We Need a New Generation of Leadership

by: Mimikatz

Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 16:26


Not a new generation age-wise, but a new generation of leaders in Congress who weren't there at all, or at least weren't in leadership positions, on 9/11 and in the years immediately thereafter.  Those folks, fundamentally decent and hardworking though some of them are, are simply too compromised to be able to lead us out of the wilderness into which Bush and Cheney have led us.  That is the plain and simple truth.

It is clear to me now that what happened on the FISA bill was exactly what Jonathan Turley described on Countdown on Thursday.  

OLBERMANN:  And, also hidden in here behind this headline - if you immunize the telecoms, are you not also immunizing the president, the Bush administration and, to some degree, the Congress that went along with all of these crimes in the last seven years?

TURLEY:  Well, there's no question in my mind that there is an obvious level of collusion here.  We now know that Democratic leadership knew about the illegal surveillance program almost from its inception.  Even when they were campaigning about fighting for civil liberties, they were aware of an unlawful surveillance program as well as a torture program.  And ever since that came out, the Democrats have been silently trying to kill any effort to hold anyone accountable because that list could very well include some of their own members.

And, I'm afraid this is Washington politics at the worst.  And, so, I think that what you're seeing with this bill is not just caving in to a very powerful lobby, but also caving in to sort of the worst motivations on Capitol Hill since 9/11.  You know, the administration was very adept at bringing in Democrats at a time when they knew they couldn't refuse, to make them buy in to this program, and now that investment is bearing fruit.

OLBERMANN:  So, it's self-protection is the answer to the question of why Congress didn't let FISA, this bill, at least, go sunset and do this in the next administration.  The answer is really self-protection?

TURLEY:  I'm afraid it is.  

I think that's exactly right.  But Barack Obama was not in the Congress until January, 2005.  He represents the kind of leadership we need.  I do believe he opposes the FISA Bill and understands precisely why it is wrong and unconstitutional.  I also believe he is sincere in wanting to craft a new kind of response on national security that doesn't cower before the Bush/Cheney regime, that espouses and sticks to a few basic principles, including the limits of military force and the false trade of civil liberties for safety, and that is nuanced and smart.  He wasn't (and still isn't) one of the leadership group who was briefed on so much of the Bush/Cheney constitution-shredding measures that they were sucked in up to their gills, to the point that they were never able to really confront Bush/Cheney.  (Kind of explains taking impeachment off the table, doesn't it?)

But Obama wants to get elected, and he knows he will need Congress to govern effectively. He doesn't want to meet the fate of Bill Clinton, who was stymied in several initiatives in his first two years by congressional egos.  So Obama knows he will need their help.  He must have made the calculation, when they explained their problem to him, that the best he could do was to come out against at least parts of the bill, but he would have to give them cover and couldn't give the ruse away.  That's why they waited for the compromise until we had a nominee, why he waited to make a statement until it was basically meaningless, and why he really won't do anything to stop immunity, nor will anyone else.

He is far and away the best we have, precisely because he has been part of that world, and only a minor part at that, for only four years.  But he is going to need a leadership team in the Congress, if not next year then in 2011, who is not tainted by their collusion with the worst of Bush/Cheney regime.  Slowly but surely the Congressional leadership must be purged and replaced by new leadership who was not suckered into selling our constitutional rights for the chance to feel a little bit powerful, to stay  in office, out of fear at being tarred as a traitor.  

In the election of 1868, the generation that had brought about the Civil War was summarily thrown from office and replaced by men twenty and thirty years their juniors in what Strauss and Howe call "the largest generational landslide in American history."  This time age need not be the determining factor, but whether a person colluded with Bush/Cheney.  We can start by electing better Democrats and promoting new leaders, and by exposing what the current leadership appears to have done.  

Mimikatz :: We Need a New Generation of Leadership

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generations vs. structure (0.00 / 0)
Slowly but surely the Congressional leadership must be purged and replaced by new leadership who was not suckered into selling our constitutional rights for the chance to feel a little bit powerful, to stay  in office, out of fear at being tarred as a traitor.

