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Playing Down the Middle

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Posted on Jul 7, 2008
Obama
AP photo /J im Cole

By Bill Boyarsky

Politics is a cruel and disappointing business. This year, Democratic liberals gambled on a young man who offered hope and change. But after those wondrous primary days, they are furious over Sen. Barack Obama’s understandable effort to reach out to an electorate that is, and long has been, planted firmly in the middle of the road.

There should be neither surprise nor disappointment on the part of the sophisticates of MoveOn.org, political blogs, the New York Times editorial page and others who are busy these days mourning the loss of Obama’s purity. Still, they feel that way. Even when a liberal successfully executes the delicate dance toward the dominant moderate voters, as Bill Clinton did, he is never quite forgiven. The unforgiving attitude was extended to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Smart Democrats understand that this is the only way to win. The smartest of them all, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was an expert at dumping the left, as his most liberal supporters learned early in his presidency.

In 1934, Upton Sinclair, a Socialist who had won the Democratic nomination for governor of California, thought he had a promise of help after a conversation with Roosevelt. But no help came. Under vicious Republican attack, he appealed to FDR. Greg Mitchell, in his book “The Campaign of the Century,” gave a chilling account of the Roosevelt White House’s political cruelty. Sinclair got no further than presidential aide Marvin H. McIntyre. “I wasn’t in the conference you had with the president,” McIntyre said, “but I really don’t think it should be classified as a promise. He doesn’t make promises of that kind.”

Sinclair, of course, should have heeded something else the charming and ambiguous Roosevelt told him: “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go.”

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Neither will Obama.

Obama is showing this now with two important issues—withdrawal from Iraq and legislation concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

He has handled Iraq with an ambiguity that Roosevelt would have admired. From Iowa on, he boasted of his 2002 vote against the war, which separated him from Hillary Clinton and his other senatorial foes. But he left a huge loophole, almost overlooked by the wildly enthusiastic crowds and media.

He said he would withdraw combat brigades in 16 months but would leave a residual force of undetermined size. When he discussed this at a press conference last week, the residual force sounded as if it could be substantial—enough troops to train Iraqi soldiers and police and maintain “a counter-terrorism strike force in Iraq that assures that al-Qaida does not regain a foothold there.”

This looks like an open-ended commitment to me, and the left has some justification for reacting as it did. But while Obama’s plans may be open-ended, they are consistent.

Not so with the debate over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a terrible law that legalized our current electronic police state by firmly enshrining secret wiretapping in the law. It set up special FISA courts, which meet in secret. Government must have FISA court approval for wiretapping, but it is usually granted. In 2005, The New York Times reported that the Bush administration conducted electronic surveillance without FISA court permission.

The FISA court system is a phony process, but in the manner of Washington, the Democratic Congress has been at work trying to “improve” it by nibbling around the edges. One provision, insisted on by the Bush administration, would exempt the phone companies from being sued for cooperating with federal wiretappers. Obama at first opposed this, but now he goes along with a compromise worked out by congressional Democrats. It would exempt the phone companies from lawsuits over past wiretapping and make the government-phone company combine get approval from the sham FISA courts for future snooping.

The outcry from the liberal blogosphere was overwhelming. Admirably, Obama invited comment on his own Web site, my.barackobama.com. And he replied on the site: “The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I’m persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe. ... Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. ...”

It was a move to the center, which prompted The New York Times to attack Obama for supporting “a classic Washington deal that erodes the power of the special court. ...”

What power? The FISA courts have demonstrated very little. But that’s not the point.

The point is that Obama is being criticized for being what he always has been, a tough, exceedingly practical politician, able to hide his many ambiguities behind his charm, intelligence, charisma and oratorical skill.

He’s ahead in the polls, but he has a difficult challenge. You think it’s easy for a black man to be elected president?

I don’t want to see him locked in a bunch of doctrinaire positions that will scare away moderate Democratic and independent voters who don’t yet know much about him and who are likely to approach their historic vote with hesitancy.

I don’t give a damn what The New York Times thinks, after its disgraceful pre-Iraq war performance. Nor do I care about the left and its love of glorious defeat. Obama’s conduct is not disappointing. It’s the right thing to do. “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go,” said FDR. Obama knows that’s the way he can win.

