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An open letter to Glenn Greenwald

vastleft's picture

Glenn,

I’m posting the following on correntewire.com, as an open letter to you, on the twin assumptions that our readers’ comments may further illuminate this topic and that you receive far too much e-mail for me to expect a response.

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on [Daily Kos] - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in 'appeasing' the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

I think this perspective misreads the American people.

— Barack Obama, September 30, 2005 (explaining away the decision by some Senate Democrats to vote in favor of John Roberts)

Glenn, the signs that Obama was anything but a committed progressive reformer have been there for all to see, but a group blindness somehow developed in the blogosphere and comparable real-world circles — wishful thinking that can perhaps best be described as the "Forer Effect," where Obama mastered the art of saying something for everyone (and, ultimately, nothing at all).

Some of us have become personae non grata by noticing again and again how far from a tonic for what ails Bush-afflicted America Barack Obama really is. One of the great, undertold stories of this campaign is the complete meltdown of the left blogosphere, where virtually no intelligent intra-party debate remained possible because major forums like Daily Kos and Democratic Underground — and practically every A-list blog’s comments threads — turned into echo chambers for Clinton hate and Obama infallibility. Nearly every leading blog put its thumb on the scale for Obama, willing into reality the idea that this equivalating fellow with minutes' worth of experience in the Senate was an ideal standard-bearer for progressive values – despite rhetoric that gave ground to the radical right with every syllable, and despite throwing Democratic constituencies under the bus at every turn.

I can understand why Obama may have had a special appeal to you (not that you were entirely uncritical of him), as his “post-partisan” frame superficially resembled your fight against Manichean reductionism. I appreciate your taking a stand for nuance — the progressive’s old, complicated, and noble friend. Post-partisanship, though, is the pretense of nuance, especially when it whitewashes the crimes of deeply corrupt opposition.

Finally, I don't mean to suggest that Hillary Clinton is a paragon of progressive reform, either. In my opinion, she did — as she put it — find her voice in the course of the campaign. But that’s beside the point. When the progressive blogosphere gave infinite, automatic credit to Obama regardless of his positions, statements, and actions, the opportunity for progressive reform being the coin of the realm in this contest went out the window. What a different race we would have had if Democrats had held both candidates' feet to the fire to commit to restoring Constitutional government!

Anyway, I thank you for your spot-on and courageous posts about Obama this week.

Best regards,
“Vastleft”

UPDATE: The purpose of this open letter.

UPDATE #2: Glenn's response, and my follow-up.

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nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

glenn will answer email, he's very good about that in my experience.
___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

RedSox04's picture
Submitted by RedSox04 on

Obama claims he's not simply advocating a more moderate worldview, but that instead he thinks we need to fight only for our "core principles".

If one takes Obama at his word, that namely he has and will fight for his core principles, then what are these? If "fighting" in the political arena means taking on some political risk, then really the only areas I can see Obama having fought were for the Cheney energy bill, against the Democratic amendment to the 2005 bankruptcy bill, and this vote for a FISA revision.

Certainly, his speech denouncing the invasion of a Iraq while representing the south side of Chicago did not entail political risk. Nor did his minor role in pushing ethics reform as a US Senator from Illinois.

So I'd conclude by pointing out that Obama is either being disingenuous and is simply an anti-liberal moderate (like Bill Clinton circa 1999 as opposed to Bill Clinton circa 1992), or that his core principles are conveniently aligned with Industry and against progressives and liberals.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

who's on what team?

who's on first?

i think now might be the time to make good on the vow to move to new zealand.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

"So which is worse? Those who support evil, but insist they believe it is good? Or those who support evil while claiming, at least some of the time, that they actually know it is evil? ... [I]n a psychological sense, I probably would have to say the Democrats (and certain of their apologists) are worse: to say you recognize evil to any extent at all, yet to fail to oppose it or, which is still more reprehensible, to act for its furtherance, consigns one to the lowest rung of Hell."

