Dodd and Feingold to filibuster the House’s awful FISA bill in the Senate. And Reid is co-sponsoring an amendment stripping the bill of the provisions providing retroactive immunity for corporations who illegally violated the privacy of their customers.
I wish I could disagree with Jonathan Zasloff:
Presumably, [Obama] will vote for Harry Reid’s amendment stripping retroactive telecom immunity from the bill. The Republicans will filibuster it. Then Reid, showing the spinelessness that has distinguished his term as Majority Leader, will pull the amendment. Then Dodd and Feingold will try to stop ending debate.
What does Obama do?
If he votes to filibuster, then he looks foolish because just last week he supported the House bill, with a weak statement that was really beneath him. If he does this, then he’s “flip-flopped in four days.” (Not as agile as McCain, of course, but that never matters according to the Beltway press.). But if Obama votes to end debate, then he plays along with Republicans and further infuriates the base (and by the way all those who believe in accountability). Either way, he does not look good.
I suspect he will vote to end debate. And that will leave a very bad taste in the mouths of many Democrats. One might even call it “bitter.”
I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Obama voted against cloture, using the fact that he nominally opposed the retroactive immunity provisions as a justification. The problem is that unless the vote is decisive, such a vote wouldn’t actually matter. The time for Obama to stop the bill would was to persuade the House leadership to prevent it from coming to a vote.
A few months ago, I foolishly claimed that Pat Oliphant could never get away with open racism comparable to his misogyny. I was certainly mistaken. (Latter link via Ez.)
Since the first three comments manage to miss the point entirely, allow me to try this again:
- Like any Democrat capable of winning a national election, Obama will make all sorts of compromises and advance suboptimal ideological positions. It is good for progressives to point his failings, although arguments that move in the “since he isn’t a social democrat, we might just as well have McCain in the White House” direction are where I get off the bus.
- Such critiques that take the form “many [always unnamed and uncited, because where progressives of any influence are concerned they pretty much don't exist] Obamabots think Obama is a God Among Men who Transcends Politics but, in fact, he’s a politician who is not about to turn the United States into Denmark singlehandedly! Haha, Obamabots are so stupid!” are incredibly irritating, and I for one will ignore any substantive points made in such frames 100% of the time.
Indeed. One of the most irritating aspects of blog discussion about the primary was the “See — Obama’s a politican, no matter what his supporters say!” / “Obamabots don’t understand that he will not suddenly make Republicans disappear!” talking points, along with similar assorted strawmen.
Below, Bean points us to the NRO’s campaign spot blog, calling for the release of Obama’s birth certificate for some truly strange reasons (more good snark on the logic behind these “controversies” from marvelous Jesse Taylor, fresh off his sabbatical in The Real World).
Inexplicably, I’ve perused NRO’s The Corner blog occasionally over the years, but this is my first exposure to The campaign spot blog. This would seem to be a good place to watch the right wing smear machine functioning in the early stages. So, let’s see what they’ve been up to lately.
The issue that seems to be generating the most excitement at the moment is the “Jim Johnson controversy,” in which Obama places a businessman tied to the home mortgage crisis on his VP selection committee. See here, here and here. This is going to be a tricky one, as the ability to score any kind of relative gains with this is reliant on no reciprocal attention to the unsavory connections of McCain’s associates. Since he’s already been forced to bid adieu to his Myanmar junta lobbyists, I’m not sure this is a winning strategy overall for the GOP.
So what else have they got? Other than the birth certificate nonsense, the last few days have seen:
Some people like Obama a lot, and he’s not doing anything to stop them!
McCain’s full-throated support for a disastrous and unpopular war doesn’t actually make him a warmonger like those mean democrats say.
McCain would be in fine shape if only white people voted.
McCain responds to comments tying him to the sitting president whose central policy commitments he overwhelmingly supports by trying to tie Obama to a president who left office 28 years ago (omitted: similarities between Carter and Obama) Zing!
Obama may have written some of his first book ON FOREIGN SOIL!
Those Newsweek bastards didn’t let Lieberman aides spin their story, proving they are in the tank for Obama.
That, aside from a bit of McCain campaign stenography, is all they’ve got. I am a worrier and a pessimist, and I was expecting to find something that would feed those impulses, but it’s just not there. We’ve worked very hard to steel ourselves for the onslaught of the right wing smear machine, perhaps for good reason. But, a) that machine has suffered some collateral damage from the hit the Republican party has taken in the last four years, and b)some on the left may have been so concerned about underestimating it that we ended up overestimating it instead.
