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Mark makes some pretty good points below. This one jogged my memory:

We won't stay home, know better than to get burned by the Nader protest vote again in this lifetime, and don't have enough clout to bring about real change.

Ah, Nader. Let me ask you a question, Mark: Why did Al Gore not gain the White House in 2000? Was it that Bush stole Florida?

Or was it that Gore did not talk more about (for example) climate change, thereby drawing the Nader vote more decisively?

Or was Gore's problem something else: that he lost Tennessee, his own home state, because the voters there thought he was too liberal?

When you have the answers to these questions, then we can talk some more about Obama's conduct in this campaign.

In the meantime, I don't have any easy answers here. At best, I guess I could say that things would have been different had Gore v. Bush been run in the context of today's Blogville. So maybe we have more power now than we think.

On the other hand, campaigns are always about winning elections, not leading movements. The time to lead a movement is after you get elected -- otherwise it ends up meaning a whole lot less than we all hoped it would.

UPDATE: If you choose "Other" below, be aware that you can (and should) enter some explanatory text in the text box directly below the radio button.

Despite having a postponement for the Independence Day recess giving hope to freedom loving bloggers, when the Congress gets back in session the Senate will be proceeding on the FISA revisions that gives President Bush exactly what he wants, no doubt capitulating to his demand that we won't be safe and can't fight terrorists unless the Telecommunication Giants are given immunity for spying on Americans illegally.

This move was in no small part deemed a procedural requirement by the Democratic Leadership, Mr. Ried and now you Mr. Obama (yes you ... ), due to the necessity of getting other business done without more GOP obstructionism:

  • like Senator Dodd's housing bill (which will be vetoed) and,
  • the new GI bill (which will be vetoed) and,
  • attaching Gulf Coast and Midwest flood recovery funds to the usual off-budget War Supplemental (which will be vetoed) and,
  • attaching an extension of unemployment benefits to the War Supplemental (which will still be vetoed) and,
  • fixing Medicare so doctors don't get a pay cut (which might just become law)

We give up on FISA's repudiation of the Fourth Amendment, and in exchange the Republicans will still call us weak on terror and the GOP Congress Critters can blame President 23% for no GI Bill, no relief for flood victims, no more unemployment benefits and maybe see doctors throughout the land re-bill their Medicare patients for lost fees and up their rates to everyone else to make up the difference -- giving what's left of the Republicans in Congress (the few, the proud, the very afraid) a legitimate means of distancing themselves from Still POTUS Bush.

Feh! The Potomac Village is a place where only lies have any currency whatsoever. The powerful and their entourage trading in what can be foisted on rubes who have no clue and zero interest in their world.

You know, for all my frothing at the infuriating way Washington has been so completely ass-backwards about so much for so long, with what's coming down the pike economically it really doesn't matter what those pompous pontificators do, and it's sadly clear that Cheney's oil gambit in Iraq, the one Rupert Murdoch ventured would bring $20/barrel crude has failed, miserably.

Since there's been nothing on the news save for some of us libs praising Senator Dodd's fantastic speech I linked to earlier, I never would have realized that the FISA bill has not been put on the back burner until January as I was led to believe based on what Dodd said on the floor. Fortunately, DDay at Digby's blog disabused my of my irrational exuberance and pointed me to Ian Welsh's rundown at FDL of the vote tally in favor of closing debate on the issue, defeating Feingold and Dodd's threatened filibuster and opening the way for amnesty for both the Telecoms and Bush administration to get away with their illegal surveillance of Americans since before 9/11.

Disgusting. The GOP successfully orchestrated more filibusters of any and all Democratic initiatives in one year than any previous two-year session of Congress dating back to Philadelphia in 1776 -- keeping wholly intact the poisonous neoconservative strangle-hold on our nation. The Democrats can't even mount one when they have the majority and are simply fighting to respect the constitution and the basic privacy of the citizens they supposedly represent.

Privacy, the basic liberty to be left the F#$%k alone, is officially a joke. There is none in AmeriKa and probably never will be again. With this and the provisions in Dodd's own Housing Bill requiring everything you purchase be reported to Big Brother, the police state will have all the tools it needs to control everything you do. Not just suspicious transactions will be monitored, but every damn thing.

Information is power, and they will now have it all. Or at least the ideologically pure automatons they hire to keep the rest of us in line. If they know everything you're doing, they know everything they need to know to pull your strings -- and make you a part of the machine too.

I'm not sure I agree with Neil the "Werewolf" on this one, but it's nice that he's trying to console us. I do feel a bit better, but I'm not buying into this statement:

This bill is basically the same kind of garden-variety corruption one expects from Congress -- protecting wealthy interests at the expense of ordinary folk. That's why it's a bad piece of legislation. But Congress passes junk like that all the time (the farm bill, lots of defense appropriations, not bargaining hard with Big Pharma, etc) and it's not the end of the world. And that's why I'm writing this post -- I don't want people to lose perspective and think that this is too much more than just another garden-variety bit of corporate corruption. It's a lot closer to the tax breaks for ceiling fan importers that it is to torture.