Prefatory Thoughts on the Enablers of Evil

He's been on fire, calling his shots all the way.

Well worth reading what he's written re:FISA.

Also re:larger issue of PB 1.0

It must be noted that Atrios and Digby (and many other liberal and progressive bloggers) are obviously intelligent; on occasion, they are unusually perceptive on narrower questions. But when the story upon which we insist is used to trump history and facts, even when those facts continue to scream in our faces every day, even intelligent people render themselves functionally stupid. As a result, they "don't get it," and they cannot begin to understand why the Democrats act as they do.

"Change" to Induce Vomiting So Extreme It Might Just Kill You

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

one of Mr. Obama's "core" principles? He was urging the GOPers to do public financing with him in 2007. Mr. McCain accepted and is now running to the left of Mr. Obama on the issue, because Mr. McCain kept his word.

Mr. Obama doesn't explain well opting out. When Mark Shields says you couldn't pass a polygraph test, you know you're in trouble...

On the ground, I am hearing a lot of dismay and disillusionment from Obama supporters. But what dismays me is that there is no talk of Mr. Obama changing his mind back to taking public financing. Everyone understands the more money argument but I say $84 million for 2 months of campaigning is more than enough.

Can Mr. Obama still take public financing? If so, why aren't people pressuring him to do this?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... for years, I feel no need to hold Obama's feet to the fire on campaign funding.

Given the sack of pus that is the media (i.e., free bullshit for conservatives), I can't see the need for Dems to pretend there's a purity option available in today's campaign-financing system. So, I for one, don't feel any need to press him on this particular issue.

Submitted by lambert on

I mean, what's the problem here? Obama comes out in favor of public financing in the primaries, and uses his principled stand as a club to beat Hillary. He becomes the presumptive nominee, partly because of that stand, and then turns around, abandons the principle, and takes the money. What's not to like?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by jawbone on

public financing.

I'm kicking myself for forgetting to get that in while talking to the fundraiser who called me on Sunday. I got stuck on FISA--which the fundraiser (young enthusiastic guy, who told me Obama is for hope and change and is the one to do it) didn't even know what Obama's stand was. No doubt most fundraising callers don't know the small issues--and I'm sure for Obama FISA is just a small issue. Alas.

He'll still probably get enough donors...but we can try to make an impression on what seems important to him, the bottom line financially.

Auntie Meme's picture
Submitted by Auntie Meme on

FISA? Important.
Public campaign financing? Not so much.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

my view is that a president obama will govern in a manner and with a rhetoric completely different from the rhetoric of his campaign.

my view is that the entirety of obama's campaign rhetoric will be intended to present this left-wing politician as being in the middle-to-right part of the political spectrum, to make him appear to hoi polloi as a harmless, hopeful, cheerful leader -

senator barack applesauce.

it strikes me as highly unlikely that obama would suddenly forego an entire adult life of association with left-wing views, causes, and politicians to govern from the center-right.

thus senator obama as president might not be a bad thing, IF he knew how to govern, IF he had the experience to manage american national politics.

but he does not have that experience. thus his supporters, of which i am NOT one, must rely on claiming he is some sort of "once in a generation political leader" who does not need experience to be an effective president. this is hokum, pure and simple.

a lot of what seems confusing today about senator applesauce becomes a bit clearer if one thinks of his campaign rhetoric as defining a product, a brand, of president who his (marketing) campaign hopes the american people will gladly purchase and take home with them. once purchased, president!

the problem i have with this approach is that it is just as cautious and politically unimaginative as those taken by gore and kerry.

it reduces the risks to this political product of being associated with an openly liberal political rhetoric, but in doing so it greatly reduces the likelihood of an overwhelming victory and accompanying mandate for a return to america's core political value - liberalism.

(note: i never have liked the term "progressive". it always seemed to me (and to me only no doubt) as a mincing, chicken sh*t, weblog-created substitution for "liberal" - my preferred label.)

