Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Though you probably know me as someone who's not a fan of Barack Obama, I do want the Senator to run for President in 2008.  I think it would be good for him, good for the party, and good for the country.  I'm big on process, on public debate, on public deliberation, and we need his voice in the fray.  We need to hear from him, what's his vision?  What are his principles?  What kind of America does he support?  How will he stand up to pressure when he is debating other Democrats?  In other words, what, exactly is his voice?  Is he the Barack Obama who criticizes our political system for its smallness, its lack of vision, as he puts it in his stump speech?  Or is he the Barack Obama who praises George Bush, and goes along and gets along in the Senate, ruffling no feathers and making sure that the smallness of our system is what he embraces?  Or is the Barack Obama that thinks that this country is not ready for the sacrifices he knows are coming, and so will revel in his symbolic emptiness?  

I think there are two keys to understanding Barack.  The first is to look at his formative political experience, the seering loss to machine politician Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary in 2000.  Before Brand Obama emerged, the Senator got destroyed by bucking the system.  Losing to a machine, as Cory Booker also did, does strange things to idealistic-appearing hyperambitious politicians.  It makes them a lot more wary of picking fights and making enemies, and it makes them a lot more inclined to cultivate chits and work within a system they know isn't working.

And Obama knows America is broken.  He knows it, he gets it, and that's why he is so aggressively dismissive of progressives.  He feels that he is one of us, and so we should understand why he has to have contempt for us.  Here is, for instance, what he wrote on Daily Kos:

Unless we are open to new ideas, and not just new packaging, we won't change enough hearts and minds to initiate a serious energy or fiscal policy that calls for serious sacrifice.

Barack Obama knows we must change, but he also knows the penalty for fighting for change.  This internal contradiction comes out in his sickening praise of Bush, whom he praised today on Meet the Press, or in his embrace of bipartisanship for him and his Senate buddies.  It comes out in a strong disdain for progressives, be it random sneering insults towards liberals or pandering to an authoritarian pagan right-wing evangelical tribalism.  He doesn't like that we make him revisit his loss to Bobby Rush, because the last thing he wants to think of himself as is a loser, and because we make him make choices.  You know, like the choice he made to not go to Connecticut to campaign for Ned Lamont, which we will remember as the unprincipled betrayal of the Democratic Party that it is.  We want to hold him accountable for the dreams that are invested in his persona, and he doesn't want to be responsible for the hope of millions, though he does want to sell a book called The Audacity of Hope.

So why, after all of this, do I think he should run for President?  It would be good for everyone if he did.  For the Democratic Party, we would be able to engage our hero in a debate over policies and ideas, and we'd be able to take him down off a pedestal and actually grapple together with common challenges.  That would make us as a party stronger.  For the country, all Americans would be able to move beyond the rock star persona, and get to the substance, and that would be good.  Public debate is better than rock star adulation.

And for Obama?  Well, Obama is scared.  He hasn't had to make choices for a long time, and he knows he has a limited timeframe in which to capitalize on the brand he has out there.  His brand has a shelf-life, and running for President would force him to clarify what he wants to mean beyond gorgeous ambitiion.  That would be good for him as a politician, and as a man.  We haven't yet seen what a Barack Obama would fight for in a public debate, and it's something I'd like to see.  I'd like to see him enter the contest, and in all likelihood get crushed for being a go-along-get-along politician.  Only then can he become a great Senator or President, after he realizes that it's not about being liked by everyone, it's about being a principled human being.

And I guess I'd finally say that I know it doesn't seem like it, but he's running out of time.  Sooner or later, he's going to run smackdab into another brand, say, an Eliot Spitzer, who is good at fighting for his principles.  And in that choice, when Obama has to face his first round of negative ads, and his first real negative campaign on a state or national level, does he really want to face the charge that he's a pretty face and an empty suit?  Is that what he wants to be known as?  I hope not.  That's not what I want for this incredibly talented and brilliant man, and that's not what I hope for our Democratic Party.  That's not what we need as a country, and we're going to get something more than that in the next twenty years.

Or at least, I'm audacious enough to hope that we will.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama (all tags)

Comments

102 Comments

Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

From where i'm sitting its interesting to see how people as involved in politics as someone like you think that Spitzer is a man of priciple and Obama isn't.  Perhaps you don't know the type of things Spitzer has done to get to where he is?  

Eliot Spitzer is a child of priviledge who bought his way into his job by self funding his campaigns for AG.  I like him.  I think he will be great for NY.  I understand he has to make decisions he doesn't agree with if he wants to win (which is what you fault Obama for).   I think he and Obama represent the future of the party.

Barack Obama quit his first job in corporate america to become a social worker.  He got to where he is because of who he is alone. I wouldn't be so quick to say that you'd like Obama if he was more like Spitzer.    

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Huh? Since when does being born into priviledge make someone unprincipled? Sure, given people like Bush and Frist it does make sense to be a little bit suspicious when someone from a priviledged background gets into politics. But suspicion is quite different from conviction.

Nixon, DeLay and Cunningham hardly had priviledged backgrounds, yet they were/are as unprincipled as they come. And FDR, Gore and Kerry came from priviledged backgrounds--are you saying that they were/are therefore unprincipled? Since when is being rich in and of itself a mark of poor character?

This is idiotic and nonsensical and I fail to see your point, and strongly suspect that you're engaging in concern trolling and a cheap shot hit job. THAT is unprincipled. Give me a valid, specific reason for why Spitzer is unprincipled, or else save your cheap innuendo for the Lieberman/Klein wing of the party.

by kovie 2006-10-22 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

ok.  I had to sit and listen to him endorse my incredibly corrupt democratic mayor before the dem primary.  Trust me, he knows Mayor Jennings is corrupt, he knows he endorsed Pataki (Republican) for governor last election, he knows he raised money for John Sweeney (Republican), and wouldn't endorse David Soares who was runing for Albany County DA (Democrat).   Jennings is a bad democrat.  Find me a democrat anywhere in the country who has held fundraisers for a Republican congressman.   And yet Spitzer stepped right up and endorsed him.  Why?  Because the albany machine is still good for votes.  Those are the decisions politicians make to get to higher office.  its a dirty business.  You want to fault Obama for playing the game, fine.  Don't think, Spitzer isn't playing the game.

He currently won't say anything of substance about the fact that the state comptroller (dem) was having a state employee work as his wife's personsal driver for the past 3 years (illegal).  Do i think he feels very strongly this is wrong?  yes.  Do i think he is holding his tongue and waiting out the election?  Definitely.  This is politics.

I'd rather not get into the business of airing dem dirty laundry, but to say Spizter is more pricipled than Obama strikes me the wrong way.  I don't see the evidence.  Call me a concern troll if it makes you feel better.

