Obama To Put Conservatives in Cabinet

by: Chris Bowers

Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 12:00


More on Obama's transformative progressivism:

The scene is set for a tussle between the two candidates for the support of some of the sharpest and most independent minds in politics. Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.

Senior advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain's closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defence secretary. Some regard the outspoken Republican as a possible vice-presidential nominee although that might be regarded as a "stretch".

Hagel and Lugar are both rank conservatives. Despite Hagel's support for partial withdrawal from Iraq, there is simply no way to describe either of them as centrist, much less progressive. Hagel's lifetime score on progressive punch is 9.27 out of 100, while Lugar's is 12.46 out of 100. Both of them are only very slightly to the left of the craziest wingers out there.

Obama sends out regular signals that he will govern in a very centrist fashion. Running Harry and Louise ads and appointing Bush Dog Jim Cooper as a spokesperson on health care make that obvious enough. His praise of Reagan and bragging that he is more bipartisan than the DLC also make that clear. He has no problem letting you know that he's "not one of those people who cynically believes Bush went in only for the oil," that he isn't a "anti-military, 70s love-in." He scolds unknown progressives for thinking that "every mention of God is automatically threatening a theocracy," and reminded everyone that Social Security faces a crisis. Now, he is sending out signals that will be appoint Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar to incredibly powerful posts such as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

Here is the thing: what counter-indications had Obama given that he will govern as a progressive? I honestly can't think of any. He clearly must be blowing some sort of progressive activist dog whistle, given the caucus and support he has received, but I haven't heard the call. I get the "yes, we can," bit about how large numbers of grassroots and redstate Democrats are rebelling against a Clintonista Democratic Party that takes them for granted. Further, the identity politics in play are somewhat obvious. I also think I get that, in addition to the activists and identity groups he has attracted, the third major component of Obama's coalition are anti-establishment, but not necessary leftist, Democratic voters who also when for Bradley and Dean. Finally, in the contemporary political environment, looking like the outside is certainly an advantage. However, what I don't get are ideological progressives who think that Obama is one, too. Outside of telecom policy, his policy platforms are pretty much center-left wonkish boilerplate, and his rhetoric is straight down the middle. In short, I just don't see Obama as a transformative progressive at all.

If I am missing something, I don't know where to look for it. Chuck Hagel as Sec Def is just the latest indication that Obama is more about placating High Broderism, Tim Russert and the Washington Post editorial board than he is about transformative progressive change. I'll work hard to help elect him, but I also don't intend to delude myself about what to expect when he becomes President.  

Chris Bowers :: Obama To Put Conservatives in Cabinet

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and... (4.00 / 3)
"I won't even wait until I'm inaugurated, but as soon as I'm elected I'm going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties - people like Colin Powell, for example, and others - who can represent our country well, including someone I know very well," Mrs. Clinton said, according to a Fox News Web report. "Because I want to send a message heard across the world. The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

Is there a bigger Broderist "dogwhistle" than Colin Powell, with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman, whom the Clintons put back in the Senate?
Both of them are playing to the general electorate, and in terms of both campaigning and actual appointment, if such a thing came to pass, who would you rather have in a Democratic cabinet, the Court Eunuch who would still be Secretary of State for Bush if Bush had wanted him, and who is a Republican because Bill Clinton almost thought about lifting the ban on gays in the military, or the man who almost left the Republican party over Iraq? I don't want him anywhere near domestic policy, but in terms of foreign/military policy, I don't think Hagel would be substantively different from Jim Webb, Wes Clark or Joe Biden.


I don't think Clinton is any better (4.00 / 2)
I don't think Clinton is any better, and obviously I would rather have Obama as President than Bush, even with Hagel in the cabinet. I made as much clear in the post.

But that isn't the point. The point is that Obama is chasing after what he perceives to be a conservative electorate, rather than doing anything to try and transform the debate. Perhaps that is simply because he actually is a centrist, or maybe it is because McCain is the Republican nominee. Whatever the case,  it strikes me as folly to expect a great porgressive sea change under a President Obama that would be substantively different from the center=right governance of Bill Clinton during most of his tenure.

Chasing after a perceived conservative electorate is a real problem, as Bill Clinton found out when he tried to do anything progressive. Things like NAFTA, the 1996 welfare reform and telecom acts passed through with little difficulty. However, health care reform, gays in the military, and the budget fight were excrutiating battles that damaged him mightily. If you are not seeking to transform the CW away from a longstanding conservative mandate in Washington, expect even occassional moments of progressivism to meet with resistance that is nearly impossible to overcome.  


[ Parent ]
That last paragraph is the most important thing to recall (4.00 / 1)
about the Clinton Presidency--we need a fighter that isn't going to cave after a few years in office

[ Parent ]
I don't disagree (4.00 / 1)
and obviously I would rather have Obama as President than Bush,

in re Powell: I was referring to Hillary Clinton, not Bush.

Perhaps that is simply because he actually is a centrist, or maybe it is because McCain is the Republican nominee.

Or both. I think it's both.
I think the only substantive difference between Obama and Clinton on domestic policy is health care, and I like her plan better. And, call me a starry-eyed Obamabot fanboy, as so many people can't get through a post without doing, I actually do believe that on foreign policy, there is a chance-- a chance-- that he can be transformative in that area. I am placing my bet, ultimately, that he gets that the McCain-Lieberman "toughness" model has failed, that he genuinely understands that intelligence, soft power and diplomacy are a better and more effective model for contemporary geo-politics. And I believe Hillary Clinton--while not by any stretch of the imagination as blinkered and stupid as McCain, Lieberman and Bush-- genuinely believes in "toughness".
To look at a less emotionally-charged issue than Iraq and the "GWOT", look at Clinton v Obama on Cuba: Common sense vs old-school resentments and dick-measuring masquerading as "prinicple".


[ Parent ]
I guess our positions are pretty close, then (4.00 / 2)
I'm placing my bets on a belief that there is a chance Obama can be swayed by progressive pressure in the fights you describe. I don't think there is a chance Clinton can.  

[ Parent ]
toughness (4.00 / 1)
Also, whether Clinton believes in it or not, it's hard for a female candidate to run on anything but toughness -- she will be seen as "feminine" and weak. (See Thatcher)

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.

[ Parent ]
With all due respect (0.00 / 0)
don't you think it's a little tacky to complain about being reflexively characterized as an Obamabot etc. when you can't resist this kind of characterization: "Common sense vs old-school resentments and dick-measuring masquerading as "prinicple""


[ Parent ]
A structural difficulty (4.00 / 1)
I am skeptical about presidential campaigns' ability to transform the political debate. This is unfortunate, because spending and advertising in presidential contests dominate the discussion, and can impact future debates disproportionately.

Nonetheless, the tactical demands of campaigns (they are always meeting short term needs) inhibit the possibilities for transformational messaging.

The transformations that have taken place so far have taken place because of extra-campaign work, work by you and this site, for instance. Or MoveOn. As I said in a comment on Matt's post, we have to transform the opinion environment candidates step into.

You and others are doing that.


[ Parent ]
The last time I checked (4.00 / 2)
it was the voters in conneticut who put Lieberman back in office, not the Clintons. And I do believe that Obama also campaigned for him.

 


[ Parent ]
No once Lamont was the Democratic (0.00 / 0)
Party candidate Obama donated to Lamont's campaign, although he like all party members supported other seated members.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
C'mon. Praise of Reagan? (4.00 / 1)


HAHAHA (0.00 / 0)
Seriously.  And Chris gets all huffy when the traditional media buys into false narratives...

[ Parent ]
Why is the fact that Obama might appoint Hagel (4.00 / 6)
as Sec. of State something we should be worried about?  Sure, Hagel is a conservative on lots of issues.  But why should we think that Hagel wouldn't be a good secretary of state?  Now I'm not saying that he is the best candidate for the job.  All I know about Hagel and defense (which, I'll admit, is not that much) is that he's been an outspoken Republican critic of the war in Iraq and is not a neo-con.  To me, this suggests that the idea of appointing him to a cabinate position at least shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

Now I'm open to reasons for thinking that he wouldn't be a good secretary of state.  But all you do is point out that he's a conservative republican on a lot of issues.  Why should that automatically disqualify him?  Why not simply assess his qualifications for the job (leaving aside his views on other political issues)?  And why should this make us worry about Obama.  The fact that he would consider a conservative for the job seems like a good thing to me.

I heard stories a while back about how military contractors in Iraq were asked questions about their stance on abortion, and how people with pro-choice stances were disqualified.  This seems absurd because their stance of abortion is irrelevant to the question of whether they would do a good job in providing their contract services?  How is this not different?  Why should Hagel be disqualified for his conservative positions on things like abortion, or whatever?  Again, I'm open to substantive reasons for why Hagel would be a bad secretary of state, in which case I'd quit my defense.  But there mere fact that he is not a progressive is not sufficient.


Departments of State and Defense (0.00 / 0)
Sec Def and Sec State administer two of the largest government agencies in the country. There is a lot of power that the President does not oversee. Putting conservatives in charge of that administration will probably yield conservative departments of State and Defense. That's a problem, if an abstract one.  

[ Parent ]
What conservatives did to the DOJ.... (4.00 / 1)

............was hardly 'abstract'. I sense the typical 'buh....buh...buh...' of someone who really doesn't want to believe what's happening right before their eyes:

Phase II of the conservative takeover of 'our' government now led by the 'Democrat' Party.

Obama is gonna be a disaster is what the reality is.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
New Astroturfing Meme (0.00 / 0)
I've been seeing this all over the place, it seems to be the new Mark Penn astroturfing campaign.  Everything is about how Obama is somehow a stealth GOP booster, and if he becomes the nominee we're all going to be very sorry in some vague, undefined way.

In other words, they're accusing him of being just like the DLC.


[ Parent ]
What exactly are you worried about them doing? (0.00 / 0)
I mean, let's face it, these guys have to take orders from the President. The policies enacted will be the Presidents.  Diplomacy will be conducted according to the tone the President sets.  What could they do specifically in these positions to make "conservative departments" if they are under his orders?

[ Parent ]
well (4.00 / 2)
The Bush Administration's experience with intelligence has taught us how the people around the president matter a great deal.  The choices a President makes are largely a factor of what options are presented to him.  Cheney has largely gotten his way on so many things by stovepiping the intelligence he wants to the President's desk.  

When Obama is sitting in the basement secret briefing room and hagel and lugar are discussing some crisis in Taiwan or Eritria, what options will they present Obama?  What worldview will they subconsiously express and what options will be off the table?  Maybe Obama will buck them from time to time, but that takes affirmative  bold steps on his part.  The easier thing to do will be to defer to their judgement or accept one of the options they present.  Perhaps the most progressive of their options, but still options acceptable to conservative world-views.

