Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observer

Kos attacks Obama.

I wish this was an April Fools Day joke:

If President Bush vetoes an Iraq war spending bill as promised, Congress quickly will provide the money without the withdrawal timeline the White House objects to because no lawmaker "wants to play chicken with our troops," Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

What a ridiculous thing to say. Not only is it bad policy, not only is it bad politics, it's also a terrible negotiating approach.

Instead of threatening Bush with even more restrictions and daring him to veto funding for the troops out of pique, Barack just surrendered to him.

I agree with Kos.  I want to believe that Obama prizes civility, and that he has in his heart progressive instincts.  I want to believe he's a movement guy, that his early organizing experience is the key to understanding his career, and that his critique of the political system suggests a willingness to change politics as we know it in fundamentally good ways.

But I can't.  It's not just that he has not distinguished himself on the war from Senator Clinton and her plan for perpetual occupation (which isn't to say that he won't do that eventually).   It's that he seems not to have any sense of how leaders must act in the modern political environment.  Here's more of the piece.

"My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course," the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."...

"I think that nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground," said Obama. "I do think a majority of the Senate has now expressed the belief that we need to change course in Iraq.

"Obviously we're constrained by the fact that a commander in chief who also has veto power has the option of ignoring that position," Obama said....

"If the president vetoes this, the American people have to continue to put pressure on their representatives so that at some point we may be able to get a veto-proof majority for moving this war in a different direction," the senator said.

Maybe the article is written badly, and someone from the Obama campaign can help clarify.  But I don't think so.  He is saying on the one hand that the bill will pass, thereby undercutting leverage that progressives won, and on the other hand discussing what the movement should do as if he's not part of it.

This is a consistent and consistently disappointing trait in Obama's rhetorical style, and why the energy around him still has not coalesced into a movement.  He refuses to engage in the political environment as an actor, seeing himself as an observer.  It's like he doesn't think his words and prognostications particularly matter, like he's a law professor musing on legalistic probabilities.  

Real political leaders don't ask the people they lead to do what they won't do themselves.  And so when Obama asks the American people to put pressure on their representatives to stop the war, but acts as a dispassionate observer on the question, he is just dithering.  And it shows.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, president (all tags)

Comments

62 Comments

You are NOT just an observer

I think the bigger thing that just happened is not that Obama would drop his support for withdrawal, but that Democrats who continue to push for it are "playing chicken with our troops."  Imagine how the White House will use that quote to undermine Democratic efforts to mandate a troop withdrawal.

by Vox Populi 2007-04-01 11:04AM | 0 recs
No kidding - thats much better

than the "slow bleed" thing.

by okamichan13 2007-04-01 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: You are NOT just an observer

Joseph Barack Isador Obama Lieberman

by CMBurns 2007-04-01 11:38AM | 0 recs
said the same variant

on CNN..


BLITZER: Because some ardent opponents of the war, like Dennis Kucinich, for example, who is a Democratic presidential candidate...

OBAMA: Right.

BLITZER: ... he takes a principled stand. He's not going to vote to fund troops going off to this war, because he believes that would help bring the troops home.

OBAMA: Right.

You know, the problem is, is that you have got an obstinate administration that has shown itself unwilling to change in the face of circumstances on the ground.

And, in that situation, what you don't want to do is to play chicken with the president, and create a situation in which, potentially, you don't have body armor, you don't have reinforced humvees, you don't have night-vision goggles.

Now, there is a ratcheting-up of pressure on the president. And I am very pleased about the vote that took place yesterday, where a majority of the Senate for the first time said we need to have a timetable.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0 704/01/le.01.html

by TarHeel 2007-04-01 11:43AM | 0 recs
Imagine If We Had A GOP Contender Using Our Frames

on the US Attorneys scandal.

Just think about it.

I think your head is likely to explode before you can come up with a credible narrative doing that coming out of the mouth of Guiliani, Romney, McCain or any of the others.

Yet, this happens repeatedly with Obama.