Sorry, but i find people who have worked as social workers deserve the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe that will prove to you i'm not a republican.   I don't know too many calculating career politicians who spent several years working in the ghetto.   Or writing books about how they had a troubled childhood and did drugs.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 02:52PM | 0 recs
How About The Fact That Spitzer Has A Record?

Let's really get back to basics, shall we?

When it comes to running for office, lots of people have to make lots of compromises, particularly in machine-dominated states.  These can best be justified in just one way: by doing a truly superb job when in office.  So far, Spitzer has a shot at qualifying.  Obama does not.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: How About The Fact That Spitzer Has A Record?

no argument from me on that.  I love spitzer.  I love what he had done and will do.  I will relish voting for him.  But he's a politcian.  And successful.   And you have to play the game to win.   if you want to place Spitzer on some pedestal I think you are making a mistake.  

As i posted below, I don't expect obama to have much of a record having been in the senate for 2 years and being in the minority.   However, if people want to condemn him for supporting lieberman (and i sure as hell did and do) than they should know that Spitzer supports corrupt Republican supporting democrats as well.  I condemn that as well.  

Also as I said below I think we should all be happy that we have a two great young and incredibly smart and charasmatic dems in Spitzer and Obama.   McCain looks like he has one foot in the grave.  If that is the best they've got,  I like our future better than the Republicans future.  And when you throw in all the incredible congressional challengers we have like Massa and Kleeb and so many others, things look good for our future.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 03:28PM | 0 recs
You Seem To Be Consistently Ignoring The Point

That Spitzer has actually built quite a record for himself.  Obama has not--on the national stage at least, which is the implicit assumption when you're talking about running for President.  I would have a problem with that in any event.  Charisma that comes from what a person has done is quite different from that derived from what he promises.  Just see our Gropenator if you have any doubts.

But then, on top of that, Obama goes around lecturing folks like me, the very folks who first supported him, about how they need to be like everyone else--like the folks who didn't support him in the beginning.

In all your posting in this diary, I have not seen you address this complaint, variants of which have been raised a number of times--including by Matt himself.  Simply repeating your own echo-chamber effect of the Obama cheer over and over again does not really constitute an effective debating tactic in these environs.  It would help if you actually addressed the criticisms that are out there.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

You make the mistake of not differentiating between playing politics and getting results. Playing politics is, clearly, often not the most pleasant thing in the world to observe. But this is unfortunately part of the game and no serious politician can sidestep it. Whereas the latter is what the game is, ultimately, or at least ideally, about.

And while Spitzer might have done some things that we wish he hadn't, not only are none of these, to my knowledge, in any way illegal or even close to it, he has clearly, demonstrably and indisputibly gotten results--serious, tangible significant results such as going after corporate and financial sector crooks.

Whereas Obama, while he appears to have been able to rise above the fray so far, what has he accomplished to date, especially in comparison to what Spitzer has? And don't forget that Obama is in the senate right now largely because his original prospective GOP opponent did himself in with a sex scandal (god I hope there's another way for Dems to consistently win) and his actual GOP opponent was a raving lunatic.

Show me a genuinely accomplished politician of either party, at any point in our history--or that of any other--who has not had to do things that didn't necessarily speak well of them. FDR tried to stack the courts, interned Japanese Americans, and failed to prepare for Pearl Harbor or do anything about the Nazi death camps. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and failed to get rid of McLellan sooner or lean harder on his generals, possibly prolonging the war and causing needless deaths. TR was a pompous, publicity-seeking warmonger. JFK, well, we know what kind of life he lived and what his father was involved with. Al Smith came up in the corrupt Tammany Hall machine. And so on.

If you want a completely pure and honest politician fine, but don't expect them to get elected or accomplish much. In politics, you can't have results without some compromise, of the political AND personal kind. Cannot be done.

The fact is that, whatever compromises Spitzer might have made--and I don't dispute that he has, as you showed--they have not diminished his accomplishments, or taken away from his ability to do yet more good. If anything, they've enhanced his ability to do this.

In this sense, he's quite different from people like Hillary or Lieberman, who've also made many compromises, but with nothing to show for it. I'm not willing to accept ALL compromises, but the kind that Spitzer has made, I'm willing to accept--especially in light of his accomplishments.

What has Obama accomplished, let alone his entire "go along to get along" DINO wing of the party? Video game labels and flag burning amendments?

by kovie 2006-10-22 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

What are your Top Fve Obama political achievements?

Which five of his achievements do you most respect and admire? And not just victories, mind you: I'm also interested in hearing about times when he fought the good fight and lost. I think that can be a pretty noble achievement, as well.

by BingoL 2006-10-22 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

What were John Kerry's top 5 achievements before he ran for president?  He's been there A LOT longer then Obama

by blueryan 2006-10-22 03:03PM | 0 recs
The Faux News Channel

What? You recycle republican memes? Are you auditioning for a job as a pundit on the Faux News Channel?

Just for starters:

...John Kerry chaired the landmark hearings that uncovered the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) scandal - the largest banking corruption scandal in modern times....

John Kerry's Senate record

Learn to do some basic research, grasshopper.

by Michael Bersin 2006-10-22 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

i'm not sure if this question is directed at me but i'll respond.  So far the only political achievements i've seen from Obama are 1) getting elected to the senate as a black guy and 2) his speeches.  

Personally i'm stunned that he is considering running.  perhaps he is thinking the VP route and then taking over in the future?  I don't think he should run because i don't think he's been around long enough.  If nothing else he just looks too young.  They will have a field day with that.   My only point is that many people on our side seem to be really attacking him when....he's still so young and hasn't done anything.   He's a freshmen senator in the minority who gives good speeches.  We should be thankful we have people like him on our side.  Who do they have...Ralph Reed?   I'll keep you up all night attacking Hillary.  There is plenty to work with on that front.  but Obama?   I don't think it is warranted.    but then again, perhaps you have all been Senators and know more about how easy it is to get stuff done as a freshman in the minority.   my bad.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

1.Publicly coming out against the Iraq War in 2002, on the verge of announcing his candidacy for United States Senate.  There was no obvious political advantage in taking such a stand (which is why so many '04 wannabes voted for it), but he lent what little political capital he had at the time to the anti-war movement.

2.Taking on, as a freshman Senator, the establishment old guard of the Senate over lobbying and ethics reforms by pushing for an independent Office of Public Integrity and fighting (successfully) for the Obama-Coburn Government Google project.

3.Building his service in the Illinois state Senate largely around the principles of campaign reform by refusing support from many large donors and corporate lobbies and authoring legislation to publicly finance judicial campaigns.