 


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By Jim C, July 8, 2008 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Jersey girl , I don’t know where my friend picked up that particular jewel , I stopped asking . I do know that most of his information comes from either Jones or or some site he got from Jones. Again , I have been bombarded with this stuff , trying to have a reasonable discussion with a Jones devotee makes one feel like you’re in the twilight zone , playing some kind of weird game of wack a mole .  So if you believe that the Bilderburgs really rule the world , that george bush is a satan worshiper , that the government or the Bilderburgs , I’m not sure which is building secret prison camps to put everybody in ( I saw the pictures of said camps on Jones site , I’m still not convinced ) , be my guest , it’s a free country , I think , or are the Bilderburgs just making us think it is , I’m not sure anymore . After all , if the current president , all of the candidates , all of the corporations and all of the governments of the world are already under control of the Bilderburgs which seems to be the story line , wouldn’t this be an esoteric discussion anyway ? I guess I could join up with the other guy at work that belongs to some kind of an unorginized militia ( his discription ) and runs around in the woods on weekends preparing to fight the marines or something . but I’m not sure if he’d let me join , he knows I’m a liberal so he doesn’t like me , much less trust me enough to let me join his merry band .

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By Ed Harges, July 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Obama has gone much farther right than even a “centrist” need go. It’s not Obama’s “left-wing base” that wants to get out of Iraq ASAP. It’s a sizable majority of the whole country.

Furthermore, Obama declared in his AIPAC speech that Jerusalem is the “eternal and undivided capital” of Israel. That’s even to the right of the official position of the Bush administration! The Bush administration (as well as the US government as a whole) still acknowledges at least nominally the position of international legal experts that Israel has no right to claim all of Jerusalem for itself.

Some of Obama’s supporters have tried to excuse him for this by saying that he really only meant that Jerusalem shouldn’t have any WALLS dividing it. This is complete nonsense. He didn’t simply say that Jerusalem must be an “undivided city”. He explicitly said that it should be the “eternal and undivided capital of Israel”.

There’s no way around it: Obama has tacked far to the right, especially when it comes to everything that Israel’s Likud party and our fanatical US neocon traitors want, and our only hope is that he’s lying — which is a pretty damn pathetic thing to have to hope.

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By felicity, July 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Just finished reading an article on Obama’s ‘foreign policy’ agenda in my latest Nation, not exactly a right-wing rag, and assuming it’s pretty close to the truth and assuming Obama is elected, we’re in for years of American proselytizing all across the globe, Obama-style.

Unfortunately, it’s neoliberalism albeit wrapped in pretty paper and fluffy bows. Very depressing for many reasons, foremost because nationalism will always trump even good-natured imperialism.

When I put the shoe-on-the-other-foot and imagine an America overrun with foreign, good-natured imperialists preaching reformation of all that we’re doing wrong and adoption of all they’re doing right, I DON’T imagine a very receptive American populace.

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By Maani, July 8, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Jersey Girl:

Thanks for the support.  One comment.

You say, “The NWO was never a conspiracy theory.  It was and is fact. All one needs to see what’s happening is to stand back from all the dem/rep bs and look at the larger world picture.”

Part of the problem, of course, is that the idea of the NWO - and the degree of control it has over national and world politics, economics, media and culture - is simply too frightening for many people to consider.  In some ways, it is similar to the 9/11 situation: just as most people cannot possibly step back and psychologically comprehend even the possibility that their own government was complicit in the murder of 3,000 of its own citizens in order to advance a political (neocon) agenda that included a pre-emptive war for oil (and the concommitant money that comes along with it), the establishment of “control” of the populace through fear vis-a-vis a never-ending “war on terror” (Orwell’s first step to totalitarianism, embodied in the pre-written PATRIOT Act), and the maintenance of power by a few over the majority, most people do not have the psychological wherewithal to consider even the possibility a “shadow government” essentially “rules the world” via groups like BG, CFR and TC.

In this regard, while I agree that people need to wake up and smell the (burnt) coffee - and that even many who consider themselves truly “progressive” deny the existence of this “shadow government” - we need to (as you have, to your great credit, been trying to do) help people see these things in an informative and non-judgmental way: direct them to available resources, and if they are willing to “do their homework,” let them make up their own minds after the view those resources.

The Estulin book is a good place to start for anyone who has an interest in learning about the NWO and shadow government, especially those who provide knee-jerk denials rather than simply admitting they don’t know alot about it.

Keep fighting the good fight, and “standing back” and seeing the “biggest” picture.

