Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hating on Obama, part III

As noted in the comments below, Thersites is collecting this discussion (Obama pro/anti) over here. Katherine of Move To The Left defends Obama here. What follows is a response to that defense.

Two of the points Katherine raises in defense of Obama actually seem to me more like mild condemnations.


Lieberman absolutely stabbed Obama in the back by supporting McCain’s weak-kneed lack-of-reform for lobbyists, rather than the legitimate proposal that would have curbed the extravagances at the heart of the lobbyist scandal. Obama had managed to gain the support of 40 Democratic Senators (we have that many?) before Lieberman stayed true to form and raced over to join the Republican effort, squashing Obama’s.

Why has Obama gone so far out of his way to back Lieberman, then, when Lieberman has not only undercut him on legislation but, as Matt Stoller wrote a while ago, stabbed him in the back on radio? He doesn't need to attack Lieberman, of course, but neither does he need to stand up for him.

I suspect the answer lies in something else Katherine says:

Unlike Dick Durbin, who seems happy to remain the Senior Senator from Illinois and gain prominence on committees and legislative issues, Obama clearly has his sights set on a larger arena, and pissing off the machine that operates out of your home state might not be the best way to go about things.

That seems to me like just a more positive spin on what Thersites linked to at Huffington Post (and I quoted yesterday):

Obama may have been paying Lieberman off for some favors, but he was also sending a message to the Party's insiders that says "I'm one of you." He's been doing that since he voted to confirm Condi Rice. In addition, he was sending a message to the commentariat that he's not "crashing the gate." He was signaling instead that he's an insider politician who - never fear, Mr. Russert et al - will play the game the ways it's always been played.

I don't believe Obama is necessarily relinquishing his principles, though not having seen him in action in Illinois, I have little sense of those principles. But like many politicians with ambition and ego, he may believe that ascending to a seat of greater power is in fact the best way to advance what he believes in. In other words, he need not be selling out his constituents to be operating like an insider.

Tags: politics, Obama


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