4.Fighting in the Senate to raise foreign policy issues that are incredibly important but often ignored, specifically the securing of former Soviet stockpiles of nuclear and conventional weapons materials (the Lugar-Obama Bill) and shoring up support for peacekeeping forces in Darfur (the Reid-Obama bill).

5.Plenty of other noble fights in the Illinois state Senate, including a quixotic campaign to amend the state constitution to guarantee health care to all citizens, the successful passage of a bill requiring all police interregations to be videotaped, and the creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit.

Another one that weighs heavily on me, although I left it off the list (didn't seem to qualify as a "political" accomplishment): his decision to turn down his many lucrative job offers (he was highly recruited as a brilliant Ivy League graduate and editor of the Harvard Law Review) and instead take up a job as a community activist and civil rights lawyer in the inner city.  That tells me a lot about where his heart is.

by Ryan Anderson 2006-10-22 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

1) That's true.  Good for him.

  1. Obama was appointed point man on ethics by Reid, and crumpled at the slightest whiff of pressure from McCain.
  2. Sounds reasonable, but I'd like to know more.
  3. And where exactly are we on either issue?  
  4. Sounds like a great state politician.

I am not doubting Obama's potential for good, I am just doubting what I've seen over the past few years.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-22 03:34PM | 0 recs
Precisely!
"Big overture. Little show."
  -- Xander Harris, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Season 4, Episode 4, "Fear Itself"
by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

"Obama was appointed point man on ethics by Reid, and crumpled at the slightest whiff of pressure from McCain."

How? What did he surrender, specifically?

"And where exactly are we on either issue?  "

Reid-Obama was passed by Senate (waiting on the House), Obama-Lugar will probably pass when Congress reconvenes.

"Sounds like a great state politician."

Absolutely

by Ryan Anderson 2006-10-22 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

McCain put up a shit bill, Obama pulled back, Mccain sent him a nastigram, and Obama apologized.

In terms of Darfur, the Senate has been dicking around for years on that.  It's all talk.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-22 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Obama might have a political glass jaw.

As noted in the post, he lost to Bobby Rush.

As not noted, he won his senate seat largely because his opponent (Jack Ryan) self destructed and the Ill. GOP desperately drafted a crazy Allen Keyes from out of state.

I still haven't seen Obama in heavy political combat.

He's smart, but is he tough? I'm not so sure.

by Bush Bites 2006-10-22 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

By the way, Obama would be a disaster as a Veep candidate.

He's not a slasher and we already saw what happens when you put a "pleaser" with his own agenda in the number two spot.

by Bush Bites 2006-10-22 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

What did Obama pull back on?  He never ended his calls for ethics reforms.  He fought against the establishment classes of both parties in taking away the Senate's ability to police itself (McCain was in on that too, as was Lieberman.  But it was a fundamentally good idea and despite that it failed overwhelmingly).  He wrote the only effective bill to shed light on earmarks.  And he never gave up on the calls for the Democratic agenda: ending lobbyist gifts and private jets and the like (in fact, when he failed to convince his colleagues of these changes he self-imposed a ban on such flights).

So what did he sacrafice?  From what I can tell, the entire netroots case boils down to the fact that his reply to McCain wasn't "vicious" enough. Personally, I don't care that he didn't hurt McCain's feelings, I care about actual policy.  Tell me exactly what did Obama compromise on?

by Ryan Anderson 2006-10-23 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President
  1. Audacity of Hope (Live at Dem Conv)
  2. Audacity of Hope (remix ino 2006 campaign)
  3. Audacity of Hope (hardcover)
  4. Audacity of Hope (paperback)
  5. Audacity of Hope (iTunes version)
by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 03:57PM | 0 recs
rosenburg and feldman show

wow.  i thought MYDD was the place where we debated the issues on their merits.  We've got one guy quoting buffy the vampire (who claims he won't read Obama's books because they aren't "real books" like the ones he chooses to read) and the other one trying to rundown one of the best speeches a democrat has given in a long time.  

Nice work.  Karl must be loving you two.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: rosenburg and feldman show

Aw, c'mon. It's Sunday night!  That "iTunes version" was a good line.  (sigh)  Has Democracy really lost all sense of humor in Albany?

I admire all the "Obamarketing"!  Don't you?

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: rosenburg and feldman show

we have learned to use humor to deal with dismal political situations in Albany.   Albanians are used to feeling powerless.   This thread rubbed me the wrong way.   I think its way off base.  However, in mid thread my wife called me away to watch 60 minutes.  They had a bit on Darfur.  that has me in a bit of a funk.  I'm one of the americans who hasn't fully comprehended what is going on there despite MSOC's diaries.   We've all got a lot of work to do as democrats and Americans.  I'm just not sure debating Obama's presdential qualities is the best use of our time right now.   Its what they are doing over at the RNC website.  Perhaps we can leave it to them for the next few weeks.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: rosenburg and feldman show

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Jeffrey and I go way back, but I've never had marquee billing with him before!

Not only that, but you took my Buffy bait!  Oh, this is just toooo good to be true!

Look, friend.  Neither of us has seen what looks like a substantial argument from you.  So it's only natural that we have a little fun.  It's entirely up to you to change the tone.  You want it serious? Then be serious.  Make a serious argument that demands a serious response.  But willfully misrepresenting folks is not being serious, just because you're in a pissy mood.

p.s.  The fact that you assume Buffy, The Vampire Slayer is insubstantial puts you in a very deep hole in proving yourself. You have been warned.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: rosenburg and feldman show

I see your point.  I concede.  Nice work.  Anyway, Stoller has your back downthread so I guess I should start watching shows about Vampire Slayers and getting with the program if i want to be a heavyweight like you two.  I understand that will leave me with less time to read books...but we all need to make sacrifices.

When you aren't watching your "shows", if you have time,  you let me know how i've willfully represented anyone.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 05:08PM | 0 recs
I'm not doubting Obama's personal convictions

but his political convictions have yet to be proven. So far he's stood tall and won a lot of easy battles. And I'm not saying he caves on every single hard fight, but I can't think of a handful of times when he's been one of the few standing his ground. I'm sure a lot of great stuff goes on in his head, and it's really cool to know that he quit a job in coporate America to be a social worker (really, that's very admirable) but I'm worried (not convinced, but worried, and I think for good reason) that he's a political pushover.

I'm also not here to vouch for Spitzer -- I don't really pay attention to NY politics. But it sounded like the implication was not so much a preference for Spitzer, but that Spitzer is not a pushover, and Obama might not fare so well in such a contest. Personally, I'd just like to see Obama as the underdog, the guy with nothing to lose but his dignity. I'd like to see him sign up for the '08 primary expecting to lose, to go into a ring with a bunch of heavy hitters, take his licks, throw his own, get knocked out, and wake up a better political fighter the next day.