So long as we put up with this, it's as much our fault as it is his.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-01 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: said the same variant

Note all references to the troops are not about their equipment and the like.

by missliberties 2007-04-01 01:15PM | 0 recs
Exactly

by dpANDREWS 2007-04-01 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: You are NOT just an observer

   I'm not a Hillary fan, but is she now more credible on Iraq than Obama?  At least she has told us what she'd do if she were elected (keep some troops in for "peacekeeping missions").  This is a classic blue dog-type maneuver.  If Ben Nelson had come out with this statement, we would be furious.  But "Progressive Democrat" Obama said it, so it's OK.  We've just been Sister Souljah-ed.  Again.  Great.  Not only is Obama failing to lead, he is undermining anti-war sentiment in the Congress.

by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: You are NOT just an observer

keep some troops in for "peacekeeping missions

Yeah right - if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-04-01 03:26PM | 0 recs
Can't you read mister?

He says that NOBODY wants to play chicken with the troops (GWB's expression). What Dems want is to change course in Iraq.

I agree with Matt that Obama must learn to be more active and forceful in his words. But his motives are pure. The Obama slaughter going on here (not so much among the front posters) is beyond disgusting. It reminds me of the treatment that Dean got from MSM.

by Populism2008 2007-04-01 12:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Can't you read mister?

Yes, I can read.  And I'm not going to try to interpret Obama's motives.  I'm tired of being told to interpret what he says, because his supproters always seem to try to do that.

What Obama said was that if Bush vetoes the House and Senate bills supporting troop withdrawal, the House and Senate will send him bills without withdrawal in it.  After all, "nobody wants to play chicken with the troops" (Obama's words).

This implies that if Democrats send back a bill with withdrawal, they are playing chicken.  Why is this so hard to understand for Obama zealots?

by Vox Populi 2007-04-01 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Can't you read mister?

Oh please. Questioning Barrack comments is "disgusting".  But it's ok for you all to take down everything Hillary says? Barrack needs to answer some questions, bottom-line. Is "HOPE" going to get us through Populism2008? Is "CHARISMA" going to get us through" Populism2008?  Barrack is an eloquent speaker, but from what I can see so far, a weak leader. Maybe that will change. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But it "ain't" looking good Barrack supporters. What is his platform?  What are his views on free trade (I.E. Nafta), death penalty, habeus corpus, affirmation action and gay marriage? AND MOST IMPORTANT WHAT IS HIS PLAN TO GET US OUT OF IRAQ? I kept checking his website for answers. Still nothing...

Hillary 2008 (Bill, First Man)

by lonnette33 2007-04-02 05:38AM | 0 recs
Lets be honest here

The only way to end this war is to ELECT a Democratic president. There is absolutely no way Democrats are going to defund this war as long as Bush is still president. It is a loser issue for Dems particularly in red states where pro-war sentiment is higher than in blue states.

Obama is right. The only way, in the interim, to end this war is to get veto proof majority votes in the house and senate to override Bush. This involves anti-war folks putting tremendous pressure on their elected officials to end this war.

by rosebowl 2007-04-01 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here

But the question is, what pressure is Obama putting on those lawmakers?

by adamterando 2007-04-01 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here

Obama doesn't vote to elect those lawmakers. It is their constituents who vote. At the end of the day, unless lawmakers start feeling the heat in their districts, they won't have that sense of urngency to bring this war to a close.

This is the central issue here.

by rosebowl 2007-04-01 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here

It would sure help though if Obama could use some persuasion on his friend Joe Lieberman.

by adamterando 2007-04-01 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here

hahaha. Joe Lieberman is a lost cause - we all know that. :)
Seriously though, people like Sen Chuck Hagel have a strong conscience about ending this war. People like him are very rare on the GOP side.

For the rest of the GOP senators and their colleagues on the house side, it will take a growing and very vocal push from their constituents to end this war. This is where the people have to make their voices heard the most.

by rosebowl 2007-04-01 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here
   Poor Obama.  I mean what can he really do?  He's only a multi-millionaire senator with widespread appeal among Democrats and Independents alike.  What a loser.  He should go back to book-writing.
    This country voted to end this war in November of 2006.  Is the country going to have get even angrier for the 2008 cycle?
by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:56AM | 0 recs
Well he could try standing firm and have a voice

He could try using his voice to set a new vision.
He could stand up to Bush and try and lead.

Which is what I would be looking for in my candidate.

He could try to prevent the Republicans from Framing this as an anti troop, postition!

by dk2 2007-04-01 12:09PM | 0 recs
None...

