Who Cares Who Wins the Primary?

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 00:51


Bush is about to get his number one priority through Congress, a move that could be stopped by Edwards, Obama, or Clinton, especially the latter two.  This is the move to implement retroactive immunity for telecom companies who spy on Americans and violate core constitutional principles.

All that is required to fight this is for Clinton or Obama to put the glare of the Presidential spotlight in the Senate.  To, you know, lead.  All three campaigns are well-aware of this fight, and at least Clinton and Obama have been completely unresponsive.

South Carolina is probably locked up for Obama, and since the fight now is over swing liberals and the campaign is about to move national, this would be a smart political move.  You get more national attention by confronting Bush in DC in a dramatic filibuster than you do with bland paid media.  PT Barnum said if you want to attract a crowd, pick a fight, and Democrats who vote in Democratic primaries like people who fight Bush.  Hell, everyone likes people who fight Bush.

Meanwhile, I see limited or marginal reasons to care who wins the primary.  I respect supporters of every candidate.  Still, if you want to persuade me to drink your kool-aid, get your candidate to help Dodd protect the damn constitution already.  And then I'll drink a big cup of whatever it is you're offering, and so will lots of us.

Matt Stoller :: Who Cares Who Wins the Primary?

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the inverse of your post (4.00 / 4)
There is zero reason to support any candidate who does not step up to stop retro-active immunity for Bush.

I'm staring at my CA absentee ballot that I'd planned on mailing in long before now. I'm waiting for some leadership and if candidates won't lead on this then I don't see how anyone could trust them to take the Oath of Office seriously.

It is sad that we're at this situation, but we actually have to worry about whether our Dem candidates will fulfill the most basic requirement of the job.

On twitter: @BobBrigham


In the primaries, yes, in the general, no (4.00 / 3)
It will be imperative to vote for the Dem no matter who it is in the general, if for no other reason than that another Pub as president would be vastly worse than any Dem, no matter how otherwise undeserving--SCOTUS appointments being the obvious but not only reason.

But I can certainly understand why people might be reluctant to support anyone who refuses to take a stand on this issue, which could not possibly be more disrespectful of Dem voters and values. We may not be perfect but we are NOT Republicans.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Quite True (4.00 / 1)
Worst case scenario, this recalls the 1991 Louisiana governor election which pitted crooked Democrat Edwin Edwards against racist Republican David Duke.

There were bumper-stickers that said, "Vote for the crook!  It's important!"

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Ah, ya gotta love this here democracy thing (4.00 / 1)
Churchill said it best, I think.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Re: Primary (4.00 / 2)
Yeah, I have to say, I am currently undecided between Obama and Edwards, but seeing one of them really back Dodd on this, especially Obama on the Senate floor, would immediately get them my support. For God's sake, this shit is going to have importance as to whether the next administration can actually prosecute these telecom pricks, so one would like to see them actually doing something about it.

Former Edwards Supporter, Obama Supporter since January 30, 2008

Real World Impact (0.00 / 0)
If the issue is criminal liability couldn't W just pardon the telecoms on his way out the door?

What does the retroactive immunity get the telecoms?  They have pretty favorable laws and precedent on standing and damages already, so to me it seems it really is just a way of avoiding the $10k per suit nuisance payments to make most of these lawsuits go away.  That's not peanuts, but it's hardly the battle for the future of civilization that the liberal blogs are making this out to be.  But please let me know if I'm missing something and this really is a major issue where civilians could actually recover significant damages against the telecoms.

Voter Genome Project


[ Parent ]
It's a way of establishing what happened n/t (4.00 / 2)


New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
I don't believe... (4.00 / 1)
He can pardon corporations for civil liability.

In any case, pardoning corporations would be a tremendous symbol of what Republicans are really all about.  Better Bush does this than have Democrats do it legislatively.


[ Parent ]
It's not about the telcoms and never was (4.00 / 2)
It's about getting BushCo off the hook (pun intended). Give telcoms no reason to cooperate--which granting immunity does--and they won't, which makes it impossible to figure out what happened. This is and never was about helping out "patriotic" telcoms or saving them from huge legal fees and penalties. It is and alway has been about BushCo wanting to shut up the telcoms. Don't pass immunity, and executive privilege doesn't apply, states secrets becomes harder to invoke, and telcoms are legally compelled to reveal what really happened.

