Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

One of the things I've been struggling with as a democrat is the unanswered question -- is Obama going to push a progressive, centrist or conservative agenda. I honestly don't know. He's taken some of Hillary Clinton's plans and said he'd advocate for those, some of John Edward's as well. But then, apparently he's taken some of Ron Paul's and Rudi Guiliani's ideas as well. Good ideas are everywhere, but I want my president to be able to discern good ideas from bad ones. I've suffered for 7 years 2 months under a president whose ideas were not his own, and as such he didn't have the ability to adjust and steer new courses when things went terribly awry. I don't want that again.

In today's Washington Post there was an editorial called Obama Enigma. Part of it talked about his reputation as the most liberal senator in the Senate, and then there was this:

"Yes, but where is Mr. Obama most comfortable himself? Where would he strive to take the country? It is possible to draw conflicting lessons from his record. As New York Times columnist David Brooks has pointed out, Mr. Obama was not part of the bipartisan Gang of 14 that tried to avert a showdown on judicial filibusters; he was not among the 68 senators voting for a bipartisan agreement on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; he dissented from the part of the bipartisan immigration deal that displeased unions. His campaign platform is orthodox liberal Democratic fare. So is Mr. Obama a standard liberal clad in the soothing language of inclusiveness?

Perhaps, but one could read the record and arrive at a different conclusion. Mr. Obama not only declined to filibuster Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.; he was initially inclined to vote for him, according to The Post's Perry Bacon Jr. Even in the heat of a primary campaign, he has shown some brief glimmers of divergence from the party line: He dared to mention the notion of "merit pay" in an appearance before the teachers union, and he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board that, although he is a "skeptic" about school vouchers, "I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn" if research shows that they work. His book "The Audacity of Hope" is laced with hints of a more complex Obama than the campaign trail version -- more conflicted, for instance, about the benefits of free trade than the campaign trail's NAFTA-basher. "In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative. There are moments when he sounds almost Burkean," Larissa McFarquhar wrote in the New Yorker last year.

The closing weeks of a primary campaign aren't especially conducive to thoughtful discussions of political philosophy. But if not now, when? Mr. Obama's rhetoric about bridging partisan differences has been inspiring, his personal story is moving and his qualities of leadership are undoubted. But do voters understand where, exactly, he would like to lead them?"

To the last question, I know I don't. If BO prevails and wins the democratic nomination, I won't be able to support him unless it is clear that he won't support school vouchers, appoint justices like Roberts, cause further job loss by allowing businesses to remain unregulated and trade barriers unchallenged. I admit, Obama scares me for the fact that I don't believe that he intends to do the hard work of getting a progressive agenda passed. I believe he believes that there is some happy middle where republicans and democrats meet and that it has been some intransigent old-geezers that have kept us from the feel good moment of all being in agreement.

America was created with the challenge of being both free and equal. The two don't actually go together. If one is free to be racist in terms of who one lets eat at their diner, then we don't all have equal rights to enter a place of business and be treated with respect. This is fundamentally the argument between Republicans and Democrats, although Republicans are for freedom except as it applies to minorities, women, gays and lesbians. And apparently democrats aren't as willing to fight for women's rights as they are willing to fight for minority rights. (That's why women still earn 70c on the dollar to men, and why the media has been able to continuously use sexist and derogatory terms to describe Hillary without a word of protest from the democratic party.) At any rate, before I'd be willing to support BO I'd need to know if he was a Roberts, a reagan, or a roosevelt democrat. It makes a difference.

Tags: agenda, Barack Obama, conservative, liberal, Politics (all tags)

Comments

53 Comments

Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Just say :

yes we can !!!

lol

by lori 2008-02-24 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Please use your "zero" rating with care! It is only for use on comments that are wholly content-free. If you think the poster is clueless, or an idiot, or you just don't agree with them, that is not grounds for a zero rating. Zero is for comments that are offensive, script-generated, or otherwise content-free and intended solely to abuse other readers.

Your comment seems like a good description of "content free and solely intended to abuse others".

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Content free

- some would say just like the candidate you are supporting.

Infact that editorial was just being a little diplomatic.

