Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Powerful Opportunity for Obama?

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The following is a somewhat belated post that was partially composed after Netroots Nation, which was brought back to my attention after watching the introductory video for Cindy McCain during the RNC.

With all of the excitement of Al Gore’s appearance, the keynote speeches, and some of the blockbuster sessions in the main exhibit hall, perhaps the most intriguing speaker at Netroots Nation, at least for me, was Samantha Power.

At the time Power was pressured into leaving her role as an advisor to the Obama campaign - for an unfortunately candid comment about Hillary Clinton - I, somewhat jokingly, defended her, feeling that she was just caught in a difficult situation where political expediency trumped other considerations. Until that point, she had been a key member of the team helping to craft Obama’s foreign policy agenda.

After hearing her speak, as a part of a panel on “War Pundits,” I’m even more convinced that she’s exactly the kind of advisor a President Obama will need, primarily because she has strong convictions, an abundance of knowledge, and will tell it straight and stick to her guns in the face of opposition. In short, she’s the exact opposite of the team of “yes men” and “yes women” who have surrounded the current president for two disastrous terms.

Although her new husband, University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein (shown with her above), is a legal advisor to Obama, Power has no current role in the campaign.

Not too long ago, the McCain campaign made a ridiculous attempt to try to twist a comment by Obama into evidence of flip-flopping and being soft on genocide. During the RNC, Cindy McCain was presented as some sort of expert on of genocide because she’s accumulated a whole bunch of photos while traveling to various problem areas of the world.

What better way of responding to that attack, and Cindy McCain’s grandstanding than by announcing the return of Power, the internationally renowned, Pulitzer prize winning, author of “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” as an official advisor to his campaign?

At this point, I doubt any former Clinton supporters would care, because in reality Hillary’s false indignation over Power’s “monster” comment was pure political theater anyway, and it serves no further purpose now that Obama has won the nomination and gained Hillary’s support.

So why not take the opportunity to bring her back now, making the importance of an adequate response to genocide a prominent part of his campaign, and paving the way to give her a greater role in an Obama administration?

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