I agree with this, but I think there's a tradition of bipartisan consensus on foreign policy that's problematic and there are structural things about u.s. government that make them completely unaccountable to people who live outside the united states.  Most of the attacks on civil liberties start with attacks on people who have no rights or are unpopular for one reason or another and progressively move towards people who do, up to and through citizens (particularly with a certain kind of politics ;).

So there are two separate but related issues here: one, how do we make the united states government more accountable to the rest of the world; and two, how do we make sure that the interests of its citizens trump the interests of its national security apparatus?


What tradition of bipartisan consensus? .. (0.00 / 0)
You do remember that once upon a time .. the Republicans were isolationist(or at least that is the tag they were stuck with)?

[ Parent ]
the one that promotes u.s. .imperialism (4.00 / 2)
for example, the idea that politics stops at the border

But yeah, i should have specified i was mostly talking about since wwii.  the republicans were once upon a time the party of black civil rights, but that doesn't really mean much in the contemporary context.


[ Parent ]
There was one (0.00 / 0)
But it was basically from Pearl Harbor to sometime after  Vietnam.  People used to say that politics ended at the water's edge, even though it wasn't always true.  But it hasn't been that way at least since Clinton was elected.  

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

[ Parent ]
i think there is a split (0.00 / 0)
between realists and neocons.  but i don't think it follows a partisan split.  I think that the vast majority of democrats and most republicans (thnk colin powell, george bush I, bill clinton, and the people who like them) fall in the realist camp whereas the others (those who love all this democracy + violence stuff) are a pretty small minority.

But generally speaking, i think the intersts of business drive u.s. politics (foreign policy especially); that iraq and neocon-ism and not investing in infrastructure and blah blah blah are bad for business is one of the main reasons the republicans are losing power, i think.  or was it working class people facing foreclosures on their houses and high food and gas prices and undocumented migrant workers the ones who were giving all their disposable income to barack obama and hillary clinton? ;)


[ Parent ]
The bipartisan (4.00 / 1)
consensus that civil liberties should be curtailed in the name of fighting terror.

And that we can disregard the sovereignty of other country in the name of fighting terror.

And that the military should be bigger.

And that...


[ Parent ]
Please (0.00 / 0)
I went back and read your post again and all I see is paragraph after paragraph of praise for Obama. And excuses that he is new. And it's all someone else's fault. And then there is the inevitable suppositions of what leadership 'must have said to him'.

You are shameless to try to now say your post says something other than what you originally wrote.

Let me say it again - you are exactly what Greenwald was writing about in the quote of his I provided.

Don't worry - people are known to come out of comas eventually.


[ Parent ]
posted in the wrong place - will repost (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Congratulations on spinning a hopeful yarn (4.00 / 1)
Though I'm not sure how kowtowing to the perogatives of the presently corrupt leadership advances the generational change you seek.  Also, not sure about the parallels to the first Clinton term.  Because of its deep legal and constitutional implications, the present crisis seems like a special case of bad, dwarfing Iran-Contra, for example.

USA: 1950 to 2010

Im sorry? (4.00 / 1)
This is exactly the truth and the anger and disappointment of the American public with congress is indicative. The Change thats needed is wide spread. The leadership we have has been triangulating, settling and cowering for too long. Mimikatz is on target. What is needed is not removing people from congress but finding new leaders that are committed to everything we were all taught in school about the principles and ideals and blood paid demands of our fathers and mothers who built this country.

When it comes down to the nub, Congress failed us too, the temporary thrill of stopping the FISA Immunity bill has been shown to be a facade. Better Democrats #$%$%$!!

--

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


[ Parent ]
Obama (0.00 / 0)
I was challenging Mimi's thesis that Obama "had" to go along with the existing Dem leadership in congress in order to govern successfully in his first term.  Not sure about the parallels to Clinton years, don't think the constitution is something to subject to horse-trading.


USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
Mimi, I get it now. (0.00 / 0)
It took me a few days, but now I see the light.  Obama can't attack Telco immunity because many of "the bad guys" on domestic spying are high-ranking Democratic leaders in Congress.  What he needs to do is gain power and then, rather cagily, begin working with his allies to press spy-happy members of the Dem caucus toward the exits.  Charging in now, with both guns blazing, as it were, would just destroy his ability to govern. He needs a congressional majority, not fratricide, no matter how righteous it may seem to we who wish   for open government and constitutional protections.