Peace.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

All of this left-right nonsense is just that, nonsense. The people who claim that a candidate must appeal to the voters’ baser instincts, sells the country and the American people short. Ask yourself this: why must America protect an embassy in Iraq that was created from a totally illegal war? This is the wriggle room that Obama and McCain use to justify a continual policy of pushing other nations around. Not good enough. A house can not be built on a rotten foundation. So all of this baloney about withdrawing as carefully as we carelessly went in, is absolute rhetorical BS.
It is not about left wing or right wing. Its about doing the proper action. Doesn’t anybody care about this country anymore? As Mark Twain once pointed out, you should always love your country, but the government only when it deserves your respect. That time is most definitely not now.

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By c.d.embrey, July 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Center has moved farther to the left than most think.

Polls show that many Americans are farther left than Obama. Maybe enough for him to lose.

If McCain returned to his moderate positions of eight ago, he wins in a landslide. But he seems to go farther right every the day.

Bob Barr looks better every day.

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By mister_god, July 8, 2008 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

“Disgust” is the only word i can think of to describe Obama’s move to “the center” on some—so far—of the issues. We the people who have helped him get this far do not want a run-of-the-mill politician, but we passionately want a revolutionary, because we believe the time is overdue for fundamental changes to the system. And we believed Obama might be able to initiate the changes. We might have been fooled. If Obama continues to kiss ass, to betray, to behave like every other supermarket politicians, even if only “in order to win,” he is the biggest political turncoat of a generation. He will have become just another version of John McCain. And i may sit out this election. And the hell with everything.

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By Outraged, July 8, 2008 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Regarding FISA, Sen Russ Feingold addressing the senate:

“So Congress devised a system that would take the guesswork out of it completely. Under that system, which is still in place today, the companies’ legal obligations and liability depend entirely on whether the government has presented the company with a court order or a certification stating that certain basic requirements have been met. If the proper documentation is submitted, the company must cooperate with the request and is immune from liability. If the proper documentation has not been submitted, the company must refuse the government’s request, or be subject to possible liability in the courts.

This framework, which has been in place for 30 years, protects companies that comply with legitimate government requests while also protecting the privacy of Americans’ communications from illegitimate snooping.

Granting companies that allegedly cooperated with an illegal program the new form of retroactive immunity that is in this bill undermines the law that has been on the books for decades – a law that was designed to prevent exactly the type of abuses that allegedly occurred here.

Even worse, granting retroactive immunity under these circumstances will undermine any new laws that we pass regarding government surveillance. If we want companies to follow the law in the future, it sends a terrible message, and sets a terrible precedent, to give them a “get out of jail free” card for allegedly ignoring the law in the past….”

....“On top of all this, we are considering granting immunity when roughly 70 members of the Senate still have not been briefed on the President’s wiretapping program. The vast majority of this body still does not even know what we are being asked to grant immunity for….”

At the rawstory site w/video;
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/As_FISA_heads_toward_vote_Feingold_0708.html

Thank you Sen Feingold, Dodd and Leahy.

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By Sue Cook, July 8, 2008 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Flip-flopping in politics is a norm.
But coming from Obama as consistently as he is doing so lately is being seen as “showing his inexperience”.  I doubt he will come back to his “rock star” status that he enjoyed in the early primary. People are seeing him for what he truly is.
Just another typical politician willing to do and say anything to get elected.
He’s begging for money on a daily basis hoping his followers will keep on giving.
He needs to be knocked down a little off his high horse.
We are in a recession and political money is being spent at record rates! Go figure.
He’s holding a convention coronation at the end of the convention. (No doubt will cost big bucks to do.)  Sounds like another of his cult gatherings.  I’m not impressed.
So Bill Boyarsky, WAKE UP! and stop drinking the kool-aid. There are many, many of us who has, and are not buying into die-hard procrastinators such as yourself in telling us any different.

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By sketchartist, July 8, 2008 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Boyarsky DOESN’T HAVE A CLUE where the “middle” is. He is just repeating the FALSE collective Beltway-media version. It is NOT the REAL “middle”, as shown in the overwhelming majority of POLLS. Like so many “pundits”, he couldn’t be bothered to actually FIND OUT where the American people stand before telling us all about what “they” think.

