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Update [2005-9-30 10:38:41 by Armando]: From the diaries by Armando. Since it is not our normal practice to promote diaries from our representatives, I think I should explain why I chose to promote Senator Obama's diary. Simply put, Sen. Obama's diary addresses in substance an issue that has been a major focus of discussion in our community. Given the source, the topic and the specific thoughts, and the discussion sure to ensue, it is my judgment that promotion was the right thing to do.

I read with interest your recent discussion regarding my comments on the floor(1, 2, 3) during the debate on John Roberts' nomination.  I don't get a chance to follow blog traffic as regularly as I would like, and rarely get the time to participate in the discussions.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to offer some thoughts about not only judicial confirmations, but how to bring about meaningful change in this country.

Maybe some of you believe I could have made my general point more artfully, but it's precisely because many of these groups are friends and supporters that I felt it necessary to speak my mind.

There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate.  And I don't believe we get there by vilifying good allies, with a lifetime record of battling for progressive causes, over one vote or position.    I am convinced that, our mutual frustrations and strongly-held beliefs notwithstanding, the strategy driving much of Democratic advocacy, and the tone of much of our rhetoric, is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country.  

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

I think this perspective misreads the American people.  From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon.  They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.  They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs.  They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country.

It's this non-ideological lens through which much of the country viewed Judge Roberts' confirmation hearings.   A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don't think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession.  Instead, they have good reason to believe he is a conservative judge who is (like it or not) within the mainstream of American jurisprudence, a judge appointed by a conservative president who could have done much worse (and probably, I fear, may do worse with the next nominee).  While they hope Roberts doesn't swing the court too sharply to the right, a majority of Americans think that the President should probably get the benefit of the doubt on a clearly qualified nominee.

A plausible argument can be made that too much is at stake here and now, in terms of privacy issues, civil rights, and civil liberties, to give John Roberts the benefit of the doubt.  That certainly was the operating assumption of the advocacy groups involved in the nomination battle.  

I shared enough of these concerns that I voted against Roberts on the floor this morning.  But short of mounting an all-out filibuster -- a quixotic fight I would not have supported; a fight I believe Democrats would have lost both in the Senate and in the court of public opinion; a fight that would have been difficult for Democratic senators defending seats in states like North Dakota and Nebraska that are essential for Democrats to hold if we hope to recapture the majority; and a fight that would have effectively signaled an unwillingness on the part of Democrats to confirm any Bush nominee, an unwillingness which I believe would have set a dangerous precedent for future administrations -- blocking Roberts was not a realistic option.

In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense.  Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design.

The same principle holds with respect to issues other than judicial nominations.  My colleague from Illinois, Dick Durbin, spoke out forcefully - and voted against - the Iraqi invasion.  He isn't somehow transformed into a "war supporter" - as I've heard some anti-war activists suggest - just because he hasn't called for an immediate withdrawal of American troops. He may be simply trying to figure out, as I am, how to ensure that U.S. troop withdrawals occur in such a way that we avoid all-out Iraqi civil war, chaos in the Middle East, and much more costly and deadly interventions down the road.  A pro-choice Democrat doesn't become anti-choice because he or she isn't absolutely convinced that a twelve-year-old girl should be able to get an operation without a parent being notified.  A pro-civil rights Democrat doesn't become complicit in an anti-civil rights agenda because he or she questions the efficacy of certain affirmative action programs. And a pro-union Democrat doesn't become anti-union if he or she makes a determination that on balance, CAFTA will help American workers more than it will harm them.

Or to make the point differently: How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?  How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?    

I am not drawing a facile equivalence here between progressive advocacy groups and right-wing advocacy groups.  The consequences of their ideas are vastly different. Fighting on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable is not the same as fighting for homophobia and Halliburton.  But to the degree that we brook no dissent within the Democratic Party, and demand fealty to the one, "true" progressive vision for the country, we risk the very thoughtfulness and openness to new ideas that are required to move this country forward.  When we lash out at those who share our fundamental values because they have not met the criteria of every single item on our progressive "checklist," then we are essentially preventing them from thinking in new ways about problems.  We are tying them up in a straightjacket and forcing them into a conversation only with the converted.

Beyond that, by applying such tests, we are hamstringing our ability to build a majority.  We won't be able to transform the country with such a polarized electorate.  Because the truth of the matter is this: Most of the issues this country faces are hard.  They require tough choices, and they require sacrifice.  The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress may have made the problems worse, but they won't go away after President Bush is gone.  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.  We won't have the popular support to craft a foreign policy that meets the challenges of globalization or terrorism while avoiding isolationism and protecting civil liberties.  We certainly won't have a mandate to overhaul a health care policy that overcomes all the entrenched interests that are the legacy of a jerry-rigged health care system.  And we won't have the broad political support, or the effective strategies, required to lift large numbers of our fellow citizens out of numbing poverty.

The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job.  After all, it's easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it's harder to craft a foreign policy that's tough and smart.  It's easy to dismantle government safety nets; it's harder to transform those safety nets so that they work for people and can be paid for.  It's easy to embrace a theological absolutism; it's harder to find the right balance between the legitimate role of faith in our lives and the demands of our civic religion.  But that's our job.  And I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose.  Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.  A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.

Let me be clear: I am not arguing that the Democrats should trim their sails and be more "centrist."  In fact, I think the whole "centrist" versus "liberal" labels that continue to characterize the debate within the Democratic Party misses the mark.  Too often, the "centrist" label seems to mean compromise for compromise sake, whereas on issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty, I don't think Democrats have been bold enough.  But I do think that being bold involves more than just putting more money into existing programs and will instead require us to admit that some existing programs and policies don't work very well.  And further, it will require us to innovate and experiment with whatever ideas hold promise (including market- or faith-based ideas that originate from Republicans).

Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.  This is more than just a matter of "framing," although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required.  It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.

Finally, I am not arguing that we "unilaterally disarm" in the face of Republican attacks, or bite our tongue when this Administration screws up.  Whenever they are wrong, inept, or dishonest, we should say so clearly and repeatedly; and whenever they gear up their attack machine, we should respond quickly and forcefully.  I am suggesting that the tone we take matters, and that truth, as best we know it, be the hallmark of our response.  

My dear friend Paul Simon used to consistently win the votes of much more conservative voters in Southern Illinois because he had mastered the art of "disagreeing without being disagreeable," and they trusted him to tell the truth.  Similarly, one of Paul Wellstone's greatest strengths was his ability to deliver a scathing rebuke of the Republicans without ever losing his sense of humor and affability.  In fact, I would argue that the most powerful voices of change in the country, from Lincoln to King, have been those who can speak with the utmost conviction about the great issues of the day without ever belittling those who opposed them, and without denying the limits of their own perspectives.

In that spirit, let me end by saying I don't pretend to have all the answers to the challenges we face, and I look forward to periodic conversations with all of you in the months and years to come.  I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up. And I, in turn, will always try and show you the respect and candor one owes his friends and allies.

(Cross-posted on the Senate blog: http://obama.senate.gov/blog/.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (4.00)
    Senator, thanks for posting here.  I am flattered that you chose to come to this forum and explain your position on the Roberts nomination, and I hope your comments are taken very seriously.
    •  OK, now, who's going to be first to call him ... (3.20)
      ... a fascist, or a Vichy Democrat, or such?

      What ... none of the usual baptism?

      Well reasoned, Senator, and well said. Thank you.

      None Dare Call It Stupid!

      by RonK Seattle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:57:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you Senator Obama. (3.00)
        I advocate holding major Republican contributors accountable for their mean, harsh, immoral unchristian agenda that wreaks havoc on innocent people in this and other countries.

        I'm not going to spend alot of time complaining about the Republican Party which appears "Stuck on Herbert Hoover". I want to help you pass progressive legislation and not just to exercise a defensive holding operation in the Senate and the House.

        Not getting your legislation passed? Do it my way for once. Read my plan here.

        http://tinyurl.com/8ghl8

        http://revolution-nine.spreadshirt.com

        Where Republicans tread, innocent people end up dead.

        •  A rare breed of senator (4.00)
          I, like many people watching the Democratic convention last year, heard your speech and either decided outright or internalized the notion that you are indeed the savior--not only of the Democratic party--but also of politics in general.  Since then the mask has been lifted via a number of posts here regarding legislative decisions made in the last several months with which progressives may disagree, but this post brings for me the truth back into strong focus.  You're not a savior, and you're not all things to all people.  You're something much better: a rare breed of senator who not only speaks his mind openly and honestly, but intelligently and with much reflection.  This is surely one of the reasons you are holding strong in the top place in the New Political Review poll.  

          The most important thing you point out, I think, is the fact that people are not so much tired of Republicans, as they're frustrated with the procedural and rhetorical tactics the Republican majority uses on the public.  They've finally cottoned on, and more eyes will open as they close ranks ever tighter over every new scandal and investigation that emerges.  The last thing we want to do is fight fire with fire; remember, it's the tactics people hate as much as if not more than the policy decisions, secrecy, and corruption.  To win a strong majority again, we need to be intelligent, reflective, and honest; even as we counter the attacks and the justifications of the right.  And yes, that is hard work; but the alternative is to become the thing we despise, and ruin a tremendous opportunity to truly change the way people approach politics and policy.  

          Thank you for all your work, Senator.

          •  Yes, less divisiveness, but not ONE SIDEDLY (none)
            It is true that there seems to be no gradation of criticism among Democrats.   Any deviation on any issue from any Democrat can be grounds for some group of purists to abandon them to the proverbial wolves -- and this kind of disloyalty to party and leadership is precisely what the Repug party is NOT about.   So acceptance of the leaders and small differences is precisely a part of party discipline that the Repugs have that the Democrats persistently lack.  I call it 'Morris-the-Cat liberalism' -- liberals and progressives are much more finicky about who they will support and about finding fault with good-faith leaders (though, like the hound that didn't bark, these forces never seem quite so hypercritical about the choruses of protestation to the effect that Tawana Brawley is other than full of it any way you slice it, etc.)  

            On this point, for example, the notion of demonizing a Democratic Party leader like Feingold based on voting for Roberts is precisely a case in point.  One can disagree with someone who fudges on affirmative action without, as is automatic in many circles, labelling their position 'racist' or better yet, one of my fav political phrases, 'objectively racist'.  Thus far Obama is right.   But he concedes we should not hold our tongue in the face of conservative misleadership.  OK, he could hardly say otherwise.   But should we "hold our tongue" when Feingold, Leahy, Levin, and numerous other Democrats who really should have known better display their lack of what unionists call 'fire in the belly' and voted for Roberts as the Chief Justice?  I think that the category of criticizing without bashing, of strongly disagreeing without then turning against someone needs to be expanded not contracted.   And that category is narrowed by the bashers on one side (those who don't distinguish between bashing and criticism, just like those in the machinery of US astroturf roots genocidalism who don't distinguish between 'judging' someone, or even vehemently and angrily criticizing them, and 'crapping' on them, or even viciously injuring them.)

            The 'positive thinking' politicos do as much harm to the concept of civil but vigorously democratic discourse as do the bashers.  Indeed, although not in Obama's case to my knowledge, they are often one and the same:  Don't you dare criticize the party hacks in the Rainbow Coalition (although it is right not to do so at Rainbow sponsored events from the podium), but, hey -- let em engineer hypersensitivity on radical Q, he's earned it.   Such is the "civility" of the liberal -- grovelling to the right and being blase about the oppression of authentic progressives.  This is in turn rooted in the 'mercy' component of real Christianity in our society, a tradition followed assiduously by nonChristians within the Christian family, as it were, as well: 'spare hate they're angels' mercy.   In short, mercy in almost all cases in our civilizations means "Don't shit up, shut up".  But shitting down is, well, precisely what is to be forgiven.  It is one of the reasons I reject utterly both Christian religion and Christian family values in practice.   What is said to be all about mercy and civility is really in practice all about servility not civility.

                 You will notice that in his myriad examples, Obama never once cited a single example of incivility or intolerance of the authentic left by those to their right.  Hmmm.  Never once did we hear him score the DLC people for what they say about Michael Moore.   Nor, even indirectly, did I see or hear any articulation of the criticism for the plague-on-both-your houses that many mainstream Democrats consider de rigeur when it comes to the worst of Republicans (with whom one quietly makes upkissing peace), and the least bigoted and obnoxious (all the more true in the face of oceans of protestation to the contrary -- see above discussion of choruses of protestation ostensibly on the left)  of authentic progressives to their left.

            I would be much more apt to listen to Obama if his concern for intra-Party civility was as vigorous in defense of largely unprotected forces to his left as it was to the powerful forces deviating to his right.

            Again, Obama is right to criticize the hostiley purist approach of supposed Democrats and progressives -- an approach in reality often if not usually driven by the sniping of 'red-headed league' type progressives who are really just using the pose of political purity to promote getting with the program, as with the incessant sniping at Dean's candidacy "from the left".  Indeed, there's plenty of kudos from above in them thar hills for sniping at those the power elite want sniped precisely in the name of progressive values when these are merely an indignant pretext or cloak.  

               One underlying reason Obama cites repeatedly is the implicit reasonableness of the position of those who 'right deviate' but presumably those who insist that the Iraq War was an imperialist venture from the start, or that the US is in fact an imperialist power are not deserving of such a largesse of moral generosity, as their (I should say our views) are not as 'reasonable' and worthy of respect.

            So I agree with the message that the Democrats should be more unified, in the ways Obama outlines.   In fact, such an approach, rather than deviating from the Repugs (who call the Democratic Party the 'Democrat' party -- no mention of that here).   So I respect Obama as the kind of mainstream politician who would make a good presidential candidate (and a vastly greater president than any we have seen in a LONG LONG time), but still insist that progressives have a properly different road to take, one that isn't bound by the need to make nice -- with those to their right, but only in the most limited way with those to their left.  Concomitantly, there is the need to not make nice with those most disfavored by the machine (on the Left, where else?)

            beyond a certain point -- after all, politicians never succeed that way; the Clinton formula is more the miles to the right-of-Nixon at the astroturf roots level direction of the Democratic Party elite as a whole today.

      •  Barak Obama for President (3.81)
        Right now.  We sure do need just this kind of leadership to heal our broken country.

        I can't wait!  President Obama.  :)

        "I don't want to name names, but they know themselves." Koffi Annan

        by Sue in NH on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:39:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed RonK (3.25)
        I'm happy to see that you have endorsed civility. I couldn't agree more.

        "We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them." Abigail Adams, 1774

        by greeseyparrot on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:45:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree we have to be careful about civility (3.50)
          Some of the lack of civility around here probably springs from the horrible, nauseating, sinking feeling - not that a duly elected president shouldn't be able to have his or her appointments - but that George Bush has NEVER been duly elected. That his first term was handed to him by the Supreme Court (and I will forever hate them for that) and his second term by Diebold. Unless we can have true democratic elections in this country, everything else we do or say is useless. But at the same time, I agree that if we fight fire with fire, if we come across and shrill and unpleasant and unreasonable, we'll be ones ending up burned.

          I would LOVE to watch the inauguration of President Obama someday. January 2009 would NOT be too soon for me!

          •  This has gone on (3.66)
            Since Reagan and his henchman stole the 1980 elections by delaying the Iranian hostage realease date.

            I am honored  that Seantor Obama has decided to post here and impressed with his thoughts on these issues.

            I am simply concerned that playing fair and nice no longer gets progressives anywhere except another kick in the teeth while losing another election to a bunch of crooks.

            Governor Brian Schweitzer on seeking the presidency; "I'm not half that smart and I'm none too pretty."

            by Ed in Montana on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:50:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Clearly a Vichy Dem... (4.00)
        He acknowledges the take-no-prisoners tactics that have propelled the Republicans to their majorities, and then he suggests we should refrain from them according to a lengthy mess of high-browed arguments.

        How about just standing up for what is right and wrong.

        Q: "Do you think it was a mistake to invade Iraq?"

        Typical DLC answer, "Well,... we certainly have made mistakes since the invasion..."

        What the public wants to hear, "Yes, clearly it was a mistake. Saddam was not a threat, and he had nothing to do with 9/11. The Republicans who dragged America into this quagmire need to be given the boot."

        New Orleans-- 72 hours later no communications, no drinking water, not enough police/troops. Bottomline, we're not prepared for another 9/11.

        by DeanFan84 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:51:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I hope that (4.00)
        He reads RenaRF's diary to him. It is a good one and well written. It sums up the frustration of the progressives well.
      •  can't wait (none)
        till I hear the cries of "Apostasy!" "Deviation!" "No different than JoeMentum!!" "We must find a True Progressive Primary Challenger!""Not another dime from the 'Reality' Based Community!"

        If you want a Democratic Party that is more than a sure lock on a solid 40% of the electorate, then Obama should be heeded.  Or, continue on the course of being Karl Rove's Secret Weapon.

        Edwards/Lincoln '08

        by jimsaco on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:37:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And in that spirit (4.00)
      of taking things seriously, I'd like to understand one thing a little more clearly. This is a very prolix and eloquent speech, but it's working two sides of the same issue at once.

      The central question it raises is: How does one determine whether a particular candidate or representative's position is a compromise or a legitimate attempt to re-vamp a progressive issue as more appealing? How many items on my checklist does a given representative have to fail before I can legitimately decide that they are not supporting the overall progressive cause?

      I mean, let's think about that 12yo girl. It's not just an operation; it's allowing her a chance to escape a life of penury and poverty by having to care for a child well before she's emotionally or financially ready to. And we all know that any 12yo girl who both needs an abortion and can't or won't tell her parents usually has damned good reasons for not doing so. So not to put too fine a point on it, but just how many 12yo girls have to be forced to bear children before the Democratic Party is willing to stand up and defend them?

      It's all well and good to say that we should agree to disagree in a civil manner, but just how civil do I have to be to people who want to give my tax dollars to religious organizations when I think it's a fundamental breach of my constitutional rights?

      But thank you for taking the community seriously, Senator; I do appreciate it.

      •  Have a litmis test for "Progressives" (4.00)
        but remember,that's not how most Americans decide to vote.  

        It's okay to withold your personal endorsement based on your sense of who meets your tests, but don't withold your vote, or lose track of the big picture when doing so.

        A vote for someone who opposes giving tax dollars to religious groups but favors parental notification for 12 year olds is TRUELY better than a vote for someone who would favor both.  

        We shoot ourselves in the foot when we destroy those who are our allies on the basic principles because we disagree with them on the small ones.

        One Example:  Lieberman should be replaced by someone like Rosa DiLauro.  Lieberman should not be replaced by someone like Nancy Johnson.

      •  That's not necessarily the point (3.94)
        He's not saying you have to vote for someone whose political ideals are different than your own. He's asking you to disagree without villifying them. In other words, you are free to have your beliefs that that 12 year old girl needs protection and that it's a moral imperative to provide it. However, show some understanding that other people do not have the same view of the moral imperative, and that slight deviation does not discount their views that choice, as a whole, should be protected.

        What I've always personally believed is that calling someone a collaborator does nothing to convince them why they should've voted differently. It just antagonizes them for the future. If you disagree with Joe Biden's record, explain why you disagree. Argue passionately for what you believe, and try and convince him otherwise. But I've never had my mind changed by being insulted and told to conform now or get kicked out of the party. And I doubt you have either. So, to me, that is the point, and it's not contradictory.

        Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

        by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:30:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have tried that for over two decades (3.84)
          against a foe that has far more money, more access and is willing to use and and all tactics including criminal activity to lie, smear and paint anyone who does not agree with their sick agenda as deluded fools (at best) or outright traitors to our nation. It simply does not work.

          Wake up.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:37:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (none)
            How is alienating those who would stand beside you in that fight helping?

            Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

            by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:50:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How am I advocating alienating people? (none)

              cheers,

              Mitch Gore

              Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

              by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:05:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, the diary (none)
                And my response to it were both regarding the attacking of fellow Democrats. Your response suggested, at least to me, that you disagreed with the "not punishing Democrats for wayward votes that don't conform to your progressive vision" idea, as you thought we had tried this strategy for decades and it had amounted to electoral losses.
                Thus, I'm asking how attacking Democrats, who are allies, for their votes is a better strategy. Because attacking them risks alienating them.

                Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

                by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:45:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well I think you are taking far to simplistic (3.00)
                  and broadbrush reading and projection into what I was saying (actually you are railing against something I haven't even said).

                  If our "allies" are not voting correctly on the issues, and not standing up for our principles and articulating it to the electorate.. how are they an ally?

                  cheers,

                  Mitch Gore

                  Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                  by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:55:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Allies (none)
                    Do you have a litmust test for who can be your "ally"? How much does someone have to agree with you to be your ally? I'm not trying to attack here. I really would like to know where you're coming from on this.

                    I believe that it is possible to have a strategic ally that I disagree with on certain things, as long as we both agree on the goal at hand. I also believe that we can have allies who can become opponents without becoming enemies. I wouldn't want to make an enemy of an opponent for the simple reason that your opponent might become your ally at some future point.

                    The point that I think both VirginiaBelle and Barack are trying to make is not that you shouldn't point out what you believe is a mistake or where someone's actions disagree with your principles. I believe that their point is that you shouldn't make a possible ally your enemy by "making vicious and defamatory statements".

                    "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

                    by marathon on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:23:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There's the crux (none)
                      What's the "goal at hand"?  and should we be only concerned with the shortsighted "goal at hand"?  

                      We need to define one simple thing that unites us all:  WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

                      There are a lot of side issues, like abortion, which is divisive, controversial and definately NOT a core issue within the progressive movement.  Those issues we can debate and disagree on.  That's healthy.  But what we can't debate, what we can't disagree on, must be what we fight for.  What ARE we fighting for?

                      We are fighting for the right of everyone to have a chance to succeed.  To have a chance to escape poverty.  We are fighting for opportunity for all, not just the rich.  Obama touched upon this when he pointed out most Americans believe big companies are tilting the game in their favor over working folks and small businesses.  

                      Our enemies are the powerful corporations and the ultra-rich who support cheap labor conservatism.  Not just any corporation, not just any rich person, but those that actively and aggressively wield immense and undue power over our government and our politicians.  Those that use their influence to better their own self-interests at the expense of the American people.

                      So what defines our enemies from our allies in the context of Democratic Congressmen and women?  Those Dems that consistently represent corporate interests above the interests of the American people.  There ARE times when a corporate interest IS in the best interest of the American people.  But when it is obvious that what this Democrat is voting for is NOT in the best interests of the American people, when it is furthering the corporate interests at the expense of bringing the ideals we are fighting for, THEN it's time to put that person on notice.  It's time to start working to find a replacement for that person within our party.

                      It's OKAY for us to weed out the wolves in sheeps clothing.

                      While I think Obama has his heart in the right place, I'm disappointed that he doesn't understand this more clearly.  Or perhaps he does, and his post wasn't clear about this.

                    •  Therin lies the crux (none)
                      What's the "goal at hand"?  and should we be only concerned with the shortsighted "goal at hand"?  

                      We need to define one simple thing that unites us all:  WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

                      There are a lot of side issues, like abortion, which is divisive, controversial and definately NOT a core issue within the progressive movement.  Those issues we can debate and disagree on.  That's healthy.  But what we can't debate, what we can't disagree on, must be what we fight for.  What ARE we fighting for?

                      We are fighting for the right of everyone to have a chance to succeed.  To have a chance to escape poverty.  We are fighting for opportunity for all, not just the rich.  Obama touched upon this when he pointed out most Americans believe big companies are tilting the game in their favor over working folks and small businesses.  

                      Our enemies are the powerful corporations and the ultra-rich who support cheap labor conservatism.  Not just any corporation, not just any rich person, but those that actively and aggressively wield immense and undue power over our government and our politicians.  Those that use their influence to better their own self-interests at the expense of the American people.

                      So what defines our enemies from our allies in the context of Democratic Congressmen and women?  Those Dems that consistently represent corporate interests above the interests of the American people.  There ARE times when a corporate interest IS in the best interest of the American people.  But when it is obvious that what this Democrat is voting for is NOT in the best interests of the American people, when it is furthering the corporate interests at the expense of bringing the ideals we are fighting for, THEN it's time to put that person on notice.  It's time to start working to find a replacement for that person within our party.

                      It's OKAY for us to weed out the wolves in sheeps clothing.

                      While I think Obama has his heart in the right place, I'm disappointed that he doesn't understand this more clearly.  Or perhaps he does, and his post wasn't clear about this.

                  •  Simplistic and boradbrush? (none)
                    C'mon Mitch. It's not like your original post was terribly nuanced. You basically said that the GOP is more powerful and has more access, and their political techniques more vile and more extreme.

                    That's not difficult to understand, and I don't see that the poster misunderstood you. (I do however see you personalizing her disagreement with pop psychological soft taunts like "projection".)

                    What is just more difficult for some to understand is the concept of embracing the demagoguery and strongarm techniques of those you claim to revile.

                    'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

                    by Maxwell on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:30:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The politics of contrast is about rhetoric (none)
                      Not votes.

                      I don't agree with Obama in the entirery of what he says, but it IS true that we can apply the politics of contrast without vilifying our own for, say, a Roberts confirmation vote.  That's for sure.

                      •  Big picture politics... (none)
                        ...just means strategy and execution. Not getting entangled in the quick fix of emotional reaction.

                        Shouting may be a symptom of argumentation, but it isn't an abiding priniciple. It may provide a momentary release, but the release is unto the prison of consequence.

                        'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

                        by Maxwell on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:01:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  this response (none)
                          fails entirely to appreciate the impact of the Rush Limbaughs, the Newt Gingrichs, the Ann Coulters, and the enormous right-wing noise machine that played the politics of contrast through rhetoric FIRST.
                          •  Nope. (none)
                            I don't appreciate it.

                            Demagoguery isn't an innovation. Limbaugh isn't the pioneer of using exaggeration and caricature to fan the flames of discontent.

                            Think back.

                            'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

                            by Maxwell on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:17:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  By the definition of ally (none)
                    An ally is not someone who always agrees with you. An ally is someone who will fight against your mutual enemy.

                    But if what I said above is overly-simplistic, what is your alternative. What are you saying we tried that and it didn't work to, and what is your alternative approach?

                    Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

                    by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:34:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My definition is someone who will not cede ground (4.00)
                      to an intractable foe. That is what siding with the GOP, in this current political landscape is. There has not been any reciprocation when we do try and be accommodating to the other side of the aisle.

                      Voting against what is in the best interest for the broad electorate, is simply wrong. To do so, in the repeatedly failed belief that it will lead to some accommodation from the GOP is proven to be a fools errand.

                      My alternative... elect Democratic representatives and Senators who are party position and message disciplined and strictly enforce it until we can regain  modicum of power and control to allow a wider accommodation of a "bigger tent" when it comes to votes.

                      Look at the roll call votes. Show me were you see Rs breaking with any sort of regularity in our favor, and look at the other side of the column when Ds vote with the Rs.

                      We can't even hold our caucus together and as a result, we get slowly cut down vote after vote, session after session, year after year. The debate continues to move further and further rightward.

                      Enough.

                      My alternative... party discipline. Message discipline. And replacing those who can't hack it.

                      cheers,

                      Mitch Gore

                      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                      by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 04:07:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Then what do you mean by "we tried that" (none)
                VirginiaBelle said that we should disagree without vilifying them. Vilify means "to make vicious and defamatory statements" about someone. You said that we tried that and it didn't work. That leaves me, at least, with the impression that you are advocating that we ought to make vicious and defamatory statements about people.

                Wouldn't that alienate the people being vilified? Wouldn't it alienate you if someone vilified you? I must be missing something in what you were really advocating. Help me understand.

                I would say that the fault of the Dems in office isn't that they have just "disagreed and it didn't work" but that they either haven't disagreed or that they haven't been passionate enough or effective enough in their disagreement. You don't have to look any further than how John Kerry talking about the war in Iraq and how that came across last year to see examples of both.

                "We must love one another or die." - W. H. Auden

                by marathon on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:12:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't think (4.00)
                  that we ought to be making "vicious and defamatory statements." But we ought to be do more than we currently are.

                  Thing is, if you say boo to the goopers they accuse you of "sitting in a lake of gasoline playing with fire."

                  It wasn't long ago that if you even asked questions about why we were in Iraq you were raked over the coals in the media and charged with being unamerican.

                  The measuring stick to decide what is or isn't over the line has been very lopsided for a long time. And the democrats who have been critisized here at kos have been those unwilling to upset that particular applecart.

                  Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

                  by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:05:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  When I said 'we tried that' (none)
                  I meant we have tired for decades to remain civil, fair, reasonable, not give in to bare-knuckled sucker-puches, etc. etc.

                  It has led to borderline permanent minority status, our cvili liberties in tatters our nation the brink and criminal sociopaths who never give an inch in return.. ever.. controlling more than 2/3rds of our Gov.

                  cheers,

                  Mitch Gore

                  Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                  by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 04:11:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  And that 1 was for what slowpitch? (none)

            cheers,

            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:06:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not interested in changing Joe Biden's mind... (4.00)
          ...I'm interested in sending him into retirement. But if I were interested, the only way to do it is to threaten him with defeat, because all he actually believes in is his own career.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

          by expatjourno on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:56:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's (none)
            Where does this quote come from ? Thank you
          •  Well, that's fairly cynical (4.00)
            But it still doesn't answer the question of is defeating Biden in exchange for a Republican a worthwhile endeavor? And what does withholding support without offering reasoning accomplish?

            For example, if I can't explain to you why a Democrat is better than a Republican, why in hell should I vote for the Democrat?

            FYI:(Democrats are better than Republicans because they understand the basic principle that government has an obligation to provide safety nets to our people and work for their prosperity. Because a government that abandons the welfare of its people is breaking it's promise to them. Because over 60 years after the fact, Social Security is still the best thing that happened to this nation. Because the Great Society is the American Dream. Because Republicans fundamentally misunderstand the meaning of the word community is to work together, not battle individually for the largest market share.)

            Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

            by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:18:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not an either or proposition (none)
              You don't defeat Biden in the General Election, you defeat him in the PRIMARY.  Don't let him get out the gate!!!

              If Biden can defeat the Republican adversary in the General, then surely the guy who can defeat Biden can defeat the Republican in the general.

              You're taking a timid, cowardly approach to all this.  Time to be bold and take back our party!

        •  I beg to differ... (4.00)
          With all due respect, and this is to Sen. Obama, welcome to politics in the early 21st century.  Senator, for the last 30 years I have watched the media fundamentally change in America.  In those thirty years we have gone from a fact based system of news to a rumor based system of news.  I have always considered myself fairly moderate, but over these last 30 years I have seen myself, my friends, and people I admire vilified at every turn.  I have even experienced death threats.

          I watched as the right wing tried to convince the American people that members of Jimmy Carter's White House regularly did lines of cocaine at the bar at Club 54.  Bill Clinton was regularly accused of everything from drug running, to murder, to treason.  Al Gore, a decent and honest man (if nothing else), was made into a pathetic pathological liar.  John Kerry, with his magnificent military and political record, was accused of fabricating and lying about his experiences on swift boats in Vietnam.

          And yet, Senator, you claim that we are in the wrong for reacting to this.  Did you stand up, loudly and clearly, to defend Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry - did you ever express anger at the people who made these wild claims?  If you, or other Democratic "leaders" ever did, the occasion was certainly not a memorable one.  You come back and talk to us because we are the ones who provide you a forum to do so.  But on the national level, Senator, the other side owns the microphone.  What will you do for us to gain access to that microphone so that we no longer have to shout?

          Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man. - OWH

          by blockbuster on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:59:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He clearly said fight back to charges (4.00)
            Read the piece again.  He is talking about the tone to take with people who are basically on our side or even who are not yet but persuadable.  He is not talking about the tone to take with the GOP attack dogs, although I suspect he believes in being respectful at all times.  Just because the right is filled with foaming attack dogs and robot Bush lovers doesn't mean any of us should emulate that style.  Remember--wqhat is the point of your speech?  To vent or to persuade?  If the latter, learn how to be persuasive.

            "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

            by Mimikatz on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:17:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Politics is no longer a boxing match. (4.00)
            To be blunt, the rules have changed.  Politics is no longer a boxing match with rules and referees; Republicans have made politics into a brutal and deadly knife fight.  The sooner the Democratic leadership realizes this, the better.
            •  Politics is no longer a boxing match (4.00)
              YES YES YES.  Your comment is not a revelation, but is certainly well stated.  The ascent of Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Pat Buchanan, and god knows who else in the republican part is clear evidence of this.  The Democrats must learn to

              A) Fightback! return every charge two or threefold.  Swiftboaters?  sure, which bar was Bush passed out in at the time? How much cocaine was in his pocket when he was arrested? How much of a bribe was paid and to whom? Was the girl he was with underage?

              B) Attack preemptively.  LBJ probably had it right when he accused his opponent of having "carnal relations with a farm animal" just to hear his opponent refute the charge.

          •  Being shrill doesn't energize *our* base... (4.00)
            What I read into Sen Obama's response is this:  being shrill doesn't energize our base the same way that it energizes Republicans.  We also can't just copy the Republicans, we have to leapfrog them, since it's not yesterday's battle we're trying to win. Fighting fire with fire is only going to ensure we have an ample supply of charred ruins.  He's found a formula that works for him (elected by 70% to a seat previously held by a Republican), and he's trying to share it.   Clearly, he was helped by Jack Ryan's self-destruction, but luck favors the prepared, and he clearly was.

            He's also just pointing out the difference between empathy (good) and capitulation (bad).

          •  How Does One (4.00)
            Defend oneself, much less one's ideas against the barbarian?

            Rationality does not appeal to him.  Moderation is seen as weakness.  The spirit of bi-partisan compromise is too often, and at best, sneered at.

            The eloquence of your words, Senator, and the clarity of you mind give us all much to admire.  And I, for one, certainly do.  However, the reality of the current political regime in this country is that it does not value nor regard the reasonable idealism historically given to political behavior and tone that you express.

            As a people, we live in a time of renegades and brigands, of theives and character assassins.  As a politician, you are not facing like-minded political colleagues across the aisle in spite of what has traditionally been the case.

            Those days are over.

            When the barbarian is at the gate -- and many of us in this forum believe that is the case -- sweet reason from the breech will do little to overcome the threat.

            You and perhaps too many other Democrats speak softly.  But we need someone to wield the big stick.

            They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

            by Limelite on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:47:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think the Senator hit the nail... (none)
              right on the head.  He's my guy for the next election.  His point is born out in your very post-your message is marginalized because you refer to your opponent as an irrational barbarian, a renegade, theif and brigand.  The tone of your rhetoric dictates whether you are listened to-or are dismissed as a left wing raving looney.  I happen to know many republicans that think Rush and Michael Savage are absolute stark raving mad-yet they still vote republican because of their core beliefs.  Weilding a bullhorn to shout liar liar doesn't really sway anyone.  The examples Obama gave of respected politicians who both dissent and are civil is the way to have our message heard.
            •  Were not trying to win (none)
              an argument with a barbarian.  We're trying to persuade a solid majority of the American voting population that our vision, our values, and our policies are the ones that are best for America.  I fully agree with Sen. Obama's point that "whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose.  Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose."  There is no reason that one cannot be passionate about a point of view without veering into exaggeration, demonization, or inaccuracy.  

              It drove me nuts during last year's campaign to keep seeing inaccurate or misleading statements made by Kerry being exposed as such in the MSM or on sites like FactCheck.org and Spinsanity.com.  Still more maddening, he'd keep repeating the errors even after they'd been exposed.  To my mind, he should never have had occasion to appear in those contexts or, as none of us is perfect, once an inaccuracy was pointed out, he should have corrected it instead of repeating it.  But every time he made false or inaccurate claims, whether by mistake or intent, he weakened his standing to challenge Republican inaccuracies, weasels, etc., and at the same time he created an unnecessary vulnerability that invited, and usually drew, a Republican attack, which then clogged up air and print time and took attention away from a positive focus on policies and democratic values.

              We will not win in a contest to see who can most dumb down the political debate.  Rove Republicans have already shown they will let nothing stop them in their race to be the first to the bottom.  Democrats running for office need to show that they are adults who are not going to be suckered into adolescent responses by taunting bullies, but also who are not going to let lies, manipulations, distortions, and the like go unchallenged, firmly and with fire when necessary.  Rope-a-dope didn't work for Gore, and it didn't work for Kerry.

              /W - Catastrophic Success/

              by psnyder on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:44:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Bravo! (none)
            Excellent reply and I await Obama's answer.

            What?  He's got down off his podium and he left the building?  You mean he doesn't even deign to speak to us in person?

            Is that all his post was?  Grandstanding?

            SPEAK TO US Obama!  I WANT TO BELIEVE!  Reply to this mans eloquent reply to you.

        •  But what if it isn't (3.80)
          just a "slight deviation"?

          Frankly, I think that here is where this entire conversation turns. Because if it is true that our opponents are not people  of good faith with whom one can respectfully disagree, then no amount disagreing without being disagreeable will do.

          We have a man who condones the rape, murder and torture of women and children in the office of the president of the united states and the office of the attourney general. Not kind of, not sort of, not "Gee, we just didn't know." But really, truly. The soon to be released photos and movies will make it absoulutely clear that this was a conscious and deliberate policy, just as the non-response to Katrina was.

          How can we hold any quarter with people who make such policies? I'd really like to know.

          We can disagree on whether or not the characterization above is correct or not. I am not perfect, maybe I missed something? But once you reach the same conclusions, it seems to me that an entirely different strategy is called for.

          Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

          by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:21:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wait... (4.00)
            I'm not sure how to react to this, because I'm not sure how attacking Democrats for their votes relates to this post. But he's right about reaching out to moderate Republicans, and language like that is not really going to do it. We need to pick up 5 votes from Republicans to block any motion. So to refuse to negotiate with any Republican negates any chance at success.

            Lastly, I would hope that we do not judge standards by those we oppose. We shouldn't torture people just because Al-Quaeda does. We shouldn't be rabid foaming at the mouth partisans just because Republicans are. Why should we lose our dignity just because they have already lost there's?

            Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

            by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:23:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Unfortunately (none)
              It's not simple tone and demeanor that will reach the average Republican. They're none to fond of some of our policies - or rather, they've been spun about said policies and don't understand what our platform really is.  The key addition to politesse is explaining where our platform benefits them directly. Without the sugar, though, the time for meaningful dialogue never arrives.  At least that's how I'm taking Senator Obama's diary and many subsequent posts by others. The thing is, those who disagree have a point - when you're mere existence has already been villified by the Republican smear machine, the best you can hope for is to be standing there with a smile, and a jack, when the wheels fall off their bus.

              "The only good troll is a deleted troll."

              by MissAnneThrope on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:18:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  "People of good faith" (3.66)
            Obama, it seems to me, is not saying that ALL Republicans are people of good faith. He specifically talked about "moderate Republicans".

            He also talked about how we "frame" our message so that middle of the road Americans can hear it - he has found that stridency, whether from the right or the left, turns people off.

            And he advocated calling people out who were making false claims. I don't get the impression from what he says that he is in any way advocating giving up. He is talking about civil discourse.

            What he did not address, as was mentioned above, is how to build a more progressive majority when the right wing has leashed the broadcast media and conscripted preachers,  the main sources of information for most Americans.

            The age of purely representative democracy is surely over. It is time the people had their say. - www.monbiot.com

            by fhcec on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:41:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  A matter of the audience (4.00)
            I don't think the point is to "disagree without being disagreeable" with the hard righters.  Obviously civil discourse with them is useless.  They aren't the ones we need to convince of anything, nor could we.

            The point is to take a more civil tone with those that are predisposed to agree with us on our core values.  Frankly, that's the majority of Americans.  Senator Obama is right in noting that these people a much more persuaded by those who adopt a civil tone.

            Forceful disagreement without resorting to extreme accusations and namecalling, etc. is what ultimately persuades.  It doesn't mean that you compromise your positions, it means that you show some understanding for those that disagree (again I'm not talking about the right wing here).

            In the case of the 12 year old girl it means stating to one who is pro-choice, but is in favor of parental notification - "I can see why you feel parental notification is appropriate, but if a 12 year old girl needs an abortion and does not feel she can tell her parents there are probably very good reasons for that.  I think allowing her to have the opportunity to feel safe and secure in her extremely difficult decision is more important than requiring her parents to be notified."  It does not mean accusing the person of being anti-choice.

            •  ok, I can understand that. (4.00)
              The point is to take a more civil tone with those that are predisposed to agree with us on our core values.  Frankly, that's the majority of Americans.  Senator Obama is right in noting that these people a much more persuaded by those who adopt a civil tone.

              I must be mis-reading his post because I don't disagree with the quote above. What I reject is the notion that I should "play nice" with people who.....knowing the truth about the extent of torture....I mean, you do know that your representative saw these photos and movies and said nothing. That is where I have a problem.

              Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

              by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:55:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Tax dollars to religious organizations (4.00)
        It's all well and good to say that we should agree to disagree in a civil manner, but just how civil do I have to be to people who want to give my tax dollars to religious organizations when I think it's a fundamental breach of my constitutional rights?

        Exactly. So tell me why we're supposed to sit back and allow the Dems to play nice with the Republicans and not fight back?

        I see all kinds of red when I see the Christian Taliban running my country and my schools.

        Does that not outrage you, Mr. Obama?

        What exactly does outrage the Democrats? I'm getting the feeling that NOTHING does!

        Moderation has gotten us nowhere. Civility has gotten us nowhere.

        When will the Democrats wake up?

        "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:32:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because running on an anti-christian platform (3.00)
          will not give Dems the win... but that doesn't mean we have to play nice with the Repubs, it just means that some good Dems will slightly stray on a few issues, but as long as we have a solid progressive platform, we can shift America leftwards, where we then can discuss anti-christianism with America.

          Gah, that's incoherent.  It's a shame I'm late for class...

        •  I can't believe how so many people here... (3.50)
          are completely missing the point of Obama's post.  Not EVERYONE agrees with you.  You have a right to hold your views, that's fine.  But to speak in such absolutes ultimately accomplishes nothing but makes you feel superior to your opponents.  There is a pathology here which causes people to think that they have informed themselves so well that they are COMPLETELY correct and anyone who thinks otherwise is a worthless appeaser.  Not everyone is an idiot and there are reasons that someone could hold a view that is opposed to yours.  It is possible to argue your point while still allowing yourself to see why someone else might think otherwise.  NOTHING gets accomplished by DEMANDING that your ONE view be the only that is acceptable.  It's funny that your sig talks about fascism, because that's the hallmark.  Communism or fascism especially in Africa, often starts out with things that are well intentioned and seem good on the surface, but it is ultimately fascism because no discourse takes place.  Our politcians have many views to listen to, not just yours or the far left.  Everyone gets to choose what their own test for politicians is, but to expect and then decry someone for not being pure does not recognize that your congressman SHOULD listen to views that oppose yours.  Looked at practically, if there are only two choices to be had (which there currently are) then pick the one that agrees with you more.  Politicians are generally as conservative or progressive as their constituency will allow.  We overly fault our politicians for listening to others.  If you want more progressive politicians, you don't do it by shooting yourself in the foot and helping elect a Republican.  You do it by slowly building a movement and reclaiming the dialogue so that you can convince the public.  The battle is won by convincing your neighbor, much more so than your politician.    

          Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

          by MatthewBrown on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:01:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand (3.25)
            But I'm not sure you understand.

            The point is, and many here have expressed it, this is not "politics as usual."

            Look, we all know politicans lie. But this group has taken it to a new level.

            This is a party that impeached a President just because they COULD.

            This is a country now being indoctrinated on a daily basis by a corporate media that is in the pocket of the Republican Party.

            This is a country that can no longer trust that their votes are even counted.

            If I sound facist, absolute, angry, it is because I don't know how else to sound. We have tried to talk intelligently; we have tried to tell the truth; we have tried to work with the "distinguished colleagues across the aisle" and what has it gotten us? Nowhere.

            To be honest -- all I want is for the Democrats to stand up for what they believe in, in the same way people here do. I want outrage and anger over corruption. I want outrage and anger over the appointment of polluters to the EPA. I want outrage and anger over the destruction of FEMA and the.... I could go on and on and you know I can.

            In another time and place, I would agree with Mr. Obama 100% percent. Believe me, I would have. I would have agreed with you.

            But those days are long gone. I'm sorry, but I believe it is too late. If we are fighting now amongst ourselves, then that is good. It is good because it will be the necessary dialogue as we figure out how to define our message.

            "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

            by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:28:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. And thank you Obama. (none)
            The Senator said it perfectly.

            We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

            by AWhitneyBrown on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:04:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We all know? (4.00)
        You posted : "And we all know that any 12yo girl who both needs an abortion and can't or won't tell her parents usually has damned good reasons for not doing so"
        The reasons this girl has are unknown to me.  I do know that reasonable people disagree about 12 year olds and their decision making abilities.  If parents are in the picture, then default position is that parent(s) would be primary in discussing this issue with a 12 year old.
        You are fortunate to have such a well honed view of right and wrong.  Unfortunately, many of us feel conflicted and support choice, but with issues such as minors and operations still not decided.

        I kinda like Howard Dean, it's those wild eye crazies that came with him I wonder about!

        by redlief on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:33:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To put it blutly... (none)
          It's because dad is the father. 12 tear olds don't get pregnant without having been sexually abused at some point in their lives. It just doesn't happen.

          Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

          by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:39:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (none)
            that's one damned awfully absolute statement ...

            little doubt it happens ...

            me? no, not sure what to do about it in the case you've cited ... i think i'm against parental notification laws, but can appreciate (but not entirely understand) why folks could take the opposite opinion ...

            Some times require that you accept circumstances as they are ... claiming blamelessness just doesn't cut it

            by wystler on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:12:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I came accross (none)
              as making an absolute statement I didn't mean to. I don't know what the statistics are but I'm willing to guess that, in the majority of cases, dad, or brother, or uncle, is the father. Maybe I'm wrong about that, I really don't think so.

              How's that? better?
              :)

              Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

              by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What Brenda said. (4.00)
          "We all know... she has damned good reasons for doing so" was just rhetoric-ese for "We all know that Dad or Stepdad or Uncle or Coach is the father."
        •  As far as who's probably the father, (none)
          you've been answered by others.

          But that is why getting consent from either the parents or a judge is such a reasonable position.  Is it that hard to run on?  "Either the parents or a judge... cause sometimes the parents are involved..."

          The vast center of voters ought to be able to understand that.

          •  They understand that much better (none)
            than an adolescent girl understands how to hire her own attorney, file an application for a hearing in order to gain access to a judge in the first place, and then demonstrate conclusively that she meets a definitive set of qualifying criteria more challenging than what is required of a 30 year-old woman who seeks an abortion.

            All of that and more is what most states' parental involvement laws require, they are written that way expressly in order to make judicial bypass a daunting obstacle course, and all the easily-understood slogans are nothing but marketing -- not only for the "vast center," but for people like us.

            As any pregnant teenager could tell you, the devil is in the details.

            NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

            by moiv on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 05:29:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Here's one answer. (4.00)
        If somebody has been on the correct side of a lot of issues, doesn't it make sense to give him the benefit of the doubt?  I'd suggest that some of the rhetoric the Senator talked about is where somebody has voted the right way 99 times and some people still want to declare that person a sell out, a disgrace and a trator for the one vote they don't like.  Even if that one vote is important, people are far too tempted to pull out the "vote the right way this time or you're a Nazi" argument when that one vote is all they care about today.

        The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        by Tod on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:37:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is THE answer (3.87)
          You have to look at the overall body of work.  The idea that Russ Feingold, one of the most progressive  voices in the Senate, the only one to vote against the Patriot Act, the first Senator to call for withdrawal from Iraq, etc, etc, should be thrown under the bus because of one bad vote is just absurd.

          Many people were like "oh well, Feingold voted for Roberts, I guess I need a new candidate for '08."  Here is the news flash:  There will not be a candidate who agrees with you on every single issue, unless you run for President yourself!

          When someone consistently votes the right way, you need to give them the benefit of the doubt if they cast one or two votes you don't understand.

          •  Ha.... (none)
            There will not be a candidate who agrees with you on every single issue, unless you run for President yourself!

            I think that people that think that way will even have problems with THAT candidate...

            "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis Brandeis

            by mlangner on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:29:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Depends (none)
          It depends on who it is and what explanation, as Kos so perfectly has put it, is.

          In other words Biden and the Bankruptcy Bill is a clearcut case of being bought. It doesn't matter what the ratio of good votes is. But this is a subjective decision. I buy Kerry's IWR vote as a vote only for diplomatic leverage, because he voted against the Gulf War (1). But other's don't. It's really case by case and to some extent personal.

          9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

          by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:05:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But (4.00)
        The clarity of the post is fantastic and through this prism we should examine how we, as Dems, respond to the Republican machine.

        First, I find it pathetic that some of us attack Dems for any vote they make when the Republicans are the ones introducing the bills and the nominees.  Here's a concept, attack the people who are forcing our good progressive representatives to even vote on such drivel.  So, Senator, I fully concur in your point that the liberal interest groups need to chill the f*ck out, lay off the Dems, and start going after the GOopers.  After all, even if every Dem voted against a bill or a nominee (once such item got to the floor) it'd still pass.  So, please, people, aim your guns at the right targets and not at your foot.

        That being said, I'm having a difficult time understanding how we can continue to try to argue facts when our opponents ignore them.  As an attorney I always believed that when the facts and law are in your favor, you win.  The trouble is, most Americans don't have the time to listen to our well-reasoned policy arguments.  What is more, the media has no interest in presenting its audience with facts - it only seeks to entertain them.  It matters not, then, that it's a fact that the Insurrection Act gave Bush the authority and ability to call in the Nat'l Guard immediately after Katrina, becuase the right wing and their cronies in the media will ignore that fact.  To put it more simply, in today's environment it matters not that the sky is actually blue, for the Republicans will scream and yell that it's green until people believe it is or at least the media allows for the possibility.

        So, how in the hell do we expect to actually win an argument, let alone an election, by using reasoned argument in the face of an enemy who will lie, cheat, and steal whatever and however is necessary in order to defeat us?  It seems that the reasoned argument strategy just can't work becuase it takes more than 10 seconds to explain why social security is not in trouble, why Medicare needs drastic reform, and why Tom DeLay is such a piece of shit.  Truly, I am all but at a loss as to how to confront the Republican noise machine (into which so many of my friends have fallen).  The law is on my side, the facts are on my side, but that is seemingly irrelevant anymore.

        beat them at their own game, then pursue the high ground

        by wj on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:59:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give people a chance (4.00)
          Many people on this site live and breathe politics.  But the rest of the poppulation doesn't (except for our counterparts on the right).  They care about their jobs, their families, their hobbies, whatever.  But they aren't stupid.  Watch what has happened to support for the war.  It has crumbled. And, as Obama says, more and more people are understanding that GOP one party rule has led to incompetence and cronyism.  

          So chill out, learn patience, understand that these struggles take a long time.  It is now time for the Dems to begin to offer alternatives.  Cut people a little slack to begin to design new messages and new ways of approaching our problems.  Nixon didn't have to resign until he had been Pres for 6 years.  But we made great gains in the 1974 midterm elections.  So keep your collective eyes on the prize--winning elections--and contribute constructively to the dialogue about solutions.

          "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

          by Mimikatz on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:26:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  okay.... (4.00)
            more and more people are understanding that GOP one party rule has led to incompetence and cronyism.

            How many thousands of people have to die, as in the case of NOLA, before people understand what is at stake?

            It is now time for the Dems to begin to offer alternatives.  Cut people a little slack to begin to design new messages and new ways of approaching our problems.

            I think you're missing an important point here. What Obama is talking about is how one responds to polititians who are potential allies, not to the public at large.

            And....sure, we should be polite and respectfull to those who are polite in return. No question there. It's the heartless bastards that turn semis of water headed to New Orleans that deserve our rage.

            Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

            by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:53:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  and sing KUM BA YAH (none)
      •  These are complex and difficult issues, BUT (4.00)
        as much as I can appreciate Sen. Obamas reasons for generous bipartisan and thoughtful way, giving Pres. Bush his choice for the supreme court without a filibuster, past votes given to this presidents agenda by our elected Democrats have been disastrous, from "No-Child-Left-behind" to the "Repeal of the Estate Tax" to the "Patriot Act. When the vote for war in Iraq came up, all the information that has since shown up on the "Main Stream Media" was  available to anyone who cared to research the topic on the web.  The Democrats knew Bush was lying about the relationship with Saddam & Osama, the WMD's, the Yellow Cake, all of it.  Many of us knew they were lies and we marched and we wrote and we begged the Democrats to vote no and to our horror, the Democrats gave him the power to go into Iraq and murder tens of thousands of innocent people.  

        This administration has set us back 50 years and pounded Iraq back into the stone ages.  With this incompetence and the militaristic lock step with which the administration rules the House & Senate Republicans the republicans makes these times very difficult and dangerous than any this country has seen.  If the Democratic party doesn't start leading, those of us who are losing faith in this democracy, with the corporate run media, boy raping army and the poor getting poorer everyday, we may just rebel and move to a 3rd party.  Knowing a third party in our style of democracy means a spoiler to the Democrats in 2008, it may be the only choice those of us battle weary and jaded progressives can make.and still the Democrats gave him the power to go into Iraq and murder tens of thousands of innocent people.  

        This administration has set us back 50 years and pounded Iraq back into the stone ages.  With this incompetence and the militaristic lock step with which the administration rules the House & Senate Republicans the republicans makes these times very difficult and dangerous than any this country has seen.  If the Democratic party doesn't start leading, those of us who are losing faith in this democracy, with the corporate run media, boy raping army and the poor getting poorer everyday, we may just rebel and move to a 3rd party.  Knowing a third party in our style of democracy means a spoiler to the Democrats in 2008, it may be the only choice those of us battle weary and jaded progressives can make.
        .

        "Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history". Abraham Lincoln, December 1862:

        by bluecayuga on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's about values (4.00)
        "The central question it raises is: How does one determine whether a particular candidate or representative's position is a compromise or a legitimate attempt to re-vamp a progressive issue as more appealing?"

        First, determine what the values are that you hold as central. Justice? Equality? Liberty? Security? Peace? Happiness? etc. Then listen to any given candidate and try to determine what values she holds as central, and what values inform her actions.

        If the candidate seems to be expressing his values through his actions, and if those values are congruent with progressive values and goals, then the candidate is making "a legitimate attempt to re-vamp a progressive issue as more appealing."

        If the candidate is compromising or not expressing his values through his actions, that will become apparent. But it's not compromise itself that is bad, in my view, but compromise that is done out of fear.

        Unless we are certain that we have the one immutable Truth with a capital "T", compromise can be a way to get to a more inclusive and unifying place. What is not acceptable is compromising one's core values.

        Eyes on the prize. It's not about issues or policies. It's about the big picture. It's about the future we want.

      •  The point is this... (4.00)
        I think Obama's point isn't that it's not as much a matter of determining there validity of a position on single votes and issues, but on a broaders sense of what a particular politician stands for.  That if a candidate votes in favor of progressive issues 90% of the time we shouldn't demonize him for the 10%.  That we need to check out the forest every so often rather than just the trees.

        Another point that I think Obama makes very well here is about what the general public thinks.  I think a huge problem that we face in this country is not as much the partisanship, but rather the alienation that it creates beyond the political battle lines.  When I talk to people about politics there are effective three kinds of people:

        1. Passionately involved and politically polarized
        2. Completely disinterested
        3. Cynical burnouts

        There seems to be little room for casual political interest in this country and that's a dangerous thing.  If you put your toes in the water of politics, you suddenly get ransacked by partisans on both sides wanting to recruit into their side of the fight.  

        People quickly get turned off from politics because they don't have the time to get informed, and it often leads to a sense of helpless frustration.  Those who do get involved often find themselves turning into the cynical burnouts.  They see their ideal get run over by political hacks of all stripes and eventually give up all together believing that all the politicians are crooks.

        In the end I believe that that the majority of people believe that there is a role for government to help people.  Most of the objections to government are in the frame of government waste and corruption.  I think we're at an ideal moment to change the nature of the debate in this country .  Instead of it being about more or less government framed as liberal and conservative, we can think in terms of making a more effective government.

        An effective government is one that's relatively free of corruption.  An effective government is filled with people who are effective civil servants, not partisan hacks.  See where I'm going with this?  Tom Delay.  Michael Brown.  These are the sign posts that point towards our movement's future.  It's not about the size of government, it's about how well it does it's job.

        It all comes down to a simple question: how can a party hell bent on eliminating government make government more effective?  To win back the government, we don't need to get into partisan bickering.  What we need to do is stand up and point out the obvious problems we see now.  That our government is corrupt.  That our government is inefficient.  That we can make a better government, and that Hurricanes and wars and economic crises can only be handled effectively by effective government.  No bloat.  No pork.  No corruption.

        If we can convince the american public that this is what we stand for, we will win.

        "If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head" -- Me

        by sterno on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:15:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is one very important consideration here (none)
        that I am afraid you are completely ignoring.

        While one can believe that Abortions should be legal and available that does not automatically equate to saying that we should also make it so that a 12 year old should be able to get that abortion without a consent of her parents.

        I can not think of one single case of a 12 year old girl or boy that has matured enough in those short years to make any kind of decision that has that kind of impact on not only their own life but that of the life they may possibly bring into this world.

        Lets go a little bit farther here. Regardless of you believeing it or not there actually have been cases of girls under 9 years of age that have become pregmant.

        Would you also want to allow a nine year old to make that decision without the knowledge and consultation of their parents?

        I think a better argument that you could make in the favor of abortion would be to define where the age of consent should be.

        Also another area to attack the problem is to get a real effort going that can prevent a twelve year old from being in this situation to begin with. While nothing we would do could eliminate all cases, using the right prevention methods including education as well as others can certainly cut down on them.

        Just as Mr Obama has so elegantly stated, each issue has it's on problems and very few can be absolutely black and white in clarity. Compromise is most often the only real way to solve many of the issues as long as it is not a compromise that surrenders our basis beliefs and ultimate goals.

        I am very glad to see his diary here because while I get damn frustrated with some or many of our elected Democratic officials I have also stated many times that we must regain power so that we can address many of our concerns.

        Obama also made it clear in his message that  fracturing our own support, which seems to be a constant around here, will hinder us rather than bring us victory.

        I for one believe this to be an absolute that we keep missing.  

        Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

        by eaglecries on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:23:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is (4.00)
          that if a 9 or 12 year old is pregnant a crime has been committed, and the overwhelming odds are that dad is the father. If not, then she was sexualized by dad, or mom, or her brother, so that she equated sex with love.

          That's why you don't have parental notification. The child is the symptom of a diseased family. By comming forward and asking for a abortion, she is litterally risking her life.

          Of course, we don't have child protection in this country and what little there is, is a joke. The typical social worker in any large metropolitan city is simply inundated and cannot give even sub-standard service.

          The right just doesn't want to hear that a "Christian" father could ever do such things.

          Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

          by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, but, the thing is (none)
            That there has to be some sort of understanding of the people who see why assuming that a family member is the father is insufficient.

            What about for the 12 year old whose dad is not the father?

            And what about the mother? Isn't it likely that she would like to know the father is abusing her daughter?

            And what wbout the fact that most of these laws give an option of going around parental notification through the judicial system for that very reason?

            And what about the fact that you can't even give a minor an aspirin without parental consent. If a physically abused child needs surgery or a cast, you need parental consent. Why does abortion necessarily warrent an exemption?

            I'm not saying you have to agree with any of these reasons. And I don't want to hijack this thread for an abortion debate. But I'm asking you to see how reasonable people who are otherwise pro-choice might have explanations and reasons for voting for such laws that doesn't undermine their overall support for choice and progressive causes. Not all votes that you disagree with are necessarily cop-outs to the Right, etc.

            Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

            by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:54:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ok, I really do understand the other side, but... (none)
              If the school nurse needs my permission, and they do and ought to need it to give my child medication. It's no problem to ask for that at the begining of the school year.

              But if a 12 year old child is pregnant a crime has been committed by someone and sadly the odds are that it was a family member. Even if dad isn't the father, the child was sexualized by someone. 12 year olds just don't run around having sex without first having been abused themselves. The cases where that person was not a family member are rare.

              You don't notify the parents because it puts the child at risk. Ideally, she should be removed from the family the moment the authorities become aware of the situation so it can be determined who committed the crime.

              I don't think most voters would have a problem with this. Most voters are for abortion under certain conditions, at least, the last I knew they were. I havn't kept up to date over the years.

              The problem is that the tatics on the other side have been pretty odious. Playing fair and being nice hasn't been working for us. We are on the verge of losing Roe v Wade.

              Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

              by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:13:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  pregnant 12-year-olds (none)
            Here in Red Country, we had a case of this in the newspapers because the father murdered both his daughters before they could testify in court on his child molestation charges. He was ineptly alibied by his brother ("family values").

            People would favor "not telling the parents" if they were told--and allowed themselves to accept--how many child pregnancies have a biological or sociological father as the impregnator.

            •  This doesn't make sense to me (none)
              If a twelve year old girl doesn't want to have a baby WHY SHOULD SHE BE FORCED TO HAVE IT BY ANYONE. Why is it ok to for older women to have the choice to not bear a child but gee we have to equivocate on it if she is 12 years old??  What if she is not mature enough to decide?  Seems like rather scary but mature decision to opt for an abortion. She's twelve and should have the right not to encumber herself with a child if she can not support it. If her parents want another child then they should have another.
              •  If you read (none)
                the book "Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" by Jim Wallis

                It claims that conservative families are more "father centric". They use a different phrase but I can't think of it right now. While the left are more...distributed rather than top-down...I'm probably butchering this pretty bad. Hopefully you can get the general idea.

                In a conservative family then, for the state to intrude like that is really problematic. Dad is in charge and the state is on his turf. I can understand that and I can even see that it is one of many ways to structure a family. It's just....when a crime has been committed...that's when I say the deal to not interfere in dad's "castle" is off.

                my 2cents anyway

                Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

                by brenda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 04:29:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Democrats "trim their sails" (none)
        so much, the progressive community has virtually no representation in Congress. Why is that? Is it because we are few in numbers? No. Is it because
        our ideas are defective and out of the mainstream?
        No. How many times does Obama vote for bills like the bankruptcy bill, which will bring indenentured servitude back to this country, or CAFTA, before we can pull the progressive label off him? As globalization takes root, representative government will become more meaningless. Obama is a hardcore globalization
        advocate. He once told unionists in Chicago that they needed their cheap radios from Korea. Why can't we make them here? Does it make sense, in this era of shrinking polar ice-caps and greenhouse induced hurricanes to waste so much energy shipping everything across the vast Pacific Ocean? Why doesn't Korea make the radios
        it needs for itself, and we make our own radios?
        There would be less waste and wars. Maybe less growth to fund politicians like Obama.
    •  One thing, though: (3.92)
      With regard to Democrats' reasons for supporting Roberts... How can we take seriously ANY Democrat who gives Bush the benefit of the doubt? At this stage of the game, after all this country has seen from this president, how in the world can ANY Democrat use this particular rationale to support Roberts? I better understand the arguments regarding planning for the second nominee and the court of public opinion, but "benefit of the doubt"? No way, Jose.
    •  I'll second (none)
      It is nice seeing elected officials on here.

      http://kydem.blogspot.com

      Evan Bayh 2008
      Miller for KY Governor 2007
      http://kydem.blogspot.com

      by dsolzman on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:06:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I want to second the thanks (none)
      At the risk of just posting a "me too"...

      And say that I am proud to be living in Illinois, which made such an excellent choice for Senator in the last election. I'm even pleased to be living in Henry Hyde's congressional district so I can help take it back for us in 2006!

      "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

      by oxymoron on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:13:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Vote on Roberts (none)
      Obama conveniently forgets that Roberts has dedicated his adult life to sabotaging and subverting the Constitution of the United States of America.  Roberts also violated federal law when he did not recuse himself in the case involving Gitmo and the Geneva Conventions.  The latter violation was directly related to his nomination to the Supreme Court.

      Senators make an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution.  Every Senator, regardless of party, who voted for Roberts deliberatly violated his or her oath of office.

      Obama is seeing the world through the lens of the same political consultants that have cost the Democratic Party its majorities in the House and the Senate.  His stance is as impractical as it is cynical.

      Take Back the Democratic Party http://www.lawlessforcongress.com/

      by fedupnyc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 05:17:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome Senator! (3.76)
    I can't tell you how happy I am to see you posting here!  It's wonderful to have someone of you caliber joining the discussion here!

    I believe you will find many here who are anxious to hear what you have to say!

    •  Joining in the welcome! (3.00)
      Great to see the senator here.

      "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me" - Jesus

      by SisTwo on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:32:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I also want to add... (4.00)
      In fact, I would argue that the most powerful voices of change in the country, from Lincoln to King, have been those who can speak with the utmost conviction about the great issues of the day without ever belittling those who opposed them, and without denying the limits of their own perspectives.

      It's that line of reasoning that garners my support. The American people respond well to this type of mentality.  If you can speak honestly without undercutting or insulting those that disagree with you then you will find many more that will continue to listen to what you have to say.

      •  Moreso (4.00)
        If you look at the rhetoric that King's opponents were using, they were... well, a lot like the stuff you hear coming out of Limbaugh and Hannity today, only more mainstream. King is a dangerous criminal radical communist who wants to overturn society and destroy America!

        People would read that, and then they'd see King, looking and sounding nothing like his description in the press. Looking and sounding reasonable, forceful, and passionate. He won.

        Now, as to this diary:

        First, thanks for posting here, Sen. Obama. A few thoughts:

        I believe that some of the anger here (e.g. over CAFTA) is because we don't know the reasoning behind a contrarian vote. How is a vote for CAFTA good for labor? An explanation at least offers the possibility for disagreement. Without one, well, I have my own opinion of that rotten pile of crony capitalism, and I'll tend to see the vote through my own lens.

        More anger comes from watching the results of the tension between roles that every Senator and Congressman experiences: On the one hand, you're part of a relatively impartial deliberative body. On the other, you're expected to "bring it home" to your home state. So we have the votes of the Democratic Senators of Delaware, South Dakota and Nevada for the Bankruptcy Bill, which make sense for the credit card companies that are significant employers in their states, but which don't make sense in light of the Democratic platform. In the most absurd case, we have seen Sen. Reid voting for the Bankruptcy Bill, and then decrying the bill on his web site.

        I understand and appreciate that you're trying to preserve the role of the Senate as a deliberative body. Message and party discipline are fundamentally hostile to this role. Tactically, however, if one party has this discipline and the other doesn't, we have a problem.

        Lastly, in regards to Judge Roberts: I'm surprised that less was made of the fact that [i]what you were allowed to see[/i] looked fairly reasonable, but this most secretive and unaccountable of Administrations had gone to great lengths to withhold information. Why would they, unless that information painted a significantly different picture of Judge RobertS? Speaking for myself, I'm afraid that he's a brilliant but hard-right jurist who will cleverly weaken existing precedents until they can be easily overturned. He's got 30 years to do his work. The only action that will assuage my fears is the full and unconditional release of all the information the Administration is withholding. I don't trust them anymore.

        Thanks again for taking the time to post here.

        •  But you are forgeting that the media (4.00)
          as a whole was far more balanced and objective. You also fail to see that our foes have spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year crafting media messaging techniques to tailor their delivery to neuter and smear opponents overtly and with subtlety.

          Most people are not seeing a objective presentation of what is really going on, and given the space and the capacity to make reasonable, well considered judgments on what is really going on, who is full of it, etc. etc.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:41:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe, maybe not (none)
            The main accounts of the era that I rely on are from my parents, who were right in the thick of it, and they don't remember an objective media. There were individual bright lights, but the amount of shrieking and vilifying and negative spinning of King and other reformers was pitched as high as the media of the day allowed. And, of course, the media swallowed the party line about the Communist threat hook, line and sinker, facilitating the buildup of the very military-industrial and espionage complex that Eisenhower had warned against. It was news when the Washington Post defined the Nixon Administration, and Kate Graham is on record as considering her epochal decision to be "a mistake." That was the media then; any difference with today's media seems to me to be a matter of degree.

            The media was also trusted more than it is now. Since the era of great anchors like Cronkite, the viewership and esteem of TV news has plummeted steadily. When CNN briefly offered the closest thing to real news that we'd had in a while, they did very well. Now, they're in the toilet too.

        •  Your last paragraph (4.00)
          is key here.  The vote for Roberts is not a single issue.  Roberts is clearly hostile to the ENTIRE progressive agenda.  He is clearly opposed to ALL the social progress made in the last half century.  A Yea vote for Roberts represents conciliation on everything, all the core values, of the Democratic ideal.  Roberts will begin a slow, methodical rollback of what many, many people have fought and sacrificed much for.  This was a time for standing up to a radical right wing, not a time for giving them, once again, the benefit of the doubt.  How can there even be any doubt now?

          It's great to be a Republican these days - nobody expects you to be smart, competent or honest.

          by yellowdog52 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:08:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I might have agreed before Newt... (4.00)
        The electorate is so polarized at this point that I'm not sure this line of thinking is operable any more.  We're in uncharted territory when it comes to the politics of cooperation.  You know why?  Go read Hunter's rant from last night.

        All Spin Zone : Factor This, Falafel Man. Oh, and, SCI.

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:27:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lincoln didn't belittle those who opposed him (4.00)
        he fought a war with them!  I am a moderate, I was a republican, and in my view, the reason the republicans are ahead in the game is because they all say the same thing and they all are on the attack all of the time. This makes the democrats, who cannot agree on  hardly anything, look weak and disorganized.

        Now, to say that one should not attack one of our good guys on the basis on one vote I agree with.  But to say that we need a "kinder, gentler" tone, I think will encourage the republicans to continue to kick us in the teeth and the electorate to view us as wimps.  I truly think, unlike most of those inside the Beltway, that we are fighting for the heart and soul of what America becomes. If that means I call up a talk radio show, and tell the host he is a bigot and the republicans don't care about poor people and back it up with stats, then that is what I am going to do.  Our tougher rhetoric seems to be bringing more and more people to our side, so I guess I would have to say that while I find much to commend in your diary, Senator, I feel like I am in the trenches here, fighting for my friends and the elderly and the poor.  And if my tone gets nasty once in a while, well, so be it.
        I'm with Howard Dean in not mincing my words.  

        "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

        by adigal on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:28:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But there's a difference between (4.00)
          passionate disagreement and ad hominum attacks.

          People don't mind passion, but they DO mind people calling opponents idiots, morons, communists, terrorists, etc.

          That's part of the reason people aren't generally against Cindy Sheehan.

          •  Well, it didn't bother them at election time (4.00)
            when Hannity, Limbaugh, and every other right wing talk show host was calling liberals "terrorists."  It worked.

            "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

            by adigal on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:11:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The Best progressive I ever knew (4.00)
      was Prof. Richard Kling, a legendary Chicago criminal defense lawyer, and a tireless fighter for social justice.   He was a huge supporter of Barack's from the time he was a virtual unknown with no reasonable shot at even winning the Primary (and if the story of that election isn't Proof that god is a progressive democrat, then I don't know what is).

      This incredibly thoughtful response posted here goes a very long way to vindicating his faith in Barack; and show us why we should rally around him too.

      I have a full time job and a life and so a lot of my reactions to stories in the news or pending legislation is purely emotional and knee-jerk.  I simply don't have time to study all the implications of the law, its likely economic effects , etc.  However I DO expect my representative or Senator to take all those things into account before voting. This could mean that they vote a different way than I think they should, because of factors I haven't even considered.

      The LAST thing we should be trying to elect are politicians whose votes we will agree with 100% of the time.  Why? because it indicates a lack of thoughtfulness and allowing ideology to replace analysis.   What I do really want in a congressperson is trustworthiness.

      I want to know what principles they stand for, and that they are a person who will stand by and stand up for those principles no matter what pressure is bought to bear.

      I trust Barack, I trust Russ, I trust Pat.  They proven worthy of that trust time and time again.  DO I agree with their vote on Roberts?  N0.; but then I never met him (they did), I never read the thousands of Pages of Documents released by the WH (they Did) and I never Questioned him under oath (they did).  Therefore even if I disagree with them I'm willing to trust them.  Especially since, even if they'd voted no,  Roberts would have been confirmed anyway.  Perhaps they were keeping their powder dry for the next  fight.  Perhaps they have a plan and the YES vote was part of it.

      I all comes down to trust,  and these guys have earned ours, so let's ease up on them a bit okay?

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:01:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Senator (3.66)
    I think there is a lot of wisdom in this post.
  •  All I've got to say (3.81)
    is that you've got my vote in 08, if you want it.

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
    --M.L. King, Jr.

    by MasonLee on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:28:06 AM PDT

  •  You've made my day (4.00)
    Just knowing you're listening -- and listening so well -- makes me feel a little less terrrified about where this country is heading.
    •  But I am still terrified (4.00)
      I am still frightened for my country.  I wish I could put my finger on it, but there is something in the shadows that is unidentified to me that feels very threatening about the government right now.  I pray it is simply "nerves" or over-reacting, but I think alot more people feel that sense of "something is more wrong than I can understand or grasp right now" feeling.

      Then again, I have been known to be paranoid.

      "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism - Howard Zinn

      by Brubs on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:04:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's frightening? (none)
        It's the fascism.

        http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm

        The longer they stay in power, the more they
        look like this.

        The so-called "Republican" party is promoting a fascist agenda -- and this isn't a wild accusation, or an ad hominem attack, it's well-documented fact.  The Hamdan decision, signed by Roberts, is a nice example of the abandonment of the rule of law in favor of the tyranny of the executive.  If you don't like the word "fascism", how about "third-world-style crony-capitalist dictatorship"?

        Republican "moderates" need to be alerted to the truth of what's happening to their party, so that they can leave.

        Democrats, unfortunately, need to be alerted to this too, because most of them just don't get it.  They're still acting as if the Republican Party is a legitimate political party within a democratic republic -- which it was even as late as Reagan and Bush I -- but it's currently run by a bunch of people determined to trash the Constitutition and the rule of law completely.
         

    •  I second that (none)
      One of the reasons I post to DailyKos is because I know that even though I'm a staunch democrat in a frighteningly Republican state there are some places I can go to have my voice be heard.

      Thank you Sen. Obama for not only hearing but commenting and bringing hope to those in a quiet political desperation.

  •  Senator (4.00)
    I voted for you in the primary and the general election, thank you for posting this on Daily Kos.  I wish you well.  I count you as an ally in progressive movement.  
  •  Senator Obama (3.96)
    Thank you for posting here. May I kindly request that you take a look at our attempts to build an viable energy policy for the Democratic party:

    Building together an effective Dem energy policy (I)

    There is no more important task today.

    European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
    in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

    by Jerome a Paris on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:29:01 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for bringing up Paul Simon (4.00)
    I really miss him.  I wonder what he'd say about what politics has become.

    JR

    The trouble with capitalism is capitalists. They're too greedy. - Herbert Hoover

    by JR Monsterfodder on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:29:18 AM PDT

    •  Paul Simon (none)
      One of the greats.  If only he'd been successful when he ran for President.  A wise, wise man.

      If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

      by MN camera on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:58:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The other Illinois Paul (none)
        And we older Kossians remember another Sen. Paul from Illinois, the fiery progressive Sen. Paul Douglas.  He was an inspiration and a role model for Sen. Simon, and Sen. Obama continues that tradition.  I still recall the Vietnam era night that that snake Chuck Percy defeated Sen. Douglas.  It took a long while for the Illinois Senate delegation to recover from that blow.

        "Yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish and chips paper." -- Elvis Costello

        by Vico on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paul Douglas (none)
          I was young then, but I do remember Paul Douglas.

          If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

          by MN camera on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:41:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think Percy... (none)
          ...got a LOT of sympathy votes when his daughter was killed shortly before the election. Chuckie didn't have the brains that God gave gravel.

          "When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles." -- despair.com

          by Newton Snookers on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:18:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're right. (none)
            He did benefit from (and some people claimed exploited) the violent death of his daughter.  (I don't think that case has ever been solved, has it?)  And, to add a bit of trivia, Sharon Percy's death caused the cancelation of the scheduled first network showing of Psycho, which wasn't shown on TV for many years after.

            But that's all small potatoes next to the loss of Paul Douglas from the Senate.  Fortunately, Illinois now has two voices in his tradition.

            "Yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish and chips paper." -- Elvis Costello

            by Vico on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:37:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sharon's death.... (none)
              ...is still a cold case.
              Before his apology, I though Durbin would make a good presidential candidate. But with that odd, out-of-character, teary "I'm sorry" speech, it seemed his tears were more from frustration and anger at somehow being forced to say something he didn't want to say, rather than true remorse...I have a feeling that someone "got to him" somehow, some way...And if you can't keep from getting "gotten at," then you have no business being president. His heart is in the right place and he's a wonderfully intelligent and quick-witted guy, however.

              "When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles." -- despair.com

              by Newton Snookers on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:23:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That bothered me, too. (none)
                The apology made me think that he is beholden to the machine, after all.  I haven't seen any such indication about Obama yet, though.

                And Durbin still might rise up.  Harry Truman was a machine politician, too.  He has time to recover a very unwise move.

                "Yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish and chips paper." -- Elvis Costello

                by Vico on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:21:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  No wonder I worked for you and donated to you (4.00)
    ... and voted for you and worked my precinct so hard for you.

    Paul Simon thought highly of you.  Many of us do, too.

    I miss Paul.  There'll never be another Paul Simon.

    But it sure is nice to have a Senator I can support as strongly as I supported Paul.

    Thanks for this, Barack.

    Lieberman/Bayh `08: Because America needs a nap!

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:29:41 AM PDT

    •  both our senators are paul's legacy. (none)
      he hand picked durbin to replace himself, although god knows how many of our mediocre (am i being too kind?) but better known machine dems were lusting for the job.  obama (have you differentiated him from osama yet mr. president?)was paul's gift causa mortis to us.  it was shiela simon's commercial that turned a close primary into a rout.

      my first real campaign experience was working for paul's presidential bid in '87-'88.  it was a very cold winter in iowa.  how far advanced would our "civic religion" be over where it stands today if paul had won the democratic nomination that time...

      sigh

      god rest you paul and jeanne.  please put in a word for the rest of us if you get a chance.

      we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

      by 2nd balcony on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:18:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My first Paul campaign was his first Senate run (none)
        My grandmother had worked on his runs for the House.

        Both Paul and Jeanne were two of the very best people I have ever met.

        And you're right about Dick Durbin.  I didn't mean to exclude him!

        Lieberman/Bayh `08: Because America needs a nap!

        by Bob Johnson on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:52:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a fantastic post (4.00)
    Notwithstanding its illustrious author. Thanks for taking the time to write it, share it, and saying what I feel ought be said more often.

    Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. ~George Jean Nathan

    by VirginiaBelle on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:30:36 AM PDT

    •  Of course (4.00)
      At this point, we (all Democrats of whatever persuasion) can all be united around one important fact about this Administration and our "friends" in the Republican Party: competence.

      On the war in Iraq, budgets, emergency planning, to just running government without pay offs to friends the Republican Party at the national level (and at many state-levels) has shown itself to be competence.

      Senator Obama's post (Damn, but I miss Illinois. I was born, raised, educated, in Illlinois.  I grew up in Peoria, lived in Chicago going to school at Northwestern, and got the Ph.D. in Champaign-Urbana. My family still lives in Peoria.) reminds us that we have to appeal to the better angels of our fellow citizens.  We don't need to worry about the Bill Bennetts, the Rush Limbaughs, the Ann Coulters.  They represent a minority among our fellow citizens.

      Jim Talent, whom I hope to help defeat next year, sends out e-newsletters talking about his commitment to "traditional Missouri values."  I don't think traditional Missouri values means dropping 90,000 poor working Missourians from health insurance.  It doesn't mean sending troops off to fight a war ill-equipped.  It certainly doesn't mean ignoring the fact the war is not going well.  "Traditional Missouri values" doesn't mean saddling the next generation with a huge interest to pay on a debt run up by this generation because we refuse to sacrifice and meet the international and domestic problems facing us NOW.

      Senator Obama is right that we must find common cause with our clear allies on the Left and we must not so demonize our enemies that those in the middle (those who do not consider themselves terrible people) recognize that the Democrats represent their best values.  

      Of course, we all need to recognize that the forces on the Right we must resist control many of the sources of information those we must reach use.  This means our views will get distorted  by many of those sources.  We already know this.  

      We must not be discouraged by this.  There is too much at stake to give up.

           

      Le peuple en ce jour sans cesse repète: Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!

      by MoDem on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:46:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  much to consider (4.00)
    thank you for posting. When our representatives take the time to actually speak (or blog)it shows that that you are able to respond (the true meaning of Responsibility).

    Bush/Cheney04 Because it takes 8 years to Destroy the Country Download GeckosAgainstBS song

    by demnomore on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:31:25 AM PDT

  •  What a treat (4.00)
    to have you post here!  Thank you so much for starting a discussion.

    Do you think a president who nominates Michael Brown for FEMA deserves the benefit of the doubt for any nomination? I'm not so sure he has the best interests of the American people at heart.

    "Is the President concerned that there's a stench of corruption around the Republican establishment in Washington?" -- Terry Moran to Scotty, 9/28/05

    by OLinda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:31:46 AM PDT

    •  For the discussion- (4.00)
      They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.

      Probably worthwhile to point out that Republicans have their agenda, and they are carrying it out. Show this as them acting irresponsibly concerning the health of our country and 90% of our citizens

      We should also keep pointing at their crony-incompetent appointees and how they are hurting America.

      In Your Face From Outer Space

      by mike101 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:24:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (none)
    for taking the time and for helping us to see a bit more clearly some of the issues you are presented with on a daily basis.  

     


    Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?...Carley Sheehan

    by nupstateny on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:32:25 AM PDT

  •  Amen! We needed that Reality Check :) (3.66)

    'No Matter How Much Cats Fight, There Always Seem to be Plenty of Kittens'... Abraham Lincoln

    by PhillyGal on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:32:42 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Senator (3.40)
    Your insight and clarity are refreshing, welcome, and SO needed.  I'm glad that you expended the time to prepare and post this diary, and I hoe that you will continue to contribute in the future.
  •  Well said, Senator (4.00)
    Kudos to you for saying what had to be said, and trying to get people to face hard political realities.  In particular, thank you for this statement:
    Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design.
    The fact a Senator who is continually called one of the most progressive should be slammed so harshly for one vote, when he voted his concience makes me cringe, and I thank you for setting the record straight.
    •  Seconded (4.00)
      I was seriously impressed by his argument. It is pretty clear the brilliant speech at the convention wasn't a fluke.

      I don't know if the country is ready for an African-American President, but this man would get my vote in the primary.

      Let's start adding him to the fantasy straw polls.

    •  Feingold's conscience... (none)
      ...has a way of going the right way when the vote is purely symbolic, and of caving to the right wing when it just might've made a difference.
      •  Whaaa? (4.00)
        So voting against invading Iraq and the PATRIOT Act was symbolic?

        I have my beefs with Feingold -- namely that he is too naive -- but this ain't one of them.

      •  So what you're saying... (4.00)
        ... is that if Russ Feingold voted against Roberts, that would have made a crucial difference?

        I just don't see how.

        Blueshifting: Making progressive politics visible.

        by Malacandra on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:27:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you're saying (4.00)
        So you're saying that a No vote on Roberts would have been anything other than symbolic?

        If every Democrat had voted no for Roberts he'd still be the Chief Justice of the United States, so in this case, I think your incorrect.

        •  I was referring (none)
          to his vote to let John Ashcroft out of committee in 2001--the one Bush appointee we could've blocked.  It was going to be our first victory since Bush had stolen the election before Russ caved.

          As to Roberts, the fact that he announced his intentions to support him fairly early helped defuse any hope of blocking him or even registering a large symbolic protest.

      •  The Clinton impeachment vote was not symbolic (none)
        It dang near got Bill thrown out! Any more symbolic votes, and we'd all be speaking Repub..... uh, anyways... Yes, I believe that if you're looking for backbone and principled stands when it isn't easy, Russ is a prime example.

        The main theme of Senator Obama's message is a winning one if we can all buy into it. We've got problems in our house and folks in the right, left and middle of the common room. Sure we can all fight about them, but that's how we end up with a spend everything, fix nothing kind of government. Sen. O is one who seems to understand quite clearly that we need to find places to drive agreement. Bill tried to explain this as well. The other side needs most of us to be divided, or we win.

    •  Feingold not firing on all cylinders (none)
      He's being slammed because his "conscience" appears to be pretty stupid.

      He's the only senator with the sense to ask Roberts about the incredibly infamous Hamdan decision.  And yet he still voted for him?  What is he thinking?

  •  n/t (none)
    I voted for Blair Hull.  But hey, you're doing great, keep it up!
  •  Simply Brilliant (3.25)
    Thats is a marvelous post Mr. Senator.  You are absolutly right, its time to rally around our leaders, I won't agree with everyone 100% of the time, but 95% is good enough for me.  Thank you for your words and I wishi you continued success, especially with the CFO bill you recently introduced with Tom Coburn, which is an important piece of legislation.
  •  Thank you, Sen. Obama, for posting here (3.50)
    It's such a treat to have such a courageous Senator posting here.
  •  it starts with understanding the public (4.00)
    the senator is on the money when he talks about how the public views the bush administration, iraq, corporate responsibility, etcetra. hard-working people in this country who are going to decide the outcomes of elections are not looking for venom and anger, they are looking for a positive alternative from a visionary leader they can trust such as the author of this eloquent and valuable essay.

    "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values." - Bill

    by skyterrain on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:39:04 AM PDT

  •  Envious (4.00)
    Every time I think of Mr. Obama, I almost wish I had stayed an Illinois resident so I could vote for him!

    Well, perhaps someday all Americans will have that opportunity!

  •  That was wonderul and articulate. (3.00)
    Few members of our current Congressional Democratic leadership can elaborate a message like you do.

    Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:39:53 AM PDT

  •  That certainly (4.00)
    gives us some insight into your thinking, and I definitely thank you for posting it.

    Speaking solely for myself, I have to say that the reason I think the blogosphere erupts into crticism of Democratic leaders is because of the alarming silence from Democratic leaders when it comes to issues that are headlining the country's newspapers and television news reports.  It's a sense of a lack of a unified view on the part of Democratic leadership at a time when it would make all the sense in the world to "strike back" against the injustices perpetrated by the legislative and executive majority.  We won't recapture anything if we sit back and wait for them to trip over their own mistakes.  They have proven resilience time and time again in rebounding from such missteps.

    The definition of insanity is doing something the way you've always done it yet still expecting different results... Senator Obama, I have the deepest respect for you and great hope as to the future of the Democratic party as a result of your being a part of it.  However - our country can't wait until that Democratic party matures and I fear I see the same reticense and determination to appear "statesmanlike" that caused our party to be trounced at election time.  

    We have to step up and stand up.  Visibly.  Vocally.

    HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

    by RenaRF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:40:23 AM PDT

    •  well said rena (4.00)
      i am just thankful that senator obama has recognized his many gifts and is sharing them with the rest of us.

      it is a tremendous responsibility to have the talents and ability to communicate in the same veins of jfk and martin luther king.  it seems he doesn't take it lightly and i am so grateful.

      we need a messenger, yesterday.  but i'll settle for tomorrow if that's what it takes.

      •  Agree (4.00)
        and my intent was not to attack Senator Obama.

        I kind of believe that all of these foks at the Senatorial and Executive levels live in somewhat of a bubble.  I also don't believe that that can be helped - only ameliorated somewhat.  Posting a diary on Daily Kos indicates putting one's head outside of that bubble... Reading the comments takes it a little further.

        We are what - 65,000 strong here?  I think that's about right.  And we're committed.  And we DON'T live in a bubble - we live every day with the legislation and decisions coming out of the Executive branch and the Congress.  It is and always has been about us.  The us who voted for Democrats and the us who did not.

        What sends me over the edge is a lack of strong, accusatory talk from Democrats about things like no-bid contracts in hurricane reconstruction; about a lack of a loud and persistent demand for an independent CFO to oversee the monies disbursed for hurricane reconstruction; a lack of screaming about the money that is just magically lost in Iraq.  I could go on.  You know I could.  ;-)

        If it were me (and it's not, so this is so hypothetical as to be ridiculous, I know)?  When I had the opportunity I would absolutely and totally decry the same contractual instruments and contractors being used in the Gulf states as are being used in Iraq.  Iraq has been a miserable failure of both ideology and execution.  Someone needs to say that out loud - someone in the Democratic leadership.  The idea that we are taking a model of failure of prolific proportions and applying it to our own domestic reconstruction is appalling.  I don't even have words.

        So I'd say this - WHY am I saying this??  DEMOCRATS need to say this for and with me!!  I understand statesmanship and tone in judicial appointments.  I do.  But I do NOT understand statesmanship and "moderate language" when policies being undertaken by the Republican majority are borderline (if not actually) criminal.  If your house had been broken into, ransacked and robbed, would it be incumbent upon you to maintain a civil tone when you spoke about the perpetrator??

        You see my point, and I've jumped on you unnecessarily and have gone WAY beyond responding to your comment - I just got on a rant.  :-)

        HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

        by RenaRF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:13:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no--you can go on (4.00)
          i totally don't mind.  i'm with you all the way.  my post may not have seemed like it, but it was meant to be so.

          i have to go to a meeting (damn employers, who do they think they are!) but i just want to say before i go that i totally agree.

          i don't understand why we have to be moderate when it seems they get a pass to be as radical as they f'ing want to be!!!

          anyway, preach it girl!  i gotta go earn a paycheck!

        •  If Statesmanship were really alive today... (none)
          Unfortunately, at some point you can no longer put up with the schoolyard bully that is the  conservative movement.  You have to punch back and make a stand. Which is the position we find ourselves today. Only by standing up and confirming a solid opposition can a Democratic Party hope to regain a Congress where Statesmanship is the norm and truly considered positions of government are the rule.
        •  And what if you scream (none)
          and nobody comes, nobody sends reporters, nobody sends camera crews, nobody prints it, and nobody outside of the few who are right there, hears it?

          I think this is the biggest problem facing Democrats today.

          We need a media outlet, a major one, and we need it NOW.

          •  i think this is absolutely true to an extent (none)
            but then, we are the ones who are right there, and we of all people should be able to hear it. while i agree our message gets lost and worse, distorted by the media and by the monstrous republican propaganda machine, i still have a major concern that those of us with our ears smushed to the door, straining to hear aren't getting anything from our leaders.

            and that says more about what they're not saying than what the masses are missing, i think.

    •  to add to this point... (4.00)
      and thank you Senator, one thing the Dems on Capitol Hill should learn to develop is dialog with the grass roots...

      The time to highlight the Dems views to these very same voters was during the confirmation hearings.

      Instead of boring, long winded speeches by Senators with questions that allow the nominee to ramble on, how's about:

      1. Skipping the self-agrandizement and posturing and get to the questions.

      2. pooling Senator's questions time for one or two Seantors to take the point and grill the nominee...

      3. Doing their homework. The blogsphere was littered with data and ideas that any staffer could have found with a simple google search...

      4. Using the current situation to highlight the importance of the Supreme Court. An incompetent appointee had just srewed up New Orleans....no one thought to point out that a man with only two years as a judge was being nominated as Chief Justice?

      With all do respect...perhaps following your own advice (and I do not think you fall in this category...but perhaps you could say something to your other caucus members) and actually do something to illustrate to the American people what it is we do stand for!

      How many election losses and set backs will it take until the Dems in Washington realize that:

      1. We are the Minority Party and
      2. Using the tactics that got us there need to be changed?
  •  Tone Versus Substance (4.00)
    Many good points in this diary, but the problem is that no matter what the Democrats do, no matter what tone they set, the Republicans will relentlessly attack and distort it.

    My take is that most Kossacks (not all) are simply arguing that Dems -- especially those in power -- need to grow a spine about speaking the truth. What is so very hard for congressional Dems about saying "George Bush is a liar", "George Bush appoints unqualified cronies to critical government jobs and weakens the security of this country," "Tom DeLay is a criminal."?

    When Democrats continue to act as if a thoroughly corrupt administration and political party are still legitimate, that's a huge substantive problem.

    "This president believes government should be limited not in size but in effectiveness."
    --The Daily Show

    by bramish on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:40:41 AM PDT

    •  I so agree overall with your comment (3.85)
      absolutely.  One teensy nit, though - as to the question of standing up and denouncing cronies - the Democrats have a bit of an issue with that one in that they are on record having solidly passed these cronies through for appointment.

      Oops.

      HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

      by RenaRF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:42:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that's the problem... (4.00)
        ...with the "give the President the benefit of the doubt on appointments" argument.

        We did. He didn't deserve it.

        Given the track record of unqualified crony appointments, why do we still give "the benefit of the doubt" to Bolton, Roberts, etc.? Sure, Roberts at least has a resume, whereas "Brownie" never did, but do Democrats keep voting "yes" no matter what the evidence shows about the quality of Bush's previous picks?

        Democrats need not fear having "solidly passed these cronies through". If a Republican wants to stand up and say Democrats should have voted against them, then Democrats should also have voted against Gonzales, Bolton, Chertoff, et al.

        "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

        by Mad Dog Rackham on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:01:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bolton didn't get (none)
          the benefit of the doubt, he was a recess appointment, remember?
          •  True. (none)
            I shouldn't have included him.

            But we sure did hear a lot of that same "benefit of the doubt" argument during the fight.

            Yes, the fact that Bolton had to be a recess appointment was a brief bit of light, but we were quickly back in the dark when he arrived at the UN.

            (And I firmly belive that he would have been confirmed if he'd just cut his hair and lost the mustache. No one trusts men with facial hair. I say this while sporting a full beard.)

            "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

            by Mad Dog Rackham on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:22:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  What to do? (4.00)
        As for standing up and speaking out, I am SO in agreement with this!  In fact, I wanted to question Senator Obama about why he still feels that our current (p)resident has EARNED the right to have the "benefit of the doubt" in ANY of his decisions.

        I have a daughter who will be 5 in a coupla weeks.  I say to her all the time that she must EARN the treatment that she receives.  If she is polite and respectful, etc, then she earns a treat of some sort.  If she choses to use bad manners and sass back, etc, then she earns time out.  Either way, she knows that she's done her damndest to earn whichever treatment she gets.

        Why is it that our (p)resident is not subject to the same?  It's clear that neither Babs nor the nannies ever taught him this basic principle...perhaps there inlies the problem...

        Never-the-less, I just think that to continue to sit back and say, "well, he's the president and therefore he deserves for us to give him the benefit of the doubt" is dangerous.  That's like saying that the neighbor kid is the owner of his car, and regardless of the fact that he's drunk off his goard, he deserves to drive his own car home (as your kids pile into the back seat).

        Hey, I am all for playing nicely and fairly.  But when the other team (so to speak) doesn't want to play in a reciprocal manner (according to the same rules), then why even try to play?

        My God, could you imagine the national outrage if the Super Bowl had such differing rules for each team?

    •  I sincerely appreciate your post Senator Obama (4.00)
      We are privileged to have such a insightful and intelligent member of Congress on the side of truth.

      I do have one question.  

      The methodology you prescribe in your post above can be essentially viewed as the difference between the Democratic and Republican conventions in the 2004 Presidential Election campaign.  

      You as the keynote speaker attempted to bring Americans together, while Zell Miller as the Republican keynote speaker attempted to divide.  

      In retrospect, which tone do you believe had the largest impact on the electorate? (Obviously, your speeches were only one of many factors, but I seem to think they were a representative microcosm of each campaign's overall strategy.) I hope that you are correct in your assessment that the country will eventually come around.

      My question is how long do you think it will take for the pendulum to sway in a new direction based on the more subtle strategy you suggest and do we have time to wait?

      Thanks for your time and welcome to the community...

  •  Senator Obama (4.00)
    Criticism of the ones we love, constructive criticism, should always be welcome. I thank you for our reasoned argument but I respectfully disagree.

    Certainly, aomngst your colleagues, it ismy view that you should not criticize each other. I have always applauded Sen. Ben Nelson's approach on this while strongly criticizing Sen. Lieberman's precisely for that reason.

    But since it was my view, and the view of many others, that Sens. Leahy and Feingold made a terrible mistake, I think it is not only right, but incumbent, upon us who feel this way to say so and loudly.

    The stakes are monumental. We should not stand silent and let our frieds make mistakes without voicing our views. That is what some of us have done.

    I comend your impulse to defend your colleagues. It is what YOU should do. But I believe those of us who disagreed with their actions did what WE were supposed to do too.

    The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

    by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:41:11 AM PDT

    •  Armando (4.00)
      Thank you for making the exception and FPing. Since we were talking about Sen. Obama, he deserves the forum to respond. Plus, it's an excellent diary!

      "Is the President concerned that there's a stench of corruption around the Republican establishment in Washington?" -- Terry Moran to Scotty, 9/28/05

      by OLinda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:45:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That (none)
        was an excellent diary. Kind of shames the guy advocating 'civil war' on the Pug site last night. Sheesh what a contrast.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:54:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I chose to do so (3.57)
        because it engages the very discussion we have been having here.

        It is part of the dialogue.

        Sen. Obama cam down from the podium and talked to us and engaged our discussion.

        As I say above, I like to think that I would have promoted this diary whoever had written it - it is quite good. But tha is impossible to know.

        The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

        by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:55:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, Armando! (4.00)
          I'd like to add another thing:

          My mother-in-law would vote for Democrats, but she doesn't see them as standing for anything.  They're cowards, in her opinion.  So she votes Republican.  It drives me nuts, but she has a point.

          Poll after poll confirms that millions of Americans are like my mother-in-law.  They WANT to see the Democrats grow a spine.  They WANT to see them stop me-too-ing every damned thing the Republicans do.

          In short, they WANT them to actually be Democrats, and not be slaves to the same corporate masters that pull the Republicans' puppet strings.

          That's what I think Senator Obama should know.

          •  Yes, why not grow a spine? (none)
            After all, it's never been tried.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

            by expatjourno on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:06:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't get it (none)
            What is so spineless about what Barack Obama has to say? He categorically says that we don't want to roll over and play dead. The point he makes is that we are the good guys and are therefore held - and should hold ourselves - to a higher standard. Truth and civility vs lies and personal attacks - which side should we choose?

            The Democratic vision needs to be an inclusive one - we are the "big tent" party after all - that adheres to a core set of principles but respects dialog and opposing points of view. That's how we will win.

            Time to call off the circular firing squad.

        •  There are very few (none)
          that could have written this diary. The fine senator from Illinois is a master. If he wasn't stuck in that day job in Washington that's so time consuming, he'd make a great front pager here.

          We need more like him. Not here, in the blogosphere, but in Washington. In politics, communication skills are more important to getting things done than the message. It is so special when those very few who have it, also have a message consistent with our own.  

    •  This issue among others (4.00)
      I think we will find that save Presidential contenders, many of the people who really let down the american people on things such as the bankrupcy bill, voted the same way here.

      Senator Landrieu is a good case and point. Although Louisiana is a purple state, there was no great clamor there for the bankruptcy bill. She voted for it anyways, even though it hurt average people. This administration just shafted her state big time, regarding Katrina, and after a couple of weeks of outrage, she is voting up their nominees once again.

      Feingold I believe is a big exception. I respect his no vote. I respect Harry Reid's pro life position. I respect the place that Senator Nelson finds himself. Joementum, Mary Landrieu though deserve criticism. Especially Joe Mentum. A person living in a very blue state, selling out the party can not be immune to criticism.

    •  Good point, Armando (3.75)
      I'm a blogger, I'm not in the Senate.  I'll always go on a shrill, disagreeable rant when I feel things aren't going my way.  Hopefully, the sentiment gets through and will be filtered along the way by eloquent debaters like Senator Obama.
    •  I agree Armando (none)
       The Senate only functions as an institution with a certain amount of compromise. Without it nothing gets done. We are not in that position, it is our job to let our voices be heard.
      •  Things are different now. (none)
        Unfortunately the Republicans refuse to compromise.  They refused to do so during the Clinton administration as well, blocking an outrageous number of judicial nominees.

        Now, we are better than them, but that doesn't mean we can let them get away with their double standard, which is: Republicans don't have to compromise, Democrats do.

    •  I think you'll only half right (4.00)
      I think we can be disappointed with single votes and ask Senator like Feingold and Leahy what the heck they where thinking.  But I believe people went further people on the site questioned if this was the end of the party.  People said good-bye to Feingolds 2008 chances...I think those are over reactions....

      Focus on the action you don't like but don't make broad and false indictments of the person character.

    •  Armando's last paragraph is key (4.00)
      If we who really care about politics don't keep the heat on our elected representatives, it's too easy for them to give in to the institutional and cultural pressures and fatten themselves up at the public expense while giving lip service to progressive ideals.

      But if Sen. Obama and those like him don't do their part to keep these people within the fold and, in so far as possible, be a bridge between us and them, we can't accomplish what we must within government.

      Sen. Obama has his role; we have ours.  I hope that he is communicating the equivalent of this lovely diary (especially the paragraph beginning "The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives' job.") to his Senate colleagues, telling them that our role is important to the process as well.

      If you wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down.

      by Major Danby on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:30:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would argue that it goes beyond that. (4.00)
      Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get along?  I'd be happy if just all of the Democrats could get along and form a united front a little more often.

      But when I read that very eloquent diary, all I kept thinking to myself was, "wouldn't that be nice."

      Speaking soley for myself, I didn't come to this point of all-out war with the Republicans lightly.  It's always been believed, that if Democrats could simply have a fair debate with Republicans, we would win hands down.  But the problem is, there is no such thing as a fair debate anymore.  Every time we've tried to be reasonable, and debate policy, not ideology, fact not believe, we've been thoroughly beaten down.  Every time we've tried to speak truth to fiction, we've been drowned out by the right-wing noise machine. Every time we've tried to compromise for the betterment of government, or relations between the parties, we've been trampled upon.

      The fact is, that I'm sure most of us would be satisfied if we could get a fair shake from these Republicans, but in five years, it hasn't happened.  Ever since Bush took office, it's been one stab in the back after another.  In order to cooperate and work together, you have to trust your opponent to fair and honest.  Those two words describe very few Republicans I can think of.

      How are we supposed to get a fair shake from the American public when we have "news" networks like Fox that are happy to edit and cut clips of Democrats, in order to portray them as supporting the Republican point of view (or worse, stereotypes)?

      Once we wrest some power back from these people, then I'll entertain ideas of working together for the betterment of American.  For now, I feel that the only we can do to protect and preserve this country is fight these fascists with everything we've got.

      "Drunk by noon, but that's okay. I'll be President someday." - Sublime from "Greatest Hit"

      by supergreen on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Defending His Colleagues (none)
      Armando, excellent point -- particularly the Ben Nelson / Lieberman distinction -- as one who grew up in CT, it sickened me to no end to see Lieberman constantly savage his colleagues publicly -- internal disagreements are fine (indeed, what distinguishes us from many of the Rethug theocrats), but I DO have a MAJOR problem when a Dem hops onto Faux News to sanctimoniously self-promote while nailing his compadres (gee, any names come to mind?)...so I respect good Senator Obama for defending them.  

      As for the actual votes re Roberts, if half of the Dem Senators are indeed 'keeping the powder dry' so that they can actually USE IT if W does nominate a wingnut to replace swinging-Sandra Day, then I suppose I too can reserve judgment...

    •  Exactly (none)
      But there is something else here that needs to be discussed (and I am way late to this discussion, but still).

      That is:  How much should we give weight to this 1960s style politics of virtue?  I like Obama and I would back him.  But I'm really concerned that he is a more eloquent version of this neo-Kennedy-is that we saw with Kerry.  We've got a brutal GOP party that we are dealing with, and the leading light of the Democratic party tells us to 'behave.'  Why didn't he reach out to us and tell us how to be more effective with our passion?