The NRO is echoing conservative calls for Obama to release his birth certificate to debunk…something or other that is unclear (vague claims that Obama was not actually born in the U.S. and other bunk like that).
My favorite rumor that the NRO would like the birth certificate to debunk: that Obama’s middle name is Muhammad not Hussein. Because Hussein is sooo much less “muslim-sounding” that he must be hiding something.
Is this the best the right wing can do?
Shorter Tom Maguire: All institutionalized racism ended immediately after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, because these changes to formal law both ended racism and erased the ongoing impacts of past racism. So it’s crazy to think that any person of color born in the United States after 1970 could suffer from any disadvantage based on their race!
She made her decision about how to react to the inevitable. I guess I’m not as anrgy about it as Matt is, since I didn’t really expect anything much different (although I guess I would have assumed that Clinton’s speech would have been a little more concillatory than it was.) I don’t think that Clinton is trying to tear the party apart or anything like that. It’s difficult to lose a race that you reasonably expected to win and didn’t (and let’s be frank, if you’re a Democrat you probably know what the intensity of this disappointment is like pretty intimately.) What she does next matters more than whether she concedes tonight, and I hope that she will start working for the party’s nominee soon.
Seeing the contrast between Obama and McCain tonight, I don’t see how a Democrat could fail to be optimistic about the fall.
“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,” [Clinton] said, dismissing calls to drop out.The tongue slips, of course, but is she really arguing that she shouldn’t drop out because Obama might get shot? What kind of argument is that?
First a question; what is the process if a presidential nominee dies between the convention and the general election? Does the VP become the nominee? Or the second place at the convention?
Second, I’ve heard a lot of talk about how Barack Obama might get assassinated because he’s black, but I can’t understand why. Every single President who has been assassinated in the history of the United States has been a white male. Every. Single. One. In fact, I have it on good authority that every single attempted assassination has been directed against a white male President. If history is any guide, Obama should be safe.
…indeed, with an assassination rate exceeding 9%, President of the United States would appear to be an extraordinarily dangerous job for white men. It would almost be irresponsible to elect someone other than a woman or non-white man.
Alex Blaze collects data suggesting that Barack Obama isn’t just a radical angry black Christian liberation theologizin’ Muslim ex-Muslim communizin’ hippie terrorist; he’s probably a gay radical angry black Christian liberation theologizin’ Muslim ex-Muslim communizin’ hippie terrorist.
I, for one, would like to set as many precedents as possible with this election…
Probably not ideal to refer to a professional journalist as “sweetie” on the same day that you receive an endorsement from NARAL. A “bad habit” indeed; if I ever did it in the classroom I’d be rightly sanctioned.
…I agree with Erik that some folks in comments seem to be overly apologetic for Obama. When I say that I would face sanction for calling a woman “sweetie” in class, I’m dead serious; even if the woman weren’t offended, it would still be inappropriate and reflect a poor classroom environment. This isn’t dread “political correctness”. “Sweetie” is belittling in a way that “buddy” really isn’t, and it really shouldn’t be used in any kind of professional setting, except perhaps between those who are exceptionally familiar.
Seriously, Obama needs to stop with this public-health-damaging nonsense immediately.
…what Megan says in comments is worth elevating here:
And to second (third, fourth, whatever) those above – the science is not inconclusive. But I am willing to concede that this is one of those times when the precise language of scientists (and in particular, statisticians) can become misconstrued. In particular, no study can ever ‘disprove’ much of anything. All it can do (and many, many studies consistently have, in this case) is fail to find a link. In statistical terms we always call this ‘failing to reject the null hypothesis of no relationship.’ It’s a weird double negative, but it’s careful for a reason – we always set up our experiments assuming the thing we’re trying to disprove is true. Our conclusion options are to reject the null (and conclude that a relationship exists) or fail to reject the null. We typically shy away from clearly stating that this means conclusively that no relationship exists, since as scientists we’re always open to the possibility of being wrong – perhaps another study will come along with better/different methodology and contradict our findings, perhaps someone will have more money and more time and collect more data and contradict our findings, etc. However, all that hemming aside, just like a scientific theory is treated with more confidence than the layman interpretation of the word ‘theory,’ when numerous studies consistently fail to reject the null hypothesis, most reasonable scientists are comfortable assuming that this means that no relationship exists.
…Clinton too, ack.