reaching out to", so the followup then would be "I will give you 2000, but those traditional Republican voters re-elected the Bush team in 2004.  How then can you say that they don't agree with their leaders on anvils, drowning, etc?".

sPh

by sphealey 2007-02-08 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

They would say that they voted against Kerry and not for Bush probably.

by sterra 2007-02-08 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

That would have been the first question I would have asked.  Senator Obama's focus on "bi-partisanship" is what has kept me out of his camp so far.  

I would have followed with a question about economic policy.

Good interview though. I can't wait for the Clinton one.

by andy k 2007-02-08 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Read his book.  The answers to your questions about Bi-partisanship are in there.  If you have read it, I would recommend re-reading it a bit closer.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-08 08:40AM | 0 recs
Meh

The problem isn't "bipartisanship", the problem is that there's a lot of stuff floating around that goes by the name "bipartisanship" yet very much isn't. It's a very slippery, manipulative word, and it gets used because of the fluffy feel-good connotations it provokes, not because it means something. But the reason those fluffy connotations work is that there's a valid sentiment at heart there-- it's just that that sentiment has been lost sight of completely by the American political mainstream.

From what I've seen whenever Barack Obama tries to put "bipartisanship" into practice, he approaches it in the best possible manner-- trying to find the common ground between two partisan approaches while still keeping sight of what his real goals are. You know, not just "the Democrats unquestioningly surrender their principles so they can 'work with' the Republicans". I have to admit I'm still leery of the use of such a slippery word-- I get the concern you're trying to express about trying to compromise with people who are not interested in compromise themselves-- and I think that if Obama's going to go on using that word we have to watch very carefully to make sure we know what he means when he says it.

But I also have to say I see a certain appeal in the way that Obama's strategy has an element of reclaiming the original meaning of the word "bipartisanship". After all, if we don't stake a claim on what "bipartisanship" actually means, who will? Well, someone like George W. Bush will. If nothing else I'd much rather see the public understanding of the word "bipartisanship" being defined by Barack Obama than Joe Lieberman...

by Silent sound 2007-02-08 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Meh

I think this is a great point.  I understand people are angry at how "bipartisan" has been deployed, but the answer isn't to simply give up on terms which have a lot of weight and importance in the mind of the general public.  The answer is to reclaim them and make them mean what we want them to mean.

One of the things that's really fascinating about Obama is his ability to take general concepts which have overwhelming support and explain how they logically and necessarily point toward the Democratic Party.  It's audacious (appropriately enough) and it may not work, but it's something that has to be done.

by Baldrick 2007-02-08 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Out of curiosity, what is YOUR strategy for winning future elections without getting folks who mistakenly voted for Bush (even twice) to vote for Democrats?    

Obviously the country has soured on W over the last two years.  In large part, that's precisely because what Bush did throughout his entire first term finally sunk in to the low information electorate.  In the after math of the debacle that is the Bush administration, Obama's message of actual unity (for the country, if not with the wing nut republicans in Congress)really resonates.  What exactly is wrong with that?  

by HSTruman 2007-02-08 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Exactly.

Is it better to 1) try and out-Rove Rove or 2)to make Rove's style of politics irrelavant?

Obama clearly desires option #2.

by Sam I Am 2007-02-08 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

You said what I meant to -- well put.

by HSTruman 2007-02-08 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

"But could the next person who interviews him ask how liberals should be "bipartisan"

Easy...take US cutting oil use by 50% and ending the  national security threat Middle East oil represents to the US.

Lots of Republicans will support that because it's pro-American for McCain to far righters like Gary Bauer.

Same is true on deficit/debt.

You just had 7 Republican Senators who oppose Bush Jr. Iraq escalation.

You just had 8 Republican Senators vote against confirming Casey as Head of Joint Chiefs.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

wow what a concept - can it actually be true, that america could get rid of the gerrymander?

wow. what a real revolution. can it be possible, that it might happen?

who would support it? how could it be done. it is really incredible that he connected the dots like that.

Thanks obama

by heyAnita 2007-02-08 06:37AM | 0 recs
fair and impartial redistricting

I think it should be done automatically by mathematical rules. No chance of people misusing the map pen that way.

by bolson 2007-02-08 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: fair and impartial redistricting

Fair districts would be great, but I also think there is something to be said for the importance of majority-minority districts.  

