Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barack Obama: Steady as a Rock

I like Daily Kos. I read it everyday and I usually agree with a lot of what's posted (even when I don't agree, I find the posts interesting).

And yet, there's a reason I don't write for Daily Kos. The reason is primarily that I don't agree with some of their writers hard left ideology, an ideology that seems to be adhered to by the most of the Kos community.

Like most Americans, I am a middle of the road pragmatic. Yes, I am proudly a liberal. Yes, I vote reliably Democratic. Yet, I also try to maintain a civil discourse, and realize that not everyone does or necessarily should have the same point of view as me. Also, there are various extreme points of view that simply aren't practical. For example, I disagree with all moves to impeach President Bush because of the many reasons laid out by Nick in a previous post and because it could end up with the Presidency of Richard Cheney (I think we can all agree a terrifying prospect).

The hard left has been attacking Barack for "moving to the center." They say in Arianna Huffington's words that he has been "tacking to the center...pandering". They claim he has betrayed their vote, their trust. They are especially incensed about Barack Obama's vote for the FISA bill, which controversially provided partial retroactive immunity.

This implies that he started out on the left, and sold himself as being on the left. Let's look at the facts. Barack Obama first came on the national scene with a speech in front of the Democratic National Convention. A speech in which he said:
The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
The entire speech was about bringing the country together and standing for a safe, prosperous America. It was about an America where we take care of each other and where we hope for a better future.

Barack Obama's entire campaign has been about bringing the country together. In the words of New York Times Columnist Gail Collins "Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?"

She made several great points in today article about Obama (read it here). Some of those points are worth repeating:
When an extremely intelligent politician tells you over and over and over that he is tired of the take-no-prisoners politics of the last several decades, that he is going to get things done and build a “new consensus,” he is trying to explain that he is all about compromise.

Obama himself has addressed this issue several times, in Atlanta he said:
“Look, let me talk about the broader issue, this whole notion that I am shifting to the center,” he told a crowd gathered at a town hall-style meeting in this Atlanta suburb. “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”
The blogging left claims that Obama voted for FISA because that was the politically expedient thing to do. How? Any campaign strategist would have told him to either skip the vote (like John McCain) or to vote against cloture in order to satisfy his base. Instead, he voted his conscience, he voted for what he saw as a necessary security bill and he voted for what he saw as a compromise. I disagree with the vote. I will not attack him, his character, his campaign, or threaten not to vote for him because of it. Barack Obama is looking to bring America together, not be the "blogger" President.

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