      I think--and it pains me to say this--that Obama seems to be thinking with the mind of a chess player when the game we are losing has been relocated to the wrestling ring.  He is right in what he says, but it doesn't seem to fit with the politics I see in the country around me.  Instead, it seems to describe some kind of ideal version of American politics, where Senators are upstanding.  Aticus Finch I love, but isn't that the stuff of fiction at this stage.  I mean...the President just nominated his own lawyer to be a Supreme Court Justice--a woman with no Constitutional experience whatsoever.  When are we supposed to react with passion?  

      God bless Senator Obama.  But I wish he would also speak to some of the issues that concern Americans, and not just the tone of those who express concern.

  •  Thanks, Senator, for listening to us (none)
    Glad to know us Dems have you in the Senate to fight for us, "disagreeing without being disagreeable" in a level-headed manner.

    Thanks for listening to us & for sharing your thoughts on this blog.

  •  Mr. Obama... (4.00)
    ...I wish I could offer you something worthwhile here, but I'm still wriggling with joy that, not only are you posting, you read!  That and I haven't had my coffee yet and you don't want me attempting deep thoughts before that happens.

    Whew...got through that without making a fool of myse...RUNFORPRESIDENTPLEASEPLEASEPLEASEWELOVEYOU!

    Crap.  I have political Tourettes.

    "It's time to come home, America"--Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), September 13, 2005

    by Raybin on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:42:47 AM PDT

  •  voice of reason (3.90)
    thank goodness. seeing people trash Leahy, Feingold, or anyone who doesn't toe the liberal orthodoxy line drives me insane. these people deserve better. i didn't find Roberts to be an offensive enough choice to vote against. i have more respect for the Leahys of the world than the Evan Bayh's, who only vote NO because they are trying to desperately pander to progressives because they know they've been AWOL on the issues that really matter (war, bankruptcy, etc.)
    •  Roberts Didn't Deserve to Make the Cut (none)
      Roberts not offensive enough?  Where does he stand? The fact is after several days of questioning, no one can say.  That to me is enough to oppose him. The Supreme Court is far too important for someone to slide into without revealing where they stand on the most important issues that face this country.  The bar should be a bit higher than "inoffensive" in my book.  I have no problem with criticizing those who supported Roberts for this very reason. Trashing them personally is another matter.  That is unjustified.

      "It's not my business to do intelligent work." - Donald Rumsfeld

      by skibumfordean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:55:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you, mostly (4.00)
      Just as I fundamentally agree with Senator Obama. And I thank him and respect him for coming here and sharing his well-considered thoughts with us.

      What's hard for me to get away from, despite what you - and he - have said is that a very bad precedent was established with this nomination (as it was with Bolton's), in which insufficient records and documentation were provided to the Senate to fully evaluate this nominee. Furthermore, his skill at evading questions insured that he remained a cipher... and represented a lack of candor and respect for the Senate.

      I understand the point about there being a 'benefit of the doubt' that is afforded to Presidents' nominees.

      However, wasn't it a Republican who said "Trust... but verify"?

      Much of my concern about this nomination doesn't really focus on the nominee himself, but the process. A lack of the kind of due diligence that I think ought to be merited to a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.

      If any President, regardless of his record, should be regarded as deserving a benefit of the doubt, the Senate equally deserves full disclosure and access to relevant requested materials.

      Having said that, I vehemently disagree with those who feel that Sen. Feingold or Leahy ought to be consigned to Outer Darkness on the basis of this vote.

      These are trying times, and people of good intent will diverge on matters of tactics and strategy in navigating them.

      Blueshifting: Making progressive politics visible.

      by Malacandra on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:58:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's still *all* about Hamdan. (none)
      Roberts not offensive enough?

      Good grief, hasn't anyone read the Hamdan decision?

    •  kum ba yah (none)
      kum ba yah
  •  Senator Obama, Welcome (none)
    With you in the steerage of our floundering ship -our Party, -  we'll make it to safe harbor.
  •  Non-Ideological thinking (4.00)
    Thank you for posting here, Senator.

    You couldn't have spoken my feelings more clearly. I am often disheartened when I see frustrated progressives adopting the tactics and mindset of the extreme right because they feel they have to fight fire with fire.

    How much better it is to fight fire with water.

    I am only sorry that I don't live in Illinois, so I can't vote for you.

    Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future. -- Jimmy Carter

    by elsaf on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:44:22 AM PDT

  •  All i can say .. . (none)
    is this is the future of our country. I applaud the whole thing. He has my vote when he decides to run.
  •  That was great... (none)
    thank you for stopping by. You have a very bright future, and so does the Democratic Party if we follow your example.
  •  Another voice in the welcome wagon (4.00)
    Thank you for your post and I agree with most of what you say, Senator.

    However,

    the President should probably get the benefit of the doubt on a clearly qualified nominee.

    I don't believe John Roberts is qualified to be the chief justice of the supreme court, and now, we're stuck with him for a very long time.

    Our elected representatives make the decisions for us, like it or not, and I'd much rather have a senator like you, sir, who might represent my interests most of the time, than the ones I do have here in Pennsylvania, who do not represent my interests most of the time.

    Welcome to DailyKos.  Watch out for that Conyers fellow, he runs a mean flame war.
    (giggle)

    The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

    by JLongs on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:45:34 AM PDT

    •  really? (none)
      don't believe John Roberts is qualified to be the chief justice of the supreme court, and now, we're stuck with him for a very long time.
      Really?

      Ideology notwithstanding, you felt he was unqualified for the bench and the slot?

      I haven't seen any really substantive debate about his legal and career qualifications.  Can you fill me in?

      •  The only argument I've seen has to do with (4.00)
        experience.  All but two of the previous chiefs a) were already on the Court; b) were federal appellate judges for 10 years; c) were President or a governor; or 4) helped draft the Constitution.  On the whole, though, the "unqualified" argument is a weak one IMO, and people here typically use it as a proxy for "I don't like him."
      •  experience (4.00)
        he's been a judge for what, three years? five?

        sorry.  he does not have the experience for the most important judicial post in the nation.

        it's like brownie at fema except perhaps roberts is slightly better qualified.

        The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

        by JLongs on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:36:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  smooth (none)
          sorry.  he does not have the experience for the most important judicial post in the nation.
          There are two components of being a supreme court judge.

          One is knowledge of how the court works.  I think his record as a solicitor shows he has a firm grasp of that situation.

          The second is knowledge of the law.  

          I see the argument, but I think his record as a solicitor shows he knows enough of the workings of the court.  And his record as a solicitor, judge, and advocate probably qualifies him as to law.  His performance in front of the Senate was pretty smooth.

          •  The problem: (none)
            He displayed an ongoing hostility towards women's rights and civil rights during the Reagan administration. For instance, he supported gutting major portions of the Voting Rights Act when it came up for renewal in 1982.
            •  I see. (none)
              He was asked about that:

              "I think the gains under the Voting Rights Act have been very beneficial in promoting the right to vote which is preservative of all other rights. The issue about how to extend the Voting Rights Act, again, my position was a member of staff in the Justice Department. The administration position of extending the Voting Rights Act for the longest period in history as is without change was in no sense reflective of any disagreement with the proposition that the Voting Rights Act was extremely valuable in securing not just the right to vote but all other rights derivative of that. "

              then after a follow-up

              "Senator, you keep referring to what I supported and what I wanted to do. I was a 26-year-old staff lawyer. It was my first job as a lawyer after my clerkships. I was not shaping administration policy. The administration policy was shaped by the Attorney General, on whose staff I served. It was the policy of President Reagan. It was to extend the Voting Rights Act without change for the longest period in history at that point. And it was my job to promote the Attorney General's view and the President's view on that issue. And that's what I was doing. "

              I think that pretty much settles the idea that his opinion is now different, doesn't it?

              •  Big deal. (none)
                He chose to work for the Reagan administration and he chose to network in right-wing circles. As for his defense that he was just following orders, that sounds like the Nazis who fell all over themselves to claim that defense. The problem is not that Roberts is a Nazi, but that by his answer, he shows me that he is not different enough.

                And his answer that Reagan wanted to keep the Voting Rights Act as is is misleading. The Reagan Administration actually sought to gut the Voting Rights Act, a position that was rejected by all but a handful of congressmen.

                You have to recognize the lying involved here.

                •  response (none)
                  s for his defense that he was just following orders, that sounds like the Nazis who fell all over themselves to claim that defense.
                  That's an outright just amazing distortion.

                  There is not ONE lawyer who practices that has a complete say over what cases he is asked to present, defend, or handle.  

                  The problem is not that Roberts is a Nazi, but that by his answer, he shows me that he is not different enough.
                  This is just a bullshit meme if there ever was one.  That words doesn't even belong here.

                  You can not like Roberts, you can not like him because of any reason you want.  However, the facts of the matter are on his sides with regard to positions he wrote over 20 years ago at the behest of someone else.

                  Lawyers must be given the free hand to argue cases they do not personally believe in; to write opinions of law that are opposite their own beliefes; and to provide counsel.  Otherwise you will be quite sorry next time you need a lawyer and can't find one to support you because none agree with your positions.

                  Roberts did a mea culpa on the VRA and disclaimed his opinions of 20+ years ago; as well as pointed out that the question was misleading.

          •  A third prequisite is a knowledge of life (none)
            as experienced by ordinary people in America.

            Has Roberts gone hungry an entire day in his life?

            Has Roberts lived in a house heated to just 44 degrees because a mortgage payment had to be made?

            Has Roberts fought as a lay person to get money from a mover who damaged his furniture?

            Has Roberts been arbitrarily turned down for a government benefit?

            My friend has taken care of a mentally disabled person for many years.

            The mentally disabled person simply doesn't understand a request to show up at a certain place at a certain time in order to keep receiving food stamps.

            The mentally disabled person doesn't know how to fight for proper care and my friend can't step in to help because of privacy laws.

            It is very difficult to get a schizophrenic person to sign a privacy waiver when and if the waiver forms are available.

            Local Republican governments like mine in Florida now often require people appealing their decisions supply a transcript of a meeting at the person's own expense. So unless I am prepared to pay about $200 in advance for a certified person to record a meeting, I have no right to appeal a decision of a local Republican government.

            •  right (none)
              I hate to break it to you, but MOST Americans would not qualify for the court then;

              1.  Most Americans haven't gone hungry.

              2.  Most Americans have never had to heat a house only to 44 degrees.

              3.  Most Judges are not lay people, they are lawyers.

              4.  I have no idea if he has ever been turned down.  

              I hate to be the one to tell you, but virtually nothing you have brought up has any relevancy to the law.

              If a Judge hears a challenge about a law that is discompassionate to the poor, should he take into account how his ruling will affect the poor, or the legal merits of the case?  

              That's the only question here.  Judges are not the person to worry about your friend with the handicapp!  

              •  Roberts has lived a charmed life (none)
                that is not representative of the lives lived by most Americans.

                The problem is not limited to the handicap, but to the lack of due process. The handicapped person doesn't understand legal processes and can't get the willing aid of people who could help him navigate the legal process. That is a legal issue.

                Our laws often use adjectives like due. These legal adjectives are subject to interpretation to "ensure domestic tranquility" and "promote the general welfare."

                Putting up a $200 per meeting barrier deprives a person like me able to make $9 an hour of practical legal redress, but not a developer making $1 million a year. Where is the equal protection of the law in that?

                 

          •  It's still *all* about Hamdan. (none)
            The Hamdan decision betrays gross misunderstandings of the law -- ones which just happen to serve the interests of executive branch tyranny.

            Anyway, there's also a third component to being a judge: a commitment to justice.

            •  legal (none)
              a commitment to justice
              That's the problem. It's very subjective.

              If a law comes in front of a judge which is not just, but is legal, what should the judge do, in your view?

              Should be strike down the unjust law, or let it stand?

              Maybe most would stay strike down.. but most would be wrong.  It is his duty to let the unjust law stand if it is legal.

  •  Thank you (3.92)
    I agree with much of what you say.

    I diagree on one important point, however. You say:

    How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?  How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?

    I have seen very little evidence that your Republican colleagues will resist the pressure of their party's right wing and Grover Norquist, regardless of how Democrats act.

    I accept you other arguments in favor of greater tolerance of ideological diversity within our Party. But your suggestion that we can inspire greater tolerance of moderate views within the GOP seems, to me, naive.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:45:36 AM PDT

    •  enforcing party discipline through nastiness (4.00)
      Agreed, but off the mark nonetheless. No one thinks that we can inspire greater tolerance within the GOP for anything.

      However, this is a key point that is being drowned out by the noise in blogtopia: The Democratic Party has to be the change we want to see in the world, at this critical time in history.

      The other guys have tried being strict party disciplinarians, of the kind that require a George Voinovich to support fiscal irresponsibility, and all it's gotten them is record deficits in a stumbling economy and a failed war, for which they are completely 100% responsible.

      Our role here, on the internets, is to take the outside-the-box viewpoint--that our Senate can neither advise nor consent with insufficient information--and scream about it.

      Sen. Feingold's job is to present the grown-ups' position--on behalf of the Democratic wing of the party--that all the disasters of the Category 5 President have happened with Republicans running everything. It may turn out to be the case that CJ Roberts is one more unnatural disaster on thier watch.

      The point is, in order to get the bums thrown out, Democrats must appear to be the sensible-adult party run by people who realize that we can't have tax cuts, a war, and a pony at every birthday party. Shouldn't be difficult, under the circumstances.

      Bush/Cheney '04: Don't change horsemen in the middle of an apocalypse!

      by PhoenixRising on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One more thing (4.00)
        The other guys have tried being strict party disciplinarians, of the kind that require a George Voinovich to support fiscal irresponsibility, and all it's gotten them is record deficits in a stumbling economy and a failed war, for which they are completely 100% responsible.

           It's also gotten them one resounding electoral victory after another.

        Republicans oppose abortion -- it happens eighteen years too early.

        by Buzzer on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:17:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It will be a privilege... (none)
    to vote for you one day.  Thanks.
    •  Obama/Edwards '08 Anybody? n/t (2.50)

      whoring my blog like it's my job!

      by jjhare on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:00:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Edwards/Clark 08-12, Clark/Obama 16-20 (2.50)

        If the Republicans stay in power much longer, An Army of One isn't going to be just a slogan.

        Edwards/Clark 2008 -7.00, -4.31

        by MeanBoneII on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:16:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd Work for (4.00)
        And vote for, that ticket.  Whichever one of the two was on the top (although my preference is of course for the Junior Senator from Illinois in the top slot, for many reasons).

        (But of course, as everyone who is a pundit "knows" "it can't win".)

        (Just once I wish we could have an "election before an election" - sort of like the straw polls they do in schools, except with the grassroots - to really truly test so-called theories about who is "electable.)

        My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

        by shanikka on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:00:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's something really comforting (3.83)
    knowing that a senator's not only reading what we're saying here, but actually paying attention and listening to us. This is what this government is supposed to be all about.

    The post itself is pretty incredible, and i'm not just saying that because a senator wrote it. as i read, i tried to forget who the author was, and i know that if it had been posted by anyone else around here, I would have been just as moved by it. there are some really strong points in there, and i think everyone in the progressive movement needs to read it carefully.

    Thanks for taking the time to, Senator. Your colleagues could learn a lot from you.

    Can you give us the old line, you know the one, "Mistakes were made."

    by mewhins24 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:47:33 AM PDT

    •  Very true (none)
      Because it clearly was a engagement with the arguments, including mine, I chose to promote it.

      I like to think I would have promoted no matter who wrote it, but it is impossible to know.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:52:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  hard (none)
        Don't be so hard on yourself!  Even if you would have missed it doesn't say anything bad about you!  There is so much out there you may never have come across it, or you may have been in a cranky mood, or anything.

        The good stuff rises to the top.  That's the best thing about this place!

  •  Best argument for unity yet (4.00)
    This post lays out the stakes, the reasoning, everything we need to consider in our hearts and minds to move ahead.

    If it came from a regular Kossack, I'd be telling them to send it to their senator. Obviously, unnecessary at this point.

    Seriously, if all our Dem leaders were as thoughtful and articulate as you, it would be MUCH easier to unite this part behind common goals and move ahead with a serious dialogue we need to have in our party and in our country.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

    •  Absolutely Agree (none)
      And I wanted to add my welcome Senator, and my thanks for your thoughtful and articulate post.  There's a lot in what you said for us to ponder.  On the whole, I agree with you.  But I think it's important to understand where the emotion is coming from -- the growing frustration, anger, and fear as one after another of the things we value most are attacked or threatened.  

      Emotion is not all bad as a motivating force for change and certainly beats ignorance or apathy, though I agree it can be self-defeating in how it's applied.  But there's a lot of pain too - we hurt for our country now, and fear terribly about where it's headed.  It's easy to feel alone in this, and, well, somewhat short of strong leaders to fall behind and follow, particularly when they don't articulate a clear strategy or vision.  Perhaps more of this type of communication from our leaders would help us see the light at the end of the tunnel and both understand, and feel more involved, in the process to get there.

      Thank you again - it really meant a lot to me that you stopped by to share your thinking with us.

  •  Without solidarity (4.00)
    This ain't going to work.

    Sometime, somebody in the Democratic party is going to have to take a stand.

    The Democrats don't have a single voice.

    Where were the Democratic politicians during the hurricane?

    I know, they were all in front of the cameras.  But it didn't register.

    They didn't nail the Republicans to the floor.  It would have been easy to do.

    Even Brownie still has a job!

    I'm disgusted.

  •  Not Fair (2.50)
    Why the hell couldn't you have been located here in Tennessee?  You know full well what caliber of loser I've got for a representative, can't you just move and get elected here?

    Please?

    Pax,
    Matthew

  •  Hear, Hear! (none)
    We ought not to seek to form a clone of the opposition; we ought to be building something better.

    Thank you!

    what would joe rauh do?

    by nbutter on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:48:27 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Senator (4.00)
    I am sorry that future U of C law students won't have the benefit of the mentoring that I received from you, but it's for the nation's benefit.

    My question is this: how do we start making the case to the American people about the kinds of judges we want?  For more than a decade, Republicans have been railing against "activist" judges and supporting those who "don't legislate from the bench".  When is it our turn to start defining the debate?

  •  Thank You! (none)
    Senator Obama,
    Thank you for posting here.  It is a privledge to hear your thoughts and I agree with every word.  Sometimes we do get too caught up in bashing the other side that I think we lose sight of the goal.

    As someone who is proud to have voted for you, I am honored that you took the time to give us thoughtful consideration.

    Keep up the good work and you have my vote as Illinoisian or an American whenever you need it.

    Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939

    by peteri2 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:50:28 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Senator Obama. (none)
    That was a wonderful.  And thank you Armando.  This deserves a front page slot.  It is well written and thought provoking and should be debated.  I, for one, am grateful when our elected leaders take the time to engage.  Kudos to Senator Obama, Representatives Conyers and Slaughter and all the others who have recognized the importance of communication and community.  Thank you again Senator.

    "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around!"

    by demkat620 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:51:24 AM PDT

    •  I'll second that opinion (none)
      I think it's important to realize that no person will ever agree with any candidate or office holder on every issue and every vote.  The only person you'll agree with 100% of the time is yourself.  If that's what you want, then YOU have to run for office.

      We have to minimize our few differences and concentrate on the many issues on which we agree.  

      Even where we have serious differences of opinion, if the other person presents a rational, thoughtful, serious explanation that is consistent with the same values and principles shared, they deserve our support.

      "My job is to protect the American people." George W. Bush. Did he?

      by PAprogressive on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 04:12:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sweet. (none)
    Very well said.  Thanks.
  •  The issue isn't civil rights, (4.00)
    the rights granted to us by the Constitution.  The issue is human rights, which John Roberts, as he demonstrated in his ruling on the captives in Guantanamo, does not recognize.

    Justice Roberts is clearly of the persuasion that the purpose of government is to control and manipulate unruly populations and that, in exchange for being loyal subjects, citizens are to be rewarded with the recognition of limited rights.

    The issue is whether government is to be a servant of the public or the people are to be the servants of the governing elite.  If the American people do not understand this distinction, it is probably because it is not in the interest of the governing elite to make it clear.

    The Bush Administration is well along towards establishing a totalitarian dictatorship.  Being selected at the ballot box does not materially change or affect the realization of a dictatorship.  A rubber-stamp electorate is no more likely to stop it than a rubber-stamp Congress, especially when the Congress has allowed itself to be deprived of its over-sight role.

    If you doubt that the latter has occurred, just take a look at the order issued by the White House, less than a month after the attack on New York, which restricts "disclosure to the Congress" to just eight people.  There's a good reason why the Congress was lied to.  Executive agencies were ordered not to talk and not to tell the truth.

    Finally, the war on Iraq had/has nothing to do with fundamentalist Islam or Saddam Hussein's WMD. It has everything to do with establishing a permanent American military presence on the edge of the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf region from which it will be easier to "contain" China and India.  It also has to do with getting a location where nuclear weapons can be introduced and aimed at those potential challengers to our national interests.
    Most Americans, if they knew, would not support the use of military threat to secure our ability to trade freely.  They didn't support the effort to secure a foot-hold in the Eastern Hemisphere when the chosen site was Vietnam; they do not support the effort in Iraq, even without knowing what it's really about.

    3-D Republicans=deception, disservice and debt

    by hannah on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:51:54 AM PDT

    •  Seconded, and what about the issue of trust? (none)
      I submit that a large portion of what is perceived or believed to be reactionary in this forum is a result of compound, justifiable mistrust as a result of Democratic Party decision making. One can assert that the "senate was lied to" regarding Iraq war justification repeatedly, but that doesn't cut responsibility mustard, and itself is a lie. I can also not accept the premise that the lack of Democratic acion is a prolonged strategem. If the American people are capable of the objectiveness espoused here, then let them hear the truth.

      To claim the defense of being lied to completely undermines the idea that our Senators are privy to information we are not, which - in theory - should make them more effective decision makers and voices for the public. This potential for effectiveness has, largely, gone unexploited in recent years. I stand with the Senator, and am capable of moving forward in the interest of the greater good as much as the next person, but let's not pretend that the opinions expressed here are the result of one SCOTUS vote. They are the result of a consistent lack of action, acccountability and vision on behalf of the Democratic party that can not go unrecognized. Senator Obama has the luxury of a non-existent vote on going to war, the Patriot Act etc. Most of our other Senators do not. They have earned a degree of mistrust on our behalf in many instances and on many occasions.

      Roberts not need be opposed to make a point, but rather in relation to the potential damage he may do to human and civil rights in the context of current and future generations. And guess what, we still don't know what his true positions are. Hopefully he will "be his own man", and hopefully that man will rulein the interest of all Americans, but we can not put our trust in him until it is earned, and teh same can be said for the Democratic Party. Why, I ask, did we not hear the following question during his confirmation hearing?

      "In your opinion, Mr.Roberts, why has the Bush Administration made such an effort not to release documents that would expose your judicialphilosophies to the public?"

      If it was asked, I didn't hear it. And not to say it would have made a huge difference, but you can't expect loyalty when very little is given in return.

      Mr. Obama; thank you, thank you, thank you for showing us that you are willing to put your feet to the fire. I am sure that it gives many here hope. It sure does for me.

    •  Yep. Anybody else smell Kool Aid? (none)

      Fighting them here, so we don't have to fight over there.

      by NorCalJim on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:10:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senator (4.00)
    Thank you for taking the time to post.  

    I wholeheartedly agree when you say a leader is one who persuades and does not belittle the other side.  I am guilty of hyperbole, my friends say so all the time.  Everyone is.  Our posts here are not only a sharing of ideas, we're venting our frustrations that you share with us.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is we see all of the outrageous decisions made by the right.  Their homophobic policies, their dangerous foreign policy, their complacency with lies, their politics of personal destruction, I could go on forever, are just a few.  We see this and it makes us angry, and we want to fight back.

    I'm no Paul Wellstone, when I argue I do so tooth and nail because I believe our democratic policies are more principled and morally supportable.  Perhaps I should take the edge off and experiment with how the opposition reacts.

  •  Thanks (none)
    It's great when our Senators can show their leadership.  While I appreciated Hunter's piece last night, I agree with Senator Obama 100%.  I would add that you sir, are quickly becoming one of those great voices.  Keep up the good work!

    whoring my blog like it's my job!

    by jjhare on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:52:16 AM PDT

  •  mr obama (none)
    i only wish more of our leaders where so eloquent and thoughtful.  this is a great diary
  •  Kudos to you for posting (4.00)
    'Cos you're a very brave man to walk into the angry mob that posts here.  ;-)

    I'd like to make a couple comments:

    1.) It's about time Democrats stick up for one another.  I absolutely hated to see the "Well, Dick Durbin doesn't speak for me." response to Senator Durbin's remarks recently.  He should have a right to express his opinion.  Democrats should support his right to express his opinion.  If it happens to be true, why should any Democrat slink away from it?  It just makes us look weak and easily divided.  So, I am glad you stuck up for Leahy, even if I think the strategy is all wrong.  

    2.) This blog is not monolithic.  We don't all think in lockstep and I have had people troll reate me for my views on abortion (my views are closer to Hilary Clinton's but that doesn't mean she's my chosen 2008 candidate yet) and trial lawyers (not all of them have the consumer's best interest at heart.  Some practice their own brand of exortion, which is no better than Abramoff's).  
    In general, Kos objects to single issue politics running the show.  I would like to see the emergence of a Rational Democratic party based on a New Age of Reason.  That is where the policies would be set by careful consideration of the facts, cause and effect and the consequences for the future.  However, we are sorely lacking leadership at this point and a nucleation site, ie a set of core principles on which to remake ourselves.  Might I suggest a retrospective analysis of the Four Freedoms concepts that propeled FDR's policies?  

    3.) We don't need to tell you this but you guys are not dealing with the real GOP.  The guys in charge right now are a weird coalition of gilded capitalist, religious right, neocons that have a synergistic effect on one another.  You are right that it is a hard fight ahead of us.  They get away with the corruption because they have made it acceptable to act badly.  And they have pandered to the basest intincts in the public and made Joe Q. Public comfortable with expressing them.  I urge the Democrats to step into this moral void and call them on it.  
    Mistreatment of poor people is cruel.  
    Racism is disgraceful.  Predjudice is unacceptable.  Bill Bennett, didn't your momma tell you not to judge a book by its cover?  
    Theft is unacceptable and undermines our trust in society.  
    War should never be used for political gain.  It is an evil to be used only in the most dire circumstances.  
    We need to hear these things.  

    4.) Please be straight with us.  We know things are bad but it is better to deal with the known than to be paralyzed by fear of the unknown.  Urge Reid, Pelosi, Gore, Clinton (both of them) to make more public appearances and just lay it on the line about the budget, about the courts, about the war, about everything.  We can take it.  

    Thanks Barrack.  You are doing the right thing.  

    "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:53:05 AM PDT

    •  Angry mob? (4.00)
      The slobbering we are all doing is disgusting. Just kidding.

      An intelligent and reasoned response deserves respect. And Sen. Obama obviously has ours.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:58:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, dear, was I not polite? (4.00)
        Maybe Hunter got it all out of my system for me.  
        God, that was satisfying!  

        "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

        by goldberry on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:09:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it really is kind of disgusting (none)
        and I am not kidding... though I luv Sen. Obama and found this to be an extremely well-argued appeal.

        Still, what exactly is the point of saying "thank you, thank you for stooping to speak to us" 200 times?

        The guy just appealed to our common sense and intelligence!  Let's respond in kind!  I'm grateful to everybody who has had the guts to argue with him.

        •  How many of them have come here to argue? (none)
          Not many, IMHO.  We have to encourage them to come back.  For one thing, it lends legitimacy to the site.  You may be POd because maybe you think it is a given that intelligence and enlightenment rule here but some of our elected representatives don't see it that way - yet.  
          We have Conyers and Slaughter and occasionally Feingold drop in but why not encourage all of them to come in and say their peace?  Let's see which ones can take it.  My praise for him was on just treating us like we mattered.  Of course we matter but now we have evidence that he wants to wrestle with us.  
          We only have 100 senators.  We don't have the power to vote in the senate.  He does.  What will he take away from his encounter here?  
          He is doing the right thing by posting here.  

          "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

          by goldberry on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:58:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hope I didn't offend you or anybody (none)
            There is nothing wrong with any individual one of these posts-of-gratitude.  However, the cumulative effect of many, many of them strikes me as obsequious in tone.

            I guess I see it differently than you do (either that, or I'm not understanding you correctly, which is possible).  If I were an elected representative, and I decided to send a missive to a certain group of my constituents, a message that in fact was a form of gentle chastisement as well as an attempt to appeal to their intelligence, I would be actively disappointed if their response consisted primarily of content-poor odes to my greatness.  To be honest, I think it makes us look less intelligent-- and therefore less to be taken seriously as a constituency.

            By all means, we should be reasonable, civil, not strident and relentlessly ideological.  But we should also substantively engage what was written.

            Of course, I didn't myself.  

            But I'm afraid I happened to agree with Sen. Obama on most points.  Nevertheless I was glad that some who did not agree were willing to speak up.

            •  Not offended at all (none)
              I used to be on the School Board.  I've had fist fights break out around me, had the local media misquote me, had an angry mob turn up in a meeting because a poet the HS principal invited to Diversity Day demonstrated how to put a condom on a purple dildo (with her mouth) and once had a bag full of lice infested hair thrown at me.  
              I can take it.  
              Your point is well taken.  Too many people are awed by celebrity.  That was not my intention when I wrote the title of my original post.  
              Let's face it, we are a motivated, sometimes angry bunch of people.  We are also very smart.  Barack should know DailyKos well enough that when he comes here to chastise, he's going to get as good as he gives.  Our arguments are (mostly) well reasoned.  We need to encourage him to engage in dialog so he doesn't lose touch with the people who actually go out and vote.  
              I don't want to scare him away.  I'd like him to consider solutions.  

              "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

              by goldberry on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:25:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. (none)
            and, looking at where my comment was positioned in the thread, I can see how you'd take it as personal, goldberry-- honestly, it wasn't aimed at your comment specifically.
        •  Nothing new (none)
          everytime a congresscritter or what have you posts here, we end up with 200 posts worth of ILOVEYOUTHANKSYOURETERRIFIC(BLANK)FORPREZ and 10 posts worth of actual questions or comments of substance.

          Okay, I'm exaggerating. But you catch my drift, and it's happened here for a long time. I'm mostly amused by it, though it is kind of amazing to watch a rough-and-tumble community like this turn into slobbering puppies when Somebody Famous shows up.

          Still, it is nice to know that some of 'em read here and pay attention. And this is an interesting post, that I'm going to think about for a while before I form any kind of response.

  •  wow (none)
    thank you, this needed to be said - and I can't imagine it being said any better. Dang! You are such a rock star.
    •  I Beg to Differ... (4.00)
      Senator, I salute your message of conciliation within the Democratic Party and your thoughtful discussion.  However, I beg to differ with you on several points, each of which I believe is critical:
         First, I think you disregard the Republican Party's commitment to destroy progressivism and democracy as we have known it. Show me the statesmanlike policies and tactics of the Republicans, and their eagerness to seek compromise. I don't see it, anywhere, in its control of every lever of national power. Even where Republicans are "moderate", i.e., Susan Collins, they support the Republican fiscal policies that reward the rich and take from the poor.
         Second, it seems to me that there is a HUGE difference between what you claim to hear from the people, and cinching it up to LEAD the people. Given the state of our media, the success of Republican "framing", the results of triangulation, etc. etc., it seems to me that the time calls on Democrats for the courage to lead, not only the necessity to listen. When you talk of "core values" of the Democratic Party and of Democratic leaders, that's exactly what I and lots of us on kos are pleading for. For example, the Party, including you, walked away from Howard Dean when he talked straight to power. If the core value of the Democratic Party is to "complete the mission", to "stay the course", to "spread democracy", then I reject the core as rotten--and indeed the same as W's republicans.
         Third, you paint a picture of (presumably) the mainstream citizens of America as seeking good will and affability from their political representatives, harking back to earlier times. I think you miss the essential Wellstone (humorous?); he spoke and voted his conscience even when alone. He was a serious man. Let me start to count the ways in which our political adversaries seem to prove that being nice isn't likely to succeed: start with Bush and the Swiftboaters sliming of a real hero, Kerry, DeLay and the takeover of Texas, the Shiavo affair as one instance of christo-right politics, blaming the victims of Katrina... If you aren't enraged with any of this, you leave me wondering.

         I'm waiting for your Wellstone Moment. We will be there for you in ways I'm not sure you understand and appreciate. Thank you.

      Bush/Rove: Co-Conspirators in an On-Going Criminal Enterprise

      by vetfordean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:57:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great Post! (none)
        I don't think I have ever read on this blog anything I agree with more.

        We shape the clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. - Lao-tzu

        by myeye on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:06:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I share your thoughts . . . (4.00)
        especially when it comes to our position on the war.  This is not a point to negotiate.  It was a horrendous mistake based on a calculated lie.  To even consider the concepts of "completing the mission," "staying the course," "spreading democracy," is to accept their framing and fall into the trap.  It gives us a cause to win, a false goal to achieve, a reason to stay.  This is precisely where the Democrats need to LEAD.  We need to expose the lie and its consequences.  The consequences precludes the goal of "winning" in any sense that we have been blindly working toward.  We simply have no right to be in Iraq.  We have no right to determine if they have a democracy or any other type of government.  We have no right to determine if they will have a civil war or not.  The government that was set up was of our making, not theirs.  If it is temporary and fails it will be because it was done under our manipulation and dictates, not their direction and control.  We are the attackers and Iraq has become the victim.  We have unleashed the horrors of terrorism on an innocent population.  We owe them a great deal for our mistake.  First we owe them freedom from our control and manipulation.  Second we owe them our best efforts to assist them in repairing their country--this does not mean that we profit in any way from those repairs.  We need to set a date for our departure.  A date independent of political qualifications.  Congress must stop funding the war.  As long as Bush is given money, he will continue the war.  This doesn't mean we do not support the troops.  It means we do not support continuation of the war.  Our troops are the victims of this fraudulent war, just as the Iraqis are victims.  It is up to the Democrats to LEAD in reframing the realities to the American public.

        Bush has had years to demonstrate the merits of his leadership plan in this war.  It is not working.  The Democrats should not start from the "rotten core" of the Republican goals and framing.  We need to present a new starting point, one based on the truths of what placed our children in the cities and roads of Iraq.  It's true we need to win support from the other side to turn this around.  To do this, we must provide something different for them to follow.  Something that defines new realistic objectives, not existing false goals that lead to an endless string of future engagements.

        There are some issues that are best resolved through polite negotiations, but there are some that require a strong and unwavering stand.  On these issues, we must, as you say, "cinch it up" and LEAD the people.  

  •  My Liberal Heart still Bleeds (4.00)
    Thanks for posting. And I hear what you are saying about respect.

    But there is one very deep wound that the Democratic Party MUST deal with.  Even if the public you meet are " angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated..."  there are many of us who see it quite differently. I myself am still pissed. Pissed at Gebhardt for pushing through a deal re the war so he could go off and campaign for president. Pissed at Kerry for his nuances. Pissed at every DEM who didn't even read what he/she voted for. The problem is,  the war makes life extremely ugly for millions of people. Really ugly.  And this war was started for entirely faked reasons.  This seems to be the lowest thing a human being could do. And someone has done it in my name.  The discourse from the "liberal left" keeps getting more intense. But the reason may be because the Dems just won't deal with this issue. Please, Obama, send back a message to the leaders. They MUST deal with this. We need to RESPECT ourselves as human beings. And we can't do it until we deal with the truth about why we went to war and why we are still there.

  •  Obviously not a dKos regular (4.00)
    Or else he would have put up a tip jar.  ;)

    -----
    Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.
    - H. H. Williams

    by SLJ on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:54:14 AM PDT

  •  thank you Senator (4.00)
    A terrific timely reminder of the power of true moderation. Power and appeal.  Especially in the atmosphere of fear and crisis that the Republican majority has fostered in order to impose their radical agenda on a mostly unsuspecting population.

    Frustration and righteous indignation can make us shrill.  The stakes are high indeed.  Frankly, I do not think that most of the issues facing us are as complex as you do. Intelligent Design, God in the government, the state of public schools and public health, the right of a woman to choose whether to have a child or not (which after all is what is at stake, not child abuse) -- all this is very clear cut & requires courage and plain talk from people like you.

    But I do agree about Roberts &, yes, Iraq is a mess that completely confuses me.  The mortal rapacious incompetence with which BushCo has administered this war has created a situation fraught with dreadful consequences. Both walking away and prolonging the occupation look like terrible options to me.  There is a choice missing.

    I am very grateful and relieved that you are in the Senate, and also that you have chosen to speak to us as well as for us.

    Again, sincere thanks.

    •  By "choice missing," I mean (none)
      the international choice, of course.  I don't know what it looks like or how it might be created, structured and accepted, but it seems to me like the only credible way out for everybody.
  •  On the issue of Roberts, Senator (none)
    You have quite literally taken a leap of faith.

    Let us hope Chief Justice Roberts is not a partisan.

    "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

    by boilerman10 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:55:18 AM PDT

    •  No he didn't (none)
      He voted No on Roberts.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:56:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See my clarifying post please. (none)
        Hi, nice to hear from you.

        I look forward to seeing your overview on court issues.  It should be very interesting.

        "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

        by boilerman10 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:01:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We'll see on the Next One (4.00)
          As you probably know, I was not so understanding of Sens. Leahy and Feingold and Baucus as Senator Obama would have liked.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:10:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I did like the Senator's (none)
            comments about unity in the face of this split.

            As for Senator Baucus, I am not a fan of Blue Dogs, yet understand the necessity for Blue Dog rhetoric in order to get the attention of folks who have an almost ingrown sense of suspicion of the government, and yet a need for the government that has been described as "schizoid."

            Example:  "We want water projects, yet down with taxes and government interference!"

            The next nominee worries me.  Bush will be under pressure from the hard right, the religious right, and what I have seen called the "corrupt right," for a fire-breathing, true-believer.  Apparently, Mr. Roberts, was not wild-eyed enough for the aforementioned.  

            I hope the caucus can mend if an ideologue is forced upon the Senate.

            Hey, have a great weekend.  I will not be able to reply until very late tonight, if you reply.  Lunch time is over, back to the plumbing.  

            "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

            by boilerman10 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:29:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Let me clarify this. (4.00)
      The democrats have taken a leap of faith.

      The caucus was split down the middle.

      Mr. bush has his man in this case.

      Who is next?  this is my concern as well.

      "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

      by boilerman10 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:59:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. I'm proud I voted for you. (none)
    I'm proud that you are my senator, Mr. Obama.  

    I am going to take your words to heart.

    I have been guilty of stooping to their level on occasion.  I have been guilty of slamming democrats for being too wimpy, sometimes, over one issue...

    I am going to THINK more about what I say of the democrats.  Your post put many things into perspective for me.  I'm glad you took the time to write your thoughts down here, for us.  

    We need more honest politicians.  Don't ever change.  

  •  Silver-tounged devil (none)
    So kidding. About the devil part anyway. A good calm read for an uncalm day. Thanks, Senator.

    Anything by Loudon Wainwright III

    by Earl on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:55:24 AM PDT

  •  Public Lands and the Environment (4.00)
    Thanks for posting here.

    I too greatly admire Senator Durbin, because he has the courage of his convictions. One of the things he is convinced of is that the Bush administration is conducting a war on our public lands---our national forests, parks, and wilderness.

    He is the lead sponsor of America's Redrock Wilderness Act, which would protect 9 million acres of federal land in Utah.

    173 other members of Congress--mostly Democrats--are cosponsors of this bill.

    Won't you please join them?

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:56:39 AM PDT

  •  Well... (4.00)
    Far be it from me to piss on the campfire here, but exactly what issues are we working to gain an "adult" consensus for?  Our Democratic representatives enabled the bankruptcy bill, oil drilling in Alaska, the Iraq War Resolution, and they're almost silent on this administration's raping of the environment and their corruption and cronyism.

    Yes, I can understand adjusting to the realities of a GOP-controlled government, but for many of us it feels like taxation without respresentation and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way.  I don't want my life controlled by religious fanatics, I don't want my tax dollars pouring into the corrupt rathole that is Iraq and Halliburton, and I want and expect clean air and water.  Who do I turn to?  The Democratic party has left me, and believe me, Senator, my expections are NOT high.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:56:51 AM PDT

    •  Said Better Than I Did Above.... (none)
      Thanks for dem beans; let us count together the ways in which the minority has voted against social justice, fiscal fairness, conservation, freedom of expression and assembly......

      Bush/Rove: Co-Conspirators in an On-Going Criminal Enterprise

      by vetfordean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:08:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  right with you (4.00)
      Utmost respect and admiration for the Senator, but I'm not reassured.  This line in particular sets my teeth gnashing because it reminds me of everything that's wrong with the Democratic Party:  

      "Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great."

      Sounds great to me.  Might we have some of that?  

      At this point I'd settle for any real (as opposed to merely rhetorical) action that resembles "sticking to one's guns" on ANY "core value" that "makes America great".  On all the issues Dem Beans has cited (bankruptcy, Alaska, ecology, corruption) -- I have no idea what "the Democratic party" stands for.  I couldn't care less what they SAY for the cameras;  once they VOTE, Congressional Dems seem to be split down the muddle (misspelling intentional). That's just great for party building -- for the Republicans, anyway.  

      I fail to see how Democrats are going to increase their numbers in Congress without attacking Republicans and without taking some "courageous" stands -- as a UNIT -- on matters of real substance that come up for votes.  No, you don't have to attack on personal issues.  You don't have to attack on motive.  But you MUST attack.  You MUST attack their agenda as contrary to every "core value that makes America great", and then show why it's contrary to those values.  If we don't make those points now, voters won't be sufficiently primed to our views to take us seriously come election time.  You can't sit out most of the game and expect to come back with all your points when it gets down to the wire.    

      On the "attack" side, I've seen nothing whatsoever from Democrats this Congressional session other than the squandering of golden opportunities to make our case with the public: Schiavo, Iraq, and FEMA, just for starters.  "Brownie" should have been made public whipping boy #1 for Democrats in the last 3 weeks -- again, not on personal but political grounds.  And he did get some of what was coming to him.  But his coordinated response got far more press, and from out here the Democratic criticisms seemed muted and positively pathetic.  

      Is it any wonder that reasoned, well-meaning grassroots Dems should be so frustrated?  

  •  Thank you for your words. (4.00)
    But I think if the people of the US are like you describe then how did we get George Bush as a President and more importantly how did he get re-elected.

    Also, while I respect you I think if the Democrats fought more stridently for their views, whatever they are, then the public would get used to the idea and would not be as easily swayed against us in the court of opinion, as slanted by the media.  Since no one hears complaints, at least not many effective ones, they are easily swayed when some talking head says "There go the Democrats again just complaining".

    Remember fighting for what you believe is not like using ammo which is expendable and limited it is like exercise you get healthier and better able to do it the more you do it.

    P.S. you need better office staff.  I tried to give you my first ever contribution and called back three times and never was able to contribute.  My money thus went elsewhere.  (and don't ask now because I'm unemployed due to off shoring.  So CAFTA is great huh).

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:57:28 AM PDT

    •  no kidding (4.00)
      "According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party."

      That's no 'storyline', that's reality.  And it's the reality that gets Norm Coleman elected in liberal MN.  It's the reality that gets anti-marriage amendments passed in multiple states.  It's the reality that is methodically dismantling everything great about our nation.  It's the reality that gets Bush re-elected. etc. etc. etc.

      Maybe it's not the reality for a freshman senator glad-handing around DC, but if we ever want to regain control of the senate, it's time to start facing reality.

      •  Well... (none)
        I do also think that it's reality, more often than not.  But that doesn't mean there aren't alternate narratives that are important.  A lot of citiznens/voters in this country are working from a different narrative, and we need to communicate with them.

        "As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats." - horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

        by lonespark on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed (none)
          and as an individual I can actually enjoy those alternative narratives.  That's what makes life fun.  However, it is a political party's job to nurture and implement a narrative that will achieve the results that we are fighting for.  Using the Roberts confirmation as a 'test', our senators failed.  And I'm not measuring success by the final election of Roberts.  We all know that the votes were not there.  But did we move the ball even one yard further down field?  Not that I can see.

          If we pick an issue, any issue we care about, we will most often find that the Repubs had control of the narrative.  I'm not talking about 'framing' here, I mean an entire, effective strategy that achieved the desired goal.  

          If this were a corporate situation, and I had 'hired' dems to design and implement a marketing and business development strategy, they would be sitting in a conference room right now, getting the ass-chewing they deserve.

    •  Bush did NOT get re-elected. (none)
      But I think if the people of the US are like you describe then how did we get George Bush as a President and more importantly how did he get re-elected.

      Simple: Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court, and then Diebold and Ken Blackwell stole a second term for him.

    •  If it was his Senate Office (none)
      they're legally prohibited from engaging in Campaign activity on the taxpayers time and phone lines.

      Go thru Obama for Illinois, the Campaign.

      I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

      by ben masel on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:28:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senator Obama (none)
    The HONORABLE Senator Obama -

    You rule! Thank you for your vote yesterday.

    Baucus disappointed me yesterday (as did plenty more)...but I look to you and I see hope.

  •  This is the leadership we need (none)
    As a party and a country.  Senator Obama's approach is magnificent.
  •  a thoughtful politician...if only there were more! (4.00)
    Here is the problem, in a sentence:

    A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.

    The entropy of politics in this country serves the purposes of the Republican Party. But what action, or event, or idea can effect the process without engaging it?

    I think Sen. Obama makes clear that "framing" (ugh) and marketing can not reverse this process - and in fact, may only feed it.

    So, are we back to the "new ideas"? I don't know. I don't have any brilliant ideas...that's why I'm here hoping to steal some, lol.

    Anyways, just knowing a politician like this is on our side gives me hope. Brightens my mood, a little, for today.

    Thank you, Sen. Obama. And thank you to Daily Kos for making this possible.

  •  Thanks, But Please Slow Down (3.09)
    I'll try to disagree without being disagreeable.  

    Please stop interjecting yourself into this situation.  Patrick Leahy does not need you to defend him.  He is proven good Democrat.  But on Roberts, many of us disagreed with his vote.  And we said so.  Loudly.  That is all.

    Additionally, we can do math.  We know that tanking Roberts wasn't an option, just as stopping the IWR wasn't an option. But, just because a battle isn't winnable doesn't mean it's not worth fighting. The Democrats' split on Roberts is just the latest glaring example of the main problem with the Democratic Party - the opposition party that doesn't oppose.  Taking both sides of every issue doesn't appeal to the center, it leaves the Party with nothing.    

    I wish you would focus on encouraging the Democratic Party to stand for something, rather than admonishing it's base.  I think that would be a more productive use of your political capital.  

    Finally, Senator, you have held your office for nine months.  To put it as delicately as possible, no one is on the edge of their seat waiting for the newly-minted, junior Senator from Illinois to address our Party regarding the Roberts vote.  Please don't be the new John Edwards.  Don't overreach.  Keep on representing the citizens of Illinois with integrity and reason, and we'll see you in, say, 2016.  

  •  Thank you, (none)
    senator. The point you make is enormously important and I am glad you chose to make it here.

    You are a true public servant, a great communicator, and will be one of our greatest presidents. I hope I live to see the day. It will make up for so many disappointments.

  •  Great points senator (none)
    I firmly believe you and other senators should most definitely respond to  progressive blog attacks on democratic leaders for voting a certain way or voting for certain legislation.

    Also, If democrats start cutting out debate, ideas, or tough conversations regarding failed DEMOCRATIC policies  simply because those diagreements "look bad", or for whatever other reasons, democrats will end up becoming ideologs like out conservative friends.  Sooner or later Democratic leaders will start diagnosing permanent vegatative states on television screens.

    Thank you senator

    "Bush is a typical rich kid...will not take responsibility for anything"

    by givemhellHarryR on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:59:38 AM PDT

  •  This is why (none)
    I am so proud to have you, Senator Obama, as my representation in Congress. You listen, understand, and articulate the positions of your constituents perfectly. Thank you for your time in addressing what the focus of our progressive platform SHOULD entail.
  •  what he said (none)
    n/t

    If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

    by MN camera on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:00:06 AM PDT

  •  Mr. Obama (none)
    would you please be my President?

    You have an unrivalled ability to talk about the confluence of policy and process in the most unashamed and honest manner possible. After (more than ) 8 years of deception and cynical manipulation, our nation will be in sore need of such an honest and serious discussion.

    While the Democratic party could easily win back the House, Senate, and Presidency in the next few years, they could just as easily accomplish it without such a national discussion. And that would be to our party's and the country's detriment. We need your voice.

    Too often we want to learn from the Republicans because we see the electoral successes they've had. And of course there are lessons to be learned. But we always run the risk of turning into what we most despise. I know you see this danger and are looking beyond 3 or 4 years to 2012, 2016, 2020 and even further. And I feel strongly that type of long-term vision will be an integral and necessary part of any short-term victories we hope to gain. So please keep on speaking, and let us hope others follow.

  •  Thank you senator (none)
    I have been a supporter from that earliest fundraiser in David A's apartment where I was one of only 20 people, and I continue my full support today.  

    Your writing is - as usual - inspiring and well reasoned.

    "He not busy being born is busy dying" - It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

    by chicagochamp on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:01:21 AM PDT

  •  The Big Tent (none)
    Senator, thank you.  There is a reason that the Democratic Party can count so many great leaders in its ranks.  It embraces so many different ideas and policies, while the GOP represents only one narrow view of America.

    Many people, many voices, many ideas, united by the quest for freedom and liberty.  You embody that in your post.

  •  Thank You (none)
    2008 is not too soon for you.  We need you, this country needs you.  
  •  Thank you Senator... (4.00)
    ...but you haven't explained how the approximately 40% of Americans who want our troops out of Iraq NOW can find no representation in the Senate - none at all.

    You haven't explained why there is not a single U.S. senator who represents the views of a rapidly growing minority on the issue of immediatel withdrawal from Iraq.

    Any ideas, Senator?

  •  One thing to say... (none)
    I agree totally that a lot of people are looking for non-ideologues...so my question is..why not use the Robert's nomination to make that clear that's what we stand for?

    This could have been taken in a different direction. The reality of the situation, is that Roberts himself is an ideologue, more importantly, he's a political. What I mean by that, is that he's been through the network of political connections that tends to create the ideologue type thinking.

    After Katrina, and we've truly seen the damage that these politicals can do, we need a rallying cry..no more freeking politicals. Period. We want highly experienced, intelligent, and nuanced non-politicals in positions of power. Yes, I mean that from the Democrats as well. (Although that's really never been as much of a problem)

    Roberts should have been opposed because he worked for the Reagan administration PERIOD. Regardless of what he was saying, his political affiliations made it likely that he would rule cases for political, and not legal reasons.

    And that should have been enough to reject him. Conflict of interest and all that.

    This is our story...

    by Karmakin on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:02:45 AM PDT

  •  Thank- you, Senator (none)
    I very much appreciate your words and views.  
    I consider yours to be one of the most sane voices -at a time when the lunatics seem to be in charge of the asylum.

    I also wanted to express how much your words mean to myself and my family.  Yours is a voice of intelligence, reconciliation and healing.  It is a voice that is VERY welcome and necessary in these troubled times.  Thank-you for being an exemplar of the true American spirit.

    "We're all working for the Pharoah" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:03:46 AM PDT

  •  brilliant (4.00)
    I completely (respectfully) disagree.

    Thoughtful moderation that Sen Obama so beautfully articulates just doesn't cut it... at least not as a "get elected" strategy.

    With only a small percentage of eligible people voting, it's the ideologues who decide elections.  all those Americans Sen Obama is listening to?  they didn't vote; or of they did, they voted for Reds, because the Reds seem to stand for something other than wishy washy compromise

    The attempt to broaden the voting base has pretty much been a total failure.   I wish that weren't true...

    Dems need to articulate a forceful progressive message; that will motivate the hard core to vote.

    Should Dems ever get elected to a majority again, we can rule with moderation.

    Until then, even intelligent progressive leaders like Sen. Obama look like appeasers.... and losers.