They could have just put it straightforwardly ,

Where is the beef ?

Don't blame me for your own sensitivities.

 

by lori 2008-02-24 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Blaming you for your comments which are quite plainly outside the TOS of this site.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

mercy lori some places are just a mine field of sensitivities.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Hmmmm..... Should I take the fact that you have been on this site for less than 24 hours as a sign you may a plant, or even worse someone previously banned, just over 24 hours ago?

bj, is that you?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

Pardon me for expressing my frustration so vehemently, but go to his freaking website and read his positions for yourself!  They are all there and most are not anywhere near what you describe as conservative.  It can be reasonably argued that Hillary's actions are far more conservative than her positions or Obama's so rather than post some "concern" meme, go get the positions and argue against them not this silly meme of "it will be too late, we're all duped."

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

Actually many of his positions are quite conservative, and I don't want a candidate to have a bunch of position papers I want him or her to know what it is they want to do and to tell me about it. We don't even know if Obama is writing his position papers, nevermind understand what they say -- he doesn't talk about his priorities much.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 07:31PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

And many of Hillary's positions are quite conservative too.  What's your point?

We have had candidates before, who told us in excruciating detail about their positions.  Remember Al gore and John Kerry? Great people who both would have been terrific, thoughtful, intelligent and progressive Presidents.  Guess what?  Americans are not smart enough or have an attention span long enough to listen to a candidate espouse on policy.  Like it or not they want sound bites and smiles, and frankly if that's what it takes to get a Democrat back in the white house so be it, I'll go along for the ride.

No candidate, Hillary Clinton included writes their own position papers, stump speeches or public addresses.  Hell most candidates don't even write their own books, including Hillary Clinton.

If you want to know policy and positions for Obama, they are literally all over the internet and if you took half the time you use posting comments here and did the research, you would know all the answers to your burning policy questions.

Your feigned "concern" meme is so over.  As Muldar used to say... "the truth is out there".  If all you really want is for a candidate to be a policy wonk in his or her speeches, then you want to relegate the Democratic party to another Gore or Kerry defeat.

Obama is bringing new and energized people into our party by the hundreds of thousands and the fact that you don't know what he stands for is your fault not his.  

I want John Edwards to be President, but that ain't gonna happen.  Obama has run circles around all the Democratic candidates because in the eyes of the American electorate, he looks and sounds like a winner. he may not be my choice, or the best choice, but he is apparently the candidate who knows how to win, and that is ok with me, because I care more about winning than being right.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 10:32PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

Well, if BO is given the nomination you'll be disappointed. There's no way he'll win in the general because he is running a short-sighted game plan and turning off many, many, many democratic voters. FL and MI will not vote for him -- they're furious with him. And, the GOP doing their crossover mess with the democrats thing, aren't going to vote for BO in the general.

He needs Hillary voters and he's run too vicious a campaign -- too dishonest -- to get them to back him.

I want a president who can talks about what he or she is going to do, what he or she cares about without referring me to policy papers. That tells me nothing about what the president will do. I want a president who can sit down with world leaders and know where he/she stands on issues, who can speak without putting his/her foot in his/her mouth, and who doesn't need to go back and check with a rovian advisor to find out what is the politics of the situation.

Vote Hillary.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-25 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

If a democrat wins the White House, I will be ecstatic, regardless of who that person is.

Florida  would  not go democratic in the general election of Jesus were the nominee, conversely,  I would suggest that MI is basically in the bag for any Democrat.  I'm not sure where you divine your information, but most politically astute individuals  would disagree with your conclusions.

If HRC supporters would not vote for Obama or any other Democrat who became the eventual Democratic nominee, then I suggest to you that they are not Democrats at all, and may in fact be exactly what others have referred to the Oama supporters as:  Belonging to a cult of personality,  in this case a Clinton cult.

If you want to lose another election, keep pushing the policy wonk path, it worked so well for Gore and Kerry.

I want to win and right now whether you like it or not, Obama is the one showing Democrats how to win.  I will gladly vote for him in the GE, just as I would for HC, but you have to admit, right now HC is running a terrible campaign and has huge obstacles to overcome to garner the nomination.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-25 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

I don't agree. BO has run a vicious and divisive campaign and has hurt many, many democratic women with his sexist remarks and his failure to ever speak out against the viciousness of his supporters.