JFK was bamboozled into the Bay of Pigs and continuing Eisenhower's vietnam policies.  Luckily the Bay of Pigs was a disaster and JFK started to push back against the Pentagon in time to react sanely to the cuban missile crisis.

Another famous anecdote that occurs to me is FDR being lobbied for some policy or other by some activists.   So he stops them and says "You've convinced me, I want to do it.  Now go out there and make me do it."

Presidents are not wholly independent actors, even the greatest of them need incentives and political cover to do the right thing.


[ Parent ]
I don't entirely disagree with you (0.00 / 0)
but I think it is somewhat disingenuous to consider Cheney a normal "cabinet member".  That scenario isn't really applicable here because Cheney has been pretty much running the show as a shadow President.

The Bay of Pigs scenario is somewhat comprable, but I doubt the advice Kennedy got would have been different if he had replaced Dulles with a Democrat.  You have a unique situation there where you essentially had a renegade intelligence community, and this mistake is what was responsible for pushing Kennedy to the left on foreign policy.  Obama is already significantly to the left of where Kennedy was at the beginning of his administration in that regard.

I completely agree with you're third point about FDR and the activists, and think we should gear up to do that regardless of who gets in.


[ Parent ]
If Obama were to appoint someone (0.00 / 0)
who could not be trusted on foreign policy matters simply for the sake of being "bi-partisan," then he should be rightly criticized.  And I would certainly be one of those criticizing.

But the mere fact that Hagel is a conservative on lots of other issues doesn't necessaily mean that he is wrong on defense / foreign policy issues or couldn't be trusted in a cabinet position.  Of course, there might be better candidates for sec. of state (Clark, Biden), but the fact that one is a Republican should not automatically disqualify someone for consideration.  This would be the bad kind of partisanship.


[ Parent ]
But what is Republican (0.00 / 0)
about Hagel's FP beliefs? They seem to me nearly identical to Obama's. It could be argued that they are in some sense of the term 'conservative' but it's a very specific sense that is quite comparable to current post 9/11 Democratic values.

He's going to staff whatever dep't he runs with people who agree with him I would think.


[ Parent ]
Picking State and Defense (4.00 / 1)
as the Departments he'd appoint Conservatives too also has the unfortunate side effect of reinforcing the common perception that Republicans are more "trustworthy" on military and foreign affairs issues.

Sigh.

Resist the counter revolution, build a movement. Same Subject, Continued


[ Parent ]
We're not talking about State (0.00 / 0)
That's Biden. I'd bet my IRA (which becomes less of a bold move every week!)

[ Parent ]
That's why! (0.00 / 0)
I don't get it. The man speaks one way and votes another. Who the hell is he? I really don't get it.

If I was voting for the Chuck Hagel I hear, I would vote for him for president. If I was voting for the Chuck Hagel I see on the record, he'd be the very last person in Congress I would ever vote for. Who is this man?

If you read this interview with Hagel in GQ or hear him excoriating the administration and his Republican colleagues on the Senate floor, you think he is a godsend. A Republican who thinks clearly and acts boldly. Something we haven't seen in six years.

But then you look at his voting record, and it is abysmal. Did you know that in 2006 there was not one senator in the country who voted with the Bush administration more than Chuck Hagel? That's not in 2003, where he might argue - and he does argue - he was deceived. That was a month ago!


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Hmm, why would Obama appoint someone fo DoD who's been wrong when it came ro voting for war, and who has shown to be a phony who makes popular speeches and then supports horrible bills time and again? And, besides, what is Hagel's qualification for the job? Wouldn't it be a much better idea to appoint someone who has real experience with the military, and who has shown to be on the right side of the discussion? Like General Wesley Clark? I mean, ok, Clark is in the Clinton camp right now, but if Obama is serious in his desire to be a uniting president, this shouldn't be any problem, right?


[ Parent ]
His voting record certainly speak's for itself this year, granted (4.00 / 1)
he's been running for the primary nod.  I'll also grant that while there may some significant examples that support your argument (the Lieberman thing drives me crazy), I don't consider this one.  I personally don't conceive of progressivism or liberalism--whatever label you want to give to the generalized ideology of the american left--as a binary choice with conservatism, assuming conservatism is thought of in its historical sense--the sense that the average politically minded conservative american has--rather than what we know as movement conservatism or even neoconservatism.  If conservatism is thought of in terms of caution, a tendency to be skeptical of grand governmental schemes, and an unwillingness to whole-sale reject traditional values, these I think are not necessary illiberal or anti-progressive.  Transformative progressivism, if it is to be a political strategy, has to appeal to people who have historically aligned with the other side.  The key, in my view, is to show how a conservative predisposition does not necessarily lead to neoconservatism, but can in fact embrace the ideas of progressivism, though I grant that on a certain level, the values of the left and right are fundemental divergent.  

The Politics of Bruno S.


Back to Nader (4.00 / 1)
If this is really his direction, then I'm off the train, headed back to Nader's bus stop, thank you very much.

that won't accomplish anything (4.00 / 4)
There is a good chance Nader won't even be on the ballot in most states. He made 23 in 1996, 45 in 2000, and somewhere in between in 2004. That is just one way that Nader's ineffectiveness in pushing Democrats to the left has been demonstrated time and time again. His strategy doesn't work.  

[ Parent ]
Why? (0.00 / 0)
Accomplishing what?  Seriously, as Chris points out, Nader has not been effective in changing political discourse.  How will a vote for Nader be anything but "I'm taking my ball and bat and going home?"

I'm not trying to be an jerk, I really just don't understand voting for Nader in 2008.  It made more sense in 2000, when we hadn't yet seen how much things could go to sh-t in 8 years, and when we hadn't yet realized that this vote would have no effect on moving the country to the left.

But now that we've learned (presumably) from the past 8 years ... why would anyone endanger the possibility of a Democratic White House?  I have no idea how Obama would govern, but there are a few things that seem likely:

1.  He would be miles better than McCain in almost all areas.

2.  If progressives think he is progressive, even in error, they will turn out to vote for him, which will have a big impact on the possibility of progressives getting elected downticket (see Donna Edwards).  (I know there are arguments for and against the veracity of coattails, but my belief is that coattails would be real in this instance based on BHO's record with turning out new voters.)

3. Even if Obama and a Democratic Congress are able to manifest policies that are, say, half as progressive as those being discussed in the Dems' primary, this will be a big improvement over what's gone on for the past 8 years.  The Clinton years WERE better than the Bush years, despite the ways that Clinton sucked.

These things I'm saying just don't seem that brilliant or insightful, they just seem like kind of obvious common sense to me.  What am I missing?  Why a Nader vote?

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.


[ Parent ]
I can understand Hagel (4.00 / 2)
for Sec of Def.  Getting out of Iraq will be tough, and having a former GOP and Viet Nam Vet overseeing it would provide useful cover.  That is the key here: Hagel has been very outspoken on Iraq, and I trust him more on the issue than I do Clinton.

BUT, I continue to believe that a progressive agenda can only proceede in this country by curtailing the absurd level of defense spending.  To the extent Hagel would oppose such reductions, his presence in the cabinet would be an enourmous impediment.

The Lugar stuff just reeks of on inside the beltway speak.


Hagel for SecDef -- (0.00 / 0)
Hagel is a great GOP choice for SecDef, for no other reason than he is the most outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq disaster.

But his value is much bigger than that -- his appointment is a dog whistle to sane GOP voters, and a sharp poke in the eye to Republican elites.

It's much the same with Lugar -- he's conservative, but he's a sane conservative. A Hagel/Lugar GOP is the best we can hope for, since the Lincoln Chaffee GOP is on the verge of extinction.

Jim Webb for VP -- no one can deliver cred and passion like Jim Webb.


[ Parent ]
Your Sig: Let's have a VP who supports Privacy (0.00 / 0)
I liked Jim Webb's "robber barron" Talk & he
is no doubt better than Macca.  
I can be content with him as a senator from VA.  

I say hell no to him as VP.  
His votes putting bush & the telecom industry above
our right to privacy has tainted him in my eyes probably forever.  

Peace!


[ Parent ]
I think that's right (4.00 / 1)
I can understand Chris' hesitancy when talking about the DoD, but I really don't think that a partisan cabinet should be some kind of litmus test.

I'd say there are three ways to appoint a Republican. Lugar would be the worst possible way. You take someone who is bad on everything but has a reputation for being a moderate and put them in a position to both validate that reputation and do some real damage. That's just shooting yourself in the foot.

The second option is the Hagel option, where you take someone who is in fact good on a single issue, and put them in charge of that issue. It's a political winner, and it's not obviously going to undermine you on policy, so it is at least understandable.

The third option is the way this can be done well. Eliot Spitzer did it as soon as he became governor.  If Barrack Obama gets into power, he should appoint Olympia Snowe to Secretary of the Interior or Health and Human Services.  She's good on the issue, and when she moves to Washington she turns an unassailable red seat into an instant lean-blue.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
Lugar (0.00 / 0)
has a lot of expertise and cred on counter/nonproliferation, from what I've heard.

[ Parent ]
Hm (0.00 / 0)
That would justify working with him on legislation on that issue, but unless he's truly rejecting a plank of conservativism, I can't imagine an actual spot in the administration being warranted.  

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
I'm not naive (4.00 / 3)
   I don't see Barack Obama as a transformative progressive. I DO see him as a president and party leader who will make it much EASIER to usher in a new progressive era, certainly much more so than Clinton. (Though, paradoxically, a President McCain might be even more long-term helpful in that regard, but we can't afford any more right-wing damage to the country.)

  We need to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from the DLC nexus before we have any prayer of doing ANYTHING progressive. An Obama nomination is a necessary element of that. It's not sufficient, but it's a start.

  A Clinton nomination would pretty much extinguish all the gains the progressive movement has made within the party over the last few years. Gone will be the 50-state strategy and the expansion of the Democratic base. Firmly entrenched will be the Penn/Wolfson/McAuliffe crowd, tiny congressional "majorities", and a party infrastructure set up to serve the needs of a small coterie of powerbrokers, not the party as a whole.

 I support Obama because BEFORE we effect POLICY change, we need to effect PARTY change. Once Obama's in office we can worry about the rest of it.

   

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


It is a hope of an improvement (4.00 / 1)
I agree with you, but with one caveat--it might be better with Obama, but it isn't a guarantee.

I think that, yes, there was no hope at all of wresting control from the DLC nexus under Clinton. That Obama is less fixed in that regard gives me hope, but it is also an unknown. We just don't know if he will be substantively better. Still, that unknown is enough for me to cheer for him.  


[ Parent ]
people here just want IT ALL NOW!!! (4.00 / 1)
Maybe Obama will be a mere decent president, with the usual human mix of successes and failures, good and bad.  Maybe he'll be better than that.

