To the Left, some perspective on Obama, please

After reading some Left listservs and blogs, you might think Obama is the continuation of the policies of George Bush under another name. I mean, there’s some serious gnashing of teeth and fury going on. How dare he be a centrist. He’s not for the immediate withdrawal of troops. He’s a sellout and his presidency will mean no change.

Get a grip folks. Does anyone think that having a centrist adult in the White House will be as bad as George Bush?

More to the point, think back to what Ralph Nader said in 2000 (and I did drink Nader’s Kool Aid then), that there’s no difference between Al Gore and George Bush. Is there anyone left on the planet who thinks a Gore presidency would have been as destructive as Dubya’s has been? Didn’t think so.

Sometimes I think the Left is so used to losing and being marginalized it wouldn’t know what to if things started looking even slightly optimistic. An Obama presidency will open the door to progressive change, whether he wants it or not. So, the Left need to push Obama that way, and not stand on the sidelines sniping, refusing to play, and thus inadvertently insuring its irrelevance.


  1. I feel that post was slightly directed at me (not just at me, but I can probably be described as an Obama-basher appropriately).

    You are absolutely correct in the point that Obama cannot be worse than Bush (nor, famously, could a ham sandwich be worse than Bush).

    But for now anyways, while enthusiasm over Obama is still fairly high, I believe there’s still value in the unravelling of some of his myths. That he is a revolutionary politician of some sort, or something “brand new” and something unseen before on Capitol Hill, appears to be ridiculous.

    I am 100% fine with anyone supporting Barack Obama as a step (or several dozen) up from GWB. I am NOT cool with people thinking that Obama is the bringer of “change you can believe in”.

    Right now, I rank Obama only a few steps up from McCain (even this entirely compromised McCain), but that Biden selection really hurt me. Perhaps I’ll have cooled down a bit in a month’s time and see Obama and McCain for what they are a bit better.

    Great posts as always.

  2. I’ve always seen Obama as a highly skilled triangulating centrist politician (quite a lot like Bill Clinton, actually), nothing more, and certainly not a being sent by the Ascended Masters to bring peace to us (yes, a columnist in SF actually said that.)

    Like I said, having a centrist adult in the White House would be a huge improvement over the willfully ignorant and belligerent frat boy who occupies it now.

  3. I love how the Nader bashers talk about the huge differences between the Bush administration and the Gore administration that never was, and yet they never actually point to any concrete evidence of this. What happened to you, Bob? You’ve changed, man.

  4. No difference between Gore and Bush? A belief that global warming must be remediated and that we need renewable energy are just two of the more obvious ones.

    And I doubt Gore would have so enthusiastically been for torture. Or for invading countries based on lies.

  5. I think Gore’s constant attention to global warming is in itself enough proof. And there’s more. Can you imagine Gore inventing WMD evidence to invade Iraq with? Bankrupting the country with skyrocketing spending while at the same time cutting revenues (taxes)? I voted for Nader that election, too.

    What happened? Speaking for myself, I finally came to see Nader as a cranky old man with no mass appeal. (His campaign slogan was, “Be reasonable: Deamnd the impossible.” I mean, come on!) Plus the California Green Party paralysis at both local and state levels (I was Treasurer of the GPCLA when the scandal began to break) put the final nail in the Green coffin for me.

    I’d love to see a viable third party or independent candidate… but it’s been a while. (To be viable, a third party candidate must be ELECTABLE.)

  6. Cause Al Gore did so much about global warming when he was vice-president, right?

    It’s really sad when progressives compromise their ideals just so they can be on the winning team. What’s even sadder is when the winning team (i.e., Kerry, Obama in November) loses.

  7. Not all of us who prefer Obama over McCain are progressives. Where else is a traditional conservative to turn for some sense of sanity? Not the neo-cons, which McCain sounds more like every day.

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