    •  Precisely, Emily (none)
      The Senator has been co-opted.  That's natural.  I'm certain he'll come out for rapid withdrawal when it's safe politically.  Until then, we need someone to LEAD.
      •  hold the phone... (none)
        i perceive a bit of "fighting the last war" here.

        the upcomming fight ('06) and very possibly the big one after that will be about accessing and persuading the "remorseful" bush voters, as discussed yesterday.  (our base will continue to come out bigtime, as it did last year.)  this is not the much-hyped chase after the largely non-existant "undecided" or "centerist" voters, by which efforts the dems lost so much in pandering and softselling the message recently, and which so revolted us.

        the spreading and deepening understanding of republicans' comprhensive dishonesty and failure opens up new opportunities for democrats.  and while i despise democrats whose main interest in regaining power is so that they can reroute the delay-norquist gravey train so that it stops at their own stations, i doubt we can beat the republicans and purify party's ethical and ideological standards at the same time.

        but by continuing committment and involvement, we can improve the party alot over time, and win elections too.  thats not being co-opted.  its saving the country.

        we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

        by 2nd balcony on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:07:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  fair enough (none)
      Thoughtful moderation that Sen Obama so beautfully articulates just doesn't cut it... at least not as a "get elected" strategy.

      But, we need this strategy for governance. That should be a difference with our party: caring about governing. Maybe Obama is putting the cart before the horse here (although I'm sure he knows a thing or two about getting elected in a landslide with massive support from Republicans).

      But either way the voice is needed in our body politic, and we should never not hear it.

      •  it's a great strategy for governing... (none)
        ...but Democrats are not the governing party.  We've been in the wilderness for 10 years now -- our Washington leaders' continuing unwillingness to accept their status as "opposition" is a large part of our party's problem.  

        There will be plenty of time to govern once we take back Congress.  Until then, we need to behave like an opposition party -- i.e., oppose.  

        We show that we care about governing by keeping faith with the common people who are the core of our party.  We cannot keep faith with them by compromising with Republicans on issues that attack those same people.  

      •  Oh please... (none)
        "although I'm sure he knows a thing or two about getting elected in a landslide with massive support from Republicans"

        I could have beaten Keyes.  Sorry, beating Keyes in a blue state is decidedly NOT impressive.  

        "As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom." Justice Kennedy, Lawrence v Texas

        by HillaryGuy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:48:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "govern" please (none)
      Should Dems ever get elected to a majority again, we can rule with moderation.

      Please, let us "govern" and not "rule". I prefer a real representative democracy.

      Otherwise, you raise good points.

      "They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean they will necessarily avoid it." - David Manning re: BushCo in DSM

      by DavidW in SF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:38:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OK but (none)
    I still don't like Melissa Bean's record. If a progressive candidate runs against her, that is who I will vote for. And that is very likely to happen.

    I am so happy that you represent us in Illinois. You are truly a statesman, a gentleman and a leader.

  •  Thank you for commenting. (4.00)
    It is a privilege to hear good words spoken by a good man.  I agree that Americans are "turned off" by heated words, or partisian attacks, and that speaking the truth quietly in a respectful tone SHOULD work.  But does it?

    Why did Kerry lose?  Many would say he did not fight back hard enough when the Swift Boat people attacked him.  Kerry put out many plans and did many speeches that were full of promise, and he did have an agenda.  And he was respectful.  However, the republican slime attacks worked.  Do Americans, in that last minute before voting, wonder about those attacks and vote for the "other" guy?

    As America is dismantled, as Roberts votes away our rights in favor of corporate and religious preferences, as the poor are ignored, or worse punished for being poor, how long can America wait while our "quiet respectful voices" are gathering strength.  

  •  Thank you, Senator! (4.00)
    and thank you, Armando, for promoting the Senator's post, despite having diagreements with it - it is that act alone that shows how a site like DailyKos can separate itself from the RedState.orgs and blogforbushs of the world!

    I agree completely with the Senator's overall point, and I have a great hope that it is one that, like a self-evident truth, any blogger or member of the Democratic party can easily see the wisdom in.

    I also see Armando's point in his comment.  What separates a "politician" from a "leader" is have beliefs and convictions, the courage to say them aloud, and the willingness to stand by them - not blindly (like so many people on the right do), but in the face of relentless, unreasoning criticism.  

    I honestly believe the Senator is right: Democrats can convince a disappointed and frustrated nation that a new course can be taken if they repeat their message and have the courage to stand by it.  But, all too often it seems that Armando is right, and the part that is missing is the most important part: a message.

  •  I trust these words from you, Senator, but... (4.00)
    ...too often national-level Democrats have spoken similarly, only to act against the interests of Americans as a whole (Biden and bankruptcy bill, for example). Words like this become resented by the rank-and-file Americans as simply an indication of "same ol' same ol'" by our government--a placating "you're too ignorant to understand," if you will.

    Words like those also ignore an even more prevalent view of our government than you present here, to wit: most Americans believe almost everyone in the federal government is a crook. DeLay and Frist are the "corrupt du jour," but you could turn the light onto almost any Congress person and cockroaches would scatter...

    Calls for civility are fine, but they strike me as Chamberlinesque. At this time, under these conditions, appeasement for some idealistic long-term goal is simply wrong. It denies the ever growing mountain of evidence of GOP callousness toward humanity.

    And on the topic of idealistic long-term goals, Dems have controlled our government before. Why do we still have so much poverty, ignorance and poor health care? Sure makes it hard to believe what Democrats say they stand for...

    Senator, you are gifted and very well spoken. But I believe you are already beginning to suffer from "Congressional blindness." People many of us consider real enemies are your "colleagues," possibly even friends.

    I have no problem with the intent of your message. But I don't believe it is valid unless a benevolent government is already in place.

    I am I and you are you, and we are both each other too -- Clair Huffaker, The Cowboy and the Cossack

    by xysrl on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:05:35 AM PDT

  •  Mature political discourse (3.50)
    A rare commodity. Whether one is a "centrist" or "liberal", you just gotta love it.
    And thank you for it, Senator.
  •  Thank you and welcome (4.00)
    I want to suggest a correction in one line of your diary, however.

    You wrote:

    Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments.

    I realize you are implicitly speaking about the Senate here, given that the example was about judicial appointments, however it would be more accurate to state that:

    Russ Feingold, the only Democratic Senator to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act...

    ...because there are other Democrats in the House, such as my representative David Wu, who voted against both of these bills.

    A minor point, perhaps, but an important one.

    Having said that, you've put forward a well-composed and well-considered position.  I look forward to reading and hearing more of your thoughts in the coming years.

  •  The higher ground is most persuasive... (4.00)
    Your views of the American public are right on the mark.  

    Bush wins the critical moderate vote because he comes across as a guy who's trying to do right by his principles.  Rove and his underlings take care of his base by throwing them the red meat.  It's a winning one-two punch.

    Your views are powerful because you are a guy who's trying to do right by his principles, and, critically, you have a great gift for articulating them in terms that are quintessentially American.  They are reasonable, caring, and smart. They call upon us to be our best selves by looking out for each other and the world as a whole.

    We do need people to play hardball, but victory in the long-haul will only come when the Party as a whole can articulate itself as effectively as you.

    Thanks for your wisdom.  You've got my vote whenever you need it.

  •  It is a thrill (4.00)
    to be part of a group whose discourse compels United States Senators to take part.  You don't get that on Freeper sites, do you!

    It can do nothing but good for the Democratic Party that we have a forum like this in which we can present arguments and have them heard and addressed by the remote upper echelons of the organization.  It's not only through grassroots activity in our communities that we effect change; it's also through the creation of a virtual constituency on blogs like DailyKos that we keep our elected representatives informed, nationwide, about the changes we want to see.

    Thank you, Senator, for distinguishing us with your participation.  We know you don't have to show up here, so it's all the more significant when you do.

  •  Well said, and well framed (4.00)
    Your views, Senator, work well with procedural votes and much, even the vast majority, of issues that come before the Congress.

    But there must be lines that we define as American values, that we never cross, never be seen crossing, never suffer others to cross without repudiation, even when they happen to be Democrats.

    It is not the place of any one person to dictate this values, but those values must be asserted, else this entire exercise that we call representative governance is nothing more than a nihilistic competition for power, for power's sake.

    To whit, let's consider what must be opposed without qualification or hesitation, and yet has not:

    Lies that weaken American security and trust in American institutions -- the Bush distraction from the War on Terror known as Iraq.

    Torture, for one - Abu Ghraib.

    Dropping dimes on Americans on the line -- the Plame betrayal.

    Covering for crimes, on the pretense of position and prestige -- we are a nation of laws, not of men. It's not cool to lie and betray and torture and kill, just because it's Republicans doing it.

    Playing guitar while American cities die -- the Bush administration horrid inaction and unconcern about the drowning of New Orleans. The perception of racism is overplayed in my opinion. I think this inaction was undertaken in a fit of partisan pique.

    Payola in the media -- Williams, Gannon, and a host of others getting government pay, when posing as members of the fourth estate.

    Skimming the defense budget till on behalf of loyal cronies -- public corporations have been killed for less egregious lapses of accounting controls that what passes for DOD tracking of Iraq reconstruction funds.

    What we need to stand for -- Honor, values, compassion, truth, trust in a country of diverse and decent views, discussed and debated with dignity.

    And there can be no hedging, no side bets taken, no qualifications and compromise on a glowing, enlightened, glorified reading of what our country stands for and its fundamental laws require of our leaders as persons and our nation as a people.

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:06:36 AM PDT

  •  You're screwing up. (4.00)
    "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up"

    Regardless of John Roberts's qualifications as a nominee, the fact that all requested documents were not made available to the senate showed a contempt of the democratic process and the oversight ability of the senate.  A filibuster in that context would've simply meant that no nominee deserves a vote until the requisite information.

    Since Patrick Leahy and other caved.  When Bush does nominate some truly dismal figure and again refuses to release documents, how will your colleagues respond?

    •  Roberts Documentd: best response (4.00)
      would have neen "Present" votes. These could have been framed as "Judge Roberts may well be qualified, but I'm not prepared to cast a vote for a Supreme Court nominee until I read all the documents to which the Senate is entitled.

      I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

      by ben masel on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:33:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the speech. (none)
    It gave me a lot to think about.

    I need to steal a good sig.

    by John West on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:07:39 AM PDT

  •  The opportunity of the moment (4.00)
    Watching Democrats fold and cave before the GOP attack machine for years, I'm like a dog that's been hit too much.  There's a sense of repressed anger that comes out in a snarling stridency.  But there is a real opportunity you are getting at with this:

    They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.

    The woolly headed magical thinking of the GOP, their cronyism, and sheer incompetance have made it possible for Democratic party to come across to middle America as the Party of Common Sense.  Politically, this is the magic place to be, because there is no complicated ideological persuasion.  If you represent common sense, you are automatically within the latitude of acceptance.

    endeavor to persevere

    by wetzel on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:08:37 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (none)
    I think you take a great leap of faith when you assume those on the other side of the aisle share even the most basic desire that they want to make the country stronger and frankly better.  Its not just a question appropriate means to an end, it's the very ends that differ.  That's what scares me.

    But I know it doesn't scare most people out there.  They don't think of these things; they don't have the time.  And it's true they, the great "they" that elect our leaders, they need to be convinced that the Democratic party has their best interests in mind, that it is the party that uses the correct means competantly, and shares a vision for how this country would look if it were better than it is today.

    So I apologize in advance for complaints down the road.  Complaints about the means to achieving goals, such as bile and vitriol verses sugar and compromise, are not to be taken too seriously when we are all of similar vision here.  Your words, Senator, amaze me, and give me hope that we may someday be alright here in America.

  •  From sea to shining sea (4.00)
    "They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.  They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs.  They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country"

    I've spoken to many, many people from all parts of the country - even Republicans - who aren't as kind in their perspectives as you make them out to be.  Case in point, none of them think the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated... they believe they were lied to... big difference... exaggerate means to overstate... but there were NO WMDs to exaggerate about... it was an out and out lie...

    And I think Democrats have become more centrist bowing to the will of the media and the right wing so as not to get "in trouble" but they are supposed to be representing us...

    And your point about disagreeing without being disagreeable... well... listen to the people across the aisle... I have never heard a group of people who are more disagreeable while disagreeing...and it seems to work for them...

    America is so much better than Bush.-Kid Oakland

    by crkrjx on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:09:16 AM PDT

  •  I'm proud to (none)
    have you on our team, Senator Obama.  I look forward to becoming a constituent of yours someday (and no, I have no plans to move to Illinois).
  •  What if this faith is not warranted?? (4.00)
    It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.

    When I look at the last 5 years (and even longer in Congressional politics), I have to ask myself how this country has so embraced the conservative politics that actually hurt so many "conservative" voters.  Is it media controlled brainwashing, or am I missing some prejudices that many "conservatives" have that will not allow them to enter such an authentic debate.  My faith in the logic of the average American has been greatly shaken since the era of LBJ, when it was quite high!

    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

    by truthbetold on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:09:35 AM PDT

  •  [let] truth...be the hallmark (3.50)
    I am suggesting that the tone we take matters, and that truth, as best we know it, be the hallmark of our response.

    amen.

  •  About Time Someone Said This (3.33)
    The tenor of the blog has become eerily reminiscent of that shown by Deaniacs in the final days of his demise. Anyone who did not share 100% of their beliefs was a traitor, the 'Dean or Green' nonsense, attacking people who should have been allies.

    What has happened here during the Roberts nomination has truly been a disaster. The self-agrandizing posts of some individuals who were vehemently opposed to Roberts has revealed a juvenille and irrational under-current at DKos. The same things were seen in the days after the election, particularily with regards to the ridiculous 'debates' as to whether or not their had been fraud.

    The simple fact of that matter is that as this blog grows ever more prominent and important in the mainstream we must take care to avoid the pitfalls of extremism. The country is comprised of 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans and 1/3 independents. The vast majority of those independents are just as offended by left wing extremist comments as they are by right wing extremism.

    For months I have watched in dismay as moderate poster after moderate poster has left this community, chased away by a wave of growing extremism. Senator Obama is merely echoing the comments dozens of others have already made here. One can only hope that his words will carry more weight than the others.

  •  dKos has arrived (4.00)
    As one who has been visiting this site for awhile, I found Armando's introductory comment to be amazing:

    Since it is not our normal practice to promote diaries from our representatives, I think I should explain why I chose to promote Senator Obama's diary.

    When Markos first converted to a Scoop site, people didn't really get the diary concept at first (I don't remember if the recent diary list was on the front page or not).  I'm sure that if you had told Markos, back then, that soon his blog would have to rationalize elevating a sitting Senator's diary to the front page he wouldn't have believed you.

    Just a reflection on how so much has changed in so little time.

  •  Senator Obama (none)
    The first time I saw you speak was at the Democratic Convention and you took my breath away.  You are the new voice of reason (with a heart) that this country will listen to.  

    It is wonderful to see you get involved here at Kos because these are some of the best minds I have had the pleasure to read in a long time.  Yes, there is anger and disillusion in some of the diaries and the comments but for the most part there is also hope.

    That is what you give to us with your voice, hope, and I just want to say again, thank you.

    Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    by panicbean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:10:49 AM PDT

  •  I must say (4.00)
    that your article is just about perfect. From my personal experience I have seen it to be true that if I could stick to my principles while paying deep and respectful attention to what my conservative friends ( and I do have quite a few) are saying, I often find them coming around to accept some parts of my philosophy at the end. It is also true that while they are changing some of their views I do find myself agreeing with some of their philosophy also. It is the mutual respect for other's opinions while being faithful to our own that peforms the magical transformation.
  •  Glad to see you post in the Kos Sphere (none)
    Senator Obama, you have layed out a perfect example of covering all sides diplomatically, provided us with a solution-way forward, where we are messing up and allowing a truely Bottom-Up political dialogue to occur.

    My hopes are that more Senators begin to fill the vacuum of media attention returning to Democrats values and offer the better option. Yes, the Grass is Greener over here in Blue Land.

    Bravo and keep communicating with all of us.

    Aroused News

  •  Damn you're good (none)
    Mr. Obama you are my Senator and I'm damn proud to have you. What you wrote was brillant, Armando should read it every night before he goes to bed.

    Thank you

     

    •  But I read it now (4.00)
      and I disagree with it.

      You think if I keep reading it I may change my mind?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:15:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know what (none)
        will change your perfectly formed mind "Exalted One".

        Try reading it until it sinks in.

        I know The SCOTUS is Extraordinary so was Roberts's performance. What I think you dislike most about Roberts is his intellect is far greater than yours concerning the law.

        •  This retort ... (none)
          ...is precisely why the Senator posted what he did.  Do you really think insulting Armando's intelligence helps your argument or will have any influence over Armando other than to just piss him off? Might be fun to do, but what is it getting you?
          •  I agree with Obama (none)
            and disagree with Armando, what is that getting me? Nothing but a retort from you.

            I didn't insult anybody; I said I think that Armando's issues on Roberts mainly lies within himself.

            What did your retort get you besides this useless retort from me?

            Tone tone tone it is about tone. BooMan is right about tone. Armando either knows nothing about using tone to persuade or he's just likes being a pompous ass. He is extremely condescending to members of this community and pisses off a lot of them unnecessarily.  

            If you don't like this post or the one above because the tone is bad, and that is the point I'm trying to make. I'm coming off in this post with bad tone. This is what I want Armando to learn. I've learned a lot from Armando but I could have learned a lot more if the tone was more pleasant.

            It like listening to Mozart played over a cheese grater.

            thank you for your post.

            •  you did in fact use a personal insult (none)
              In your comment, you wrote:  "What I think you dislike most about Roberts is his intellect is far greater than yours concerning the law."

              For starters, the missed conjunction in that sentence makes your meaning a bit muddy. (Note: that's not a personal comment about you, but a critique of something you wrote.)  

              But what seemed pretty clear to me from your comment is that you were unfavorably comparing Armando's intelligence to that of the Chief Justice of the United States.  I think your implication was that "Armando is stupid".  To me, that seems to qualify as a "personal insult", and one of wit comparable to "you're ugly and your mama dresses you funny".  

              Further, you imputed motives to Armando that you cannot possibly know firsthand or confirm:  "what I think you dislike...".  Indeed, such speculation IS about "what you think", not about what HE thinks.  Attacks on the motives of another are as suspect as attacks on one's character.  

              I'm not here to defend anyone.  Just calling you on your claim that you didn't insult anyone personally.  If you didn't do so directly, it seems clear that you intended to, which is exactly one thing Senator Obama counseled against in his diary.

              •  Did you watch the hearings? (none)
                Roberts is intellectually superior to Armando concerning the law. If you take that as an insult so be it.

                Roberts was the best choice we could possibly get from this administration to replace Rehnquist. I believe Armando's position on Roberts was flawed as it pertains to the progressive movement. I don't believe fighting the Roberts nomination to the point of filibuster would benefit our movement.

                And I think that Armando likes to prove his intelligence at times to the detriment on the movement. The movement is the people; the people don't like to be talked down to. Look at our President for proof of that.

                Also you are defending Armando but you say your not here to do that?

                thank you for your post

                •  Well... (4.00)
                  Roberts is intellectually superior to Armando concerning the law

                  I don't know either one of them personally, but I agree that it's likely that Robert's is as you say, more intelligent than Armando with the law. But what kind of argument is that? Robert's is probably a hell of a lot smarter than most of us, but that's not a valid foundation for debate.  To me, that's the same level of debate as saying someone knows better than someone else because their daddy will beat them up.  It's a diversion from the actual argument.

                  It's just my view of course and you are more than welcome to yours.  To me though, when you hit someone with a personal shot you loose any validity to your argument.  If you have a good argument to validate your point then you should be able to do so without resorting to personal attacks.  We reserve that kind of crap for people like Hannity who aren't capable of intelligent debate.

                  I read your other response as well and I know where you are coming from. I just think you are probably intelligent enough to make your points without resorting to those kinds of tactics.  The same goes for anyone who thinks personal insults are a manner in which you win an argument. If Armando is guilty of those tactics then the same applies for him.

                  Again though, we all have our own methods of getting our points across.  I just think that we will win more arguments if we keep the debates "above the belt".

                •  my comment only addressed the tone of yours... (none)
                  ...not its substance.  I made no support or rebuttal of any point you may have made about Roberts, the hearings, or Armando.  Nor did I pass any judgement about Roberts, the hearings, or Armando.  Further, I choose to reserve comment on Roberts, the hearings, or Armando, on the grounds that I am not sufficiently informed about any of them at this point in time to comment intelligently.  

                  It was not my point to "defend" anyone.  Armando is responsible for his own ideas, and insofar as I have seen, he is more than capable of defending them himself.  By suggesting that I am "defending" him, you are now inferring motives to me which you cannot know, and which I comprehensively deny.  

                  The ONLY thing I said in my comment was that your comment about the intelligence of others was not substantive criticism, but a personal attack.  

                •  I am not a lawyer (none)
                  and I have seen nothing to persuade me that Roberts is even intellectually superior to me regarding the law.

                  I could have scripted almost every single answer he gave at his hearings, if given the questions and asked to play the role of a nonresponsive Republican SCt nominee.

                  In fact, his answers in several places mirrored those of Clarence "may I live to see him impeached for lying at his confirmation hearings" Thomas.  Roberts' answers to key questions were no intellectually stronger than the heavily coached non-answers Thomas gave (and I am certain beyond doubt of my intellectual superiority over Thomas, with respect to the law or anything else for that matter).

                  I don't even see how you have enough information to judge Roberts' intellectual ability based on the confirmation hearings.  Nothing he said before the Judiciary Committee was designed to reveal his intellect or his true judicial philosophy.  All the hearings did was highlight his ability to sidestep and prevaricate and choose words carefully to serve a political purpose and accomplish a political goal.

                  The only people "persuaded" by Roberts' testimony were the people who were predisposed to believe in him because of their own political vulnerability.

                  And that includes Leahy and Feingold.

      •  Well... (none)
        ...you know what W says.  Gotta keep repeating it <heh, heh> to catapult the propoganda.
  •  With all due respect (4.00)
    I believe Mr. Obama is fundamentally wrong in misreading the nature and tactics of the GOP. They have engaged in, as he noted yet within this diary runs away from truly understanding, is that this is a ideological, well healed, no-compromise foe of American principles and values, which own the GOP.

    That the bulk of the woefully uninformed (and whose majority is intractably apathetic) electorate doesn't believe this or ascribe to that view, doesn't make it not true. As ana analogy, say if the majority of America didn't believed Nixon had anything to do with covering up Watergate, it would not have changed the fact that he did, and was in fact a criminal.

    This magical thinking about the electorate, and the going along with instead of persuading the electorate to see the truth, is exactly the sort of placating and ultimately poisonous path which we progressive see as the crucial failing of not just the Democratic party and our elected "leaders", but of political discourse in our nation.

    I would assume that Mr. Obama needs no education in the depth and breadth of funding, systemic and single-mindedness that the core of the GOP machine has been building for literally decades. To wish what it says away into the corn-field simply because the bulk of the electorate buys the talking points (even subconsciously) and it frames which have slowly but inexorably moved our nation further and further to the "right" and away from the core values and principles of our social contract is magical thinking writ large.

    I appreciate you taking the time to try and explain your position and view Mr. Obama, I mean that sincerely, but is is fundamentally flawed, and to be brutally frank, the same crap that has in the long-view, lead us to precisely minority status and standing on the precipice.

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:11:27 AM PDT

    •  I have to say (4.00)
      that I largely agree with your comment.  I don't think any of us are trying to shit all over the Senator - but there are more than a few of us basically saying that the tactic he suggests has been tried and has failed.

      See my comment here and here.

      HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

      by RenaRF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:18:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To end this comment on a high note (none)
      This magical thinking about the electorate, and the going along with instead of persuading the electorate to see the truth, is exactly the sort of placating and ultimately poisonous path which we progressive see as the crucial failing of not just the Democratic party and our elected "leaders", but of political discourse in our nation.

      The flip side of this comment is that the Republican Senators do not do much of the persuading of the electorate. They have people to do that.

      Senator, if you've read this far down: You've got us, fractious as we may be. By "us" I don't just mean dailyKos, but the left side of the blogosphere generally. The dKosopedia is the #1 hit on Google for a number of current issues, and it's a prominent hit on many others. If there is a change of public opinion that would make things easier for the Democrats in Congress, the grassroots can effect that change far more effectively than any Senator can. There are many more of us, and to the extent that we don't represent the people whose opinions you're considering, we live and work among them.

      I hope your diary is not simply an attempt to moderate discussion here ex cathedra, but the beginning of a dialog. There's a lot that you can do that we can't, and a lot you can't do that we can. If nothing else, a window into the Senate would be as useful to us as a window into the grassroots should be to you.

  •  Senator Obama (none)
    I hope you have time to come back and post a few replies to the many comments here. We are looking forward to a discussion even if you only have time for a few replies over a few days.

    Thank you again for listening to us and talking to us.

    "Is the President concerned that there's a stench of corruption around the Republican establishment in Washington?" -- Terry Moran to Scotty, 9/28/05

    by OLinda on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:12:08 AM PDT

  •  Fantastic post (3.50)
    I don't think the good Senator is saying we can never criticize members of our party or disagree with them.  I do think he is saying that we should respectfully disagree.  And that hasn't always happened.

    When we tend to discuss torture, the arguement against those who say that we aren't as bad as the other side is that we should hold opurselves to a higher standard.

    The same holds true here.

    The current power in Washington has been built by catering to the basest of the basest in the knowledge that the rest of the Republicans would go along.  That has worked so far, but it is really questionable how much longer that can work.

    What the Senator is saying, I think, is that doing the same puts us at their level, and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    I was disappointed in Feingold's vote, as well as others.  But I will not condemn him for it.

    And Senator Obama is definitely not calling for silence in the face of the corruption and incompetence we see daily.  But he realizes that to make changes, we need to be in a position of power and radicalizing ourselves will not put us there.

    I truly believe that the lock-step unity of the Republican Party will be its downfall.  The Dems need to develop a policy of unity without punishment for disagreement.  If I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be doing the job I do now.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:12:50 AM PDT

  •  I wish the Senator in my state actually listened (none)
    to what I have to say.  Thanks very much for this articulate, heart felt post.
    •  Senators (none)
      I also wish I had senators who listened to me.  Repeatly, I have called, emailed and written Elizabeth Dole and she has had no time for me.  She is such a puppet of the neo-con administration.
  •  Senator - You will be the president some day! (none)
    Your message is thoughtful, logical and very much the eloquent Barack Obama that the country met during your speech at the Democratic National Convention. Thank you.  You will be the president!
  •  WE (4.00)
    are in a difficult position in this country.

    Hurt, angry, and dissapointed at times at the way the country turns or doesn't turn corners. The Senator's comments are an excellent reminder that although we should always stand for our principles and our values, that one vote should equate to the overall condemnation of the person who votes. In the scope of history, it is one vote. While Armando is right in saying that it is incumbent upon us to let our representatives know when they make choices that we don't support, it is not okay to condemn the further actions and not support the leadership of the Democratic party. It is irrational, and it doesn't unite, it just divides.

    Making this government work will not happen though being insular and isolated and rigid to change and compromise, as long as that compromise is backed by strong condemnation and a reminder of our values. Permanantly punishing Feingold for this vote is not in the best interests of this party, especially when he has done so much against the grain and for us. We can not let our anger and tears get in the way of the good work we can be doing

    Thank you Senator Obama for your Diary, and I'm immensely excited and proud to have been able to connect with your through this diary. You remind me of Paul Wellstone, and you rank right up there with him in my book.

    You have my vote whenever you choose to employ it, and I hope other Senators will join you in connecting with us.

  •  No quarter. (4.00)
    What I'm hearing here is that Barack Obama is basically distancing himself from those who speak with the courage of their convictions about the evil that the Republican party stands for and is manifesting in America.

    Basically, he's saying "Shut up, Howard Dean" isn't he?

    My answer is no.

    Instead, he admonishes us to remember that Russ Feingold was a man with the courage of his convictions about the Patriot Act and Iraq. Well, that was then. This is now.

    You might win popularity points with your tone, Senator, but ultimately, you will fail at stopping the GOP and achieving Democratic objectives.

    I'm really tired of failing. If I'm going to fail, I'm going to fail fighting, instead of sitting around sipping tea with the enemy.

    •  Good to see you again Kimberly (none)
      Don't know if you have been back for a while or recently, but it is very good to see you here again.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:18:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree... (4.00)
      ...this touches on what I was trying to say in my reply within this diary as well.

      I sincerely and honestly appreciate Mr. Obama coming here and explaining his position and view on political discourse and so forth, but as I noted in my post, it is fundamentally wrong in the end.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:21:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  like they failed at stopping SS "reform" (none)
      and he's not basically saying "shut up, howard dean."

      that gum you like is back in style.

      by BiminiCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:04:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senator Obama (none)
    Thank you for posting this here.  You are, of course, correct.  Public diatribes by elected representatives do little to help our cause.  

    One small quibble, though.  You say:

    They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.
    They beat us once.  The first one, they stole from us.

    80W-71S
    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:15:50 AM PDT

    •  That their machine... (4.00)
      ...has shifted national discourse and interested their frames and talking points into it as if they have real legitimacy in reality, is the larger forest that is being missed for the trees of narrow scope sifting of minutia.

      As well intentioned as Mr Obama's take on tone, etc. is, ultimately it is an enabler of the very tactics and in the long-view ceding of ground to an intractable, single-minded cadre of ideological, well-healed, anti-American freaks (to be blunt).

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:25:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As an Illinois Voter (none)
    I want to thank you for posting your comments online. They are truly thoughtful and make me glad I voted for you.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:17:14 AM PDT

  •  National Dems have a lot to answer for (4.00)
    Welcome to dKos, some of your comments about the importance of tone are well taken. However I sense a certain evasiveness in your approach overall, and I have to admonish that you can lose a lot of perspective by positing the 'voice of moderation'. In particular, facts have an existence of their own whether or not the tone of moderation wishes to acknowledge them.

    For example, you say that "Americans" think the case for war in Iraq was "exaggerated". Well, the facts as we know them are that the Bush administration lied to the nation; that they engaged in a campaign of deception over many months; that they seized upon one excuse after another to justify an unprovoked war that they'd already decided upon. If it is true that the majority of Americans think only that it was a problem of 'exaggeration' (which I don't believe...Americans, except hard-core Bushites, agree that the government lied), then isn't it the first duty of Democrats in DC to explain the truth to the public, to counteract the propaganda? Mustn't national policy on Iraq now be based upon factual information rather than myth? The National Dems have failed rather spectacularly to advance the truth about the lies that brought us to war.

    That is but one example of many going back decades, of a frequently timid party that refuses to face up to painful facts, that accepts dishonesty in national debate, almost as a matter of course. The Democratic Party has established a reputation over the years: It moves in the right direction if sustained pressure is brought from below, but otherwise is likely to drift. That is what people in the blogosphere are trying to do. If they are sometimes (oftimes) too shrill, the Party shares the blame for that.

    As for Roberts, the facts are few but clear: He refused to answer question after question, and much of what he did say was so banal as to be virtually useless in assessing his judicial temperament. His record as a judge is very brief, and the administration refused to hand over many documents that would have allowed Senators to make an informed assessment. In short, the Senate could not give its consent in any meaningful way to an appointment that was shrouded in secrecy. Those are the facts. You may suppose this or that about the candidate; that is a game any number may play. But if there were any grounds for over-riding the argument against voting for a stealth nominee, I never heard them voiced. In my opinion, those who voted to confirm any stealth nominee disgraced themselves by undermining the constitutional powers of the Senate.

    It may sound harsh, but that at least is based upon facts rather than mere feelings about tone.

    •  BINGO (4.00)
      This, in much more eloquent terms drives to exactly what I was trying to say in response as well. Thank you for posting this.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:27:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thin gruel and empty rhetoric (4.00)
        I should have said also that Sen. Obama's favorite rhetorical trick of telling us what the 'American people' believe/know/want is getting more tiresome with every repetition:

        I think this perspective misreads the American people.  From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are...

        That is the foundation of his argument here, and it's insubstantial. As I pointed out, at least one of the Senator's facts is counterfactual (if polls are right, a majority of the public believes we were lied to about Iraq). More generally, it is almost always too simplistic to talk about the American public as monolithic. The Senator never makes clear when he plays the 'Americans believe' card whether he means all, or a large majority, or a slim majority of Americans. How one makes a political argument to the nation depends upon questions such as that.

        Thanks, Mitch, I enjoyed reading your post too.

        •  Again I find full agreement with your post (none)
          Now ya done it. I have to go back and start reading your diaries and previous post. I suspect I have been missing out on some good stuff.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:07:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully said. (none)
    I don't know if you wrote this personally or not, but whoever did . . . it really is quite magnificent. Eloquent, clear, thoughtful and perfectly structured.

    I especially appreciate your call for moderation in tone around intra-Democratic Party affairs.  I can do that.

    When it comes to dealing with the Bush Family Crime Ring, however, I am far too anger and sad to even consider moderating my tone.  I despise what these people are doing to America and to the world.

  •  Wow! (4.00)
    Thanks for posting, and thanks for reminding us again of your speech at the convention. We aren't a Red America and a Blue America, but One America.

    I admire your spirit in posting this. So the question is, when is the Democratic Party - THE ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC PARTY - going to get this message and start pushing it.

    We're are frustrated for two reasons

    1. We don't feel like the Party has stood for its core principles. Too often we haven't taken stands
    2. We feel like the Republican machine will stop at nothing, and our guys don't push back hard enough when it is warranted.
  •  If a tree falls in the woods... (4.00)
    If we all get earnest and visionary about issues all we want, but if the media doesn't cover it, what's the point?  Right now, it is "who screams loudest" that gets the attention by our corporate owned media, not who has the best intentions.

    Unless something is done to provide a true fair and balanced media, Democrats who are earnest but meek will always lose out on getting their message heard.

    Yes, we may come off as shrill, but that's because shrill is what gets heard nowadays.

    I thought his title was president of the United States, not of Iraq. -- Patrick Maunder, Seattle

    by mlk on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:20:23 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for posting Senator Obama (4.00)
    I understand the dilemma you face very well.  We need to find us some dems with integrity and backbone and fill that chamber with them.  (I'm hoping Claire McCaskill will be one of them soon. You can donate to her cause here:
    Claire McCaskill)

    But in the meantime we saw the repubs running over everybody with everything in their arsenal - stonewalling, withholding information, mischaracterizing everything and everybody.  And at the same time killing programs that would aid people  hurt by the hurricanes, holding meetings without allowing dems to have any suppeana power, throwing money at problems without any oversight, killing the environment with every bill they pass and the dems have yet to really understand how to use the media effectively.

    It isn't just that there are less dems it is that the dems left are not facing reality.  A fight might not be just a losing battle because it might ensure that there would be SOME alternate view presented to that ever increasing monolithic media.

    The dems, politically are all NOLA now and nobody is putting up better dikes or draining the water.  You all are just drowning but you don't seem to know it yet.

    The disapproval rating of congress has not yet translated to a better approval rating of dems - how are you going to get people to believe in you all when some of you act as if you are not even dems?

  •  You and the Democratic Party are Misguided (3.85)
    We had a intelligent debate (well, at least on our side) and lost the election to a man who can't put two words together.

    You support Democrats that voted for a Chief Justice who showed the American People no respect whatsoever by not giving the Congress documents.

    This is a party that will lie, smear, commit crimes to get power and you're all playing along like it is just another day in the park.

    If you can't take off the gloves now, with all this Administration has done (maybe a list would help you), then you're hopeless, the Democratic party is hopeless, and this country is in deep shit.

    I'm a 48 year old woman, who has been pretty moderate all my life, and I've had it. I'm appalled at the Dems in the House that supported the anti-Endangered Species bill.

    Some say the Democrats also don't care about the American people and only care about corporate interests. I'm beginning to think they are right, and that we, the American people, are now officially screwed.

    Thanks for nothing, Democrats.

    And when Mr. Roberts contributes to the destruction of America's civil rights, and when the corporations continue to get more and more power, then come back and defend it.

    Further, if you even believe that Bush will not appoint an idealogue to the next post in the Supreme Court, then you, sir, are the one that is misreading -- misreading Mr. Bush. I think every single Democrat that votes for anything that supports the Republicans or Mr. Bush is guilty of misreading.

    I find that not only sad, but pathetic, given all that Mr. Bush has done since the day he told the American people in Florida he didn't give a damn if their votes were counted or not.

    That should have been your first red flag.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:20:58 AM PDT

    •  I find it interesting (none)
      that someone would rate my comment as "unproductive."

      I gather it is unproductive to disagree with the Democrats? And where will that get us?

      To fall in line and agree while we watch our Country being taken over by the most corrupt, incompetent, and arrogant Administration of my lifetime?

      I gather those guys back in the 1760s weren't angry with King George? Did they agree with the monarchy of England?

      I once saw a ribbon that said "just pretend its all okay." I gather that is what some here would support.

      Care to defend your view?

      BTW, I really don't care that someone rated me down. That's not important to me -- but what is important to me is this prevailing view, both in and out of the Democratic party, that we are not allowed to dissent nor is it productive to get angry about what is happening. I honestly cannot comprehend that anymore.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Senator, thank you; now promise us one thing (none)
    Promise us, please, that you will do your utmost to yield similar eloquence, reason, conviction, and precision not only with regard to the big issues the electorate is concerned with -- but also when it comes to rallying our Democratic caucuses to display similar persuasiveness. Accomplish that, and we have our Democratic brand.

    The public wants what the public gets, but I don't get what this society wants -- Paul Weller

    by jamfan on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:21:46 AM PDT

  •  You know, Senator,... (4.00)
    ...what you've written here mirrors, I think, the better angels of my own nature.

    I mean, I know that's our job - to be more honest and forthcoming than they are, to be smarter and more flexible even in the face of attack politics.

    But I suspect sometimes that the water has been so muddied, that the attack politics of the right have proven to be so successful that the American public tends to tune out the honest and pragmatic approach.

    I mean, it's the Swift Boats, isn't it? I just have a profoundly difficult time putting my faith in an American electorate that can be swayed by such dishonest nonsense, and I think people WERE swayed by it.

    And to the extent that they were, and are, I fear there has to be a place for a similar type of approach on this side, if only to even the scales, level the playing field.

    It is for you to rise above it, and you must. And maybe the party as a whole must; my perception is that people, now, want to be inspired, want authenticity, and that comes not from attack-style politics but from an honest approach that takes the real concerns of real Americans into account.

    But we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that the party as a whole can rise to this without some among us being willing to give as good as we get, to snarl every bit as loudly as the attack dogs on the right. If we are truly pragmatists, a pragmatic approach demands this.

    That, it seems to me, is reality. We've got to keep our eyes on the prize, as you say. But when being dragged down into the mud, we've got to be willing and ready to dive in and muck about with the best of them.

  •  You are my hero today (4.00)
    I am the first to say you are a far brighter and greater soul than I. But senator, I have to respectfully say it is time to stand up to the administration in a more forceful way because their incompetence is killing my fellow Americans.  Your essay would be wonderful if Bush policies were not killing us.   If now is not the time to draw a clear line in the sand, how many more of our fellow citizens have to die before it is time to draw a firm line?

    Thank you for listening.  That is more than most democrats have done honestly in a long time.  I respect you greatly for that.

  •  Don't Agree (3.90)
    The reason the American public is not as angry as we are and does not view Republicans the way we do is that politicans like YOU don't tell the truth.  We know and YOU know Roberts is a Bush plant.  He will not overturn R v W, but he will slowly erode it and he will give the government and corporations more power.  THAT IS A FACT.  No need for discussion.

    Russ Feingold thinks a sitting president deserves some faith in who he chooses.  Not if that sitting president has lied to us for 5 years and all of the leadership in his party is wrapped up in scandals.  Bush has proven that any inch you give him, he takes a mile.

    I am sick of wonderful politicans like YOU blathering on about centralist themes.  The American people are not angry because YOU do not explain to them how the Bush machine works.  You do not get on the steps of Congress with a diagram of Bush, Cheney, Rove and Abramoff, and how they interact to gain power and profits.  If Americans could see that then they would be angry.

    Americans would be angry if politicans like you stood up immediately after Brownie lied in front of a Congressional committee about his job at FEMA and called a spade a spade.

    Americans would be angry if politicans like you pushed the facts about corporations instead of letting the right continue to put PR doubts into how 'evil' corporations are.

    You Mr. Obama are the reason Americans are not as angry as we are.  The Right is stealing money out of our pockets and you are letting them.

    •  correct (4.00)
      "A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don't think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession"

      Only because Democratic leaders failed to do their job.

      Did we ever get access to all of the documents to make this decision?

      Did our senators force this issue?

    •  Sittin' on a fence (none)
      gives a man a sore crotch. That's called the       middle.
      Bush said there is no middle, you're either with us or against us. So where are?
  •  Glad to learn your thoughts on PROGREESIVES (none)
    I can certainly work with you now. Please continue to post at DailyKOS. I would welcome future posts and your thoughts on how to move this country forward.

    Progressives - stay UNDECIDED on 2008

    by AustinSF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:22:26 AM PDT

  •  Sir, thank you so much (none)
    for coming here to make this statement, with which I whole-heartedly agree.  Many of us have become terribly disheartened by the turn that American politics has taken over the past 20 years, and especially in the past five, and all too frequently vent our frustration on those representatives over whom we think we have at least a little influence.  

    In large part it is because the Democratic party seemed to have lost its leaders.  Leaders are the politicians you follow when all you have to work with is trust.  What you have seen on this and other progressive blogs is lack of trust.  I think it is fair to say that we trust Governor Dean, and would like to trust our other leaders.  The vote on Iraq, and more importantly, the inabilty of the Democratic leadership to frame a clear alternative to the Bush administration's foreign policy with respect to the Middle East greatly impedes the formation of that trust.  

    Your letter to this blog makes me trust you.  I think similar posts from other of our leaders would have a similar effect.  We are here because we care deeply about our country.  Most of us are not professional politicians, and speaking for myself, I would prefer that matters as delicate and complex as politics be handled by professionals, just as I want my dentist and my doctor to be professionals.  But we also need to trust them.  Trust is the gold standard.

    Thank you again for taking the time to write.

  •  Thanks, Senator (none)
    You've put into a word the general sense of unease I've started to feel of late. I agree with the goals of the progressive movement, but the tone of the advocacy (in some quarters) has become increasingly shrill and intolerant. I think it puts off a many like-minded Americans who might consider aligning with us but who don't live and breathe the world of politics and partisan blogging. The mainstream, if you will.

    I'll put forth Cindy Sheehan as my own touchstone. Camp Casey took root in Crawford and I was so proud of her and her supporters. She lit a fire under a new anti-war movement, and shone a spotlight on issues the media has largely ignored. But in the weeks that followed, especially, post-Katrina, I think many mainstream Americans have, frankly, stopped listening to her as she's become increasingly shrill and partisan. I cringe when I see her interviewed now. She was much more effective when her message was, simply, "This war is based on lies. Bring our troops home." Now her message is all over the place, eg., I don't think most Americans consider John McCain to be a war monger. We may, but we'll always vote on the left. Isn't our goal to pull in those moderates  who support our causes to support our candidates by acually voting for them? Lots of these people see John McCain as a hero and statesman, and we do our cause no good when Cindy Sheehan vilifies him. Remember, I'm way far over on the left of the political spectrum; imagine how this is perceived by the less politically involved centrist voters.

    Sen. Obama makes many valid points well worth pondering.

  •  Americans and a real debate (none)
    "...Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.  This is more than just a matter of "framing," although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required.  It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter..."

    Varecia:  I can't point to anything you've written that I truly take issue with.  I agree.   Nevertheless, the existing power structure is designed, among many objectives, to prevent the American people from hearing a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter. This is a HUGE stumbling block I, and no doubt many others, have been struggling with for some time. Until this is addressed, the position you have so eloquently presented will not or cannot be affective.  All else rests upon this one  impediment.  

  •  Wow (none)
    "In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense.  Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design."

    Would love to see some Armando,or any burn Feingold person, input on this.  Would it be a case of agree to disagree that the constitution does/does not support the Dem disentees

    nucilbuper ma i : (

    by Carnal77 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:28:27 AM PDT

  •  Welcome, Thank you and two more things... (none)
    I look forward to seeing you run for the presidency, whenever that time will be! :-D

    And can I come work for you...  

    This made me feel better about working for a progressive Dem. thanks.

    "So the last throes will be 6 times longer than the actual war" (paraphrased: Jon Stewart)

    by katfish on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:28:40 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Sen. Obama... (none)
    I'm so proud that I live in Illinois and have you and Sen. Durbin as my senators.  You are the epitome of what I believe our representatives in government should be.  I truly hope that you will consider representing our nation as our leader.  You have what takes to help restore integrity and pride in our country and our country's standing in the world.

    Please accept my most sincere gratitude, respect, and trust for the work you are doing.

  •  Educating Americans (4.00)
    From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans . . . . don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.  They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs.

    . . .

    So, you have shared your notion of what most Americans think. Are they right or wrong? Is their naivete to be respected, or do they need to be educated?

    If they don't think corporations are inherently evil, does that mean they think corporations should have the same rights as individual citizens, even though corporations and their lobbyists are in a stronger position to influence legislation? Even though CEOs now make 400 to 500 times the salary of the average worker? Maybe it's the system that allows corporate personhood that is inherently evil?

    If they don't think America is an "imperialist brute," should we direct them to the Project for the New American Century's manifesto, and inform them that many of the principles of PNAC have been the guiding forces of the Bush administration?

    Are these the same majority of the people who think that Saddam Hussein was behind the events of 9/11/2001? Should we tell them the truth?

    When the hear the names Grover Norquist and Jack Abramoff, do most Americans realize that these guys were college pals, College Republican pals, who have been plotting and scheming to gain power for conservative idealogues for over two decades?

    Do they realize that John Roberts is one of their peers, having come into the conservative battle working for the Reagan administration in the early 1980s? That in less polarized times (i.e., during George H.W. Bush's presidency), he couldn't get confirmed as a circuit court judge? That he couldn't even get a vote on the Senate floor?

    Granted, recent public opinion polls reflect a growing lack of respect for the president, but what took them so long to figure out what many of us here at dKos knew so many years ago?

    Should American politics continue to be based on appeasement and appeal to the lowest common denominator? Or should we strive to create a better-informed citizenry, capable of and willing to engage in self-governance?

    Should we continue to be reactivist Democrats rather than activist Democrats?

    I, for one, believe there is more at stake than simply defeating a Republican administration. I believe that as the United States has grown, the vast majority of American citizens have become disengaged from government.

    Corporations and the wealthy and the powerful from around the globe have filled that void by establishing various lobby groups and think tanks that have helped to shape legislation over the years that benefits corporate short-term interests and ignores the long-term interests of the American people.

    I feel that you are advocating showing respect or deference to those walking a line between power run amok and an uneducated and mostly uninterested citizenry, and I ask, where will that strategy lead?

  •  Thank you to Armando (none)
    for promoting this exceptional piece!  I probably would have missed it and that would have been a shame.

    Senator Obama's words are very wise indeed and should serve as a guidepost for all Democrats as we move forward and try to reclaim our country.

    "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

    by Radiowalla on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:29:19 AM PDT

  •  Not Bad for a First Timer (none)
    Jeez, your first post gets a rec from the top and a front page placement.  ;)

    Your comments are very much in line with many in the Democratic Party who are passionate about causes, but recognize the limitations of confrontational politics.  Yes, it is fun to get in our jabs on the Republicans, but what we have to remember is that one day we again will govern.

    Are we ready with the appropriate ideas and policies that can reach across the divide for broad-based support.

    As the Republicans are learning, it is easy to campaign-harder to govern.  We must be known as the Party that can govern.  Eventually, the people will come around (hopefully, not too late.)

    Finally, as someone who has played pick-up basketball with Barack many times -- he does have the sharp elbows to succeed politically in 2016.

  •  The fundamental paradox (4.00)
    Thank you for posting Senator Obama. I find myself agreeing with pretty much everything you are saying, but still fundamentally disagreeing with the overall thrust of your argument. Let me see if I can explain why.

    The electorate wants non-partisanship. But they won't elect someone who appears to consistently "role over" for the opposition. So, here is the fundamental paradox: how do you present a non-partisan face when partisanship is sometimes required to demonstrate strength of leadership?

    George Bush and company have adopted one solution to the paradox: they lie about it. They talk and talk about uniting and working together. But behind the scenes, when the cameras are turned off, they engage in the most vicious levels of partisanship imaginable.

    The Democrats, for the most part, have engaged in an alternate strategy: they avoid partisanship both in public AND behind the scenes. Furthermore, some of them openly criticize other Democrats for displaying partisanship. The result is a mish-mash that leaves the impression that the Democrats are divided into two camps: vicious radicals and wimpy appeasers.

    Is there a more honest approach to this problem that can demonstrate both strength of will AND a cooperative spirit? I think so. But it requires taking the effort not just to oppose but to explain your oppposition in a manner that the electorate can appreciate, even if they don't agree with it.

    Compromise for compromise's sake and opposition for opposition's sake are both losing strategies. The former can be called wimpishness. The latter belligerance. The people want neither quality in their leaders.

    There is a concept that is missing in Democratic circles today: the concept of the LOYAL opposition. The LOYAL opposition doesn't oppose simply because it feels good to oppose. It does so when it is necessary to stop the majority from doing something that the opposition honestly believes that majority will later come to regret (such as voting for the war in Iraq). Neither does the LOYAL opposition compromise when doing otherwise might result in harsh public criticism. It has the strength of character to know that facing that criticism is worth it because what it believes in is worth it.

    The LOYAL opposition opposes because it is LOYAL to its beliefs and it is LOYAL to the democratic principals that made this country great.

    That's all I'm asking for.

  •  Wow (none)
    I hate to sound like an obsequious ass-kisser, but this is quite simply among the most well-written, persuasive pieces I have ever read on daily kos by ANYONE.  This is Meteor Blades quality writing, and superb advocacy.  

    This would be a top recommended diary even if it weren't written by somebody "famous."  

    The merits are obviously subject to debate, but the fact that we have someone who understands the issues we are wrestling with so well, and is obviously so effective at explaining his positions in a persuasive manner, is a very very good sign for the Democratic party.

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:31:11 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (none)
    For explaining it like that. Things make a little more sense to me now.

    OTOH, I'd like to see that incredible persuasiveness put to use now that there is scandal all over the GOP.

    "God alone knows how many times our bellies, by the refusal of one single fart, have brought us to the door of an agonising death." -- Montaigne

    by Spaz Cadet on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:31:38 AM PDT

  •  Tone is important, but so is our message (3.50)
    We are frustrated when we don't feel like our leaders are getting out the real message of the Democratic Party. That we are the party who is going to work for the American People.  All American People. The media is out there screaming what the Republicans tell them to scream. And that is that the Democrats have no ideas; that the Democrats are the party of No; that the Democrats don't have any real leaders; that the Democrats are these horrible liberals which has been turned into a dirty word.  All we have is some ineffective Democratic strategists on the talk shows who don't effectively get our message across because we have no message to get across.
    My advice is to come up with a message and soon, pay effective speakers to get the message out, and pound away at it until it is part of the national consciousness.  
    Thank you for taking the time to chastise us. I have never been chastised as well and articulately as you have done.  Keep up the good work.
  •  Armando (none)
    Armando
    This did not belong front page. The other reps and sens issues were just as important. It should only make the reco list
    •  Obviously I disagree (none)
      The primary reason for me is Senator Obama is engaging a discussion that is very much central to our community.

      While the work of other representatives is of great importance, it is not an engagement of our community in the way this diary is.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:52:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Senator! (none)
    You're one of my Senators - thanks for taking time to write to us on this blog!

    I'll put this as simply as possible - if you had voted for Roberts, I would never have voted for you again!  The same goes for the next Republican hack the incompetent Bush will nominate.  Have a nice day!

    Let justice reign though the heavens tremble

    by Viceroy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:32:29 AM PDT

    •  That's all right, I would have voted for him... (none)
      ...and so would my husband and most of the street we live on.  

      We don't demand from our representatives and senators that they behave like puppets.