OK, I get it.  You were right and ahead of my curve.

USA: 1950 to 2010


[ Parent ]
Did you even read (4.00 / 3)
Obama's statement yesterday. He is not going to do anything about immunity. Work to strip it from the bill? More Obama weasel words. You didn't here him even utter filibuster did you? And you still don't get it?

Glenn Greenwald was right this morning in how he started out his piece:

In the past 24 hours, specifically beginning with the moment Barack Obama announced that he now supports the Cheney/Rockefeller/Hoyer House bill, there have magically arisen -- in places where one would never have expected to find them -- all sorts of claims about why this FISA "compromise" isn't really so bad after all. People who spent the week railing against Steny Hoyer as an evil, craven enabler of the Bush administration -- or who spent the last several months identically railing against Jay Rockefeller -- suddenly changed their minds completely when Barack Obama announced that he would do the same thing as they did. What had been a vicious assault on our Constitution, and corrupt complicity to conceal Bush lawbreaking, magically and instantaneously transformed into a perfectly understandable position, even a shrewd and commendable decision, that we should not only accept, but be grateful for as undertaken by Obama for our Own Good.

You Mimi embody exactly what Greenwald describes. Thankfully in yesterdays thread there were some Obama supporters, some now ex-Obama supporters, who no longer have their heads in the sand. They heard Obama speak - loud and clear. Political expediency above country and constitution is what he said.

"I also believe he is sincere in wanting to craft a new kind of response on national security" - Mimi

Yeah that is why he kept emphasizing "the grave threats that we face". That is why he told AIPAC:

"The threat from Iran is real and my goal as president would be to eliminate that threat."
...
"My approach to Iran will be aggressive diplomacy: I will not take any military options off the table."

Yeah - No military Options Off The Table. We all know what that means. and he has the balls to say that after bashing Clinton on her remarks about Iran? What a phony. What a hypocrite. My God aren't those new and novel words. That is really a new kind of response on national security. Sure thing.

What does Obama have to say? What does he have to do before people come out of their hypnotic trance to see reality?

This man is going to destroy all the Progressive values many have worked hard for year to develop. They will be purged from the Democratic party - gone on January 20. Back to square one.

But yet the Mimi's and the front pages of this blog will continue to promote him. They will still go after the growing legions of Bush dogs even though Obama is, for starters, supporting a Bsuh dog in Georgia! You pull one way - he pulls the other - and you keep supporting him. But Obama will win and so will his soon to be known as Obama Dogs.


Please .. (0.00 / 0)
spare the hyperbole ... he's not that bad .. he's just not as strong on some issues as we would like him to be ... I am not an Obama-bot(or whatever sycophants are to you) .. he's a centrist Democrat ..  he's not a Republican like you'd like to think .. besides ... Clinton would say the same thing Obama did(or maybe not say anything at all)  

[ Parent ]
Centrist is pretty bad. n.t (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
And you would be screaming bloody murder if she had made that statement (4.00 / 1)
Hypocrisy!!!!

But Obama wants to get elected, and he knows he will need Congress to govern effectively. He doesn't want to meet the fate of Bill Clinton, who was stymied in several initiatives in his first two years by congressional egos.  So Obama knows he will need their help.  He must have made the calculation, when they explained their problem to him, that the best he could do was to come out against at least parts of the bill, but he would have to give them cover and couldn't give the ruse away.  That's why they waited for the compromise until we had a nominee, why he waited to make a statement until it was basically meaningless, and why he really won't do anything to stop immunity, nor will anyone else.

He is far and away the best we have, precisely because he has been part of that world, and only a minor part at that, for only four years.  But he is going to need a leadership team in the Congress, if not next year then in 2011, who is not tainted by their collusion with the worst of Bush/Cheney regime.  Slowly but surely the Congressional leadership must be purged and replaced by new leadership who was not suckered into selling our constitutional rights for the chance to feel a little bit powerful, to stay  in office, out of fear at being tarred as a traitor.  