He's a junior snot-nosed senator who's not going to"pressure" any of the old heads into doing anything.  Maybe he is running for President but right now he can't "pressure" anything except the other candidates.

by DetCord 2007-04-01 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Lets be honest here
      Let's.  You're being ridiculous.  If Bush needs the money for the troops so badly, then why is he going to VETO the supplemental?!  HE is the obstruction!  The Democrats control Congress.  Bush continues to provoke confrontation, and the Democrats unfailingly back down.  It's depressing to watch.  And now Obama is in a newspaper with a huge circulation talking about caving in to Bush!  We have choices now, and Obama is just too afraid to make the right decision.  He's too afraid too lead.
     Why should the Democrats have to work to override a veto on legislation the president requested?!  It's madness.  Obama knows perfectly well that there are 33 Republicans senators who would support Bush if he decided to invade Quebec.  We'll never have enough to override a veto.
by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:34AM | 0 recs
The way it should be...

"Why should the Democrats have to work to override a veto on legislation the president requested?!  It's madness."

No, it's the American system and I love it.  This is a great lesson for every civics class in the country (that's left that is).  Both are in a position to blame the other and it goes nowhere without compromise.  It's a gambit the majority got themselves into by not having the political will to simply cut off the funding.  Any idiot can see that.  

by DetCord 2007-04-01 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The way it should be...

   Thanks for the civics lesson.  We already compromised to give Bush the bill he wanted.  Bush isn't a dictator, and we don't have to give him the exact bill he wants.  Bush refuses to compromise, and we cave every single time.  Legislative creativity is needed, perhaps as some have suggested, by giving him enough money for only a short time.  It's time that someone stood up to bully-in-chief.  Obama is too weak.  Let's find someone strong.

by cilerder86 2007-04-01 12:23PM | 0 recs
As I said somewhere else...

...I'm furious at what Congress does to budgets every year and the pork and lard and garbage ($24 BILOLION unrelated to defense) in this supplemental alone should be burned at the stake.  How about passing the President a clean bill without the Congrtessional corruption attached and THEN see what he does with it?

by DetCord 2007-04-01 02:19PM | 0 recs
$ 124 BILLION For Exxon???

Haven't seen the sub-prime mortgage bust? The war has bankrupted the USA. We cannot afford $124 BILLION to steal Iraq's Oil for Exxon, et al.

So let's FILIBUSTER ANY new 'supplemental. Then the generals can ask Congress for funds to extract the troops.

This is 100% inevitable anyway. We will be in a global depression by the end of 2008.

by blues 2007-04-01 08:28PM | 0 recs
You need to get out more...

"Bankrupted the USA"?  What kind of commie mush have had your head buried in?  This economy, Wall Street, consumer spending etc is doing quite well thank you and "bankrupted" isn't even close.  I'd like to see more saving and I'd certainly like to see more small business incentives.  If it weren't for 15 million illegals depressing wages, those would be higher.  This bill is laden with Congressional pork that was needed to bribe members to vote for it because they didn't have the guts or courage to vote for cutting off the money to end the war.  You know that and I know that and now we're all paying the pricefor the cowardice among this "new leadership" we thought was elected.  Put the blame for this were it belongs and that's on the jelly-spined leadership that refused to cut of the funding.  

by DetCord 2007-04-02 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: As I said somewhere else...

You are obviously one of those dumb as Republicans.

by lonnette33 2007-04-02 05:42AM | 0 recs
Obama isn't trying to lead you

Obama isn't trying to be the leader of the anti-war movement.  He's trying to be the leader of the country.  

All three democratic candidates will sharply reduce troop strength in Iraq, but neither will completely remove troops.  So Obama is willing to cave to bush.  That's to bad, but it happens.

Yes, the war sucks, but it's going to suck for the Iraqis for a long time, regardless of whether we stay or go.  

Besides, the bill is a cop-out anyway. I mean, troop withdraw by march 2008? No enforcement? Who gives a damn anyway?

That Obama caves to bush is annoying, but that doesn't mean he'll be a bad president.

by delmoi 2007-04-01 03:12PM | 0 recs
HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

Just check out my diary entry:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/3/31/1147 5/0367

$124 BILLION 'Supplemental' -- All For EXXON!!! Add to Hotlist

by blues, Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 11:47:05 AM EST

George W. Bush has NO interest in vetoing a $124 BILLION giveaway to Exxon!!! Just look at the fine print in these bills!!! $124 BILLION to Exxon!!! 124 BILLION pints of American BLOOD to Exxon!!!