I realize that there's a serious credibility problem with arguing against GOP gerrymandering and still defending drawing district lines to preserve racial voting power (especially since most of those districts are strongly Democratic), but I'm not sure there's an easy answer.

by Baldrick 2007-02-08 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I love the guy, I really do, but wow, when he pushes the "TALK" button it just doesn't turn off, does it?

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-08 06:39AM | 0 recs
It's an interview...

From my experience, interviews seem to have this odd construct where the interviewer asks a short question. And then the interviewee's response is oddly longer than the question.

I've never understood this phenomenon.

(With the cynicism expressed so far by some in these comments, I can see why Obama's number one goal is to try to do something to combat it.)

by Vermonter 2007-02-08 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: It's an interview...

Yeah, but he's right... Obama (and he says it himself) is a talker... he will go on and on... In fact, he makes fun of it all the time.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-08 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

The more I hear of and about and from Obama, the more I like him.

Unlike the other candidates, where the more I hear, the less I like.

Looks like I'll be giving all my disposable income to Obama for thenext year :)

by CaseyL 2007-02-08 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama
Obama has introduced legislation to cap and remove troops from Iraq. It has little blog coverage, including here. A press conference, with Rep (D) Murphy, 33, the only Iraq war veteran serving in the House, was called, this is how it was described by The Philidelphia Inquirer.

WASHINGTON - With cameras flashing and reporters
verbally skirmishing for question time, freshman
Rep. Patrick J. Murphy smiled from the lectern at
yesterday's packed news conference.

Life is good these days when you stand next to
Sen. Barack Obama.

Murphy (D., Pa.) and Obama (D., Ill.) appeared
together to discuss legislation they had just
introduced in the House and Senate to stop the
escalation in forces being sent to Iraq and to
redeploy U.S. troops out of that country
beginning May 1.
"Beginning May 1st" is confusing, it calls for troops out by March 31 st 2008. How is it that one of the three real front runners calls for troops out by legislation and it gets such little coverage? A google search found a mere 130 hits for this story on the net, and I haven't seen tv coverage even though this was yesterday. This seems on the face of it as good as Fiengold, and better than all other Senate proposals. I am a little concerned at the lack of coverage, even here, were it would go a long way in discussions about who is listening and leading. This from Washington Post:
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, one of the most
prominent Democrats in the 2008 presidential
field, proposed for the first time setting a
deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq, as
part of a broader plan aimed at bolstering the
freshman senator's foreign policy credentials.

Obama's legislation, offered on the Senate floor
last night, would remove all combat brigades from
Iraq by March 31, 2008. The date falls within the
parameters offered by the bipartisan Iraq Study
Group, which recommended the removal of combat
troops by the first quarter of next year.

"The days of our open-ended commitment must come
to a close," Obama said in his speech. "It is
time for us to fundamentally change our policy.
It is time to give Iraqis their country back."
Let's redouble our efforts to make sure that we put real news into the conversation. How is it that even though this was yesterday, the only thing talked about in the last few hours was optics, sub-text and meanings?

Speaking of sub text I love his phrase, it's perfect, and everyone should praise him for it, and use it themselves, "It is time to give Iraqis their country back."
by inexile 2007-02-08 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I remember a lot of discussion on the bill when it came out on MyDD.  In fact, I remember a vivid conversation with some people who felt that the 2008 was too long and those of us who argued that it takes time to pull all the people out.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-08 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Nice interview and I think he is dead right that people won't get exited about timid politics... but

my only problem with Obama is that so far he has been too timid, and not exciting enough, in his rhetoric. If he turns up the heat on Republican fraud and mismanagement I will support him in an instant. Being a vocal critic of evil does not make you a cynic.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

If you read Obama's comments carefully (not necessarily here) he is a critic of small-minded plans and cynical politics. He has no problem cricizing a Republican or Demeocrat on their plans as he has on Iraq, Energy, the Environment, Katrina, etc. I encourage you to read his speeches posted on his senate webpage.

by dpg220 2007-02-08 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

He is still playing too nice, and too afraid of being perceived as partisan. Well when you are standing up for the right values then you damned well should be partisan.

What's more frustrating is that it hurts him politically. The moment he gets back to the rhetoric of 2004 this primary will be over and Hillary can retire. The only thing holding Obama back among Democrats is his fear of being passionate (and hence partisan).