      In fact, my 80-year old Jewish neighbor (who barely survived Holocaust) told me recently that this country would've been in much better shape if, instead of partisanship, we demanded from our politicians to (when they are finally done with their job in Washington) 'return to us with their souls intact".

  •  Thank You Sen. Obama (none)
    For putting so much in a diary. As with your previous speeches that I've heard or read, this one gets down into the roots of things where conventional wisdom doesn't even look.

    In terms of tone, personal tone, you remind me of FDR: you look at the hard issues and the long road uphill that we face, you respect your friends and enemies viewpoints, and somehow you remain determined and upbeat.

    "When you're moving in the positive your destination is the brightest star."

    I look forward to voting for you for president in 2012 or so. And watching your progress eagerly in the interim.

    "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

    by Brecht on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:32:39 AM PDT

    •  I don't want to wait (none)
      Where is it written that a new senator can't or shouldn't run for President?

      I know - I'm anxious, but I'm desperate for a leader that speaks the truth.

      •  Barack Obama could easily run in 2008 (none)
        I too am desperate, and the senator will do what he thinks best.

        I think running for Top Dog of the U.S.A. is a gruelling proposition even for the purest, strongest and wisest among us.

        If I had what it took to run, I'd do it once and go for broke, preferably in my mid-50s, when I had the experience and connections to run the field like a pro, but still had the energy to knock down my opponent. Again and again.

        America votes for winners.

        "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them" Albert Einstein

        by Brecht on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 03:01:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  there's one key sentence (4.00)
    I really like how Obama talks.  I agreed with virtually everything he said.  But there is one key sentence to his entire message, and it's this one:

    "It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter."

    I have to say that I don't have faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate.  Time after time when I try to engage people in such a way, more often than not, they don't have the patience or willingness to hear it.  They want it simple and black/white.  They want what they hear -- sound bites.  They wanted G. Bush because he was able to speak simply and in black/white terms, and they liked it even if they thought he was wrong.  It frustrates me that this is the case, but it certainly seems to be.  And if that is so, Obama's approach doesn't seem to be able to work.

    U.

    •  THEY? Who are they? (none)
      Who are they - there is no they or us - there is only humanity untill we see that I believe  no change will ever come- Untill we look for what we have in common  and cherish the differences and in the words of Ghandi be the change we want to see in the world. Until rather than preaching to eachother we really listen to the other and find where their concerns come from and address them with respect and not approach "average American" as a stupid person not change will occur.
       I believe that Senator Obamas trying to make change from a place of love and respect and that is a great way to make change - Instead of mimiking the negativity of others - he is taking the higher ground ! WOW what a refreshing thing in politician!!

      Bravo Senator Obama!! Let me know if you need help when you run for President we could use that energy to heal the world!

      Thanks

    •  I absolutely agree with you (4.00)
      and as eloquent as Senator Obama is, IMHO he operates on a false premise that most Americans use their "ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter."  Instead, way too many Americans let 6 second TV sound bites (what they call NEWS) influence their decisions and for whatever reason (and there are many), they do not seek validation of what they hear.  What comes from TV is gospel and why should they bother looking any further for the truth?  The fact that this makes them largely ignorant does not even appear as a blip on their radar screens.  They are wrapped in their small world cocoons, content to let others lead and not have to be bothered with the 'other guy.'  

      And so, while I admire and respect Senator Obama, he has way more faith that the general population will seek the truth and make up their own minds than I do.  I simply do not believe that is true with a lot of Americans.  Sorry to say, America is full of ignorant people who have no interest in making up their own minds and seeking out information that they do not see on the TV or, perhaps, hear on radio.  Afterall, that means having an inquiring mind.  Too many Americans just don't fit that bill...

      We Need REGIME CHANGE    

    •  count me (none)
      as one who does have faith "in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter."

      Why? Because I am the American people. Because I have engaged in real and authentic debates about issues that matter, and time and again this IS successful. It results at the very least in respect, and at the most in actually changing people's minds. INCLUDING, sometimes, your own. And when I get too impatient or lazy or stirred up to do anything other than repeat cliches and insults, I have never once convinced anyone of anything.

      I think this is the Senator's key point here, and I don't understand the comments here which are describing his approach as "conciliatory" or weak. I don't read this as saying don't fight for your most cherished ideals - in the way of all good writing it SHOWS us, not just tells us, how strongly a point of disagreement can be made in a thoughtful and respectful way. And see what he is reaping in return? Thoughtful, impassioned debate that I believe represents real progress in all of us hearing each other on this issue.

  •  Oh my god (none)
    I'm moving back to Chicago.

    This is just so unbelievably intelligent.  Why can't we find more Barack Obama's for candidates?

  •  Since I'm a bit late to the party (none)
    here's a fun poll that puts you at the top of the list, and for good reason.

    I hate to sound emotional here, but your words brought a lump to my throat. I could listen to them forever - unlike you-know-who.

    My request - Could you get all your colleagues, and our reps in the House together and read to them your diary? That would be a nice place to start.

  •  The key to why you are wrong and dems get stomped (4.00)
    The senator asks a question that is the WRONG question?

    How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?

    The right question is How can we beat back a determined, highly partisan, disciplined, putsch if we keep closing our eyes and pretending it is something else?.  

    Republican Senators have been demonstrating that they are immune to reasoned appeals, unable to stand up against party discipline, and ready to sacrifice every ideal and to betray their Democratic colleages at the drop of a hat. Open eyes and stop with the "distinguished colleages" delusion.

    •  Makes you wonder (none)
      If Democrats watch TV or listen to the radio?

      The "distinguished colleagues" delusion is surely there, isn't it?

      They are not "distinguished colleagues"! Republicans NEVER think through the bills they vote for, they go with the party line NO MATTER WHAT!

      They don't respect Democrats, they HATE them! They show it every single day with all their talking heads that they support that mimic the talking points whenever and wherever they can!

      This diary, and all the comments here supporting it just shows me that we have no party that will stand up to the criminals in the Republican party. They will not stand up for the basic rights of Americans, nor do they even care what Jefferson once said about the separation between church and state.

      Our very way of life is in serious jeapardy here.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm happy the Senator came here, but this diary just proves to me it is hopeless. Democrats haven't a clue, IMO.

      As RenaF said way up on this thread -- it is the SILENCE we hate, Mr. Senator. So much that could be said and the Dems just play silent.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:46:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You have to remember (none)
        The Senate has rules about decorum, and while this isn't the floor of that institution, that's how senators talk, and I'm sure the good Senator Obama had that in mind.  "Distinguished colleagues" is how they address each other.

        There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.

        by wolverinethad on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:02:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand that (4.00)
          It is the attitude that I'm talking about.

          There is nothing "distinguished" about the Republicans in Congress for the last 7 to 8 years.

          As long as the Democrats play by rules the Republicans gave up years ago, they'll be seen as the spineless cowards they appear to be. That will garner them no votes whatsoever.

          Why do you think so many voted for Bush? Maybe when a pollster asked them they tried to sound intellectual and all and said "Kerry" but when push came to shove and they were in that voting booth all alone, they voted on pure fear.

          Kerry wasn't going to keep them safe. Kerry wasn't "tough" enough.

          That seems to be the only thing Americans understand since 9/11.

          And Democrats have sat still for so many things, I can't even list them. Republicans are raping the environment, our economy, or morality every single day and Obama and others like him want to play nice.

          When the Republicans act like "distinguished colleagues" maybe then they can be treated like that.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:17:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Decorum is not the issue (none)
          What's painful is that Senator Obama asks a question that assumes something that seems to me to be grossly false. His question assumes that by being reasonable and polite and accomodating, Democrats can persuade Republican senators to do the right thing. But if you just look at all the Republican deficit hawks who have gone along with a totally out of control budget process, you see that people who are willing to piss on their own deeply held beliefs when the Party orders them to, are not amenable to any persuasion. Sometimes you just have to stand in front of the bulldozer, refuse to leave the lunchcounter, or in some way draw a line and refuse to back down. Because if you always back down, you can never win.
  •  The best. (3.50)
    The largest challenge that I believe and I don't mean to offend anyone for any reason is on the attention span. I have tried to make a point to my own friends and family and they just do not seem to have the time or effort to hear me out. The other issue is they come at you from every angle to divert the point you are make. They believe just as strongly in their on issues as we do the difference is they will verbally rip you apart if you don't agree with them. You can't fight fire with fire. My husband and myself can both be hotheaded on some occasions usually the most personal to us. However, if I can engage him into a conversation I usually subtly slip in my points doing my best to back them up with facts. I also find that without using "labels" on people during heated discussions and "humanize" it most are generally more willing to listen. The biggest disease is the news on tv because all I have heard since New Orleans happened was about the looting of tv's and I keep trying to point out that was not everyone it was simply teenagers being teenagers and most likely nothing more and you point out that out of a number of people like that you are going to have "bad apples". Frankly, I think the Senator is on to something. Some people will say I am "far left" and maybe to an extent I am because I have faith in people and believe the more you try to force someone into anything the more they will rebel it is human nature. People like to live on the edge look how many people pay to jump out of planes, but not everyone wants to jump out of planes do they? As Franklin D. Roosevelt said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I firmly believe this and I was overcome with fear myself when I realized the way our country was changing and I was so excited when I came here and hope pervaded over my fears because I know the spirit of the American people is still alive and well and I know that we will once again save ourselves as history proves we will continue to do so. I think we should change our slogan to "People Bless America" because that is freedom in itself after all is it not. I rest my case.
    •  I totally agree.... (none)
      and I think we have (I have to say this) television and other various technologies to blame.  NO ONE seems to have any length of attention span to spare in this country.  It's appalling to realize that here we are, one of the most literate countries in the world, and I bet not even 50% of the population reads the daily newspaper, I bet only 40% read 1 book a year, and I bet those that do read regularly read things like sports magazines, tech magazines, fashion and beauty, etc.  Nothing of substance.
  •  Barack Obama (none)
    You should post a tip jar ;^>

    There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you. -- Sherlock Holmes

    by Carnacki on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:37:01 AM PDT

  •  I'm Honored, and Blown Away (none)
    To read so much simple common sense, stripped clean of the divisive dogma that seems to be tearing the progressive side of the aisle apart and doing the right-wing's job for it.

    (Of course, this level of straight talk is to have been expected, coming from you, IMO.)

    Thank you for taking the time to communicate.  I know that you express that a lack of time hampers your ability to communicate via the medium of blogs, but hope that as things settle you become a more regular voice.  Frankly, we all need it.

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:37:04 AM PDT

  •  Aspiring Democrats should study 1968 (4.00)
    I was watching this show on PBS last night - "The Sixties", I believe - where the radical wing of the Democratic party deserted the Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey. Thus, even though the right was divided between Nixon and Wallace, the left lost - for a generation, almost. We should not let that happen ever again!
  •  Senator, (none)
    Thank you very much for expressing my feelings in words that I could not find myself.  Please forgive me now for not voting for you in the 2008 primaries.  I'm really hoping for a Clark/Obama ticket in 2008).
  •  Response from an unreconstructed Marxist (4.00)
    Hear, hear, I say.

    What do you do, as a politician or political leader, when despite your passionate and well-reasoned arguments, your constituents and colleagues just don't agree with you?

    Attack them? Berate them? Denounce them?

    Or respect them, say again why you think they're wrong, and then proceed to work out a compromise?

    One path builds the stature of you and your group; the other tears it down.

    Let's keep building. Thank you, Barack Obama.

  •  Mario Cuomo has left the building! (4.00)
    Your gift of eloquence, Senator Obama, is inspiring.  As is your ardent application of it to the challenges that face progressive-minded people, and the poor and meek.

    In your words, even received as cool type on the computer screen, we can hear the kind of warmth and the degree of reason that has been missing from political discourse.

    Here's to success not only in representing the people of Illinois, but to reforming the Democratic Party.

  •  Thank you (none)
    I think it's appropriate that this diary comes one day after bink's excellent Animal Farm diary - because I think they in some ways get at the same point.

    I've always appreciated both Senator Obama's and Kos's adherance to the idea that we have to have different expectation (demands?) for Senators from different states. We have to allow for the fact that politicians do have to represent their constituencies. And lastly, we have to let the Party have it regional flares. The new Rocky Mountain Democratic resurgance is case-in-point for the efficacy of such a strategy.

    This country evolves, and the Republicans have become much more static under the Hammer and the rest of the Bush GOP hit squad - they will not adapt well to changing conditions because of this. They may be eating up all the little fishies right now, but they are not the fittest, because they have become the metaphorical inbred homogenous population.

    This country will be way better off with a majority of Dems who debate amongst themselves what the core, undeniable values must be, rather than having to spit and kick as the beaten down minority.

  •  And I hope (none)
    you maintain your integrity (a la Wellstone) in your well-deserved (and I mean that as a compliment) life in politics.

    Also thanks and respect to Armando for promoting this diary.

  •  Base tendencies (4.00)
    Barack and staff, you write:

    Or to make the point differently: How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?

    But alas, the far right GOP base's bullying has been fantastically successful. Moreover, their base has a means of holding its leaders accountable, which we have never before had (and the resulting frustrations, I'll argue, drove many to vote for Nader in 2000). Of course, the substantive difference here is that their "base" consists largely of corporations, so they can buy or astroturf thier influence. We have to yell and stomp our feet alot before you guys ever notice.

    I don't think the average American voter is drawn to the GOP by their crazy ideas or their bellicose tone, and yes, I agree that the majority would prefer a more thoughtful, conciliatory tone in politics. Unfortunately Senator, the signal to noise ratio is so stacked in favor of noise at present that you just won't get through that way. All they can hear is the GOP's off-the-rack army of pundits, think tank hacks and party flacks. The same public that yearns for a more dignified tone hears only the screamers and reckons our side is too wimpy/irrelevant to lead, because our side is getting drowned out.

    There's not much I agree with Bill Clinton on, Senator, but one of them is his conviction that Americans will always vote for strong and wrong over a milquetoast alternative, however right. The voters need to see some strength from the Democratic Party. That means drawing clear, brilliant lines between you and the opposition and speaking in a loud, sometimes bellicose and more unified voice. We're already there, and the thought leaders, such as they are, in media are taking notice. I hope that someday our party's elected officials will join us.    

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:42:55 AM PDT

  •  Any Democratic Senator (none)
    who can make common cause with Tom Coburn of all people, is a Senator that I can trust to work for real dialog.

    Thank you for your service to your state and to us all.

    In prison, Tom Delay will no doubt be called 'the Hummer' by his fellow convicts.

    by soonergrunt on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:43:16 AM PDT

  •  A bunch of air (4.00)
    This boils down to 'give them the benefit of the doubt'.

    "He may be simply trying to figure out, as I am, how to ensure that U.S. troop withdrawals occur in such a way that we avoid all-out Iraqi civil war, chaos in the Middle East, and much more costly and deadly interventions down the road."

    Give me a break. The horse is out of the barn. That's no longer in the US's power - the civil war is coming, and the only thing that a US presence will change is the number of Americans dead.

    When I read things like that, I realize that our elected officials have no more knowledge or understanding of what's happening in Iraq than the average US citizen. They certainly have no more understanding of what's ultimately at risk. If anything, they have LESS knowledge, because it isn't their family member over there fighting.

    To hedge US actions in Iraq against a risk of "civil war" or "chaos in the Middle East" is an utter absurdity. Such a silly discussion would never - could never - take place if the Congressmen doing the discussing had any true stake in the war.

    Send Obama's cousin or brother or sister into battle and THEN we can talk about these risks. Until then, it's all gambling with someone else's chips.

    Regarding the GOP - you can't expect Republican moderates to do ANYTHING to support progressive causes, because they WON'T. The reason is because they have total control of all 3 branches of government. The only solution is to get Democrats into those seats.

    They stopped giving Democrats the benefit of the doubt about 20 years ago. It's time we woke up.

    -What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death.

    by Toadvine on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:44:19 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Senator - (none)
     - it is wonderful to be able to have someone like you address this community and its concerns directly and straightforwardly.  

    You will certainly find many "shrill" voices here, and many moderate ones as well.  I suspect all of us who post here have our own personal "shrill" moments and issues, as well as situations that bring out our more moderate, reasoned sides.  This is a huge, diverse community - one that challenges and questions itself often - which is why I find it so stimulating.

    Your points are well taken, and are as applicable in business as they are in politics. (At least I've found them to be so.)  In business, one needs to learn which  battles to choose, when to listen and when to speak, when to instigate change from within and when to shake things up.  It seems you are someone who embodies that restraint.

    The Americans of the heartland to whom you refer, who don't see things in black and white, DO reflect the majority of Americans...but Americans are good-hearted, compassionate people in general who don't want to see the worst in our government, even when it's right in front of their noses.  We are at heart optimists and Horatio Alger is never far from our collective unconscious.  

    On the other hand, we ARE dealing with a take no prisoners Republican machine here. We are.  Simply because good "moderate" Americans don't want to see their crimes and lies, doesn't mean they don't exist.  Perhaps that's what frustrates so many of us here.  We SEE the hypocricies, contradictions, and wrongs.  We see them all too clearly (perhaps sometimes we see them where they don't exist, but most of the time, they do exist).
    We believe that our fellow Americans, if they were ALLOWED to see certain wrongs, would also raise their voices to help set them right.

    What we are counting on you, our elected officials to do, is not to follow a "party line," but to work as our courageous and upright defenders against such wrongs.  You are on the front lines, Senator, and we can protest and march all we want, but ultimately, changes are effected more on your level than ours.  

    We - at least I - don't want a litmus test for "loyalty" - but we do want tough, conscientious voices to speak up for us when we need you to.  You need to work within the system and make smart, realistic choices - but you cannot let us down when it comes to the future of our people...and our democracy.

    I have a feeling that you for one, Senator, will never do that.

    "The responsibility of government for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate." -Winston Churchill

    by hopesprings on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:44:47 AM PDT

  •  Boldness is all we ask (4.00)
    As others have said better, welcome and thank you.

    What I want to hear is about those "issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty [where] I don't think Democrats have been bold enough."

    In fact boldness would go a long long way to rallying the fighting left behind the Dem leadership. We've seen what happens when a Dem leader is bold--Dean is as centrist as they come, as I dare say you know. But he is also bold. We expected the right to try and marginalize him. But we have watched in dismay as the Dem leadership enabled that marginalization and indeed helped it along. You are perhaps too respectful to the senior leadership in the Senate, so I'll call out Biden as my case in point and save you the trouble. He's been more wrong about Iraq and Dean more right about it, and look who is the more mainstream figure. Look has has the deferential respect of more leaders like you.

    I say that not as a wild eyed Dean supporter, having supported others in the primary. But as Wes Clark says, Americans will trust Dems to defend them when Dems defend other Dems. More to the point, Democratic supporters will defend the Dem leadership if they believe that the Dem leadership will defend Democratic supporters, including those who do crazy things like march on Washington against the war. If the Dem leadership wants to be bold, start there. I'll reread the newspaper accounts--perhaps I missed a bold Senate leader or two there, unafraid to be seen with some on the more colorful left even if they felt the need to chide them for this thing or that.  If you want to encourage civil discourse, fine, then support those who dissent civilly. I hope to hear your statement of support for Cindy Sheehan any day now, even if you disagree with some of what she says.

    I think you're about as a promising an elected leader as we have on the Democratic side of the aisle. The day you and any of your colleagues wants to step out and boldy lead, we'll rally behind you. That we haven't, however, is because there is a lack of bold leaders at the moment, not a lack of bold followers.

    •  Excellent point! (4.00)
      I have repeatedly seen Republican members of Congress rally around people like Tom DeLay.  But when the right-wing goes on the attack against Howard Dean we do not see party unity behind Mr. Dean -- worse yet, members of the party go on television to distance themselves from Dean and repeat the same vile lies.

      How can Senator Obama plead for unity among Democratic "supporters" when Democratic congressmen act in this fashion?

      (Just to be clear, Senator Obama is not one of those Congressmen who has acted in this fashion -- and I believe everyone here knows this.)

      And, finally, your last paragraph is right on the mark. Thank you.

      •  Well... (4.00)
        Look back at how Dick Durbin was treated about torture by almost every colleague, including Sen. Obama. How Conyers was treated by his own party about the Downing Street Memos. Almost any Dem about the MBNA enforcement act. Dean about...you take your pick. Turn the channel to the Daily Show instead of C-Span; that's where you will see a glimpse of Wellstone almost every night. Not on the floor of the Seanate.

        Bush/Rove: Co-Conspirators in an On-Going Criminal Enterprise

        by vetfordean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:48:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ahhhh (none)
    Reading an Obama piece or hearing an Obama speech is like a cold bottle of juice at the end of a long run.  You get a kind of rehydrated feeling.

    Well-reasoned.  Doesn't talk down to you.  No seeming contradictions or omissions that he won't explain.  And he SOUNDS good doing it.  

    He gives you the feeling you are in the presence of something great.  But he does so not only by giving you confidence in him, but in yourself and your neighbor.  He is a true Uniter.  No wonder he rose out of Illinois like a beach ball out of a pool.

  •  Man, Is This Frustrating! (3.40)
    Mr. Obama, you are 100% right.  Period.  Those who are arguing against voices of moderation are missing the point of the pendulum: It always swings back to the center.  Do we really want progressive voices to be perceived as coming from the fringes?  No!  We want progressive voices to be coming from the mainstream.  That process starts by articulating strong, persuasive messages that appeal to centrism.  Those messages cite progressive values, but appeal to moderates.  How else do you govern for any length of time?

    Let the current administration implode itself; it's doing a mighty fine job, and we'll push it off the cliff when it gets there.  In the meantime, we've got to posit smart, adult policies that include as many moderates in the tent as possible.  

    Finally, Senator, this is too good to be just in the b-sphere.  Isn't this an op-ed?  Looking forward to seeing it in my local paper.

    •  The Point of the Pendulum (none)
      Many of us don't believe there's a pendulum that naturally, of its own accord, swings back and forth...

      Some of us think that what you are seeing is the result of a tug-of-war between the advocates of opposing philosophies.

      In which case, if you are passively waiting for the pendulum to swing back to your side, you'll be waiting a long time.

      And if you want the change, you have to work... and pull your weight.

      Blueshifting: Making progressive politics visible.

      by Malacandra on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:31:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pendulum (none)
        I think the idea is to change the momentum of the pendulum -- rather than "passively waiting" for it to happen. Progressives on the far left do have a contribution to make in pulling it the other way. However, the pendulum won't just appear at the opposite side overnight... and I can see how that may be frustrating to ideologues and idealists who want the change to happen NOW.

        Keep in mind that Republicans spent decades to achieve what they have. The ultimately damaging, divisive, and dishonest tactics they've employed (especially since consolidating power) may in fact be their undoing.

        Senator Obama seems to be suggesting that in order to move the country forward in a progressive direction (i.e. change the direction of the pendulum), the debate must be unifying, honest, and constructive. A reasoned debate doesn't have lack passion, and unbridled anger (even justified) can often throw off more heat than light. A call for common ground need not mean a compromise of principles.

        Just my two-cents, from a new kid on the block, in Illinois.

        "I know it's hard to defend an unpopular policy every once in a while" -- FZ

        by BobzCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:43:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pendulum (none)
        I don't argue passivity.  My point is that strindency doesn't make it swing.  Work for the change, sure; but don't polarize in the process.
        •  Debate (none)
          I think it's important that advocacy groups continue to pull on that pendulum, alerting the country and its representatives to the purpose and value of their causes. But I do agree with Sen. Obama that the rhetoric can itself be damaging to the progressive cause -- when worthy people end up getting tarred and attacked for positions that don't pass a litmus test, it can cripple the debate.

          Of course, one of the things about life on the left is that our voices are SO diverse, our passions so varied, that it's always going to be a harder job crafting a unified message (as Obama notes). The right has worked hard to fashion a simple message that exploits and rewards conformity, obedience, and a narrow world-view. These values are anathema to those of us on the left.

          Forging harmony out of the virtuous cacaphony of our diverse voices will always be the great challenge of our movement. I don't think Obama wants to silence the advocacy groups, or lecture them... I think he's just suggesting that leaders must absorb the debate and then find a way to communicate our common cause to the broader electorate. That communication must be passionate and committed, but won't necessarily succeed if it employs the same polarizing rhetoric that often characterizes (and galvanizes) the single-issue advocates.

          "I know it's hard to defend an unpopular policy every once in a while" -- FZ

          by BobzCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:44:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  damn (none)
    No wonder Senator Obama has become the target of right-wing attacks.

    Anyone this intelligent and eloquent must scare the pants off of them.

  •  The future (none)
    Once again Senator Obama solidifies his place as the future of the Democratic party. He is the next Jack Kennedy, and frankly the only thing that passes for legitimate, fresh air leadership in the Democratic party right now.
  •  if these were normal times... (4.00)
    we're living under a coup d'etat, senator obama... there's no getting around it... those in power have put an "ideological lens" around EVERYTHING and the fact that the large majority of american people do not see through that lens is simply testament to how insidious the takeover has been... what we need elected representatives like youself to do, senator, is to stand up and, in no uncertain terms, POINT OUT the grave danger our country is in and assume some real leadership rather than posturing yourself to appear more acceptable to a somnolent populace... real leadership requires educating your followers, a concept sorely lacking globally... real leaders teach, real leaders encourage, real leaders inspire, real leaders courageously step out and say what needs to be said... DO IT...!
  •  Brilliant posting (none)
    Thank you Senator Obama for raising the level of discussion and debate.  I've long felt that blogosphere is degenerating into a shouting match with less substance than we ought to have.  I respectfully disagree with a few statements you have made, but they are well reasoned and thought out.

    A gaffe in Washington is when you tell the truth and people act surprised.

    by hotshotxi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:47:53 AM PDT

  •  Senator (4.00)
    You raise a good many points.  At least, they sound good.  Problem is, we're getting a tad impatient.  Speaking of which, excuse me if I don't mince words, here.

    The Democrats rolled over on the 2000 election.  The Democrats rolled over on the Patriot Act.  The Democrats rolled over on Iraq.  The Democrats rolled over on bankruptcy "reform".  The Democrats rolled over on the 2002 election.  The Democrats rolled over on the 2004 election.  Now call me stupid, but aren't we starting to notice a pattern?  I'm not even talking about fights the Democrats lost.  I'm talking about fights the Democrats QUIT.

    A loss ain't quixotic if it's big, Senator -- a loss is quixotic if you DIDN'T TRY YOUR DAMN HARDEST.  It's when the other team quits that the opponent starts running up the score.

    Now, lemme tell you where one not-so-humble constituent is coming from.  I used to work at a hospital, fixing computers.  One day, I got a call at Pediatric Organ Transplant -- yes, the computer that schedules surgeries so children can have their organs replaced was going screwy.  I replaced the computer.  It didn't work.  We didn't have another spare.

    So I hacked it.

    This greatly displeased the Development Department.  They demanded I bring the computer back for analysis.  I JUST got this thing working, and organ transplant surgeries were going to be delayed for god knows how long because some guys in CYA mode didn't want to look bad.

    So I refused.

    Senator, I was a $9-an-hour college temp with $40,000 in student loans going up against tenured $40/hour professionals, and I put my job on the line because I saw an obviously political bullshit situation and couldn't betray my conscience.  I don't consider this brave or whatever; I considered it OBVIOUS.  If I caved, I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night.

    Now let's get back to the Roberts confirmation.  That one confirmation, alone, may be forgivable (never mind that we really didn't oppose Roberts so much as the White House wanting us to hire the guy without letting us read his resume).  Roberts is only the latest in a LONG pattern of spinelessness.  So long, in fact, that I believe this community fights hard on every front simply because they've reached the point where they can COUNT on the Democrats to NOT fight.

    Senator, I'll say it if no one else will:  It's been so long, your constituents now EXPECT you to cave on every issue.  They EXPECT you to not try.  They fight hard, and fought hard on the Roberts confirmation, because THEY THINK YOU WON'T.  Are you honestly satisfied with that level of expectation??  They didn't get cynical in a vacuum, dude.

    I don't feel like telling my story is bragging in this community because I'm sure I'm hardly the only one here to make such a decision.  You got some tough folks here.  So Senator, as someone who just believes in doing the right thing, dammit, I AM GETTING SICK AND TIRED OF SEEING YOUR CONSTITUENTS FIGHT TEN TIMES HARDER THAN YOUR FELLOW CONGRESSMEN!!  Especially when some of these people have worries that don't concern politicians -- like, say, where next month's rent is going to come from.

    Call me rude, call me vindictive, call me divisive, call me what you will.  But this is the damn truth:  I've put more on the line than most politicians for less, with a lot more to lose, and so have a LOT of others here who've sacrificed time and money to give you the opportunity to do some good.  Keep that in mind next time you talk about putting up a so-called "quixotic" fight against a C-average cheerleader from Yale.

    Because -- no exaggeration -- your excuses would get you FIRED at my job.

    My taxes support the troops, not a yellow sticker.

    by Dragonchild on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:49:04 AM PDT

    •  What you said (none)
      is very powerful.

      However, it would have better if you hadn't so disrespectfully called the senator, "dude."

      You have a right to be angry and you're very articulate, but I think you would be more effective if you could disagree without being so disagreeable.

      •  Point taken, but. . . (4.00)
        I don't respect my boss because he wants me to sugar-coat everything.

        On the other hand, I addressed Obama exactly how I'd talk to my best friends, who I respect more than anyone.

        I'm a citizen, not a lobbyist.

        My taxes support the troops, not a yellow sticker.

        by Dragonchild on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:38:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Constituents (none)
      Point taken; but surely not ALL of Mr. Obama's constituents (or any other pol's) feel this way.  It's called consensus-building.  If it isn't done, nothing (NOTHING) happens.  I'm all for tilting at windmills, if it's the only thing left.  It's not.  Let's coordinate the troops before we attack.
    •  Exactly (4.00)
       Mr. Obama should read some time the epithets used by the British to describe their American subjects who had the nerve to suggest that there should be no taxation without representation.

       I will not wait until troops are quartered in my home to fight back. They've done enough damage.

      I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

      by Anderson Republican on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:24:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Such a wonderful treat, Senator Obama.... (4.00)
    and I'm mostly in agreement with your advocacy of a smart balance between the right tone and adhering to unwavering core principles.  It's unfortunate that a rigid test is applied and I can see why it dismays you.

    However, I don't agree that the public formed their opinion of John Roberts because they accepted that he was not an ideologue and that was fine with them.  All they heard was glowing reports, how could they object?  Our side made little or no case against ideology, we never made it an issue for the public to come down on one side or the other.  I also think where the public is concerned we can't accept that we are limited to what the public will allow us to think.  We have for a very long time not presented the right arguments so that not only does the public not reviled corporations, I agree that isn't our goal, but stops trusting it and has the earned mistrust of corportations it so readily has about government.  I'm not willing to accept the limits of what the public thinks.  I think it's up to us to change the way the public thinks by our advocacy and faith in what we believe in, not throwing red meat just as a political strategy, but as a philosophcial victory.

    Please consider that when you think about how affable and tone are important, because I so agree with you on that score, but the party is lacking in the faith in its own ideas and it shows when we are willing to work within the limits of what the public already believes.

    "For the Mardi Gras
    Neo-con domestic shock and awe.."--Rep. Major Owens

    by Cathy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:49:59 AM PDT

    •  Ironically (none)
      "I don't agree that the public formed their opinion of John Roberts because they accepted that he was not an ideologue "

      The hamfisted "Roberts supports clinic bombngs" ad from NARAL was the turning point. After that, any critique looked like just another salvo in a partisan fusillade.

      I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

      by ben masel on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:03:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is a good point about the salvo being.... (none)
        hamfisted and a probable turnoff.  But, it was so shortlived I do wonder how tuned in the public was.  I grant you are right that it dictated the politics of swinging the other way, virtually no criticism or argument at all.

        "For the Mardi Gras
        Neo-con domestic shock and awe.."--Rep. Major Owens

        by Cathy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:59:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Accomodating your ememies is always a mistake... (4.00)
    ...and I'm not talking about compromising or "disagreeing without being disagreeable."
    President Clinton let us down repeatedly while trying to placate people who were trying to bankrupt him, send him to jail, and run him out of office.
    They got what they wanted in Congress, but his payback was impeachment procedings.
    You personally are being framed as a demon from Hell by what passes for the GOP nowadays, and any reasonableness on your part is reviled as weakness by them.
    I learned as a kid to stand up to bullies -- when they found it was no fun to pick on me they stopped. When we were pulled apart, they hurt as much as I did. I may have lost every fight -- but they did too, until they finally found another way of living in the world.
    My own senator, Max Baucus, is a very nice man, but thousands of his constituents are looking at permanent finacial ruin from that horrible revision of bankrupcy law, combined with the cruel rationing of medical care misnamed the "perscription drug benefit." He's responsible in part for both of these disasters.
    What I see in the Democratic Party are too many cases of our representitives standing aside while we are hurt in our homes. The anger we express about Democratic leadership comes from the damage our lives endure when you don't even bother to fight our oppressors, the thieves who are looting our government.
    You are one of the party's new leaders -- are we private citizens supposed to just expect more of being expendable? Wisdom involves picking our battles, but I see no plans at all to rally for or against anything -- just vague talk about 2006.
    I appreciate your words -- I really do, but we are both on a sinking ship unless our leaders initiate some action.

    Why do people insist on following that damn chicken across that bloody road?

    by MT Spaces on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:50:20 AM PDT

  •  Senator Obama, (none)
    A good message from a wise messenger.  

    I voted for you last time... next time I'll go door to door for you.   Any office you choose.

    I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'.

    by AriesMoon on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:50:53 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, sir (none)
    Senator, I watched your convention speech five times last summer, and wrote on my blog that it was one of the great speeches I'd seen, that it gave me goosebumps. You are a future president, I'm sure of it, and I hope you continue to defend progressive causes with the clarity and vision you've shown here.

    There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.

    by wolverinethad on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:52:49 AM PDT

  •  Standing together . . . (none)
    I am proud that Senator Obama is my representative in Congress.  As his commentary here points out, he is intelligent, measured, and wise.  His commentary was a civilized discourse on some very important issues.

    In the spirit of civilized discourse, I would like to point out where Senator Obama may be wrong.

    Senator Obama is concerned that progressives are attempting to force party orthodoxy on Democrats.  But if this is the case, it is caused by a lack of agenda within the Democratic Party itself. Grover Norquist can promote an agenda because he has one.  Is the Democratic alternative to be infinite flexibility?  

    It is difficult to stand in solidarity with a party that is itself not united and holds few positions in common across the party.  Is the party against the war in Iraq, or are we for staying the course?  Is the party for simply for "affordable" health care for all or is the party for "universal" health care regardless of one's ability to pay?  

    Can we, as a community, stand united behind the concept of compromising away certain civil liberties, certain rights we hold dear?  When the Democrats do not stand up united in opposition to the war in Iraq, is it our job to support muddled half-positions?  Or should the community pull and tug the party towards the positions we feel are right.

    Senator Obama rightly points out that advocacy groups on the right consistently pull Republicans to their positions -- it should not surprise anyone that advocacy groups demanding universal health care, or an end to this war, would do the same. He must understand that advocacy groups, by their very nature, must be the last groups to advocate compromise and politics as usual.

    Senator Obama is right, though, when he states that the electorate is polarized and that the debate is nasty (it is nasty everywhere, including here), we live in passionate times.  But the Republican leadership knows where they stand.  Despite terrible poll numbers for the President, despite scandals of the most terrible kind, I believe the Republican base is still energized behind their agenda as was shown in recent close elections.

    Senator Obama wisely has taken a reasoned tone and is acting as an uniting voice for the Democrats.  What I need from my senator, as well, is for him to help unite the Democrats behind real issues that will energize party supporters.  I know where Mr. Obama stands on important matters and I fully support him as my senator.  But I need my senator to pursuade other Democrats to adopt those positions, to voice their agenda loudly and with conviction, to show the American people that there is an alternative to the Republican agenda.  The Democrats will be ready to lead when they themselves become leaders.

    •  Thank You (none)
      Yes.  Sen. Obama's statement is the start, not the end in itself.  Who's up for an actual platform of smart ideas?  Mr. Dean?  Ms. Clinton?
      That's where this needs to go -- not today, necessarily, but soon.  More articulate statements on the lines of this one, in the meantime, would be good, and helpful.  We can't look shrill, or we'll never get it back.  
  •  But why come here? (4.00)
    If our storyline is so removed from the majority of Americans -- if what we say rings so hollow -- then why take the time to respond? Or are you concerned that the voice of the progressive blogosphere may get ever more influential and force America to take one extreme side or the other?

    In other words, Senator, why waste the time on us?

  •  Dead effing wrong (4.00)
    I sure hope the good Senator or his staffers are still monitoring this thread, because I need to say something and I hope it comes through loud and clear.

    While I have no major quibbles with the general ideas expressed in this post, part of the argument presented is fundamentally wrong.

    Senator, I would truly like you to think about one thing:  why in the world does this President deserve the benefit of the doubt?  Senator, this President has had four years to prove himself worthy of such grace and he has failed us miserably at every test.

    In addition, I am a Texan and I have watched this guy operate in government since the early 90s.  Not once has he shown himself worthy, not once!  How many times does he have to completely screw up before you folks realise that he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt?  

    I am despondent over this.  Truly despondent.  If this "benefit of the doubt" attitude is truly acceptable to the Washington dems, then I may wash my hands of you.  

    Bush doesn't deserve it.  He has not earned it.  And he never will.

    "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

    by anna on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:53:03 AM PDT

    •  I hope your message gets out (none)
      loud and clear, too.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:57:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IMHO (none)
      "why in the world does this President deserve the benefit of the doubt?"

      The president picks the nominee with the advice and consent of the senate.  Sen. Obama made it clear that we must pick our battles wisely.  I think he's correct.  I don't think John Roberts is the anti-progressive monster Bush could have picked, and it's important to be careful on the NEXT nominee, who will possibly tip the balance of the court.  Just my opinion.  Peace.

      •  that is not what i'm upset about (4.00)
        I am upset because this president has proven again and again and again and again that he is not worthy nor deserving of the "benefit of the doubt".

        How many times has he let us down?  I have lost count at this point (I've beencounting for over a decade).  He has shown no desire nor compunction to learn from his myriad of mistakes.  He has shown absolutely no respect for the Democrats in congress.  He has consistently held a "with us or against us" attitude, which clearly implies he himself is unwilling to give other opinions and proposals the benefit of the doubt.

        Why in god's name would anyone who does not support The President's agenda give him any "benefit of the doubt" at this point?  

        Can ---anyone--- answer that question?

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can anyone imagine Rick Santorum (4.00)
    writing a diary on the freerepublic site, or redstate.org, imploring them to support their senators and tone down the rhetoric, even when those same senators vote against the interest of the republicans

    That is the difference in the parties and why the Dems keep losing. The republicans are passionate and serious about seizing permanent power; the Dems want everyone to get along.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:53:56 AM PDT

  •  I'm kinda verklempt (4.00)
    Wow--great to see you post here, Barack. My gut lately is also that we can't beat Republicans by becoming like them. I just think we, as in the voters, need a better sense that there is a plan and some coordination among Democrats. Ya'll just seem a little helter-skelter sometimes. Like how Reid made his announcement about Roberts, which was shortly thereafter followed by the Senator (was it Leahy?) who announced he was voting no. He couldn't have waited a day?

    All that being said, what are the chances of seeing you on the ticket in 2008?? Cause that is a race that I could put my back into.

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    Anyway, thanks Barack. You're one of the few left that makes it possible for me to still believe in our country.  

  •  Barak Obama is My President (none)
    Can you imagine how refreshing it would be to have him speak to us with intelligence and imagination day after day and year after year?  To my knowledge, he has never once said or written anything less than the truth, spoken modestly and eloquently.  Voting for Barak Obama would be a balm for the soul of this country and having him in the White House would help us to heal from the sickness of the Bush regime better than anything else I can think of.

    Obama '08!

  •  you are screwing up (4.00)
    with all due respect, senator, you are mistaken. i applaud you for your vote against roberts but your defense of the continued spinelessness of the democratic leadership is, at best, misguided & ineffectual.

    madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. if i'm dating a girl & she fools around on me then apologizes & then does it again & then apologizes & then does it again, really, i would be a fool to accept her apology again because chances are she would simply continue this pattern.

    look, i'm not saying that we have all the answers. i'm not saying that your criticism of our approach is invalid. what i am saying is that the approach that the congressional democrats have taken over the past five years has not worked & that continuing to defend it at this point is denial to the point of madness.

    so, you don't like our approach? fine. come up with something else. anything else.

    but, please, don't sit there & pretend that the current approach works or that the fruits of that approach -- the invasion of iraq, an uncaptured bin laden, gutted environmental laws, mercury infested water, dirty air, a marketplace where it pays more to cheat than to play fair, a half billion dollar annual deficit, a $7 trillion dollar national debt, & a government of the cronies, by the cronies, & for the cronies -- don't tell me that these contribute anything to the progressive agenda.
    s.

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:56:23 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Senator Obama (none)
    for your eloquence and your gentle reminder that my own Senator, Ben Nelson, does have to legislate from a much different perspective than his more progressive peers.  I know these things in principle, but at times my frustration and anger take center stage.  It will be my greatest electoral pleasure to cast a vote for you on a national platform one day in the not-too-distant future.

    BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER!!!!!

    by KellyB on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:56:37 AM PDT

  •  Congressional Dems awaking from their slumber? (none)
    It's a good sign that Obama is paying attention to the kind of arguments and positions one finds in the progressive blogosphere.  That's great, but it does not obviate the need for Congressional Dems, as a tribe, to grow a spine, find some cojones, and seize current opportunities to turn the tide.  A few honest prosecutors can't do all the work!  Polls show that MOST of the electorate wants out of Iraq, wants social programs and health care, wants education funded, etc.  Congressional Dems need to get loud and proud.  Leadership now!  "Liberal" dems let Vietnam go on for years....  "Liberal" dems have let the wingnuts frame all the budgetary and ideological issues for a generation....  We need opposition leaders who are not afraid to mix it up, who know how to frame large issues, and who can force corporate media into at least a pretense of honesty (lord knows if that's even possible).  I hope Obama can drive that kind of train.  "Tone" didn't get it done for the right wing, and it won't get it done for progressives and the ordinary people who have been screwed by post-Reaganite corporatism.
  •  Great words- Good to hear (none)
    Thanks for taking the time, Senator- I completely agree with you.
  •  You good. (none)
    You damn good!

    Can I have a hug?

    "yes dear...conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

    by tribalecho on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:57:48 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Barry! (none)
    People need to step away from this blog and its exponential echo chamber and actually go out and talk to REAL people.  Please get involved in your local Democratic party and see that extremism (whether right or left) accomplishes nothing.

    Go!!!  

  •  I Respct You, Senator (4.00)
    I am a fiery liberal and I hang my head because I am sometimes so mad, I do belittle.  But you are right, it is far better to speak the truth and let that ring in someone's ears, than to belittle them. Your examples of Paul Wellstone, Paul Simon, MLK, and others were right on target.  

    You are also right on the point that the Democrats' job is harder, but that this does not mean you give up your principals. Perhaps a beginning is to figure out what ARE our principals. May I begin by stating my democratic principals and perhaps others can change or correct them?

    1. Social justice should take the forefront
    What I mean by "social justice" is that whether we are here in this country or abroad, we always keep in the front of our goals, the issues of justice for ALL.  The greatest amount of a population should win as much as possible. Not just a few.  

    2. We should redefine "work".  
    Defining work is political and it defines what is funded ~ and thus what and whom we value in this country.  Right now we define "work" as being anything that makes money.  Therefore anything that a citizen does for his or her community without pay is "doing nothing."  Raising children (for the next war) is "doing nothing", volunteering for your local community organizations is "doing nothing," taking care of your extended family or neighbors is "doing nothing."  Excuse me but this IS doing something.  Why is it that people who sit on their butts and collect tax free   corporate checks are "contributing" while the single mother struggling to raise her children "does nothing"?  

    3. We need to make sure our votes count.  
    As someone who has seen the smoke and mirrors in action around our votes, I am angered and scared. Democrats cannot win if our oppobnants are counting our votes. Period. I have heard it said that our votes have always been manipulated.  This is no excuse, IMO.  If we are an advancing society, then we need to ADVANCE, not use the past as some excuse to accept the status quo.

    4. No person is expendable.
    This means all people are equal.  No more looking down on some because others are somehow "more important.  whuile this ties into the social justice issue, I extend it here, because racism and classism is alive and well in this country. I also ties into what we define as "work". If the only work we honor is corporate work, then we are disenfranchising the millions of people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and add to their communities, paid or unpaid.  

    5. Diplomacy at every turn.  
    Even when attacked I thought during 9/11 if we would have just looked at the reasons so many people around the world were mad at us, we might have actually used this attack to stop more killing.  This is not making excuses for the killers, it is merely looking honestly at their motive.  Personally I think it is time we stop making someone illegitimate just because they did something that hurt someone else.  We need to ask, "WHY?" and then we need to answer that as honestly and thoroughly as we can.  

    I could go on, this is a start. Thank-you for making me think about solutions. I am not so sure my anger and frustatration will  stop me from thinking some of these people are "idiots" but I will concede Sir, your points are well taken.  I wish you would run for president.    

    Cat In Seattle

  •  Wow, (none)
    ...and I'm stuck with Chambliss and Isakson!

    I have made a mental note of a great place in my yard for an "Obama 4 President" sign.

  •  problems I have with this post by Sen. Obama (4.00)
    How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?

    Umm, republicans vote in lockstep.  There is very little dissent when it comes to final votes. "Resisting pressure from the right wing"? With the occassional dissent from Chafee or Voinovich, you show me how telling dems to "vote your conscience not party line" has helped us in any way shape or form with getting pubs to vote with us.  How many times do you have to be sucker-punched before you refuse to play ball anymore, Senator?

    a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments.

    What about a president who has repeatedly and unabashedly LIED to the American people and congress at every opportunity, about the reason for war, about the costs of Medicaid, about the costs of the tax cuts, about who exposed Valerie Plame? When, Senator Obama, does that president go to the well of "benefit of the doubt" and find it's run dry?

    How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?

    Could you name those moderates for me?  With all due respect, this Republican led Congress seems to do whatever their president wants, party-line.  For example, I have yet to see anyone (outside of nacay Pelosi, willing to give up pork to fund Katrina and Rita recovery. I haven't seen one single republican suggest the Bush tax cuts be rescinded. Who are these "moderates" of who you speak?

    We won't be able to transform the country with such a polarized electorate.

    I submit, sir, that at this point in time the game is not "transform the country" but "save the republic."

    In such circumstances, attacks on Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold and the other Democrats who, after careful consideration, voted for Roberts make no sense.

    Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold, yourself, and the rest remain in Congress by the decision of the voters: Roberts is on the SCOTUS for life, in a position to strike down progressive reforms as unconstitutional, should the balance of the SCOTUS remain as it has for the past 10 years or more.

    I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose.  Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose.

    That's funny: the republicans seem to see it the opposite way.  Who controls everything right now Senator Obama?

    Just my .02, YMMV.

    •  in an oversimplified debate (4.00)
      we will always lose.

      this means we can also start talking in monosyllables, dumbing down our debate.

      we will still lose.

      we simply will not be able to out-dumb the repug party.

      we are, alas, left with hoping that america sees a dumbed down message for what it is.

      that gum you like is back in style.

      by BiminiCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:12:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mr. Obama's eloquence... (4.00)
    is laudable, and his sentiments pure. But for many reasons George Bush is an exception to the rule that a presidents should get his appointments. First, and most important is the legitimacy of his election. I believe he was appointed to the office indirectly by the Supreme Court, and the other candidate actually won the election. We should have resisted his presidency by any means available, and I fault the party and Al Gore for acquiescing to a velvet coup. I know I sound like a conspiracist, but Bush's disasterous reign proves what can happen when a fringe minority, by whatever means, actually gets the reigns of power. George Bush does not deserve, under any circumstances, to have his appointments approved. Thank you for voting aqainst Roberts.
  •  Ahead of the pack (4.00)
    Senator, many of us are ahead of others in this country because we are political junkies and we keep informed about all current issues. We are often right and before the rest of the country catches up. We are not going to cease criticizing the actions and words of politicians put into office by voters just because the rest of your constituents haven't been paying attention.

    We are almost the only advise and consent left aside from the special interest groups that represent many of us.

    Doing the right thing, telling the truth, whatever political costs, is what we are about and we hope and expect our elected officials to have the same courage of conviction, not just pols who make decisions by putting their fingers to the current winds.

    We have high hopes for you Obama, but we won't vote for you just because you're bi-racial, attractive, write and speak well. We'll vote for you because you have the courage of conviction
    in word and deed and you pay attention to the truth and truth-tellers.

  •  I guess it's no surprise (none)
    that Senator Obama, who is breatakingly articulate in this diary, just as he was at the convention, comes from the Land of Lincoln.  Would that he would use his gift for words "out there", as well as here, to beg for reason and to apeal to "the better angels" of this country's nature.  Somebody better start doing it pretty soon, or we may have a senate in name only for Senator Obama to belong to.
  •  Thank you, Senator Obama (4.00)
    Thank you for paying attention to us - we who so often feel like we are voices crying in the wilderness. We appreciate your reasoned words, and, I suspect, because we are thoughtful, intelligent progressives, we understand and agree with most.

    But you need to understand something we need from our Democratic leaders.

    When the Republicans lie, we need you to stand up and call them on it and make sure the country hears the truth.  Immediately.

    When Republicans do unethical, possibly criminal, things, we need you to stand up and call them on it and see that the wrongdoers don't get away with it.

    We need you to talk back to the talking heads in the media and call them on it when they let Republicans and their spokespeople lie and distort with impunity on the public airwaves and on cable.

    You don't need to use their tactics.  Do it like adults, do it like Wellstone would have done, but do it.  Please.

  •  To quote from reference 2 above (4.00)

    He's acknowleding the ridiculousness of the Republicans.  That they have engaged in slander and all sorts of other smears.  But he questions the wisdom of applying tit for tat.  He suggests a high road.


    OK, maybe, but...this is politics and is in many cases, war.  It is a struggle over whether or not the rich and powerful get to run roughshod over everyone else with impunity.  It is a struggle over which a hateful subgroup of people get to control the most intimate and private aspects of everyone else's lives.  Given that the GOP has been on the side of evil 100% in this fight and that the Dems have been either outright cowards, chickens with their heads cut off, or merely a different form of the very same GOP above, then a "higher road" is unworkable.  If you smile and try to reach out your hand to Hitler's SS, you will not get a coming together of the minds and reconciliation.  You will get your hand, your arm, and then your head cut off and the remains burned.


    Game theory works.  Game theory doesn't allow for a "higher road".  The "highest road" in game theory is, perhaps, tit for two tats (and the like).  Overall, tit for tat works rather well, however.  If you think you are going into a conflict, and it IS a conflict, with the idea of not exercising any tit for tat, then you are entering the battle to lose - you will just lose (not just for yourself but for those counting on you to WIN) but with a clean conscience.  The cost of losing is worse than the cost to conscience.  The loss means loss of privacy rights for everyone.  The loss means environmental destruction from which there is no recovery (extinct is forever, recall).  The loss means MORE discrimination for more and more "not us" groups.  Loss is loss and serves no purpose even if the loss is "noble".


    I want to see guts.  I want to see courage.  I want to see Dems standing for something other than simple re-election with the $$ blessing of industry.  I am sick of being sold out to fear that you (the general you, not necessarily the specific you) will lose your cush seat in the senate or house because you make a real stand rather than compromise yourself into irrelevance yet again.


    I am one who ripped Leahy a new ass for his idiocy (and it WAS idiocy).  Not merely over one issue like abortion rights which are about to be lost.  Not merely because of environmental regulations that are about to be gutted and/or rendered unenforceable.  Not merely because the rights of gays and even non-gays to live their lives as THEY see fit are about to be pulled.  Not merely because workers rights and protections are about to be gutted in favor of money.  No, I ripped him and all like him a new one because ALL the above are now on the chopping block for real and by voting yes on Roberts, you have handed the executioner his axe.  The yes votes from Dems gutted ANY valid, logically consistent, reasonable objection they could make to ANY future nominees.  Now, you cannot complain at all about not being supplied important and extant records that detail the candidates thinking and positions - the yes voters have deemed this to be perfectly OK.  Precedent set.  Now you cannot fight someone for not answering questions, valid questions, because the yes voters have already deemed nonanswers perfectly OK.  Precedent set.