He's got a lot of hope, and I've got a lot of hope for him, but I'd like to see him kick up the audacity a few notches.  

by msnook 2006-10-22 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I watched the MTP interview this morning and was struck by two things:   1) Obama sounded like more of a novice than Edwards did at a similar point, and 2) he's channeling Clinton.

Is he as 'audacious' as everyone says he is?  I'm not sure I see anything audacious, but he has gotten very good at senatorial equanimity.  Everyone seems to think he's full of passion, but the only time I've ever seen him passionate is when he showed up at dKos to tell us all to behave.  

But all this talk in the press is probably a result of something more than book sales.  Beyond thoughtful considerations (like this post by Stoller),  I think maybe he's being pushed behind the scenes by the Clinton folks who might see him as an ideal VP.  Many times in the Russert interview, I could swear I heard Obama echoing the "anti-ideology" argument of Bill Clinton's speech last week.  Hmm, I thought.  I suspect Clinton's "no more ideology" message could be the "bridge to the 21st century" tagline of the, uh, 21st century.   And either Obama is already on board with it, or he thinks that's the winning angle moving forward.

Either way, I look forward to reading the new book.  

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Oh my. What an astute observation. Makes me wonder. What if Obama is really running for VP with Hillary? Is the game plan to wash down the medicine with a spoonful of sugar? Will voters admire Obama enough to carry Hillary? The players are certainly right. Lieberman was Obama's mentor in the Senate. Bill and Hillary were active in Lieberman's first campaign. Ugh. What a horrible thought.

by grayslady 2006-10-22 02:31PM | 0 recs
I sure hope not

I wrote in a comment above about how I'd like to see Obama go into a dogfight expecting to lose, lay all his chips on the table and duke it out with some political heavyweights, but running for VP... that's like the wimpiest thing he could be doing right now. It'd be a smart political move for the short term, but I would lose all respect for him as a man of vision -- at least, any vision other than his own self-indulgent ladder-climbing.

by msnook 2006-10-22 05:48PM | 0 recs
VP even more senseless than prez!

Figure: two years ago, this guy was in his second term in the IL Senate, his first elected public office (so far as I'm aware).

And now folks are suggesting he run for prez?

Even if his Dad had been not Kenyan but Canadian, that wouldn't make much sense!

Let the guy retain his seat in 2010, then think about what he might want to do - and, as important, what the voters might let him do.

Seems he has a rather firmer grasp on the realities of political life than some of his friends in the sphere.

(VP is dumb - because, if you're going for a total fluke, why not go for the big one?)

by skeptic06 2006-10-23 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: VP even more senseless than prez!

The one thing I think I've learned over the past 6 years or so is that being president is all about making choices. It really has nothing to do with how "experienced" you maybe in government. You're not being asked to write white papers and quite honestly, to even develop policies yourself. Do you really think an extra 8 years in teh Senate is going to guarantee that you're going to be on the right side of all of the major questions that the country faces? You surround yourself with the best experts and you make choices as to what course you feel the country would be best served in following and most importantly effectively communicating this to the American people. I'm anxious to see who Matt and the others would like to see carrying the Democrat's banner in '08.

by highgrade 2006-10-23 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: VP even more senseless than prez!
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by gizzy 2007-07-31 12:25PM | 0 recs
I Agree Completely, Jeffrey, Except...

for the part about reading the book.

The analysis, however, is spot on, IMHO.

p.s.  Remember, everyone, "It's about competence, not ideology!" was Michael Dukakis's war cry.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I Agree Completely, Jeffrey, Except...

I think that both of your opinions are fairly near bizarre.  I don't get impuning a man's character--based on scant evidence, IMHO--really for no other reason than that he isn't left-wing enough for you.

Oh well.  And so it begins: the great post-Iraq liberal blogosphere consensus will soon be torn apart.  I foresee about 15 months of  presidential bickering.  This is just the primer. :)

by Jonathan Schwartz 2006-10-22 08:08PM | 0 recs
That's Not It At All

You may simply be unaware of it, but Obama has been doing a bit of a Mini Me to Lieberman's Dr. Evil, bashing progressives and make kissy face with Bush.  That's what our problem is with.  It has nothing to do with his place on the political spectrum.  It has everything to do with--ahem!--CHARACTER.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 10:47PM | 0 recs
Good gawd, Matt. Is this an attack on Obama?

I don't see the welcoming mat in your post. More like a thinly veiled hit piece.

Personally, I welcome all the fresh faces to the '08 table. I'm sick and tired of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, but more Kerry than Clinton.

If Obama wants to join the frey, good for him. Good for Dodd, Bill Richardson, Vilsack and Bayh.

by rosebowl 2006-10-22 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Good gawd, Matt. Is this an attack on Obama?

More like a thinly veiled hit piece.

Agreed.  

Matt, next time you want to not sound like an irrational anti-Obama partisan, don't compare Spitzer favorably to him.  It gives away your game.

by Disputo 2006-10-22 03:01PM | 0 recs
Look In The Mirror, Dude!

The next time you want to not sound like an irrational Obama partisan, don't call someone who's a thoughtful critic "irrational."  It gives away your game.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Look In The Mirror, Dude!

LMAO.

Who is this Rosenberg guy anyway?  His posts have the level of maturity, creativity, and intelligence of the standard freeper troll.

For the record, I have not put my support behind any of the prospective 2008 candidates, but I certainly believe that Obama should run, just not for the cynical reasons that Matt does.

by Disputo 2006-10-22 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Look In The Mirror, Dude!

Paul is a well-respected member of this community, so back off.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-22 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Look In The Mirror, Dude!

He parrots your anti-Obama schtick, so of course you respect him.  That's hardly surprising.

Back off?  Really?  You're resorting to threatening people now who don't toe your line?  Well, thanks for being clear that you have no interest in actually debating this issue.

But don't expect me to go away.  As long as inside the beltway people such as yourself continue to misrepresent politicians from IL, I'll be here to keep challenging you.

by Disputo 2006-10-22 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Look In The Mirror, Dude!

He was basically just saying don't engage in name-calling/attacking other members of the community-- one of the three rules here (but it doesn't apply to politicians as much; the others being to not channel tourette syndrome in type.. iirc, the third one was that you don't have to be a Democrat to post here, but don't be a freeper.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-10-22 04:09PM | 0 recs
Who The Fuck Am I???

Read my latest diary "What A Dem Landslide Could Mean" and decide for yourself.

I like long diaries, and short comments.  Snarky when called for.  Dems da breaks.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 04:03PM | 0 recs
It's not hard to find Out

Paul does good, thoughtful, progressive work. The links are worth a click-through.

by FishOutofWater 2006-10-22 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not hard to find Out

Agreed.  Paul and I don't always see eye to eye (we agree more times than not) but he does great work and is a must read.

by John Mills 2006-10-22 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Good gawd, Matt. Is this an attack on Obama?