But the "pre-disappointment" and the sureness of the future as divined by analysts looking at campaign symbolism here strikes me as naive and sad.

The wishing for complete and full and perfect transformational candidate now is a fantasy.   I really wonder if people here really have the stomach to build a movement.  For in politics, there always will be losses.

Perfect Candidate X did not win this year.  Honestly, I don't know when X ever even ran.   The world isn't perfect or perfectible either.  


[ Parent ]
You seem to be conflating (4.00 / 2)
You seem to be conflating any criticism of Obama with an expectation that the next Democratic President should be perfect. That just isn't true.

Criticizing Democrats does not arise out of expectations of perfection. Criticizing Democrats arising when they do things that seems to be damaging.

To dismiss all criticism of Democrats as a temper tantrum of progressives who demand perfection dismisses all possible criticism of Democrats from progressives. They do some unprogressive things, and to stay quiet when that happens because "no one is perfect" moves us down the road of accepting whatever they do.  


[ Parent ]
if not a tantrum, it's a rush to judgment (0.00 / 0)
I never said "tantrum".  And I never implied there should be no criticism. You're projecting.  

I did say there was a misunderstanding of symbolism.  I think you have missed this. I think you are very, very literal.

You're basing this all on "seems to be damaging".... "seems?"  

I think you have jumped the gun here with this and before on Obama.  He might actually even appoint a Hagel, to the cabinet, and not just talk about in a campaign.  And he may or may not empower that appointed Hagel.....

The possible combinations are endless.  Your rush to condemnation, however, is swift.  

Here's another possiblility:  the true, overt, committed progressivism you (and I) desire may not be possible on the Presidential level for many years...and what we need in the interim is a "perceived" successful President who can broaden the base.    


[ Parent ]
When Obama's economic advisor is also the DLC's.... (0.00 / 0)
How do you figure that's "getting away" from the DLC nexus? Gee, maybe it's just me, but that makes me distinctly nervous.

[ Parent ]
I am baffled why Hillary Clinton never said something like: (4.00 / 7)
"When my husband got into the white house the first time, we were both enthusiastic about working across the aisle.  We talked to republican leaders and tried to get legislation passed.

Two years later, however, we realized that we had to get real.  Republican leaders do not negotiate and they do not back down.  Negotiation is always a good thing, but if you are going to deal with Congressional Republicans, you have to be a fighter.  That is what my time in Washington taught me"

It reinforces her expeirence, highlights Obama's lack of experience, explains why experience is important (something that she rarely does), and seriously exposes Obama on this post-partisan bullshit.  He's left a huge target on his chest about this stuff, and she's been unwilling to throw so much as   a suction cup dart at it.


that would have been a great line (4.00 / 3)
Yeah, that would have been awesome. It is too bad she never said that, but that she didn't say that also reinforces my belief that she isn't any better--and might be worse--than Obama on this front.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, it's just frustrating (0.00 / 0)
I'm not even asking her to move on policy, or to alter anything aobut her image.  I think a statement like that is pretty consistent with the rest of her campaign, so much as it has been defined.  

She was the last person with the ability to force Obama to not have it both ways, and she screwed up, in a way that wasn't even to her benefit.


[ Parent ]
Maybe she didn't say that, (4.00 / 1)
because that's not what her record in the Senate demonstrates.  She worked hard to win her kudos for bipartisan cooperation and working with upstate New Yorkers.  Look at her record.

I'm not quite sure when Clinton became the "partisan fighter."

One Million Strong --- Join up!


[ Parent ]
Because (4.00 / 2)
She doesn't think that. Bill Clinton in fact is on record as saying THE EXACT OPPOSITE. Clinton thinks he should have been more bipartisan when he first got into office, and that that was the big mistake of his first term.  

[ Parent ]
Bill Clinton (0.00 / 0)
is not Hillary Clinton. Please write this 500 times on the blackboard before you go out for recess.  Thank you.

[ Parent ]
Two outcomes here (0.00 / 0)
1) Obama is only saying this to play well in the general election against McCain. He's not actually going to follow through with putting Republicans in top cabinet positions.

2) Obama really is going to put Republicans in top positions, in which case he has to feel the pressure from his supporters to appoint Democrats in a Democratic administration.


I hope you are right (4.00 / 2)
But my big worry is that, instead of #2, Obama supporters will enthusiastically cheer on said appointments as strokes of political genius.  

[ Parent ]
What concerns me here is the antagonistic way you are (4.00 / 1)
conceiving of this.  It may simply be that he values conservative points of view.  I certainly don't think Hegal or Warner have proved themselves to be the kind of neo-con wackos that ran the Bush FP.  As someone studying political philosophy, I have respect for the historical argument conservatism.  I just reject the intolerance and fascism that it can quickly lead it seems in the modern era.  This may not be about politics, though as I asserted in the above post, I don't think its necessarily inconsistent with a political strategy for what your calling transformative progressivism.

The Politics of Bruno S.


[ Parent ]
Departments of State and Defense (4.00 / 1)
As I said above, cabinet members are in charge of huge federal departments. Putting a conservative in charge of the largest of all those departments--defense--can never, ever be described as transformative progressivism, or even as progressive.  

[ Parent ]
Not to mention that SecState is the face of the United States (4.00 / 1)
to most foreign leaders.  Foreign leaders that are yearning for a total repudiation of Bushism.  Why appoint someone from Bush's party?

[ Parent ]
One could say because it's the ..... (0.00 / 0)

.........bi-partisan thing to do. But really how different are the parties?

Really?

Mr. 'Hope'...Senator 'Change' is gonna appoint the same fools and tools that got us into this mess to get us out?

Gee.....

Let's see what the good citizens of Texas, Ohio and them little bitty states have to say?

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I think you're projecting (0.00 / 0)
Most of the world wants a reprieve from Bush's foreign policy.  They do not however equate every Republican under the sun (particularly ones who oppose Bush on many significant issues) as inextricably tied to him.  They are far more interested in the ideas and policies than they are in progressive bona fides.

In this particular case, both Lugar and Hagel are relatively well-respected on the international stage.  I have a hard time believing any significant international constituency would be upset to have them show up as representatives of a new Democratic administration.


[ Parent ]
Just to flush this out a bit: what would be a transformative (4.00 / 1)
progressive response to the defense department.  Just off the top of my head, I'd say attacking the military-industrial complex, scaling back the absurd defense budget, pulling out of Iraq, the de-militarization of our FP first principles.  Is this what you have in mind?  Or are you thinking more in terms of political strategy?  If it's the policy approach, I'll grant you, putting a conservative senator in at defense will not get it done and would be in fact counter-productive.  On the other, who would get this done in the democratic party?  Its not we have a lot of people spouting C. Wright Mills in the party leadership or FP intelligensia right now.    

The Politics of Bruno S.


[ Parent ]
Agreed, and ... (0.00 / 0)
While "attacking the military-industrial complex, scaling back the absurd defense budget, pulling out of Iraq, the de-militarization of our FP first principles" are all progressive goals, there are also plenty of non-progressives who support some or all of them.  Some of them are Democrats; some are Republicans; some are non-partisan.  

In any case, if non-progressives are the most effective people to help accomplish these goals, then I think it's worth considering them.

After the last 20+ years of US politics, this kind of trans-partisanship really would be transformational -- one of the reasons that I agree with Master Jack that Obama as president would make it much easier to move the country as a whole in a significantly more progressive direction.

jon


[ Parent ]
The Defense and Foreign policy Establishment (0.00 / 0)
in Washington (Dem and GOP) tacks center right, which is why US foreign policy traditionally (pre-Bush anyway) chugged along in a fairly linear uninterrupted fashion from administration to administration.

HRC will likely continue that tradition. However, I think she holds the possibility to be a transformational president domestically, while I think that BHO may hold that possibility foreign policy-wise. He has already signalled a willingness to deal with Cuba in a fresh new way, and has made pretty brave noises about levelling the playing field with regards to Israel/Palestine which earned him much enmity from all the usual suspects. Not to mention that one of my foreign policy heroes, Zbigniew Brzezinski heartily endorses him, because Obama,  "...has a sense of what is historically relevant, and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world."

Not that anyone cares, but for me, domestic trumped national security issues in our primary.  


[ Parent ]
Not sure your ideas are practical. (0.00 / 0)
Scaling back the military-industrial complex and scaling back the defense budget, while worthy goals, are issues of money and power. Too many democrats are deep in that manure.

Maybe something more modest, like a multi-lateral foreign policy, and rebuilding world opinion.  


[ Parent ]
Sure but that's not transformative, either politically or policy-wise (0.00 / 0)
If the issue here is transformative progressivism, specifically as it pertains to the DoD, what does that look like?  Moreover, there are plenty of Republicans who could get behind these more modest goals.  Those would fall in with "centrism", I would argue, rather than transformation.

The Politics of Bruno S.


[ Parent ]
I'm not expecting transformative progressivism. (0.00 / 0)
Neither Obama nor Clinton are going to implement a radically transformative national policy. That just ain't gonna happen at the top, because no single leader has the power or willingness to stick their neck out.

Is Obama creating a movement, or just riding a horse to the white house?

Transformation is about creating a movement that will elect "more and better democrats", where BETTER is the operative word. We have enough Democrats, they just aren't very progressive. And, again, they aren't going to stick their necks out without carrots and sticks of encouragement.

I have some enthusiasm for the fact that Obama is expanding the grass roots of the Democratic Party, and bypassing a lot of the Conservative Movement rhetoric. If, as Paul Rosenberg has pointed out so frequently, Liberal policies have considerable popular support, then a radically transformative progressive movement rests on a change in the political atmosphere, and popular dialogue. I'm watching to see...

Even if Obama gets screwed out of the general election, the sense of outrage and betrayal would sharpen the movement. That might even be more transformative than if Obama won and then implemented poorly.


[ Parent ]
This shows how far right it has all come (4.00 / 3)
Since I was born in the late 1960s, I came of age politically during the Reagan years. Back then, we loathed the kind of policies that people like Hagel and Lugar represented because they were CONSERVATIVE policies, and as liberals/progressives, we opposed conservative policies. Fast forward twenty years, and many progressives are saying that people like Hagel and Lugar are not so bad, certainly not as crazy as the Bush gang, and would be acceptable in an Obama cabinet. This shows how far right the debate has gone in just two decades. For the most part, the progressive point of view has been shut out as a viable part of the political discussion, and our politics just veer back and forth between hardcore Republicans and "centrist" Democrats. As a result, those who desire true progressive change are left with no choice but to bend over backwards to try and show how the Democratic candidate is really progressive, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support that candidate's progressivism. It's come down to hardcore conservatism vs. mediocre, non-progressive Democrats, and until we expand those narrow ranges of choices, things will get worse in this country.  