If you agree with hese sentences should just make you hang your head in shame.

He can get elelcted wothout damamgng the constititution...and this bill is no longer Steny Hoyer's fault..it is now Barack Obama 's fault.

And I said over and over that Barack Obama was not a progressive only to have bolts of thunder and jeers of laughter thrown at me.

If you wanted a centrist, non progressive Democrat well you got him.    

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Sayitloud! (0.00 / 0)
I was wondering when you'd come to gloat. Is this your joy? Have you finally found something to give you pleasure? Get involved promoting something 'majority' lets see what you do support and want others to support besides "ill will."  

--

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


[ Parent ]
It is no pleasure to see (4.00 / 1)
the Democratic nominee go back on his word to protect the constitution and eliminate immunity from the bill. His words yesterday were empty and you know it. No more than a press release. No passioned press briefing that he will fight with all he has. The sad outcome was preordained in his words.

Ill will? You are talking about Obama aren't you? For there is nothing I can do to match the disappointment and misleading that he has done.

Don't say you were not forewarned about this guy. Those of us who have been around a while have seen this kind of smooth chicanery before. Now because of low information voters we may get an opportunist instead of a seasoned leader in the WH.

And the rub is that he has done all he has done over the last two weeks of backtracking before he is even elected. Just wait until he is in office and see what he gives and takes from you. He will always side with the Obama Dogs and the Republicans because he has told us for the last year that is what he wants to do. He has said the Republicans have good ideas. And then when it came to Liberal ideas he ran from them on Fox. Wake up and smell reality.


[ Parent ]
Did you read my post? (4.00 / 5)
I said he wouldn't do anything about it, nor would anyone else, because its CYA for the leadership.  I do think he will have a more nuanced, smart foreign policy.  i don;t think he's perfect, in fact I think he took the expedient course here.  He is running for President, not the Nobel Peace Prize.  He is running before an electorate who have been scared and lied to for 7 1/2 years.  But I nmever saidf he shouldn't be pushed on this issue in the campaign and if elected.  

I don't think, however, that he orcestrated this or did so because he wants all that power.  I think he went along with the leadership for the reasons I said.  But just because he isn't perfect doesn't mean he won't be better.  Gore would never have done most of the things Bush/Cheney did.  

This isn't the world we want; it is the world we are in and are trying to change.

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


[ Parent ]
The horrible Hoyer House FISA bill was Obama's first "leadership test." (4.00 / 1)
And he failed miserably.

[ Parent ]
Please (0.00 / 1)
I went back and read your post again and all I see is paragraph after paragraph of praise for Obama. And excuses that he is new. And it's all someone else's fault. And then there is the inevitable and necessary suppositions of what leadership 'must have said to him' which are needed to weave everything together and make it believable. Well suppositions don't make anything believable but they are all the rage these days aren't they?

You are shameless to try to now say your post says something other than what you originally wrote.

Let me say it again - you are exactly what Greenwald was writing about in the quote of his I provided.

Don't worry - people are known to come out of comas eventually.


[ Parent ]
Keep it excellent (0.00 / 0)

Disagree. Criticize excellently.

"Shameless"?  That's just a hostile emotion-marker not an argument.


USA: 1950 to 2010


[ Parent ]
You should be ashamed of yourself for these rationalizations (0.00 / 0)
He doesn't need to shred the constitition to win the elelction.  He doesn't need to shield these people...he could have made it cleaR he didn't Want the bill.  Digby and Greenwald are right he wants the bill.  This paragon of political virtue wants a bill which in some parts give the president monarchical authority.  Of course he and you think he won't use it badly...wisely  even you thinK..But he's only president for 8 years and the law is forever.

You should just effing be ashamed of what you've become and the principles you are willing to give up because  not only must he be elected...but he's gotta get along with Steny Hoyer.

How many lectures did I get from  you and the likes of you that Barack Obama is some new kind of leader...yeah some great new politician...and really is just some pol who will say anything and do anything to get elected. (reread the words you wrote...."Barack Obama wants to get elected.."...and YOU RATIONALIZE THIS!!!!!