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

I can’t see the need for Dems to pretend there’s a purity option available in today’s campaign-financing system. So, I for one, don’t feel any need to press him on this particular issue.

"So which is worse? Those who support evil, but insist they believe it is good? Or those who support evil while claiming, at least some of the time, that they actually know it is evil?"

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

My only real problem with the public financing issue is that it was clearly a false position being used by Obama and the purpose of it was so that he and his surrogates, including the media, could beat on Clinton in the primary (see today's Bob Somerby) from the moral high ground. Nevermind it was clear to anyone paying attention he had no intention on following through on his pledge. But the Obama team was willing to bet that many could not pass up the opportunity to paint Clinton as an unprincipled politician and they were right. That she was the one telling the truth and Obama the one lying was, of course, beside the point.

I think the smart move is to reject public financing. But given that Obama painted his position on this as one of principle, it isn't surprising that his backing away from it, especially coming so close to the FISA stuff, has people wondering if he has any deeply held principles.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

I have also found Glenn to be astonishingly responsive via email.

VastLeft, I think in the substance of your letter your are spot on, except, perhaps, for a slight tendency to overstate. You can now comment on my not so slight impulse to equivocate.

I hope that as Corrente goes forward, we can unpack that untold story and start telling it. Not that we haven't been telling it through-out the primary season, but I hope we can also look back from a historical perspective, and continue to tell and retell it.

What I find slightly puzzling about your letter is the nature of the connection you are making between your recognition that Glenn, in his last several posts on FISA, has not let whatever support he might have been seen as giving to Obama during the primary, or seen by you and others here at Corrente to have given, get in the way of holding Obama rigorously to task for his failure of leadership and his part in what it can't be labeled often enough as a capitulation on the most fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans.

I don't mention this is a criticism; I'm genuinely curious about how you see the purpose of your letter. For instance, are you asking for Glenn to become interested in this untold story and start telling it, just to mention one possibility.

Truth Partisan, Mark Shields also gave Obama a complete pass on FISA, calling it a noble example of genuine bi-partisanship, and sided with David Brooks in the view that it's Democrats who carry the burden of explaining why they shouldn't be blamed for $5.00 a gallon gas, because of their environmental concerns.

The reason that the SCLM is so in love with piecemeal campaign finance reform is that it silences any discussion of genuine public financing of elections. That includes Mark Shields. And one of the reasons they aren't crazy about the notion of a publicly financed system with genuine spending limits is that the corporations for which all of them work would lose a whole lot of revenue.

The people who are in trouble when Shields opens his yap are you and me, not Obama.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I wrote this because Glenn seems genuinely surprised that Obama would capitulate on such an issue.

He quotes (and as best I can tell, is likeminded with) a surprised Greg Sargent saying that Obama's:

"candidacy has long seemed to embody a conviction that Democrats can win arguments with Republicans about national security -- that if Dems stick to a set of core principles, and forcefully argue for them without blinking, they can and will persuade people that, simply put, they are right and Republicans are wrong"

Those of us who have looked critically at Obama find absolutely nothing surprising about him caving in on an issue like this.

Glenn also says, frankly a little late in the game:

Obama needs pressure, criticism, checks, and real scrutiny just like anyone else in power in order to keep him accountable, responsive, and faithful to the principles he claims are the ones driving him.

I'm suggesting that Glenn take a more macro look at the causes for us ending up with a Democratic nominee in this obvious change year who has so desperately and pointlessly swum against the progressive tide.

I'm calling on Glenn, who seems to be earnestly searching for answers, to consider that the truth was out there all along (as was the opportunity for leverage), but a sickness of truthiness grew in the progressive blogosphere that rivals the one that's pervaded the mass media these many misbegotten years.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

FISA? Important.
Public campaign financing? Not so much.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

What I find slightly puzzling about your letter is the nature of the connection you are making between your recognition that Glenn, in his last several posts on FISA, has not let whatever support he might have been seen as giving to Obama during the primary, or seen by you and others here at Corrente to have given, get in the way of holding Obama rigorously to task for his failure of leadership and his part in what it can’t be labeled often enough as a capitulation on the most fundamental constitutional rights of all Americans.

except that if you read greenwald, he spent one day about Obama, and is now back to bitching about Pelosi, Hoyer, and the media.