'Operation Iraqi Liberation'!!! (O.I.L.) -- Search for it in:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2003/03/20030324-4.html

If Congress simply passes a $0.00 'Supplemental', the Pentagon will promptly ask for money to get the troops out. Our plans to 'permit' Exxon, et al. to rape Iraq's oil will face opposition from FOUR MILLION ARABS, PERSIANS, and KURDS!!! (Not to mention Russia, China, India, and Iran.)

A draft is coming, and everyone who has less than a million dollars in Swiss Franks will have their children 18 to 45 drafted and destroyed. -- So we can continue to hot-rod around fixing our perverted speed addiction.



BUSH WILL PROBABLY SIGN THAT SUCKER!!!

Looking for something he WON'T sign???

Try a bill that grants 80% of all Oil money the the Iraqi people!!!

by blues 2007-04-01 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

There are very few things that Obama could do that would make him drop lower in my estimation than Hillary. He just did one of them.

Yeah, he's probably still better than her, but he  had my hopes up so much, while I had no such hopes in her. Thankfully we're not being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils; there is another candidate out there I can be fully happy supporting.

Am I overreacting? This is by far the most important immediate issue facing America. Candidates can have lots of flaws, but if you fail on this one issue, you fail. Simple as that.

by Zephyrus 2007-04-01 11:14AM | 0 recs
Matt, you should watch this video of Obama

from Saturday.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-04-01 11:15AM | 0 recs
first thought

watching this interview on CNN with Wolfie was Obama is repeating the GOP frame,

that if we don't fund the war, the troops will be fighting on without the equipment they need.

Obama is great on many things but building the Democratic Brand is not one of them

by TarHeel 2007-04-01 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

Holy Crap, prepare for ANOTHER Edwards vs. Obama fight/narrative to begin...

by JewishJake 2007-04-01 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

This is one of the main reasons I find myself unable to support Obama - he finds it too easy to sympathize with the other side.  If you all remember correctly, he did the same exact thing when the Alito nomination was filibustered.

by NYPopulist 2007-04-01 11:19AM | 0 recs
NOT just an observer

I want the next president to be from the Democratic Party.

In the November 2008 general election I will vote for whoever is the Democratic Party nominee (two exceptions - Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman - neither is going to happen, so I'm quite safe there).

I can forgive many things of Democratic Party candidates as I search for an individual to support up to the end of the presidential nomination process. However, adopting republican language or frames is not one of them.

by Michael Bersin 2007-04-01 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

   Yes, that's precisely the problem.  It's not Obama's bipartisan rhetoric that is the problem.  It's that he doesn't know how to take a lead on a "controversial" issue.  He's a SENATOR!  It's time he started leading.  At least I know where Hillary stands on the Iraq War.  I'm very, very disappointed in Obama.  This is almost a deal-breaker.

by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:28AM | 0 recs
He's plunged in the charts to me

 What an astonishingly poor job of framing, messaging, and just plain leading by Obama.

 He's not quite dead to me as a presidential candidate, but this is as close to a mortal blow as there is. He just destroyed all the momentum the Democrats had gained over the Iraq bill.

 This is NOT the mark of a leader. And if Obama's so scared of a deeply unpopular and incompetent president, how's he going to do when he's got to deal with real world leaders?

 I'm ordering my Edwards sticker today...

by Master Jack 2007-04-01 11:29AM | 0 recs
So when Bush vetos we give up?

and give him his money with no conditions and back to the drawing board?

That's not audacious or courageous. He has a chance to make a powerful statement and he squanders it. With so much promise, this is really sad.

by okamichan13 2007-04-01 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

Don't ever trust a paraphrased quote from the AP. We've had way too much experience with this. I seem to remember an AP account of his speech at the Harkin Steak Fry that said he gave a speech about National Security... I was there. He didn't.

Remember the AP hitpiece on Obama last week?

Let's try and view the media with a more skeptical eye than this. If I see an actual quote from Obama that says he wants to remove withdrawal provisions, okay. But I don't trust the AP at all.

by Dave Sund 2007-04-01 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

It is foolhardy for progressives to think that this crazy war is going to end before Bush and Darth vader vacate the white house.

The democratic party has very slim majorities in both houses of congress.Bush will veto their bills and democrats with their lackluster way in framing wars are going to be beat at it again. So Obama is on the realistic track here.

by kekuta 2007-04-01 11:32AM | 0 recs
So Give Him His Seat On Chris Matthews

and let a political advocate take his place in the Democratic Party.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-01 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

This is a consistent and consistently disappointing trait in Obama's rhetorical style

This is one of the reasons I can not support Barack Obama in the primaries: He does not hesitate to run against the Democratic Party.  