When I want to write a hit piece, I write a hit piece.  I want Obama to run because I think he'll crumple, and I want him to crumple under a national spotlight so that he realizes how problematic his behavior has been and so that we realize that we have to stop worshiping rock stars.  But he may come through the crucible with principle in tact, in which case he'll deserve to be President, and may be a great President.

It's not supposed to be easy, even for Obama.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-22 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Good gawd, Matt. Is this an attack on Obama?

This was no hit piece.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-22 03:36PM | 0 recs
You Have More Faith In The Process Than I Do

Your logic sound.  I just can't quite get behind the assumption of faith.  It works that way in the movies, but...

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I think Obama is great, but still a little overrated.  I watched an interview with him the other night, and it just seemed to me like he had popped a Joe Lieberman pill before the interview began.  What he was saying just reminded me of the same 'ole bi-partisan go-along-to-get-along love blather that we've heard from so many Dems for too long.  Yeah, he sounded great, the package was more attractive, but the high looked the same to me.  

Sometimes, bi-partisanship isn't good.  Sometimes, partisanship is needed, especially when one side has conducted itself in a less than honorable manner.  I don't think Dems should conduct themselves the way Reps have these last few years, but I think acknowledging and fighting against the partisan vitriol of the other side is completely fair--and right.  I mean, one would think the last few elections would have taught Dems that fighting is important.  Especially when you're fighting the good fight.  

by KC 2006-10-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I think Matt is spot on here. Barack wants to run to the center, but there is NO center anymore in electoral politics. Not as long as the 30 percent theocratic vote will allow the Republicans to demonize the opposition. It's a war, baby. Like it or not. Be ready to fight it, or stay home and cry about the nastiness.

by mikmaher 2006-10-22 03:09PM | 0 recs
THERE IS TOO A CENTER

In two weeks we are going to see them swing left.

by aiko 2006-10-23 05:07AM | 0 recs
How about...

Obama in '08 because so many people love him so much that he would, in my opinion, be able to steamroll any of the squishy GOP "moderates" that seem to be favored to win the nomination thus far. Or at least he would start out a campaign as a heavy favorite.

All this compared to the uphill battle that is Hillary RODHAM Clinton. And I'm not saying that someone with more convictions but with less superstar power like Edwards can't win, because we all know he could, but hey, it's better to start out closer to your goal.

by b1oody8romance7 2006-10-22 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I suspect that if Obama runs, it will end up siphoning votes away from Hillary and possibly dooming her campaign, allowing a real (i.e. fighting and principled) Dem to sidestep all this "rock star" nonsense and win.

So far, from what I've seen, Obama, like Hillary, is all hat no cattle, i.e. all talk, no action. Triangulation is sooooooooo over, and voters want leaders who can, will and have walked the walk and not just talk the talk like these two strutting peacocks.

Let them battle it out for the hearts and minds of the Lieberman/DLC/DINO wing of the party, while real Dem voters nominate a real Dem nominee, like Feingold, Clark or some dark horse to be named later.

I can't believe that so many "Dems" are actually falling for his fluff act posing as gravitas. He might be smart, but strong leadership is about a lot more than that. Character matters, perhaps more than anything else, and is revealed through actions, not words, and taking principled and risky stands, not hiding behind pretty speeches and comforting bromides.

Perhaps Mr. Obama should study the example of and learn from another well-known politician from his home state, who was also good with words, but also with actions, some seven score and six years ago...

by kovie 2006-10-22 02:52PM | 0 recs
Honest Abe Lost An Election, Too

For opposing the Mexican-American War.  His response was a bit more elevated, IMHO.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Honest Abe Lost An Election, Too

A tactical loss that ended up being a strategic victory for him and the nation. There are compromises that you have to or should make. And there are compromises that you simply cannot, and must not, make.

Calling Bush a "decent man" after all that we know about him and his administration is the sort of compromise that I simply cannot respect. what on earth does this accomplish except maybe getting him a tepid nod of approval from Repubs who would still be unlikely to vote for him, as the sort of Dem that they like? Do we really need another Lieberman, or at least Hillary?

I've been around and observed politics long enough to know not to trust let alone place my faith in a person like Obama. Something just doesn't fit. I'm not saying that he's a bad person, just that he's an insubstantial person, at least as a politician, for taking the easy rather than principled road--especially when that road accomplishes nothing for the party or country. Even Clinton, the master of the triangulating suck-up, accomplished serious things (both good and bad, of course). Obama, not so much.

Until he actually gets some tangible things done in the senate, I'd prefer that he lay low and not take so many unearned curtain calls, let alone provide cover for the right and make things harder for the left.

Lincoln was also a bit of a publicity-seeking and very ambitious politician, but he brought some serious goods to the table. Obama, not so much. Hopefully, that will change, but until then, he needs to STFU and get out of the way and stop hogging up all the limelight that more deserving Dems have earned.

Unless, that is, as I've speculated above, his role--whether strategic or inadvertent--is to cut into Hillary's limelight and make it easier for a better Dem to get the nomination. But that's pure speculation on my part.

by kovie 2006-10-22 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Honest Abe Lost An Election, Too

Tangible things like what? Obama leads the Senate's efforts on preparing the nation for an outbreak of the avian flu. He has traveled to Senator Lugar to Ukraine to inspect piles of aging unsecured conventional weapons and is co-sponsoring legislation to secure same. Far from what the far left would like, he has offered perhaps one of the most mature responses to Iraq. Remember he voted against the war, but he also points out that, "we have to manage our exit in a responsible way--with the hope of leaving a stable foundation for the future, but at the very least taking care not to plunge the country into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis". Iraq didn't ask to be liberated. The United States can't up and leave because they oh, just so happened not to find WMD or any connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. His response is the principled thing to do.

And all this nonsense about experience or the lack thereof is overrated. You were all hyped about Howard Dean, the former governor of VT. A state with less people than the borough of Staten Island where I used to live. Experience huh? What a huge budget!? Where has all of Bush's experience led us. Talk about principles. What do you stand for, at least Obama's out there. Something ain't right? you ain't right!

by africanito 2007-01-19 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Honest Abe Lost An Election, Too

add: He opposed the war, not voted against it. Obviously, he wasn't in the Senate then.

by africanito 2007-01-19 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Look next to the word 'trimmer' in a good dictionary, and Mr. Obama's picture will be right there.

Him and McCail, they can duke it out in '08 in The Battle of the Bios.

by Davis X Machina 2006-10-22 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

McCain would bury Obama.

by pelican 2006-10-22 03:10PM | 0 recs
Oh Please!

