Presence, MoveOn.org, Barack Obama, Betrayal
by truthteller2007, Fri Feb 01, 2008 at 02:08:21 PM EST
Barack Obama cancelled a scheduled event to be held in Rock Hill, South Carolina, at 12:30pm on 20 SEPT 2007 at 10:30pm the previous evening. According to a press release issued by his Presidential campaign, Obama would remain Washington for "important votes on the future of America's presence in Iraq." A campaign spokesperson later referred to Obama's decision as "one of those terribly unfortunate things," but he assured South Carolinians that Obama would return as soon as possible. Voters in South Carolina cannot feel Obama betrayed them.
And yet, at 12:36pm on 20 SEPT 2007, Obama missed Senate roll call vote 344, one of those "important votes on the future of America's presence in Iraq." He did, however, manage to cast votes on Senate roll call votes 345 at 2:54pm and 343 at 11:58am, thereby rendering his absence in the roll call for vote 344 all the more conspicuous. Some would refer to it as avoidance, while those familiar with Obama's voting record in the Illinois state Senate would rightfully dismiss this as yet another example of Obama's legislative "presence."
Senate roll call vote 344 was the controversial Cornyn amendment to HR 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. According to the published statement of purpose, the Cornyn amendment expresses "the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces." Aiding and abetting the practice of censorship in the name of America's increasing militarization, the Cornyn amendment was a bald swipe at MoveOn.org, a Leftist, grassroots organization that published an advertisement in the 10 SEPT 2007 edition of the New York Times wherein Commanding General Petraeus was renamed "General Betray Us" for the anticipated defense of George W. Bush's failed military policies in Iraq he would deliver during Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill that week.
Although MoveOn.org was condemned by George W. Bush and by the press for the scabrousness of their advertisement, 25 Senate Democrats who understood the Cornyn amendment to be so much sanctimonious political theater refused to engage in this Republican attempt to suppress democratic free speech. One of those Democrats was Hillary Clinton, who voted NAY when the Senate considered Cornyn amendment.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, did not vote. Remaining silent and present, he chose to eschew the vote altogether, for to him it was not politically expedient. After all, he had announced an intention to run for President, and the Senator from Illinois does not want to be forced to account for a vote for which he may be criticized. He will, however, claim he will transform the mindset that led this country to war when standing before the cameras during a Presidential debate. Votes, I guess, are less powerful than the empty words and promises of the Senator whose voting record is one of politician who is never there but is always, somehow, present.
Today MoveOn.org endorsed the pusillanimous Senator from Illinois who refused to defend their organization's right to dissent and debate. Perhaps members of MoveOn are suffering from amnesia, or perhaps MoveOn only lends credibility to those they believe have "betrayed us."