From Glenn Greenwald

http://www.salon.com/opinion/g...

Either way, no good comes from lending uncritical support to a political leader, or cheering them on when they do bad and destructive things, or using twisted rationalizations to justify their full-scale assault on your core political values. The overriding lesson of the last seven years is that political figures, more than they need anything else, need checks and limits. That is just as important to keep in mind -- probably more so -- when you love or revere a political leader as it is when you detest one.

more from Greenwald and his astute commenters who have both principles and a conscience

UPDATE: In comments, Hume's Ghost wrote:

What really rubbed me the wrong way was how Obama in his statement says essentially trust me with these powers, I'll use them responsibly.

Nope.

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." - John Adams [1772].

In 1799, Thomas Jefferson echoed that: "Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence . . . . Let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitutions." Between (a) relying on the limitations imposed by the Constitution or (b) placing faith in the promises of a political leader not to abuse his unchecked power, it isn't really a difficult choice -- at least it ought not to be, no matter who the political leader in question happens to be

YOU MADE THE WRONG CHOICE AND THIS IS A BAD PATH TO CONTINUE ON.

And as a Hillary supporter if she had made the same choice I would not be rationalizing it but slamming her no matter her motivations...it's a bad decison and a bad choice.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
You lost me when you stopped holding Obama accountable (4.00 / 5)
I will donate money and help get him elected, but to be quite frank, while I agree with the concern over Congress (I would go to also those still living under Reaganism), but also my concern is a whole generation of progressives/voters who believes accountability is for the other guy. Obama, and Obama alone, is responsible for his actions. I don't want to hear excuses. For the record, I am of mixed opinion about FISA. We need a law that does address the issue, but not one that violated Constitutional rights. Were Obama being accountable, he wouldn't just "work" but actually fight to make sure that the law whether through fillabuster or some other means will reflect contitutional limitations.  

This is probably (4.00 / 5)
the worst of the apologies for Obama's capitulation that I've read yet, and that's saying something. Over at at Dkos, people are saying we shouldn't be that pissed about this because civil liberties are important relative to, you know, real issues.

Shortermimikatz: Obama shouldn't be blamed cause he wasn't around at the outset of the nightmare, and he is "far away the best we have" (the best what we have? The best nominee for pres?) cause he's only been part of the culture of corruption for four years, and, in any case, he's taking this stand so as to be totally unlike triangulator Bill Clinton--that is, so as not to offend the "egos" in Congress like Steny Hoyer, whom he'll need to pass all sorts of awesome bills, which will be even awesomer once we get a new leadership formed in the image of only-partially comprised Obama, and by then, 2011 or so, Obama will finally be free to be the strong progressive leader but for "the need to get elected" and "the need to govern" and the need not to please Steny Hoyer he was meant to be.

I can't wait. Really, I can't.


Good golly David. (0.00 / 0)
Mimikatz didnt disappoint you. And what needs to be done is what she describes. Do you have another solution?

--

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


[ Parent ]
Well for one thing (4.00 / 5)
I disagree with the premise. I disagree that a move like this is in Obama's pragmatic best interests.

The public opinion polling on this should've emboldened Obama and, in any case, his caving on this and echoing GOP talking points in the process ("grave threats")dispirits or base, projects insecurity, and emboldens the GOP. Make no mistake, he didn't want this to be a campaign issue that McCain could exploit.

It amazes me how often progressives accept the premise that Dems have to curb their progressivism to win. We've tried that before. The sphere and the new progressive movement are based on the belief that not only can we be ourselves   and win, we must.


[ Parent ]
I agree with you that its a bone headed wrong move (0.00 / 0)
I want Obama to reverse this decision. I don't know that he will, you haven't suggested a way to make him reconsider or modify it, mimikatz says our best hope is organizing to make congress better so this isn't the kind of decision made in the future. I see no problem with that. I have suggested elsewhere that we at least try and force, convince or threaten or wakeup Obama to stop this in a filibuster. I thoink we can make him act in a principled manner, though stopping it now might be outside our weight class, even his weight class.