For starters, see the links listed below:
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/ACLU_poll_Majority_opposes_telecom_immunity_0122.html

Also see: “Where Is America’s True Center?” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/where-is-americas-true-c_b_43163.html

And:
“Beltway myth: ‘The left-wing base’ vs. ‘the American people’ on Iraq” at http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/07/leftist_fringe/index.html

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By jersey girl, July 8, 2008 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Jim C:  Firstly, Alex Jones never said Obama was “gay”.  I think you may have heard that from Webster Tarpley. I listen to AJ and he doesn’t deal in the petty crap like that.  He’s fighting to have 9/11 investigated.  It never has been. The so called 9/11 commission was a white wash.  Jones interviewed both Kucinich and Nader on his show.  Jones commented that Kucinich has his utmost respect as defender of our civil liberties in regards to his articles of impeachment and his fighting for first responders health care.  They’ve been screwed by our government. Kucinich said he’d like to come back on the show on a regular basis to discuss the issues and Jones was thrilled with that.  So you have AJ all wrong. He’s neither dem or republican.  In fact, he’s fighting against the left/right paradigm. His facts always check out.  In fact, he posts the links where he got the info from whether it be govt documents or news groups such as ap, ny times or cnn.

As for the Bilderberg group.  I think you should start out reading that book maani suggested.  It may be a real eye opener for you.  Their meetings, where they discuss world issues are discussed in secret.  Check out the list of world leaders and corporate biwigs that attend these meetings.  They are the power brokers that rule the world and what happens there affects what happens here in the U.S., including who runs for office.

The nwo was never a conspiracy theory.  It was and is fact. All one needs to see what’s happening is to stand back from all the dem/rep bs and look at the larger world picture.

As for Boyarsky’s article.  It’s pure bs.  If he thinks civil liberties are a minor matter, than he should leave the country since it’s obvious he won’t help us fight to retrieve it from the grasp of the fascists.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 8, 2008 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher, my point about FDR had nothing to do with left wing or right wing, it was about prohibition and its repeal, a very important issue at that time (again, check out H.L. Mencken). As far as out-hawking John McCain, I think that Obama’s declaration of military support for Israel as “sacrosanct”, paints a rather compelling picture. His call to increase military spending is another.And by the way, what is infantile about promoting peace?

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By herewegoagain, July 8, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe Clinton won because of a centrist message, but times have seriously changed since then. When Clinton was running, we weren’t in an unpopular war, our Constitutional rights weren’t under siege (at least to the extent they are now), and energy prices weren’t going through the roof.

People are understandably very nervous about the future of this country, and we want to know we’re electing a leader with vision and the courage to implement that vision.

In short, I believe the centrists who are holding up Clinton’s winning campaign that took place almost twenty years ago as an example of successful center campaigning are making a serious tactical error.

On the other hand, John Kerry’s losing campaign provides a much more relevant, not to mention recent example to examine.

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By A Worker, July 8, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, the principles enshrined in the Constitution are dismissed as nothing but leftist “doctrinaire positions” and far-right, pro-corporatist positions are characterized as “the middle.” Most interesting of all, Obama “cannot go any faster” away from the corporate usurpation of government because “the people” will not let him.

It’s not “the people” who are holding Mr. Obama back. It’s the corporate funders of the political process and their lackey propagandists like you, Mr. Boyarsky, who are pulling Obama, McCain and the entire framework of political discourse farther and farther to the right with each passing year.

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By P. T., July 8, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Politicians don’t simply seek the middle of the road with the general public.  They try to stay in sync with the ruling class consensus (that is, rich campaign contributors, corporate media, and so forth).

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By Dave in Big Pine, July 8, 2008 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

of course this has nothing to do with obama seeking the centrist/swing votes. this has to do with being bought off and bullied by the monied elite. nobody is this stupid to just write off the people that put you in the position to be president. obama will still be better than McSenile, but not by much. until theere is a revolution in this country, get used to being bent over as we have been the last 8 years. Oh, to be sure, we have always been played for fools and suckers by the power brokers, but never has it been tho this extent and this in your face.

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By Maani, July 8, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

All:

Even Bob Herbert, a staunch Obama supporter during the primary campaign, sees reason to lament:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/08/opinion/08herbert.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By Maani, July 8, 2008 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Davinita:

Don’t let the naysayers get you down.  Yes, Alex Jones has some pretty wacky positions, and it is important to sift through things and find the truths hidden therein.  But he also has some solid positions.

But re Bilderberg et al, you are definitely on the right track.  [N.B. If you want the “definitive” book on this, get “The Bilderberg Group” by Daniel Estulin.]  In this regard (in keeping with your theme), Obama was never a “light side” Jedi, despite all his talk; and many of us saw that from the get-go.  We were not charmed by his honeyed phrases and rhetoric.  We saw through his act right away.  Yet when we spoke up, the Obamabots here would gang up and subject us to ridicule, name-calling and other knee-jerk defense of their candidate.  Now most of those same people (Tony is a notable exception) in a serious state of denial, trying to justify and rationalize Obama’s rightward drift.