I don't see him as a democrat at all and see many of his plans as dangerous -- school vouchers, unmandated health insurance, no home foreclosure freeze, etc.

Plus, I think he shows that he is immature with regard to foreign policy and I'm unwilling to support another compassionate conservative without any foreign policy experience for the office of president. I've learned the consequences are too dire. I need to vote for someone I trust and BO isn't that man.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-25 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

We agree to disagree, I am only troubled by the fact that you have set yourself up to be very disappointed if Obama is our nominee.  i will be happy to vote for either candidate in the general, you I'm afraid will be in a very different frame of mind.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-25 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: "Where's the beef?"

I haven't set myself up -- I will be disappointed if he's the nominee. Along with many, many, many other democrats.

I have to hope that the party understands what is happening here and create a Clinton/Obama ticket so that we have the best chance to win in November.

I don't see any way BO wins in the general -- because of the way he approached his campaign, the way he attacked Hillary on personal terms, and I don't see his supposed coalition as being real. The GOP is having a laugh with us.

This was the year we were supposed to win -- no contest. There was only one way we lost -- if we divided up as a party. The GOP and Rove are brilliant, simply brilliant.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-26 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

LOL no you can take me as a person who has been on this site for less that 24 hours who has a sense of humor looking for a candidate to vote for.

I live in a place that is in one of those red states. Even the democrats are conservative, most of the progressive democrats have hunkered down for the last 7 years and have heard so much worse than folks here are complaining about. Oh and it's tough to go anywhere around here were they don't like Rush. Makes having a conversation about politics kind of interesting.

It would take a lot worse to rattle the Democrats here.

Lol and nope not bj or a plant or banned or as I was called on another site a clone of one of the posters here.

But thanks for asking. At least you asked and didn't just assume and start pounding on me.

Thanks

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

And I apologize for thinking you may have been "bj", but you see that person was banned 3 different times within the past 24 hours and I was getting a little sensitive to the sudden up tick of people who have never posted before being all over the map here.

i may have disagreements with many people on this board, hell how could I not, I still want Edwards, but I don't think I have ever pounded on anyone here... well, maybe once or twice.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-26 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

test

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Like herding cats I posted a response but it ended up further down the line. keep looking. I did answer

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Three questions:

How many times do I have to say it before I actually believe it?

When I do believe it will I automatically know what the heck the mans platform is.

Is that guy wearing any clothes. (hint kids story)

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial
okay I haven't paid attention to the rating system. Is the 1/2 rating a good thing or a bad one. If it is a good thing great, thanks.
If it's a bad thing, why? Why is it considere offensive? Just trying to learn.
by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Well said; I entirely agree.  Some Obama supporters are apologists as they try to craft Obama as a far-left partisan that can transform America as to make himself bipartisan.  I'm not sure what that means, and frankly, I'm not sure they do either.  Fact of the matter is that its a two-party system, always was and always will be.  Which is it going to be Senator Obama: bipartisan or partisan?

by ejintx 2008-02-24 03:26PM | 0 recs
I think

That this is part of the appeal he has among voters. Face it, the vast majority of the electorate is nowhere near as much of a partisan purist as some of the people on MyDD are. Take your average middle or lower income voter with a couple of kids. Do you truly believe that when s/he is thinking about the educational system, that their first instinct is to debate the theory of shifting public dollars towards religious or otherwise non-public schools? I would argue no. They are concerned with whether or not any education "reform" will WORK for their children. Ideological purity is only for people who spend a lot of time on blogs etc. I think most people would be confused to hear someone arguing against the proposition that if research shows that school vouchers would help promote better education, that we should be opposed to it because it offends some other underlying ideological viewpoint.

by highgrade 2008-02-24 03:31PM | 0 recs
But I would argue...

that people also like consistency in a message; that's what Ron Paul attributes his success to - continually standing against big government, taxes and too much federal interference with states' right.  Yeah, your average voter isn't terribly intermingled with details, but a backtrack or contradiction (real or perceived) doesn't bode well.  

by ejintx 2008-02-24 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Ron Paul is hardly a 'success'.

