Delta Force

Obama, confronted this week with a FISA bill spinnable as a GWOT "security" issue, voted for strength. Progressives (his most important base?) are gutted. But many pundits and realists say he's stronger as a general election candidate if he's not "on the fringe of his party." After this week, has anybody's opinion changed about how progressive Obama will be if he wins office?

Watching this put me in mind of the dramas over "security" coming this fall to a Denver near you.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I think a lot of the netroots hopes for Obama have had more to do with the primary campaign contrastwith Clinton than with his actual platform or record. In the senate he's been more of a Dick Durbin than a Russ Feingold, so I didn't find this shocking. In a way, A and I went through the disappointment phase with this guy in his first year as our senator. But hey, the good news is that we got over it.

But certainly, FISA was disappointing (as was the coverage of it, both online and otherwise). But if I have to pick and choose-- and that's what politics seems to be about, picking and choosing-- then FISA ranks well below a host of other issues on which Obama isn't disappointing. At all. I'd rather have universal healthcare and an end to the war than a successful lawsuit against the telecoms-- and if McCain is our next president, we won't get any of those things. I say that as someone who cares about this issue and who IS disappointed , pragmatics aside. But I find myself reminded that this party is a coalition, and that this coalition is the bedrock of any electoral success. Ideological purity isn't really possible in American politics. FISA sucked and yeah, it was a political calculation. No doubt. He's allowed to make those sometimes-- and, in fact, he damn well better.

For those who are also disappointed, I recommend going back to his speech at the 2004 convention. The rhetorical balance in that speech is the same one he's reclaiming now. That balance will carry him-- and the larger agenda-- through to November.