Obama is a product of the system; no more, no less.  He came up through one of the most vicious political machines (Chicago) in the country.  He betrayed his constituency when he promised he would NOT run for president until he had served a full term in the U.S. Senate; he waited less than two years into his first term.  And despite all his rhetoric about “change” and ” a new kind of politics,” he was and is just as prone to lies, dissembling, spin and obfuscation as any other politician.

As you are undoubtedly finding out in your research, our government - made up of a single transnational corporate party with two heads (Republicrats and Democans) - is controlled by a “shadow government” consisting of members of The Bilderberg Group, the CFR and the TC.  With the exception of mavericks like Kucinich, Paul and Gravel, EVERY presidential candidate is tied to these groups, and these groups can make or break their candidacies, not least because the top executives of all the major media companies (Murdoch, Redstone et al) are members of one or more of these groups.

If there are any “light side” Jedi left, it is those who are willing to open their eyes, and see the truth about not just the U.S. political system, but global politics as well.  Keep your eyes open.

Peace.

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By Thomas Mc, July 8, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Obama cannot win if he loses the Left. When are Dems ever going to pay attention to their OWN base???

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By Tony Wicher, July 8, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, July 8 at 7:47 am #


Re beerdoctor

“Mr. Boyarsky’s comparison of Senator Obama to FDR is a bit of a stretch. What was the defining issue in the 1932 campaign? FDR’s support for ending prohibition. Read H.L. Mencken’s reporting on the election, and he certainly was no fan of FDR.
One other thing, if the Obama people think they can out hawk Senator McCain, they will lose this election.”
——————————————————————————-
I continue to hope that Obama is succeeding in putting together a broad coalition for progress as Roosevelt did. It’s true that Roosevelt, too, “sold out” his left wing. Yet many of those left-wingers, including my parents who were Communist Party members in the 1930’s, nevertheless supported him enthusiastically and regarded him as the best president the country has ever had. But that is because they were politically mature, not members of the “infantile left wing” that we hear from so often on this site. As to “out-hawking McCain”, I see no sign that Obama intends to do any such thing. This does not require any great principles on his part.  Support for this war is a political loser in this election and an albatross around McCain’s neck.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 8, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Mr. Boyarsky’s comparison of Senator Obama to FDR is a bit of a stretch. What was the defining issue in the 1932 campaign? FDR’s support for ending prohibition. Read H.L. Mencken’s reporting on the election, and he certainly was no fan of FDR.
One other thing, if the Obama people think they can out hawk Senator McCain, they will lose this election.

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By emberAZ, July 8, 2008 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

I am totally offended by your outrageous bullying.  Who on earth do you think you are?  You are just as fallible as the rest of us and yelling at people who are worried and unhappy simply doesn’t work. 

Take care.

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By logotherapy, July 8, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

kinda funny how people are shocked and outraged by this.  Did you really not see it coming? I have to say, you guys are suckers. I mean, you still have to vote for the guy, but why did you ever “believe” in him? Guess what, there’s no tooth fairy either.

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By logotherapy, July 8, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

of course.  did anyone really believe he’d stand firm on principle? 

now the insurgency is our only hope. http://www.tshirt insurgency.com

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By felicity, July 8, 2008 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Mr. Boyarsky, I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 76 and it’s taken me about 65 years to wake up to the fact that ‘liberals,’ of which I am one, are intolerant and close-minded, the absolute antitheses of how the word is defined.  Talk about ‘my way or the highway’ - we beat the conservatives hands-down.

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By Tony Wicher, July 8, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

I am one of those “liberals” - in fact I call myself a democratic socialist - who supported Obama from the start and so far I’m getting about what I expected. I am on the left of the political spectrum and I know better than to expect that Obama, who must represent a broad coalition of views and interests in order to be elected, will take positions that agree with my own about everything. So far he is behaving about as expected. I’ve been around too long to be “disillusioned”. I had no illusions to begin with. I made my choice back in Feb 2007 and I won’t know if it is the right one or not until Obama has been president for a while, but I have no good reason to think it was wrong at this point.

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By Johnny, July 8, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By cwhipps, July 8 at 12:31 am #

I believe that Obama is capable of making the “right” decisions, and having the courage to not have to feel he must make his decisions right with those who feel differently.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I agree. I also believe that each individual is intelligent enough to know which candidate best represents their own personal beliefs and views. During the primaries, I assumed that candidate was Obama. Since the primaries, I now realize that I made that assumption on false presentations. The candidate that really best represents my beliefs and views is Ralph Nader. Good luck Senator Obama on getting elected without us “liberals” but remember that it was YOU who abandoned US first.