The one thing Obama can do is blow smoke.  Which is what campaigning for President is all about.  This would do nothing whatsoever to force him to reveal his true self.  Nor would it force any sort of clarification.  Obfuscation, not clarification, is the watchword for presidential campaigns these days.

OTOH, I think that you're absolutely spot on when you say:

I think there are two keys to understanding Barack.  The first is to look at his formative political experience, the seering loss to machine politician Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary in 2000.  Before Brand Obama emerged, the Senator got destroyed by bucking the system.  Losing to a machine, as Cory Booker also did, does strange things to idealistic-appearing hyperambitious politicians.  It makes them a lot more wary of picking fights and making enemies, and it makes them a lot more inclined to cultivate chits and work within a system they know isn't working.

And Obama knows America is broken.  He knows it, he gets it, and that's why he is so aggressively dismissive of progressives.  He feels that he is one of us, and so we should understand why he has to have contempt for us.

Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

Haven't read his book.  Have no intention of doing so.  But I can recommend a more accurate title: The Mendacity of "Hope".

Snake oil, anyone???

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:11PM | 0 recs
say what?

I'd expect this from a Republican


Haven't read his book.  Have no intention of doing so.

Way to educate yourself on the issues.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

Seriously.  Educate yourself on the issues, Rosenberg!  You're like dead wood around here...

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

nice snark.  Did you read the book or are you also into bragging about not reading it?

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

I read the biography when it came out.   This new thing isn't really a "book" so much as a vehicle--produced more than written, and intended for people who don't know anything about him.  Reading it won't tell me anything I don't know already, and it would have set me back $25--which I chose instead to donate to Matt's kitty so he could get his butt to CT and kick some ass for Progressives.

I think I know enough about Barak Obama to have an opinion--and probably more than 99.9999% of the American electorate knows about him, which is enough for me to feel prepared at this stage, given that I'm not an Illinois resident.  If he decides to run for President, I'll figure out from there what else I need to do to keep current.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

if you read his first book i'm surprised you are so willing to attack him.  But perhaps you know things i don't.   I'm quite certain you know more than 99.0% of the population.   I'm just surprised that people like you are so willing to run him down before he's even done anything.  

I haven't read the new book yet.  I will. And i'll get back to you on that.   If you want to save the $25 just go to the library.   We shouldn't condemn what we don't know.  perhaps he has a chapter on how MYDD is saving america?   None of us know at this point.   What i will say is that his first book was very good from a progressive liberal standpoint.  And that was long before he was in politics.   He is a promising young democratic politician.  The more of them we have, the better (IMHO).  



I don't recall any debates about the books W wrote.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

I haven't 'attacked' Obama, unless you define 'attack' as 'not singing his praises.'  

But in general, I think it's important for Hill staffers and everyone else to see a range of views when they read these threads.  Obama has all the sycophantic praise he needs this week in the big cap media.   Better that we just voice our opinions freely here.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-22 05:23PM | 0 recs
His Book Isn't About Issues

It's about running for President.

Political activists and/or theorists, and social scientists and/or critics write books about issues.  Politicians in office have records that map out their stand on issues.  Those whose records merit paying further attention, I will pay attention to--such as Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s book several years back in which he proposed a number of constitutional amendments.  But such books are few and far between.

One of the main reasons I will not read this book is because I have so many real books to get to instead.

Most recently added to my list (a couple of hours ago): The Great Risk Shift: The Assault on American Jobs, Families, Health Care, and Retirement--And How You Can Fight Back by Jacob S. Hacker.  The last thing I read by him was a book he co-authored, Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: His Book Isn't About Issues

I'm talking about his first book.  the one he wrote well before you or i knew who he was.  

If you won't read his books because you have better things to do, perhaps you should get on to doing those things instead of badmouthing him when you don't have all the information?  

This man is currently one of the leading democrats in the country.  He was just on the cover of Time.  While i don't agree he should've been there I would think the least people like yourself could do is read his books.   I'm amazed that you are making a point to not read his books.  You think he hasn't written a "real book"?   If nothing else you should know the old political advice to always read your enemy's newspaper.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 04:01PM | 0 recs
I Didn't Say It Wasn't A Real Book

I said it wasn't a way to learn about the issues.  Big difference.

Pride and Prejudice is certainly a real book, but no one would claim it's a way to learn about the issues.  Surely this distinction is not that hard to grasp.

My point stands: actions speak louder than words.  When his actions say, "I hold you in contempt," I have no interest in reading his words.  And, just to say it again, I think that Matt hit it spot on in explaining why Obama has contempt for progressives.  It's because of his demons, not ours.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-22 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

Oh please, this is so silly. Books by current (and generally retired) politicians are usually little more than self-promoting fluff that have nothing to do with anything substantial. I've read enough to see this. Paul might do well to skim through it at the local bookstore, but a complete read is almost certainly an unnecesary waste of time.

Have you read it? Does he address some of today's most serious issues, and if so does he do so in a substantial, honest and useful way? E.g. the war, nuclear proliferation, global warming, energy policy, militant Islamism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the massive budget and trade deficits, the codified erosion of civil liberties, etc.? Or does he offer up easy bromides to "social" issues and suggest that we all start loving each other? Seriously, does he have anything to say that is worth anyone's time?

by kovie 2006-10-22 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

actually i read it. And he just suggested we all start loving one another.  Then there was something about bromides.  I however have trouble just loving people who prejudge so I say fuck Obama.  I'm not willing to love people who will condemn books that they haven't read.  Call me a liberal.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: say what?

Notice how you didn't answer my question about what he had to say of a substantial nature in it. Convince me that I should put his book ahead of the 20-30 that I currently have on my to-read list, or else it's going to have to wait a while.

Somehow, I think it's a better use of my time (and I'm not a fast reader) to first read books such as State of Denial, Lapdogs and American Theocracy than Oprah's safe and cuddly writer of the month bromide club selection. But that's just me.

by kovie 2006-10-22 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I'm still staking it out for Feingold. One of the reasons I love him is how he is able to A. change public perception B. crazily predict the future and C. exceed expectations. Obama has a great imagine of a non-partisan reformer respected by a large part of the population, but I fear he's too young for the spotlight. And more than all, I'd love a McCain versus Feingold election where we can use the slogan "Feingold - he makes McCain look like a crook" Why? Because Feingold's integrity, once publicized and televised, transcends all demographic groups... that is why afterall McCain was (initially) popular.

by KainIIIC 2006-10-22 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Barack Obama is the most intelligent and most charismatic politician on the scene. The question is this- Does he have the internal sense of mission and  the maturity to handle the heat of running for president? He has the potential to be a healing force in this country. Can he do it? Tom Oliphaunt addressed that question this week and said that Barack has to decide if he defers to Hillary or if he is the man and now is the time. The answer to that will mean whether he really is the man.

by cmpnwtr 2006-10-22 03:33PM | 0 recs
Prove Your Worth Mr. Stoller. Why should

Barack Obama find your brand of progressivism a winning strategy for 08. What is is about this particular brand that will help catapault any candidate through the rough and tumble Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire gantlet.  Is progressivism (or at least your brand of it) pro-union, pro-ag, pro-family. Let's hear it, Mr. Stoller.

by mwchicago04 2006-10-22 03:45PM | 0 recs
I like your argument. Any candidate will have to

appeal to these three blocs to get through the early stages of the 08 campaign.  

by mwchicago04 2006-10-23 03:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I don't doubt he would be capable of contributing the public dialogue.