1) What do we do about Obama's immunity fight?
2) What do we do about the rest of the congress?
3) Just pointing out its awful is not an answer to 1 and 2.

We didn't do enough either when for the last week we were warned that it looked like Hoyer was going to 'pull this off' and arrange a capitulation. We need to get a lot more active, and organized.

Obamna is going to be President, we need to be the people, in the 'from the bottom up' best sense of the word.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Yes. (0.00 / 0)
Use his powers of eloquence and charisma to defend the rule of law.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
Yeah right. (4.00 / 1)
Better he not get elected at all.  

What I said was that I think the explanation for the cowardice of the Dem leadership is their complicity, as Turley says, and Obama is a better hope because he wasn't part of that complicity.  But he is going along with the coverup, because he feels he has to.  That was an explanation more than a justification.  This is politics, not marriage.  Sometimes you do have to settle.  But I think he will be a better leader if we can purge the Congressional leadership, or most of it.      

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


[ Parent ]
And what other choice do we have. (0.00 / 0)
What needs to be done is what was doen toexpose Bush and the Republican 'leadership' write about it, expose it, fight it and organize. You though your job was done in the primary for this one race? Mimi didn't, as disappointed as I am at this, but wants us to understand, the job ain't done, might never be, get over it.

Lets find out if Edwards opposes the immunity part and see if he'll ask the delegates in Denver to overturn their commitment to Obama and Clinton. Both of those sound easy to do.

Or we can ruefully shake our heads at the amount we have to do to return people who believe in rights and democracy back to our houses of congress, and set to it.

Better %^##$@#%^ing Democrats.  

--

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


[ Parent ]
Are you seriously arguing he wouldn't get elected if he had stood up on this (4.00 / 3)
or other issues? Seriously? Where is the leadership from strength in what you say, and how exactly is he going to herd the pack of clawing cats if he agrees with them even on important issues like this? Your argument is pretty weak here. Why can't just simply say he fucked up, but we need to vote him because he's the best of the two choices? Why do you need to make excuses is where I draw the line because it's unnecessary and insulting to your readership.

[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm reading Mimikatz wrong, (0.00 / 0)
but seems to me she's not saying Obama won't get elected. I thought she was saying, 'Sure, he'd get elected if he did the right thing, but he'd be saddled with a Congressional leadership who were all going to jail, or riven with scandal at the very least, and that would undermine any possible policy goals of his. And he values the goals and potential of his first term more highly than holding accountable the criminals upon whom he must rely to achieve those goals and potentials.'

[ Parent ]
I think this is alarmist bs (0.00 / 0)
designed to be as over the top as the alarmist who claim this is the end of the country. Neither is true.  Trying to answer hyperbole with hyperboles is why I have a problem with what she wrote. the truth is obam caved because it was easier. It won't affect either his ability to get elected or the congress.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah (0.00 / 0)
To her the apologists talk, you'd think doing the right thing entailed some huge political risk, and that there was enormous public and political pressure to support the compromise.

There will be actual tough choices down the road.


[ Parent ]
Conventional wisdom that he has to run away (0.00 / 0)
from progressive principles in order to get elected.  Just because you believe it doesn't make it so.  People are sick and tired.  Sick and tired of Bush and his neoconcs, and sick and tired of powerless do nothing Democrats.  They whine about needing 60 votes, while the Republicans hand them their asses with only 41.  People want real change. Your solution of get along and go along is exactly why we lose races and votes in the Congress.  Democrats are perceived as weak because they are.    

[ Parent ]
My main point was about the leadership (4.00 / 2)
Why has it been so hard to oppose Bush?  Why was impeachment taken off the table?  I think that Turley provided an answer that is very plausible--Pelosi, Hoyer, Harman, Reyes, Reid, Rockefeller etc were read into much,. much more of the Bush/Cheney program than we were really aware, and they have a strong interest in this sh*t not seeing the light of day.  Obama is better (not perfect, better) because he isn't tainted by what happened after 9/11, but even he, who understands (because he is a constitutional lawyer) what's wrong with this gets sucked into it by the Dem leadership, and until they are gone the Dems will be subject to blackmail, not to put too fine a point on it.  My emphasis was not to look to him to deliver us from evil, but to recognize the need to get new leadership in Congress.

