Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I got some interesting feedback from Obama supporters in the primary, earlier this year, over why they were supporting Obama over Clinton. My opinion, blogged much throughout the year, was that they were basically the same, as far as policy goes, and my only reason for choosing Clinton was because I was pretty sure she'd win, and Obama, not so much. Of course, when the markets melted down in September, and 90% of Americans said the nation was heading in the wrong direction by October, there was really very little that Obama could have done to lose the election, or for McCain to win the election.

Now, throughout the year, I was told that I didn't understand how Obama was different-- that he was really progressive and would change our foreign policy radically... and so on. It amazed me that, despite every indication from how Obama had voted and said about Iraq, Afghanistan and the mid-east, anti-war progressives believed differently. Well, reality is emerging:

Mr Obama has moved quickly in the last 48 hours to get his cabinet team in place, unveiling a raft of heavyweight appointments, in addition to Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.

But his preference for General James Jones, a former Nato commander who backed John McCain, as his National Security Adviser and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a supporter of the war, to run the Homeland Security department has dismayed many of his earliest supporters.

The likelihood that Mr Obama will retain George W Bush's Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has reinforced the notion that he will not aggressively pursue the radical withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq over the next 16 months and engagement with rogue states that he has pledged.

Chris Bowers of the influential OpenLeft.com blog complained: "That is, over all, a centre-right foreign policy team. I feel incredibly frustrated. Progressives are being entirely left out of Obama's major appointments so far."

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos site, the in-house talking shop for the anti-war Left, warned that Democrats risk sounding "tone deaf" to the views of "the American electorate that voted in overwhelming numbers for change from the discredited Bush policies."

My expecations of Obama are pretty much just what he is delivering. If Clinton had been the nominee, she would have chosen Obama as her VP, and we'd probably be seeing Biden as the SoS choice. Despite campaign projection from a lot of progressives that Obama was different in regards to foreign policy, these are centrist Democrats on such matters that are going to be in the White House. Anyone that didn't realize that was deceiving themselves:
There is growing concern among a new generation of anti-war foreign policy analysts in Washington, many of whom stuck their necks out to support Mr Obama early in the White House race, that they will be frozen out of his administration.

Mrs Clinton is expected to appoint her own top team at the State Department, drawn from more conservative thinkers.

A Democratic foreign policy expert told one Washington website: "They were the ones courageous enough to stand up early against Iraq, which is why many supported Obama in the first place." Their fear, he added, is that they will not now secure the mid-level posts which will enable them to reach the top of the Washington career ladder in future.

Suspicion of Mr Obama's moves has been compounded, for some liberals, by the revelation that Mr Obama has for several months been taking advice from Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush.

Well, Obama's foreign policy team is pretty status quo driven at the top, and it's tough to imagine that these progressives will be brought in at the mid-level, but if it happens it'd be good for the long-term. It'll be up to Senator John Kerry probably, as the Foreign Affairs chairman in the Senate, to push for deep governing changes.

All that said, I think the strongest progressive hope for Obama remains with more domestic concerns: universal healthcare, new energy priorities, fairer taxation, liberal judges. That's reason enough for Obama as President. But as far as foreign policy goes in the mid-east, expect more of the same in the short term, with the long term change still a possibility.

Update [2008-11-22 23:35:33 by Jerome Armstrong]: More of those hated Clintonites getting appointments:

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as director of the White House National Economic Council, a transition aide said on Saturday.

The selection of two veterans of the Clinton administration, both widely respected on Wall Street, may calm frazzled financial markets. Obama plans to formally announce the picks at a news conference on Monday.

"I think the new administration is off to a good start," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill. He's just glad to be getting Bush's numbers off his back.

Update [2008-11-23 0:51:13 by Jerome Armstrong]:Jane Hamsher has more thoughts on this, and her answer to it is spot on:

Look, for people who convinced themselves that Obama was the second coming of Saul Alinsky -- wake up. He never was. He may, however, be the most progressive person we could have possibly hoped to elect as President of the United States. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to help keep the obstructionists off his back and push him to fulfill his campaign promises to end the war, pass health care legislation and the Employee Free Choice Act, clean up the environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, repair our infrastructure, create good jobs and restore the middle class.

Tags: 2008 (all tags)

Comments

100 Comments

Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I'm getting a big kick out of this.  One of the reasons I supported Hillary over Obama is precisely because she was more centrist on foreign affairs than Obama. And now that Obama has won, I'm more pleased with the direction he's taking than a lot of other people who supported him from the very beginning.

I'm enjoying it immensely.

by markjay 2008-11-22 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Yea, he definitely is, and if that's what you wanted its whats getting delivered.

I had much lower desires-- just wanting to win. Of course, if we get bogged down further in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we suffer potential mid-term blowback, my desires will shift.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

As far as Iraq, in spite of campaign rhetoric, I figured we would pretty much get the same thing with McCain, Clinton, or Obama, with the speed at which we withdraw driven more by facts on the ground then by their opinions.  I don't think we'll be out in the 16 months that Obama promised, but I don't think we would have stayed 100 years with McCain.  Probably a few years until we have gradually drawn down many of the troops, or at least removed them to bases where they are not involved in much combat.

Afghanistan potentially leave room for bigger policy shifts, from steady escalation on the one hand to negotiations with remnants of the Taliban on the other.  But Obama has never promised to be more of a dove there than the other candidates anyway.

by markjay 2008-11-22 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Its not about being a dove or a hawk but judgement. Obama sure has been disappointing in who he is selecting. But I still trust his judgement more than some stale old politician.