[ Parent ]
Not me... (4.00 / 2)
When this nomination fight is over, we are going to be on the same side here, Chris.  I think that the reason many of us are a bit quick to defend Obama at this point is that the nomination fight is still going on, and so any diminution of Obama's support benefits Clinton, either directly or indirectly.  

I am pretty clear on why I prefer Obama to Clinton, and it has to do with more than just the 50 state strategy.  I see her as awful on foreign policy and government transparency/lobbyist reform, and think that there is no reason to think she would govern on domestic issues in a way that is fundamentally different than Bill (i.e. pursue triangulation rather than mobilize the country for progressive reforms).  Also, I think Obama's coattails will likely be much longer than Clintons, meaning that he will have a much friendlier congress than she would.  Finally, based on a range of factors, I think Obama has a strong progressive orientation (Michelle's speeches, his books, the Chicago circles he moves in, the way he has run his campaign [i.e. bring lots of new people into the political process], his stated positions on the environment, his opposition to nuclear weapons, his recent statement on LGBT issues, his fopo campaign rhetoric, etc).  

But, I absolutely agree, Obama leaves a lot to be desired.  And the question of which Obama we will get as president will be determined, in large part, based on how much pressure the left (including a lot of his supporters) applies to him.  All of this is to say: I am with you in your critiques of Obama, and I'll be a bit more strident when/if he is our nominee, and even more strident when/if he is elected president.    


[ Parent ]
Dept. of State is a good place for a Republican (0.00 / 0)
Picking Lugar for Secretary of State upsets the narrative that Democrats rely too much on diplomacy and not enough on force. Lugar is a known quantity in Russia and in the nuclear arms community globally. As a partisan Democrat I will enthusiastically cheer Lugar's selection as Secretary of State. I'm also fairly certain that Lugar got a majority of Democratic votes cast in his last election so whatever the perception is in Broderland, the reality in Indiana is that Lugar enjoys the support of Democrats.

No Democrat should pick a Republican as Secretary of Defense. It reinforces the narrative that Dems are weak on defense. If I was Obama I'd be looking at Jack Reed for Secretary of Defense.

Hagel is very different than Lugar IMHO in stature on the world stage and I don't see a role for a "maverick" Republican in  a Democratic administration. I think Lugar would welcome working on a task without any limelight. Hagel, not so much.

John McCain


[ Parent ]
Oh, come on. (4.00 / 1)
Of course they will. He sends right-wing dog whistles, adopts GOP talking points, says he'd support abstinence education, has conservative advisers, redefines the term "liberal" to make it virtually meaningless and now says he'll appoint conservatives to high-level posts in his cabinet. Yet he's still hailed as a progressive genius.

I think the mistake many, many people have made is, they've confused progressive tactics with a progressive agenda.


[ Parent ]
There's no point in worrying. (0.00 / 0)
It will be too late.

[ Parent ]
Didn't Bill Clinton... (4.00 / 1)
...have republican Secretary of Defense?  Yes.  But this didn't concern me then and it wouldn't concern me in an Obama administration.  What would concern me is if there republicans heading the DOJ, Interior, EPA, HHS, Labor or Education.  My guess is that Obama would say the same thing.

It bothered me about Clinton (4.00 / 1)
Administration of the Department of Defense, which happens to be the largest component of the federal government, is very important. After initial cutbacks that helped put the country on the right track, Clinton backed down in his later years and put a Republican in charge of the department. It is very worrying to see the possibility of progressive surrender over the DoD even before Obama takes office. At least Clinton made an early dent before appointing Cohen. Can we expect the same from Obama?  

[ Parent ]
I think using Hagel and Luger is a good idea. (4.00 / 1)
Look, both Hagel and Luger are conservatives, but neither is really a partisan hack.  What Obama is trying to do is follow the JFK model of governance.  After all Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, and Douglas Dillon were all Republicans in Kennedys cabinet, and while McNamara and McBundy went rampant under a less stable President (Johnson), I think they were able to serve Kennedy quite well.  This in no way indicates that Obama intends to govern as a centrist.

This is a good move for several reasons.  You pick a couple of conservatives that you agree with in one area or another, and put them in a capacity where they're only working in the area in which you basically agree with them.  This is both a conciliatory move to conservatives (because Obama really does believe this 'bring us all together' talk), and it essentially neutralizes to popular Republican voices.  It would take two near untouchables out of their Senate seats, so we'll have a much better shot at beating their appointed replacements, and it gives us two prominant conservatives who can't publicly disagree with Obama on things they normally would, because they serve at 'the pleasure of the President'.  I don't see too much of a downside here.


McNamara? We want to emulate the selection of McNamara? (0.00 / 0)
I know that here was a disclaimer about going rampant under Johnson, but still... we aren't exactly talking about someone who was a raging sucess in the cabinet.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (0.00 / 0)
McNamara, despite his actions under Johnson, was a very valuable asset to Kennedy in the Cuban Missle Crisis.

[ Parent ]
Hah....Hah....Hah.... (4.00 / 1)
.....and so it begins the 'transformation' of Senator 'Hope' into President 'Dope'. Does he think playing footsies with Hagel will save him from the cornholin' McConnell and the rest in the Senate have in store for him?

I suppose he can always call on Crazy Joey the Liarman for some 'mentoring'.

Lemme see.....

Colin 'My Lai' Powell for....

Sec of the Treasury. Can't pretend he knows anything about the workings of the military anymore.....

If only Senator 'Hope' is that delusional. He could play the same role vis. the Dead Loser Causus and the Defeatist Corpse Committee for Change that Mr. Decider played re: The ReThuglican Party.

Their executioner.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


um.... (0.00 / 0)
Colin 'My Lai' Powell for....

It was Clinton who said that she would look to people like Colin Powell, and Bill Clinton and the Clinton machine (Chuck Schumer, head of the DSCC) who put "Crazy Joe Liarman" back in the Senate.


[ Parent ]
Correct.... (4.00 / 1)

.....I wasn't talking about Clinton. See my post down thread with link and you might learn something more about Senator 'Hope'.

And no it's not a binary thing here. To attempt to suss out what Obama is about has nothing to do with Clinton.

Both suck.

But one tries to obscure who and what he is.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Aside from all that. . . (0.00 / 0)
It would be better to have a repub SecDef like Hagel, not only to bring contrarian repubs on board with Obama policies, especially vis a vis Iraq, but also to shift blame onto (both the individual and the party) if it all turns to shit.(turns shittier?)

Yeah, you're missing something: (4.00 / 5)
Samantha Power.

If you're looking to criticize Obama there are ample examples you can have of people he has already shown to be the type of people, or the exact people, he will have as part of his administration.  He's been holding Foreign Policy forums throughout the campaign, so start with Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Tony Lake and others.  For me, I don't know where along the fault lines of progressivism you'll rate Power, but she is one of my reasons for being so enthusiastic about an Obama Presidency.  


that is a valid point (4.00 / 2)
Obama has some progressive policy advisors who are different from Clinton's. Hopefully, they will take the lead role.  

[ Parent ]
Clearly it's a tradition to appoint one or two opposition party members (0.00 / 0)
to the cabinet, and it's not really possible for Obama to do otherwise after all of his talk of bipartisanship.  Cabinet appointments are some of the first business a president takes up with Congress, and they can help set the tone for the session.  Bush took a few hits for appointing his token Democrat to the Secretary of Transportation role.

Clinton set the precedent of putting a Republican in the Secretary of Defense position --- but I wonder if this has only served to reinforce the idea that Republicans are better on national security or somehow closer to the armed forces.  I think this is a legitimate point to push Obama on --- I think it's silly to slam him though for it.

But I don't think we should be surprised that Obama would be talking about appointing one or two Republicans to his cabinet --- literally any Democrat would be doing the same.

And I do really doubt that Obama would appoint either Lugar or Hagel to the Secretary of State slot --- there are too many other Democrats who would excel at this position, including a lot of people on his staff aiming for it. (i.e. Susan Rice) And foreign policy is too high a priority for him to put a free agent in a position like that or someone who doesn't share his philosophy.

I'd expect Samantha Power to be assistant secretary of state for human rights or to have a special advisory role.  Susan Rice might be the secretary of state slot, or she get another stint as an assistant secretary of state.  I'm not worried about conservatives taking over the State Department.

One Million Strong --- Join up!


[ Parent ]
This "tradition" is broken (0.00 / 0)
"Clearly it's a tradition to appoint one or two opposition party members to the cabinet"
Where's the Dem in Bush's cabinet? Hmm? Not even Zell Miller there. And remember, Bush ran on a promise of "uniting" the nation, too. And still he didn't feel compelled to put a liberal mole in his administration. Dems shouldn't feel obliged to do this, either. Only fair.  

[ Parent ]
I guess I missed something here (0.00 / 0)
What I have seen and read on the 'progressive' blogs is that they are clamoring for change and WANT the compromise, middle rode, everyone included thing.

Maybe I need a definition of what "transformative progressive change is." Maybe all of us who read the blogs need to hear it again.


I think you are missing something (0.00 / 0)
I haven't seen blogs clamor for compromise and centrism. Like ever.  

[ Parent ]
I say we take Obama at his word and.... (0.00 / 0)

.........rely on his record. Would that be okay with folks here? If so, cruise on over to my blog and checkout my post:

Interesting......

I found his comments on Rumsfeld.....

Illuminating, ya know?


Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


Illuminating (0.00 / 0)
Hillary Clinton was actually in the Senate when Donald Rumsfeld was confirmed.

How did she vote?  


[ Parent ]
For the love of God (4.00 / 1)
He's not supporting Hilary Clinton! Neither is Chris' post! Everything bad about Obama is bad about him whether or not it's also true of Clinton.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
So... (0.00 / 0)
...tearing down the slightly-more-than-likely Democratic nominee with an out-of-context and irrelevant smear is okay with you?  

[ Parent ]
No, it's irritating (0.00 / 0)
That's why I didn't respond to it.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
There's a difference between attacking them from the left (4.00 / 1)
and parroting what McCain will say.  John McCain won't go after Obama yelling "Progressives are worried that Barack obama is going to have a republican-led foreign policy apparatus!!"

If the attack is designed to force him to govern more like us, and less like the DLC, it's not going to help his opponent out, and has at least a chance of helping us out.


[ Parent ]
Typical Oborg response.... (0.00 / 0)
.........my comment is not out-of-context. If Senator 'Dope' could support the appointment of Rumsfeld to Sec Defense that shows that his judgment just plain sucks. Thus, his idea of appointing Hagel to the cabinet is also suspect.

The second clip shows that Ol' Barrack is far more interested in being President than he is in doing his job. You'd think that he'd be smart enough to hold at least a couple of meetings to forestall criticism would you not?

But no, Obama is so arrogant so self-centered that he thinks the rules don't apply to him.

Kinda reminds me of someone else we have in office now.....