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

[ Parent ]
Why is it naive to expect Obama to do (4.00 / 1)
the right thing?  I'm not saying you are saying that, but it appears to be inferred, if Obama understands and has to go along.  

Thanks for the article.  I don't disagree that we need to clean house.  


[ Parent ]
Disagree (4.00 / 1)
I actually think this is one of the better apologies.

It doesn't change the fact it is just an apology.

The key thing for us is to apply as much pressure on Obama to take immunity out of this bill.  And yes, he has that power, now.

I wonder how his on-line contributions are going this weekend?  Hopefully, there was a notable drop-off.


[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 1)
I don't think he has that power.  People keep acting as if it is a lack of willpower on the part of the Democratic leadership that prevents us from having the same party discipline as Republicans.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Gimme the bomb-throwers (4.00 / 2)
I'm with bruh, mizner and even (amazingly) majority. Obama isn't our guy here. He's less tied to the atrocities than most, but he isn't the man who'll repudiate them.

He's the least bad viable leader we have, sure. But that's not enough. What we need are the guys who will fuck up everything but everything he has to do until they force him to do what's right. We need our ideological warriors to fight Reagan's and until that happens these fine words are merely a weak self-justification.

A new generation is not enough. A new generation of ideological absolutists is needed just to restore some balance.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


Obama (4.00 / 2)
I do believe he opposes the FISA Bill and understands precisely why it is wrong and unconstitutional.

and your evidence for that would be?

seriously, when has this guy ever stood up for civil liberties?


Obama is blowing his chance to become a real statesman and enlighten the public (4.00 / 7)
Obama has broken out a 10 digit lead against lame McCain, possibly the weakest GOP presidential candidate ever. McCain can't even read a teleprompter or remember key facts like the difference between warring factions in Iraq. He has failed to rouse the GOP's electoral base and has a contradictory track record of acts and utterances that make him sound like he has lost his memory of the stances he has actually taken in the past.

So there is no excuse for Obama not to take opportunities like the FISA bill to re-explain to the American people the importance of constitutional protections of their civil rights.

Nor is there any excuse for his having fumbled the opportunity to explain during his AIPAC speech that as president he will hold all warring parties' feet to the fire until they agree on honorable resolutions to their conflicts that does justice to all.

If he were not so bent on pandering to special interests and bowing and scraping before the most powerful in the room, he could act like the reasonable statesman that I believe he is capable of becoming and stake out his legacy from the get go: the president who made peace and brought all the parties to the table to enable them to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat on every front.

These are precious teaching moments at a time of great peril for our democracy when a candidate of his caliber could show us there is light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, after Clinton bowed out, he has been obfuscating and re-defining the issues in order to justifying coming down on the side of the powerful instead of the people.


Obama would do the right thing if only [fill in blank here] (4.00 / 1)
Why do people keep saying this?  Why do people keep knowing that Obama means something other than what he says or does?  Why is it so difficult to take him at his word?

Look, I agree that the Democratic leadership needs to be cleaned out completely (with the possible exception of Van Hollen).  And Obama is clearly better than McCain.  But I can't help but feel that this constant refrain of what Obama really knows or thinks or will do (which is always better than what he has done or said) is nothing other than the wishful thinking we probably all have for a better, truly progressive, presidential candidate.


I agree with this (4.00 / 1)
Although I would modify it a bit to say that we should judge him by what he does. He has voted against this in the past, and may well do so again. Unless he actively participates in a filibuster against this legislative atrocity, I will vote for him but won't be contributing another dime.

We still need to elect him President and give him enlarged majorities to improve our chances of getting progressive legislation enacted, but we also need to focus on holding him accountable and especially on holding accountable the authors of this capitulation. Steny, Harry, Nancy, Jay, Jane, and Silvestre are the villains in this tragicomedy, but Barack sure ain't exactly a hero.  


[ Parent ]
It's not a post-9/11 mindset (4.00 / 4)
But a pre-9/11 mindset.