As for the future of civilization, please don't trivialize this by snark. Civilization might go on, but we're talking about basic constitutional principles that limit any one branch's or person's power, which if not enforced, set dangerous precedents and allow them to get away with anything, including lawbreaking. If you're ok with this then that's your prerogative, but I'm not, nor is any progressive or liberal deserving of the name--not to mention conservatives, of the real, not neocon sort.

It's quite simple. BushCo broke the law egregiously and repeatedly, and compelled/induced telcoms to help them do this. The burden of proof is on those claiming that this is not true, or if true should and need not be followed up legally, and not only those who believe that it must be.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
It's retroactive immunity for Bush (0.00 / 0)
It makes it not against the law.  He can't pardon himself.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Why is telecom immunity the line in the sand? (4.00 / 1)
Why is the courageous line in the sand being drawn at retroactive immunity for telecom companies? The whole goddamned operation was unconstitutional and unauthorized by congress -- not just the telecom involvement. Why is there any expansion of wiretap powers at all? Why not sit on it for a year?

http://www.funnyordie.com/jame...

It doesn't matter (4.00 / 4)
Matt -- maybe you're right.  Maybe it doesn't matter who wins a primary unless they have the right position on money damages for invasion of privacy by the telecoms. 

Maybe what's most important is a win in November for the person who has a "D" after their name, whether that candidate is named Obama or Feingold or Lieberman or Clinton.

But if you think it doesn't matter who wins a primary, then why care whether Al Wynn or Donna Edwards wins their house race?  One is backed by the huge Internet companies and one is backed by the huge telecom companies.  And the one backed by the telecoms is backed by the same establishment that is lined up behind Senator Clinton. 

If the only thing that matters is that a candidate with a D after his or her name wins in November, then why care who wins that primary for one House seat? 

But maybe a candidate who will say anything to get elected will do anything to win re-election, like signing bad laws like DOMA, the Communications Decency Act, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (gutting habeas), or voting for a war that should never have been fought.

Maybe we should hold the people who represent our party to a higher standard.  My problem with Senator Clinton, other than all the bad laws her husband signed, is that either she voted for the Iraq War because she thought it was a good idea, in which case she showed extreme naivete and terrible judgment, or she knew it was a bad idea and voted to attack Iraq to preserve her political viability, in which case she voted to send thousands to their deaths because getting four more years in the White House for the Clintons was more important than those soldiers' and civilians' lives -- which is morally reprehensible. 

Voter Genome Project


Judge however you want (0.00 / 0)
That's fine, and I respect your emotional connection to Obama and your emotional disdain of Clinton. 

But I don't respect the evidence you put forward that there is a substantive difference between them.  The basically agree on nearly every policy, including letting Bush put his central priority through Congress.


[ Parent ]
Exactly (0.00 / 0)
It's honestly too difficult to rank their judgment now looking back at each candidate's history and present campaigns. So the only thing most of these campaigns are left running on is really emotion, identity politics, organization, and soundbites at practically meaningless debates.

[ Parent ]
Differences of judgment and character (0.00 / 0)
There are differences on the issues, such as on their overarching foreign policy framework -- Clinton's will be much more aggressive than Obama's.  Look at her Iran vote for one example. 

The major distinctions between Obama and Clinton for me, however, come down to judgment and character.  Maybe it's because I was against the war from the beginning that I'm less forgiving of Senator Clinton than others who had mixed feelings about the war or who initially supported it.  But I think her war vote reveals either a serious flaw in her judgment (she thought the war was a good idea) or a serious flaw in her character (she thought the war was a bad idea but voted for it to protect her future political viability). 

Obama had the good sense to stand up against the war when those of us who opposed the war were called unpatriotic and naive.