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By Jim C, July 8, 2008 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Davinita , I have a friend that is an avid follower of Alex Jones . I have heard wacked out , manufactured conspiricy theorys until I want to scream . I have watched the videos Jones pushs ( my friend insisted ) . I have gone to his web site and have attempted to point out the glaring holes and tricky nature of the content to no avail , ( did you know that there were federal employees working near the pentagon with the same names as some of the hijackers ? ) It’s in one of the videos . That was supposed to mean something , just what I’m not sure since most of the arab names mentioned such as Atta are as common in the arab world as say ,Jones or Smith . I just found out the other day that Obama is gay , have you heard that one yet ? I have tried to explain to my friend that he is simply regurgitating republican talking points and right wing propaganda that is not only stale but has been discredited . I just get a blank look and it’s off to more half baked silliness . Get help , there may be a 12 step program or something , trust me , the Bilderburgs don’t rule the world and george bush isn’t a devil worshiper etc etc etc .

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By Louis Proyect, July 8, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was rather shocked to see Bill Boyarsky’s aggressively centrist statement here but figured out after looking at his bio that this is exactly what one might expect. My only question is why this website bothers with this nonsense when you can read it in the Washington Post editorial today. This is absolutely the worst junk to appear here since Marc Cooper wrote about Venezuela. And they both have connections to the Walter Annenberg journalism school, named after the founder of TV Guide. It figures…

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By James Matson, July 8, 2008 at 6:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First of all, it’s the FISA court, not “courts”, there is only one.  Secondly, why do you consider the FISA court a “sham”?  You or I know nothing about it, and they have rarely turned down a request for surveillance. 

Your defence of Obama is disgraceful.  You are enabling the Democratic electorite to again “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat”.  Obama will lose the election for the very reason you think he will win it.  By moving to the center, he alienates is grass roots.  You can’t win by doing this.  The American people reward those who stand by their convictions, i.e. Dubya, even though they may be wrong.  Changing ones’ mind is a right we all have, but doing this in the middle of an election a terrible strategy, especially when it comes to Telecomm immunity.  The Author is wrong when he says that spying on us is an important tool in the fight againt terrorism (which actually doesn’t exist).  Our “policies” are what cause terrorists to commit their atrocities!

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By mackTN, July 8, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t want to hear the argument about nuanced statements regarding Iraq withdrawal and counterterrorist measures.  That sounds a lot like what the definition of “is” is. 

Why nuance?  From someone promoting himself as “change you can believe in,” I would expect his sentences to be equally reliable.  One shouldn’t have to be a linguist to decode campaign promises.

I worked for the man, voted for him because he promised to lead in an “unnuanced” way.  Aargh.

Now the whining from what used to be called the left or liberal wing, then progressive and now referred to as ultra-progressive is described as keening from rabid radicals who forget just how hard it is for a black man who doesn’t want to be presented as a black man to be elected president.  Please, I always knew that and I imagine he did, too, these past 18 months of campaigning with words we can all believe in.

Leadership means to lead, shape opinion, promote a principled vision…not to go along and compromise in hopes of acheiving a political benefit.  It means being bold and out there and in front of the people as much as when you were asking for votes and dollars. 

After 18 months of campaign declarations, it is kind of hard to swallow these overnight enlightenments about the real state of the nation.  That kind of style, my friends, is very political.

I’ll still vote for him and cross my fingers he doesn’t turn into Clarence Thomas overnight, but he’s demanded that we hold him accountable and I shall.

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By dihey, July 8, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

When you take a serious look at a tier of Southern States such as Mississippi which have voted for the Republican candidate for about 25 years and realize that these states have very substantial African-American minorities which are likely to swing the states into the Democratic column next November you begin to understand that the certain predictions of “at least 24 years of Democratic Presidents in the White House” is rather shaky hosanna.
It will be better for our country if Obama wins instead of McCain in November but a continued domination of the Democratic Party is by no means assured, not even in 2012 if the African-American minorities in these states revert to widespread non-voting.