Just because I'm a progressive Democrat doesn't mean I have to take bullshit from any candidate, presumptive nominee or not.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
She voted to confirm him.... (0.00 / 0)

...........which is what the mores of that nest of corruption the United States Senate called for. As I'm sure you know the President can nominate a dead dog and get it confirmed under our system of 'checks and balances'.

But....

This is not about Clinton.

Barrack is expressing his support for the worst Sec of Defense since the Civil War. Admittedly this was before that was evident but.....

There's this thing Ol' Barack keeps whining about...it's called...

Judgment.

So....

How's he doin' on that score?

Don't forget to view the second clip. It's...

Well, make up your own mind.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Ah! (0.00 / 0)
Barrack is expressing his support for the worst Sec of Defense since the Civil War. Admittedly this was before that was evident but.....

So your standard of "judgment" includes, by your own admission, clairvoyance.

Good luck with that.


[ Parent ]
Wake up and smell the coffee pal. (0.00 / 0)
I knew Rumsfeld was gonna be a lousy Sec. of Defense. Real lousy, and I wasn't the only one. Many, many other folks knew it too.

Here's one definition of 'judgment':

The cognitive process of reaching a decision; "a good executive must be good at decision making"

Which makes Barack a lousy executive. Just what we need, eh?

Please refrain from responding to my comments until you can make a valid argument.

Thanks.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Obama and Rumsfeld (0.00 / 0)
This video is taken from the context of a discussion on whether or not John Ashcroft was in the mainstream of American politics, and Barack was pointing out that he wasn't, and used Donald Rumsfeld as an example.  So you may then ask, "Well, Donald Rumsfeld has a pretty shitty reputation - he must have gone through a contentious confirmation process, right?"  As it were, Donald Rumsfeld was so out of the mainstream that the Senate confirmed him on a voice vote. Enough said - this is a non-story.

[ Parent ]
Good head fake, perhaps? (4.00 / 1)
There are three good conceivable reasons, why a true progressive would say he may have Republicans in his cabinet:

a.  Political - persuade conversatives that he isn't a "howlin g lefty".
b.  One of general competent philosophy.  Put the best person in a job, especially a standout, regardless of ideology.  

Notice, that he mentions HAGEL.  Strategically, this could be a great move, as was mentioned above.  Hagel would be the face of the withdrawal from Iraq, and a conversative Vietnam vet, immunizes the withdrawal from Iraq (to a degree).  And notice, Obama DOESN'T offer Hagel a domestic economic position!

It could be a very good way to position leaving Iraq.

At any rate, it's good to keep noticing how "centrist" Obama's languaging can be at times, but, this probably has more to do with getting elected.  But I could definitely be wrong.

Now, I'd LOVE to see the same type of strategic thinking, being brought forward in say, getting health care to all americans.  Although, I think his 'lack of mandate' is the politcal cover for his plan.  We'll see if it works.


I Hear the Whistle (4.00 / 4)
I think the dog whistle progressives like myself and others hear is that Obama talks a lot about bringing in a large Democratic majority.  Obama understands that if he can get 57-58 Democrats in the Senate and have enough cross-over appeal to scare a few remaining Senate Republicans, he can get more progressive legislation passed.  

I think that Obama's centrism may be similar to Bush's compassionate conservatism.  He talks about the middle and will govern from the left.  The Clinton brand of centrism involves co-opting the positions of the other side, which will result in far less progressive legislation.  

I don't think he will appoint both Hagel and Lugar, because doing so would send the message that Democrats cannot be put in charge of the military or foreign policy.  However, I think it may be smart to appoint one of those two to one of the above mentioned cabinet positions in order to give himself some necessary political cover to withdraw our troops.  


A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!


Not on board (4.00 / 1)
I think Hagel as Secretary of Defense makes political sense in that he's been better than many Democrats on Iraq, and would have the cover of being "tough."  However, Hagel is no Eisenhower Republican who would try to reform the military industrial complex.  One of the biggest cancers on the government right now is the national security state, and the conventional wisdom that enforces it.  Installing Hagel as the  Secretary of Defense all but guarantees that a mildly altered status quo will prevail at Defense in an Obama administration.

Hopefully, this is just bluster.  I don't see Hagel deserting McCain in a general election campaign.  An ideal choice for Secretary of Defense would be Wes Clark.  He seems to understand the underlying problems with the national security state, and would have the cover of his military career to implement some needed reforms.


On that matter, (4.00 / 1)
I"m almost willing to take opposition to the m**fing missile defense shield as a litmus test for the secretary of defense.

[ Parent ]
Nuclear weapons (0.00 / 0)
Lugar might actually be interesting in terms of getting rid of America's nuclear arsenal.  Is he in favor of the Nunn-Kissinger proposal for the elimination of nuclear weapons?

One Million Strong --- Join up!

[ Parent ]
Perhaps Obama read David Ignatius' column today (0.00 / 0)
And got worried that he wasn't doing enough to capture the "working center."  Whatever that means.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...


Try living in a very conservative area (4.00 / 1)
If you do so you will pretty quickly understand how transformative Obama is.  

They aren't voting against Clinton in the red states.  They are voting for government health insurance without mandates.  

See the thing is that Obama isn't about pushing blue states to the left.  He is about pushing red states to the left.

The liberal wiki
Send an email to terra@liberalwiki.com


It's called "balancing the ticket" (0.00 / 0)
Hillary would do something similar herself, only she would appoint Lieberman as defense secretary...

The idea of Hagel as defense secretary is a brilliant one... It almost completely inoculates the Iraq withdrawal...  People may not like Hagel 'cos he's not Mr. Progressive on most issues, but he was brave enough to stand up against an evil war.

He went against the party and paid a huge price for it... he's out of a job, and most republicans hate him as much as we hate Lieberman!  That took a lot of guts and courage to do the right thing.  I trust him implicitly.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


Regret your support yet, Chris? Still time... (4.00 / 1)
...to push for a more progressive candidate in Pennsylvania.

As a Clinton support distressed by her lagging campaign, I've been looking for that "bridge to Obama." I haven't found it yet. This is deeply troubling.


Feingold is on the ballot in Pennsylvania? n/t (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Chris, I think (4.00 / 1)
I generally agree with you, but there are a few points I'd like to make.  Just because one is a domestic conservative, doesn't make one a conservative in the international arena.  I would call both Hagel and Lugar realists on international issues.  Second, I think the fact that they may be fiscally conservative might be good (at least in the case of the Department of Defense) since they'll be more responsible about wasteful govt contracts and sweetheart deals, etc.  Third, Obama may be trying achieve from the left what Sarcozy did from the right in France and put together a kind of national government across party lines.  Fourth, he may see the political landscape differently from you and not think there is a sustainable base in the country to support a government that doesn't include international realists from the opposition.  Fifth, Lugar and Hagel, if appointed, won't be setting policy on their own, and if they do, and if it is unacceptable, they serve at the pleasure of the president.  

It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners -- Albert Camus


Foreign policy realists = a good thing? (4.00 / 1)
Obama is going to move in favor of Nixon/Kissinger power projection?

[ Parent ]
There are all kinds of foreign policy realists. You pick yours, I'll pick mine. (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Mine is the one used by academics and FP specialists (0.00 / 0)
link  I just wanted to verify that that was not what you're talking about.  I don't know enough about Hagel to know that's not his view of foriegn policy.  

[ Parent ]
A very, very good thing indeed! (0.00 / 0)
Peace with honor!

Peace with honor!

Peace with honor!

Peace with honor!

Peace with honor!

Yep, worked like a charm in 'Nam. Only took another 5 years and 20,000 casualties to achieve that noble goal.

'Course Nixon was twice the politician Ol' Barack is so.....

Get ready for the 12th anniversary of 'the conclusion of combat operations in Iraq....'

That would be around 2012. With Chuck Hagel standing by Obama's side and nodding his head as all wise villagers do when called upon.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Short Term Plus Long Term (4.00 / 2)
For me, at least, a large part of Obama's appeal comes from how I think his approach would play out during his own term and beyond. In the short term, his Illinois record suggests that he's skilled rhetorically and legislatively at negotiating a consensus behind significant incremental improvements in various areas, like he did with the confessions law in Illinois. Appointing a Republican to a cabinet post - which I recall Edwards also proposing, and which Bush did on the opposite side - could play out as part of that strategy; it would depend on the Republican and the position.

In the long term, both the movement and organizing tools Obama has pushed, his constant emphasis that the people have to be the ones to demand change, and his emphasis on communications, media, technology, transparency, and lobbying reform means that he is creating an environment in which progressives will be able to push Obama and all the Democrats who come after him to do even more to advance a progressive agenda.

If you want to know where the dog whistle is for me, it's Dreams from My Father. I may be willfully blinding myself, but the guy who wrote that book before he was anything close to a national political figure just seems to be the kind of guy who can shake up the conversation in order to get more citizens involved in it. And that notion of citizen participation and discourse is absolutely central to my notion of progressivism, so it's not hard for me to define Obama as progressive. Different definitions of progressive will result in different views, I'm sure.


Mr Obama: How about Ken Salazar? (0.00 / 0)
Ken Salazar would be the best Republican to appoint. Yes, that is a snark, but seriously. The Republican Party weren't dominated by movement Conservatives, Christianists, and Neoliberals. Appointing any Republican of stature exactly endorses the Conservative movement.

If Obama wants to reach out to moderate Republicans, than he has to look to the Conservative side of the Democratic Party.


Yeah because reaching out to Joe Liebermann... (4.00 / 2)
as Al Gore's VP worked SO WELL for us.

Look, I don't mind reaching out to moderate Republicans, I would much rather empower moderate Republicans that DLC type Democrats, because giving them credibilty only weakens us as a party and dilutes or message.  We can work with moderate Republicans and still have the public understand they are on the OTHER side.  DLC types tend to misconstrue their positions as being representative of mainstream Democratic thought, bringing us as a party rightward.


[ Parent ]
Salazar's no Lieberman (0.00 / 0)
He is actually quite principled, sitting comfortably in the conservative wing of the Democratic party, not the neo-con wing, and certainly not the Movement-Conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Colorado is a pink state by temperament, even though the Republican Party has almost completely been taken over by neocons, pseudo-libertarians and relgious right. Salazar does represent the remaining moderate Republicans. And, he has specifically attacked the religious right.


[ Parent ]
He's damn close (4.00 / 1)
And I'll never forgive the son of a bitch for cheerleading for Alberto Gonzales post-Abu Grahib, post-torture memo. Unforgivable and un-American by any partisan standard. Endorsing torture to establish his "bipartisan" bona fides. I get angry just thinking about it.

But I like your listing him as a moderate Republican. I think you're right.

