Posted by: iam0nly1 | July 9, 2008

Under the Bus and On the Fence

Senator Obama seems to be buying into the false dichotomy of “Obama or McCain,” lurching to the right with abandon, believing his ardent, if upset, angered and disillusioned supporters will still come out the polls and pull the lever for him. Bob Herbert, at the New York Times sums up the buyers remorse emerging within Obama’s rank and file:

Only an idiot would think or hope that a politician going through the crucible of a presidential campaign could hold fast to every position, steer clear of the stumbling blocks of nuance and never make a mistake. But Barack Obama went out of his way to create the impression that he was a new kind of political leader — more honest, less cynical and less relentlessly calculating than most.

You would be able to listen to him without worrying about what the meaning of “is” is.

This is why so many of Senator Obama’s strongest supporters are uneasy, upset, dismayed and even angry at the candidate who is now emerging in the bright light of summer.

One issue or another might not have made much difference. Tacking toward the center in a general election is as common as kissing babies in a campaign, and lord knows the Democrats need to expand their coalition.

But Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He’s lurching right when it suits him, and he’s zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that’s guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash.

So there he was in Zanesville, Ohio, pandering to evangelicals by promising not just to maintain the Bush program of investing taxpayer dollars in religious-based initiatives, but to expand it. Separation of church and state? Forget about it.

And there he was, in the midst of an election campaign in which the makeup of the Supreme Court is as important as it has ever been, agreeing with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas that the death penalty could be imposed for crimes other than murder. What was the man thinking?

Thankfully, a majority on the court left the barbaric Scalia-Thomas-Obama (and John McCain) reasoning behind and held that capital punishment would apply only to homicides.

“What’s he doing?” is the most common question heard recently from Obama supporters.

For one thing, he’s taking his base for granted, apparently believing that such stalwart supporters as blacks, progressives and pumped-up younger voters will be with him no matter what. A taste of the backlash this can produce erupted on the candidate’s own Web site.


Mr. Obama is betting that in the long run none of this will matter, that the most important thing is winning the White House, that his staunchest supporters (horrified at the very idea of a President McCain) will be there when he needs them.

He seems to believe that his shifts and twists and clever panders — as opposed to bold, principled leadership on important matters — will entice large numbers of independent and conservative voters to climb off the fence and run into his yard.

Obama is misreading, or simply abandoning his base. These individuals are the radical netroots who demand a candidate who is in lock step with most of their core beliefs. After all, they bought the Republican, and now Democratic(?) talking points about Hillary and rejected her because Obama promised to do away with triangulation and calculation. Obama was also able to bludgeon Hillary with her AUMF vote (even though he wasn’t in the Senate at the time, later said he didn’t know how he would have voted, and continuously voted to fund the war once in the Senate), and promised he would be the one to end the war. Now he’s backtracking on Iraq, and his surrogates are just as confused as the electorate.

Obama will lose this gamble every time.

Senator Obama would do well to remember that we voters have numerous options, the least of which is being forced to vote for a candidate that has neglected, rejected and dejected us. We PUMAs have numerous strategies, and Senator Obama’s former supporters are welcome to join our movement and choose a non-Obama option. After all, we know better than most how much room there is under the bus.

To Obama’s chagrin many members of his base are out from under the bus, and on the fence. is already angered, Code Pink is threatening to support Nader, the Daily Kos is splitting in half, there’s an uprising at his own site, and as Herbert reveals, African Americans are concerned as well:

There has been a reluctance among blacks to openly criticize Senator Obama, the first black candidate with a real shot at the presidency. But behind the scenes, there is discontent among African-Americans, as well, over Mr. Obama’s move away from progressive issues, including his support of the Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutional right of individuals to bear arms.

There’s even concern that he’s doing the Obama two-step on the issue that has been the cornerstone of his campaign: his opposition to the war in Iraq. But the senator denied that any significant change should be inferred from his comment that he would “continue to refine” his policy on the war.

Still worse for Obama, many of his (former) supporters have undoubtedly even jumped into McCain’s yard. But in the end, Obama should not expect anyone to pull the weeds and tidy his garden if he won’t even water it.



  1. Please stop drinking the Kool-Aid! NObama, Just Say NO Deal, PUMA!

  2. Clinton decreased the deficit by going after the paper money of the Social Security Administration. Oh yeah, and what does harrison call the intervention in Bosnia? A police action? I call it an attempt to bribe the leaders of Islamic nations, and a failed attempt at that.

  3. Harrison doesn’t like my use of the word “criminals.” One of the Clintons was actually convicted, the other was about to be indicted for obstruction of justice in the case of the looting of Madison Guaranty when the main prosecution witness, partner Jim McDougal, died of a heart attack he suffered in solitary confinement in a federal prison after having been deprived of his heart medicine. What is Harrion’s definition of ciminality?

    To iam0nly1, Obama voted often enough to let us know where he really stands on the 2nd amendment and abortion – the core issues.

  4. […] and our Presidential Nominee. For all of Obama’s former supporters who are crawling from under the bus, there’s nothing like […]

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