I have heard him talk about other countries and I really believe his experiences around the world as a kid and the way he has mixed with other cultures growing up gives him an insight none of his competitors had.

as far as Iraq, what facts on the ground? Do you think we will ever get the true facts? We need to treat it like we would a business. Know when to cut your losses and leave. There was never a good reason to be in that country.

by Pravin 2008-11-22 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Always thought he was basically a centrist on FP.  But Jerome, the "anyone would have won easily" canard just doesn't fly.  The economic crisis helped Obama because he handled it well while McCain freaked out and ran around like a chicken with his head cut off, saying the fundamentals were strong one day, "suspending" his campaign the next.  

In a time of crisis, people turn to the familiar, not the unknown.  McCain was clearly more well known than Obama, but Obama got people to trust him more by handling the crisis so calmly while McCain flubbed it.  That took skill, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.  

Furthermore, I specifically think that both Chris Dodd and John Edwards would have had serious trouble (Dodd for his very strong ties to the banking industry, and Edwards for the affair).

I do think Hillary would have won as well.  Probably a closer election, though, because if she's nominated I doubt McCain picks Palin, his biggest mistake.  

by bosdcla14 2008-11-22 09:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

No kidding.

Hillary would have raced McCain to Washington to push her ridiculous "gas tax holiday" or some other economic hokum and the country would have seen two loonies fighting for TV time, rather than one loonie and one cool customer.

Besides, McCain was cooked after Palin's Couric interview. It might have been tighter without the Credit Crisis, but there was no way Obama was going to lose.

by Bush Bites 2008-11-23 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Huh.  And all this time I thought it was because Obama was a sexist that gets cozy with terrorists.  Oh plus Rezko, the Whitey tape, Ayers, Wright, Gay sex and Crack in a limo, and shame on you Barack Obama.  Good times.  

Seems that I remember his ability to "win" was less an issue at MyDD than all of the above smears.  Hopefully those on our side that pushed these dishonest attacks will feel remorse, admit how slimy the were, and apologize.

Until then, hopefully certain people can build a new reputation in a different field of interest, because the reputation they had before the primaries is damaged almost beyond repair.  Allowing racist attacks will never be forgotten without apology.

by HardWorkingWhitePerson 2008-11-22 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Promising an "Umbrella of Protection" over the Middle East is not centrist.

It's Bushian.

Obama was always the more centrist of the two: Hillary's foreign policy bordered on Neocon.

by Bush Bites 2008-11-23 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Has Obama announced different policies or are you doing the Sirota thing ?

by bruh3 2008-11-22 06:36PM | 0 recs
yada

So, you'd be in the camp that believes there are a lot of midnight conversions happening, and thus, there's no reason for new blood because the old blood got a transfusion of change? That would be great. Show me.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: yada

I am in the campt hat believes that Obama is sending so many mixed signals I am kind of tired of guessing, and will just wait to see. You could be right, but you could , in your zeal to guess, be wrong. My guess is here you are probably wrong. The point of having a seasoned staff is not necessarily idealogical. It's practical. You want a team that can hit the ground running so no time is wasted in accomplishing your goals. Looking at his economic staff one would expect them to be right of center right? Yet, what does he proposes today?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/us/pol itics/23obama.html?hp

Not the behavior of someone I can easily guess at what he will do.

There was all this commotiona bout him not ending torture and yet he came out emphatically saying he would.

There was all this commotion, including by me, about the big 3 auto makers. I was sure he was going against congress, but now it seems he may be working behind the scenes for a bankruptcy effort.

I am not sure what to think right now. I am taking  hold and see policy.

I know that online that you all need content everyday, but right now, that's more the reality: we have no clue.

by bruh3 2008-11-22 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: yada

I tend to agree with you about the guessing about where most things are headed, tough to tell, but foreign policy doesn't seem to fall in that category-- he's been pretty clear where he stands and is living up to it with these picks.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: yada

We have let so many lobbies take control that I do not know if we have a strong enough candidate among the major parties to call bullshit on that.

The problem is we tend to value miliary courage(McCain type folk) more than civilian courage(any of the whistleblowers we have had in the last 8 years) these days.

So far I have not see any real courage from Obama. We will see if he has anything stored for us in the next term. At this point, I am willing to give him the chance. But he better not take us for granted.

by Pravin 2008-11-22 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: yada

Well - let me ask you this questiont hat was asked below: What does progressive foreign policy mean versus centrist foreign policy? I know what conservative is (which is ape throwing poop crazy, but the other two?).  I am guessing I am a centrist because I tend to be real world politic and in America's interest type of foreign policy. What does progressive foreign policy entail?

by bruh3 2008-11-22 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: yada

They think "centrist" means promising an "Umbrella of Protection" over the Middle East.

Sounded Bushian to me, frankly, but if Hillary said it, it must me "centrist."

by Bush Bites 2008-11-23 06:52AM | 0 recs
New blood?

A la Jimmy Carter?  Obama is not postering, he's picking the best team he can find.  He will set the policy/strategy and they will implement it.

Unless Obama were to leave gaping holes in the Democratic Senate and House, if he wants people who have some political clout as well as the ability to hit the ground running, the Clinton folks are his best bet.  Hillary would have been drawing from the same bunch so no difference there.

Contrary to what you keep repeating, Obama supporters do not dislike Hillary Clinton and most of us were Bill Clinton supporters in the 90's.  So we have no trouble with Obama using Clinton people.

by GFORD 2008-11-22 09:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

So your point is that Obama would not have won had not the inevitable consequences of terrible Bush administration policies come to light?

Really? John McCain had a lot going for him on other issues?

Your analysis, as always, is proven in retrospect to be incorrect, but now that you are basing it on a counterfactual I guess you can have it whatever way you want.

As far as foreign policy goes, shouldn't you wait until he becomes President? I find the impatience and lack of equilibrium among bloggers especially to be both funny and aggravating. You have to remember that Obama is not Bush. Soliciting a wide spectrum of opinion regarding foreign affairs is not the same as agreeing and implementing whatever you hear last(a trait of Bush leadership).