Greenwald cannot, and will not, actually "unpack" what happened during the primary because his inflated ego could not take it. He drank the Hillary-hate flavored Kool-Aid, and is now swilling down the McCain-hate flavor.

Its the same as it ever was throughout the fauxgressive blogosphere, which defines itself in terms of what it hates -- and must constantly reinforce that hate in order to justify its own existence.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Why on earth, would progressives* support a candidate that just kicked you in the nuts?

Correction:

Kicked you in the nuts repeatedly, boldly, with absolute gusto and fervor?

**noting that Glenn's political affiliation is in dispute. So this question is posed to individuals who actually claim to be "progressive".

Let's get to the meat of this shit.

If Obama had an actual "R" behind his name, would there be this much pussyfooting around?

No.

It's "gut check" time, and I see a lot of wafflers walking around looking shell shocked.

UPDATE:

Substitute "snatch" for "nuts" when applicable.

Submitted by lambert on

but the lost opportunities to all progressives when so many on the A list drank the Kool-Aid, and never got clear on what Obama's actual policy positions, if any, were.

I mean, it's terrific that Obama's the Wanker of the Day because of FISA, but it would have been even more terrific if so many on the A list hadn't let him get into the habit of wanking, because when he wanked, which was often, they didn't call him on his wankery.

Eh?

RedSox04's picture
Submitted by RedSox04 on

What are you talking about? What causes has Obama backed in his lifetime that are liberal, or people-powered? Yes, yes, we all know that he started a career as a community organizer, eschewing more lucrative fields.

But if, like me, you believe that Obama was pretty clearly politically minded from a young age, how better for a Harvard-educated 22 year old, raised by a white family and probably struggling to relate to the people he was hoping to represent, to improve his bona fides than by being a "community organizer"? Nevermind the fact that his only notable accomplishment from that time-- getting some asbestos cleanup done-- was something that others have claimed he improperly took credit for.

And how did he get to the Illinois State Senate? By litigating to get other, more liberal, Dems off the ballot. Sounds pretty liberal to me.

And what has he been notable for doing during his time representing the South Side of Chicago, a very liberal area, in the IL State Senate? Umm, let's see. 1) Making a speech opposing our invasion of Iraq, which was very tempered and much less bold than those being given by just about everyone else at that rally. 2) Passing an inoffensive interrogation videotaping bill, which had no strong opposing lobby (the police officers didn't care that strongly, and backed the bill once they got some quid pro quos).

That's a lifetime of liberal causes? Really?

How about this narrative instead?

Obama came out of college a very ambitious man. Having been raised by a white family and having gone to Harvard, he realized he would have issues achieving his goal of becoming Mayor of Chicago, unless he improved his bona fides. So he worked as a community organizer, and worked tirelessly to hook himself up with the network of powerful black political forces in Chicago. At the same time, his ideological influences continued to take him on an elitist, neoliberal path. As a law professor at U.Chicago, he met with the various neoliberals and neoconservatives there, such as Cass Sunstein, Richard Posner, and of course Austin Goolsbee. Not knowing very much about policy (he was after all a con law lawyer, not a policy wonk), he took his cues from these right/center folks, which is where he got his pro-market, anti-regulatory instinct (which Krugman has repeatedly called him on).

He managed to get elected to the U.S. Senate, and then unbelievably, became considered a top U.S. Presidential candidate within one year of taking office in the Senate. However, he didn't know anything about policy or politics, since he was new to the federal Congress, and hadn't really had time to brush up on what "liberal" positions should be.