Obama has also lived in the real world more recently than Senator Clinton has -- remember she has seen America from the back of a limo and behind Secret Service protection since Bush's father was President.  The world has changed significantly since 1991 and not having a street-level view of it I think has led her to be out of touch.  And given the generational divide in their support I think a lot of younger voters are also picking up on this. 

I also think the two campaigns' styles reflect a difference in character.  Look at the Wal-Mart/Rezko exchange on Monday night, where Obama made a factual observation about what Senator Clinton was doing in the early 90s.  Hillary struck back with innuendo similar to the slime the right threw at her and her husband back in the 90s.  Did Obama mention any of those scandals?  There's plenty of mud out there to sling back at Hillary, but to date he has not done so -- and to my knowledge no one supporting him has done so (and I won't either -- which is why I did not list out any of the names of the scandals above). 

Also look at the Shaheening Clinton did with respect to the present votes -- implying that Obama was neutral on sex abuse and sex shops near schools.  (And I know that Shaheen resigned a few days after he injected the cocaine issue into the campaign, but the damage had been done.)

I think that there are some things in life more important than winning elections, like being able to look your kids in the eye ten years after the vote and tell them you're proud of what you did.  I think Obama is running his campaign like that and I don't think the Clintons are. 

And I think that a person who will do anything to get elected will do anything to stay in power, which leads to bad decisions like Senator Clinton made on Iraq and Iran, and which President Clinton made when he signed DOMA, the AEDPA, and the CDA, and gutted welfare and AFDC (what Peter Edelman called The Worst
Thing Bill Clinton Has Done
).

Voter Genome Project


[ Parent ]
Proud (4.00 / 1)
I think that there are some things in life more important than winning elections, like being able to look your kids in the eye ten years after the vote and tell them you're proud of what you did.

Is this not all the more reason for Obama to go to DC and support this filibuster? is there any question that if he does this, that he can tell them how proud he was to take this stance? Isn't the refusal to do so, at best, subordinating what's right to what is politically safe, and, at worse, evidence of subordinating the good of the country to the good of the corporate interests in Washington?


[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
You're right that he should stand up against it.  And I also wish he had given a strong statement like Dodd did when the funding vote was up in May.  My dispute with Matt is that this FISA vote is a tie-breaker because otherwise there is no difference between Hillary and Obama.

Voter Genome Project

[ Parent ]
The real world? (0.00 / 0)
Now I like Sen. Obama. Ask other people on here and Talk Left, I was and still might be a troll for Obama even (not on purpose, I just get emotional) but one thing I do not agree about is this idea that Obama still has a sense of the real world like he may have in 2002. Politics apparently can corrupt if not our minds at least the way we speak about certain issues because Senator Obama's prose is not the same as that of the "real-world" Obama you speak.

I don't know which candidate really sounds "real world" but it can't be by a wide margin like you may think. They're all surrounded by throngs of adulating fans and they all work to build an aura of invulnerability, closing themselves off from everyday working people unless in controlled settings out of political necessity. One side effect of the "rock star" label put on the Obama campaign is that it looks, from the outside, like kind of a bubble. He's so cool and suave that I REALLY cannot relate, and so I wonder if the reverse is true.

Also, Shaheening is not a word.

Still, I think we have our best chance to win with Obama, but only if he takes a stand for progressive values. His oratory can in fact win a partisan battle but only if he gets into one.


[ Parent ]
The question here is whether there is a Donna Edwards in this race (0.00 / 0)
What I believe Matt's title means is that what does it matter who we vote for if we are getting Al Wynn in either case?

And what  I believe Matt's post means is that here we have an opportunity to find out. Rather than fighting over who was for single payer before they were against it, or vice versa, either Clinton or Obama, or both of them, could get on their private jet, fly to Washington, and stand up for something that they say they support.

Best case scenario, they both go, the media megaphone gets moved to DC, the lies and corruption that underpin the Intelligence committee bill gets exposed, and the House bill goes through. Everybody wins, except for the telcos, Jay Rockefeller and DiFi.

Worst case scenario, the both stay on the road, note that their not being there means that they have not cast a vote for cloture and the Bush gets one more boulder added to his stonewall.