I doubt that Obama is going to start knocking off guys like Chavez or Morales so that ExxonMobil or some American mineral concern can make a few extra bucks. It is hard to place US foreign policy on a spectrum but cautious and conservative is probably more likely to describe Obama than reckless and reformist.

And as for Iraq? We are leaving. The neo-cons' party is over. They failed.

Obama is not going to pursue a revolutionary foreign policy, but I believe it will be focused and concerted on key issues he wants accomplished, foremost among these, redeployment out of Iraq and the destruction of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

You are free to disagree or continue to play a concern troll on your own site, but wait until he actually is in the oval office to label what his actual foreign policy stances are.

by wengler 2008-11-22 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Well, you degenerate into name-calling by the end of your comment, so there's that to discount. But otherwise, I don't think I'll have a problem remembering that Obama is not Bush, but thanks for the concern.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Obama has stated that he would move more forcefully into Afghanistan, using some of the troops he'll withdraw from Iraq. He will also forcefully go after known Al-Quaida hideouts.  All that was known beforehand.  Nobody should be surprised.

However, full Iraq withdrawal will happen sooner than expected, given the agreement the Bush administration just signed with the Iraqi government.  That is a positive development which will go a long way to decimate troop levels in the region, keep a central Obama promise, and allow him to beef up our presence in Afghanistan, which is sorely needed.

The selections make it clear that Obama is looking  to return to the policies that had served us well for decades before cowboy Bush came in and destroyed it in one fell swoop.  Balances in the region are delicate, and we have to shed the aggressor role, but can't be entirely passive in the region, either. Diplomacy is going to be at a premium again, Hillary will be super busy, Obama will probably going to do a good deal himself - the famous 'sit down with heads of states without preconditions' - and there will be a good deal of palm greasing.  Better to spend $5 Billion to create a somewhat content ally than $100 Billion fighting them.

I would not shroud these selections in progressive and centrist terms.  What exactly is a progressive foreign policy?  Absolute pacifism?  Leave the region alone to sort things out themselves, a Pat Buchanan-like insularism?

by devilrays 2008-11-22 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

The distinction was more along the lines of individuals in DC that didn't back the Iraq war (for instance), and those whom did, and the latter are whom are being brought on to lead his foreign affairs.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Yeah- that doesn't leave a lot of people left who could take on a role who also have the experience to do the job. He needs a lot of seasoned support in whatever he does.

by bruh3 2008-11-22 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Perhaps, which is why its still an open question, in regards to the mid-level positions discussed in the article.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I don't quite buy it.  Firstly, I understand what makes a progressive on domestic policy but at this point in our national history, what is a foreign policy 'progressive?'  It ain't a 'dove,' that's for sure.

Obama consistently promoted foreign policy 'realism' as opposed to 'neo-conservatism' throughout the campaign, as well as 'soft power' advocacy and more nuanced diplomacy with allies, opponents and the undeclared.  We haven't seen enough yet to make a determination if you ask me and my expectations of a dramatically changed approach are still keenly alive.  Is see no reason to believe that he isn't planning to deliver as advertised.  And as for dropping the 'preconditions' on negotiations with Iran, shifting the emphasis to Afghanistan, taking the war to al-Qaeda and, most significantly, a move toward a fixed timetable for withdrawal from Iraq we have already arguably seen his campaign rhetoric becoming conventional wisdom.  Sure the details on timing and technique vary but I would argue that Obama's impact on foreign policy has already been substantial and he hasn't even been sworn in yet.  I'm watching this all pretty closely and I haven't been disappointed, though I must admit the Hillary appointment sent me into a tailspin for awhile though I now can see where it could make a lot of sense.  I always assumed people like Scowcroft and Brzezinski were part of what Obama intended to offer as well as Power, Rice, Lake and others.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-11-22 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Your post on Clinton was interesting, but I'm pretty skeptical of your optimism that a deal will happen in Israel to broker peace and a separation of states. If anything, its likely to get worse, following the upcoming elections with gains by Likud.

Likud is only interested in helping out the Palestinians with economic matters; they view the Gaza Strip as proof that a Palestinian state is a disaster in waiting.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Well, thanks.  I frankly admit it is a pretty long shot but that's why I'm kinda' impressed with the apparent focus on that issue, and by that I mean the Scowcroft/Brzezinski editorial in the Post and the amount of managed chatter on the subject in the punditry at the moment.  The scenario I discussed regarding Hillary's appintment is largely supposition.  But it makes sense to get an early start if that is indeed an objective which is to be achieved within a mere two terms.

But that's just one facet of the whole shift I'm anticipating.  And as I suggested there is ample evidence that Obama's approach, at least in respect of 'realism' as opposed to 'neo-conservatism' or 'internationalism,' is already bearing fruit.

Which leaves us with the question of what is a modern foreign policy 'progressive.'  I don't have an answer but Obama is certainly taking a departure from the previous mainstream Democratic approach, which seemed to be inclined to take whatever Republican madness was the flavour of the moment and split the difference with the non-violent, internationalist but largely innocent aspirations of the progressive 'base.'  Thanks goodness we came up with an alternative to that and I would argue that while this election was largely fought on the economy, as you had predicted, the foreign policy credibility of the Democratic candidate was a bar which absolutely had to be cleared as well.  Obama did so with plenty of daylight.

Methinks we ain't seen nothin' yet.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-11-22 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Oh, Eeyore!

by mikeinsf 2008-11-22 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

might take weeks, even months...

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

for...?

by mikeinsf 2008-11-22 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I see you need a review of your Pooh & Eeyore narrations.... I've been reading that 'pooh getting stuck in rabbit's door' book for about two weeks straight, for the 3 year-old, in the 3-4 books she grabs nightly.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I suppose I do.  I'll brush up.

by mikeinsf 2008-11-22 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I'm continually impressed by your willingness to admit how badly you got it wrong this year.  But you're being excessive about it.

by Jess81 2008-11-22 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Obamabots certainly were/are delusional. To those of us didn't swill the Obama kool aid it was always clear as a bell that Obama was no progressive and no liberal and that the Obama boosters were projecting their fantasies onto Obama (which he was more than happy to have them do). They will be severely disappointed.