But Arkansas Liberal makes a subtle, even in-the-weeds, argument that I think is right. Naming a Liebercrat like Salazar to the cabinet does blur the party's national message more than naming a Republican to a very circumscribed cabinet post, and also, speaking very cynically, buys credibility with the Broderists (who aren't going anywhere) while maintaining clarity in a larger sense.  


[ Parent ]
I accept your points (0.00 / 0)
Salazar's positions are not acceptable, and contradict the Democratic Party positions. Specifically, he does not abide by the Colorado Democratic Platform, but then neither does Governor Ritter.


[ Parent ]
The way I look at it ... (4.00 / 2)
I think  he'll govern as a mix: not as consistently progressive as I'd like, but very progressive in the aggregate, far more than any president in at least the last 40 years.

His positions on issues and his rhetoric run the gamut from very progressive (a lot of his technology policy, support for transgender-inclusive Employment Non-discrimination Act) through centrist to conservative.  

So the question for me is whether he will actually spend the energy and political capital on the progressive parts of his platform (as well as others)?   His Senatorial record implies that he will -- the transparency legislation, for example.  

Schul makes a very good point about the linkage between the size of a Democratic majority and the likelihood of getting progressive legislation passed. With a larger majority, the party doesn't need to be so accomodationist to the Liebermans of the world.  The huge increases in voting -- and even more, in volunteering and grassroots activism -- that the Obama (and to a lesser extent Clinton) campaigns have sparked will, if sustained, continue this trend in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

And I think that Obama's multi-partisan approach is likely to get some progressive legislation passed that otherwise would be blocked by an alliance between Republicans and conservative Democrats.  [In an alternate universe where partisanship wasn't been so acute, it seems likely to me that at least a few Republicans would have been willing to vote to outlaw torture -- and for the rule of law  on 'telco immunity'.]   Bill Clinton's "triangulation" approach (combined with divisive and manipulative politics being practiced by both parties) didn't succeed in bridging the partisan gap; it seems to me that Obama's inclusive approach, especially when coupled with grassroots pressure, is a lot more likely to succeed.

jon


Must the secDef be a partisan position? (0.00 / 0)
It is under Bush, of course, but does it have to be?  Isn't mere competence enough?  And if so, does Hagel then qualify?

My questions may sound rhetorical, but I mean them literally.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


If the president makes it clear that (s)he is going to listen (0.00 / 0)
to SecState first on foreign policy matters, and use the SecState as the spokesperson, I could see how you could use the secdef as more of an administrator.

But, that has often not been the case in the past, and defense has had its way on numerous foreing policy squabbles with state (notably with the various times during the Pakistan/India conflict, where defense though that some of the military governments of Pakistan were better suited for anticommunism that the more democratically elected goverments of India, which state favored because democracy more closely relfected the US diplomatic message)


[ Parent ]
Conservatives in the Cabinet. (4.00 / 1)
   I don't know why it is that we Obama supporters are expected to agree with every move Obama makes.  I don't remember anyone calling Obama a transformative progressive.  I do remember this poll to endorse Obama, and how Obama didn't pass the threshhold.
  I don't want Republicans in his cabinet.  Hagel and Lugar (especially Lugar) are terrible.  

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

Diversity is Progressive n/t (0.00 / 0)


Conservativism is not (4.00 / 1)
So, I guess by that logic, a progressive governing majority is actually a mix of progressive and conservative positions. In other words, if as progressives we must allow conservatives into positions of extensive power in the government, we should also give up any hope of a progressive governing majority altogether.

There already is a mix of progressives and conservatives in D.C. Maybe we don't need to change anything from the current composition of D.C. in order for it become progressive. It already is.  


[ Parent ]
I don't (0.00 / 0)
see putting a conservative in the cabinet as seeding power to conservatives.  First of all, and this is crucial, ultimately they answer to the president.  They are only part of a team and their input is very restricted and limited.  The Secretary of Defense, for example, is not going to have a say on economic policy.  Though I generally don't like such analogies, as a company owner I depend on having managers that think differently than I do.  I seldom overrule them but that, in part, is because they know what the goals and mission of the company are.  Also as a grassroots local activist, I do not feel compromised when some of the people working with me to promote locally owned independent businesses are Republicans.  We agree on this issue and are well served by our different approaches to the issue.  

[ Parent ]
Where the hell have you been the last.... (0.00 / 0)
.........forty years. Republicans, 'conservatives' all determined to convert our nation into a fascist state. They are almost there and now.....

Now, when the American People are saying, 'We've had enough!'

Enough war....

Enough of hollowing out our economy....

Enough criminality!

Enough looting the Treasury so the upper .1 of one percent gets billiions in tax cuts....

Enough of Republican lies, murder ant theft and.....

You and folks like you want to be all 'bi-partisan'. Bullshit. Here's my answer carefully preserved answer to you and all like you from a thread a couple of years back from dKos before it became CheetoLand:

Let me put it this way: I'm not interested in hearing from Republicans about how to do anything. You have been wrong about
everything for so long I don't have the slightest interest in what you care about whatsoever.


Hagel...wrong!

Lugar...wrong!

These people are the enemy; see Paul Rosenberg's post on 'Loyalty Oaths' on this blog today and get real.

Republicans belong in jail not the cabinet.

We are not talking about getting along with your fellow citizens who are Republicans we are talking about the criminal cabal that steals  elections. Starts illegal wars and will throw you in jail if they get half a chance. If you can't understand that get the hell out of the Democratic Party!

There's no room for compromise with the 'conservative' ReichWing.

Why?

Because they will not compromise on one single item of their agenda.

Not one.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I really don't mean (0.00 / 0)
any offence.  But do you think that that is a progressive perspective?

[ Parent ]
There is a difference (0.00 / 0)
between Republican leadership, to which we can rightfully attribute all kinds of maladies, and the average Republican voter, a lot of whom now strongly disapprove of the administration.  I'm not saying I agree with them on everything, or most things, but they're looking for as much a change as a lot of Democrats.  We shouldn't write them off and disrespect them with this kind of rhetoric.  A Republican vote is worth just as much as a Democratic vote if you don't give up an inch of policy to get it - with Obama, that goal is well within reach, so let's back off, please on this kind of rhetoric.  It doesn't make anything better, and hurts us more than you realize.  

[ Parent ]
Sigh... (0.00 / 0)
I was waiting for this.  I was expecting this.  I was dreading this.

We truly have this amazing ability as a community to eat our young, and it looks like we're not even waiting until Obama is the nominee.

Sure, they're "valid criticisms", but I'm just saying maybe we should step back and learn some lessons from the past couple of elections.


I'll be honest: I WANT Powell as Sec. of Defense (4.00 / 1)
I want him to make it up to us for Lying. I want him to help us get out of Iraq, considering that his lies helped us get into Iraq.  

He is certainly qualified for the job ... (0.00 / 0)
... and I certainly like the narrative of him making it up to us (i.e. the world).  [It also would be a really clear that 'change' can include 'changing our minds'.]

I'm not sure how I feel about it -- a big question is whether it's possible to discharge the taint from the past, both within the US and internationally -- but it's certainly worth considering.

jon


[ Parent ]
Ex-Uniformed military as secretary of defense? (0.00 / 0)
George C. Marshall is the only example I can think of.  I don't like it just from the "we are a civilian goverment" perspective.  It would be nice to see him forced to apologize for, and clean up, his own mess though.

[ Parent ]
Do you really think that possible... (0.00 / 0)

.....the only way I can think for him to atone for My Lai and his lil' weather balloon errors is:

Seppaku.

How many Americans, not mention Iraqis....whom we usually don't here, died because of this man. Many in Europe and Asia consider him a war criminal just like his mentors Kissinger and Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice. Remember them.

They're all Republicans. The sort of people Obama wants to help him clean up the mess.

They made.

Nah, the only apology I want to hear from him is.....

The crack of a gunshot.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Come on, Chris (4.00 / 1)
With all due respect, it's March 2, and you've got it as a certainty that Obama will appoint one of these guys.  And if he does, so what?  Are we electing a Liberal King?  If he has some GOP types, and governs as a standard liberal, isn't that a thousand thimes preferable to the rampant radical wingnuttery we've had for eight years?  Keep your shirt on, man.  Prefer Hillary?  McCain?  The perfect is the enemy of the good, especially in politics.  

And 'good enough' is the enemy of acoomplishing anythign (4.00 / 2)
just because Obama is the best of a set of horrible options right now doesn't mean that we shouldn't be pressuring him.

[ Parent ]
Centrist = Corporate (0.00 / 0)
I just checked Hagel and he sure has a lot of votes that look bought and paid for.

That said, I don't believe all Republicans are all bad.  For example, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has a fairly populist streak and has worked on the behalf of Professional workers many times.  There are a lot of paleo-conservatives who hate Bush and want bad trade policy stopped just as much as Progressives, and often align with them.

But generally the minute someone claims to be a centrist, by the actions administration and congress have taken, I equate the above.  

NoSlaves.com  


The Economic Populist


Whether or not you favor his nomination (0.00 / 0)
How do Hagel's views on trade have anything to do with his role as a potential Secretary of Defense?

[ Parent ]
yes actually (4.00 / 1)
and the reason I think this is because there is the offshore outsourcing of critical infrastructure and technology.  We just had (finally) the 3COM deal blocked to sell to Huawei Technologies which was critical infrastrucutre (routers, networks, firewalls, security) that would have then been in the hands of the Chinese communist party.  

There is also massive industrial espionage going on here with little recorce.  Recently the DoD itself released a scary report that there is very little monitoring of this global supply chain, so much has been offshore outsourced, privatized and even worse, the DoD must use COTS (off the shelf generic components) which is another security issue and while they must use this (or get a dinosaur on technology plus massive costs) no one is monitoring that pipe for security vulnerabilities.  

There are so many ways, through technology to sabotage a nation's military, defenses, economy well, someone who is more than willing to offshore outsource, sell, move offshore these DoD technology areas, insource with no regard to citizenship, security screening, relaxation of import/export rules is in my view putting national security at serious risk.

Now, in terms of Republicans who care about this (and also isolating off the anti-choice and other effects) there are many but I'm not so sure about Hagel.

I've been trying to find his votes but there are many conservatives who would be well spoken good choices on this area.

Those willing to do a corporate lobbyist bidding her for a fast buck and thus ignore critical infrastructure, national security issues is bad bad news.  This is real, the Chinese military build up is real, Asian economic domination agenda is real.

NoSlaves.com  


The Economic Populist


[ Parent ]
I don't know enough about it either (0.00 / 0)
but, first of all, I can think of lots of Democrats who would be awful on the kind of things you talked about.  When all is said and done, I do believe that Hagel, more so than a lot of other Republicans, understands what's at stake, and care deeply about the security and defense of the United States.  With Obama at the helm and Hagel to execute the policy...it won't stop me at all from strongly supporting Barack Obama.  Even so, I can't say I'd rather have Hagel than anyone else.  This just isn't a make or break issue for me, and I'd really have to wait and see to make a more complete and final judgment.