All Obama has to do to separate himself from Clinton on all these myriad issues that we're worrying about, from Iraq to health care, is get on a plane and take a stand.

If he doesn't do so, and Clinton doesn't do so, well, does it really matter?  Here's a chance for them to lead.  Will they take it?  Either of them.

And I do have to say this is exactly what the health care battle is gonna be like--lobbyists vs citizens.  Which side is Obama on?


[ Parent ]
Hell (0.00 / 0)
What side are any of them on?

[ Parent ]
Right (0.00 / 0)
Obama was just a placeholder there.

But this is an opportunity to say unequivocally that on THIS issue, they are on the side of the citizens and not of the corporations.

And, frankly, the converse holds.


[ Parent ]
The title of this entry says it all (4.00 / 2)
And if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, the blogosphere really has no one to blame but itself for the blase attitude it's taken towards the primary.

You reap what you sow.


Missing the point (0.00 / 0)
There is no difference between Obama and Clinton.  It's not like one is better than the other.

[ Parent ]
Matt YOU are missing the point (0.00 / 0)
The difference is WHO will be surrounding Obama versus DLC Clinton in the WH and in the party leaders.
Open your eyes my friend.
1.  Howard Dean will be pushed out on DAY ONE(bye-bye 50 state strategy)
2. Terry McCauliff and Mark Penn will be polling to let  Hillary know when she can pee.
3. On day one, Hillary will be running for her 2nd term, so triangulation and giving in with the rest of the spineless Dems to the repubs.

I could go on but you know all this already,


[ Parent ]
Pee? (0.00 / 0)
This is at least the second reference I have seen you make to Hillary, polling, and peeing on this site. What gives?

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
Joke (0.00 / 0)
By the way I meant that more as a joke, but realize it sounded harsh. my apologies.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
no need to apologize (0.00 / 0)
It was harsh...I use that analogy because, I feel that everything that she does is poll tested and vetted thru Penn and McCauliff, and I just can't bear to see their mugs and fingerprints in every lousy thing that will come out of that WH IF...IF Hillary is there

[ Parent ]
I agree. (0.00 / 0)
I've seen Penn interviewed. What a paradigmatic example of the term GASBAG. The man had a sh*t-eating grin on his face the while time, was sweating, and wouldn't shut up. And rather than answering questions, he took ever open second to fume about Obama. Gasbag.

If disliked Hillary a little then, I really dislike her now.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


[ Parent ]
That's being intellectually dishonest... (4.00 / 1)
...and you know it. The ideological differences may not be large, but the strategic differences are huge.

[ Parent ]
As senators, in their voting and "leadership" record (4.00 / 1)
as well as on campaign policy, I agree--little to no meaningful difference (even their health insurance policies are essentially the same when you realize how they'd effectively function).

So it comes down to character and judgement. Clinton has shown herself repeatedly to be seriously wanting on both (not just Iraq, but this whole Nixonian dogwhistle stuff that's really souring me on her and her campaign). Whereas Obama, while a disappointment in these areas (less in a negative sense, than in a failure to show distinction in a positive sense), can still emerge as the better candidate on them IF he shows the courage and principle to lead on immunity. But even if he fails to do this, he will still, in my book, be a notch or two better than Clinton, in this respect, simply because he has not sunk to Hillary's creepy level of dishonest mudslinging and racist character assassinations, which I doubt that I'll ever be able to to forgive her for--even if I vote for her in the general, which I will if she wins the nomination.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Not only that, (0.00 / 0)
Hillary enrages the GOPers like no one else.  Since politics is now about people being pummeled until they say "uncle!", don't you think that 4 years of warfare between the Clintons and the GOP might just be a distraction to passing your progressive agenda?  Might turn off another few million young people?

I think sometimes how I'd have felt if Nixon had beaten JFK my first year of college.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
Agree entirely (0.00 / 0)
I fear that all three of the democratic priimary leaders are just all talk. None of them have an act of leadership aimed at stopping Bush nearly as honorable as Chris Dodd. His act of leading the fight against retroactive immunity was truly inspiring, if only for how rare such a strong stand against the Bush administration's blatant disregard of the constitution has been.

