Profiles in political courage - with poll!
by itsthemedia, Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 02:03:41 PM EDT
I agree with the very mixed feelings many have expressed over Obama's response to the open letter from supporters regarding his FISA flip-flop. I will stipulate up front that:
1) Obama is flip-flopping to position himself for the GE, not really stabbing his supporters in the back on purpose. He is not going out of his way to gut the 4th Amendment, but said Amendment happened to be in his way.
2) Arguing about Constitutional rights is a political loser, because the Constitution was written at a college reading level, and modern American political campaigns are carried out at about a 5th grade level.
3) Once Dodd dropped out of the race, our chances of getting a President who really cares about these issues were close to nil. Dodd's number one issue was "restoring the Constitution". He never rose about 1% in the polls. Enough said.
4) I will stipulate to anything else, within reason. ;-)
Now, in keeping with my maddeningly unjournalistic style, I will finally get to my point. After the break. :)
In other threads, several apologist posters have marveled at Obama's forthrightness, his willingness to respond to his angered supporters on an adult level. His "spine".
But there is something I have not seen mentioned. How does Obama's willingness to say "no" to his supporters compare to other politicians in history? Maybe even recent history? Very recent history?
Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok. -- Barack Obama, July 4, 2008
Frankly, I agree that the statement shows courage and treats us like adults. But am I the only one having deja-vu here?
If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from. But for me, the most important thing now is trying to end this war. -- Hillary Clinton, February 17, 2008
I see an interesting contrast to the timing and reaction to these two forthright statements. The person who treated people like adults in the midst of a historically close primary was held in comtempt and punished. The most excoriating screeds were no doubt penned by many of the same people who are now praising the person who made a forthright statement only after locking up the nomination.
I know it is too late now, and folks do not want to revisit the primaries, but I hope people will apply some hindsight and see that as liberals, we should endeavor to debate using facts and logic, and treat everyone fairly, especially our opponents. Rational, fair political debate, like science, is a way of trying not to fool ourselves. I hope Obama will be elected, and that he will pleasantly surprise me by being a good and effective President. But I fervently hope his most ardent supporters now realize that in order for that to happen, We the People, have to MAKE it happen.