That said, less than one term US senators--like 1 term governors (e.g., Mark Warner) make an odd choice for presidential timber.

I lived in IL during Obama's run for the Senate and chose to write in a friend (who has shown up as a write-in for me whenever I couldn't stomach the machine hack the Dems were foisting upon me--but I will NOT vote for a GOPer for anythying).

During the waning days of the Senate race, Obama, when he was at least 50 points ahead of Keyes in the polling, opted to blast gay marriage. He wasn't asked about it. He could gain nothing more electorally. It was the gratuitous blast at those who were going to vote for him anyway.

So while I think he does add value and his keynote was great in 2004, I don't see 2008 as making sense.

by Cobalt 2006-10-22 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

During the waning days of the Senate race, Obama, when he was at least 50 points ahead of Keyes in the polling, opted to blast gay marriage. He wasn't asked about it. He could gain nothing more electorally. It was the gratuitous blast at those who were going to vote for him anyway.

He was already thinking in terms of the Presidency-as-written-by-Lieberman route.  He wasn't going to risk having a -- GASP! -- history of tolerance and decency in his past, like Romney.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-12-26 03:59AM | 0 recs
Barack Obama Should Not Run for President

I do not think Barak Obama should run for President because he is clearly not ready for the job and frankly after 6 years of a light weight ideologue as President I am not looking for someone who will need serious on the job training.  The guy hasn't even served 2 years in the Senate yet and before that served 8 years in the Illinois Senate.  No offense, but he pretty green right now and would do himself and the country some good to get some serious experience in the Senate or maybe as IL Gov b/f deciding to run for President.

Obama may very well have a bright future in American politics but one speech and 20 months in the US Senate do not a President make.  I completely disagree with Matt and think Obama would do the country and himself a lot of good to sit out this race and let those ready to be President day one run.  I view the Presidential primaries as an interview process as much as a debating society and Obama's resume just doesn't stack up right now.

I should add that I have nothing against Barak Obama.  He seems relatively impressive for a junior member of the Senate.  However, there is a reason that people don't go straight to the top job in either politics or business.  Experience matters and he just doesn't have it yet.

by John Mills 2006-10-22 05:43PM | 0 recs
Voters look hard at experience

Then they look again when the media begins its ritual gravitas beating.

by stevehigh 2006-10-22 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Voters look hard at experience

There is definately some truth to that but experience is very important to me.  It is not the only thing but Obama is out for me b/c he does not have the gravitas to be Prez in 2009.  He might in 5-10 yrs but not today and I am not big on not ready for prime time candidates.  Nothing against Obama - I think he has a bright future - but 2008 is not his year.

by John Mills 2006-10-22 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I can't help having a growing suspicion that something is in the forge now, as firmly as choosing Boston for the DNC last time, and that a Clinton/Obama steamroller is getting ready to plow right through the nomination.

I have to confess also, that at the moment it feels more good than bad...

by JoeFelice 2006-10-22 06:02PM | 0 recs
cleaning

I hear Paul Rosenburg is an avid reader.  I hear democrats like to have an open discussion about ideas.   I hear things.  But i've never read real books.  You kids should be ashamed of your censorship. I at least hope you've learned something.

Great start our taking over congress.  Really showing some great leadership on honestly and values.   And supression of ideas.

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

As was said before, looks like a thinly veiled hit piece to me.

Obama > Stoller

by Epitome22 2006-10-22 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Obama has plenty of time.  Not if he stays in Congress.  But he's a powerful enough figure already to retain an occasional spotlight for the next 20 years.  Personally I hope he does run for President in 2008 just because no one else in the field does much for me.  But he's already a strong candidate for that office now or in the future.

by tomanjeri 2006-10-22 07:44PM | 0 recs
I posted this once before but it got deleted

i posted several comments on this thread that seem to be absent.  I guess I pissed off the people who run the blog who don't like free expression.   here is one of the ones that got deleted.   I commented that the ass who made this statement sounded a lot more like a republican than someone that should be posting on this site.

Haven't read his book.  Have no intention of doing so.

But my comment got deleted.  I guess condemning books you haven't read is not a progressive value.  Questioning that practice apparently is not.   Oh, well.  Like Bill Hicks said....the puppet on the right..vs. the puppet on the left.  Shame on whoever deleted that comment.  

by democracyinalbany 2006-10-22 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

If you have ever met the Senator, you would know that he does not shy away from talking about policy.  His 2004 stump was almost too wonky, if anything.

If you want to address him on policy, then why not do so?  It's not as though he hasn't taken numerous positions on issues.

by LPMandrake 2006-10-22 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President
I am amazed and somewhat stupefied about the Obama fan club! How can anyone seriously think that he is anywhere near-ready for an office like the Presidency? Exactly what has he shown in his public career, except for "charisma" and rhetoric, to lead  people to push for his candidacy for President? Unfortunately, I think that indeed is the answer - he has a certain stage charisma, and he can give a good speech! Are we Democrats that desperate that we would opt for a bit of shallow glamor, rather than hold out for someone with substance and maturity?
Or have we truly become so hungry for Power, just like the Repugs, that we'll drop our pants for the sake of a big smile and a nifty turn-of-phrase?
 
by disgusted 2006-10-22 08:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

There is no job on the planet like being the President of the United States.  That being said, what does qualify Obama for the job?  How about his intelligence and vision for change?  He is a deep thinker who has a great track record on progressive issues.  While most Democrats were equivocating, Senator Obama was speaking out against the war in Iraq.  He's good on the environment, health care, taxes, abortion, education... you can pretty much pick any issue and see how he would be great for America.

And while you might laugh off his ability to give a speech, if you can't communicate your message to the people you will be a poor President.  Being able to explain your position clearly is an absolute must if you're going to thrive politically.  That agenda I briefly covered above?  It won't mean a thing if he isn't an effective communicator.  And that's true for any candidate.

by LPMandrake 2006-10-22 11:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

There's no way Obama could survive umpteen debates with 5 or 6 candidates assailing him while keeping his "centrist" mantra. The debates will eventually force him to take clear positions that may make him take uncomfortably "progressive" stances. It happened in the 2003 run up.

