Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tacking Right - Governing Left

Tacking Right – Governing Left

I have been mulling over the political moves, statements and actions that Senator Barack Obama has made over the last week or so and I think I’ve made some kind of peace with myself and with him about the various stances that he has taken. He is no doubt tacking to the center (some may even accuse him of going to the right, but I think that that is little bit of hyperbole). Here are the statements that have caused me concern over the last week: First, Obama’s response to the Supreme Court's only decent ruling at the end of this term – the one that ruled that the death penalty was not appropriate for child rapists. I agreed with this opinion, primarily because I am not in favor of the death penalty in any circumstances and even if I were, I think that children are notoriously unreliable witnesses, and are so malleable and easily influenced that little stock can be put in their testimony. So I was truly disappointed that Barack Obama came out with a statement critical of the Court’s decision. Obama said that he thought that the Court had gotten it wrong and that the decision as to whether a crime qualified as a capital crime should be left up to the states. The old "states' rights" gambit is often heard on the right when those on the other side of the political aisle feel that the Federales have interfered too directly in a right that they value (abortion and education come to mind here, although I also must point out that the “states' rights” argument doesn’t seem to apply when a state votes for assisted suicide or medical use of marijuana).

That was the first sign that Obama was looking for issues onto which he could take a more conservative stand and hopefully slide under the radar of his progressive base. But we are watching vigilantly and we notice just about every move our candidate makes, and although few of us faulted him for foregoing public campaign financing, some of his other stands of late have us shaking our heads. For instance, he not only challenged the Supreme Court decision on the Death Penalty, but he also (and I believe that this is a much more troubling stand) reneged on his promise to filibuster the FISA bill that offers retroactive immunity to telecom companies that have by all accounts broken the law.

But as Jason Rosenbaum wrote at HuffPo in an article entitled The Obama Problem:
“But the only way to hold a Presidential candidate in the general election accountable once the general election season comes around is to work for their defeat or otherwise endanger their victory. For most of us, given the alternative of four more years of deadlocked government and a stubborn, hyper-aggressive President McCain, that is not an acceptable option. I see occasional commenters writing about not lifting a finger to help Obama now that he's screwed us on FISA or other issues, but I don't think very many of us in the progressive movement are there. Am I bummed, am I pissed that Obama and most of our Democratic leaders caved in on FISA? Absolutely, and there's nothing wrong with saying so. But am I going to "hold Obama accountable" for this action? Well, no, frankly. I don't think there's a way to do that without doing something far worse. It's the nature of the American political system: winner take all, no instant runoffs, no fusion voting (except in a few states). In the months before a Presidential general election, I can't think of another alternative re the Presidential race other than doing everything I can do to help Obama win.”

So be it an unwelcome lesson in pragmatism or a cold slap in the face, we must stand by our candidate for the alternative is so horrible that we cannot or will not imagine it. I will not live in a country that continues the horrendous policies of the current Bush/Cheney administration. I could not abide the election of John McCain, so I will fight my heart out for Barack Obama and hope against hope that he is a practical person, too. And that once he gets into office he will lead again with his good heart and his fine mind and get this country back on track. It seems to me our not our only but also our best hope. Viva Obama. Si se puede! Yes, we can and we must. Peace out, everybody. (Another version of this post appears at FourFreedomsBlog)

The Guardian in U.K. Gets Obama right (Daily Kos, June 28, 2008)

Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name as Their Own (NYTimes, June 29, 2008)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

excellent post, faye!

love ya,
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