Jerome, your clear analysis was always refreshing. Too bad the delusional Obama boosters were too in the tank to see the reality before their eyes.

by gak 2008-11-22 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Yeah - we actually thought he could win.  Crazy stuff, I know.

by Jess81 2008-11-22 07:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

right, like a deceased William Jennings Bryan couldn't have beaten whatever republican ran this year.

by gak 2008-11-22 08:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

You can only Hope and wish, Clinton would have at best squeaked it out because of the financial situation. Her campaign was a mess, her negatives were sky high, her message was outdated, her fund raising was mediocre, and her partition politics would have tanked in such sour national mood.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

For what it's worth, I think Gak's right that there were strong headwinds blowing against the GOP this year, and McCain was definitely not a first-string candidate (the first-stringers probably saw how bad the environment was in which they'd have to run, and stayed out).

However, I find the implication (both Gak's and Jerome's) that Obama's campaign basically had the White House handed to them, and deserve little of the credit for winning, is rather silly.

by jonweasel 2008-11-22 08:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

To be honost I don't think so. Even with so much headway against Repubs McCain had a brand and a media base which he would have kept if Clinton were nominated (if she had won legitimately by elected delegates, if she got it by Supers she would have had no chance). Remember even after MILLIONS of dollars of ads Linking Mac to bush only half the country thought McCain would be the same as bush, he had a formidable brand and had double favs compared to bush, Obama was winning by 20+ against bush in the same polls that had him 6 to 8 in front of McCain. basically Mac would have been portrayed as a change and reform agent based on his brand and he would try to portray Clinton with the help of his base (media, which incidentally don't like the clintons)as partisan and himself as mavericky, Also probably going with a more non partisan and a safer VP choice. For these reasons (and the ones in my previous post) I believe it would have been uber close if she was nominated.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 08:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs


I was always struck by the deep insecurity of Obama support and its poor judgment.

Clinton always did better in General election polling than Obama.  Even the post election CBS News poll has Clinton winning 52/41 against McCain where Obama polled 52/43.

Whether that dodge is illiteracy or lying, it was always in bad faith.

by killjoy 2008-11-22 11:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Not always: Obama did better in GE matchups when the GOP was mostly attacking Hillary Clinton.  Later on in the primaries, Obama was essentially running simultaneously against both McCain and Clinton - even to the extent that they started praising each other at his expense.

Of course that showed up in the polls.  Some people didn't understand what was happening, just looked at the numbers, and figured that Clinton was the stronger candidate.  But most people realized what was going on and predicted that Obama's poll numbers would go up as soon as the party was unified and he was no longer fighting a two-front war: something that neither of his opponents ever had to do, except for Hillary Clinton very early on.

That's exactly what happened.  We were vindicated in every way.

by Jess81 2008-11-23 12:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Hah!! Clinton was being praised ENDLESSLY for  5 months by McCain AND Obama and YET she only was barely ahead of obama that was been attacked left and right?!!? call the presses!

BTW obama got 53% of the vote. and 68% of the EV. Hillary had no chance in hell expanding the map like that with her partisan attitude and a shabby campaign.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-23 12:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Geez - how long do sour grapes have to stay on the line before they become raisins?

by jonweasel 2008-11-22 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Oh, I just find it funny.

by Jess81 2008-11-23 12:28AM | 0 recs
I think you miss the big picture

for the little stuff.  Obama acted and sounded different.  I supported him after reading his books.  He built up a grassroots organization that had never been seen before in American politics.  He instills faith in people who support him and although I believe he'll make mistakes I also believe he will take an approach to governance different from the one Clinton would take.

by calwoman 2008-11-22 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you miss the big picture

Well, that's sorta bizarre, to think that foreign affairs is the 'little stuff' and the campaign process is the 'big picture' viewpoint.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you miss the big picture

I believe she means build consensus which is the community grassroots approach rather than simply top down. That you respect hte voices int eh community. Not you necessarily follow all of them.

by bruh3 2008-11-22 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you miss the big picture

I've lived many years and the cynics have taken over the political debate.  What Obama did for me is promise to hear all voices and not become an idealogue.  The fact that many of his choices are Clinton people exemplifies this.  He chooses the best people he knows and has them help him decide the correct course of action.  The course, of course, is his.

by calwoman 2008-11-22 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you miss the big picture

Yea, it was a good message for him to base his campaign on, and he does think that way about the process.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you miss the big picture

The process is what impressed me about him.  Also, I never during the whole campaign was sure what Obama would do.  As far as foreign policy is concerned I know, because of his speach, that he would not have supported the Iraq war and that was my foreign policy experience with him.

by calwoman 2008-11-22 08:15PM | 0 recs
P.S. Welcome Back.

You were missed.

by calwoman 2008-11-22 08:16PM | 0 recs
Yes, Diffrent kind of politics and Change were big

Clinton would have been a rabid partisan, Frankly with the mood the county was in I don't think she could have won anyway since everyone was sick of politics as usual (And McCain would have probably went by his 2000 persona kept his media base to contrast with a partisan Clinton). she might have squeaked it out after the financial collapse though.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Diffrent kind of politics


Thats a pretty evidence free assertion.  I wonder why The People, if that is really true, elected a one Party federal government.  Or why Clinton always polled better in the General matchups.

I supported Clinton precisely because Obama is Left/moderate, not a liberal.  I have seen the Obama movie prequel: it was called Jimmy Carter.