I want a candidate who will be a) partisan and b) a good ambassador for the Democrats. Barack Obama just is not the one to do it.  I'm convinced this is why, as Chris notes, "the energy around him has not coalesced into a movement."  It's also the reason I believe that his bipartisanship, which Obama considers an asset, will be his Achilles Heel.

"Obviously we're constrained by the fact that a commander in chief who also has veto power has the option of ignoring that position," Obama said.

Someone needs to remind him that there is such a thing as voting to override a veto.  It's not as if Bush has the last word by vetoing the bill.

by KimPossible 2007-04-01 11:34AM | 0 recs
He definitely didn't Help Himself Here

I agree with Matt that Obama screwed up here.  Ironically, however, I don't think it's because he's on the wrong side of this issue.  

From a practical standpoint, what he said probably reflects the current view on this issue in the Senate.  The Nelsons, Pryor, etc aren't going to really dig in against Bush on the funding bill if he vetoes the current bill. And, like Matt said, if he made that statement as a professor or a talking head on TV I would just not my head and say "yeah, that's probably what's going to happen."  

Unfortunately, this really does screw us in trying to at least make Bush squirm over rejecting the current bill.  I guess my question, and I ask this as an Obama supporter, is whether a statement like this is an example of inexperience or if it's a more fatal flaw.  

God knows it must be difficult to have EVERY statement you make picked apart, but that certainly is the reality of modern politics.  I think he'll get better at staying on message, but he's probably not going to be as perfectly controlled as Hillary or even Edwards in the near future.  That's a legitimate weakness.  At this point, I still think what he brings to the table outweighs the negatives but this definitely doesn't help.    

by HSTruman 2007-04-01 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: He definitely didn't Help Himself Here

   This is more than a few random statements.  This was printed in USA Today.  Obama is now the first Democrat on record to say the Democrats will cave in to Bush.  This is the type of maneuvering I'd expect of Ben Nelson.  At least Nelson knows when to keep his mouth shut.  This is a failure of leadership.

by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: He definitely didn't Help Himself Here

This is close to my thinking on this. Obama's comments are reality-based, can't disagree. OTOH, talk about letting GWB off the hook ...

by dblhelix 2007-04-01 11:40AM | 0 recs
"Reality-based"

    I'm not very impressed that Obama knows that Bush is going to veto the supplemental.  Everyone knows that.  If Obama wants to return to the reality-based community, he has to realize that he can take the lead in the Senate.  He gives up so easily!  I think he's lacking in character.  Weak, weak, weak.  John Kerry '04 redux.

by cilerder86 2007-04-01 11:50AM | 0 recs
Dithering

And so when Obama asks the American people to put pressure on their representatives to stop the war, but acts as a dispassionate observer on the question, he is just dithering.  And it shows.
"Dithering" captures it exactly.  

But it's not just limited to this one example--high profile though it may be.

His whole stance toward electoral politics seems to summed up as "dithering."

He gets into the Senate, thanks to a significant amount of support from progressives who respond to his outsider rhetoric, exemplified by, but hardly limited to opposing the Iraq War.

When he then disappoints them--cozzying up to Joe Lieberman of all people!--he offers the super-insider excuse that he doesn't have any seniority.

Then he turns around again, and runs for president, saying that he's been in Washington long enough to learn that it's broken.

And scoops up oooodles of money to change it... how, he won't exactly say.

I'd say he has dithering down to a fine art.

And he sells it as principle!

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-01 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ
What you don't see is that he has no one ideology.
He combines different ones but, has the most liberal record of the presidential candidates
by vwcat 2007-04-01 11:41AM | 0 recs
Obama must suck at Poker

That is the quickest lamest bluff ever. Obama flinched before the Senate acts and holds his cards open faced for everyone to see.

Whateve leverage progressive democrats held has evaporated into the ether of shallow 'support the troops' rhetoric to score cheap political points.  

Maybe Obama should stick to 21. Though I fear he would hold at 14.

by optimusprime 2007-04-01 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

Somehow, I really doubt we would have seen this sort of ridiculous overreaction if it had been Edwards who made these remarks.  After reading the transcript, I think it's clear that--at worst--the Senator merely misspoke.  Furthermore, on the scale of presidential misstatements, this doesn't rank anywhere near the infamous "I voted for it before I voted against it."  Trumping it up as though this were the biggest story of the decade is either irresponsible or a clear demonstration of severe bias.