They all talk a big game about change, but why can't they work for that change right now? How cowardly is it to continue to let Bush trample on the constitution while they try to convince us that they are the ones to reign in that sort of activity.


You're probably right... (0.00 / 0)
but in the minefield that passes for political journalism today I can understand why candidates are reluctant to get in the weeds of legislation. Reporters hate it when you make them try to explain complicated laws and stuff.  They'll just get mad and say you're grandstanding or being
a smarty-pants like Al Gore.

Thus the difference between real leadership (4.00 / 1)
in which you actually lead, and expect others to follow--and if they don't nudge them to do so, even the media--and mere followership, in which you do whatever you and your pollsters and strategists think will best sell with the Broder crowd. If Clinton wants us to buy into her mantra of 35 years of leading on the issues, then she has to lead an THIS issue. If Obama wants us to buy into his message of hope, then he has to give us reason to hope that he'll be the president that he says he'll be by leading on THIS issue. Otherwise, it's all just talk.

My states caucus is coming up in a few weeks (WA--we have a primary but it doesn't count for anything) and while I've been a moderate Obama supporter for some time now, I'm going to have a really hard time standing up for several hours defending his record and promise if he refuses to lead on this issue--and make no mistake, if he fails to lead on it, it won't be because he's too busy campaigning or it simply slipped his mind, but will represent an active, conscious and deliberate decision on his part to NOT lead on this, out of cynical and cowardly political calculation and fear. In which case, all rhetoric aside (and it will be JUST rhetoric), it will make him not an iota better in my mind than Clinton, and possibly worse, given his running as a constitutionalist progressive.

Barack, Hillary--put up or shut up. We will vote for whichever of you wins this ugly race-tinged slugfest, but we really really really want to do so with some conviction and enthusiasm.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Yeah, its understandable why leaders won't lead (4.00 / 1)
like Bush said - its hard work - and, you might upset the MSM pundits to boot!

(that's sarcasm, BTW)

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Strategy? (0.00 / 0)
I agree with Matt's post.

If the policies put forth are similar, we need to see leadership on one of them.

I agree that it matters who the candidate surrounds themselves with-- but if we can not find discernable difference between the candidates--besides the person themselves--how much of a role are those other people really playing at this point?

That said....

Aside from going to the candidate's site, or trying to get a question in at a rally, what does one do to affect a candidate?

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


Obama has already spoken on this (0.00 / 0)
He supports a filibuster of any bill that contains telecom immunity:

http://tpmelectionce...


Yes (4.00 / 3)
Hillary said something similar too.  So let them do what they said, not merely say it.

The nation isn't paying attention to this issue, and they will if obama or hillary halted their campaigning to stand with Dodd and oppose this.

It's time to walk the walk, not talk the talk.


[ Parent ]
Then Hopefully He Will Go The Senate (4.00 / 2)
floor and put real action behind his words. Words not followed up by action are meaningless.

[ Parent ]
So let him go into the well and support the filibuster (4.00 / 1)
Look, the point in the primary we are at, right now, is the two candidates and all their message toting surrogates claiming that he/she is the one who will really get things done, will really lead, will really have an impact, while the other is a false hope, not to be trusted.

This is a crystal clear opportunity to really get something done. This can be stopped, if light and heat is brought to bear. There's a reason that Reid has tried to jam this through at the end of sessions. There's a reason they're doing it again.

They do not want publc focus on this issue. If Obama and Clinton (I can't remember now which side you're on) do not use their very high profiles to bring public focus on this issue, then they are complicit. This isn't like a NARAL checklist.  It's not enough enough to say that you support the actions of others.

The point of a filibuster is to shine a light on a situation, so that public opinion can be brought to bear on an issue that is being ignored.  GIven the size of Obama's and Clinton's spotlights, refusing to use them is tantamount to not supporting the filibuster.

Now as with the supplemental vote, they can hang back and wait to see who steps forward first.  But that's neither leadership, nor reassurance for those who think that they are both in the Beltway tank.