If you watched Independents and Republicans, the reason they favored Obama over Clinton was that they understood the change he stood for to be glossy, heavy on tokenism, and substantially smaller.

by killjoy 2008-11-23 12:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Diffrent kind of politics

That's a pretty evidence-free assertion.

by Jess81 2008-11-23 12:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Diffrent kind of politics

If you look at all the polls it shows that majority of the Americans HATED negative/hate filled ads and campaigning, it backfired big time against McCain when he was calling obama a socialist and implying terrorist connections to him. His fav went up because he stayed above the fray and stayed in control. Clinton would have went hard and negative against Mac, because that is what she said she would do against the big bad right in the primaries (Fighter!! heard that a thousand times) and she would be HATED by McCain's base (media, they already hated her, still do) and her negative would have even gone up further than what it was (~48 nationwide). She could pull a squeaker after the collapse but her chances were inflated because she was a known quantity t the beginning (she was 20+ starting, after people got to know her and obama her poll numbers started to drop consistently until the rev wright debacle). she would have crashed from a barrage of media criticism and McCain going to his Lovable Maverick 2000 persona that everyone seemed to craved for in the GE.

here are the facts:

She ran a terrible primary campaign till she improved it at the end , her fund raising was mediocre compared to obama, the media and half the country hated her( before she began getting praise form both tickets for her voters) so her chances were 50-50 after the collapse In my opinion.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-23 12:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I find the bickering about the personalities who have been chosen to be in the cabinet to be silly and somewhat niave.  Having worked on the inside in a previous life, I know that the boss (Obama in this case) drives the decisions in most cases not the other way around.  Case in point - the first Congressman I worked for was a moderate to conservative Democrat from rural Virginia with whom I did not always agree.  He was a good politician who had won a district that had been Repub for decades.  We had some good policy discussions on issues and he enjoyed my input but in the end he voted as he felt best.  He respected my input but in the end it was his decision.

One other thing - I interviewed for over half a dozen political jobs in my 8 years in DC and I was never once asked my position on issues.  They wanted to know my skills and how I could move their agenda.  I suspect that is what is driving Obama's hiring choices above all else.  He wants to move his agenda and he believes these experience hands will help do it.

by jmnyc 2008-11-22 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Also, the article said people are upset that Obama is maintaing the White House political office.  Are you kidding me?  That has been around for every President I can remember.  It is not the creation of Karl Rove despite what some may think.

by jmnyc 2008-11-22 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I think there are some seriously bizare people out there.

by bruh3 2008-11-22 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

that was my experienc working in dc. I think people have forgotten this after 8 years of bush. that its not all idealogy.

by bruh3 2008-11-22 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Jerome just does not get it. He is just trying to rationalise his prior errors of Judgemnt. Hillary did not win. She just does not have the same capabilities - plus she tends to tell fibs - the last thing we need in a President after Bush.

So Obama won and now we are facing problems that make 1932 look like childs play and Jerome carries on like he is still living in April 2008.

Beleive me there are going to be massive changes and Jerome is bitching about what? - I mean what does Jerome want Obama to do in the first 100 days that is so important. Does he want to debate gays in the military?- or other such trivial bullshit?

For gods sake get over it and focus on simply saving the Country from a total meltdown.

Never has there been so much opportunity for change. It's coming.

Thank goodness the best person for the job is at the helm. His handling of the transition has been amazing and he is inspiring confidence. That is in itself vital for future success. inspiring confidence it essential - not Jeromes drival that is driving this site into a cave for the ten remaining delusional PUMA's.

by dbeall 2008-11-22 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I agree. These Jerome diaries are all about how Jerome was right and predicted what is happening.

He gives Obama no credit for anything. According to him the only reason Obama won is because of the economy imploding. I suppose Jerome thinks that regardless ofhow Obama had performed in the debates or how he reacted to the economic crisis he still would have won? Regardless of whether he built up a huge GOTV effort or raised record money and spent it in the right states in the right amounts (witness he won states he played for by tight margins indicating he spent money wisely...except the barely lost missouri).

I think Jerome you ought to give Obama a little more credit and himself a little less...

But I am guessing thats not going to happen and thats OK.

by obama4presidente 2008-11-22 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

btw Most of these "clintonites" are the people who supported obama over Hillary during the primaries (Richardson-commerce, Summers-adviser, Eric holder-AG, Rham- didn't endorse anyone but a close obama friend in Chicago), in effect betraying the Clintons. In fact I don't know any so called clintonite that supported Hillary in the primaries and now have a good post (except Hillary, but she redeemed herself by doing 70 events for obama after she lost, plus obama has a Lincoln team of rivals that might work out). There might be some but no names jump up to me so far, most of these names are people who abandoned Hillary in the primaries.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 07:52PM | 0 recs
i supported obama over hrc

on foreign affairs for two reasons - his willingness to say up front that we should be discussing with our enemies, and his cool demeanor. he never threatened to obliterate another nation just to try and convince voters he had foreign policy "gravitas."

by highgrade 2008-11-22 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: i supported obama over hrc

Bingo, Also he didn't support a war then refuse to apologize for enabling it even after everyone and their cat know it was a disaster. Plus his rhetoric (Very important) is non partisan (Disagreeing without being disagreeable) and he seems to able to charm/compel people (Bush was gushing about his family values after their meeting, it was pretty funny).

As SoS Obama will probably send her to meet with some of these rogue leaders first. It would be a perfect Irony and hilarious.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 08:02PM | 0 recs
Completely Agree with Jane Hamsher

She is dead on right.  I am quite happy with what I have seen from Obama so far.  He has a solidly progressive agenda he plans to push as we saw today with the public works announcement and he is assembling a strong team to help him move his agenda.

by jmnyc 2008-11-22 07:56PM | 0 recs
Hey Jerome.

Good to see you writing more lately.

Otherwise, I have nothing interesting to say right now, I just want the legendary blogfather to respond to MY comment too.

by Scan 2008-11-22 07:59PM | 0 recs
there you go again

I really should be doing my taxes for the past few months...