[ Parent ]
uh, judgment and Hagel (0.00 / 0)
you are basically saying, gee, I don't understand, oh well, I'm sure that's all good
and ...you don't know who the real conservatives are who would risk further the US national security due to corporate lobbyist demands..ok....hmmm.

NoSlaves.com  


The Economic Populist


[ Parent ]
All I'm saying (4.00 / 1)
is that as far as I know, Hagel is vastly superior in terms of his integrity on national security issues that virtually all Republicans as well as some Democrats.  I'm not saying that I would necessarily support such a decision should it become a reality, as it all seems very speculative at the moment.  The limit of my suggestion is that, without any additional information at my disposal, Hagel isn't an absolutely reprehensible choice, and that at this moment, it's not something that can (or, I would argue, should) make or break anyone's support for Barack Obama.

[ Parent ]
CFIUS (0.00 / 0)
On a bill to reform CFIUS in '06, Hagel amended:

The substitute also includes an amendment filed by Senator Hagel that would ensure that critical infrastructure transactions that CFIUS determines do not raise any possible impairment to national security through additional assurances would not trigger a full investigation

Get that?  Hagel watered down a bill through amendment that was supposed to reform CFIUS.  CFIUS had been just approving deals right and left, that are obviously a threat to national security so some reforms were there in 2006 and wala he introduced an amendment that sure looks to water it down.

This is why it's so important to find out who these people really are by their votes, bills, speeches and money people.  

I'm saying know their positions and don't just jump on something out of irrational exuberances.

CFIUS just finally blocked the 3COM deal to a Chinese company that really was the military/Communist party...
people were in shock that they did their job.  There have been sales of major Internet backbone to India all sorts of assets that are critical to the US national defense, security, infrastructure.

He got a brownie point recently by introducing a bill with Dodd to rebuild the US infrastructure, but the devil is always in the details to make sure that employs US workers versus creates more no-bid contractors with foreign guest workers and other methods that offshore outsource US taxpayer dollars to foreign interests (which has happened extensively, they are using "retraining" money to train foreign guest worker Visas when it is supposed to go to support Americans who need a damn job).  

NoSlaves.com  


The Economic Populist


[ Parent ]
Dog whistles (0.00 / 0)
If you did not hear them and I did does that mean I am a dog and you are not?

Visit DebateScoop for political candidate debate news and analysis.

Obama OKeyed now Reagan, Rumsfeld, Lugar & Hagel (4.00 / 1)
How far he will go? How about adding Cheney to this list?
Wake up, people...

It's amazing to me how (4.00 / 1)
much of the left blogsphere has began to closely mirror the traditional press they ridicule.  This post is the perfect case in point:

Trad. media circa 2000: "George Bush promises to put Democrats on cabinet...he's going to govern as such a moderate!"

Chris Bowers circa 2008: "Obama advisers say he'll put Republicans on his cabinet...he's going to govern as such a moderate!"

Of course throw in a few false narratives like "Al Gore says he invented the internet" and "Obama praised Reagan" and it really just brings the point on home.


I don't see the correlation (0.00 / 0)
The trad media spin (if you're stating it accurately) was good for Bush. Nobody except the fringe right wanted a right-wing nutjob administration.

The Chris Bowers spin is bad for Obama from the perspective of progressives (us). We want a progressive, someone who fights for liberal causes.

Further, while Al Gore never said he invented the internet, Obama did praise Reagan. Specifically, he praised Reagan's acting skills, his charisma, his style. He did not praise Reagan's policies.


[ Parent ]
style, content, structure (4.00 / 1)
As someone ideologically more "left" than either Obama and Clinton, I can offer some explanation, if not defense, for why I feel somewhat positive about him.  Before doing that, I will say that both the symbolism of race and a sense of generational rebellion play a strong part in my decision, so please forgive some of admittedly self-defeating rationalizing tendencies below on those grounds :)

1. On content, I agree with you that Obama is not ideologically "progressive" even by the standards of, say, John Edwards or Hillary Clinton.
2. On the flipside, I think an Obama presidency could change the way Americans conceive of the state for anything except military action and oppressing them.  If the efficacy of the state as a benevolent or even competent force has been discredited, then any amount of ideological wrangling within the parameters set by the Republicans and Conservative Democrats over the past 30 years is just so much running in place.  I don't want to talk about school prayer anymore.  

Because he takes an "above politics" stance, even though his own ideology is not to my liking in many respects, the pragmatism + optimism involved would create greater citizen support for the state on principle.  Which could hypothetically lay the groundwork for more progressive policies in the long run.  At minimum, it could create the space for more substantive debates on, say, health policy, rather than more endless discussions about flag-burning.

3. Because of his "be friends with everyone" style, I think he opens up the space for a broader progressive coalition that he himself has played a large part in firing up and broadening.  For those of us who are to the left of him, his conservative ruling style could end the myth that inexplicably continues to exist in many people's minds, whether overtly or subconsciously, that once you get a Democratic president, that's the end of the struggle -- and allow third forces to gain credibility with some of the people who now support Obama.  Particularly once he actually has to make choices and gets critiqued more closely, as it will, if he does the kinds of things which you (and I) expect, as described above.  

But because of his style, I don't think he would have the gumption to crack down on opponents to the left of him (and I retain a hope that he secretly would believe in it, because he's not a dumb, unprincipled man--he's just a person in the position of having to act like one).  So although the policies might be bad, the civil society trends might continue to be good.

4. Some of what you point to could undermine this - the appointments he makes, the ways in which the bureaucrats are appointed, the use of "bipartisan" governance in the context of a discourse so rightwing it makes many of us nauseous, etc., the administrative decisions his agencies make, in that it could present political structural constraints for the future.  More dangerously, the civility of his style--and particularly the "anti-partisan" nature of it could be used to discipline what could have become a broad-based progressive populist movement into something much less.  But I remain cautiously optimistic because I can only hope that the effects of his style outweigh the structural effects of his choices and the ideological content of the policies he pursues.  And I would honestly prefer to hold my nose with a "bipartisan" cabinet with "moderate" Republicans than to watch more DLC people gut the Democratic party from the inside but continuing to shift the ideology inside it, particularly since, for now, I continue to believe that Barack Obama the man is more progressive than Barack Obama the Presidential candidate, the President, or the political actor.

Hope any of that made sense.


makes sense to me (4.00 / 1)
well said, dr anonymous.

jon


[ Parent ]
Makes a lot of sense (0.00 / 0)
and I wish I shared your optimism, but my instinct is his "civility" will just mean he gets rolled by the Republicans faster.

I wish I believed that civility in the White House would get us out of the mess we're in as a country.  I don't believe that for a New York minute.

I very sincerely hope that you're right and I'm wrong.


[ Parent ]
queasy hope is easier for me to deal with than despair :) (0.00 / 0)
After all these years of bad-worse-terrible news, doesn't it feel like something has changed?  Did you think it was even feasible two years ago that an inexperienced politician perceived as Black and with experience as a community organizer who can EASILY be tarred as a Muslim (among other things) and has admitted to doing cocaine could beat both the Clinton machine and have a reasonable shot at the Presidency?  Giving Obama credit doesn't do the story justice--let's give large swathes of the electorate and big business a little credit for wising up in the end to the repercussions of further insanity and incompetence.  

Moreover, the bigger story is what are the Republicans going to roll him with?  Most of the feasible parts of their agenda have already been legislated (by them or through cooption by Clinton-types) and they're no longer in a position to shift the discourse further.  It's not 1992 anymore.  The problems their governing philosophy created (e.g. levees collapsing, bridges collapsing, the economy collapsing, the fiscal budget collapsing, the manufacturing sector collapsing, and the most disenfranchised on many grounds left to bear the brunt of everything and the most well off left to enjoy yet more riches) have overtaken their capacity to lie credibly.  Yes, there will be some shitty (hopefully not REALLY shitty) policies enacted in the near future by whoever wins--like the border fence, or more detentions and deportations, or a half ass health care plan or some form of reduction in social security benefits.  But as many others have pointed out upstream, nothing's going to change overnight.

But honestly, you don't think big businesses besides insurance companies want or will shortly want the state to take health care costs off their hands now that public pressure is mounting (e.g. like the failed state bills that tried to force Wal-Mart to offer health insurance)?  Or shore up consumer demand by allowing workers to have marginal increases in their wages?  I don't like those limits, but it's how American politics seems to work.

As for "transformative" change--there's only so much you can do with in the short, medium, and long-term constraints of American politics.  Personally, I think if you're really interested in it, you should focus your energy on a radical agenda based out of a constitutional convention in about 2030.  The Indian constitution, for example, reserves parliamentary seats and allows many other benefits for some of those perceived to be among the most disenfranchised members of society.  Why shouldn't Americans be convinced that something like that would be a good idea.  Or maybe something else? Like an honest to god right to organize?

For now, this is, in my opinion, the best we've got, which is, for worse, what electoral politics is about.


[ Parent ]
Me too (0.00 / 0)
"queasy hope is easier for me to deal with than despair"

My queasy hope is that HRC would be able to put up a real fight and get some things done, despite the utter incompetency of her campaign.  My despair is the idea of a President Obama, I'm sorry to say, because I don't think he will even try to do much of anything we want him to do and I think he will be a one-term president, replaced by another 8 years of devastating Republicans.  As I say, I hope I'm wrong.

WHen I say he will be rolled by the Republicans, I'm talking about the kind of thing they've become expert at particularly in the Senate, which is finding ways to block everything.  They've been able to get away with it, as I think we all agree, because Pelosi and particualrly Reid have been afraid to fight them.

That is, if he can get past McCain in the general, which I have serious doubts about.

Dr. Anonymous, let's check back in with each other in a year and see where we are.  Maybe we'll both be happy.



[ Parent ]
you're holding Obama to an impossible standard (4.00 / 1)
No offense, Chris, but when I read these kinds of posts from you and Matt I am reminded of people like Ann Coulter saying they would rather vote for Hillary than John McCain. These criticisms of Obama's lack of progressivism and McCain's lack of conservatism don't seem grounded in reality. I have a hard time imagining what Obama or any other actual politician  would have to do to to qualify as a progressive for you and Matt. Your standards seems so absurdly high that nobody can meet them. I look at Obama's years as a community activist, what he worked on in the Illinois Senate, his opposition to the war in Iraq and the mindset behind it, and many of the positions he has taken in this campaign, and it seems obvious to me he qualifies as a progressive. What you seem to complaining about is more about the words he chooses to use or the fact that he does not practice the overtly partisan, combative style of politics championed by Markos Moulitos or post-2004 John Edwards.

McCain has made clear ideological claims (4.00 / 1)
and take clearly condservative stances to a far, far clearer extent than Obama.  McCain has a long, clear record.  Obama has a short, somewhat muddled record.