Its just too easy to take no side when your on the sideline, but when he's in the spotlight he's gonna have to have clear cut principles and positions that are going to get attacked.

It might be easier to just have Hillary take the fire in the run up to the primaries and pick Obama as an early VP.

I think it'll be hard for McCain also. When you're not on any side people wonder if you're on their side, but he's already sold out on a lot of his principles to position himself for the primaries.

by ugottabkidding 2006-10-23 01:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I'd also like to thank everyone for not bringing up race.

It's too bad I had to bring it up. Ignore this post.

by ugottabkidding 2006-10-23 01:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

The Senate has proved the death of many a great presidential career. James Bryce's thoughts on how a record of votes ruins a campaign remain true, a century on, and the governor's mansion with its more limited capacity to establish such a record remains the best place to launch a bid for the top job.

If Obama waits till 2010 or even 2014, he'll have done too much to seek higher office. I think he's the obvious Veep choice for someone like Edwards, and perhaps even Hillary might consider him -- except that I don't think Hillary will get the nom, and if she does, she won't win.

The alternative might be to look to the Illinois governorship in 2010, but even that might be too late.

by etagloh 2006-10-23 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Having him as governor first would help, but if Blagojevich managed to survive the last few years, he may not be giving up that mansion anytime soon.

Abraham Lincoln only served one mediocre term in the House before later becoming the best president the country ever had.  So Obama's lack of experience in higher office doesn't need to be a strike against him, as long as he has the brains and the character.

In fact, his inexperience may be a good thing, because he will have spent far less time in DC or in a mansion, insulated from the people he is supposed to represent.

by Apt604 2006-10-23 07:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

This thread just paints in neon colors why we lose general elections. Smells like the "well...you know...Bush and Gore are, like, the same, man..." threads I used to read in 2000. 6 years later and how well did that theory work out?

Playing this more-progressive-than-thou game is self and party-destructive.

Look at the Democratic field of 1984:

Reubin O'D. Askew, Alan M. Cranston, John H. Glenn Jr., Gary W. Hart, Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, George S. McGovern,  and Walter F. Mondale

1988:

Bruce E. Babbitt, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Michael S. Dukakis, Richard A. "Dick" Gephardt, Albert A. Gore Jr., Gary W. Hart, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Patricia Schroeder, and Paul M. Simon

1992:

Larry Agran, Jerry Brown, Bill Clinton, Tom Harkin, Bob Kerrey,
Tom Laughlin, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Tsongas, Douglas Wilder, and Charles Woods

2000:

Bill Bradley and Al Gore

2004:

Carol Moseley Braun, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman, Rev. Al Sharpton

A potential slate of Kerry, Gore, Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Bayh, Vilsack, Clark, Richardson, Dodd, Feingold and Biden would represent easily the best group we've fielded in a generation or more, with representation across the entire depth of the Democratic party. Please don't submarine candidates before they've even had a chance to throw their hat in the ring.

by Daaaaave 2006-10-23 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

And the only winner among them was about as "DLC" as a Democrat can be.  (Or the only two winners, if you count Al Gore).

by Apt604 2006-10-23 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

But the DLC dumped Al Gore when they kept tacking to the right.  And then we lost the House, Senate and most of the governorships and state houses under the DLC/Blue Dogs' watch of the last fifteen years.  It's only been since 2003, when the DLC/Blue Doggers' fingers were partially pried from the levers of Democratic power, that we've made any real gains.  

by Phoenix Woman 2006-12-26 04:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Matt,

..."sickening praise of Bush", I don't see it that way. The only praise I found in the transcript was, "As I say in the book, I think he is a decent person, and, and the--I like him personally." What he says before and after that is nuanced but damning of Bush and his administration.

Therefore, I ask myself whether the following is also overstated, "It comes out in a strong disdain for progressives". I would like better examples.

Your article has been beneficial in making me view Barack in a more skeptical light, and I agree that he needs to be forged in the heat of great pressure. I have a very small voice of doubt which says that someting is not quite right with Obama; however, experience tells me that this voice of doubt may very well be nothing.

There are some things I am very certain of (issues usually). Candidates for office are not one of these things. There are so many levels on which these people operate and so much about politics that I do not intuitively grasp. At a certain point I just give it over to faith (nothing to do with religion)but that time is not now.

Barack's charisma grabed me, and I beieve I may have been drinking the tea... Thanks for the seeds.

by farsight 2006-10-23 11:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

I'm curious to hear what qualities it is that the anti-Obama faction are looking for in the next Dem candidate. Specifically what kind of experience we need. It seems to me if you have a decent handle of the issues, the most important quality is your decisionmaking process. Do we really care whether or not he's negotiated with 20 foreign leaders or whether or not he's chaired committees, etc?

by highgrade 2006-10-24 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Barack Obama, on Hillary:

"You know, I think very highly of Hillary. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she's the most disciplined--one of the most disciplined people--I've ever met. She's one of the toughest. She's got an extraordinary intelligence. And she is, she's somebody who's in this stuff for the right reasons. She's passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children. So it's not clear to me what differences we've had since I've been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I'm always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn't have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test."

by marycontrary 2006-12-10 09:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

Sometimes it is important for one to refraining from taking oneself so seriously. Those who have offered dissenting opinions have not fully appreciated the unique political undercurrent that has catapulted the really "unknown" to the national spotlight.

It is because of people like you and your counterparts on the Right that Barrack Obama is famous. Barrack Obama will lead with his strengths. He will succeed or fail doing exactly what has made him what he is today. He will refuse to harden or deepen tribal loyalties. He will stress what it means to be American and call him naive, he will try to write his version of American politics on the landscape. He may fail, but at least he will fail being Barrack Obama and not what you want him to be.

People who in their small spheres of influence are incompetent and mistake-prone paradoxically are more demanding of others. People who could barely win class elections want to tell others who could how to do it. Your brand of politics has been the one practiced by this administration howbeit from the Right. It is unpopular, it is divisive and corrosive. Sit back and prepared to be disappointed or smug. Obama will continue to be and should be contemptuous of you so called "progressives". Bunch of ideologues who have now hi-jacked what used to be an honorable nomenclature. "Progressives", huh? He will win inspite of you and lose inspite of you. But we're sick of your brand of politics and you know what, we'll take our chances with something new. What's there to lose? Your foolishness has miserably failed anyway.

by africanito 2007-01-19 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

*refrain

by africanito 2007-01-19 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Barack Obama Should Run for President

DORMER
Metal Cutting
丝锥
钻头
铣刀
白钢刀
铰刀
螺纹铣刀
板牙
by siteshow 2007-09-27 08:01PM | 0 recs

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