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By tp, July 8, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I never thought Obama was a good choice. His rock star status was always deceiving, to me. But he’s our only choice thanks to our winner take all system. The thing I have to say is that the alternative, John McCain, needs to be shown the road. We can’t show him the road unless we have a contender. We many not agree with our hero but we can’t jump on the side of the devil because we don’t agree with him. We can deal with Obama once he’s in office. The fight is tiring but it is on going politics as usual one step at a time. I hate politics but I want justice for the average Joe of the world instead of a social welfare for the richest 1% on earth. I’d rather have seen Dennis Kucinich gather momentum but the people of this country look for super heroes or rock stars to solve their problems instead of a real passionate leader with a real agenda. So, we must choose the lesser of the two evils left in the game, which are choices that that rich 1% is giving us. Then we must hold the feet to the fire of who ever gets elected. I’m afraid we are going to have to bleed a little to make the changes that are needed to not only save the planet but take care of the people of the world who can’t take care of themselves. Don’t give up on the lesser of the two evil forces. He will be easier to sway than the Bushit McCainian Murdochism when we get our peace groups moving again.
tp

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By Squid25, July 8, 2008 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People like to describe themselves as conservative, but when they are questioned on which issues are important to them they usually cite progressive issues like health care, peace and the environment. So I would say that Mr. Boyarsky starts his argument from a fallacious position.  All I know is that the wind has been stolen from my sails by ths business as usual politics coming out of the Obama camp lately.

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By expat in germany, July 8, 2008 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

* Death
* Taxes
* Politicians heading for center field

Sigh. Another election day voting for the lesser of two evils . . .

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By benny, July 8, 2008 at 4:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Verizon has knowingly and purposely allowed tens of thousands of employees to work with and be exposed to a product they knew could cause serious injuries, disabilities, cancer and death to employees. Warnings had been prepared to give to employees and then the decision was made not to give the warnings. This was apparently to save money for Verizon. Now, years down the road, Verizon has fired and forced to retire sick and disabled employees. These sick and disabled employees have been denied disability retirement and associated benefits, workers comp and wrongful death benefits. This has saved Verizon possibly billion in federal taxes and owed benefits. These sick and disabled employees have been forced onto the roles of Social Security and Medicare thus the American taxpayer is taking care of these employees rather than Verizon. Verizon does not deserve immunity since they have proven to be such a poor corporate citizen.
This can be verified by contacting .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 908-559-1752 or 202-494-9054, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 212-395-1032 or 202-515-2404, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 212-395-1060, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 212-395-1689, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 212-395-1057, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 908-559-5577

Verizon does not deserve immunity

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By perruptor, July 8, 2008 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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By Outraged, July 8, 2008 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

Re: davinita

Seriously davinita, that was no bullshit when they told everyone that drugs and alcohol were a dangerous combination.

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By Outraged, July 8, 2008 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

Oh…and sorry Mr. Boyarski…but I forgot to add.

Your usage of the term liberal is revealing.  Since OBVIOUSLY only LIBERALS care about their privacy…right?  And of course everyone KNOWS how over reactive “they” are.  Did I get that right?  Please, enlighten me if I’ve missed something.  For god’s sake, I wouldn’t want to run around “like a chicken with my head cut off” when “the sky isn’t falling”. 

BTW…that “little” inclusion of the “socialist”...oh…never-mind…. you “probably” didn’t mean anything by it anyway…....

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By davinita, July 8, 2008 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi you are my only hope!

I have been hoping against hope that Barack Obama was a new voice. A person who could overcome the corporate elites agenda and become someone new and refreshing in government.

I have been researching things lately and have found out alot about our government and how this whole system works. I have learned alot from Alex Jones and the like. I have done my own research and think I have found out the truth or a more clear version of the way things are in this country.

Even after finding all this information out I was hoping that Barack Obama was a new voice. I believe he is an idealistic man the likes that have not been seen since John Kennedy.

Now after getting the nomination for the Democratic Party he does a weird switcheroo with the press and gets them all on a plane and then zips off to a secret meeting. According to newsreporters on the plane for Obama they were not told where Obama was or where they were going. They were strapped onto the plane supposedly following Obama but instead being shipped off someplace else. You can watch the video of the reporters questioning Obamas press guy on the plane as to why they were left on the plane when Obama was not on the plane. They were told he had meetings to go to. They asked what meetings and Obamas press guy could not tell them. SO in other WORDS IT WAS A SECRET.