However, the wave of Clinton antipathy meant that various high level former Clintonistas kept joining his campaign, ensuring that Obama always had access to the finest in centrist/DLC policy advice. Which is why Obama's voting record in the Senate has been, aside from his "Present" votes, a vote against a Dem amendment on the 05 bankruptcy bill, and a vote for the 2005 Cheney energy bill (which he helped load with pork for the ethanol industry), has been basically identical to that of Hillary Clinton.

Obama's no liberal, dude, despite what the media tells you. He doesn't have liberal instincts, and you're going to be sorely disappointed if you believe that.

Support Obama because he's not McCain, but don't come flying in here with unsupported (and frankly more and more unsupportable) nonsensical theories about how Obama's a sleeper agent for us on the Left. Occam's Razor, dude. Occam's Razor.

Submitted by lambert on

I always like a sense of sunny optimism in the comments section. Doesn't everyone?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

democrats don't have core principles.

neither do republicans.

progressives may, i don't know.

or if they do, the "core" is so dynamic that it can't be defined at any one moment any better than a quantum particle can be viewed.

"core principles" is just a phrase folks stick into their political sentences, kind of like, "uh", or "kind of like".

to paraphrase: pass me that dish of core principles, hon, i feel the need for something sweet.

the "core" i worry about and try to ferret out is the moral, political, and philosophical core of the guy

(and regrettably it is going to be one of two guys, which is probably why this discussion is occurring in the first place.)

who is going to be making decisions for us for 4-6 years.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

there is very little you wrote i would disagree with. i must not have made myself clear. (notice i did not give the standard REPUBLICAN APOLOGY: "i'm sorry YOU misunderstood my meaning" :-) )

i did not say obama was a liberal, i said he has been associated throughout his adult life with left-wing politicians and causes.

"liberal" is something i would say obama is NOT but then i would have to get into the briarpatch of definitions. oh, what the hell: for me, liberal is fundamentally caring for the well-being of others as well as oneself, especially others less fortunate than oneself,

and being highly and relentlessly protective of individual rights vis-a-vis any level of government.

in short, at all times using government for the benefit of the people governed.

what i am suggesting is simply that folks not worry so much about stated policies and focus instead on the evidence available for obama's and mccain's personal philosophy's of governing.

too much talking about policies as policies, rather than as signatures of a future president is akin to staring into nag's eyes.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

What is "liberal"?

Feh.

It's all relative.

Pat J's picture
Submitted by Pat J on

My heart belongs to Lambert! You did good.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

What am I, his beard?

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

(even though you're gonna vote for BO :-))

Great letter. It would be nice if GG posted his response here.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It's a lonely lot sometimes for the Obamapuma, so I'll take all the love I can get! Especially from an excellent poster like yourself!

Submitted by lambert on

Bad picture. Let's not go there. And we've got to work on our cliches. I think the one you're looking for is "What am I? Chopped liver?"

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Actually, "beard" isn't exactly what I meant. I meant something more like the relationship between Cyrano and Christian. A beard goes the other way around, right, someone you pretend to be going out with as a ruse.

campskunk's picture
Submitted by campskunk on

all our candidates are empty vessels into which we pour our hopes and dreams... it's just a little disconcerting to see the candidate running straight to the pawn shop with them.

obama has ONE core principle - getting obama a better job than he currently has. when he made that statement about core principles, he was talking about YOUR core principles, not his. his don't include:
1) universal health care
2) campaign finance reform
3) blocking FISA immunity

...and expect this list to grow as we go along.

Pat J's picture
Submitted by Pat J on

Vastleft, sorry. I was so used to reading Lambert's name in the thread I automatically typed it in.

Okay, my heart belongs to VastLeft!!!!!!!!!!!

Truth Partisan's picture
Submitted by Truth Partisan on

No, VastLeft, it's all you. Thanks.

BTW, Orion, I like your style of writing.

orionATL wrote:
"it strikes me as highly unlikely that obama would suddenly forego an entire adult life of association with left-wing views, causes, and politicians to govern from the center-right."