Don't get me wrong, I love the guy. But he has the wrong strategy here.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I think its a little early.  LETs wait until he actually announces and see what happens.

by yitbos96bb 2007-02-08 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Maybe his hobby isn't Civil War re-enactment.  Seems pretty popular around here.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-08 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Standing up for your beliefs will hurt people, it is inevitable. MLK didn't make friends everywhere.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I take your point and agree.  It's a matter of tactics.  I like what Obama did with Fox, don't argue with the bastards hit 'em where they live.  That's what I meant about the smoke and fury of public engagements along ideological lines, very visible, highly dramatised and largely symbolic.

Time for some kung-fu fighting, get them off balance and then whack 'em where they are not expecting it.  I actually want to see them utterly defeated not just shout myself hoarse.

I think Senator Obama gave a speech about this recently to a largely unsympathetic audience.  When he says 'bipartisan' read 'divide and conquer.'  The man is not the fool some people think he is.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-08 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I agree with most of what you say. Obama is certainly not a fool, and therefore he should realize that he needs to play a little less safe if onhe wants to win against Hillary. The best way to beat Hillary is to bring the activist Dems onto his side - but then he has to energize them.

Barack, show the passion that we know you possess!

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Personally I believe Obama understands that the militant Right is less aligned to mainstream US values than the Left.  Theocratic bombast, covert racism, bellicose warmongering and etc.  Whereas we are agitating for universal health care, equal social and economic opportunities and enlightened diplomacy.  No contest.

If he can successfully frame the correct forum and appropriate standard of debate as 'bipartisan' in the perception of the electorate it will tend to divide the Republicans more than it divides us.  What a good idea.

And as for the netroots, you can keep the progressive Left relevant and leave the militant Right peeing in it's own puddle somewhere on the fringe, where they belong.

Can't you see that if national politicians take these bastard on, in debates they have framed in ridiculous ways, it actually legitimises them?  There is always a need in the netroots for quid pro quo attacks but that is why we are here.  Just don't ask your leaders to overtly support you, they are, hopefully, looking after the strategy.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-08 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

"he needs to play a little less safe if onhe wants to win against Hillary"

That's not Obama's style, to be forced into something he's not to achieve a political strategy.

Obama's game is to be himself. That's his appeal. You know what you are getting is Obama, not some bizarre construction that's shaped itself based on focus groups and polls.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

"If he turns up the heat on Republican fraud and mismanagement"

Like the bill he co-sponsored with Coburn that stopped the no bid sweetheart contracts for Halliburton and KBR in the New Orleans and Iraq "reconstructions?

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Thanks Jonathan.  I think we can all understand why Obama is not being as revealing as we might like.  I truly believe he is the most progressive viable candidate this country has ever had.  And yes, it bugs me that Edwards can talk of two Americas and buy a $6 million home in North Carolina.  Let's get Obama in in '08 and then get the country ready for a progressive re-election platform in 2012.

by ChrisSF 2007-02-08 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I'm an Obama fan as well, but help me again regarding why Edwards purchasing an expensive home is in any way problematic?  Being a progressive doesn't require living in poverty and being rich isn't "bad" or "evil."  Hell, the country would be a LOT better off if more rich people like Edwards advocated progressive taxation on their own wealth.  

by HSTruman 2007-02-08 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

It's certainly easier to say taxes should be higher or a fee should be paid when you won't be having to pay it yourself, than it is to advocate for that when you will have to pay it yourself.

by Quinton 2007-02-08 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

It is politically stupid. Edwards is proving to have a political tin ear on this issue. Campaigning on poverty issues while buying a $6 million home is just ridiculous.

"If you are so concerned about the poor mr Edwards, why not buy a slightly less expensive house and donate money to them instead of using it on unnecessary luxury". Like it or not, many people will look at it this way.

Edwards must shape up his campaign or otherwise I will vote for Obama or Richardson.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I am so tired of this BS about the house.

His whole freaking point is that poverty is a huge issue that will require GOVERNMENT. We CAN"T do it with private charity.

Sheesh. Quit with the stupid right-wing talking points.

by adamterando 2007-02-08 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

No ones arguing about how to solve the poverty issue. It just suggests that Edwards might be politically tone deaf which isn't a quality you want in a candidate.

by js noble 2007-02-08 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Exactly.

