by Taylor Marsh
Anyone thinking Mr. Obama is the anti-Hillary, so to speak, needs to pay attention and find another candidate. Quickly. This guy is so far off the Democratic party reservation I don't know where he's planting his primary flag, but it's nowhere a progressive Democrat or our party should willingly go.
It's bad enough that Mr. Obama continues to use wingnut talking points on Social Security. My friend Dave Johnson said it well yesterday: Senator Obama, Please Stop Echoing Right-Wing Lies About Social Security! Paul Krugman asked nicely, Why, Barack, Why?, then took him out.
But a determined defense by progressives in the media, on the blogs, and in Congress beat back one spurious argument after another, while the American people made it clear that they really want a program that guarantees a basic retirement income that doesn't depend on the Dow. And Social Security survived.
All of which makes it just incredible that Barack Obama would make obeisance to fashionable but misguided Social Security crisis-mongering a centerpiece of his campaign. It's a bad omen; it suggests that he is still, despite all that has happened, desperately seeking approval from Beltway insiders.
During the Jefferson Jackson dinner he continued, using another wingnut talking point:
SEN. OBAMA: I am sick and tired of Democrats thinking that the only way to look tough on national security is by talking and acting and voting like George Bush Republicans. ... ..
Of course, Mr. Obama was talking about the Kyl-Lieberman amendment and Senator Clinton's vote, but that does not give him license to go back to his "Bush-Cheney lite" rhetoric. It's wrong. But it's especially bad when he's cast a similar vote. How many times are we going to have to go over this stuff? However, yesterday on Meet the Press, Mr. Obama stumbled into Clintonian language that was worthy of the best of the triangulators.
MR. RUSSERT: I want to talk about Iran, because there's been a discussion about a vote she cast that you mentioned earlier. Back in March there was a resolution in the Senate, and here's what it said: "The Secretary of State should designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a Foreign Terrorist Organization." And you voted for that. Now, The Washington Post analyzed your position and Senator Clinton's, and this is what they editorialized: "So is there any real difference between Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton on Iran? Mr. Obama contends that one distinction lies in Ms. Clinton's acceptance of language in the September 26, '07" "resolution that 'it is'" "'critical national interest of the United States' to stop Iran from creating a Hezbollah-like force in Iraq. Mr. Obama claims that such language is 'saber-rattling' that could be used by the Bush administration to justify an attack on Iran. This is hard to fathom. Not only is there no mention of the use of U.S." forces" in the resolution, but last year Mr. Obama gave a speech in which he said it 'is in our national interest to prevent' Iran or Syrian from using Iraq as 'a staging area from which to attack Israel or other countries.'"
So if you have the same concern about using--Iran using that as a staging area, you would have a position very similar to Senator Clinton's.
SEN. OBAMA: Well, the, the previous quote was directed specifically at the issue of Israel, and I make no apologies for making sure that we are thinking about our security interests in Israel. The primary difference between myself and Senator Clinton is that she believes that our force structure inside Iraq should, in part, depend on how we can prevent Iran from having influence inside of Iraq. And I think that is a mistake, particularly at a time when we know this administration has been itching to escalate the tensions between Iran and the United States.
Look, the--there's a broader issue at stake here, and that is how do we approach Iran? I have said, unlike Senator Clinton, that I would meet directly with the leadership in Iran. I believe that we have not exhausted the diplomatic efforts that could be required to resolve some of these problems--them developing nuclear weapons, them supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. That does not mean that we take other options off the table, but it means that we move forward aggressively with a dialogue with them about not only the sticks that we're willing to apply, but also the carrots. ... ..
MR. RUSSERT: In July, you were asked if you were willing to meet separately without pre-condition during your first year with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez. You said yes. You stand by that?
SEN. OBAMA: I do. The--now, I did not say that I would be meeting with all of them. I said I'd be willing to. Obviously, there is a difference between pre-conditions and preparation. Pre-conditions, which was what the question was in that debate, means that we won't meet with people unless they've already agreed to the very things that we expect to be meeting with them about. And obviously, when we say to Iran, "We won't meet with you until you've agreed to all the terms that we've laid out," from their perspective that's not a negotiation, that's not a meeting. Preparation means that we are sitting down ahead of time, various lower-level diplomats and envoys, are sorting out what's the agenda going to be? Nuclear weapons has to be on the table. The issue of terrorism needs to be on the table. Incursions into Iraq that are affecting the safety of our troops, that needs to be on the table. ... ..
Leaving the Israeli lobby nod alone, because all of these politicians posture like this, regardless of the fact that our Middle East policy isn't helping Israel or the United States.
Obama stated the "primary difference" between Clinton and himself on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is that she wants troops in Iraq to prevent Iran from having an influence inside of Iraq, which Mr. Obama thinks "is a mistake."
According to Mr. Obama, the issue of terrorism must stay on the table, with "incursions into Iraq that are affecting the safety of our troops" needing to be -- say it with me -- "on the table." So what is he going to do about those "incursions" if Iran refuses to do anything about them? Will he need U.S. troops to deal with them? If not, how's he going to stop Iran's incursion that is affecting our troops, fairy dust?
Oh, and then there's the whole records issue.
MR. RUSSERT: You talked about Senator Clinton having records released from the Clinton Library regarding her experience as first lady, and yet when you were asked about, "What about eight years in the state senate of Illinois," you said, "I don't know." Where, where are the--where are your records?
SEN. OBAMA: Tim, we did not keep those records. I...
Somebody hand me a towel, because I'm starting to sweat for him.
A first lady must immediately produce her private conversations with her president husband, which Bill Clinton has already requested even though they can stay private for 12 years by law, but a state lawmaker whose only real experience is being a state lawmaker threw his records away and that's okay.
Here's the up shot, folks. If you are a Hillary hater there's one candidate who isn't the anti Hillary. His name is Barack Obama. So if you're in his camp and you think he's got the answers, I suggest you check your idolatry, because this guy isn't about Democratic ideology, that's for sure, which I told you months ago. He's a deal maker, first, last and on the bottom line. Social Security is in "crisis," according to Mr. Obama, nod to the Republicans, but don't forget that wink. Yeah, and fairy dust will keep Iran from screwing around in Iraq, too.
"What they want is somebody who understands the struggles they're going through, is going to be thinking every day about how to make their lives better, has a grasp of the issues that not only Democrats, but Republicans and independents are worried are not being attended to in Washington. And if I provide that kind of leadership, I think that they will feel confident that I'm going to be able to do the job."
- Barack Obama, Meet the Press (11.11.07)
What this Democrat wants is that our nominee passionately pursue Democratic party ideals, jamming them down the throat of Republicans if we have to, because those guy are clueless on how to implement policies that work for the American people, the world, as well as foreign and military policies that include, dare I say it, competency. Barack Obama isn't interested in that, however, he wants to hold hands with the wingnuts to save some fantasy Social Security "crisis."
Pass the smelling salts, stat, because I think I'm going to be ill.
"I think that I have the capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other. I think that I have the ability to make people get beyond some of the divisions that plague our society and to focus on common sense and reason and that's been in short supply over the last several years. I'm not an ideologue, never have been. Even during my younger days when I was tempted by, you know, sort of more radical or left wing politics, there was a part of me that always was a little bit conservative in that sense; that believes that you make progress by sitting down listening to people, recognizing everybody's concerns, seeing other people's points of views and then making decisions."
- Barack Obama (on ABC's This Week, 5.14.07)
Let's make a deal, baby! Barack Obama wants you to come on down.