     

    What you don't get is a strong argument for opposing someone now based on single issues...but that's all you're left with!  You are all set to oppose the next candidate if you think they will overturn Roe v Wade.  You are set to oppose the next candidate if you think they will oppose affirmative action.  But these are weak positions from which to fight.  The yes voters have set you all up so that this is all there is and it is NOT a strong position to fight from.  Thanks to the Leahy's, all Bush now needs do is dig out a candidate for which HE knows all the details, share it with a few key cronies and supporters to keep them quiet, and he then gets to keep all that information hidden from the senate because Leahy, et al, voted to make this OK.


    The ONLY people who were and are in the dark about how Roberts thinks and will act is the Dems and some Rethugs. BUSH knows full-well how he will rule.  Cheney knows full-well how he will rule.  Rove knows full-well how he will rule.  They are privy to all the secrets that YOU were 100% entitled to.  The American people were entitled as well.  WE PAID HIM FOR HIS WORK!  The Leahy's said this is OK though and so now it is OK forever.  Nice job.


    I think my intense anger is fully justified.  It isn't because of a single issue, it is because of ALL the issues that matter and make the country and the world livable in the first place!

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --9th Amendment

    by praedor on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:03:20 AM PDT

    •  Great post! (none)
      'Game theory works.  Game theory doesn't allow for a "higher road".  The "highest road" in game theory is, perhaps, tit for two tats (and the like).  Overall, tit for tat works rather well, however.  If you think you are going into a conflict, and it IS a conflict, with the idea of not exercising any tit for tat, then you are entering the battle to lose - you will just lose (not just for yourself but for those counting on you to WIN) but with a clean conscience.  The cost of losing is worse than the cost to conscience.  The loss means loss of privacy rights for everyone.  The loss means environmental destruction from which there is no recovery (extinct is forever, recall).  The loss means MORE discrimination for more and more "not us" groups.  Loss is loss and serves no purpose even if the loss is "noble".'

      Or to look at it another way:  Who will we see disappearing from the Big Tent right before they turn on the gas and fire up the ovens?  Will your conscience still be clear when you see the damage your loss has inflicted?

  •  Americans are looking for true uniters... (none)
    If it hasn't already been said, "EDWARDS-OBAMA 2008 BABY!"

    Sorry, I had to.  No, actually I'm not sorry I said it.

    Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

    (-6.75, -3.85)

    by mapKY on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:03:55 AM PDT

  •  There's a surprising lack of posts today (none)
    About how policy X is one of our core principles and cannot be abandoned.

    republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

    by danthrax on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:05:40 AM PDT

    •  OK, I'll humor you. (none)
      Human rights is one of our core principles and cannot be abandoned.

      Judge Roberts abandoned it in the Hamdan case.

      The right to a fair hearing before a judge is one of our core principles and cannot be abandoned.

      Judge Roberts abandoned it in the Hamdan case.

      Justice -- equitable treatment -- is one of our core principles and cannot be abandoned.

      Judge Roberts abandoned it in the "french fry" case.

      •  I'm not saying I disagree with you (none)
        But human rights, a fair trial, and justice are all international core principles -- or at the very least, American principles. You're going to be hardpressed to define Democrats seperate from Republicans with those principles.

        Especially when Republicans claim to believe in human rights, a fair trial, and justice and all voted for Roberts and get props from their supporters for doing so in the way they do.

        Not to mention that not everyone who shares the same principles will make the same vote. That's where a lot of us get tripped up -- when a principle is defined in such a way that there's still a policy checklist with every item as necessary to adhere to that principle.

        At the end of the day, part of the problem is we have no collective core principles. I have some broad principles which allow some senators to get away with some votes, but then they're not explicitly shared, and that lack of clarity is horribly evident with every vote our Senators make. Getting a description of what 'principle' is guiding each senator in each vote might actually give way to some sense of consistency in the Democratic party.

        republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

        by danthrax on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 12:51:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wished I lived in Illinois (none)
    So I could vote for you. Someday, you'll run for President.

    http://losingcalifornia.blogspot.com

    by losingcalifornia on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:05:48 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for stopping by, Senator... (4.00)
    ...I, too worked for your campaign and am proud to have done so. And one of the reasons I did is precisely for the reason we see here in your diary: a response from someone who actually LISTENS to what people says, THINKS about what was said and then THINKS AGAIN about the response. NObody else does that and I, for one, am grateful for that. What you say makes sense and is a reasonable, thoughtful response.
    But we here on the front lines are tired of getting hit in the chest with cinder blocks by the Repugs. I throw the Beatitudes around all the time at the GOP and have gotten nowhere, but then I recall Jesus getting royally cheesed off at the moneychangers at the temple and I realize that blasting a few cinder blocks back at the wingnuts maybe isn't such a bad idea. There's a time and a place for doing things like that and it seems to me that the time is now and the place is right here. Sometimes we have to fight fire with fire. THEN we can be nice and civilized later.

    "When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can become deadly projectiles." -- despair.com

    by Newton Snookers on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:06:46 AM PDT

  •  In Defense of Spinelessness (4.00)
    That's what I got from his rant.  Where is his anger?  Where is his righteous indignation?  I think the average American is fed up with business-as-usual.  It seems Senator Obama wants to continue with his "civil exchange" while the Republicans raid the Treasury.  I don't see how he or any other Democrat or Republican senator is slowing down our desent into a corporate and military state.  He's talking about style.  I'm talking about results.  When Obama starts winning a few, THAT is when I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
    •  I agree (none)
      with what you're saying, but I think that you're also missing his point.   We'll never agree 100% with anyone, so what we need to reclaim is rationality, civility, and tone.  We can't shut out those who might agree with us on 60% of the issues, because they disagree with us on the other 40%.  

      People will never reverse their positions if their being attacked, thats human nature.

    •  eps you hit the nail on the head (none)
      Speaking out on issues doesn't require political leaders to personally attack each other as suggested by the OP.

      It's the duty of a 'leader' to take principled stands and to persuade the public, not to equivocate and cave in just to get re-elected.

      Maybe the Democratic Party leaders thing that we Americans aren't the brightest bulbs, but don't be so sure.  

      We know the difference between a politicial pandering and a statesmanship.

      Dear Democratic Party, nominate a true statesman for president next time and see what happens.

      We need to respond to the escalating war on Iraq, we need to be seen again, we need to return to the streets.

      by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:28:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I got out of this was (4.00)
    a) There is not an easy answer
    b) This isn't black and white, good vs. evil

    While I don't agree with this 100%, I think that's kind of the point.  We need to learn to agree to disagree, while controlling our tone.

    That's a great point.  While we can't win by being GOP-lite, we also won't win by trying to be the Anti-GOP.

  •  I Respct You, Senator (4.00)
    I am a fiery liberal and I hang my head because I am sometimes so mad, I do belittle.  But you are right, it is far better to speak the truth and let that ring in someone's ears, than to belittle them. Your examples of Paul Wellstone, Paul Simon, MLK, and others were right on target.  

    You are also right on the point that the Democrats' job is harder, but that this does not mean you give up your principals. Perhaps a beginning is to figure out what ARE our principals. May I begin by stating my democratic principals and perhaps others can change or correct them?

    1. Social justice should take the forefront
    What I mean by "social justice" is that whether we are here in this country or abroad, we always keep in the front of our goals, the issues of justice for ALL.  The greatest amount of a population should win as much as possible. Not just a few.  

    2. We should redefine "work".  
    Defining work is political and it defines what is funded ~ and thus what and whom we value in this country.  Right now we define "work" as being anything that makes money.  Therefore anything that a citizen does for his or her community without pay is "doing nothing."  Raising children (for the next war) is "doing nothing", volunteering for your local community organizations is "doing nothing," taking care of your extended family or neighbors is "doing nothing."  Excuse me but this IS doing something.  Why is it that people who sit on their butts and collect tax free   corporate checks are "contributing" while the single mother struggling to raise her children "does nothing"?  

    3. We need to make sure our votes count.  
    As someone who has seen the smoke and mirrors in action around our votes, I am angered and scared. Democrats cannot win if our opponants are making our voting machines without accountablities as well as counting our votes. Period. I have heard it said that our votes have always been manipulated.  This is no excuse, IMO.  If we are an advancing society, then we need to ADVANCE, not use the past as some excuse to accept the status quo.

    4. No person is expendable.
    This means all people are equal.  No more looking down on some because others are somehow "more important".  While this ties into the social justice issue, I extend it here, because racism and classism is alive and well in this country.  As Molly Ivans says, we did not declare the "class war" on them, they declared it on us.  It also ties into what we define as "work". If the only work we honor is corporate work, then we are disenfranchising the millions of people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and add to their communities, paid or unpaid. Right now we are funding corporations who have no citizenship in this country as "persons" and no loyalty.  We The People do have loyalty and we should matter more.  

    5. Diplomacy at every turn.  
    Even when attacked I thought during 9/11 if we would have just looked at the reasons so many people around the world were mad at us, we might have actually used this attack to stop more killing.  This is not making excuses for the killers, it is merely looking honestly at their motive.  Personally I think it is time we stop making someone illegitimate just because they did something against our morals.  We need to ask, "WHY?" and then we need to answer that as honestly and thoroughly as we can. Yes it is painful to do a persoanl inventory, but this is what democracy is all about, IMO.  It should not be about making excuses for things we have done that may have caused others to suffer.  

    I could go on, this is a start. Thank-you for making me think about solutions. I am not so sure my anger and frustatration will  stop me from thinking some of these people are "idiots" but I will concede Sir, your points are well taken.  I wish you would run for president.    

    Cat In Seattle

  •  Here's What's Wrong With Obama's Piece (2.83)
    Obama may be right about the specific instance of the Roberts nomination -- maybe.  But where Obama goes way off the rails is when he generalizes his analysis of why he held his tongue in the Roberts case to being a general principle for dealing with Republicans.

    Obama said:

    "According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

    I think this perspective misreads the American people."

    This is where Obama makes a gigantic mistake.  This is the typical lame, moderate self-fulfilling prophecy.  Even if he were right that it misreads the American people, Obama fails to get the point.  The point is not only to read the American people, its to CHANGE their views.  If your position is that we can't make a stron argument because people don't already agree with us, then we are simply stuck where we are.  The point is that we have to make strong arguments and take strong positions precisely in order to change those views.  I find it hard to get as excited by Obama as others do because of this inherently weak positioning.

    Sorry, Barack, you still need to grow some balls.

    •  Ghastly (3.75)
      And you need to grow some sort of manners. Would you repeat your last sentence to a Senator in person? If you would, (or claim you would) you should be ashamed of yourself. Yes, he's still a citizen and answerable to citizens, but your lack of any sort of respect doesn't speak well of you or your arguments.

      Disgreeing with his positions and debating them intelligently is one thing, but replying to a respected, elected official (who took the time to eloquently explain his position to an online community) with classless flame-war style rhetoric is embarrasing to the community in question. I wish it was in my power to give you a '0' rating.

  •  Sir, I would like the Dems to put up a brick wall (4.00)
    from now on.  If the president comes home with a report card of all Fs he does not get his shiny new bike for Christmas.  If we take a sharp stand, you will see the American people rise to get behind it.

    You've seen the polls.  We need to give Americans a sign that we actually have nerve.

  •  Stunningly elequent . . (none)
    Thank you, Senator, for making an important point that would have been flamed if delivered by someone less skilled or of less stature.  I hope to vote for you one day.
  •  Senator Obama, (3.81)
    I appreciate you taking the time to address this community. I am a constituent and it goes without saying that I take great pride in having supported your spectacular campaign.

    With all due respect, however, I must say that you and most of your colleagues  gravely underestimate the level of corruption and criminality that permeates the current administration and the dire situation our country now confronts as a result. The inherent danger posed by and the degree  to which the Bush administration has endangered all of us--with its criminal negligence, its rampant cronyism, and its depraved indifference not only to this country's ideals, but to its people--was fully uncovered in the FEMA fiasco that followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This fiasco should have "brought down the House"--and the Senate, and in fact, the whole house of cards. It should have been immediate cause for dismissals, resignations and criminal prosecution: investigations were not needed--the crimes were committed before the eyes of the national, and indeed, the international press and public.

    That event, more than any other, perhaps opened the eyes of many Americans who had previously either remained disinterested or presented as "alarmists" or "conspiracy therorists" those of us who have been closely following the increasing level of criminality and corruption that characterize our government.

    In the weeks since those horrifying images from the South entered our livings rooms, I have heard too many "common" people--the bread and butter "mainstream"--making the same statement: This administration does not care about anyone but the extremely rich.  We are in trouble--deep, deep trouble.

    The criminality in this administration is qualitatively and quantitatively unique in the history of this country: and I think most Americans are beginning to realize that. This administration makes the Nixon years look like a frat party, and reduces the Reagan era to the banality of a bad B-movie (however bad it is, you always have the option of turning it off).

    Our situation is urgent. Whoever thinks that we have the time to wait long enough to regain control of the presidency and congress is, in my estimation, seriously misapprehending the nature of the problem and the absolute urgency of the situation.

    This is why, in my opinion, the focus of leadership should  be ruthless insistence on removing these criminals from office, and, by way of preventing them from inflicting any more damage, fillibustering every decision the Republican 'majority' seeks to affect.

    We are in trouble, Mr. Obama, and, while I fully agree that long-term solutions to problems that were in place long before this administration illegally seized control of the government in 2000 are required, we currently face an immediate crisis of unprecedented proportion and this crisis of criminality must be addressed head-on: forcefully, frankly and immediately.

    I cannot continue to support any candidate for any public office who remains oblivious to or inable to respond accordingly to this crisis in such a way as to provide immediate relief. Until this regime has been removed from office, we cannot even begin to address long-term solutions to the chronic problems of social injustice, health care, environment, education, etc.

    Nothing short of an "aborted mission" is going to do any good.

  •  A Sign of our Growing Influence (4.00)
    Notice how much they are feeling our pressure, as evidenced both by the Senator's analogy to the NOrquist machine and by the fact of his having offered this post.

    When we were a less powerful movement (a few months ago), we perhaps emphasized more fight and spine in part as a strategic prescription and in part to be heard and noticed.

    Now we are being heard and noticed (and feared).  Senator Obama offers a helpful perspective that, now that we have more power, how best shall we exercise it as a movement?  Should we think more like allies to insiders, and sometimes as offereing checks on insiders, and not of ourselves as. . . outsiders?

    That would be a new identity for this community.  But I think it may be time to reconsider our identity along these lines.

    Senator Obama's comments are welcome.  And his rhetorical style is as compelling as ever.  He's quite talented.

    We are not "compassionate conservatives." We are "fighting liberals." And we'll kick your ass.

    by Pachacutec on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:17:26 AM PDT

  •  WWRD? (3.60)
    Ask yourself these questions, Barack:  

    Did the Republicans get where they are today (in terms of wielding political power) by adopting your kind of conciliatory stance?  The answer is no.  

    Did they wait for public opinion to catch up to them or did they LEAD opinion?  The answer is that they changed public opinion.

    Be a leader, Barack.  You have the potential.  Make it real.

  •  2008 (none)
    I am hereby drafing you to run for president in 2008.  Consider this your official notification.  
  •  The Governing Class vs The Rest of Us (3.60)
    The good Senator makes an eloquent case that The Rest of Us should support, rather than vilify, The Governing Class. This case has been made by many other posters, in the context of the Roberts nomination as well as many others, and they are all based on pretty much the same premise:

    The Governing Class (which includes the good Senator as well as his Democratic and Republican colleagues and the White House -- whomever is in residence -- and the judiciary) knows best. If they didn't, they wouldn't be in office. Just because many of the rest of us disagree with the decisions of the governing class doesn't mean we are right; but the very fact that the members of the governing class are in office means they are right by definition.

    Democrats and Republicans in office at least agree on this. And Democrats in office generally support Republicans, no matter what they do, because the Governing Class is currently in the charge of Republicans, and it would not be politic to oppose the wishes of Republicans too often or too openly.

    Someone might not like it.

    The good Senator's statement about these matters is very appealing in a certain "preserving the status quo at all costs" way, but it is so deep in error, to my simple way of looking at things, that I literally burst into tears at the blindness it represents.

    While it's wonderful that the good Senator continues to get out among the people and to listen and respond to what the people have to say to him, it is very sad to see that protection of and service to the Governing Class trumps just about everything in his world view.

    As the people fall farther and farther away from the Governing Class and the Governing Class adheres more and more to itself and its particular interests, the rents in the social fabric the good Senator wants to prevent will only grow worse.

    Thank you, Senator, for sharing your views. Unfortunately, more and more Americans will just have to disagree.

    •  The Good Citizenry (none)
      You speak as though there were no democracy.  While you're reality may be..."you there, to the back of the bus"... the masses to you are wounded and injured children....

      Learn a little from history...there is a very ancient story out of pagan Gallia ...when a petty king launched an army across the aisle.

      He had to abandon pomp and physicke to reclaim a throne.  Look in the mirror, the masses are you.  You don't see it, do you?

  •  Thank you (none)
    They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.

    They have not beaten us. They've stolen the last two elections, Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. And they will do it again. As a nation we should reject black box voting. Ireland did after the government invested in the computers! We can too! Each and every vote should be verified by a paper trail!
    This is the issue of our times!

    Thanks Senator and in the future I hope I have the opportunity to cast my paper trail vote for you as US president.

    •  They have beaten us... (none)
      I'll grant you 2000 was stolen...but 2004 the dems had a weak candidate, poorly run campaign and lost the election despite voting irregularities.

      And certainly the dems lost the House and Senate, not due to anyone stealing the election. The democratic party has got to redefine what it stands for...and I'd really rather hear what Sen. Obama's thoughts are on that rather than asking us to have patience. Thousands have died in Iraq and the Gulf and they are still sorting things out? Please.

  •  Thanks, but..... (4.00)
    Thanks for coming to the blog and explaining your views with clarity and courage. It isn't easy to do so in a politically-charged atmosphere.

    Yes, civility is necessary. Yes, compromise will, at times, be absolutely required to win elections and get legislation passed.

    But, there are times when the party must define its vision, its values and develop a strategy to get there. I guess I don't share your faith in "the American people" which I find to be a simplistic notion. Most people are basically living their lives and only pay minor attention to issues that are beyond their immediate lives. That is where the democratic party, if it is to survive, must LEAD rather than follow the American people.

    Iraq is a case in point. Dems are scattered all over the place, too afraid to step up (exception: Russ Feingold) and lay out a plan to extricate ourselves from this nightmare. Still trying to figure things out isn't good enough. There has been years to "figure things out". Most Americans are now ahead of the party leaders on this. Please take a stance and LEAD us out of the quagmire, without accepting the Republican assumptions behind "cut and run".

    On the nomination, it is disheartening to find "progressive" leaders voting for confirmation and "centrists" voting against. Black is NOT white. While the President gets to nominate whomever he wants, it is up to the opposition to safeguard our rights. The Senate dems have failed to do so. I applaud your vote, but I also think we can criticize those who voted for Roberts (and likely will do so on nearly any nominee) without withdrawing our support of them generally.

    If the democratic party sits back in disarray as it is wont to do, we will not regain the majority and probably don't deserve it. The time is NOW to develop a vision, a strategy and carry it through first to electoral victories and then finally to policy and program changes. Yes, be open-minded but be careful of falling back to the easy road of backsliding and compromise which has led to the loss of the Presidency, the Congress and now the Judiciary.

  •  Great Diary (none)
    I agree that we must get people like my father to vote our way if we want to get a majority, and the only way that is going to happen is if we adhere to civility.  Dad is sick of the incompetence and dishonesty of the other side, but he doesn't see a leader emerging from the Democrats.  Although he was impressed by the young Senator from Illinois who spoke so eloquently at the Democratic convention.  You are a Statesman, sir, and I'm proud to be in your camp.
  •  A question: (4.00)
    I read this paragraph, but I wonder...

    Or to make the point differently: How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?  How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?

    Please show me the Republicans who are bucking their party on a consistent basis over ANY issue.  Lincoln Chafee?  Well, no.  Hagel?  Sure, he gets after Bush on Iraq once in a while.  McCain?  Where?

    I wish I could see examples of what you are referencing.  But I just don't.

    In other words, party discipline is a hallmark of the Republicans.  I think sometimes what you are seeing in a calling out of Democrats who don't toe a particular line is a yearning for such discipline on the part of our side.

    Look at the Roberts vote. Reid (NEVADA!) takes a stand and we still lose a large group from our side.

    Now, discipline like the Republicans have will never happen, because in our party, we value independence of thought.  And our elected leadership doesn't "punish" dissenters the way the Republicans do (nor do I think our leaders should).

    But please don't equate criticism here of Democrats with the kind of rigid discipline imposed by Republican leadership on elected party members.

    Apples and oranges.

    In the end, bitching is simply bitching -- attempts to persuade folks from our own team to vote the way we want them to vote.

    The truth is, at the end of the day, most of here vote Democratic.

    So I wouldn't read too much into that criticsim.

    But please don't equate party-meted discipline with constituent criticism.

    Too inexperienced? Screw it! We need leadership! Obama/[FILL IN THE BLANK] in `08!

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:22:24 AM PDT

  •  Well, I'm convinced. (3.50)
    Not that I'm going to return to the Democratic Party just yet. But this diary helped me realize how inflexible I've been lately.

    I need to remember that it takes a long time to bring people over, and you can't expect everyone to be in lockstep with you all the time. At least not without starting a cult.

    Thanks, Senator. Please run for President someday; I really want to vote for you, but I don't live in Illinois!  :-)

    In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is a freak.

    by briguy2 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:26:01 AM PDT

  •  New Orleans is gone, and you're criticizing us? (4.00)
    With all due respect...

    Senator Obama, look at New Orleans. It's gone. A major American city has been lost on our watch. We as a people lost New Orleans because we allowed the neo-conservatives to distract us from our priorities in this world.

    Sen. Obama, what are your priorities if you have decided that the most important thing you have to say to us today is to stop criticizing Democrats that continue to allow the GOP to move forward with the neo-conservative agenda? Just what else will it take for you to see what the neo-conservatives are doing to our country. Wasn't losing one city enough?

    I really think your time would be better spent attacking those whose policies left New Orleans defenseless. The levees surrounding New Orleans were allowed to settle into the delta mud for too long and were in too great a state of disrepair. One reason the levees were in such a miserable state is because the investor class refused (and still refuses) to pay their fair share of the costs to maintain the infrastructure of this country. Another is the quagmire in Iraq. We were misled into a war our loss of the city of New Orleans make clear we couldn't afford.

    Nobody in the progressive blogosphere slashed those budgets for the levees surrounding New Orleans. Nobody at Daily Kos mislead us into war in Iraq...

    ... and we are the "bad guys" that you felt moved to allocate time to rebuke this morning, Sen Obama?

    •  Admonishing "Lefties" Makes You a DLC (none)
      Leader. I too wanted to know why this very gifted man and golden Senator chose this topic, at this time, on this site. Rather than, say, the War in Iraq, the Rape of the Treasury, Dismantling Environmental Protection, Lowering Wages...scores of Republican-Led disasters. Look at Senator Clinton for your answer: in today's Democratic Party, the very first thing one does if one aspires for higher office is...beat the shit out of liberals.

      Bush/Rove: Co-Conspirators in an On-Going Criminal Enterprise

      by vetfordean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (none)
        We're not looking to Obama for DLC-style lectures.
      •  A point: It's bad capitalist policy, too (none)
        Those want the economy to function efficiently and profitably need the economic infrastructure of this country to be kept in a state of good repair. Goods can't move through the economy efficiently when the economic infrastructure the goods move through starts crashing down around our ears. The investor class needs to forced to pay to keep the economic infrastructure in good shape.

        Remember those old FRAM oil filter commercials where the mechanic is lecturing about changing oil filters and says, "You can pay me now, or pay me later." We just saw the macro-economic version of that very statement in the destruction of city and the port of New Orleans.

  •  Senator Obama (4.00)
    I'm delighted you've chosen to engage this community and those of us in it that care so deeply about the character and priorities of the party and the nation we share. It's terrific to hear from you.

    That said...  Here's what makes me angry: The Democratic Party has no consistent tone, let alone consistent rhetoric. I'm not referring to the kind of bootlicking, lockstep consistency seen in today's Republican Party. That's cowardice masquerading as fidelity. No, I'm referring to this party's willingness to dedicate itself to its own principles.

    Tone is created by action. Rhetoric is secondary.

    Let's pretend I'm a Senator. I can talk all I want about "Standing up for the Great American Middle Class" and "Achieving Energy Independence" but when Americans see me passing legislation that clearly favors credit card companies at the expense of a middle class in debt up to the next generation's ears, or the petroleum industry and auto makers reluctant to advance hybrid and alternative technologies at the expense of America's energy independence, my "tone" takes a well-deserved blow to the chin. When I demonstrate that I have no real commitment to my party's stated values (or those Americans that believed I shared their priorities and, so, elected me to defend them) I don't deserve the respect of my colleagues, my supporters or this polity.

    See how that works? I lost my "tone" along with my credibility because I did not demonstrate any commitment to our shared values. To use the common vernacular, I've proven myself a "liar". The dull thud of jaws hitting the floor is the "tone" I, alone, created and have nobody but myself to blame for. As a result, my rhetoric is meaningless.

    Now, when disappointed advocacy groups and fuming citizens take issue with my faithlessness, as they have the perfect right to do, it would take incredible audacity to protest that they are radicalizing our party.  Yet, that's what many Democrats have done and continue to do.

    My point is that Americans being treated like the unwashed masses are not the problem here. Our politicians are the problem. One or both major parties in America either need to create a platform that accurately conveys the intent of its political machinery or one or both major parties in this country needs to keep faith with its own stated values and priorities.

    If this party wants its "tone" to ring true with the majority of Americans, and if this party wants its rhetoric to mean something again, the formula for success is abundantly clear: Do what you say and say what you mean. If your colleagues are not prepared to make that commitment, then resign yourselves to the pending collapse of this party and stop blaming your failures on people like me.

    Fair enough?

  •  I sure am glad we have Dkos, (none)
    because a speech is a speech is a speech. I hope the good senator will return when he wants to engage in a meaningful discourse.

    I need to steal a good sig.

    by John West on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:28:13 AM PDT

    •  Oh Please (none)
      "I hope the good senator will return when he wants to engage in a meaningful discourse."

      I think he did what he could.  I think it is meaningful.  I think he's reading the replies.  I don't think he's a troll.  Peace.

  •   Prescience .... You and Our Common Future (none)
     Senator Obama,

    Prescience has since time out of mind ... been recognized as an attribute accorded to divinity or Buddhahood.  We all feel it surround you Senator.  Republican or Democrat you carry a light within you that illuminates each of our hearts journey towards humankind's common future.

    Not that you personally are a God or a Buddha ... but rather ... you embody a quality of grace that touches, awakens us. You embody hope Senator ... and in turn that hope ignites small wisdom fires in us all.

    The people of this fragile plantet do not have to wait until you become President to experience the joy and gratitude of peace for humanity and  earth's future.

    It's happening now.  

  •  OMG - It is worse than I thought. (4.00)
    After this<According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.</blockquote> It all went downhill.

    When i walk the streets canvassing, or pick up the phone, phonebanking - what do I tell the folks, my neighbors, what the Democratic Party stands for ?

    I cant tell em they stand for bankruptcy reform - we blew that one.
    We split 50/50 on conservative judges - So now because of our parties actions people like John Roberts ARE mainstream.
    I cant tell em anything about the war - were for it and against it.
    I cant tell em we wont outsource jobs to central america - we blew CAFTA.
    Patriot act- yup blew that too
    So i am left wondering, WHAT DOES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY STAND FOR ?

    I can't figure it out. There's a whole bunch of happy happy talk when i get fundraising letters - but that truth is belied by the VOTES.

    At EVERY important juncture, the Democratic party has shown no contrast. NONE. How do i combat the calls that "they are all the same" ?

    Sure certain individuals within the party are standouts - we all know who they are, but far too many don't have backbone or courage to offer alternatives. So darned scared of losing elections that all they have been able to achieve is losing elections.

    Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great

    What ARE those core values ? Apparently 22 US senators from my party don't think it is civil rights or privacy. I didnt expect to block john roberts - but half our own party think he is great ?! GIVE ME A BREAK.

    The vast majority of our party thinks the Iraq war was super and voted for it. So war of choice is one of our core values ?

    Enough of our party thought credit card companies should be able to rape the sick and unfortunate - wow nice core value.

    Heck we even liked the bush energy bill so much enough voted for it. How can you talk about bold plans for energy, new ideas and vote to give billions to big oil and gas ?

    Heck, yesterday some even thought gutting the endangered species act was tremendous too.

    What you talk about Senator is governing. Well before you can do that you have to get elected.

    You are what you vote. Period. All the flowery language and rhetorical skills in the world cannot erase that fact, and too many, FAR TOO MANY of our elected officials in our party are appeasers more interested in their own fate than that of the people who elected them.

    The Democratic Party in DC is bereft of real leadership. That is the problem.

    After reading what you have writen, and knowing that you are perhaps one of the better representatives - I feel worse now than before I read it. We have much much further to go than I had hoped.

    So my message is a simple one really. STOP VOTING FOR THINGS THAT ARE NOT PART OF OUR CORE VALUES. STOP TALKING AND START ACTING.

    Take that message back the the chamber, because frankly i am just about DONE with the current course.

    •  Well said... (none)
      I hope Barak takes the time to read this and all the comments....Said well, What do we tell people as we canvas what the democratic party stands for????
    •  RE: worse than I thought (none)
      The Right Wing got to where they are not only by lying, cheating and stealing their way in but by crafting and pursuing a coherent vision, and specific policies, for many years while out of power. These were able to change the debate, creating the groundwork for political maneuvering and weakening the support for Democrats and liberal policies by creating a funhouse mirror against which everything bad became good and vice versa.
      We in the progressive majority will never have a party in power until we have something coherent to refer to, to fall back on, to pound into people's minds over and over, with conviction. The end does not justify the means politically if the means is an expedient compromise that dilutes our values and weakens our message, the artilliary of politics, before the next fight. Such as in the Roberts vote. Is the "French fry judge" going to strengthen or weaken the Republic because he opposes principles we hold dear? He will weaken it. Ergo, he must be opposed. He was going to be confirmed anyway, so why not let him be on the Republicans record, not ours, so that at least we can be consistent in our presentation, if not in our conscience.
      I think our very lack of message, of understood belief, of clarity as Democrats prevents us from attracting the bright, charismatic leaders that will bring those messages to Washington on a wave of public support. Instead, we attract opportunists and operatives, profiteers and pragmatists who excite no one and merely retard the flood that threatens to swamp our democracy.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don't. So damn, if I won't.

      by benheeha on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Advocacy Groups Failed (none)
      I agree with much of what you've said about core values and Democratic leaders getting more passionate about policy fights.

      But Supreme Court nominations have a history of not being up or down votes over a party's core values.

      The problem with Roberts was that advocacy groups failed in portraying Roberts as an ugly conservative like Bork.

      I won't argue with you about whether -- in his his heart of heart's -- he is one or not.  My point is that he was never successfully portrayed that way. Even the questioning from the Dem Senators adamantly opposing him never got passionate or exposed fringe beliefs.

      Historically, the standard the vast majority of Senators have applied for voting up or down on a nominee has never been "Do I think he represents the core values of my party or not?"

      Advocacy groups failed to get close to portraying Roberts like a Bork and they had weeks leading up to the nomination to do so.  The initial NARAL ads were completely ineffective.

      When they failed, the advocacy groups demanded that all their Senators adopt a new 'core values' standard to vote No and then bitterly told all Senators 'If you don't adopt this standard you are 1) weak and 2) a traitor to the party.'  

      Let's all get more passionate about Democratic core values. But fighting Roberts would have gone nowhere.  It would have been the Democratic version of the Terri Schiavo law. Ultimately you lose and you look bad during the loss.

    •  Advocacy Groups Failed (none)
      I agree with much of what you've said about core values and Democratic leaders getting more passionate about policy fights.

      But Supreme Court nominations have a history of not being up or down votes over a party's core values.

      The problem with Roberts was that advocacy groups failed in portraying Roberts as an ugly conservative like Bork.

      I won't argue with you about whether -- in his his heart of heart's -- he is one or not.  My point is that he was never successfully portrayed that way. Even the questioning from the Dem Senators adamantly opposing him never got passionate or exposed fringe beliefs.

      Historically, the standard the vast majority of Senators have applied for voting up or down on a nominee has never been "Do I think he represents the core values of my party or not?"

      Advocacy groups failed to get close to portraying Roberts like a Bork and they had weeks leading up to the nomination to do so.  The initial NARAL ads were completely ineffective.

      When they failed, the advocacy groups demanded that all their Senators adopt a new 'core values' standard to vote No and then bitterly told all Senators 'If you don't adopt this standard you are 1) weak and 2) a traitor to the party.'  

      Let's all get more passionate about Democratic core values. But fighting Roberts would have gone nowhere.  It would have been the Democratic version of the Terri Schiavo law. Ultimately you lose and you look bad during the loss.

      •  Short Sighted (4.00)
        That is short sighted.

        Some time down the line in the future Roberts is going to act on his conservative principles, and we will have no reason to complain since we voted for him.

        He is the countries chief justice, not the Republicans. How can we contrast in the future ? We cannot.

        The Senate failed us, not the advocacy groups. They will be able to say "i told you so" 22 Democratic Senators and hence our party will not.

        •  Agreed on the "I told you so' problem (none)
          and since Roberts was going to be confirmed anyway it was strategically the obvious move -- a no-lose vote when it comes to your base. You don't make a difference (he was going to be confirmed anyway) but you won't lose sleep over what Roberts may rule in the future. In fact, that will always be the smart move no matter who Bush nominates.

          But what if all Democrats went to the mattresses on this fight and Roberts came out looking like a martyr to the majority of Americans who thought 'this guy Roberts got unfairly tarred by those mean Democrats'. (This is how advocacy group failed --if he was a bad guy who deserved to be voted down it was their responsibility to tar him good and make it stick. They never figured out how to do it.)

          What if the result after the fight was that BushCo's ratings went up and trust in Dems went down and we lost the chance to make big gains in Congress in 2008? What if Republican knocked off a few Senators because the Roberts fight turned into a Terri Schiavo-type fiasco?

          Would the advocacy groups accept an 'I told you so'?  Or would they keep yelling.  "We weren't tough enough!"  This seems to be their only response to any political situation.

          Advocacy groups failed because they failed to create an environment where fighting Roberts would be successful or give cover to Dem Senators in not-so-safe states.

  •  Thanks... (none)
    for including us as part of your community/constituancy.  I look forward to hearing more.

    And Welcome.

  •  You are my Senator... (none)
    ... and I thank you as a constituent in Chicago, as well as a Democrat, for sharing your thoughts on this with us.

    I disagree with you on some of the particulars, but it's clear from your words that you have seriously and honestly engaged with the issue as it has played itself out "down here" in the grassroots.  There is real meat in your words, and you can't get real meat in there without having taken the time and effort to investigate and understand the issue.

    It is for that reason that, regardless of my disagreement with this or that point you've made, I am able to put my trust and faith in you to be a strong advocate for us.  This is the same thing I found so appealing about Howard Dean.  I may not agree with everything you believe, but I trust your thought processes, your instincts, and your motivations.

    Thank you for being such a thoughtful representative of the people you serve.

  •  let me and other Democrats know when (none)
    Thanks for dropping by Senator. Please don't be a stranger. Although this place can resemble "The Jungle" on Jim Rome's show, it can also be a dose of sanity more often than not.

    Somebody, please K.O. this administration.

    by onp67 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:30:15 AM PDT

  •  welcome Senator (none)
    I was an early supporter of your campaign and am very happy to see you are posting on dKos.

    While I don't agree with everything you've said here, I respect the way you are holding fast to an idealism that strives to rise above the nastiness and polarization being fostered by the people in power now.  It is hard to keep believing in that--we need to hear from you and others who keep telling us it is possible.

  •  Any politician who continues to support the war (4.00)
    will soon be relegated to the dustbin where they belong.

    This is not a tea party Senator, thousands of people are dying in a unjust war waged in our name.

    Don't lecture us.  Lecture the leadership of your party.

    We need to respond to the escalating war on Iraq, we need to be seen again, we need to return to the streets.

    by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:35:28 AM PDT

  •  disappointed for a different reason (3.80)
    you make your case eloquently as always, senator.

    what i found discouraging was the senate democrats' failure to make the case against roberts in any way that didn't play into the dumbed-down media version of left v. right extremists.

    you touch on this briefly when you say

    I think the whole "centrist" versus "liberal" labels that continue to characterize the debate within the Democratic Party misses the mark.  Too often, the "centrist" label seems to mean compromise for compromise sake, whereas on issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty, I don't think Democrats have been bold enough.
    true.  but the roberts hearing gave us a golden opportunity to make the case that he is bad for america because he is an authoritarian rather than his conservative credentials.  we have seen this with the current white house and GOP leadership for years, yet elected democrats never seem to get that standing up for the constitution isn't about the old left versus right debate.  judge roberts, as the "french fry judge" for his ruling in hedgepeth, was the perfect symbol of this.

    once we open up the libertarian-authoritarian axis we have the opportunity to split republican voters right down the middle.  not fighting roberts on these grounds was thus an opportnity squandered.

    additionally, while i respect the inclinations of senator feingold and others to defer to the white house in appointments (though i don't share it), doing so with this administration only makes us look ridiculous.  the american people rightly view these confirmation hearings as job interviews and know that if they were to fail to answer questions, provide references or paperwork upon request, they would have no chance of getting the job.  that case could have easily been made loud and long, yet i didn't hear it.  instead we look like we're getting steamrollered by the GOP, and that does not inspire confidence in our party among the american people.  indeed it confirms the negative image our opponents paint of us.

    we'd better decide now if we are going to be fearless men or scared boys.
    — e.d. nixon, montgomery improvement association

    by zeke L on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:36:21 AM PDT

    •  YES!!! (4.00)
      You've got it!

      The split is not between "conservatives" and anybody.  The most conservative public figure I can think of today, using the actual definition of "conservative", is Howard Dean.

      It is between authoritarians and believers in liberty.

      The so-called GOP now stands for authoritarianism, for ignoring the will of the people, and for corruption.  At least the MSM has noticed the third one.

      The Democratic Party must stand strong for liberty, for democracy, and for honesty.  These are not controversial.  In another era, they would not have been partisan issues.  But due to the insanity of the Republican Party, today they are partisan issues, because the Republican Party leadership is against all of the above.

      I know it's odd to quote Barry Goldwater, but remember his line "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice"?  He actually had a point, and that point is the reason we had a war for independence, and a war to end slavery.  I certainly hope it doesn't come to a war in the US this time.  Being accomodating to the American Fascist Party, which the Republican Party has turned into, is not going to help save the country.  A strong show of political will may do so.

  •  The real danger I think you're facing... (4.00)
    ...is the progressive voters you're going to lose to third parties, and voters saying, "If they won't fight for themselves, they won't fight for America," and just staying home. I'd worry much less about offending people who think the administration just "exaggerated" about Iraq. Those people already know the ship has sailed on President Bush's military misadventure. A clear majority of people saythe war was a mistake, it was not worth it, they disapprove of how Bush is handling it and they want to at least begin withdrawing troops.

    In fact,only 34% of REPUBLICANS agree with the administration in its justification of last resort, that force-feeding democracy makes the world a safer place. Even Bush's own party is no longer buying what he's selling.

    I understand General Clark's concerns about the "cut and run" perception, and I believe he has made his point: Bush needs to change strategies to succeed in Iraq. But I think Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., has it right: After the referendum on the constitution, whether it passes or fails, it's time for the United States to leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

    It makes no sense, political or otherwise, for Democrats to be echoing the administration on the need to "win" in Iraq when 63% of the American people no longer believe there's anything worth "winning," and in fact, far too much already has been lost.

    If the Republicans stay in power much longer, An Army of One isn't going to be just a slogan.

    Edwards/Clark 2008 -7.00, -4.31

    by MeanBoneII on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:39:12 AM PDT

  •  Dems should still have voted no on Roberts (4.00)
    I agree with a lot of what you're saying here, Senator. But when it comes to the Roberts confirmation, there's an important issue that you neglect to address. It may not be easy to convince the public that Roberts is an extremist, but there is another reason why the Democrats should still have voted no on his confirmation - the fact that the White House wasn't more forthcoming in producing those documents about Roberts' past as an attorney for the government. I think this would have been a good move, because:

    • it would have shifted the criticism away from Roberts and onto Bushco, where it above all belongs

    • it would have given the Democratic Senators an opportunity to demonstrate party discipline and a principled stance without subjecting themselves to easy charges of ideological extremism.

    If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

    by brainwave on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:40:56 AM PDT

  •  Dear Senator Obama (4.00)
    I hope you're going to have a new, tougher-than-nails strategy for hammering down right wing smears when you run for president.  You do realize, that they will attack you, your wife, your children, and maybe even your dog.  They will take your finest hour and turn it into the best reason not to vote for you before the public's eyes.

    Treat those who defile you with respect, and the public will not respect you.  I hope you're ready for what's coming at you when you run.

    Oh and I DO expect you to run for president!  You are my first choice among many good men.

    "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." -Thomas Jefferson, 1809.

    by Subterranean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:43:03 AM PDT

  •  Senator, thank you... (4.00)
    for posting here, and I have respect for your beliefs, but I cannot agree.

    The Democrats have lost the last few elections because of a lack of clarity, a failure to fight, and an attempt to appeal to the mushy middle.

    You can't appeal to the mushy middle, you have to pull them to you.  

    Look at the polls.  The country is not polarized on the issues.  The people are just waiting for a leader to step up and lead the way.

    There can be no excuse for Democratic support of the bankruptcy bill, there can be no excuse for Democratic support of CAFTA, and in my opinion, there can be no excuse for voting for John Roberts.  These issues and votes go to the core of the principles Democrats used to stand for.  To even suggest that "faith based initiatives" are something to even consider flys in the face of everything our founding fathers stood for, let alone so many great Democrats.

    As I said I respect you, and even agree with a few of your points, but yours is a recipe for continued disaster, and I cannot support that.

    Any party that would lie to start a war would also steal an election.

    by landrew on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:43:17 AM PDT

  •  So proud you are my Senator (none)
    And I appreciate your willingness to engage the DKos community.  I think your diary hits the mark, and I'm dismayed to see that many of the commenters here miss the point.

    Many here at DKos (and elsewhere) are quick to villify anyone voting differently than they would like as "Republican-lite".  However, I would ask them, isn't the type of nasty, mean, discourse that plays to the worst in us "Republican-lite" as well?  

    In fact, we need to perform some ju-jitsu and use the momentum of their attacks against them.  How do we do this?  By articulating a positive and innovative progressive vision for the future, and articulating with force and passion.  

    Such an articulation, if done correctly, could have the ability to make the Republicans look like the fear-and-hate-mongering, political relics they are.  

    And Senator Obama, no one is better at crafting a message of vision, of hope, of possibility, than you are.  Keep on fighting the good fight and know that we are behind you all the way.

  •  I hope you get a chance to read this... (4.00)
    I liked your post. My only concern is that you talk about creating legitimacy so that Dems can propose legislative ideas. But where are the ideas? I don't hear them.

    Of course it makes perfect sense to relate to rural Americans. Everyone can see the success Cindy Sheehan had simply because she was middle class, evenly toned, elderly, etc. Now that she's been arrested, I see her run as essentially over. That's sad, but that's how Americans think in 2005.

    People in middle America need to feel like they can relate to their Rep's. And these days, with our demographics, sadly for me... youth culture and "passion" aren't in the majority.

    However, when you mentioned gaining the legitimacy we need to speak to people about health care, energy policy, education, etc.; I wonder... what for? What policy?

    Because I don't see any proposals from Dems. I realize y'all aren't in power, and your proposals won't get an audience.

    But is it really smart to wait until you are in the majority to propose ideas?

    Dems are still getting pinned as the Party without ideas. Maybe it's smartest to just let Republicans dig their own hole. But eventually (and I'm hoping sooner rather than later), I think people will need an idea of what Dems propose to do about Iraq, health care, education, taxes, etc.

    I think we really do need a Dem Contract With America. We need to give the people a clear vision of what we stand for and what we plan to do. There are a whole slew of diaries that explained how we could address this broad party platform for 2006. But I don't feel any platform being built. Dems are just being reactionary at this point. But I wonder if that will be enough.

    One example is the 95-10 legislation. Is that going to be proposed? It's got a lot of good stuff in there. Parental permission is a problem and there needs to be clear exceptions for abused and otherwise uncomfortable kids. We can't expect Evangelical girls who get pregnant to go to their parents. It's just not going to happen.

    So yeah, if you guys are going to adopt a measured tone so that you can propose ideas with credibility...

    Where are the ideas?

    U.S. blue collar worker vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1998 it was 1:420.

    by Lode Runner on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:44:39 AM PDT

  •  My Dear Senator (none)

    What an eloquent analysis. I will admit I am quite capable of getting caught up in over heated rhetoric and name calling (even though I try real hard not to), but your mature and honest comments are a breath of fresh air.

    When I heard you speak at last year's Convention, I said to my life partner, without hesitation, we are watching the first African-American President of the United States speak. I know that thought is shared by many.

    I thank God you have chosen public service and wish you continued success in your current position.

    Steve Wild
    Daily Speech

  •  Well said - good points (none)
    Finally, I am not arguing that we "unilaterally disarm" in the face of Republican attacks, or bite our tongue when this Administration screws up.  Whenever they are wrong, inept, or dishonest, we should say so clearly and repeatedly; and whenever they gear up their attack machine, we should respond quickly and forcefully.  I am suggesting that the tone we take matters, and that truth, as best we know it, be the hallmark of our response.

    Can you get the rest of the Dems in the Senate to agree to follow this strategy, too?  Pretty, pretty please?

    "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy." ~Roger Baldwin

    by spyral on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:46:45 AM PDT

  •  Clinton 1993-94 (4.00)
       When Bill Clinton first got elected, and enjoyed hefty Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the Republicans didn't worry about their "tone". They ATTACKED -- and attacked LOUDLY and AGGRESSIVELY. They obstructed every Clinton initiative they could -- gays in the military, the BTU tax, health care reform, the economic stimulus bill. They torpedoed Zoe Baird. They torpedoed Kimba Wood. They torpedoed Lani Guinier. They did everything they could to kill the budget reconciliation bill (which saved our economy for the decade), which finally passed the House by ONE vote, with NO Republicans crossing the aisle. They filibustered. They insulted Hillary and Chelsea nonstop. They fanned trumped-up crap like Travelgate and Vince Foster. They were obnoxious and proud of it.

      The consequences of their "divisive" strategy can be observed in the 1994 electoral results.

       The Democrats don't need to be anywhere near that mean and nasty to regain power, given the inherent bankruptcy of most BushCo policies. But they've got to do SOMETHING to get their message out. I keep hearing people I work with say things like "Bush is awful, but I just don't see how the Democrats would be better."

      That kind of sentiment is reflective of the Dems' complete unwillingness to act like an opposition party. Why SHOULD a disgruntled Bushite vote for us, if all we've done is enable his every harebrained initiative?

      It's all good to be civil and everything. I'm not about to condemn fine Senators like Pat Leahy or Russ Feingold for one wrongheaded vote in a sea of good ones. But at some point we NEED to show SOME fight. That energy the Dem establishment managed to harness when it was time to go after Howard Dean? That's what we need. Where did it go?

     

    Republicans oppose abortion -- it happens eighteen years too early.

    by Buzzer on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:46:52 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the Comments, Sen. Obama (4.00)
      When Bill Clinton became president in 1993, the Democratic Party was already on the decline. We had been losing a few seats here and a few seats there for quite a while. The Republicans had been building their organizational structure from the bottom up. They got a consistent message for their 1994 House races with that Contract with America. The timing was right, and they won, in part because of the tax increase of 1993 that set the American economic house in order but was not popular with the American people. For too long they had heard the Reagonite message that there was a free lunch.

      We need to have message discipline, and we need to have a coherent set of principles we believe in. I see Sen. Obama's writing as completely agreeing with that. What I hear him saying, as many above have said, is that we need to stop being so shrill about members of the Democratic Party who read the Roberts nomination differently.

      We need tp pick our battles...but we need to stand firm and fight on those things, too. Sen. Obama makes good points, but so do the people above who speak to the need for the Democrats to stand for something we can use as the basis of a platform worthy of the American people.

      A challenge, Sen. Obama: Articulate a concrete message of what it means to be a Democrat, post it here, and let's respond. Tell us what you believe the party should be saying about fiscal discipline, war and peace policy, diplomacy, federal response to emergencies, environmental protection, worker protection, and national health care.

    •  Thanks for reminding us, and I'd like to add (4.00)
      that as much as I like and admire Mr. Obama.  It has been desperately dissapointing to watch him consistantly use his energy to berate his fellow democrats/progressives.  Seriously, I've heard him attack Howard Dean far more than George Bush.  

      It is a mystery to me why mainstream Democrats always feel the need to run away from their base, screaming and flailing their arms.  I'm really getting sick of being scolded by those we vote for.

  •  Being Democrats to win (2.50)
    I've said often enough, that the best way to win elections is not to belittle, insult, or spook the voters. Avoid that problem and you can tackle any opponent.

    Good job, spoken as a true progressive. (aka better America trumps ideology)

    But I won't be frustrated by the fire in your eyes as you're staring at the sun

    by Izixs on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:48:24 AM PDT

  •  Well written (none)
    Senator Obama,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts surrounding the Roberts confirmation vote and political discourse in general. Granted there are core values and issues that distinguish the liberals from the conservatives, but evaluating people based on sometype of ideological purity gets old. There are some that will judge politicians based on how they vote on a certain bill and if thier vote doesn't match thier own views then they complain. However its nearly impossible to find a politician or even a person that will agree with a single individual 100% of the time. Partisan unity has its purpose can can work well in certain situations when our core values are being stepped on such as privitizing Social Security. But if over-used the value of such strategy is weakened. However, very few benefit when both parties vote based on party lines the majority of the time. It erases room for rational and independent judgement and leadership. Maybe Washington and politics in general would be better off if most politicians followed ther common sense and conscience rather then worry about public opinion polls and pleasing special interest groups in order to get thier money. Maybe I am just too cynical, but I don't see any of this changing anytime soon.

    "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal law"- Immanuel Kant

    by LeftistIndependent on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:52:04 AM PDT

  •  Centrists (4.00)
    In fact, I think the whole "centrist" versus "liberal" labels that continue to characterize the debate within the Democratic Party misses the mark.  Too often, the "centrist" label seems to mean compromise for compromise sake, whereas on issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty, I don't think Democrats have been bold enough.  But I do think that being bold involves more than just putting more money into existing programs and will instead require us to admit that some existing programs and policies don't work very well.  And further, it will require us to innovate and experiment with whatever ideas hold promise (including market- or faith-based ideas that originate from Republicans).

    Thank you for that. I have always had a hard time articulating it that way. Being open to suggestions is another way I would put it. Then finding a way to compromise so the best ideas from both sides can be incorporated into good policy.

    But it is difficult right now. The political climate, created by the New Republican Party, has made any compromise impossible. As a matter of fact when they see that a compromise can be reached they pull the bill.

    So if I could ask you any question it would be, how do we change that dynamic back? How do we get the general public to see that our form of government has been bastardised into what it has become, a winner take all and the loser doesn't even get a seat at the table form of governing?

  •  Thank you for posting, Senator. (4.00)
    I appreciate it.  I am an Illinoisan, but I'm not sure I'd vote for you if a vote came up.  I did vote for you btw.