What's his best showing in any state - 11%?  Despite being able to outspend/message disseminate more than any other GOPer save Willard?

I have friends who are politically active - but a lot who, while they vote every November - are not.  They're your typical "low info" voter.  Some of them are regular Republican voters.  Some are regular Democratic voters.  Others are truly independent voters.

Obama's campaign resonates with them.

For all my efforts, it's rare that I can convince any of them why FISA matters, for example.

People like positive campaigns.  That doesn't mean Obama isn't a "politician" - all of them readily admit that he is... but they almost unanimously think that he's something special.

by zonk 2008-02-24 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

It has been remarkable how he's been able to wage a viciously negative campaign that appears to be completely invisible to those who adore him.

As a Hillary supporter who ventures in Dkos once a day, I often feel like while BO is giving speeches on hope and being above politics, I and my fellow Hillary supporters are being knee-capped by BO supporters.

You're right, he is political...chicago style. But, he has a saintly glow.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Would they think that when the "most liberal senator" title gets thrown around?

by ejintx 2008-02-24 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Nope. Sen. Clinton is a woman. She's supposed to go for Ms Congeniality. Although with all that supposed hysteria over what people think about- nope- that's the Obama folks that are all upset over what Hillary said about Obama. I saw it over on HuffPO

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

With all due respect: what?  I don't understand what you're getting at.

by ejintx 2008-02-24 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

ejenx

are you refering to my comment?

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

They don't care.

That's the thing - they're the types of folks that don't see America through liberal or conservative prisms.

by zonk 2008-02-24 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

But clearly they have to if they're regular Republican or Democratic voters (independents not necessarily) - there's a reason that they have previously and continue to vote that way unless they simply like the way the name of the party sounds.  I doubt that's the case though.

by ejintx 2008-02-24 04:38PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

The GOP leaners have always voted GOP on taxes, nothing else.

They don't have a laundry list of right/left positions, they've just always bought into the standard GOP line about "tax and spend" Democrats.

For whatever reason - the line doesn't stick to Obama.

by zonk 2008-02-24 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

more like tax and spend politicians.

7 years ago I hear we had a surplus.

Now we have a great big debt

under a conservative Republican with a Democrat majority in the legislative branch.

something conservative Republicans are having trouble understanding. How a conservative could end up spending the rent money and getting out country in deblt.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:50AM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Ron Paul got a vote. I didn't know that. All they talk about on my tv stations is Huckabee, McCain, Romney and well used to be Guilanni and Thompson, but they quit. Come to think of if so did Romney.
Well darn. I sure woulda like to have known this. I coulda voted for Ron Paul. But then I heard on tv that to vote for anyone else would mean I'd waste my vote. Course Romney folks might have a different view.

and to think I could be watchin the Oscars. Here John Stewarts gonna host. With writer.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Ron Paul was getting a fair number of votes and money until they all realized he didn't have a chance and they could go over and support BO and he'd be willing to put forth an anti-government, anti-tax platform. They love him...which makes me a little nervous.

I had a skin-head trying to get me to switch to BO in my caucus. They were the scariest bunch of democrats I've ever talked to.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Ron Paul has quite a dedicated following and has raised a ridiculous amount of money for an unrealistic candidate.  Sure, he won't win, but he got his message out there.

by ejintx 2008-02-24 04:38PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

He had, but many have switched to BO.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Which makes no sense to me...Ron Paul and Barack Obama are polar opposites both using "hope" as part of their campaign.

by ejintx 2008-02-24 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

Okay now I am confused. What were the Ron Paul folks doing at a Democratic caucus. I though RP was a Libertarian.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-26 03:54AM | 0 recs
Re: But I would argue...

But, many of our caucuses are open caucuses or you can be Dem for a day...you just show up and sign your name.

If I had money I'd go to some of these caucus states and check the registration rolls. I swear the same group of BO thugs are going state to state and voting in every caucus that doesn't require any validation of who you are or where you live. I don't know everyone in my neighborhood, but I really didn't know everyone in my caucus. I'd never seen so many 20 somethings in my neighborhood.