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-11-22 08:03PM | 0 recs
you're writing much more than i am lately

The 2008 quest is over. Hillary, Bill, Joe and Barack are one big happy family. Things will be better. The holidays are arriving. What is there really pressing to write about, except Al Franken?

For me, it's time to frolic in the park. Write songs. Sleep.

by Scan 2008-11-22 08:18PM | 0 recs
LOL

You are just posting here to avoid working on your taxes?

I know we've given you a pretty hard time this year but still we're all under the same big tent, right?  

BTW:  From the get go you and I had a fundamental disagreement.  I supported Obama partly because I didn't think Hillary had a chance to win the general election.  Of course, there's no way of knowing if I was right about Hillary but we know for sure you were wrong about Obama.

by GFORD 2008-11-22 09:54PM | 0 recs
On the update..

Timothy Geithner has worked for 3 administrations. Reagan, bush and Clinton I believe, so calling him a Clinton vet only is misleading.. Funny how everyone is pigeonholed to the Clintons just so that some people can drive their CWs.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 08:10PM | 0 recs
WTF?

My comment was directed to the Lieberman situation, and had absolutely nothing to do with Obama's foreign policy appointments.

What a crock of shit, the Telegraph is.

by kos 2008-11-22 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: WTF?

i think you should raise a stink about this crock of shit, kos.

by Scan 2008-11-22 08:24PM | 0 recs
having lived in England for 6 years

I can attest to the fact that the Telegraph sucks.

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-23 12:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Jerome is a foreign policy expert and also a clairvoyant. This last and little known fact about Jerome is important because it means he can tell what kind of foreign policy Obama is going to have even before takes power much less appoints his team. It truly is amazing stuff and based on his exemplary predictive track record in the primaries- which he himself has highlighted as of late- its pretty clear that here too Jerome will be correct... as determined by himself.

by obama4presidente 2008-11-22 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Obama is not an ideologue, he's a pragmatist.  I've been saying that all along.  His policies will be workable and be based on the best interests of the country.

He is choosing a cabinet of experts in their respective fields.  Just as his campaign advisors were experts.  

In my mind what defines a progressive is someone who is not an ideologue but who will get the job done.  To me Obama is good example of a  progressive.

by GFORD 2008-11-22 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

To me his policies (Iraq,Taxes,Green spending, ,Health care, Labor ) are progressive and I believe helpful for the USA. I do not care about the process that he gets those ideas implemented with, because i second guessed his some of his processes during the campaign (Called hand wringing here) and almost every time turned out to be wrong.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Maybe so.  But the country gets tired of pragmatism in office very quickly: like 1 to 2 years.
by killjoy 2008-11-23 12:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Yes - they love both partisanship and heavy ideologies.

If there's one thing they can't stand, it's people who just get the job done.

by Jess81 2008-11-23 12:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs


You seem not to grasp why people vote Republican.  It is because they want imaginary and mass psychological problems/issues that bother them to be the things government is engrossed with.

If you have followed politics for a bit longer than you have, you see the focus of elections and governance swinging back and forth between The People's material needs and its psychological needs.

Clinton and Carter both made the key fixes to the messes they inherited in their first year in office and saw the effectiveness of the fixes begin to show in the second.  As soon as that happened The People went on roaring binges into imaginary and seemingly trivial social
or foreign affairs.  Went snipe hunting, basically.

You're welcome.

And yes, I will try to answer most of the other mythologically based objections to my posts later today.

by killjoy 2008-11-23 01:06AM | 0 recs
Enough!

I'm tired of the criticisms of black politicians and nothign about white ones. The man isn't even President yet and the bashing begins.

It wouldn't surprise me if Sirota and Jerome tried to turn Obama into David Dinkins.

Ugh, enough.

by sweet potato pie 2008-11-22 08:37PM | 0 recs
Jesus. What an ego-maniac

I guess Jerome will have to make due with a couple of centrist Cabinet appointments instead of his wet dream of an Obama loss.

If we all just collectively bow down before your all knowing political wisdom will you finally stop with the ceaseless self-justification.  You used to actually be an interesting blogger.

And yeah, your right.  The only reason Obama even had a shot at winning was because of the financial crisis.  I'm sure his charisma, political skill, fundraising prowess, and George Bush's approval ratings had absolutely nothing to do with this.  You were so right about Clinton all along and tragically will never have the pleasure of saying I told you so after a democratic loss this year.

I hope you eventually figure out that posts like this are degrading to you, and really even to me for feeling forced to respond to them.

by descrates 2008-11-22 08:51PM | 0 recs
c'mon, who didn't know that

in the primaries, Obama was just appealing to the MoveOn.org crowd with respect to foreign policy? Of course he wasn't some dove George McGovernick. That is not to say I'm glad he won against McCain, and look forward to inauguration. But you'd have to have had your head up your ass to be surprised.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-22 09:20PM | 0 recs
Re: c'mon, who didn't know that

er....the moveon and kos crowd didn't know it, that's who.

and they proclaimed loudly and obnoxiously how different he was.

by CalDem 2008-11-22 11:36PM | 0 recs
Re: c'mon, who didn't know that

I wouldn't put it that way: it was an article of faith even at kos that there wasn't much of an ideological difference between the two.

What WAS important was we wanted a President who hadn't supported the Iraq War.  That was - and is - a very big deal.

by Jess81 2008-11-23 12:34AM | 0 recs
Re: c'mon, who didn't know that

Yes!  Thank you!

by mikeinsf 2008-11-23 10:53AM | 0 recs
Oh dear

"[Democratic foreign policy experts] will not now secure the mid-level posts which[sic] will enable them to reach the top of the Washington career ladder in future"??

Tears of infinite sadness stream down my cheeks.

by JJE 2008-11-22 09:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Obama never made any pretense that he was anti-war, he is just against this war.  I think he still is and will get our troops home by the date he said in the campaign.  Obama is Commander in Chief, he will determine policy not his advisers.  