I can make the right distinction (though I still find it somewhat vulgar and immoral spending so much money on a house) - but I am sure most people can't.

It's not the issue as such. It's the lack of professional behavior that bothers me.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Sorry, I still don't buy it. It accepts the basic premise that in order to care about ending poverty, you must take a vow of poverty yourself. So if he handn't built this house and instead had spent 6million on charity but still was worth $50 million dollars, would that mean he's still tone-deaf?

We should be fighting these right-wing canards, not promoting them.

by adamterando 2007-02-08 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Do you live in SF?

If you do, then are you paying high rent right now?Like over $1200 a month? Well shouldn't you move to Iowa then and pay $300 month and then use the $900-$2000 and give it to people who need it rather than selfishly using it so you can live in a world-class city? How very selfish of you. You must not be a true progressive and you obviously care nothing about poverty.

by adamterando 2007-02-08 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama
     "We should seriously consider, on a state by state basis, moving away from partisan gerrymandering"?
     This is the main problem I see with Obama--his refusal to accept that the only available tool for bringing about progressive change through electoral politics is by strengthening the Democratic Party. He wants us to disarm unilaterally in the redistricing wars while the Republicans, "on a state by state basis" continue to screw us.
     Do we really want another triangulator at the head of our party? And if we do, isn't Sen. Clinton better suited to the task?
by Ron Thompson 2007-02-08 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Obama is saying that we should move away from partisan redistricting - Republican and Democratic - and let the courts or other nonpolitical agents handle it. At least that is the sane interpretation (the one where you don't have an anti-Obama agenda).

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Yes, but the issue is that Republican-controlled states will never go for this, because they like their gerrymandered seats. Hence it would be unilateral disarmament.

by Englishlefty 2007-02-08 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Why would it? If they don't do it then we won't do it either. Or the problem has to be solved on the federal level.

Noone is talking about unilateral disarmament as far as I can see.

by Populism2008 2007-02-08 11:06AM | 0 recs
Obama and an end to gerrymandering

I think there are a lot of Republicans who would go for reform on Congressional districts.

They should follow the state lines.  If a county has enough for a Congressional seat, it's a county. If it takes two counties. If it's half a county split it geographically down the center or quarters etc. and let the votes fall where they may vs. convoluted attempts that will always get bogged down in partisan fights.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:43PM | 0 recs
Coalition builders are the great ones...

Interesting series on PBS about the great liberal US Supreme Courts and how they were created, not by ideologues, but by the pragmatic coalition builders, Marshall and Warren.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

I found this interesting: "Russ Feingold has a bill. He's been consistent as I have in our oppositions to the President's misguided policies."

Funny that he listed Feingold first and emphasized their similarity... and did so on a progressive blog.

by js noble 2007-02-08 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

"Funny that he listed Feingold first and emphasized their similarity."

Not really.

Obama and Feingold are two Senators who both opposed US going in to Iraq/

by BrionLutz 2007-02-08 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Good interview. I'm sure there will be plenty more once he formally announces.

by rikyrah 2007-02-08 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

A quick rebuttal to a few of the naysayers.

1) Anyone can put up a Republican/Bush straw man and bash it to the ground. It's cheap and easy, but it isn't particularly productive. I like the angry rhetoric too, but it is nice to see a candidate that isn't all fire and brimstone.

2) It is kind of sad that some people respond to Obama's fight against cynicism with.. cynicism.

by Alikchi 2007-02-08 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Interview with Barack Obama

Candidates must do everything they can, in advance, to prevent getting smeared.  Oh, they will get smeared anyway but it's politically stupid to hand the rightwing and the press little gifts.  Edwards should have waited a year or two to build his mansion.  That would have been politically wise.  And he should have made sure before putting the two bloggers on staff that they didn't have anything published that could hurt him.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

I don't think he's going to win the Dem nomination.  He's done too many things that make him vulnerable already. The netroots won't push him over the top either.  He needs to compete with the huge base that has gathered around Hillary and which keeps her poll numbers so high. If Edwards beats Hillary, he'll have really proven himself, but I don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell.

by marycontrary 2007-02-08 04:32PM | 0 recs
by marine tt 2007-07-03 04:54AM | 0 recs

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