What about Obama's adult life association with right-wing views, causes and politicians too? Off the top of my head--and I'm sure there is more:
What about the GOPer who got him his UChicago appointment and office, as Obama describes in his autobiography? And amongst his Senate mentors were Lieberman and Lugar (who he traveled with, remember, and Obama said he would appoint to Sec'y of State), Hagel (on the VP list and Obama said he would appoint to Sec'y of Defense), some of his advisors who are GOPers, some of his major donors who are GOPers, etc. Does anyone remember in the early days when Republicans were saying they liked him because he didn't criticize them? What about Obama's postpartisan comments, VastLeft's quote by Obama on the blog today, and Obama saying the Republicans were the party of ideas for the last 10-15 years? And that he wanted to be like Reagan--explicitly saying not like Clinton, but like Reagan? What about Obama's support for things like privatizing social security?

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

my core belief too.

i wish i could have said it as well as you

and as funny.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

law school. After law school, he ran a voter registration drive before signing up for a law firm. Big voter reg drives put you in touch with all local political hoi polloi - a savvy and self-serving move for someone contemplating even a minor political career. we talk about his experience as a community organizer because it is, in point of fact, the only thing we can talk about. He does nothing as far as I can tell unless it leads to higher office for him.

There are no core principles around which he has built his career. You look at the Illinois legislature, and there are no bills that introduces year after year educating his fellow legislators on. there is no signature issue like there is with Clinton (healthcare). Until Emil Jones took up his cause, he had a mediocre career. He ran for US senate and has had two bills signed into law - once again, there is no signature issue. There are a few amendments to bills here and there (including one more ethics amendment) but that's it.

The guy does nothing of value to anyone else as far as I can tell. I have no idea why anyone thinks he has principles because there is no evidence of it in his personal or legislative history.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

that's an impressive list, enlightening to read, and longer than any i could have come up with for left-wing activity.

what i had in mind when i commented way up yonder about what an obama presidency would look like is that all politicians, when campaigning for office, chat up "the people",

repeating what they think folks want to hear. after they get into office, they do what they damn well please, unless circumstances intervene.

a classic example i've often heard cited is that of fdr who ran as a fiscal conservative against hoover in 1932, but became anything but that once in the presidency. true story? i don't know.

i do know that george bush ran as a moderate, caring, conservative, but has ruled as a self-centered tyrant since talking office.

obama? i don't know, but i expect that his presidency, if it comes to pass (and i'll work to see that it does not), will NOT bear much resemblance to his campaign rhetoric if history is any guide.

of course, like roosevelt (depression and war)

and george w. bush (attack on wtc)

the next president will face unexpected events that may overwhelm any personal agenda he has.

but he will, nonetheless, respond to those events with his particular "philosophy" of governing. folks commenting here seem to be zeroing in on what that "philosophy" might be.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he promised healthcare and an end to the ban on gays in the military--he fought hard for both of those.

he promised a reform of welfare--he did it.

he promised an end to the massive deficits--he did it.

he promised tons of things and did most if not all of them--there were no surprises at all.

justinb's picture
Submitted by justinb on

Perhaps you'd be well served to go back and read the comments on Kos that followed Obama's posting ... it kinda directly refutes your point.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It's a little obvious at such close range, justinb.

DailyKos and the other A-list blogs didn't completely lose their bearings until the week before Super Tuesday, when John Edwards dropped out of the race.

When the nomination hunt narrowed to Obama vs. Clinton, the Village-like sac of pus that the leftysphere turned out to be suddenly popped. Vince Foster's body was exhumed, misogyny became a liberal value, and truthiness won the day.

It's not that there weren't signs before (especially the guileless acceptance of the raceboating), but that's when the shit really hit the fan.

High-minded blog comments from 2005 provide an excellent exhibit for my case. Contrast those comments to what was on the leading blogs during the 2008 primary stretch, the coup de grâce being Kos's announcement that his site didn't have to be "fair" to Hillary.