As for Kos being the anti-war voice, that is a big joke.  If he was not anti-war in 2005 he is not anti-war person, and in 2005 he was a we broke we fix it guy.  

I have been anti-war with this was since August of 2002 when Bush started talking Iraq invasion.  

I trust Obama and all along the way in the campaign people second guessed him and here he is President-Elect and it was not even close.  Foe Me, until he pulls a Nixon, I am trusting him.  

by repearwo 2008-11-22 09:52PM | 0 recs
One more thing.

I hear more from the talking heads and the rightwing media about how upset the progressives are about Obama's cabinet choices than I ever hear from actual progressives.  Most of us have learned that when we second guess him we end up realizing he was right all along.  So now we just assume he knows what he is doing.

by GFORD 2008-11-22 09:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Jeez, is anyone surprised at the kind of smug soapboxing Jerome performs anymore? Just dying to shout to all of us sheep, I told you so! Still can't give the man any credit for putting down both the Clinton and GOP machine.

Those of us that want a speedy, yet responsible end to this catastrophe of a war do have 1 important appointee on our side: The President. Good, he's not surrounding himself with yes men or women. Nor is he treating war support as a litmus test. If you payed attention at all during the campaign you could see that Obama if nothing else was a pragmatic realist when it came to Iraq. Thankfully he didn't ignore that the situation on the ground in Iraq changed from the time he announced his candidacy and now. Since when is pulling out on Day X regardless of what's happening on the ground the "progressive position?" or letting the evidence today guide your decisions the "center-right" position? Who the hell hijacks these labels? A bitter blogger that still can't admit he was wrong with dignity?

Not being Bush means more than liberal vs. conservative. It means valuing differing opinions vs. insular yes men, evidence vs. ideology, policy vs. politics, compromise vs. dogmatic rigidness. If you thought Obama was going to stick it to the Republicans, give back to them what they've been giving to us the past decade, then again you weren't paying attention. F-it, I don't care if his entire cabinet are Republicans so long as he accomplishes his agenda.          

by bigdaddy 2008-11-22 10:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

PS How can anyone say he's anything with regards to anything when he's not even President yet? He's yet to enact one single policy as President and already you're pretending to be the smartest guy in the room/blog.

by bigdaddy 2008-11-22 10:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

For all the staff hand wring see here! (can't embed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhPxSm9Es 0w&eurl=http://www.talkingpointsmemo .com/

Very prophetic of him (no pun intended) and shows that even in primaries he had people second guessing him on his staff choices, how did that turn out?

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-22 11:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

spot on diary, but I'd go a bit further.

first, i vacillated between the two during the primaries, but consistently was in the 'they're both fine by me' camp and remain there. just thrilled that Obama is president.

second, among the reasons that i vacillated is not just that they're so similar policy-wise, despite the attempts to demonize HRC as some sort of right-wing wolf in sheep's clothing. but, actually, that I felt and still feel that, unfortunately, Obama is distinctly more right wing. Not radically so and they're both basically centrist, but on key issues he definitely shades to the right in ways that were clear during the primaries. Specifically:

-LGBT issues, on which he was disturbing in the primaries and which makes his pushing off his promise to change 'don't ask don't tell' unsurprising. HRC had a lot more trust in the LGBT community, for good reason.

-FISA: he ended up backing that awful 'compromise', while HRC stayed firm. Not surprising that his top advisers on intelligence/interrogation, etc appear to be invested in the 'we don't torture, but we may have to do things that seem like torture' mold that I thought we were rid of.

-Health care: obviously Obama's proposal was less wide-ranging.

this doesn't negate the broad areas of agreement, nor that on those 3 issues Obama is WORLDS better than the past regime, so believe you me I'm dancing on the ceilings happy. but it's still worth pointing out the irony that groups committed to partisan fights for liberals vehemently supported a post partisan centrist, a guy who was more conservative than virtually all of his Dem opponents (in fact, I think more conservative than all of them). what's very nice about the HRC to SoS appointment is that it really exposes all the demonization of HRC for what it was: emotional nonsense without a basis in fact.

so...good times: a new and hopefully great president. some terrific appointees including a potentially great SoS. and, also, some things to criticize in re NSA and don't ask/don't tell etc.

by CalDem 2008-11-22 11:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I agree with you on FISA.

We have not seen the actual health care proposal from the Obama Administration, so on this you have nothing.

Regarding LGBT issues, he has posted on his post-election site, change.gov, his plans on LGBT rights, including DADT.

He remains committed to repealing DADT.  I see no problem with him gaining consensus and trust among the top military brass before going forward. Do you not remember how Bill's attempt at the issue damaged him early on and forced him to accept that shitty compromise in the firs place?

by mikeinsf 2008-11-23 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

on health care, see here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/health care/

not nearly as ambitious as what HRC was proposing.

on LGBT issues, he's already backed off a campaign promise on DADT, says marriage is between a man and a woman (to be fair, so does HRC, if memory serves), and campaigned with a homophobic preacher.

that said, I don't want this to be taken as ripping on Obama. He may well be right in re the conservativism of his health care proposal, for example, and I'm just thrilled  that we have an intelligent guy in office who will be seriously dealing with all these issues.

my only narrow point regards the oft-stated claim that HRC was to his right. that's simply wrong. in the main, they're similar-style centrists, where there is daylight between them she tends to be more to the left.

by CalDem 2008-11-23 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I am gay, and I follow gay issues intensely.

DADT

He has not backed off. He said that he wanted to push to get the military brass on board first. He also said that it would be a part of greater legislation rather than a single issue bill. Which makes sense because the goal it to resend the ban which is based on legislation- not just executive order. Some seem very confused about what he can do alone. His tactics are actually smart if the goal is to change the policy rather than what CLinton did- which was to turn it into a public spectacle.  

