Friday, May 27, 2005

Circular Firing Squad, part 2,593 (this year)


Apropos TTN's post yesterday about political parties rationalizing internal dissent, we get, as if on cue, David Sirrota's "What Happened to Barack Obama"? Sirrota writes:

...his first six months in office have given progressives a reason to be worried that he will be just another cog in the Establishment's machine, throwing his significant political capital behind some of the worst initiatives to move through Congress.

The 'worst initiatives'? Really? Like what?

Despite his anti-war positions as a candidate in 2004, Obama's second vote as a U.S. Senator was in support of confirming Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. He also voted to confirm John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, despite Negroponte's involvement in Iran-Contra and other situations that clearly raise questions about his ethics and discretion.

Condoleezza may be an 'intellectual tart' , and Negroponte certainly does have an odious past, but this is the Senate, folks. You have to choose your battles. Senators traditionally confirm most of a president's nominees for anything, unless they are truly beyond the pale, like now-AG Gonzales, whose nomination Obama voted NOT to confirm, eloquently explaining why at the time.

Obama also voted for a bill to limit citizens rights to seek legal redress against abusive corporations.

This was the class-action lawsuit bill. Honorable people can disagree about this one. I'll leave it to the legal scholars to argue the merits, but it's hardly among the 'worst' initiatives to move through congress lately. I notice Sirrota doesn't bother to argue the merits. Knee-jerk is so much easier.

During the bankruptcy debate, he helped vote down a Democratic amendment to cap the abusive interest rates credit card companies could charge.

Obama (and Kerry) voted against this amendment because it would've overridden state laws limiting interest rates. Of course, Obama voted against the heinous Bankruptcy Bill itself.

And now, Obama cast a key procedural vote in support of President Bush's right-wing judges.

This was a 'key' vote? Nice wordplay, David. This was a fait accompli. Obama voted to avoid the nuclear option - voted to live to fight another day (SCOTUS-time).

Obama was supposed to be different - he was supposed to be a real progressive champion.

Projection anyone? Obama is exactly what he seemed to be. He never mislead anyone into thinking he was going to be Bernie Sanders. If people mislead themselves, that's not Barack's fault.

Senator Obama's record so far (six months) - both his votes and his statements - is very very good. He is one of the brightest lights of the Democratic party, and will probably be a national leader one of these days - if ideologues from his own party don't strangle him in his crib first.

Nothing 'happened' to Barack Obama. Let go of your pickle, David.

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