For Kos and others (including you, Matt) to jump on Senator Obama this quickly and this savagely is really unseemly.  I'm really disappointed in many of the most visible members of the netroots today.

by LPMandrake 2007-04-01 12:29PM | 0 recs
don't you remember

Edwards' so-called "insane warmongering" on Iran?

It turned out that what he said was not different from what many others have said, but that didn't stop a full-blown "Edwards is a warmonger" crusade here and at DKos.

I am withholding judgment on Obama on this one until I hear what he really said and meant. If the AP report was accurate (a big if), then Matt is absolutely right.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-01 12:41PM | 0 recs
You are NOT just an observ

I thought the biggest story of the decade was that Edwards wanted to nuke Iran and eat their radioactive babies.

by Vox Populi 2007-04-01 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama: You are NOT just an observ

This site has officially become the MYEDWARDS site.  Good Luck and enjoy.

by aiko 2007-04-01 12:34PM | 0 recs
hello, this site savaged Edwards on Iran

even though what he said about not taking any option off the table was not different from what many others have said (like Wes Clark).

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-01 12:42PM | 0 recs
This is fair and balanced oppinion


I've listened to Obama several times: he does have a pragmatist streak in him. he is, personality-wise, more of a consensus builder than a fighter.

part of it is just his identity(racially) so he can't help seeing all sides of the coin.

remember he got into Alinsky's community organising but never really practiced alinsky fighting style: he rather brought to the job an insatiable desire to create win-win-win situations instead of win-lose situations.

it explains his appeal among independents and republicans (from his harvard days, for instance). it explains why he's our best shot for the presidency: the times call for his style.

by pmb 2007-04-01 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: This is fair and balanced oppinion
The times do NOT call for a consensus builder. They call for someone who will stand up to these bullies who are dragging the country down. The Dems need a strong leader who will not worry about someone not liking him/her. Obama comes across as weak and naive and constitutionally unable to fight when fighting is necessary.
What is there to build a consensus on:
Voter fraud? Habeas corpus? Geneva Conventions? Warrantless wiretapping? Body armor? New Orleans? World standing? Global warming? Stem cell research? Roe v. Wade?
Are you kidding me?
The only way to win is to stand strongly against everything Bush has done. Every. Single. Thing.
by mjames 2007-04-01 01:31PM | 0 recs
GOP wants Obama bad

They have to be licking their chops at the prospect of running against him.   They won't even have to do to him what they did to Kerry or Gore.  They can just hand him the knife and he'll slit his own throat.

by dpANDREWS 2007-04-01 12:54PM | 0 recs
Is Obama putting Hillary in a box?

How will Hillary respond to this?

Thoughts?

by missliberties 2007-04-01 12:54PM | 0 recs
Slightly outt of context

Even the picture they chose for Obama is unflattering.

USA Today... rightie.

by kevin22262 2007-04-01 01:21PM | 0 recs
Obama being blunt?

Another way to look at Obama's response...

...Is that Obama in his blunt way is trying to tell us there are also Democrat lawmakers that don't want a timeline either.

Harold Ford has already informed us what the DLC'ers think of a withdrawal timeline, and I little doubt that Hillary also believes the same thing 'behind the scenes' as well.

----------

Obama has been blunt before when he was reluctant to support a filibuster with Alito - saying we just didn't have the numbers. He was right in the end.  If those who No for Alito voted for the filibuster we would have had the numbers, but we still had Democrats who voted for Alito anyways.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-04-01 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear Senator Obama:

This is bad. This is really, really bad. Reading this made me feel a little bit sick. We gave them the damn money. W says he's going to veto it, so now its his damn problem. Bush is the one playing chicken. This is terrible politics and even worse policy. Not only is there no excuse for these comments, there's no sense to it either.

by BobbyNYC 2007-04-01 04:03PM | 0 recs
Matt is right.

I went through this same disillusionment with Obama earlier. I wanted to believe, but could not.

He is too busy triangulating all the time between the Democrats and Bush.  Sometimes, I wonder, as bad as she is on some key issues, whether Hilary Clinton is better.  She at least will not give everything away in a negotiation.  

I support John Edwards, so I do not have to face that question: Hilary or Obama.    

by littafi 2007-04-01 06:21PM | 0 recs

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