    Did you listen to your counterpart at the Republican Convention, Senator?  Did you listen to Zell Miller?  I'm sure you did.  And having listened to him, did you say to yourself:  It's politics.  It doesn't matter.  Well it matters to me and others like me.  He scared the heck out of me - and showed me the real face of the Republican party.  Unrelenting and as meanspirited as I've ever heard - it is what the Republican Party put out as their face.  More importantly, they did so boldly and with pride.  These are the people we are up against and they don't care that you write beautifully, that you speak well, that you are seeking and offering a middle way, that you think americans will all come together if we all understand we fall together. That's not what their operatives want and the rest of them are too lazy or not interested in America's common good - to put it in simple terms.  

    I wnat to be wrong - but I trust my instincts.

    The war in Iraq is not the only war going on in the USA but like the war in Iraq our side has not sent out enough troops to win.  
     

    The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

    by xanthe on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:54:14 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Senator (none)
    I'm disappointed to see the numbers of Kossacks who are attacking your post this morning.

    It was eloquent, well-spoken and most importantly correct.

    As much as I got an absolute kick out of Hunter's post yesterday (and I've read it several times now because I enjoyed it so much), the fact is that one of the reasons I hate the Republican Party is because of their political tactics.  They have no shame and no honor.  Winning is the only thing that's important and if you sell your soul to the devil in the process, who cares.

    I don't ever want the Democratic Party to get to that point.  Now that's not to say that I think we shouldn't go after every last bit of corruption in the Republican Party, that we shouldn't fight like hell for that which we believe in, that we shouldn't get a damn backbone and finally have some leadership.  On the contrary, we most definetly should.

    But Senator Obama's message is an excellent one about how we must not fall into the trap that conservatives have.  We can have a big tent and allow our representatives to actually think about the issues and use their mind when voting while at the same time getting rid of representatives that clearly believe in compromise above all else (i.e. Lieberman).

    The party needs more Senator Obamas.

    And sir, I cannot wait until you run for President.  It just pains me that we'll likely have to wait 8, 12, 16 years before we see it happen.  That will be a great day in American history.

    •  If politics were civilized and honest (4.00)
      I would agree with you 100%.

      Given that they are not and, particularly, the Republicans are not, then we will have a shrinking number of statesmanlike Democratic Senators and Congresspeople with dignified carriage.

      And they will be totally ineffective as their numbers shrink and Democratic principles were shredded.

      Respectfully disagree.

      HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

      by RenaRF on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:43:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can be Strong without Stridency (4.00)
    When does boldness have to be belligerent?  It doesn't.
    Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, FDR, Ghandi, Mother Jones, Woody Guthrie, Rosa Parks, Cindy Sheehan.  How many examples of bravery without hostility do we need?  

    Boldness and backbone are missing.  Compromise is not what we want. Debate is what is needed and the consensus out of the debate.  But between our so-called leaders and the media, there is no debate.  It is left to the Blogs to try and come up with consensus from debate.  

    Obama is a terrific speaker with a soft-spoken style, but  it seems a bit  naive of him to think that Republicans will see in the 22 Democratic votes for Roberts the courage for them to vote against their party line.  By behaving well, does Obama really think that we get brownie points.  I don't see it.   He might get a few pats on the back, but he better watch for the knife too.  Remember Kennedy being bushwhacked on "No Child Left Behind" funding?  And please let's not forget the lies of the Iraq war.  It's like Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the Football.

    Right now we have two Republican parties.  One extreme right with a few moderates and the other with a bunch of moderates and some liberals.   It's not the moderates that need champions, it's the progressives.  Moderates don't need anymore help.  Women, blacks, the middle class workers, children and old people need help.   The Democratic Party used to be the party that for whatever reason took care of the people without power.  Robert F. Kennedy believed that we could be both idealistic and egalitarian.  That we should prize the person over property.    The Kennedys were the  opposite of what is going on here i.e.  Privilege trumping ability.
    Please read "The Gospel According to RFK" and see why we are still wandering in the wilderness waiting for the next RFK.

     

    "Life is a zoo in a jungle." Peter De Vries

    by MontanaMaven on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:54:43 AM PDT

  •  The American people will believe (4.00)
    whatever someone convinces them to believe. The republicans have been making their case for 30 years that all democrats are liberals and all liberals are socialists, decadent, drug using rejects from the sixties, tax and spend God haters. The reason people don't understand what is wrong with right wing policy is because Democrats are afraid to tell them what is wrong with right wing policy. Democrats think that whatever someone thinks now, they have to find a way to appeal to that thinking. No one here (except a small group of people who want the democratic party to die so they can replace it with the revolutionary international socialist party) thinks democrats should be screaming in the public square. But we do want democrats to know what is important. Roberts is a right wing idealoque. Democrats could have let the country know that by refusing to vote for him and saying why forcefully. Yup, and some people might have to throw themselves on the sword, take a chance and speak up with the truth even if it means risking losing an election. Paul Wellstone was authentic. He did not go try to find out where his people were headed so that he could jump out in front and pretend to lead them. He also was not owned by corporate sponsors like so many democrats. If no democrat EVER took another penny from the Insurance and Banking industries it would be a step in the right direction.

    Liberal, Christian, Feminazi, Mom.

    by TeresaInPa on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:59:20 AM PDT

  •  CAFTA (4.00)
    CAFTA's a good example of how the dems scatter....it is a bad agreement with weak to no safeguards for labor and the environment. Should have been an easy one to defeat, but look what happened. Please don't play both sides of the issue to us here....that is a good way to become another weak, spineless democrat.

    The word is still out on Obama....not too comforting to read his words here which he plays both sides of Roberts, Iraq, CAFTA, etc. I have serious doubts about the dems when they can't muster opposition on these three issues.

  •  Bush criminality (none)
    It is false to think that the administration
    is not guilty of crimes in all directions--
    bribery, procurements, torture, invasion and attempted theft of another country's resources
    and so on.

    acting as if Bush Inc. are merely somewhat extreme
    idealogues is not going to do the job

    trying to channel what Judge Roberts "really"
    thinks is not the point.

    should a nominee of a blatantly criminal administration--this is what the democrats could
    state and prove--be given the benefits of any
    doubts?

    this needs to be brought to the "court of public
    opinion" to effect real change

    Sen. Obama wants to make nice, but may have to bomb Iran in the mean-time

    so on it goes

    [insert barnyard epithet here]

  •  Obama - Keep the Goddamn Govt out of my Church (4.00)
    And further, it will require us to innovate and experiment with whatever ideas hold promise (including market- or faith-based ideas that originate from Republicans).

    The 1st Amendment is NOT to be "experimented" with...

    Sir,
    I hope you clarify this statement in the future; because with my current understanding of what you are suggesting, I am ready to devote night and day to seeing to it that you never achieve higher office.  The separation of church and state has allowed this country to grow within it a beautiful tapestry of religions and faiths - all existing peacefully in our pluralistic society.  Every "faith-based" proposal I have ever seen takes a hammer to that wall and threatens to destroy the fragile balance between my religion, your religion... every Americans religion (or non-religion) - and our secular government.  While "faith-based" programs may prove to have some utility in addressing some short-term specific goals, their cost is too great for our society to bear.   The very fact that you'd consider such a poison as a possible "solution" to our ailments makes me wonder how sincere the rest of your eloquent letter was regarding the need for Democrats to stand up for important principles.  Few principles, sir, are more important the first Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The bill of rights should never be "experimented" with.  If I have understood your position correctly, I sincerely hope you reconsider it.  A party that feels free to "experiment" with our founding enumerated liberties is one that I will seek to defeat at all costs.  I'll give you and other Democratic leaders the benefit of the doubt for the time being.  If, in the future, you receive the remnants of my "Democracy Bonds" via certified mail, you'll know then that you've gone too far in violating fundamental rights for political expediency.

  •  Still don't get it (4.00)
    I have been very impressed by Senator Obama but this post was definitely disheartening. What makes so many of us crazy is that our "leaders" seem to operate in a world completely removed from the world we live in. We see, quite clearly, the total corruption that has brought this administration to power and has characterized it. Our leaders see individual republicans who are pretty nice guys, one one one, and worry about tarnishing the hallowed halls of congress. How can they even be in the same room with republicans without vomiting?

    Saying that Americans he has spoken to aren't as rabid as some of us are makes me want to scream. Of course they aren't. Most of them are apolitical and get their "news" from either biased sources, or sources that simply don't actually report the news. Most of the people I know have never heard of Jack Abramoff, Judy Miller, Grover Norquist, Richard Mellon Scaife, etc. Even those who are pretty political (I'm talking about Democrats here) are mostly frustrated and puzzled unless they are active online. If they aren't, they have no idea who George Lakoff is or what framing is, or what the Project for a New American Century was or what the right wing machine is and where it came from. Our leaders should be EDUCATING  the public instead of running from it. The public is IGNORANT - and I don't mean in an insulting way. They don't have the information.

    Bush's popularity is falling now largely because of Katrina, and one of the reasons that was so powerful was because it was uncensored and in our face. Bush has skated by for 5 years because most of what he and his people have done has been largely hidden from the public. But it hasn't been hidden from our Senators and Congresspeople.

    While our leaders believe a "popularly elected president should be given the benefit of the doubt" that same president is killing people. How dare our leaders give this criminal "the benefit of the doubt?" How dare they? How many times do you have to be stabbed with a knife before you recognize that you're being stabbed?

  •  Thank you, Senator, (4.00)
    but I agree with the other posters that we don't have time to wait until the next elections.  We don't have time to try and psychoanalyze the American population about what we need or want. Our treasury is being ripped out from under us; our entire government is being ripped out from under us as we speak, and they have  a year to do more damage before another election.

    I suggest stat meetings with Democrats about the language you will use to put forth to the American people exactly what is happening with this corrupt gang of thugs. Figure out how you will word it, who will do the talking, what the talking points will be. Keep it simple, make it clear how middle class and working class and poor Americans are being exploited and screwed over so they understand. Explain it using charts, diagrams, the Norquist poster, use anything you need to use, but do it. Hire some consultants to help you figure it out.

    Then get on the front steps of Congress and call a press conference and start explaining what will happen to us, what has happened to us, as a nation, as a government, if this crew of professional thieves continues their pillaging of the government. Explain why Plame undermines our national security. Explain why Iraq is a boondoggle slush fund for Halliburton. Explain why a major city drowned (because Bush didn't fund levee construction and hired hacks). Tell everybody why deficits affect the middle class, why the national debt growing is economic suicide. Get up there and explain it.

    And go ahead and say, yeah, we've been spineless most of the time, we're trying to do the right thing now. I don't know. Just cop to it. Recent polls indicate that most people want the Dems to start speaking up. So speak up. Tell them you've been sitting on it too long, but you want to get it straight this time, and together we can out this lawless crew.

    If you want the support of the American people, get out there and earn it. Tell them the truth about what's going on.

  •  Senator, You Are A Disappointment (4.00)
    Ever since you voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice, a liar and a complete incompetent as National Security Advisor,  I have no respect for you.

    Americans like to see tough politicians, warriors who are willing to fight and protect them.  You seem to be no better than John Kerry, a man who was so weak, he lost the presidency to the worst the Republicans will ever have to offer.

    It's about time you impotent Democrats show some anger and disgust for your arrogant, selfish and hateful Republican colleagues.  They tear you apart 80 times a day on TV and your answer is to be their friends?  Maybe you should be tough and make them want to be your friends.

    We didn't lose only two elections because of the weakness of the Democratic Party; we've lost to Nixon twice, Reagan twice and Bush senior and his incompetent son 3 times.  We were annihilated in congress in 1994 and things just continue to get worse.  You have absolutely no voice in this government, in case you haven't looked lately, and thanks to the impotency, you are sealing our future for the next generation and a half with Bush Supreme Court appointments.

    You have to start getting tough and pointing out how horrible the Republicans are and at the same time convince Americans that you have the answers.

    I am a strong believer in capitalism but not the gratuitous bastardized capitalism that the Republicans promote.  Pure capitalism is based on knowledge, access and fair execution of the government.  You have to teach Americans that they have the right to understand the tax system.  You have to let them know that the top tax bracket in this country used to be 91% and now the super wealthy are paying only 15% on their voluminous dividends and capital gains.  You have to tell them that these Republicans, who inherited everything good about this country, are so selfish that they are willing to let it all fall apart as long as they pay no taxes. You have to tell Americans why it is important to maintain an infrastructure and why we need more teachers in schools and how much tax money all that takes.  If you read Tom Friedman's book, "The World is Flat" you might understand why we think you are all fiddling while Rome is burning.

    Instead of telling us that you have to make it easier for your moderate Republican friends to fight off their radicals, which isn't doing any good anyway, you have to tell Americans how the middle class is getting stepped on day in and day out.  You have to show them how companies like Wal-Mart are bleeding their employees dry and creating tremendous drains on Medicaid and ultimately Social Security and Medicare.  The real joke is that he dividends Wal-Mart shareholder's earn are not subject to Social Security or Medicare taxes and they are taxed at rate that is half of the rate that most Americans pay on their salaries.  This isn't capitalism, it is plutocratic thievery!  

    Do you understand how much of a burden Social Security and Medicare is for the middle class, all of whose income is taxed for that purpose and then when they retire, they retire on 25% of the salary they paid in on.  Over 40 years of work, they put in and accumulate, with their employers contribution and interest, $1.75 million dollars and they draw out $1,900 a month till they die?  Something is wrong here, Senator!

    I am tired of hearing about comity.  Your comity has become a comedy.  Why is it that nobody tells Americans what George W. Bush has done and how obvious it was that he'd screw things up as he always did?  Where was John Kerry in the last election?  Don't you dare tell me he was tough.  He was a disgrace for thanking Bush for his gross and criminal negligence on 9/11 and his pathetic attempts to explain his $80 billion vote.  It doesn't matter if you voted to give the President the authority to go to war with Saddam Hussein, what counts was the George W. Bush played a treasonous con game and where the hell were you and your fellow senators when he did it?  You could say that we can't get out of Iraq now but you could also say that Bush and Cheney should be impeached for perpetrating a fraud that has killed almost 2,000 American soldiers.  

    I am pleased you are here too but I am disgusted with your performance and the performance of your Democratic colleagues.  If we vote for you, it does no good, so why bother voting.  Show us some backbone and we'll be their in droves and so will everyone else.  I know that you know better.

    •  Exactly (2.50)
      Very well said.
    •  cpa1 = best post on this thread (4.00)
      Thank you for that wonderful post.

      The tax code really does embody the true values of a society; and our society is currently sinking into plutocratic thievery.

      I really wish more people understood how the tax code functions and how over the years we've gone from taxing wealth to taxing work.

      I am still waiting for some real leaders to explain to the American people how their Treasury is being raided by the wealthy politically-connected elite.

      •  Thank you to both of you. (4.00)
        I know I've made it when I get support from two Kossacks who call themselves a fool and someone who rambles on forever saying nothing!

        But seriously, this has becoming surreal.  Senator Obama talks about restraint when we have all said over and over again what if the rolls were reversed and Clinton did what Bush did.

        Maybe that's an exercse the Democratic caucus needs to do.  They could all switch and take the rolls of real Republican Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen.  Imagine how Santorum would carry on, and Frist and how outraged George Allen would be.  Then someone would have to play the Senates wind up Republican, Cornyn of Texas.  He epitomizes the Republicans, good looking, and can talk forever about nothing showibng absolutely no emotion.  All Republicans talk like that because God forgot to give the consciences and maybe that's why the pretend to be such god fearing people.  

        How many times would Clinton have been impreached?

        I am sick and tired of hearing about the high rode.  Those Republicans need to be shut up and put down and exposed.  If Senator Obama and his friends don't care to do that, then I am not wasting my time voting.  

        I was very against Ralph Nader and to this day hate the man for what he did but things were different now.  I'd still never want a third party to dilute the liberal and progressive vote but letting these guys know that we'll stay home unless they beging to wake the hell up is fine logic for me.

        As far as the Roberts confirmation, they should have bashed him and Bush everytime they spoke.  They should have said that they will not lay down and be quiet while a man like Bush, who has done nothing but make mistakes and lie to us and whose approval rating is now in the toilet, get's to choose Supreme Ct. justices that could be there for 30 plus years.  They should have said, either the White House releases all of Robert's papers or they will filibuster.  The Republicans go more inside information on that bogus travel office accusation than the Democrats got for a man who will be Chief Justice for 30 years or more.  

        Every single paragraph should be a torpedo against Bush, just like the Republicans did to Clinton.  Remember when every Republican said, "I support the men in the field but not the President" during the war in Bosnia.

        Senator O'bama, you had potential, don't blow it.  

  •  Senator Obama, big props from Florida. (none)
    I'm a university student (University of Central Florida) so It could be said that I came of political age during the Clinton Administration. I wasn't old enough to vote for Gore, and my first presidential vote was for Kerry. It's disheartening to see the way the Bush administration is shirking their responsibilities as leaders of our nation, and this is compounded by the memories I have of "the way things were" in the 1990's.

    With that said, I think people like you, Barbara Boxer, and Harry Reid, among others I cannot fish from the top of my head at the moment, are just the type of people we need, both for the Democratic party and America at large. You know about sticking to your guns, but know just as well when to shake hands. You abhor minced words and softball questions, but understand and capitalize on the power of straight answers and straightforward questions.

    All of you are people of inspiring words and actions. Don't ever change.

    P.S. A few good Senators wouldn't hurt down here in sunny Florida either :)

    Religious conservatives are motivated by the suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun. - Badtux @ K5

    by BullitNutz on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:13:48 AM PDT

  •  George Bush is mean-spirited... (4.00)
    They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced...

    Senator, you need to get out more. A very large majority of the people I know actually do think he's mean spirited. In fact, they've noticed that the only time he can speak clearly is when he's talking about war or the death penalty. Governing bores him. Even when he admits "responsibility" he looks away like a school boy who's been called into the office.

    No sir, a big chunk of Americans hate the man, and for good reason. That chunk is your base. And it's high time the Democrats started doing what the Rethugs do - consolidate the base. You guys had better start voting for these high-minded ideals of which you speak, or voting against the attacks on them, or you're going to see a big movement toward the green party in this country.

    •  Where are you living? (none)
      The vast majority of people I speak to on politics do not think of Bush as mean-spirited or prejudiced.  They think of him as a very effective politician with a very clear agenda that he is committed to following, which is exactly what he is.

      The problem is when that agenda follows a specific political philosophy that is highly outrageous to a large portion of the public, and that portion is unable to control their rhetoric or successfully organize and caucus.  Again, this is exactly the problem.

      I am glad to see that Obama sees the problem and is in a place to work on it.

      •  I live in LA (none)
        and if you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention.

        When you say "bring 'em on" to the enemy your troops are facing, how is that not mean spirited? When you make fun of a woman you put on death row (by saying "oh - please don't kill me" in a mocking way), you're mean spirited. When you call reporters major league assholes, when you belittle your political opponents military service when you dodged it, and when you pass law after law that screws poor people and minorities, you are mean spirited. When you order someone's head to be delivered in a box on ice, how is that not mean-spirited? I could go on and on, but I'm sick of him.

        And I'm sick and tired of Democrats so eager to take the "high road" that they appease and enable the man.

        •  Every President makes such remarks (none)
          You can find similar comments in the quoted history of any President.  Do you want to dredge up "evil" quotes about Clinton?  How about Carter?  How about LBJ, or JFK?  They've all got terrible quotes.

          The attitude you express is what's wrong with the progressive movement and why it couldn't get John Kerry elected in what should have been a walk-off home run of an election.  You're so caught up in your own ideas of right and wrong that you cease to recognize the actual majority of the voting public.

          America is conservative right now.  Stating hatred for a sitting conservative president isn't going to win friends among the moderates.

          •  But you've missed something. (none)
            "America is conservative right now".

            So's Howard Dean.  George W. Bush is a radical extremist.

            The discourse has gotten incredibly distorted, and it's partly thanks to mealy-mouthed talk, though mostly due to the Republican extremist noise machine.

            Real conservatives, once they find out what's really happening, oppose George W. Bush.

          •  Poll after poll (none)
            actually shows that America is pretty liberal on the  issues. From the environment to education, from war to stem cells, Americans are actually pretty liberal. They have been tricked by lies and Diebold into "electing" republicans and "conservatives."

            I have no problem with moderates. I can agree with them on a lot of things. My problem is with extremists, like GWB, who I hate. Now you can lecture me all you want about how my hatred is bad for us, but I will say that the Rethug hatred for Bill Clinton certainly did their side some good.

            We need to stop being such pussies. Nobody wants to elect someone to protect them that won't even stand up for themselves.

      •  Public opinion is not reality (none)
        The vast majority of people you speak to are ill-informed.  Informing them better is important.

        Obviously, we should do so in a calm, matter-of-fact manner.  But there's nothing wrong with calmly listing off the fascistic policies implemented by the administration.

        •  'tis sad (none)
          You're still stuck in the "you are wrong and I am right" mentality.  This will NEVER win converts and only results in more Republican victories.  You, sir, are the neoconservative power base.
  •  This is a recipe for defeat (4.00)
    Sen. Obama is eloquent and sincere, and I respect him greatly.  But he has just laid out a recipe for defeat.

    Yes, senators and representatives will disagree on their analysis of some issues, and their disagreement can be sincere.  But we have in this country two parties, one of which rigorously enforces party discipline, the other of which does not.  If Sen. Obama's philosophy prevails, it will not suffice to take back the House and Senate.  The reaon is that if the 48 Republican senators always vote as a bloc, and 4-5 Democrats dissent on each critical issue, the Republicans plus the Democratic dissenters will win every vote.  We would need a large pad to really have victory, while the Republicans could run the show with a bare majority.

    The Democrats are the only major party in the free world that acts as they do.  Other democratic parties formulate their core positions in their party caucuses, where they might strongly disagree.  On some issues, a free vote might be declared if it does not impact key party principles.  But otherwise, once a position prevails in the intra-party vote, the whips enforce discipline.

    The only thing that Democrats do vote as a bloc on is the leadership of their own institution: who gets to chair the committees.  But politics has to be about more than the personal ambitions of senators and congresspeople.

  •  thanks for stopping by! (none)
    it is invaluable to hear from our representatives directly in their own words.  imo, it is this style of communication that will strengthen the party for the good of all involved.

    i pray that your fears of bush's next appointee are unfounded.  with this administration's incompetence on ostentatious display, alongside the various corruption scandals, it seems that bush is plumb out of "benefit of the doubt."

    he already ruined FEMA with patronage appointments, and even roberts' qualifications are debatable in that regard.  our approach to anybody he nominates should be highly circumspect.

    again, thank you.

  •  What I want to see (4.00)
    I don't want pious platitudes!  What I do want is some sort of unity in the Democratic party.  No wonder we don't win anything worth while as we don't know how to stand together.  Look at the Repugs!  It doesn't matter what the issue, if Bushco wants it they stand together and vote it in.  Why can't we show some guts as dems and stand together?  I am so tired of pols looking out for themselves as opposed to doing what their constituents want.  If you aren't voting the way that I want you to vote, as a citizen, I don't care what self serving reason you have for doing this, I will not vote for you again.  Dems that voted for the corporatist Roberts will never get my vote again!
  •  Thanks, and Welcome (4.00)
    Your points are well articulated, Senator.

    We need MORE people like you in our Government- on both sides of the aisle.

    Your comments do leave some questions.  

    It is the perception here, and in most political circles that certain Senators don't:
    stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will.
    They seem to capitulate in the face of criticism at every turn.

    I have noticed (and commented) that your rhetoric does much of what you say Senators Simon and Wellstone do (did).  It is my hope that your fellow Democratic Senators listen to you and begin to understand that standing up for what's right is worth the consequences, even if that means loosing an election.

  •  Concur completely (none)
    I am a Journalism student at the University of Missouri (though I am from Illinois), and an avid blogger.  I am particularly Kos-attuned because I feel this forum is self-critical when necessary, a trait I feel is necessary for growth and the search for ahimsa.  After reading Senator Obama's post, I want to iterate my truth:  that of a student in a battleground state leaning redder every election:

    Most of my friends don't pay nearly as much attention to the political sphere as bloggers, even Senator Obama, want to give them credit for.  They listen to their iPod, engross themselves in situational comedy and reality television, and anxiously await happy hours. Their passive attendance to the news and current events does not generate much contemplative thought, likely because they view both parties as aggressive and as politicians (in the most pejorative sense of the word).

    This is not to suggest that they do not care.  One must consider their media environment, as of late:  episodic news devoid of any significant context, finger-pointing talking heads, and conversations with friends and classmates.  Needless to say, the battle is to be won in that third category.

    And while the blogosphere can provide me meaningful context, and verify my convictions, it is ultimately the mindset and argument strategy put forth in Senator Obama's post that I find most effective, both in hooking people who aren't Democrats, and (perhaps more importantly) in encouraging those who already are to be more vociferous about it with friends.  In short, I realize that I must step out of clutter of hateful rhetoric and sound bites if I want to actually connect with the minds of my friends and outspoken adversaries.

    "It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter."

    I grafted this quote because therein lies the crux of the argument, as I see it.  I am by no means a centrist (actually, I consider myself a Democratic Socialist).  That said, I realize that the majority of my peers are further to the right of me, especially here in MO.  Regardless, I converted 17 would-be red- and third-party voters to Kerry in the 2004 election.  I didn't do this by vehemently defending my personal beliefs to everyone who asked, but rather by opening mutually respectful dialogue with people who publicly decried their allegiance to the Republican party.

    By dropping that adverserial tone that I love so much, and that I find to be endemic of the blogosphere, I find that people actually listen to what I have to say.  Senator Obama and other Democrats face this every day, and it's important to remember that they are the ones who have the ability to effect mass-scale legal and political change.  I would like to stress, however, that the rest of us must take responsibility for effecting that sociopolitical change, the altering of the cultural landscape that allows our beliefs to enter the mainstream of the body politic, and in turn for our representatives to win not just the battle, but the war itself.

    •  Wrong, wrong (none)
      These are very nasty and mean spirited people.  they twist a story to their own liking and vilify people.  where have you been?
      •  where have I been? (none)
        I've been out influencing opinion and effecting change for the causes that we share, while you apparently have spent your time and energy vilifying others in internet forums.  I respectful submit that yours is sort of a hypocritical and self-defeating charge.

        In another of your posts in this thread, you said:
        "What I do want is some sort of unity in the Democratic party.  No wonder we don't win anything worth while as we don't know how to stand together."  You closed that post by stating: "Dems that voted for the corporatist Roberts will never get my vote again!"

        Isn't that argument inherently paradoxical, or are you suggesting the the Democratic party would win as long as they agreed with each and every of your political convictions?

        My point is, we do agree on a majority of issues, and many, if not most, Democrats in office agree with us as well.  But you and I don't, and shouldn't, agree on everything, and we shouldn't expect them to either.  And whereas you and I can express our beliefs without fear of reproach, elected officials don't have the security of knowing that speaking their mind will keep them in office.  While I don't think we should let them skate, we should be careful not to take them to task over otherwise non-divisive issues.

        Coming full circle to my original post, most of the people I know just don't care as much as you or I about politics and current events, sad as that might be.  Most of the issues we find ourselves divided upon are, to less engaged citiznes, non-divisive.  What do we stand to gain by vilifying and further distancing them from the discussion?

  •  It's not what Democrats want.... (4.00)
    or what Republicans want, it's what the American people want.  And they have indicated time and again that what they want is LEADERSHIP.  With all due respect, I suggest the honorable senator take a few hours to read some of the tracts written by Sam Adams in the 1770s.
  •  merely responding to populace won't cut it (4.00)
    the senator wrote:

    I think this perspective misreads the American people.  From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon.  They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.

    "this perspective" (that democrats need to grow a spine) may indeed misread the american people.

    however, we have to remember that - thanks to the right wing noise machine and lousy media - many american people are not as well-informed as they need to be. so their perceptions are not necessarily well-grounded.

    therefore i think that one of the necessary roles for the democrats is to provide leadership and education regarding what's going on with our country. the way to do that is to fight, challenge, be  high-profile and in-your-face. in other words, grow a spine.

    if the democrats let the perceptions of many americans govern their approach, it will serve the interests of the right.

    instead, the democrats/liberals/left needs to change the perceptions of these people.

    one of those perceptions (which may be true) which needs changing is that democrats don't stand for anything.

    "I'm a vampire baby, suckin' blood from the earth..."

    by mightymouse on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:29:59 AM PDT

    •  My friend (3.50)
      who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and thinks Bush is dumb actually admitted to me that she finally voted for Bush because Kerry was a "wimp."

      Take that for what you will, I guess.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:33:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even though... (4.00)
    I've posted a few times here, I think this is the most important discussion taking place here today.

    The Senator said:

    Russ Feingold, the only Democrat to vote not only against war in Iraq but also against the Patriot Act, doesn't become complicit in the erosion of civil liberties simply because he chooses to abide by a deeply held and legitimate view that a President, having won a popular election, is entitled to some benefit of the doubt when it comes to judicial appointments. Like it or not, that view has pretty strong support in the Constitution's design.

    As many here have noted very eloquently, if this is your message, it is extremely disheartening.

    How can you even say that? It is appalling, actually. Of course his vote is complicit in the erosion of civil liberties since the man he voted for will most likely erode those civil liberties (interesting how Feingold gambles with American's rights) and will use the bench to forward agendas supporting the corporate elite, and in doing so, will erode not just our civil liberties, but our way of life.

    And as others have noted -- how can ANYONE give this President the "benefit of the doubt." The fact that you say that tells me I cannot support you any further. You may be an intelligent man, a good orator, a good man, but you are not fighting for the American people, and neither is Russ Feingold.

    You don't get it. Every vote now counts. When a government is literally trying to destroy America, every vote counts.

    You also assume here that this President was "elected." Well, the first time he wasn't, and the second time, many voter irregularities took place in Ohio. Further, Mr. Delay was responsible for giving the House to the Republicans with his redistricting and blatant grab for power.

    "Won a popular election"? You sound like Bush with his "mandate." Why would you even make this assumption?

    THIS IS THE PROBLEM.

    And about the Constitution? Karen Hughes -- appointed by Bush -- is over in the Middle East misquoting the Constitution. Are the Democrats going to speak out about that?

    If the Democrats refuse to stand up for America, then what hope do we have?

    I'm not overstating the case. Maybe if this was written over 5 years ago, but not now.

    I can only hope you're reading these comments. I'm proud of my fellow Kossacks that have spoken openly and honestly to you here about their concerns. I gather it is easy to think those of us that are angry as the fringe or the left wing or whatever, but the truth is, we're concerned American citizens and we have been given every right to be concerned.

    With all due respect, I believe you don't understand how crucial this is.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:31:39 AM PDT

  •  You have your work cut out for you, sir. (4.00)
    Based upon the range and intensity of responses here, I would say that you now have a clearer pulse of the Democratic populace you serve. We are representative of the multitudinous voices that possess both hope and despair--even simultaneously. Without sounding histrionic, I urge you to consider that our democracy is in danger--today, right now. The clock is ticking, sir. I hope you can hear it.

    I *gladly* donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

    by nancelot on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:32:14 AM PDT

  •  We've heard from the Neo-Conservatives... (3.33)
    Now we get the Neo-Centrists.

    "Can't we all just...get along?"

    No, sir, we cannot. When I first heard your act on Air America in an interview with Randi Rhodes...who cut you WAY too much slack in my opinion...about a year ago, I thought "Oh. A REALLY slick politician."

    Nothing else.

    You evaded and eluded and elided your way through a minefield of questions about Iraq, politics, etc. with consummate grace.

    And you didn't SAY shit!!!

    It is too late for this, Senator.

    Where have you been on the really important issues of the last year?

    On the Ohio and Florida voter suppression and fraud?

    On the media blackout of the various damaging issues that have arisen regarding the Bush adminiustration?

    The Downing Street things.

    Gannon/Guckert and all things Rovian that his presence at the White House press conferences implies?

    Did you stand at George Galloway's side?

    Or John Conyer's?

    I mean STAND. Not support from way back in the bleachers where it's safe.

    Have you stood up and said that the Islamic people who are fighting the economic imperialist policies of the United States in their region are CORRECT in their basic take on what is up, if not necessarily in their choice of tactics?

    Have you railed against the (nonexistent) continuing energy conservation policies of the U. S. establishment?? At the criminal consumption of energy that make this criminal war "necessary" in the FIRST place?

    No. You have not.

    Because you are playing politics.

    It is too LATE for "politics".

    We are immersed in the Third World War...the war of the have-nots against the have-too-muches...and they are armed with WMDs. As are we.

    Time to back the fuck off...not play word games in order to get elected again.

    You have several years left in your term...DO something with them instead of trying to get re-elected.

    I do NOT support you OR your tactics...nor am I convinced of your ultimate strategic goals, either.

    But...business as usual, right?

    Conflate, conform, compromise.

    Until KABOOM happens.

    Wrong approach.

    We are in radical trouble now.

    We need radical leaders to take us out.

    Wake up.

    Halfway won't do anymore.

    It really won't.

    Wake up.

    Charles

    •  This will not work (none)
      You forget that in terms of the voting public, your perspective is in the minority.  Talking about such radicalism will do nothing to unite the country and will do nothing to build up a progressive majority.

      A progressive majority needs the moderates or it will not work.  Right now, the progressives (as a general rule) are alienating the moderates and thus people like Joe Lieberman might as well be Republicans.  

      Of course there are problems, but isolating yourself with radical ideology will not solve them.

      •  I wrote: (none)
        Where have you been on the really important issues of the last year?

        On the Ohio and Florida voter suppression and fraud?

        On the media blackout of the various damaging issues that have arisen regarding the Bush adminiustration?

        The Downing Street things.

        Gannon/Guckert and all things Rovian that his presence at the White House press conferences implies?

        Did you stand at George Galloway's side?

        Or John Conyer's?

        I mean STAND. Not support from way back in the bleachers where it's safe.

        Have you stood up and said that the Islamic people who are fighting the economic imperialist policies of the United States in their region are CORRECT in their basic take on what is up, if not necessarily in their choice of tactics?

        Have you railed against the (nonexistent) continuing energy conservation policies of the U. S. establishment?? At the criminal consumption of energy that make this criminal war "necessary" in the FIRST place?

        THINK, krark!!!

        Where ARE we if these ideas are considered "radical"?

        How far have we sunk, and what chance do we have to surface if we do not swim like mad?

        Right now, godamnit!!!

        THINK!!!

        Look where our prevarications have put us.

        Time to speak the truth and damn the torpedoes.

        When Churchill spoke about Hitler, he was booed down for YEARS.

        Until push came to shove.

        Well...push is about to COME to shove, as far as I can see.

        And Obama and the rest of the neo-centrists are simply "Peace in our time",  Neville Chamberlain-like fools. Trying to negotiate with a totally negative force, which is in power and means to STAY in power by any means necessary.

        WE...the United States...are the bad guys now, and unless the mainstream of America realizes this, then we will CONTINUE to be the bad guys.

        Study the history of mankind.

        The bad guys ALWAYS lose.

        Eventually.

        And when they do lose, they lose BIG time. Charred and burned. Like Germany post W.W. II

        Either we take BushCo...the whole coporate system as it now stands... down from inside this country or the rest of the world is GUARANTEED to take us down. And all the politic talk in the world ain't gonna take these people down. They'll throw us a Delay...who won't even do time, bet on it... while putting a Roberts in charge of the Supreme Court for 30 years.

        They have invented the ULTIMATE Delay-ing tactic. "Give 'em Delay!!!! Har har har!!!"

        JESUS!!!

        What is WRONG with you people?

        Are you so media-ed out that you cannot see the woods for the atom bombs?

        Lord save us all.

        Charles

    •  Man, you alienated me (none)
      and we agree politically.

      But you don't have my back in a dark alley. And that's what counts with me.  Your nastiness comes through loud and clear.

      •  Have you ever BEEN in a dark alley? (none)
        And in need of someone to watch your back?

        Let me tell you something.

        You would be one hell of a lot better of with me than w/Mr. Obama, who would quite occupied busily negotiating his own compromise with the bad guys.

        WAY better off.

        Charles

  •  Obama convert (none)
    I am a Goldwater conservative or, as my wife likes to call it, a sane libertarian.  I have never voted for a Democrat for president in my life.

    Barack Obama, I will not only vote for you if/when you run for President, I'll gladly caucus for you in Iowa and I'll volunteer to work for your campaign in central Iowa.

    This is what American political discourse should be.

  •  You nailed it, sir (none)
    I especially appreciate your willingness to entertain the proposition that some Democratic halos may be showing a bit of tarnish.

    Matthew Miller--a bone fide progressive--writes compellingly about this in his excellent book "The Two Percent Solution." He points out that liberals have been demagoguing almost as dishonestly as conservatives about things like Social Security.

    If we're going to be true members of the "reality-based community," we have to be willing to reexamine some cherished beliefs. We can choose to be "beautiful losers" or we can become leaders in the "radical centrist" coalition that everybody's talking about. Hey, maybe school vouchers are worth considering in some situations.

    Politics is, after all, "the art of the possible."

    News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

    by RobLewis on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:42:57 AM PDT

  •  Making Conversions (3.80)
    I agree with Jonathan that actually convincing people we know in daily life to vote our way happens when we respect their views, present ours in a respectful way, etc. But in terms of this eternal argument about being strident versus being respectful, or however you want to put it, the bottom line is that being respectful towards people who have no intention of reciprocating is just stupid. I'm not saying that we should do nothing but call republicans names, but dammit, our leaders should, in the strongest possible terms, call republicans on their actions and the consequences of those actions. Every minute of every day. And they should explain what it all means to the public (easier said than done, I know, but do they even try?). Republicans, no matter how nice or "principled" they are individually, when they vote, might as well be Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly - they are as completely nasty and inconsistent as those men. And you can't "present arguments" to those men - they simply cut you off. They certainly don't listen.

    John Kerry kept saying he would fight for us. The election was most definitely worthy of dispute, but he gave in immediately. Thats what our leaders seem to do a lot. However they want to excuse it the bottom line is that they end up being more concerned about "how they'll look" than actually defending the American people against these criminals. And if they don't recognize that the bush people are criminals then we're really in trouble.

    I don't want my leaders fighting for congress or for precedent, I want them fighting for us. If they don't have the stomach for it then go home.

  •  With all due respect.... (4.00)
    Senator, I appreciate your posting here but, I have to ask....is THIS what spine looks like?

    After Dean remarked that the Republican Party is "pretty much a white, Christian party", Senator Barack Obama criticized Dean for using "religion to divide." Obama said "as somebody who is a Christian myself, I don't like it when people use religion to divide, whether that is Republican or Democrat,"..."I think in terms of his role as party spokesman, Dean probably needs to be a little more careful and I suspect that is a message he is going to be getting from a number of us."
    Other senators have stood by Dean, including Democratic leader Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy.

    •  This is what SMARTS looks like (none)
      I really don't think "spine" has anything to do with the example you cited. What Howard Dean said was dumb, dumb, dumb and the Senator was well within his rights to state that he has an alternate view.  I'm glad he did.  I mean, for Godsakes, Howard Dean might as well have erected a giant sign pointing to the Republican Party saying, "All whites and Christians enroll here" (with an asterisk at the bottom saying "Non-whites and non-Christians proceed to Democratic Party enrollment booth").
    •  Your making Barack's point... (none)
      Dean would be our President now, not because of compromise...God knows he's got a spine and he's going to stick with it...but because you stand for your beliefs AND create a larger tent with reason.  Reason AND passion, baby.
    •  Even Christ played the division card (none)
      It is one thing to take the humble, diplomatic approach and not get dragged into the mud, as Obama seems to believe. And in normal times with normal people that  is how we ought to be. But these are no where near normal stable times.  we are dealing with PHARISEES, and Christ was saved his wrath for them time and again. I want my leader to tell it like it is, because the democratic party is the party of not only the good fair and just servant who hates hypocrisy,greed and revenge,  but the downtrodden and poor and least among us. Senator Obama ought to recall the Master of righteousness and how one needs to deal the current administration.

       "But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter. 14 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you devour the houses of widows, praying long prayers. For this you shall receive the greater judgment. 15 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.

      16 Woe to you blind guides, that say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but he that shall swear by the gold of the temple, is a debtor. 17 Ye foolish and blind; for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, is a debtor. 19 Ye blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 He therefore that sweareth by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things that are upon it:

      21 And whosoever shall swear by temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth in it: 22 And he that sweareth by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 23 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and uncleanness.

      26 Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside may become clean. 27 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness. 28 So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchres of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, 30 And say: If we had been in the days of our Fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets."

      -8.00/-6.36 and proud of it.

      by donailin on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:04:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry.... (4.00)
    nice speech but a lot of fluff, and I'm not buying it. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth and giving us your best beltway rally.  Again, you guys keep insisting on catering to the 16 undecided voters on a couch in Kansas and losing your elections while Rove plays to his base and wins elections for the Republicans. Well if you are so right, why the hell do you KEEP losing?  

    No, I am tired of the song and dance and political posturing.  I am too old, have heard this crap too often, and have seen no results for so long that you'll forgive me for not giving what you say much creditability.  Even when Clinton was in office, what did we get? Don't ask/don't tell, NAFTA, and Monica Lewinski, which is fine - he also did some really good stuff.  However, when the Republicans came after him with investigations, impeachment, and pornographic reports, did the rest of the Dems rally round him?  Hell no - they ran.   When Republicans stole the election from Gore, did the Dems fight?  Hell no -ran away again.  When the 04 Dem primary was one big love fest (except for the Dems stabbing Dean in the back), DID YOU WIN?   Hell no!

    This also sounds very Republican to me.  If I criticize a Dem's me/my/mine, then I must what... love Republicans/terrorists and hate Democrats?   No, no, no!  Polls say a majority of people in this country want you to obstruct this group of crooks and liars to keep them from doing any more damage, and you won't even listen to them, let alone your supporters.  

    No, you know it alls can go ahead and listen to the DLC crowd.  For everyone of the couch people in Kansas that you actually get to vote for you, you will lose three of me.   I am tired of cowardly Dem's.  I am tired of their unwillingness to speak up for what they/we believe in and to let the chips fall where they may.  I am so tired of the wimps and traitors in this party that I don't even plan to vote in 06 or 08 for the first time in 40 years.    I understand you are a minority, and who the hell asked you to filabuster?  All you had to do was just say "no".  No to Roberts, No to the Energy, Bankruptcy, Anwar, etc. bills, No to Iraq, No to staying in Iraq.  Doesn't saying yes mean I agree and not "I give up".  Aren't you suppose to be an opposition party?   Where the hell is the opposition and what exactly is this "party" opposed to besides Bush?  If I watch the voting patterns, what I see is a bunch of Democrats voting with Republicans and against us, alledged Party values, our country, and our futures.   When you paid, elected officials start acting like a team and start demonstrating loyalty to our Party's principles, you can lecture me.  Until then, all I see is a bunch of polical whores with Ds and Rs after their names.

    •  I support your post 100% (none)
      And agree, but I hope you will vote. As much as I am disheartened and even angry at the Democrats for their unwillingness to help us, and their inability to see the damage they are doing, I argue the Republicans are fifty times worse. I can only hope that you will go out there and vote.

      Of course, the point to Mr. Obama is an important one. If the Democrats do not change their ways, many will stay home.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:12:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sen. Obama did vote "No" on Roberts (none)
      Glad you took the time to educate yourself and actually read his diary where he mentions that fact.
    •  Case in point, here. (none)
      Endangered Species Fubar Act. Roll Call!
      Senator, have any insight on why this was thrown?
      What polite words does one use to describe this?
      The giving away of our Commons, our hope for physical survival? We are indicator specie, and we are NOT doing well.
      Health care, wee don need no stinkin' health care, we're not going to live long enough to need it.
      But that's a different rant...
      Why the giveaway?

      I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

      by emmasnacker on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 12:52:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm moving to Illinois so I can vote for Obama (none)
    Maybe not, but I do hope I have the opportunity to vote for him, and soon. Mainly though I'm posting because I want to be on this "thread" with the future President Obama.
  •  <sigh> (4.00)
    Huh. Once again I'm perceiving a need for a genuine progressive party in this country. You don't see the neocon coup leaders allowing any centrist leanings or rational discussions in the ranks (or in the propaganda machine), nor can we expect them to give up the power they stole - stole, not 'won' - in 2000 and again in 2004 through utter corruption and destruction of the democratic institutions and processes they hate.

    Meanwhile, the looting goes on unchecked because in 21st century Amerika it's perfectly okay for VPs to be on the payroll of corporations being handed no-bid multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded contracts, for "high-level government officials" to commit blatant treason just to politically punish truth-tellers, for whole useless departments of gub'ment to be created just so cronies can steal hundreds of billions more, and for wars of greed and aggression (on behalf of yet more cronies) to be sold to the paying public with scary bedtime stories and outright lies.

    And where are the Democrats during all this? Cowering under their covers at night and making 'wish lists' during the day for what they'll buy when their corporate payoff for "playing the game" comes in.

    As has been demonstrated graphically by recent 'terrorist' weather patterns, WE the People are on our own. If WE the People had any real representatives in this government, they would not be playing kissy-kissy with the devil's golden ass while our nation's once noble ideals are hijacked and flown straight into the Pentagon, then marooned to drown in a delta cesspool while the whole world watches in horror.

    This has got to stop. Now, not "someday."

  •  Amen! (none)

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:03:45 AM PDT

  •  Senator Obama, (none)
    Thanks for all the hard work you do, and thanks for coming here to explain your comments. And a special thanks for voting No on Roberts.

    I'm so proud to call you my Senator.

  •  Senator, you write about tone and that we should (4.00)
    not "unilaterally disarm."

    "Finally, I am not arguing that we "unilaterally disarm" in the face of Republican attacks, or bite our tongue when this Administration screws up.  Whenever they are wrong, inept, or dishonest, we should say so clearly and repeatedly; and whenever they gear up their attack machine, we should respond quickly and forcefully.  I am suggesting that the tone we take matters, and that truth, as best we know it, be the hallmark of our response."

    Frankly, I keep hearing a lot of what we "should do" but it never seems to come to pass.  In the face of a constant onslaught, Democrats seem to offer tepid responses

    I really feel that Democrats are still operating in a world that no longer exists, that they really still believe that they are working with people who are interested in governing for the good of the people. This is so obviously untrue (with lobbyists writing bills and policies that undermine our health and safety)that one has to wonder what planet the Democrats are on. Until they realize that the GOP is a machine hell-bent on destroying government and simply using its shell as a cover for corporate rule, then they will continue to look weak and silly. (This, too, has been pretty much stated by Grover Norquist).

    As for responding to the "gearing up" of their attack machine--don't you realize that the GOP is ALWAYS geared up in a constant campaign to seize new territory??  After 2004 I knew that Democrats really should have adopted a "campaign footing" for Bush's second term...but no, it's been a constant steamrolling.

    From my vantage point, I see Dean being undermined by DLC Senators, so that the overall picture of what the party stands for is confusing.  This does not project strength and the ability to lead.  

    Playing footsies with the Republicans isn't working for me. It is NOT business as usual, Senator.  Instead of my committment to the party being strengthened, I find that it is eroding because it simply doesn't "get it."

  •  Yay! (none)
    Senator Obama, I think I'm in political love.  You said everything that I believe, and most of it better than I do.  

    We need to stop talking about the Republicans all the time, and talk about the ways we think we can use government as a tool to help each other.

  •  will being less disagreeable lead to victory? (4.00)
    Senator Obama,

    Thank you for posting you thoughts on DailyKos.  Your writing is very  eloquent.

    As I considered your position, I realized the core question is how do we create a Democratic majority in Congress (and win the White House).  Many of us here on DailyKos are frustrated because we've seen the strategy and tactics the Democratic Party uses in the elections fail over and over (in 2000, 2002, 2004).  As far as I can tell, the party is not changing it's tactics for 2006.   Perhaps I'm incorrect on this point.  If there are significant shift in the strategy and tactics the party will use in 2006, I and probably many others at Daily Kos are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    My view is that strategy and tactics in the past used the past 3 elections are proven losers.  I'm concerned that your position is really more of the same.  I don't believe it's possible to de-polarize electorate.  Republicans are too adept in their culture war to let that happen.  In my view, Congressional Democrats have already been too agreeable with the Bush Agenda.  I find it doubtful that being less disagreeable will lead to victory in 2006[

    I'm disheartened that half of the Democrats in the Senate voted for Roberts.  By that ratio, a Roberts would been confirmed with Democrats in the majority in the Senate.  In fact, Roberts would have been confirmed if all 100 members of the Senate were Democrats.   This fact demotivates me.  Why should give my time and money to campaign for Democrats if the outcome will be same?  Sadly, it would have been the same on Bankruptcy Bill as well if a Democrats in the majority in the Senate.

    I will still support Democrats in 2006 but if committed Democrats doubt whether a Democratic majority in the Senate will make a difference on the big issues, I do not know the DSCC & DCCC hope to convince Independents that Democrats will fight for them.

     

  •  Good Cop Bad Cop (none)
    The progressive activist pressures leaders to move to the left and be more forceful and partisan, spineless political consultants force them to compromise to the right wing--in the end,  they have to balance the competing pressures---and the people win.

    I think you should not stop people from believing in their causes--when they stop believing and just throw the towel then that will be a problem.  

    Just as kos explained,  if the reps or sens just explain their vote and as long as that vote is not because of pressure from moneyed lobbyist or political expediency over what is right,  then we will understand.  

    Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!! http://www.democrats.org/democracybonds.html

    by timber on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:11:23 AM PDT

  •  You Are Correct Strategically, But.... (4.00)
    ...If you think what the "American people" think about conservatism and more narrowly the cabal often called neoconservatism, is the truth, we differ. The American people slumber in large numbers, pacified or indoctrinated. Often their leadership is too, more than they realize.

    You do need to publicly pursue the strategic course you outline here, although it is not the only course that should be pursued in order to turn the tide. I believe that (perhaps it is not necessary) you need to privately understand the terrible peril that we are in.

    It is not that the soul of the Republican Party is pure evil, but that it is is merely piratical and tyrannical and far more intelligent than "moderates" credit, while also far more self-deluded than progressives often realize.

    The Republicans do not realize that they are part of an entity that believes rape is fit punishment for more citizens than any other nature on earth imprisons, because they laugh about it. They do not realize, because they deny it, that they are creating an ecological apocalypse which, whether the doom of mankind or not, is the doom of many humans to come and much else of irreplaceable value besides. They do not realize that they are a force that views non-Americans, and Americans whom they disown, as either garbage to incinerate or fertilizer in which to grow more American-style culture. They do not realize that they worship money in the abstract, revenge in the vilest expressions, and consumption to a nihilistic degree. But they do. And it is by their deeds we must know them. Not by their words, and not even by what they honestly believe, which is that they are on balance good.

    That is what we all have to recognize, and to heck with what "The American People" say they believe to a Senator on the street or in the traditional press. I'm "American People" too. I'm a good husband, father, patriot, charitable, and I even earn a decent income after having been on welfare as a child. My wife and neighbors, real-world friends, share the more general of those traits and to a person they agree with the previous paragraph to some degree, though none of them discusses it online that I know of. I'm talking about librarians, teachers, carpenters, landscapers, housekeepers, programmers, administrators, churchgoers, masseurs, stay-at-home moms, etc.

    It is true that collectively we do not want a ruthless conflict-driven movement, reaching for totalitarianism of our own. A growing number of us would accept that as a means of opposition, but we do not want that. We want to be the sane ones, the decent ones, the calm, cool, and collected ones. We want to be the place to go when the others not only wise up, but mellow out. On the other hand, there is an awakened desire now for real progress, for permanent change, and not to repeat the mistake of the generation that thought the end of Vietnam was a victory, only to spawn this.

    We want to build a newer, better expression of America. One that has the hard, smooth, cool pillars of a republic---Inviolable principles to protect---But which is concerned with the welfare, yes I said that "dirty" word, of all. All Americans, and all the people of the world. Concerned, not as rhetoric for hawkishness, or pork, but real inclusion. The core tenets that have guided our society thus far have rotted through and need renewal.