It's a bit more troubling than all that Neil, a few more basic principles and American freedoms are at stake here, don't you think?

And the problem is broader than Neil paints with his singular focus on the imperative that we must replace George Bush and his entire criminal enterprise from the executive branch -- and of course than requires that anyone with an "R" after their name is no longer welcome at any White House Bar-B-Q's. (No, seriously. Forget about the post-partisan crap about retaining someone like Gates at DoD or any similar "enlightened" nonsense. They ALL have to go.)

Neil begins with the simple premis that , "This is a legislative precedent that emerged because Steny Hoyer decided that it would be good business to sell the telcos the immunity they wanted in exchange for campaign contributions." But that doesn't reveal the whole picture. Hoyer would never have been placed in such an untenable position, knowing he would be labeled as a bought and paid for hack by even well-meaning analysts like Neil if the Democrats in the House weren't hamstrung by the turncoat Blue-Dogs who vote with the GOP on damn near everything that matters, and thus as loyal to Bush as John McCain.

Now I don't know if these DINO's will have an epiphany when Barack Obama takes the oath of office, or will have some enlightenment shoved down their throats. But I do know that haveing the equivalent of 40 or so Joe Liebermans filling space in the Democratic Caucus and marching in lock-step with the remnants of Tom DeLay's outfit is THE principle reason Congress as an institution is despised more than anything, ever.

So thanks Neil, I do feel a bit better, but I'm looking for more than merely an inauguration ushering a new era. I'm looking for a purge.

Sadly, I'll probably be disappointed on both counts. But in the true spirit of a Cleveland sports fan and apostle of St. Wiley E. Coyote and the Church of Never Say Die, that certainly doesn't mean I'll accept the notion that the Perfect is the enemy of the Good.

At least the 105 128 of you (thanks Larry), including my representative Marcy Kaptur, who stood firm against the lawless imperialism of the Bush administration and voted no on giving the Telecoms immunity in the FISA bill. (The yeas and nays are here, HT Hilzoy.)

Thanks as well to the sole republican brave enough to buck his party and vote against this travesty as well, Timothy V. Johnson (R-Illinios-15).

This vote effectively split the Democrats in half, 105 128 patriots who stood up for the rule of law against 128 105 capitulators, including the leadership, Pelosi, Hoyer, Emannuel. Those 105 128 are going to need all the help they can get. I'm not sure the Act Blue idea of punishing those who followed the leadership's cue is as important as supporting those who did the right thing -- cuz they're going to need it.

Or maybe they're just in safe enough seats they can afford to hold the liberal line. I know that the core Northern Ohio progressives, (Kaptur, Kucinich, Tubbs-Jones) are in no real danger of losing their seats, and Blue Dogs like Zack Space, a Democrat in a very conservative district, was never going to go along with anything that even hinted he was "soft" on terrists. None of this should be a surprise.

The reason is simple. other than the bumper-sticker mentality that has been mastered by the fear-mongering GOP, this issue simply doesn't resonate with the public at large. They don't know, like you should, why FISA matters so much.

Since all signs still point towards another wave election, and possibly a '32 type realignment, funding the liberal wing of the party may not be all that productive right now, but it's advance thinking (as the blogosphere always seems to do), putting in place a new framework to push for new leadership, or at least a new direction for 2010, and remaking the very sole of this nation by 2012.

Maybe that's even too short-sighted. The GOP spent 40 years institutionalizing the politics of fear and loathing.

I probably am conditioned by the loathing to loath sending up challengers against every Democrat who won't toe our progressive line as Glenzilla and the Kossacks advocate. My reflexes are even more attuned against dis'ing the party's nominee for his silence -- since just six months ago my rallying cry was Silence Is Betrayal.

John Edwards, recalling MLK's message of resistance to war:

As he put it then, there comes a time when silence is a betrayal -- not only of one's personal convictions, or even of one's country alone, but also of our deeper obligations to one another and to the brotherhood of man.

That's the thing I find the most important about the sermon Dr. King delivered here that day. He did not direct his demands to the government of the United States, which was escalating the war. He issued a direct appeal to the people of the United States, calling on us to break our own silence, and to take responsibility for bringing about what he called a revolution of values.

A revolution whose starting point is personal responsibility, of course, but whose animating force is the belief that we cannot stand idly by and wait for others to right the wrongs of the world.

And this, in my view, is at the heart of what we should remember and celebrate on this day. This is the dream we must commit ourselves to realizing.

To quote words even more familiar, while the Democrats struggle to gain a true majority, one both filibuster and veto proof, before they can solidify their gains, while they are still vulnerable enough not to take the progressives for granted . . .
If not us, who? If not now, when? ~RFK

Support the 105 128, and fight the capitulators. You want to send a message? This is how.

We Have Met The Enemy

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Get your lobbying resume tweaked, Steny. After we've purged the body politic of the miscreants with "R"s next to their names, we're coming after you.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

Obama as Sensei

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I was worried that he wasn't the warrior I thought we needed, the warrior that I knew John Edwards to be and that Hillary could be if and when she thought it was politically expedient and wasn't hamstrung by her dedicated enemies, her husband and her team.