[ Parent ]
Not Different! (4.00 / 2)
Obama has said on multiple occasions that he supports a filibuster of the FISA bill. Hillary has remained in Bush's pocket on FISA. Unlike Hillary, he's actually passed health care reform before. His media proposals are excellent, while Hillary is buddy, buddy with Rupert Murtoch.

Obama isn't not Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky, but he's also not Hillary. One is clearly better than the other.

Whenever I hear the claim in any election that both candidates are the same, I have to laugh to myself. How is it that each of us is a unique and special snowflake with diverse qualities that make us all different from each other except for these two special people who by coincidence are running against each other for the exact same office at the exact same time?!

They're different. One is better.


Great (4.00 / 5)
So write Obama and tell him to actually support the filibuster by going to the senate and helping Dodd filibuster.  He needs people to ask "questions" which give him a break.

I posted about this yesterday, that Edwards has lost the primaries and has nothing to lose by making a stand here and maybe everything to gain.  The same can be said to a lesser degree to Obama.  He is losing the nomination battle and needs something to change the dynamic.  This could be it.  A bold stand on an issue important to liberals and actual Democrats, two demographics Obama is losing to Hillary and absolutely needs to win the nomination. 

Independents will put him over the top in the general, but they're not enough in the primary.


[ Parent ]
They both spoke out and voted against (4.00 / 1)
last summer's FISA bill--at the last minute. They have both spoken out against and ONLY spoken out against immunity and the SSCI FISA bill. So on this matter, to date, they are indeed identical, but can still distinguish and differentiate themselves by actually DOING something to stop it. Will they? I'm not holding my breath.

Consider me a disappointed mild Obama supporter, less because I'm wildly enthusiastic about him than because I just can't stand Hillary and her cynical brand of triangulating politics.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Time For Some New-Fangled Triangulation! (0.00 / 0)
[Homer Voice:] "Mmmmm  Triangles!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Obama and FISA (0.00 / 0)
I have written to all three campaigns requesting that the front runner Dems actively support and participate, using the full array of their Senate privileges, to assist Dodd's attempt to block any bill that includes telecom immunity/amnesty (I'm still not clear on that difference).

It's my understanding that Edwards, as a former Senator, has the privilege of being in the Senate when Senate business is conducted.  I've asked Edwards to exercise that privilege if it exists.

I've requested that all three use their candidate klieg lights to illuminate this issue in their campaigns.

So far, I've received a response only from the Obama campaign.  It was a nice boilerplate letter on how he supports the core ideals of the constitution.  The key piece that responds to this issue reads:

When I am president, there will be no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens.  No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.  No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.  Our Constitution works, and so does the FISA court.  By working with Congress and respecting our courts, I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.

Which I read as, if you make me President, then I will do something.  There was no mention of actively supporting Dodd in the filibuster.  One blogger posted a response he had received which says in part:

Giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies is simply wrong.
Thankfully, the most recent effort to pass this legislation at the end of the legislative year failed. I unequivocally oppose this grant of immunity and support the filibuster of it. I have cosponsored Senator Dodd's proposal that would remove it from the current FISA bill and continue to follow this debate closely. In order to prevail, the proponents of retroactive immunity still have to convince 60 or more senators to vote to end a filibuster of this bill. I will not be one of them.

I guess we'll see what we see when it goes down.


Issues (0.00 / 0)
I think the differences depend on the issues a person cares about.  I'm fundamentally put off by Clinton's push for mandates for purchasing health care.  I have been told that my support for choice is a right wing talking point, and I guess what concerns me even more is that any disagreement with the Clintons is being presented as a right wing talking point.

I also believe that Obama has different foreign policy views than Clinton.


as much as i hate to say it, i hardly expect "leadership" (4.00 / 2)
from any of the 'major' candidates on this issue. but kudos to you for making the call, matt. i'm sorry dodd never caught fire, at least he understood his constitutional duty.

Normally.... (0.00 / 0)
For once I'd have to agree. Obama is my man and I wish he would lead on this issue, of course I'll still vote for him if he doesn't. No point in trying to convince Matt why to vote for Obama I've tried and tried to no avail.

But I sure do hate that phrase about "kool aid"....

