Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Can a "Good Democrat" Still Criticize Obama?

Let me state right at the outset that I didn't choose to write this post because I have the answer to this question.

In fact, I'm really struggling with it, particularly after considering the whole Keith Olbermann vs Glenn Greenwald debate (in which the two staked out opposite positions on Obama's willingness to support a compromise FISA bill that would immunize the telecoms from civil lawsuits, but not criminal prosecution).

I won't get into the specific details, beyond pointing out the critical points that I find most compelling about each side of the argument.

For Olbermann's part, I think Obama has demonstrated time and time again that he has superb political instincts, and should be (largely) trusted to know what he needs to do to defeat John McCain and put himself in the position to start changing the direction of the country.

On the other hand, Greenwald makes an excellent point that civil liability is the one thing Bush can't pardon as he leaves office, so it’s not an insignificant "throw away" to be traded for a better opportunity to restore accountability.

I will vote for Obama over McCain, even if I disagree with some of Obama’s positions! So should I bite my tongue (and swallow my pen) out of concern that dissention on the left will embolden the Republicans? Or, as one of the million and a half people who have donated to Obama’s campaign (seven times, counting merchandise purchases), should I make clear the positions on critical issues that will keep me inspired enough to donate again?

Like I said, I’m torn. However, Arianna Huffington isn’t, as she comments on Obama’s seeming lurch to the political center:
The Obama brand has always been about inspiration, a new kind of politics, the audacity of hope, and "change we can believe in." I like that brand. More importantly, voters -- especially unlikely voters -- like that brand.

Pulling it off the shelf and replacing it with a political product geared to pleasing America's vacillating swing voters -- the ones who will be most susceptible to the fear-mongering avalanche that has already begun -- would be a fatal blunder
The whole article is worth reading, although I personally could not have written it (and not just because Arianna “runs rings around me, logically!”) I’m more inclined right now to “keep it in-house,” which is why I’ve signed up for the Obama supporters’ group formed through Obama’s own website to express to him our position against the compromise FISA bill.

1 comment:

  1. Giraffe8:08 AM

    I joined the Obama supporters' group also, but have mixed feeling about that. I don't want to second guess his every move now. I've decided to trust him and his process to win this election. Just now they are saying he flip flopped on the war. How many times during the primary did we hear him say, "We have to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless going in." That gives him the freedom to make decisions as circumstances change. His over all mentality is not war, and that's the direction he will take us. His over all mentality on Fisa is no, I hope he can get there without getting hit over the head with it, one way or the other.