RedSox04's picture
Submitted by RedSox04 on

I also like your writing style.

I just don't think your hypothesis holds up. I really don't see anything in Obama's past or associations that don't seem like either evidence of right/center ideological leanings (his association with Goolsbee) or political convenience (his association with Rev. Wright).

On the other hand, if we're going to talk about folks who appeared to be centrist but may have actually been stealthily awaiting the right opportunity to govern progressively, how about Hillary Clinton?

You may recall this, but she was once derided as the liberal scourge of America. She's constantly been pushing strong progressive solutions to health care and education. Her youthful associations, unlike Obama's, clearly do evidence a strong progressive streak and strong core principles. And finally, she had the knowledge and wherewithal to get things done.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

Hillary is a monster.

Everything SHE does is in the service of evil.

How dare you suggest an alternative.

/snark

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

also point to someone with strong progressive inclinations. She was chair of the Corporation of Legal Services - an entity that serves low income Americans in need of legal help - and not only prevented planned Reagan budget cuts from coming into effect, but managed to expand the budget by several million dollars instead. She discovered that rural Arkansans had no access to healthcare because there wasn't sufficient local money to make the investment profitable and so she turned to the federal government and ran down money to build small clinics. There werne't enough spots in Head Start for all the kids who needed it, so she helped create a homeschooling program so that low income parents could more effectively prepare their kids for school. she started a micro-loan program. Took on teacher testing and helped raise educational standards.

In or out of office, Hillary Clinton is getting stuff done on behalf of other people. The same cannot be said of Obama - he is ineffective on behalf of others regardless of his particular station in life.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

BasementAngel, or anyone else, can you tell me where I can get more info on the micro-loan program HRC started? Also, if anyone has info. on micro-loan programs in the US, I'd be forever grateful. I live in a county in Appalachia that's pretty impoverished and am interested in seeing what it would take to get a local program, even a slimmed down one, started here.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

South Shore Bank. This is the bank through which the Clinton created microcredit programs in Arkansas. The owners of SSB are friends of the Clintons.

Also, SSB is a good bank to put your savings in because they invest the money in socially responsible programs, like affordable housing.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

And I guess that's a double-thanks to FrenchDoc :)

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

redsoxo4 and basement angel.

yes and yes.

a person superbly equipped to deal with a very difficult time in the nation's history,

a president hillary clinton,

that is what we lost when parts of howard dean's old team and david axelrod began to plot to take over the democratic party.

a president hillary clinton would not only have had decades more relevant experience, but she would have been infinitely more progressive (or liberal) than obama, because she actually believes that government should be for the benefit of the people governed. she actually cares about "the average citizen".

redsox,

you may be right about my argument not holding up. i was thinking about obama's long association with the ayers family, with old-line liberal chicago lawyers, with saul alinsky, with some of his professors at columbia and at harvard, and with rev wright and father pfleger. i think there is a distinct left-wing "bias" (as stephen colbert might say) to senator obama's intellectual precedents. i don't say that pejoratively, i think it's just the case (or maybe the case).

because those may be his intellectual antecedents does NOT mean that i think he will enthusiastically support left causes. i share the view with many here that, for senator obama, job 1 is senator obama. but then that is the position of every pure politician i've ever known.

clinton, by contrast, would have been a very hard-nosed political counter, but she would never have been out for hillary first.

but the main point i wanted to make is that what obama says now and what he does in january, if elected, will almost certainly be very different.

when george bush was running in 2000 i seem to recall that a LOT of ink was spilled in arguments about "compassionate conservative". knowing george bush's and dick cheney's intellectual roots would have been more useful at the time.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

sorry for the delay.

hope these are helpful in some small way.

us microloans

history

post back on this question when you've a chance. it's an important issue. my wife and i were discussing your post with interest. my wife tells me that the microloan problem in the u.s is somewhat different from that overseas.

p.s. i'm trying to guess - johnson county?