The only thing that makes his healthcare plan "conservative" is that its not single payer which seems to be the new definition in a constantly morphing definition. THe plan he now supports has virtually no difference of any importance between what Clinton/Edwards offered. He has signaled he's okay with mandates. There is a public option. So what's left to make it 'conservative."

On marriage issues, Clinton's position despite her rhectoric was actually worse. Obama says- whether he will do it- we shall see- that he wants to end DOMA without qualifications. Clinton said she would end it but leave in the section that would leave in the section that would prevent a full faith and credit challenge to other state mariage bans. Why does this matter? if you get married in CT, and wanted to have htat marriage recognize in VA, you couldn't under that section of DOMA combined w ith VA's draconinan anti-marriage ban.

by bruh3 2008-11-23 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

Obama only won because of the economic meltdown? How did he manage to beat the Clintons who were much tougher competition then McCain and were not carrying the mark of Bush and the toxic Republican brand. Trying to find an excuse for being absolutely wrong?

What Obama is doing is totally consistent with his rhetoric during the campaign. He is not now and never was a firebreathing progressive ideologue. He is very much a pragmatist and a skilled politician who is intent on actually getting something done. That will in turns piss off both the left and the right but I expect we will see more progressive policy enacted then could ever have been accomplished by more 'progressive' politicians including Hillary.

by hankg 2008-11-23 01:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs
Frankly, I think the My DD crowd is much more realistic and less reactionary than the Kos crowd about Obama's cabinet appoitnments.
Over at Kos, there's a lot of teeth gnashing, hand wringing and wailing going on among some posters about the various appointments, while here, most people tend to view things more realistically and see the brighter side of these appointments.
My view is that he seems to be hiring intelligent people that are experienced and educated (imagine, a competent cabinet filled with well educated people!) and whether or not I agree with their politics isn't really important, as that's not part of their job description.
The question to ask is not, "Are they progressive enough?", but "Can they accomplish the things Obama was elected to accomplish?".
My answer is if we can survive this economic mess (and very little will get accomplished until we do), the cabinet apppointed by Obama will be there to advise him on how to get it done, and not to get in his way.
by skohayes 2008-11-23 02:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist

Jerome, do not permit intransigent nay-sayers to mitigate from your lucid analysis.

It goes without saying that President-elect Obama is approaching his leadership most brilliantly--meaning most pragmatically.  The rhetoric of the campaign is, as it should be, gone.

As an unapologetic Clintonite who believes that Bill Clinton was the best president of my fifty-five year lifetime, I knew at the outset that the only way in which Senator Obama could become the Democratic nominee was to create some sort of wedge issue.  Naturally, Mr. Axelrod knew this only too well.

Still, Hillary Clinton ended up with eighteen million primary votes, so it is absurd to state that she ran a bad primary campaign.  The DNC had pre-determined that they preferred Senator Obama.  There was no victory in terms of popular vote, merely in terms of the will of the DNC egged on by the ever Clinton-hating MSM.

We Clintonites justifiably felt betrayed, and our votes meaningless.  Yet the Clintons themselves ultimately became team players, and their minions followed their example, so that the vast majority of us still placed our ballots with Senator Obama. Those Clinton voters were an instrumental part of his landslide.

As was, indeed, the country's economic meltdown.  Without the Wall Street collapse, FDR's great skills alone could not have secured for him a landslide in 1932.  And for all of his charisma, were it not for Ross Perot's independent draw, Bill Clinton could not have achieved so impressive an electoral landslide in 1992.  This is simple reality, whatever political partisans may say.

Like you, I am much impressed by President-elect Obama's pragmatic skills in this transition period.  As a Clintonite, I am most impressed that he has the self-assurance not merely to engage Senator Clinton but, in effect, superbly utilize the talents of both Clintons on a world stage.

Were the results of the primary reversed, and this were a President-elect Hillary Clinton instead, would not the Senator Obama partisans themselves have demanded no less a deference to their own huge number of voters?  In other words, supposing a President-elect Hillary Clinton had not only not offered the Vice Presidency to her chief rival, but no major cabinet office as well--how then would Obama voters have felt?

What President-elect Obama has achieved is a master-stroke; a move to heal the divide from within and move forcefully toward a world more united from without.

He is, indeed, at core a great pragmatist, as have been all great presidents from Lincoln to FDR to Clinton--not ideologues, inasmuch as George Walker Bush was the ultimate ideologue, and eight years later, we find that our nation is in shambles.

As a fifty-five year old "senior," I would advise my most instransigent friends from both the Obama and Clinton camps, not to look upon President Obama or likely Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as being your enemy.

Look to the MSM as the enemy.  They, collectively, ever stand in the way of progress.  Make the MSM irrelevant, and progress at last can truly come again to the United States.

by lambros 2008-11-23 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I supported Obama because he was a pragmatist, not an idealogue.  I'm not sure where all the teeth-gnashing is coming from.  He's pretty much proving to be exactly what I saw in him - an adult with a functioning brain who can give us a "reboot" on the world stage.

by Dreorg 2008-11-23 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

I think the "teeth gnashing" is coming from Repubs and Hillbots who spent all year calling Obama a dangerous radical and wound up believing their own bullshit.

by Bush Bites 2008-11-23 06:37AM | 0 recs
Please.

If Hillary was running during the Credit Crisis, she would have resurrected her ridiculous "gas tax holiday" and ran up to Washington to try to out-crazy McCain.

We would have had two nuts fighting for TV time instead of one nut and one cool customer.

by Bush Bites 2008-11-23 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, Obama is a centrist on foreign affairs

He's not "the most progressive person we could have possibly hoped to elect as President of the United States." We could have gone a little further I think.

But, he may well be the person who can get the most progressive agenda passed.

by greenvtster 2008-11-23 07:43AM | 0 recs

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