Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mountains from Mole Hills

Two relatively recent posts here at Musings & Migraines regarding Barack Obama’s run for the Illinois State Senate in 1995 have picked up a lot of attention of late. Those who’ve expressed interest in those posts, which mentioned Obama’s appearance at a meet-and-greet fundraiser for the candidate, hosted by Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn, have included Thomas Edsall from Huffington Post, Ben Smith from Politico.com, Peter Hitchens from the London Sunday Mail, and an anti-Obama blog called Rezcowatch.com. The question everyone seems to be asking is whether or not the connection indicates that Obama is secretly some flame-throwing lefty. Well, it doesn’t and he isn’t. In fact, neither were Ayres and Dohrn at the time of the event. And we say this as critics of Obama whose flaws we haven’t hesitated to mention on this blog.

What’s disturbing here is the pathology of current political coverage that leads pundits to go off chasing wild geese while they neglect the real issue lying right in the open. What’s the real issue? Obama is a centrist, who apparently has the knack of making a lot of people with ostensibly different views see what they want in him; a centrist who may have, ironically, opened himself up for attacks by helping stigmatize ideas associated with the left.

It’s a foregone conclusion that the Republicans are going to indulge in their usual left-baiting tactics when it comes to the general election, but it would be a shame for the liberal blogosphere to give them an assist.

with the professor

5 comments:

Robert Polson said...

If he does have this knack for bringing people with "ostensibly different views" together then why hasn't he used this ability during his time in the Senate? Last time I checked, the Iraq war was still going on and he voted to fund the war when he entered the Senate. I thought he wanted to end the war. That is one of his major platforms of his campaign. Is he just waiting to use this great "gift" of bringing people together if he becomes President? Or is this "gift" only true because he talks about it in his campaign speeches? On what basis do you make your conclusion the he's a centrist and can bring people with opposing views together?

the professor said...

The point of the post was not to extol Obama's substantive politics. Our concern in fact is his inclination to move away from left/liberal positions under the guise of creating consensus. We didn't say he brings together people with opposing views but that he seems to get people with different views to see what they want in him--a far different quality, which seems to be working well for his campaign, but which may mean some big surprises for his supporters down the road when they realize he can't stand for all the things he seems to stand for.

Robert Polson said...

o be honest, I don't think we really know where Obama stands. He doesn't have much of a record to examine. I do know that he has wrapped himself in the flag of "bipartisanship" and "working together" to solve our nation's "problems” and anyone that questions this is immediately labeled as part of the "same old Washington politics.” The Obama campaign has been remarkable in building a brand through clever manipulation. He preaches a new kind of politics, while practicing behind closed doors the very kinds of nefarious things he supposedly condemns. All of this aided by a complicit media. Sounds rather reminiscent of someone else's strategy of questioning the patriotism of anyone that offers a different point of view. Hopefully the American public will do some more research into this product before they actually make a purchase.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Polson and many obviously have no idea how our government works and basically just keep repeating the same old feeder lines that have been circulating for the last year. On Sen. Obama's stance on the war...he is the FRESHMAN, JUNIOR Senator from Illinois. He does not have the ability to dictate congressional agenda, second...voting to fund the troops that are currently involved in this war is not the same as voting to authorize the president to use force in Iraq. What should he do? Refuse to vote for a supplemental funding bill to keep our troops armed so that he can prove a point? Lastly...read the articles written by those who have actually worked with Sen. Obama in both state and federal levels and he has been applauded from people on both sides of the aisle....check the facts before you talk, please!!!

red rabbit said...

anonymous,

All it takes is one senator, junior, senior, one foot out the door or in the grave, to bring the Senate to a halt. See Glenn Greenwald on the Dodd filibuster on telecom amnesty and the FISA bill -- particularly this part:
Contrast Dodd's leadership and conviction on this matter with the complete passivity and invisibility of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Both candidates finally issued statements last night purporting to set forth their views on telecom amnesty and the FISA bill -- but did so only because they were forced to...

Obama offered a similar Johnny-come-lately support for the failed Alito filibuster in January 2006.

To be fair, no senator has shown this kind of leadership when it comes to the Iraq war, but no other senator continues to beat us to death with his disingenuous anti-war shtick.

Please check the record for yourself, and while you're at it, refresh your memory on the rules of the Senate.