I betcha if [certain other bloggers] had picked a favorite candidate Matt would follow. The problem is that there is no candidate (not even Edwards) who is playing entirely to the "blogger demographic" as Dean was in 04'. Lucky for Dean he was a governor and didn't have to worry about being asked to "lead."

End this war. Stop John McCain. Cindy McCain is filthy rich.


It would be great if all three candidates (0.00 / 0)
took a high profile position in the fight, but they should do it because they believe in it and want to take a step to dismantle our national security state.  It won't jump start any lagging campaigns.  How many votes did Dodd get in Iowa?  Do it because it's the right thing to do!

Neither Primaries nor General Elections Matter Much (0.00 / 0)
It has long been argued by astute political observers of Western democracies that it doesn't matter much who runs or wins elections because the voters get the same policies regardless of who wins.

That's because the economic and financial interests who control the government behind the curtains call the shots by directing the so-called representatives of the people to do their bidding, irrespective of who they are, what parties they belong to, or what platforms they ran on.

These interests can do this because it's their money that controls the media and finances the election of these representatives whom experience has shown rarely if ever bite the hands that feed them.

It is remarkable to watch the country get wrapped up in the trivial spats occurring in the phony presidential primary election contests while the economy melts down, the federal treasury is hemorrhaged to pay for the useless war in Iraq and Congress joins hands with the Bush/Cheney junta to shred the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The ridiculous notion that the domestic and global economic and financial meltdown that is taking place can be stopped by tax rebates and the Federal Reserve reducing interest rates shows how truly lost our leaders and candidates really are in these shark-ridden waters.

The voices of Kucinich, Edwards and Paul, who do know a thing or two about what ails us on the economic, financial and international fronts, are being drowned out by the corporate-backed media and corporate-backed primary campaigns, preventing the voters from tuning in to any candidates but the establishment candidates with their establishment party lines.

I predict, however, that if our so-called political leaders who are fiddling while Rome burns do not wise up and come to the aid of their country when it is facing such perils, they will go up in flames with the rest of us.


After 8 years of Bush (4.00 / 1)
You still think there is no difference after 8 years of Bush?  Wow.  I really thought we put that behind us.

You are correct that there are deeper issues that neither side has corrected, but to claim there is no difference ... that is one of the reasons we got Bush in the first place.


[ Parent ]
Where was the opposition party? (0.00 / 0)
No where to be seen, or heard. 

The democratic party bowed down and let Bush/Cheney walk all over them.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
A Continuous Conservative Push (0.00 / 0)
The Bush administration was the culmination of a conservative takeover of American politics that was launched after the defeat of Goldwater.

From Reagan through Bush Sr and Clinton and then George W. Bush, we have had fairly conservative administrations that gave establishment economic and financial interests just what they want, namely a total governmental hands-off deregulation of their activities and excessive profit-taking.

Would Gore have been much different? Maybe yes and maybe no. Gore was  quite establishment-oriented in his 2000 presidential campaign.

What has transformed Gore and progressive politicians is their realization that the conservative laissez-faire economic and political philosophies that both parties embraced have been a disaster on the economic and political fronts.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are establishment candidates, both of whom have praised Reagan at some point in their political careers and appear to be just as concerned to curry favor with people who do not belong to the Democratic Party as they are to respond to the explicit preferences of Democratic and progressive voters.

Yes, they are responding to the public outcry for affordable health insurance but in a very conservative way that continues to channel windfall profits into the pockets of the private insurers and healthy care providers. Neither of them have had the guts to call for enforcing on oil and gas companies U.S. laws that prohibit excessive and windfall profits even though gas prices are wrecking the economy.

I agree with those who argue that the economy has to be rebuilt from the bottom up so that it spawns small and medium sized enterprises that are worker-friendly so as to stem the transfer of wealth into the hands of the corporate elite. None of the candidates appears to have any idea how to do this or even recognize that it must be done in order to save the middle class.

Until there is a generalized popular "uprising" that David Sirota predicts is on the way, the primaries and general elections are going to continue to be charades to dupe the voters into thinking they live in a democracy.

 


[ Parent ]
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