Thursday, July 3, 2008


Earlier today in a response to a question by Mike Saul from the NY Daily News on Obama's statement today on withdrawing from Iraq I wrote:

My first thought is that Obama's recent actions and statements won't help him avoid being painted a flip-flopper by the right, but they were going to find a way to do that anyhow. It also won't help Obama much with the "low information" voters for the same reason. I, however, expected this. Obama has always said that how he wants to proceed with Iraq will be determined by the information he has available, and he never ruled out that his thinking might shift. I remember this from either a debate moderated by Tim Russert, or perhaps it was on his MTP appearance. However, the context of those statements seemed to apply more to post-inauguration than while still campaigning. But we can't deny - at least from recent press reports - that things do appear to be changing in Iraq, at least from the point of the Iraqi government trying to at least appear to be acting more independent.

I'm less concerned about what he has to say about Iraq, because lets face it, there's no easy way out of this for anyone. What I am very concerned about is what he says about Iran. Any "tough talk" is going to have a negative affect on me.

On their own, many of the apparent "flip-flops" from Obama lately are anything but. If you've read his books, you'd know that he was for the death penalty for those who would rape and murder a child. He was also fairly pro gun, though he was also for gun control, especially in Chicago, and those positions are not incompatible.

His recent remarks about withdrawing the troops from Iraq are consistent with what he has said all along, but when you put all of these recent positions together and view them out of their original context, you see what appears to be a pattern of Obama shifting away from his progressive values and pandering more to the "center" - wherever the hell that is.

I guess I could be in the center, considering that my positions swing far right in some cases, but far left on most others. What I liked about Obama is that he seemed to embody a similar dynamic, that he could be liberal and libertarian and conservative, without those positions being in conflict. What I liked most about him, however, was that he seemed guided more by principles than by politics, and wasn't afraid to be controversial. I still believe that for the most part, but I cannot compromise on the FISA issue.

Make no mistake. I am holding Obama accountable to his words, not mine. When I say he has lost my support, I mean that I am no longer willing to give him my money, nor give him my time. It's not too late for him to change my mind on that, just as it's not too late to lose my vote as well. I'll be watching Obama with the same critical eye that I have always watched with, even when I walked up and down the San Francisco hills on that cold and rainy February day, even those days in Texas when I walked three precincts, and even when I talked to potential voters on the countless numbers of calls I made.

Not that it really matters all that much, what with me being one person. But then maybe it matters a little more when you factor in all those folks I encountered while volunteering for the campaign, and especially when you factor in all the fence sitters I talked over to Obama's side.

I'm anxious to see what Obama does next.

blog comments powered by Disqus