[ Parent ]
You need to raise your standards (4.00 / 1)
It's not impossible to be in favor of single-payer health care.  It's not impossible to support a reduction in the military budget.  It's not impossible to speak out against Israeli aggression.  It's not impossible to be against nuclear power and liquid coal.  It's not impossible to oppose the death penalty.

You get my point.


[ Parent ]
HATE this idea (4.00 / 1)
Normally I come to Obama's defense, but I hate, hate, hate the idea of putting a Republican in as Sec. of Defense!  Clinton did the same thing and it leaves the impression that only Republicans can understand and deal with matters of national defense.

I don't mind mixing it up a little if some Republican is actually liberal in the subject in question, but not defense.  We need to change that mindset!


Isn't this obvious? (0.00 / 0)
I mean, I know Chris alluded to this in the post, but isn't there a reason why a "progressive" hasn't won a Democratic primary before, and possibly couldn't win the presidency yet?

If they were, wouldn't Edwards have done a lot better than he did, or Kucinich?

"Transformational" politics doesn't happen overnight.  Even if Obama isn't "progressive" on issues that you're describing here (and assuming he's not, he's still not all that different from Clinton either), isn't it possible that he just wants to start bringing more people to the "progressive" side by pulling from the center?  Essentially, wouldn't this mean sort of taking the "Conservative" frames and turning them on their head into progressive arguments?  I don't know who he'll appoint into these positions, but potentially taking a "Conservative" with a more "progressive" position on the war seems like it might be a step toward taking the "strong on defense" theme typically associated with "Conservatism" and instead converting it to a "smart on defense" frame that means not getting involved in bad wars like Iraq.

Again, I'm not saying he's the most liberal guy around, but I'm just not sure that a really "liberal" platform is even viable in a general election, as it doesn't even appear to be viable in a primary one.  Every election candidates from both parties try and play up their "centrist" or "moderate" bonafides, and there's obviously a reason for that.


" isn't it possible (0.00 / 0)
 that he just wants to start bringing more people to the "progressive" side by pulling from the center?"

Sure.  That's possible.  But we're guessing again about what he means.

And btw, how do you go about pulling people from the center to the progressive side?  Wouldn't you have to actually at some point start trying to convince people of something, some values, some policies, some approach?  Is that going to happen soon, do you think?



[ Parent ]
Pulling from the center... (0.00 / 0)
Well, the way I look at it is sort of a tug of war...

For the last several years the rope has been pulling to the right, bringing people center-left with it.  Obama essentially starts pulling from the center-left back towards the left, bringing the center-right back to the middle.  And then he continues pulling, bringing them further over.

This is obviously an over-simplification, but I think you get the idea. =)


[ Parent ]
Yes, I do (0.00 / 0)
but my problem is I don't see him making any serious attempt to do it, which is why I'm wondering what the plan is for when he's going to start and how we're going to recognize it.



[ Parent ]
What kind of conservative? (0.00 / 0)
I get that people like Lugar and Hagel are quite conservative, but I think it's important to at least make an effort to distinguish the elements of their conservatism.  

Richard Lugar is quite far right on issues like abortion, civil rights, business interests, guns, drugs, education, the environment, etc.  All that said, I'm not sure why any of those things are relevant to the question of qualifications for a foreign policy cabinet position.

Lugar has always struck me as the kind of guy who believes very strongly in getting things done, and I don't have a hard time believing that if he were a cabinet official he'd spend a lot more time trying to effectively implement Obama's policies than he would pushing for a far-Right agenda.  And I can see the advantages of bringing in someone who is widely respected on both sides of the aisle, who has lifelong contacts with many relevant folks and a proven record of building bipartisan support for good ideas.

Now, I might be wrong about that, but surely it's relevant to discuss that point rather than freak out at even the prospect of a Republican appointment.


How I learned to stop worrying and love cluster bombs. (4.00 / 1)
I read the posting and many of the comments but still don't regret my vote for Obama.  So, maybe you can help me get over it. Particularly acitizen who make very cogent comments; you guys should bring him on fulltime. But here goes -

Jeffrey Rosen had an oped in the Times endorsing Obama, but this is what jumped out at me:

"He co-sponsored a bipartisan reform bill that would have cured the worst excesses of the Patriot Act by meaningfully tightening the standards for warrantless surveillance. Once again, he helped encourage a coalition of civil-libertarian liberals and libertarian conservatives. The effort failed when Hillary Clinton joined 13 other Democrats in supporting a Republican motion to cut off debate on amendments to the Patriot Act."

Interesting, I guess she didn't want to seem weak on terror.

He goes on to note that Hillary, like Obama, supported the recommended changes to the crack vs. powder cocain sentencing guidelines of this Reagan era law but, unlike Obama, she opposed retroactive resentencing.  Apparently, Clinton would leave people to unfairly rot in jail rather than getting accused of being soft on crime.  To me that seems a touch craven.

I also have a hard time with Hillary's cluster bomb vote.  Back in 2006, Feinstein (Diane Feinstein!) and Leahy offered an amendment to an appropriations bill that would ban the sale of cluster bombs to countries which use them against civilians. Hillary voted no; Obama voted yes.  To me that looks like Hillary would rather kill innocent people rather than look weak on defense.  Dog whistle or just immoral?


They All Have Someone From the Other Party (0.00 / 0)
in the cabinet.  Clinton had Bill Cohen at DoD for 4 yrs and Bush had Norm Minetta at Transportation for 5 yrs.  Neither were seen as first tier cabinet posts at the time.  Remember DoD was not nearly as visible a post during the peace and prosperity 1990s.  Transportation is always a second tier dept even though it shouldn't be.

Obama or Clinton will have some Repub, probably one who has seen the light of how extreme the Repubs have become.  I'd be very disappointed if that person is in the Defense or State slot but I expect Depts of Transportation, Interior, or Energy will have a liberal Repub in it.  Like it or not it comes with the territory.


He should look for R senators from states with Dem govs (0.00 / 0)
so as to build the senate majority.  Likewise he should avoid picking Ds from states with R govs.  

Lamar Alexander at Agriculture or something like that.


Good idea, but... (0.00 / 0)
NOT the traitor Lamar Alexander, pls! Don't you remember the nasty story about him switching parties, at the very last moment before the offices closed, deliberately leaving the Dems with no serious contender to the race? This asshole shouldn't be rewarded with a post in a Dem administration!

[ Parent ]
Only to build a Senate majority (0.00 / 0)
To my mind, this is by far the best reason to even consider appointing Republicans to cabinet positions.  If Democrats can increase their Senate majority by simultaneously "rewarding" Republicans for their progressive positions, then this sounds much like a win/win scenario.

However, the catch of course is that Republican senators don't tend to have progressive positions.  There are currently 25 Republican senators in states with Democratic governors.  They are: Arlen Specter, Chuck Grassley, Elizabeth Dole, George Voinovich, Gordon Smith, James Inhofe, Jim Bunning, John Barrasso, John Cornyn, John E. Sununu, John McCain, John Warner, Jon Kyl, Judd Gregg, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Michael Enzi, Mitch McConnell, Olympia Snowe, Pat Roberts, Pete Domenici, Richard Burr, Sam Brownback, Susan Collins, Tom Coburn and Wayne Allard.

The only person on this list to jump out is Olympia Snowe, who could perhaps do a fine job as Secretary of the Interior and vacate her Senate seat for a Democrat.  I'm not sure that anyone else would be a tolerable addition to an Obama cabinet.  Susan Collins?  Arlen Specter?

The prospect of appointing Republicans to positions of executive privilege does very little to get me out of bed in the morning.


[ Parent ]
[correction] (0.00 / 0)
Tennessee got replaced by Texas in the above list, so John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison should instead be Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

[ Parent ]
What are you missing.... (0.00 / 0)
Well, I don't want to get too high-fa-loo-ten.  But the main thing that we all rely upon here is an open means of debate, namely the internet and if Chris' post describes the only progressive thing that Obama has to credit is that he's been progressive on telecom issues then that's going to be good enough for me.  I think keeping an open dialog is at the core of a progressive agenda.  It's the ultimate optimism of the left; that all we have to do is illuminate people with the reality and facts as we see them and they will form opinions that mirror ours.  I think it's brilliant and while I whole-heartedly invite Obama to take a stronger stance on environmental issues, etc. I also don't think Hillary makes a particularly strong argument for herself as being somehow more progressive (and I'm sorry, but I can't forget her service to Wal-Mart during one of their biggest moves toward dominance, I know its her past, but its still HER past).

Y'all feel me?


So long as he doesn't go along with their idea... (0.00 / 0)
I personally have no problem with Obama having some conservative advisers. It is good to listen to all different points of view and helps play into his "post-partisan" image.

Listening and being polite and considering their points of view is hopefully how far he will go. If they actually turn out to be right about something, maybe even go along with them.

I don't see this as a huge problem that Obama would listen to differing points of view so long as he NEVER goes along with the obviously idiotic Republican 'advice.' Listening to them and pretending to consider their points of views is about as far as I hope he would go however. I know the progressive argument is usually the better argument therefore I don't fear hearing any argument from opposing point of views so long as he does the sensible/rational thing.

I will say however there are sometimes rare exceptions where I even agree with the Republican POV. Normally this is on an issue that is either more libertarian based (individual rights) or has something to do with the economy. TRUE conservatives who believe in things like actually cutting wasteful government spending and not giving tax cuts to people when we're running such an enormous deficit and growing debt (which means growth in the percentage of money we allocate from our national budget to go directly to paying debt, last I heard it was near 10%).

I've written more on what the Democrats need to change their perspectives on economics HERE

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


Work for him, Chris. Time well spent. (0.00 / 0)
You write:
"Obama is more about placating High Broderism, Tim Russert and the Washington Post editorial board than he is about transformative progressive change. I'll work hard to help elect him, but I also don't intend to delude myself about what to expect when he becomes President."

This is an incredible statement.
You know about Obama.
He let everyone who was paying attention know about his character and integrity when he actively campaigned for Joe Lieberman. He may as well have said to progressives everywhere: "F-ck you. Get out of my way assholes".

But progressives and liberals, cling to Obama. They are in love, and if they find the object of their affections in bed with another they are willing to avert their eyes and sing the refrain of "My Man" by Billie Holiday.

So here we have Chris saying that Obama is more interested is kissing up to the likes of Tim Russert and WashPo that bringing about progressive change.
But he'll work hard to elect him.

He is able to do this, he says, because he is not deluding himself about Obama's pandering to Broder, Republican conservatives, (Obama has praised Reagan and Bush the First), and the rest of the folks who gave us the war in Iraq.

So the bottom line is that you will work hard to elect Obama, someone you do not believe to be committed to progressive change.

Thanks.

 


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