Well being in the public eye and Obama saying how he wanted a transparent government this was not sounding good to me. So I was following this story and listening to Alex Jones at the same time. Alex Jones was at The Bilderberg group meeting. If you do not know what this is please wikipedia it and learn about this meeting. Anyways Alex Jones is reporting that Barack and Hillary probably met with Bilderberg people at that aforementioned “secret meeting”. To me this was the beginning of the end of my support for Barack Obama and my belief that he has turned to the darkside. Obamas recent flipflopping on everything from asking people to join the military for WAR, to supporting FISA, to his new attitude about campaign finance reform is a clear sign that dark forces are at work here. He was not mentioning any of this until after he went to his secret meetings where he stranded the Press Core on his plane so they could not report on his secret meetings.

THERE IS HOPE.

Others believe that Obama is like a Jedi and knows all about the Illuminati and the New World order and the awful CIA and like Kennedy is going to try and stop it. But look at what happened to Kennedy. Kennedy himself got killed, RFK his brother and even Kennedys son have all been killed when they went up against Bush Sr and the CIA. A bunch of people surrounding JFKs death who were going to testify about the assasination have wound up dead. What ever happened to George Bush Sr? Well after JFKs murder Mr Bush got moved higher and higher up in the white house then vice president and then president and now his son…well u know the rest and that is the kind of evil and power and darkness that Obama is up against here. How would a smart politician go in and infiltrate the evildoers? Well he would pretend to be one of the evildoers knowing full well that they will never accept him. The smart Jedi would play along long enough to get elected, play along with some of their ideas get in there and then blow the heck out of the Death Star from within, exposing all the lies and winning over the galaxy. He would end this whole disaster of deception and decit and fear and police states and there will be a restoration of peace and love in the force.

Or has Obama always been under the darksides control? Has he been seduced by their power,money and fame? I am hoping that Obama will be a true Jedi of faith and courage and hope.

I am hoping for A NEW HOPE.

This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Barack Obama; you’re our only hope.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

a cool pic of obama with darth vader http://www.mypolitics08.com

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By Outraged, July 8, 2008 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

Mr. Boyarski, your quote: “But after those wondrous primary days, they are furious over Sen. Barack Obama’s understandable effort to reach out to an electorate that is, and long has been, planted firmly in the middle of the road.”

This assertion, at least in my mind, sums up the article in its entirety.  Yes, I can agree that MANY took a chance on Obama.  However, this “chance” was ALREADY bi-partisan.  To suppose that giving up the rights of the American people is somehow centrist is ridiculous!  Are you unaware to what degree republicans, democrats, independents, libertarians or dare I say THE AMERICAN PEOPLE covet their privacy, and for that matter, is Obama…?  And who bought off WHO in our house of NON-representatives.

This isn’t a liberal v conservative issue and there isn’t any centrist ideology in this “refurbished” FISA legislation.  This is an issue of fairness, justice and privacy.  Have you lost your marbles..?

It is beyond me how you are so sloppily attempting to portray this as a “campaign tactic”.  This is a serious issue to everyone.  This isn’t a liberal or progressive outrage as you are so desperately attempting to paint it.

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By elsanto, July 8, 2008 at 1:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s ok to over promise, under deliver, lie , deceive, use GOP tactics as long as you’re a true liberal who cares for the common good. I truly like your articles on McCain, you analyze his politics in a very rigorous way, but for a similar critic of Obama, I’ll read some right wing newspaper since you consider anything he does either great or justified

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By cwhipps, July 8, 2008 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

I believe that Obama is capable of making the “right” decisions, and having the courage to not have to feel he must make his decisions right with those who feel differently.

Ultimately, its a matter of trust.

It’s not possible to know everything that goes into a decision, even when the facts seem obvious. We can know a lot, but we can’t actually be there, in his shoes, putting it all together to come to a decision.

We are not responsible for anything except our votes. He, will be responsible for everything. In this way, George Bush was correct, the president is the “decider.” But, unlike Bush, Obama is listening to all the people he intends to lead.

Ultimately, we will have to listen to voices other than our own if we truly want to get past the paralysis of partisan politics and work toward making progress, moving forward.

We found it easy to see that Obama was smarter than Bush and the Republicans. It’s been more difficult for us to admit he is possibly smarter than ourselves.

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By secretmojo, July 8, 2008 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

“It’s the right thing to do.”

No it’s not. It may be expedient,  but it’s not the right thing to do. He promised to filibuster, and now he likes the bill? This is typical politics. And typical politics is almost always the WRONG thing to do.

I’m not going to the polls to vote for either candidate now. He just lost my vote. I voted for Obama in the primaries based on his passionate commitment to issues that were in accord with my own views. Now, however, I feel duped, and have no clue whether ANY of his promises were real promises, or just lip service. See ya, Obama; it was nice meeting your persona.

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