Well, if there was a "fighter" in this campaign cycle, it was Hillary. No question about it: kicking, scratching, gouging, sucker-punching, fighting Hillary.

Make no mistake: I mean this in the best sense. At the most fundamental level it's what you want in your candidate: the overwhelming desire to win. Had she prevailed I would have been thrilled to have her represent the Democrats. There would have been blood in the scuppers -- Republican blood.

But there's fighting and then there's fighting.

Aikido (合気道, aikidō?) is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit."

...or as Obama likes to say, there's no blue states, no red states. Just the United States.

Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

You heard right: win without destroying your enemy.

Listen, I am hardly the first person to make this analogy. Google "aikido Obama" and you get at least 80 thousand citations. And/But more to the point -- just because you make the analogy doesn't mean's it's true. Can Obama pull it off? Is he an Aikido sensei? Time will tell. But I like that he's showing a different way.

Like I said, grasshopper: there's fighting and then there's fighting.

Paglia for Obama/Sibelius

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I read (and enjoy) Camille Paglia in the same way I do Christopher Hitchens: I don't always agree, but they are so damned articulate and entertaining that I stop what I'm doing just to get what they have to say.

I've come to feel that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is Obama's best bet. She is a polished public presence who epitomizes that cordial, smoothly reassuring, and blandly generic WASPiness that has persistently defined the American power structure in business and government and that has weirdly resisted wave after wave of immigration since the mid-19th century. An Obama-Sebelius pairing would be visually vibrant and radiant, like a new day dawning.

Hillary for veep? Are you mad? What party nominee worth his salt would chain himself to a traveling circus like the Bill and Hillary Show? If the sulky bearded lady wasn't biting the new president’s leg, the oafish carnival barker would be sending in the clowns to lure all the young ladies into back-of-the-tent sword-swallowing.

By the way, if you haven't already done so (or even if you have), please pick your VP candidates. I'll compile a shorter list after that and we'll do it again...until we get it right.

KO's Countdown put together a pretty funny look back at the Republican and Democratic primaries (10 min):


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Now that Hillary Clinton has “suspended” her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, millions of angry, white women are turning their disappointment-led ire toward Barack Obama and assuming that it is his responsibility to heal the party:

Obama is the victor, now let's see what he does. The burden is on him as it should be.
Now let's see if Obama can deliver. He has much to do and undo. Yes, his unfortunate comments "Hillary, you are likeable enough" spoke volumes. He was some work to do.

First, let’s get one thing straight: Barack Obama did nothing to Hillary Clinton or her supporters that he should or could undo.

  • One Democratic candidate said that the Republican presidential candidate was obviously qualified to be president and suggested that the other Democratic candidate was not.

  • One Democratic candidate repeatedly claimed that the other Democratic candidate might not be able to beat the Republican.

  • One Democratic candidate derided the other Democratic candidate’s capabilities (and, by extension, that candidate’s supporters) as nothing more than empty rhetoric.

  • One Democratic candidate’s campaign was dismissive of the other Democratic candidate’s numerous state primary/caucus wins.

  • One Democratic candidate’s campaign implied that racial bias was behind their successes and failures.

  • One Democratic candidate tried to change the party’s rules mid-race to boost their campaign.

  • The other Democratic candidate said that candidate one was, “likable enough”.

In fact, Obama only brought up his opponent in response to the most unfair and divisive rhetoric (see above), rhetoric that is dangerous to the party and the country come November.

This TPM reader and Hillary supporter at least gets it half right:

She did so much "just right" and could have won it had she not had the rough treatment from the media.

This person at least understands who was unfair to Hillary. But it is a wild stretch of the imagination to say that she “could have won it” if not for the misogyny and Clinton-animus displayed by a number of prominent media gasbags. In fact, backlash against this unfair treatment may have been a driving force behind Clinton supporters and is widely credited for her late, come-from-behind victory in the New Hampshire primary. Her campaign might have been over many months ago had she not won that contest.

Finally, this Clinton supporter lobs one additional insult at Obama supporters:

If there are those Democrats who still feel it is necessary to denigrate Senator Clinton and her run for the Presidency, I would ask them to think about the change they advocate and the no more politics as usual. The only way to say no to the Washington politics of the past 20 years is to stop hating and start moving forward.

Every man that has lived with a woman knows about resentment built on perceived slights. And it isn’t surprising that this Clinton supporter should project her resentment on Obama supporters. But the truth of the matter is that most Obama supporters seem heartsick (perhaps I’m projecting somewhat here), not hateful, about what the Clinton campaign did to the Clintons and yearn for the party to unite against our common enemies.

And, incredibly, this last Clinton supporter seems to think that saying “no to the Washington politics of the past 20 years” requires Democrats to “stop hating” when it should be obvious, particularly to a Clinton supporter, that the politics of the past 20 years has been all about Republican hatred of liberals and Democrats and the abject failure of the corporate media. It will take everything liberal Democrats can do to overcome this deep ignorance and mass media turpitude and teach even many Democrats who our real enemies are.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]



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