Hold The President Accountable

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is to begin running this 30 second spot to hold the President accountable for abandoning the public option. The YesWeStillCan.org petition has been signed by over 600 Obama campaign staffers, 40,000 Obama volunteers, and 60,000 Obama donors. You can also contribute to help keep this ad on the air.

The ad is entitled Obama Promised. According to the Huffington Post the PCCC is airing the ad in Wisconsin -- in addition to Washington D.C. -- in hopes of persuading Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) to drop his support for a bill without an additional element of government-run insurance. The goal is not necessarily to kill the Senate's legislation, but to use political leverage to make changes once it goes to conference committee with the House.

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Stuck in the Middle with Obama

Chris Bowers over at Open Left has a post wondering if President Obama might be vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2012. He further asks if is there any chance that challenge might come from the left of the Democratic Party?

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The Untenability of Centrist Politics

If you need a good laugh these days, just read the Washington Post. David Ignatius'op-ed entitled Mr. Cool's Centrist Gamble is a case in point. It's true that if Obama attempts to govern as centrist he will find it to be political quicksand in the long run but Mr. Ignatius actually thinks that partisanship is politics as usual and that the dire straits we confront require a tack to the political center. Now that the ship of state is sinking, abandon partisanship is the cry inside the beltway. Funny how that when the conservative GOP controlled the reins of government, partisanship was in vogue. Yet now that the liberal Democrats assume the mantle, compromise is of the essence.

The impatient freshman senator is about to become president, but he hasn't lost his distaste for Washington politics as usual. And as the inauguration approaches, Obama is doing something quite remarkable: Rather than settling into the normal partisan governing stance, he is breaking with it -- moving toward the center in a way that upsets some of his liberal allies but offers the promise of broad national support.

Obama talked during the campaign about creating a new kind of post-partisan politics -- and dissolving the country's cultural and racial and ideological boundaries. Given Obama's limited record as a centrist politician, it was hard to know if he really meant it. John McCain had a more compelling record of working across party lines than did his Democratic rival.

It turns out that Obama was serious. Since Election Day, he has taken a series of steps to co-opt his opponents and fashion a new governing majority. It's an admirable strategy but also a high-risk one, since the "center," however attractive it may be in principle, is often a nebulous political never-never land.

Obama's bet is that at a time of national economic crisis, the country truly wants unity. "I keep telling Republicans, 'This guy has to succeed.' Otherwise, we're doomed," says David Smick, a financial analyst who wrote a prophetic book about the economic crisis called "The World Is Curved." But it remains an open question whether the Republicans will do more than applaud politely when Obama asks for help.

Obama does have to succeed (though Mr. Smick is talking about saving globalization, not the American economy per se) which is why a President Obama will have to in the end subscribe to core Democratic values and enact long-sought liberal policies that enhance fairness and restore prosperity for all, not just a select few. That's my definition of success. Mr. Ignatius' op-ed is but a ploy of the inside-the-beltway crowd to remain relevant doing the dirty work of the GOP. Though in truth, I think Mr. Ignatius misreads what the President-elect means by post-partisan. My take is that Obama is  more attempting to do something that has not been done in modern American politics: unite a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of sweeping change. Mr, Ignatius' view of tacking to the center is really an euphemism for cutting taxes in this debate over the fiscal stimulus and it hardly qualifies as "sweeping change."

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Obama's steady centrism

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/070 8/11880_Page2.html
Great article rejecting the "Flip Flop" / "Race to the Center" smear on Obama
by the chief speechwriter and deputy policy director for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign:

"Throughout the left-wing blogosphere, the cry has come: Barack Obama is moving away from them, and to the center. "Moving to the middle is for losers," cried the politically ambidextrous Arianna Huffington. He's "betraying his claims of being a new kind of politician," declared Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos.

But all this outrage ignores the obvious: Throughout his career, Obama has consistently framed himself as a post-partisan centrist. He's been a bridge-builder all his life, first between black and white, and now between left and right.

It's a formula for victory in a country that's essentially center-right. Even after all the alienation from the Bush administration, a new Washington Post/ABC poll affirms that only 19 percent of Americans describe themselves as liberal, while 43 percent say moderate and 35 percent, conservative.

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Clinton or Reagan UPDATED

Paul Krugman has another masterpiece in the New York Times. I really have to give him credit, because was one of the very few members of the "commentariat" that was able to cover the Democratic primary without demonizing Hillary Clinton and blindly praising Barack Obama.

He repeatedly criticized Obama's position on health care and criticized him for attacking Hillary Clinton's health care plan from the right, including print and radio ads that were strikingly familiar to the right-wing's "Harry and Louise" ads that helped defeat the 1993 Clinton health care plan.

He also defended Hillary Clinton when the media and Democrats were piling on her over her comments on LBJ's role in the civil rights movement.  In Hate Spring Eternal, he reminded us that Democratic candidates had often been treated this way in the past and that Senator Obama could expect similar treatment should he become the party's nominee.

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