This has probably been the greatest fake candidacy, kind of like the Quiz Show dupe...and so many have bought it. It breaks my heart.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-26 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: I think

Yeah, those pesky underlying ideological viewpoints like the idea that public education should be available to all and should be of equal quality regardless of the race or class of the students.

The reason why school vouchers is an awful idea is because it is another way in which poor children get the shaft. School vouchers take money and students out of the public school system, leaving poor and struggling school districts to get poorer and fail in higher numbers.

The wealthy will always be able to buy a quality education for their children, we don't need to help them shaft poor children in the process.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Right on. Hillary is the only democrat running left in the race.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Just say deodorant!

Just as likely, he will support school vouchers that actually have been proven to help educate our children.  Will never privatize social security.  Will turn our entire energy policy green and will appoint Hillary to the Supreme Court.

Honestly what was the point of your comment?

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-24 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

My question: how would HRC govern? As the lunch-bucket populist I hear so much of right now, or the DLC welfare-reforming, NAFTA supporting rightwinger I expect?  

by PositiveFreedom 2008-02-24 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

HRC has actually proven herself to be much more progressive than Bill. That's why the two biographers said that at the time of NAFTA she said to Bill, "this is republican economics, you shouldn't do it." Or something like that. But, as first lady she had a role and speaking out against her husband's initiatives wasn't one of them. Running for president she has been very clear she doesn't think NAFTA is working and that all trade agreements need to be reviewed and changed so that we stop the flow of jobs overseas.

When Hillary tried and failed to get universal health care her response was to go back and try for children's health care, and veteran's health care and first responder care...this is the kind of president she'll be. Her progressive values are clear and if her big plans aren't approved by congress than she'll take them apart and get them passed inch by inch, bill by bill. What we do know is that she won't compromise on the overall objective...and this is the big difference between her and Bill Clinton and her and BO.

by seattlegonz 2008-02-24 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Actually the person that Sen. Clinton has the most incommon with is Mrs. Barak Obama. Both met their husbands early in their careers and have spend most of their married lives getting their (uh oh potentially sexist comment. Those who are easily offended please close your eyes. By the way I'm a woman so I guess it is okie dokie) where was I--oh yeah- both Sen.Clinton and Mrs.Barak Obama have spent most of their married lives getting their menfolk elected. I hear Mrs. Obama is doing a jam up good job on the campaign trail. She mentored her husband. How come she's not on the ballot?

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

psst. I though that Ms Winfrey was all about women living their best lives. Empowering women.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Me too but I don't think that is going to happen just cause she might say so.

Beginning to wonder if either one of thems got a lick of sense.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Me too but I don't think that is going to happen just cause she might say so.

Beginning to wonder if either one of thems got a lick of sense.

Good to know about that rating system though.

I was wondering.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

I think that's what the Republicans said about George Bush. But I actually know Republicans that regret that move.

It's kind of up there with reason number 23 of why you vote for someone.

"I voted for the man not cause I liked him but because I thought he could win. I didn't want to loose my vote"

UH no. I think more of my vote than that.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Here's the link to the Post editorial:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/02/23/AR2008022301816. html

The last line:

But do voters understand where, exactly, he would like to lead them?

Of course, the answer is NO but they have blind faith and project upon him their wishes and dreams. Might as well buy a Mystery Box on eBay. It can be anything you want it to be until you open the box.

When I cast my vote for a candidate, I make sure I know what I'm voting for.

by Nobama 2008-02-24 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

Wow. I once saw something like this on a psych exam. LOL. This is funny
\
uh I think the answer is alway C. No. Wait. A. Naw that's not it. Heck I missed the No Child Left Behind, we spend the year learning how to take a multiple choice exam. Ya know. Teach to the test. Teach to the test. Don't think. Teach to the Test. Yes I can. I think I can.

All those possitive affermations.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Enigma - WA Post editorial

After goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind what is Hillary's and Obama's and McCain's and okay Huckabee's name for their new education policy.

Since we are chatting about schools and stuff.

by 12 dogs and a blog 2008-02-24 04:02PM | 0 recs

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