(First, I want to thank you for this diary - it's a shame you're getting attacked instead of listened to.)

Anyhow. The problem as I see it is the current generation of Democratic leaders were socialized into power before 2001. Before the Bush Administration tried to set fire to the US Constitution. To these Democrats, who came of political age in the 1980s and 1990s, looking weak on national security is perhaps THE worst possible fate that could befall a Democrat, a conclusion that to them was reinforced by the 2004 election (a misreading of reality, but that's what they believe).

To these surrender Dems, compromising with Republicans is how Democrats stay alive. That's how they believed they survived Reagan and that's how they believed Clinton survived Gingrich.

None of that is accurate - Dems survived Reagan by fighting him almost every step of the way, and Clinton revived his fortunes by doing the same to Gingrich's Congress in the 1995 government shutdown. But Dems convince themselves this is true, partly because of the other aspect that is relevant here - the remnants of Cold War liberalism.

"Cold War liberalism," for those unfamiliar with the term, refers to the notion that Democrats need to embrace an aggressive foreign policy despite the economic and civil liberties costs. It emerged in reaction to McCarthyism - another moment when Dems felt the need to cave in to the right to save their own spines - and ever since has dominated Democratic thinking. Dems have also been earnest supporters of the American Empire, yet another reason they feel the need to support things like the FISA sellout.

We do indeed need a new generation of leaders - but these new leaders need to understand the post-9/11 world. They need to realize that ANY compromise with Republicans on national security necessarily involves destruction of our constitutional rights, and that the American Empire is over and done with and not worth preserving.

I look forward to our own 1868 moment. It's time for the current generation of Democratic leaders to go. They have accomplished little of value for this country and have instead revived the discredited policies of appeasement, with the same predictable result.


Not attacked, maybe some vociferous disagreement. (0.00 / 0)
Most agree there is truth in them thar hills; and as always, this site brings us quality, this article being no exception.    

[ Parent ]
Interesting point (0.00 / 0)
It is probably a combination--the pre-9/11 mindset of the Dem leadership (fear of being seen as weak) is what made them so vulnerable to Bush/Cheney manipulation after 9/11.  Everyone was kind of numb, but there were Cheney and Rumsfeld and they were so ruthless and singleminded and clear-eyed about what they thought ought to be done, and had the acolytes to do it.  They really ran a number on the Dem leadership, as Turley says, and got them all complicit in what they were doing, probably by briefing them singly, telling them, not to talk etc.  After the 2002 election the stronger among them them must have realized what had happened to them (Pelosi more than Harman, for example, Rockefeller not at all) but it was too late.  Daschle (top Obama adviser) was in the leadership then, but he's been out of office since the 2004 election, so he has some more distance.  Again, this is not to excuse but to explain, because one of the most persistent questions is why the Dem leadership has been so feeble on this as so many other security issues.

The two other comments I'd make are first that Obama really does have less power than many people think, at least at this juncture.  The Dem Party is famously disorganized and the congressional wing really does have a long, long history of undermining the few Dem Presidents we've had since FDR.  Second, to be clear I wish that Obama had been more forceful on this.  I wish he had had the guts to say that this is just wrong.  And this is undoubtedly not the first time he will disappoint.  But in the big picture, for those who are really struggling in this society and for those whose lives lie overwhelmingly in the future, he will be better, far better, than McCain, and it is for those people we struggle even if they don't always appreciate or even see it.  Joel put my point more harshly than I like, but I think that is more or less what I was saying.  That's the tragedy of politics, and why from the Greeks to opera, it has made such riveting theatre.  And thanks for the thoughtful comments.  This is a very emotional and disappointing issue for all of us.

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


[ Parent ]
Very sensible approach (0.00 / 0)
to build up the support team around a president Obama that drives policy in a progressive direction, if that's what you're going for.  It makes more sense to me than the idea of asking Obama to shoot himself in the foot over a bill that was going to pass anyway.  But for all that, here's an event at barackobama.com:

http://my.barackobama.com/page...

Text says:
Please write to Sen. Obama, and to your own Senator. This is our last chance to block this bill!

QT

Visit the Obama Project


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