    America is an empire. It is an empire, exactly as Tacitus said of Rome, that dupes many of it's subjects into thinking they are included within the empire, within "Rome," within "America," when in fact they are viewed by the insiders as barbarians or resources. That needs to change. Truly, without losing what is good about an aristocratic spirit and legal bedrock, without becoming a mobocracy that easily subjugates 49%, we need to attend equally to the needs, the rights, the liberties, of all.

    There is no "getting back to normal." There is no small overhaul that will accomplish that. The challenge is to maintain prosperity, civility, and liberty in this country while fostering the new institutions that can make this nation what it must be to give it a new lease on life. Nations are like trees, and we must grow a new one because the old one is hollowed out and diseased, something their is nothing but patriotism, love, and gratitude in recognizing because if we do not recognize it we will squander what it has given us. This is a historical cycle that always happens.

    The entity to which it is happening is not so sharply defined as the borders of the fifty states of course, but is the Anglo-Saxon-led family of nations with it's roots in the Magna Carta and the northern European ideas of law as much as the classical ideas it took up too.  It is an entity which developed a very open and fair set of laws around a somewhat tribalist trust of one another. We have reached a critical mass, as has almost but never happened before, where the cultural components in our melting pots, in the US, Britain, and to a lesser extent Canada because of how they've more fairly integrated new immigrants, has tipped a balance. A balance which involves racism. Upset now so that our fellow citizens are no longer "us," particularly to the people of higher classes and less diverse locales. But our borders and citizenry are now thought to include a high enough proportion of "them," that a meltdown has occurred. Of course terrorism was a catalyst for this, but the increasing militarism of the police, obesity of the prison system, and so on, trends back to desegregation but specifically to the Watts Riots and then the LA Riots.

    It is necessary to recognize and understand this, and to find a solution other than condemning it, which will not solve the problem at all but merely make it impossible for us to deal with. It is these causes which have made possible things like the PATRIOT Act, Gitmo, and even Abu Ghiraib, the likes of which existed in Vietnam but were not accepted with the same gusto domestically that I know of. Whereas Asian victims of our campaigns there may have been viewed with a certain racist apathy, middle easterners are subject to a racist revenge now. Racism is the only thing that could cause Americans to view the imprisonment and torture of Arabs (all are Arabs, presumably?) without charge, without needing to show a reason, as a way to combat terrorism. Terrorism, the deeds of the few, are thus identified with an entire race. (One imagines similar repercussions for random enslaved blacks following the Nat Turner incident although the situation is substantially different.)

    Racism is the problem. I've seen video of Blackwater fighters shouting "Nigger!" gleefully while firing at Iraqis. I hope I don't need to go on to convince you. But the point is, what people think, the calmness with which they assent to this, is little different than in any other era when the innocence or goodness of people masked the terrible deeds some of them did and which most were by degrees okay with.

    But racism is not a problem that can be dealt with entirely head-on, and it is a component of a larger problem here. It is a circumstance that we have few models for. Think of ancient India, where a cosmopolitan mixture of genes among people who had been divided along racial lines into castes, did not end the caste system. That race was no longer the dividing line did not change the evil of that system or its racist nature, since racism is never about genetics but the perception of otherness only. So that today there is a Condi Rice, a Colin Powell, a Gen. Honore, a Gen. Abizaid, changes nothing. Racism is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is the continuing idea of "otherness." Which is drawn between liberals and conservatives as well.

    Whatever "most people" think, and I'm not so sure about that as they are good at holding objectionable opinions for private discussion, their is deep mistrust between people in this country. That is along racial lines, class lines, party lines, sexual lines. Anyone who is convicted of a crime is an "other" too, fair game for all manner of indignity. The severity of all of these divisions rises in concert. These rapidly undermine our societal foundations, through a combination of mobocracy buoying what government is doing, and also the opportunistic power and money grabs within the government.

    One could suggest this could be repaired. Certainly the metaphor of replacing the old tree with a new one is just a metaphor. But however it is viewed it cannot be viewed as a process of calming down to become complacent, to become normal, to become healthy. We are seeing the disease, the rot, the hollowness cause healthy limbs to fall off the tree. In Iraq, In New Orleans, indeed September 11th was such an event, like the London transit strikes. Consider that the WTC had been bombed before, and subways in Madrid and Moscow among others, had been recently bombed before. To have those strikes happen "out of a clear blue sky" is merely an indication of the observers' blindness, not the clearness of the skies. The fearful and inefficient responses to those events are no better, and not what could have prevented them. Fighting the rot, the rot of conservatism toward our defensive institutions, the rot of the national pride that goeth before the fall...

    ...The rot of our sense of ourselves as a village on the edge always of disaster but for the work of the people, forsaken for a vain image of ours as a society of invulnerable steel and concrete upon which the individuals are replaceable and interchangeable and inconveniencing.... These are the things that precipitated our current straits.

    The idea of the nation as one of laws, not men, of cities as entities of granite and enterprise, not of the specific people who live and work there... Of the citizen as an ideal law-abiding tax-payer versus flawed individuals... This idea is not merely a good small-r republican assurance that the collective will not crush the minority, or that the powerful cannot crush the powerless. No, there is a lot wrong with this idea. Namely that it is also an idea that evolved in order to protect the privileged and the gears of the societal machine that serves them best even while sustaining itself as a large part of its function... An idea to protect society from it's people. A fiction of an ideal individual and a collective "common good" to insulate the flow of money from real people, singular or plural.

    This creates an insensitivity, and a dullness, and a lack of personal investment. We can see the extreme in the falling of the USSR. We are not so different as we like to think, and the moves to shift the balance away from principles that really did protect individuals, to a model of the individual as presumed guilty and worthless, is a tipping toward the soviet evil toward people, and toward the type of institutional incompetence they displayed.

    This has been going on for a while. The failure(s) to stop Sept. 11th were an example of this. The type of institutional rot where people were individually focused on just their jobs (idealized individuals) and on their goals within the system (hypothetical collective, undermined by factional goals at odds with the actual common good), rather than on results. Katrina is another. Iraq is another. Afghanistan is another. There are many others.

    People, from Bush on down, are living out an idea of what they should be through a system of thought that does not acknowledge the whole, real, system: The nation and the world as a whole, with all the people in it and what is required to support them, given value. Instead grubby personal wants and vanity, far beyond what is needed, take center stage. The side one chooses in class, caste, politics, that too trumps the realistic, holistic, rational view.
    ...The struggling people who voted for BushCo, are part of a phenomenon wherein if one cannot satisfy ones individual wants and needs and vanity, one looks to those who do satisfy themselves to identify with them. So seeing Bush in his flight suit is enough of a vicarious fix for them. It is like a hardcore pornographic paradigm.

    Now, I think that what we need to do is:

    • Give people a movement wherein they can feel good, get something out of it, something tangible, and not just the long funk of lost elections or the fleeting elation of winning them.
    • Separate our progressive ambitions into what we can accomplish in the private sector versus politics. There is a lot we could do with leadership and coordination that does not require legislation and unwilling taxation... And it is not reflected in the modus operandi of charities that exist to collect donations for out-of-sight projects, or merely "get the word out."
    • We need to create the dynamic, IRV, multiparty parliamentary politics we admire in other countries within the Democratic Party. We need to be more than a big tent, we need to be many tents. We need to eschew the hardened nationalized party platforms that are in fact a recent invention here and not our country's long two-party history, wherein both parties had distinct wings within them. Yep, much as I don't like them the DLC and the Blue Dogs have it right; they have a right. But they shouldn't be vying for party dominance. We should be the place where people who want their way, their particular mix of ideas, to have a voice, come. I believe from that we will be more apt to arrive, quickly, at a more truly progressive movement in the party.
    • As an expansion of the forgoing, but also as what Democrats do when elected, we should aim to make the divisive long-term legislative issues of the day a matter for voters and not for cantilevered planks on the platform of the party or candidate. Let people vote for the candidate that is the most competent executive and the one they trust to act rationally in a crunch. But let the people decide particular issues they want that elected executive to pursue. Let's get away from the idea of holding the electorate hostage, for example having to vote against Democrats because of Roe v Wade, or having to vote for Republicans because of the NRA. While we do not want the 49% to come out of that oppressed, the question of what comes up to ballot should be kept narrow. Not "are guns good," but is this particular type of gun fit for this particular type of availability. Not are "trees more important than people," but is this public-land logging initiative worth giving five million dollars to out of state investors, with local employment for 50 for six months, at the price of pristine park land?
    • Trust. We need to create a new sense of togetherness as a way to combat the sense of otherness which plagues us with symptoms like generalized racism, unjust war, and persecution like Gitmo and the Texas death row. A frontal approach will not make that happen. I think the answer to bad tribalism is good tribalism. Not a watered down multicultural soup as is often marketed to us, but rather a allowance that everybody gets theirs and that they come together naturally, not in a sort of enforced food processor. I am not referring to things like Affirmative Action and certainly not to desegregation here. But I suggest a sit down with Robert Byrd and ask his what the good things he was thinking when he joined the States Rights Democratic Party in 1948 were, not just what the bad things were (which we all know). These factors are still alive and well and still not as cut and dried good versus evil as our rhetoric suggests. Not quite. Where I think that should lead, far from accommodation for racism, is treating the system which produces but does not need to produce racism: Tribalism. The same system which produces, alternately, just laws founded on familial trust of one another. People can, psychologically, only arrive at a broad tribal identification with the whole nation and indeed humanity, and ecology, through what is already familiar and inside their circle. They want to be able to orbit the mighty sun of the great global tribe, they don't want to feel they are falling into it. This is as true for kids who think hitting the books is acting white, as it is for those who feel like they are part of something greater than themselves by perceiving a "common enemy" (when that enemy is not common at all but numbers in the mere thousands, among hundreds of millions of Muslims). The tribal needs of a strapping blond fellow in Alabama are as real as those of an Apache or Masai, and for that matter a Serb or Hutu if not allowed to be expressed in a healthy manner... But in no case can that need be removed. The right-wingers have been feeding that need... Feeding it garbage, slop. We need to give it a proper place at the table, for it is hungry, and if not fed slop in a trough can behave itself better, but if not fed at all does not behave well at all although it does not die. A veneration of the natural world, of our traditional rights, of intellectualism, of aristocratic charity which is distinct from collectivism that denigrates real people in favor of The People (although I do not entirely eschew class war rhetoric, or even careful socialism in some areas), is what serves this need for me in the Democratic Party. That can be broadened and better packaged.
    • We need to get across the idea that war and militarism are a poor substitute, by way of satisfying the need to feel manly, for being positively manly on a personal level. National Guardsmen (and women) for example are being more powerful and fulfilled and flexing their muscles when they are at home raising their kids, or helping their fellows in a pinch, versus engaged in the creation of corpses, which should not be glorified; those who do that horrible task can be thanked when, and respected whether, the deed was necessary based on their good intent. But I feel our main inroad into the military could be accomplished by liberalizing the military. I feel that we should advance the idea of "citizen soldiers" which means soldiers being citizens, with full freedom of speech outside of real military necessity for confidentiality. Additional inroads, particularly in giving them rights over medical decisions like the horrible immunization cocktails they are given, should be attempted. This is not "weak." The idea needs to be gotten across that having rights is in itself, strength. Strength is not a function of totalitarianism which protects freedom merely for it's entertainment values and due to a view that thinks it is inherently weak: The conservative view.
    • Beyond that application to the military, the principle of freedom, freedom to err, to be forgiven, to make choices and try things, shoudl be ideologically venerated. Big tent or no as far as party, liberals need to advance the philosophy that freedom is not a privilege but a right, and that it is the source of our personal strength and out strong national character. It is on the other hand, conservative strictness which makes people weak and incapable, and does the same to societies.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:11:29 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Sen. Obama... (3.00)
    As usual, a brilliantly laid-out, thought-out line of reasoning. I suuuure hope your future in public office holds what everyone here hopes it holds. We need your voice now, and we're going to need you even more in the not-so-distant future!

    "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."--Miguel De Santa Anna

    by GainesT1958 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:12:51 AM PDT

  •  you lifted my soul (4.00)
    Thank you Senator...you lifted my soul....from the moment I first heard you speak I knew you were a special man.....

    Just two thoughts...

    1) You wrote:  "how to ensure that U.S. troop withdrawals occur in such a way that we avoid all-out Iraqi civil war"

    My gut feeling at the start of the Iraq war was it wrong and my gut was correct.  My gut feeling about a civil war in Iraq is that it does not matter if we leave tomorrow, next year, or five years from now.  As soon as the troops withdraw from Iraq civil war will break out.  

    Stay the course in Iraq or withdraw...is there a third choice?  If there is I hope you can find it.

    2) You wrote:  "a majority of Americans think that the President should probably get the benefit of the doubt on a clearly qualified nominee."

    I'm tired of giving the President the benefit of doubt.  Time and time again he has proved his incompetence and I cannot trust any action made by the President.

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.--Dr. Seuss

    by sweettp2063 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:13:43 AM PDT

  •  Moderation (4.00)
    First, dkmich: exactly.

    someone noted: "hey maybe sometimes school vouchers are a good idea"

    Here's the problem with all these people that keep thinking we'll lose votes if we alienate the "moderates".
    First, I don't believe anyone would vote against a politician for being against school vouchers. They will vote for or against a politician based on what they believe is more or less the totality of what the politician believes, (perhaps with the exception of abortion.) I'm not saying there aren't single issue voters, but I don't believe they are any kind of majority.  The real point is that centrist democrats keep getting all caught up in these individual issues and in trying not to alienate various groups because of individual issues, thereby rendering themselves completly milquetoast. Meanwhile what people long for is people who not only have principles that they agree with, but who will fight for those principles.

    The repubs claim to believe in all kinds of wonderful things. Their actions do not support those stated beliefs, but their ferocity in maintaining their power convinces people that they "mean what they say". They then, with the help of the media, hide their actions from the public well enough that the fiction about their supposed values survives.

    Meanwhile our side claims to believe in a lot of wonderful things, and then they vote against those beliefs, avoid confronting repubs for their manifest sins and decry Howard Dean for being too strident and radical. When will our side understand that leaders lead? Their job is to convince the public that their position is right, not to try to avoid making people mad.

    Its an axiom of sociology that only 20% of the population has to believe something strongly to eventually convince the majority. Why? Because people who are passionate convince others around them who in turn convince others. Passion is infectious, even if it is initially alarming. Cowardice only inspires scorn.

  •  Market- or faith-based ideas (4.00)
    I liked this diary until I got to the part about market or faith-based ideas.  I would hope that the Democratic party could expend some money and effort over the next year explaining 1) the importance of and historical reasons for the separation of church and state, and 2) the inherent conflict between market forces and the general welfare.
  •  I have a news flash for all of you (2.33)
    One only has to look at this diary and the comments to see exactly why we are the losing party.

    We have evolved into a party that could not get agreement on anything.
    It makes me think of having a group of a thousand people all standing outside and it is raining like hell. Then the question is asked.

    Is it raining?

    If we were that thousand our answers to that question should be a resounding:

     Yes it is raining.

    But with us in actual practice the answe would not be that simple. Instead of agreeing that it is raining, there would be those who have varying replays.

    Such as instead of answering if it is raining, they prefer to argue to what degree it is raining.

    Is it sprinkling or is it a toad strangler?

    they would want this type questions resolved before they would aregee that it is raining.

    Yet all the while the whole damn thousand is getting drenched and in danger of getting a serious cold infection.

    Go Figure:

    I can not for the life of me figure out why we as a party can not grasp the one solid fact that we have to have an agenda that does not devide the hell out of us.

    That can all wait to be argued and debated after we have some power back in order to create changes in those issues.


    Yes wake up people that is what Obama is trying to tell us all.

    Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

    by eaglecries on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:37:49 AM PDT

    •  No, you're wrong (none)
      That is not what Obama is saying at all. He is saying that we shouldn't play the same game as the Republicans and that we shouldn't criticize those Democrats that we feel are not standing up for the American people.

      Furthermore, the point is we do not one voice. The problem is there is no one voice -- what did the Democrats say by splitting their vote on Roberts?

      Nothing. That's what they said. They stood for NOTHING.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:53:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they said (3.00)
        they don't play partisan games with presidential appointments.  they each take the measure of the man on their own terms and vote according to their own conscience.

        which is good.  cause when they do filibuster it will be because they all took the measure of the man on their own terms and created the filibuster according to their own conscience.  as opposed to playing partisan games.

        i guarantee you.  the only people in the world who would congratulate dems for filibustering according to partisan gamesmanship are kossacks.

        everyone else would see "oh, they all voted against roberts, and now they're filibustering owens.  i guess that means owens is no different than roberts, and our gov't is just partisan hackery.  i'll keep voting for repugs cause dems are behaving just like repugs, and at least i get my tax cut."

        that gum you like is back in style.

        by BiminiCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:04:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay good (none)
          Then we continue playing the game the way we've been playing and we keep losing and people like Bush keep getting elected.

          Yea. That sounds like fun.

          And it's not about partisanship as much you seem to think it is.

          It is about standing up for what you believe in.

          I guarantee you -- any Democrat that actually believed in Roberts does not stand for the principles of any kind of progressive party.

          Which is the point.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Dunbar on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:12:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  bush wasn't re-elected (none)
            because dems don't vote in lockstep on the senate floor.

            he was re-elected cause he offered the greatest (and false) sense of security for the lowest price (lower taxes).

            he was re-elected cause he's the presidential equivalent of a hummer bought on a no-limit credit card (more people die in SUVs per 1000 SUVs than other cars, and yet soccer moms get SUVs cause they feel more safe in them).

            that gum you like is back in style.

            by BiminiCat on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:24:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There's Also The More Primal, Simpler (none)
              Explanation (not that yours aren't true) that Bush, both times, looked like the guy who would enjoy winning more. People are vicarious by nature. Who do you want to see win in sports? The team that will most enjoy having won; not the team that most wants or needs to win, but the one that will really enjoy it.

              Bush and the Republicans certainly exuded that, along with a lot of other more vile vibes. As they appear to be enjoying themselves less and less, their ratings plummet.

              9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

              by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:49:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  No that was not the reason but this was (none)
              The public could not get any kind of real understanding of what the Democrats stood for. For the most part they got the impression that we were weak on defense and we would raise their taxes and Gay Rights was somehow diluting their idea or belief of what marriage means.

              Niether one an acceptable position with the majority of this country. As for the other issues that were for the most part confusing to a mass majority.

              Among the other issues that came up was Gay rights and other equaly important issues. I say of equal importantance, but I did not say that they should have been a big factor in the campaign. In fact that issue should never have been in the campaign as well as a few others.

              The time to have addressed those issues is after we made sure we had the control and power to make our views on them become effective.

              Now in regards to the next paragraph I put here, it does not mean that is my goal and I have personally have no qaulm against either postion on the Gay Rights. But I do know that every issue sometimes requires a little compromise if you want to gain any ground on it.  

              Ther thing that most here fail to recognize is that if the Gay Rights movement had not made their huge push at the wrong time, and had pushed for Civil unions instead of Marriage it would not have fired up so much of an anti Democratic voting public. I am sure there will be many who wish to slam me on the following, but I believe it had a huge effect on the outcome of the 2004 election. In fact I have many Gay friends who in retrospect think believe the same thing.

              The Gay Rights movement, while I understand their goal and I believe they deserves rights as anyone, actually was one big reason that the elections were lost. How? Because they really started the big surge in the push for equal marriage rights all at the wrong time. With any thinking at all they would have realized that while an anti Gay and  anti privacy rights Republican party is the opposition and in power, that is not the wrong time to rile the major part of the population.

              I am not saying that the major portion of America is right in their feelings toward the Gay communtity but rather that creating changes in that attitude requires time and can not be completed in one jiant step.

              I realize that we all want complete immediate success on our agendas which we are most affected by. However in a world of Democracy where the number of votes for or against controls the fact of you not getting anything done for your issue or the fact that you can move your issue ahead some depending on how the voting goes depends on how well you can get the majority to vote.

              Kiss them off and ignore them and i can assure you that your agenda goes no where.

              That goes back to what I was getting at in my original comment. Too many issues had to be cramed into the talking points for Democrats instead of framing a simpler and more consise message of what
              was the proper direction of this country.

              Again I go back to the standing in the rain and not being able to simply say yes it is raining.

              Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

              by eaglecries on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 04:21:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Amen!!! (none)
    I really hope people take this diary to heart.  I'd really love to see the tone of the discussion around here transform.  The country needs us to grow up.  
  •  It's still *all* about Hamdan. (none)
    Senator, have you read the Hamdan decision, signed by Roberts?

    After reading that, how can you believe that Roberts is not a dangerous nutcase, whatever he pretends to be?

  •  It's still *all* about Hamdan. (none)
    Senator, have you read the Hamdan decision, signed by Roberts?

    After reading that, how can you believe that Roberts is not a dangerous nutcase, whatever he pretends to be?

  •  Reminds me of a quote... (none)
    "I am not part of any organized political party, I am a Democrat" - Will Rogers

    :)

    Big Tent does not mean a laser focused view.  If we fight for integrity, responsibility, and freedom, we will always win the end.

    •  Then why aren't Democrats fighting for them? (none)
      "If we fight for integrity, responsibility, and freedom..."

      OK, I'll give them integrity; they've actually noticed that the Republican Party is a nest of corruption and are speaking out.

      Freedom?  Roberts has a strong anti-freedom record as a judge, ranging from the "french fry" case to Hamdan.  The Republican Party as a whole
      has been resolutely anti-freedom under this administration.  I mean, for goodness sakes, how many Democrats voted against the "USA-PATRIOT Act"?!?  When are we going to stand up for freedom?

      "Responsibility": well, Bush still isn't being held accountable for the Iraq war, the promotion of torture, or any of the other evil things he's done.  And turncoat Democrats who criticize (for example) Howard Dean and Dick Durbin for utterly reasonable comments are a big part of why this isn't happening.  Democratic votes for Bush legislation help him avoid responsibility for those disasters as well.

      Unfortunately, standing up for "freedom, integrity, and responsibility" means standing firmly against the Republican Party most of the time.  And calling the Republicans on the fact that they are opposing those three things routinely.

      We can be a "Big Tent" on many issues, but we must not have room for people who compromise on basics like opposition to torture, giving prisoners their day in a real court (and a real court-martial would do) before a real judge, requiring a warrant issued by a judge before a search, honestly and fully counting every vote, having no religious tests for public office, and so forth.  You know, stuff that 10 years ago we all thought was safe.  Stuff that's mostly in the Constitution.

      We currently have "Democratic" representives who have not taken a strong stand on these issues.  And that's just destructive, to the party as well as the country.

  •  Wrong (none)
    Eaglecries: we don't really disagree all that much on beliefs. We disagree over tactics: should we be strong or should we be weenies?, and we disagree as to whether "centrists" actually have any beliefs, since their votes don't reflect their stated beliefs. That's what you don't get.

    We're not saying their can't be multiple viewpoints, but we are saying that the party of the people simply can't vote yes for the bankruptcy bill and still claim to represent the people.

  •  Great orators can do what you suggest... (4.00)
    but no party consists of even a tiny fraction of Obamas, Lincolns and Kings.  A great orator like yourself can do it effortlessly, but the party as a whole needs to boil its message down, and needs to find a way to get it heard.  No mean feat in today's world.

    When you say "It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.", I believe your faith is slightly misplaced.  I'd say Americans in general are emotionally complex (with respect to themselves and other Americans only), but logically simple, so "a real and authentic debate" with only a laundry list of policy points, however effective, or a civics lesson in Separation of Powers, would fall on deaf ears, as it did in 2004.  In order to get the American people on our side, we must inspire them.  We must show them how, by listening to the better angels of their nature, they must conclude that they should vote for us.  So it's a "real debate" on an emotional level only.  The great problems of the day are logically complex, but in order to be given the right to solve those problems, we need the American people to positively answer the question: "Can I trust them"?

    Currently, the answer to that question is "No".  And you are right in saying that stridency will not convince them to change their minds, but neither will carrying on in the traditional Senatorial manner.  That will simply get us ignored; the people that we need to convince that we're trustworthy trust Republicans more when they talk about us, and this is the connection that must be severed.  In order to do this, Republicans must be made to be thought of as untrustworthy, and this will require some harsh words, rather than stunning oratory.  Tactically, I think those words should be said with a smile and a sense of humor, so I agree with you in that sense, but the words themselves must have bite.  We cannot simply point out that Republicans have screwed up, we have to link each mistake into a tapestry of incompetance and corruption, which is really what it is.  (As an example, the Democrats should adopt the billboard with Gorver Norquist's quote about drowning government in the bathtub, juxtaposed with New Orleans under water.  When people ask what's the difference between Democrats and Republicans, you point to that billboard and say, that's what's different.)

    I don't deny that this is difficult, since we risk alienating the very people that we're trying to convince by "being mean", but that just means that we need to respond with a smile and say "are they serious?  Look who's talking about being mean!"

    However, in order to do this, in order to cast the Republicans as untrustworthy, we must have solidarity on some tactics (not even issues, just tactics).  For example, I actually agree with you that lambasting Leahy or Feingold about this vote is counterproductive, but only because we lost this round within the first 24 to 48 hours of Roberts' nomination.  If there were questions of untrustworthiness that the American people needed to know, that was the time to present them.  Moving further out on the timeline, if the refusal of the Administration to release briefs written by Roberts was a reason to be untrustworthy of him, that needed to be emphasised by each and every Democrat.  Had that been done, and anyone, even a Leahy or a Feingold, gone on record to say something like "well, we don't absolutely need to see these briefs" (otherwise known as "pulling a Lieberman"), they would need to be dealt with.

    So you see, it's not a diversity of policy that's hurting us, it's a diversity of tactics.  When you get quoted as saying that "talking about religion is divisive" without saying "and that's just one way that Republicans are tearing this country apart", you may come across as the only grown-up in the room, but you hurt the party's message that Republicans cannot be trusted.

    I truly wish it were otherwise, and that Senators and Representatives could speak freely whenever they liked.  This would be possible if speaking freely could accomplish good legislation, but working with Republicans to do this is folly right now.  The people who control the Republican party have no interest in good legislation.  They are interested in one thing, and one thing only: power.  (It is the reason they want to diminish the role of the Judiciary:  It's the only branch of government remaining that can stand in their way.[1])  Even if our party members have the freedom to act reasonably, their counterparts on the other side of the aisle do not, so the only legislation that gets enacted is what the Republican power brokers want to get passed (this is why Bush has yet to veto a single piece of legislation).  Signing on to their legislation does nothing but lend legitimacy to their projects that they do not deserve.  We are merely window-dressing; the parsley placed atop the stew of destruction that the Republicans are serving the American people (okay, horrible simile; just thought I'd lighten things up a bit).

    As Krugman quoting Kissinger pointed out, we are facing a Revolutionary Power.  One that does not recognize the previous rules of engagement, but one that is dangerously good at the art of appearing reasonable.  Ask yourself: Is it reasonable to teach Intelligent Design in our nation's science classes side-by-side with Evolution?  Is it reasonable to consider whether Evangelical Christians in the Air Force Academy are having their religious rights trod upon by not being allowed to sneer "Jew" at other cadets?  If you read one other diary from this site, I implore you to search for "Lincoln 1860", written by Armando.  There is a difference between being reasonable, and being a doormat.  It is vital that you recognize the difference in today's political environment.

    -- NY Expat

    [1]This is the real danger of putting Roberts as Chief Justice: as Daliah Lithwick has shown, Roberts judicial record is one of continually diminishing the number of people who have standing to bring suit in court.  With Roberts, the five percent of decisions you mention won't be in five percent of the cases brought before the Supreme Court, it will be in every case brought before it in one simple question: "does the plaintiff have standing to bring suit?"  As Chief Justice, Roberts is perfectly placed to bring about a devastating change to how the Judiciary protects the common American citizen before any hot-button issue is brought before it.

  •  Aloha, Barack, and mahalo for posting here (none)
    at dK.  It is indeed good to be young(ish), level-headed, and still able to hold off the bonds of cynicism.  While, obviously, not everyone in the dK ohana may agree with your position, it is indeed heartening when elected representatives weigh in here.

    In fact, I would also eagerly welcome input from any republican politicians who would diary here with the same kind of measured and thoughtful writing.

    You have joined a kind and very select few politicians in contributing to our collective thinking, and I hope that you will indeed come back as frequently as possible to share with us valuable insight into the goings-on in DC and in your own personal struggle with the competing interests and perspectives there.

    Your input here is always welcome.  Please ask Russ to find time to contribute again.  It's been a good long while, and I for one would like to hear from him.

    Stay well and keep up the good fight.  A hui ho!

    TVL-WCO&STS: Meeting your conspiracy and adhesive needs with Jack and a Beck's back

    by blogpotato on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:36:10 PM PDT

  •  Looking for Leadership not Followship (none)
    I think that right now the progressive democratic people are looking for leadership, people who will stand up and lead based on principles, people who will persuade and energize, not people who make mushy statements after consulting the polls, not people who hide in safety. I think my Senator Mark Dayton does an excellent job of leading and representing Minnesota. Yet many still feel a gap in leadership. If only FDR was here today making this speech.
  •  The sycophantic nature of this thread (3.00)
    is nauseating and exactly why we star-struck Dems always get run over by our own elected officials.  Let Senator Obama be a couple more years removed from being a state senator in Illinois, then I'll listen to his lectures.

    "As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom." Justice Kennedy, Lawrence v Texas

    by HillaryGuy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:53:35 PM PDT

  •  Good read. (none)
    Perhaps you can unite the country someday.

    It was a cold, bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

    by Stradavus on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 12:57:41 PM PDT

  •  My letter in support of Sen. Obama (3.50)
    I've just been told that it'll be in the forthcoming issue of US News & World Report:

    Re: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/articles/051003/3whisplead_2.htm

     Your reporters need to get out more. In "He's Better Outside the Beltway," they write that in the TV sweeps as they perceive them, Barack Obama rates "dead last in the all important Washington market" as a guest on Sunday morning talking head shows.
        First, who cares about the Washington ratings? Georgetown doesn't get any say in the electoral college, and if the district did, and if the senator were a candidate, he'd get 90% of the vote.
        Second, in the real America, nearly nobody watches these shows. Most of us are in church when they're on, and when we're sick or snowed in and are in front of the TV, these shows are incredibly tedious. I'd rather watch the spin cycle on my clothesdryer.
        There is a great deal going on in the nation and the world, most of it ominous. Send your employees out to do some investigative reporting  please.

  •  I don't agree with ... (4.00)
    ... all your points.

    I do, however, think the following nails our situation right to the wall:

    " ... we are hamstringing our ability to build a majority."

    Absolutely. As you noted, that is abundantly clear at Kos, and it's an enormous problem. Our insistence on my way or the highway makes us appear petulant, as well --- and even I am so, so, so, so tired of petulant, as is virtually everyone I know.

    I'm tired of so called fellow Dems calling other Dems suckups or whatever because they act with courtesy toward a visitor.

    I'm tired of spoiledness, petulance, all of it --- but I'm also tired of elected Dems spinning their wheels.

    That said, I really, really appreciate what you have to say, and it does make sense. I'm in far eastern Oklahoma, in a county with 75% registered Democrats, in an area which is virulently anti-Bush --- but these voters, these Dems no longer bother to vote. in part because they don't see the people up for office as representing their interests. (note: our Dem representative, Dan Boren, however, is doing a great job and absolutely gets it).

    Just as important, however, these guys here may hate Bush, but they don't want to be aligned with petulant Dem voters.  

    In other words, we can't just blame our elected officials anymore. We really need to take a good look in the mirror at ourselves.

    •  The Counterpoint Being.... (none)
      ...If Democratic congressman give the people what they are asking for, but the people were brainwashed into thinking that way by Republicans while progressives had little voice for decades in much of the country... Then in fact, aren't the people asking Democrats to help the Republicans screw them both?

      And wouldn't a Democrat who could convince people of that set the Republican paper tiger aflame?

      9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

      by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 02:00:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, so .... (none)
        ... it's true, I just commuted 60 miles home from work and it was a rough day at work then I stopped on the way home and filled the car with bricks because the bricks were on sale and have you ever filled the trunk of a conventional car with bricks, then filled the back seat with them?

        So I'd say chances are high I'm totally misunderstanding you. :+D

        However ... huh???

        My point is --- and it's odd to come here today and find this diary because I was thinking about exactly this on my drive home and while loading the car with bricks ...

        It's not just Dem leadership which is driving voters away. It's Dem voters, like us. The people here, believe it or not, are actually fairly liberal. I mean, this IS a sovereigh Indian nation and one of the last habitats (?) of real live cowboys. Not hobby cowboys, but real cowboys --- people whose parents and grandparents and g-grandparents and etc were cowboys. And their fundamental beliefs are liberal (community, help your neighbor, freedom of speech, yadda yadda etc).

        However, it's also very important in this part of the country to at least have the APPEARANCE :=D of not being a 30 year old acting like a five year old whining and throwing a fit in the grocery store because, oh ... let's say, Obama or whoever wouldn't buy us Frosted Flakes.

        It's very socialistic back here, very community oriented. And people here DESPISE the me-me-me-me-me stuff.

        And unfortunaely much of the Dem party is less about community and more about the person in the mirror.

        That's not Republican --- that's simple basic cultural differences.

        •  Well Not That It's Going To Be Any Easier... (none)
          ...To follow, but I will refer you to my response to Senator Obama. And I can also inform you that I grew up on a horse farm and at various times wore a cowboy hat and cowboy boots... Purely to keep the crap out of my feet and the sun, rain, and dust out of my eyes. At age 12, I was underbidding Mexican migrant workers to plow fields for 2 dollars an hour.

          http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/9/30/102745/165/532#532

          No one has bought me any Frosted Flakes for a very long time, and I assure you I stopped whining for them long ago.

          My point is that people rally around strength and hate to find out they have been played for fools. There's nothing about me me me in that, me or them. But there is a lot of doing what's right for us in it.

          9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

          by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 02:43:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I can agree with ... (none)
            ... rallying around strength. But passive resistance is also a reaction to strength not founded in true strength. And, with votes, passive resistance means not voting --- which is what has been happening here.

            However, let me readwhat you have to say --- it'll be a little later --- I have to go get all those bricks which I'm thrilled to have out of the car which i'm not at all looking forward to doing. But it has to be done.

            I'll respond then.

          •  Okay. (none)
            Let me begin by saying that, maybe it's because I don't spend a lot of time around middle class and upper middle class people ... in facy, I know the difference here is because I'm coming from a different place.

            But the people I'm around the most know EXACTLY what's going on. True, there are a few who don't. But most do. And true, there are some honking wingnuts out here. But they're, in general, the rich people. And there aren't many rich people where I am.

            And I don't for the life of me believe we're an exception out here. Although it sure seems to me the're pretty dense in Tulsa. Tulsa, yes --- I think you're describing them. But other areas of the country? Hmmm.

            Let me put it this way, the long way around.

            I'm in a very red state. People make a lot of assumptions about this area of the country based on inadequate or overly generalized information. Brad Carson, for example, got the boot as senator here and the insane Coburn gt voted in because Carson was aligned with Cherokee Nation --- and everyone, even Cherokee Nation, hates Cherokee nation.

            But Cherokee Nation isn't that much different than the Bush administration in the way that it operates. It neglects its poor (of which there are MANY) and its elderly, many of whom are living in tarpaper shacks with outhouses, and showers its attention (and money) on its political allies and the wealthy Cherokee who don't live here. It takes the money which is supposed t be going to helping its sick and poor and undereducated, and it buys jet airplanes and offices in Washington and apartments in Sante Fe.

            So people here learned a long time ago what Bush type governance is all about. They've been living under it for years.

            And when Bush was reelected, I saw the reaction here. People here KNEW exactly what it was about.

            But these are people who have also had to deal with reality from a very young age. The ones who've made it have had to work HARD to make it. They've had to stick together to survive. The community bonds are intense.

            Nothing has ever been handed to people here. I can think even of my students --- I've had students who've been beaten and raped as children who have worked their asses off just to achieve a minimally regular life. And when they're confronted by someone who has a complete nervous breakdown and fit because something didn't go EXACTLY how they wanted it to go, well, they don't want too much a part of it.

            I have one student now, a brilliant writer, brilliant student --- she has literally had to drag herself not only up out of what she was raised with --- which was bad --- but since she's been my student, she's been institutionalized three times for bipolar and had an ex-husband convicted of molesting her daughter.

            And my money's on her to make it. But when she hears our petulant whining, she's like WTF????? She may hate Bush, but she ooks at some of us and sees people who have had such an easy time of it and who have no idea, NO IDEA. And she wants no part of it.

            So that's the perspective I'm coming from. I want the Dems to win. But we wn't, as long as we keep behaving like petulant children and trying to call it "activism."

            •  Yes.... (none)
              ...That is actually something I've observed but this is Rome, and when in Rome, when trying to influence Romans, speak Roman I guess. I don't consider this site a gateway to the masses really, at least not with every post. I came here to try to fix the party.

              Full disclosure: I have a complex background. I worked my way up tooth and nail much as you describe, easier than some I know, but there wasn't a ceiling, I kept going, this far anyway. I am in the heart of "hipster" culture right now, in lower Manhattan. Soon I'll go home to the home I own where my wife can afford to stay at home with our young son. Sure it's humble but not humble like I know humble from way back.

              I know both sides of the street, and I have known my share of absolute wingnut loons, from the poor on up. As far as the whole bit about whining goes... Well I have determined that people have had bred or beaten into them castes, like the types of bees in a hive, like European serfdom, that persists. I know a lot of working class people who have utter disdain for financial success or even security. And I can't help thinking that, and the aversion to "whining," is because of the abominably low self worth that has been hammered into them. And then they resent others.

              I remember once I didn't hop to it fast enough for my grandmother's taste to go clean up some horse manure on a neighbors lawn from an escapee that the person was upset about. I was on my way, but she was mad, and said "What the hell is the matter with you, are you too proud to shovel shit?!"

              Well, she's gone now, but my answer is no. I'm not to proud to shovel shit. I am proud enough to shovel shit. I'm also suited for other work which will allow me to be able to fix my kid's cavities and clothe him and house him in a way my parent's did not. It was only the discovery of pride, arrived at slowly through my twenties, that allowed my to ascend financially and as an activist trying to improve others' lives. Pride is not a bad thing, and neither is shame. These are just words. People should be no less proud than wild animals on the savanna but often they are like, to quote Bruce Springsteen, dogs that have been beat too much. In a large place in my heart I am a dog that has been beaten too much. And I know that a lot of what is different than that is because I value the hard lessons life has had for me, because I take pride not just in overcoming it but in what was great about it. Because I once starved for a month with not one calorie to eat (in George Bush's Texas, oddly enough) I know what that feels like. I am proud of that. I know I contemplated all kinds of things to feed myself, and did not do any of the ones I would not be proud of, but I can empathize better with the hungry and with those who cross the line of the law or whatever ridiculous idea of dignity they had (versus the dignity of our uncorrupted but resourceful natures).

              I've been a guest, for instance, at some of the "better" homes in this country and a few of the better country clubs too. But do I feel more at home there, or in my mother's trailer? Or my little brother's trailer? Pride is an abused word. To me it means neither buying into a dollar-based value system by elevating greater wealth and its mis-associated sense of entitlement; nor does it mean keeping ones nose firmly to the grindstone out of pride in that place in life while deriding others. To me the positive connotation of pride is achieving all you can and helping others do that to the extent they want to. That is not about piggishly hording resources, that's a dysfunction of many of the wealthy in this country although not all.

              I don't know if you were referring to a lack of self respect and of jealousies, and of a clannish manner of sticking to a lower societal caste... But that is what I recognize when you refer to the distaste of people you know for whining.

              Stoicism is to an extent a sham created to keep people down, in their place, malleable, and hoping for a reward and perhaps comeuppance in a final spiritual analysis. It is the creed of this country, largely, I know. It is a creed we as Democrats are obliged to understand better. But frankly I think it is a creed we have to offer an alternative to. I agree, the party is not presently doing that very well.

              9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

              by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 06:09:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (none)
                I think you mostly get it. The one difference here is that this is Cherokee-Cowboy country :=D --- yes, a lot of people leave, but a whole lot stay (and move in) because it's a very particular and special kind of culture. Families and communities have been here since the Removal, and they'll be damned if they'll leave. It isn't just a Cherokee thing, eother --- it's a rural thing. And people here desperately want it to survive. It's a very specific culture that isn't just Indian.

                I can see why they want it to survive and why they won't leave. It's pretty special here, so even people who've had a rough rough time stay.

                What these guys don't like isn't people with money --- good gawd, no, because they'd like to have money! :=D --- it's people who are completely self involved and on a 24/7 pity party and --- well, The Professional Victim --- the person say from a well off family who suffers perennial Angst (and no, i don't mean clinical depression --- I think you know what i mean) --- the child of relative wealth and privilege who carefuly nurtures every single not wonderful thing that;'s ever happened to them, and turns it all into a drama of magnificent proportions. The person flouncing and screaming and stomping and ph so righteously indignant because every single one of their demands isn't being kowtowed to NOW!

                I think you know what I mean. Those people have brought and will bring the party to its knees. Damn straight. And I don't believe anymore they much care about anything but their own petty egos.

                •  Fair Enough (none)
                  I don't agree that they don't care about anything but their egos, although they do care about those. I have not problem asking them to sit down and shut up while people with a better style and better higher priorities win elections and then work to deserve to win the following elections.
                  ...

                  My wife has a little Cherokee ancestry and so my son does too. Other than that the only thing I know about is the Shinnecock tribe on Long Island... A group that a judge once told, to the hundred plus crowded into the courtroom, that they had ceased to exist. My dad had some friends among them. The reservation there looks like pictures of reservations anywhere, and just a few turns away from some of the richest playgrounds in the US. Recently, looking for stuff to give to the local historical society, my dad came upon some papers in the attic (my family having ended up with a lot of Shinnecock land centuries back) that he opted to pass along to them instead, and which they are now partially basing a massive land claim on, it appears, including casino rights in the Hamptons which would be a big boon. I just thought you might enjoy that story. Nothing to do with anything.

                  9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

                  by NewDirection on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:14:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Just to be clear. (4.00)
    So your assertion is that if we don't compromise, we'll never convince Republicans to compromise, either?

    Has the GOP given any strong, serious indication - in actions rather than words - that they are actually interested in compromise?  Would you alert us as to when this momentous occasion will take place?  Does it require the stars and planets to align in a certain elusive configuration?

    There's a cliche that says you shouldn't bring a knife to a gun fight.  You're advocating bringing roses and candy to a gun fight, Senator.  The GOP doesn't want to cuddle after every vote.

    If there is no left, the center cannot hold.

    by JAS1001 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:25:55 PM PDT

    •  Hey JAS.... (none)
      Love your signiture line.  Is it a quote, or did it originate with you?

      When the middle class is gone, who will support the Republicans in the manner to which they have grown accustomed?

      by keepinon on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:35:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A little of this, A little of that (none)
        It comes from a lot of different places.  I've always had this image of most US politicians trying to be centrist and occupy the middle ground, only there's a segment that keeps pulling things to the right, and so now there's a new middle, further right of the last one, and a newer middle, even further to the right....  It's like a political game of tug of war and we're the rope.  If no one holds the other side of the rope, the left side, the center keeps moving, faster and faster, to one side, the right.  Until eventually, there is no center, just a big pile of rope off to one side.

        And the language itself is a variation of William Butler Yeats.

        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

        If there is no left, the center cannot hold.

        by JAS1001 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:16:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (none)
    From someone who energetically supported your campaign and is proud to call you my Senator, thank you for taking the time to listen and respond to our concerns.  That in itself is leaps and bounds above the representation many of us progressives/liberals/Democrats are accustomed to experiencing.  And simply acknowledging our concerns and what I think are primarily constructive criticisms is something I believe the leadership of our party must spend more time doing.  Half the problem is that the people no longer have faith in the possibility that you all are even listening to us.  You might say we have some serious trust issues to work through.

    All that said, I fear that your optimism, your hope, your vision of a democratic political process in which trust, cooperation and flexibility can result in true change, in real improvements in the lives of Americans...  Well, that vision is beautiful and contagious and noble, but I don't think it acknowledges the political reality today.  

    Your vision is a goal, not an established fact.  Let your vision it guide you but don't think for one second that you are not MILES from achieving it.  

    There is a season for everything and I think the season for compromise and going through the motions as if you were conducting business in a government that is not ACTIVELY TRYING TO HARM, OPPRESS, OR DISENFRANCHISE THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY IN ORDER TO REWARD A VERY EXTREME OR CORRUPT FEW, well, that season is over.  Some things simply must be worth fighting for.  And after all the horrors, all of the human tragedy, all of the senseless deaths and destruction, all of the hatred masquerading as faith that I have witnessed over the past 5 years, I must ask you, if not now, when?  

    When will protecting the American people be more important than camaraderie amongst a privileged few?  

    You asked, so I am letting you know that you, and not just you, but everyone whose responsibility it is to represent the interests of the American people are screwing up.  No, screwing up implies a mistake was made.  Once you make the same mistake twice, it is not a screw up.  It is a failure.  Our government is failing us.  Seriously failing us.  

    I greatly admire you and many of your colleagues.  I am blessed to have you and Durbin representing my interests.  I am relieved to have Gov. Dean running the party.  I am thrilled to see people like Jan Schakowsky, John Conyers, etc. in action.  I love your values and your passion.  But the terrible fact is all of your talent, and you obviously have a lot of that, all of your values and goals are going to be wasted if we do not fight those who seek to deny us our basic rights and frankly destroy this country with EVERY TOOL, EVERY VOICE, EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY WE CAN MUSTER.  Put that talent, that passion, that voice to good use.  We need it now more than ever.

    I know all of this has been already been said.  But one learns through repetition, so I will repeat this once more: A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  It appears the Democratic Party has gone insane.  
     

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -Voltaire

    by poemless on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:29:00 PM PDT

  •  Senators Should Use Their Judgment (none)
    I agree with most of your post. But I have one quibble.

    Senator Leahy doesn't deserve to be attacked on this vote, especially in view of the yeoman's work he's done on progressive causes over the years and his keen support of the Bill of Rights. But he and others should have voted "Present" rather than "Yes" on Roberts, because we were never given all of the information on him. How can you make an informed decision when the White House withheld documents about him?

    I also think we should give Roberts the benefit of the doubt, now that he's been confirmed. The process ran its course. We benefit more from accepting Roberts and making him our own than by continuing to oppose him after the fact. I would have greatly preferred a liberal Chief Justice, someone who would not impede progress in this country. But I believe that even though he's a conservative he has made a point of stating his believe in the law. The law is ultimately the ally of liberal causes, because many of the basic threats to our liberty and fairness in society are held at bay by the law. I think that, to the degree Roberts is sincere in his dedication to the law that he is every bit our ally and our friend.

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 01:36:16 PM PDT

  •  Nice post Senator (none)
    Thank you. I agree with much of what you said. A couple points I'd like to make in response however.

    1. I no longer believe that the Bush Administration deserves any deference normally reserved for the Executive branch. their track record is too clear, their agenda too destructive. I cannot agree with that line of reasoning at all. Holding that line at this point is the sign of someone with their head in the sand.

    2. You address the fallacy of "centrist" vs. "liberal" argument here, something I've tried to address when it comes up as well. The dividing line is between the people and the plutocratic few... a plutocratic few that controls the Republican leadership and some of the Democratic leadership as well. Many of us are aware that this is the real battleground not Republican vs. Democratc, Conservative vs. Liberal, or, within the Democratic party, centrist vs. liberal. It is a battle for control of a government that works for the people or works for the privileged few.

    3. You folks in the Democratic Leadership have still to show a united face, clear agenda and policy alternative to the Republicans, and a unified front behind which we can rally. Individuals talk and make statements but they are individual officials and other Democratic Leaders take actions or make statements that go in another direction. It is not conformity that we are looking for it is a common purpose, a common agenda, an alternative we can take to our neighbors and use to win elections for people that support that common, citizen oriented agenda. Until such time as the Democratic Leadership puts their individual egos aside and finds that common ground on which you all stand we are left with little to work with and division of the sort we see on votes such as Roberts or even moreso CAFTA and the Bankruptcy bill simply look like selling out or business as usual or compromise or whatever.

    We don't expect you to be little recalitrant boys digging in their heels and objecting to getting an ice cream cone simply because you decided to be ornery. We do expect you to stand strong and offer a united alternative vision that we can then use to make you folks winners.

    We haven't seen that yet. You folks have work to do... get in a room... leave your ego's and personal agendas and ambitions at the door... and get to work filling the enormous vacuum of leadership the Republicans have created.

    We are all waiting... democrats... greens... conservatives... moderates... all of us are waiting for competent and effective leadership based on values and implemented through values not pork, not business as usual.

    Respectfully Sir... you and your colleages have work to do and you better get to it.

    •  Amen (none)
      how can the grassroots door-knockers, phone-bankers, etc. do our jobs if there's not an agenda the big kids on high have agreed on? I heart Obama so very much, and, although he's still quite junior, he obviously has a lot of clout.

      Dean, et al., have GOT to get moving creating the Dems' "Contract with America," or whatever the hell it is that's going to win us the House and the Senate in 06.

  •  What would rock (none)
    I think someone should fax this thread to every Democrat in Congress and to the party leadership.  It really sums up how all the Democrats I know feel about their representatives.  Despite what the Senator has implied, it has been my experience that non-blogging Democrats & progressives and even some moderates & Republicans are equally as puzzled and frustrated at the Democrats' lack of opposition to the Bush agenda as we are.  We are just more vocal.  Or have more free time.

    Plus, I think the possiblility that Senator Obama may actually read this has put everyone on their best behavior.  Maybe he should post more often. :)

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -Voltaire

    by poemless on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

  •  Mea Culpa on all those mis-spellings... (none)
    ...must be Keyboard Rage.

    Why do people insist on following that damn chicken across that bloody road?

    by MT Spaces on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 02:04:46 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't vote for this man for dogcatcher. (none)

      I am tired of the Obama hype and his diary reads like a handbook to stay a permanent minority.

      I don't believe every dem has to march lockstep with the party, but this diary suggests a policy of appeasment.

  •  Beautifully said Senator (none)
    Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts and post them here. I agree very much with your most rational assessment of the politicians dilemma--and hence respectfully acknowledge your approach.

    In normal administrations, it might work so well. This one is so different. Well, perhaps it's different from the lens of my lifetime of presidential administrations starting with Kennedy. And one knows corruption exists perenially in arenas of power whether within governments, corporations, or nonprofit sectors.

    But I say this administration is different because of the opportunistic actions taken during the Bush tenure which has led to such catatrophic failures, loss of life, disrespect for our citizens, and immaturity -- endless frat boy antics. There is no end to the manipulation of our good society and its trusting citizens--consider the money spent on homeland security in the wake of Katrina and Rita. So I do worry about what approach to take in reaching people with our message of progressivism.

    I do not advocate centrism at all costs. However, as your mentors rightly conveyed to you, I do see that you must know how to disagree without being disagreeable to win the most important battles in the longer term. The people we need to win over to our progressive agenda will tune out if we react with venom to every decision and appointment of this president.

    You are a bright star, Senator. You see the good and the rational in our society. I'm truly inspired by your thoughts--your heart is in sync with our collective feelings of betrayal. Trust should never be squandered, and this administration has been frivolous, cavalier, and reckless with ours.

  •  Agree with this 100% (none)
    Thank you Senator.  But duck, run, hide...as there are many on this site who will not consider you a Republican.  

    To find his equal, and Irishman is forced to talk to God.

    by Delaware Dem on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 02:37:11 PM PDT

  •  Then I guess we've already lost (none)
    and I say that as some one who is a moderate on abortion and gay rights-well to the right of many Kos posters-and would like to see those issues recede somewhat in the party's communication message.

    For someone to go through the last 5 to 11 years and not realize that the GOP represents a "take no prisoners" mentality, for a Senator to complain about "how hard it is" to come up with constructive proposals, or to declare that people in the country are only interested in competence and would not understand a conversation on how their values can translate into a coherent philosophy of government...leaves me speachless.

    And it only took the gu