Obama’s Supporters: Oh the Contortions You’ll See

I mentioned that local progressives were taking Congressman Langevin to task for voting for FISA. I wondered what they’d do once they found out that Senator Obama agreed with Langevin.
ANSWER: Give him a pass.
Apparently “Obama had a legitimate political reason for supporting the ‘Democratic’ compromise on FISA….Congressman Jim Langevin did not” and “Obama predictably has to move to the center. “You see, He Who is Change is excused for practicing practical politics in the short term, because he’s gotta do it to get elected. Besides, he’ll just flip-flop once he’s in office, so just bear with him.
Huh. I guess that was pretty quaint of us to think that Obama was supposed be different and all that. But it shouldn’t go without noting that one of the Left’s favorite writers, Glenn Greenwald, who was cited by the same locals for his argument against FISA, isn’t letting Obama off the hook.

The excuse that Obama’s support for this bill is politically shrewd is — even if accurate — neither a defense of what he did nor a reason to refrain from loudly criticizing him for it. Actually, it’s the opposite. It’s precisely because Obama is calculating that he can — without real consequence — trample upon the political values of those who believe in the Constitution and the rule of law that it’s necessary to do what one can to change that calculus. Telling Obama that you’ll cheer for him no matter what he does, that you’ll vest in him Blind Faith that anything he does is done with the purest of motives, ensures that he will continue to ignore you and your political interests.
Beyond that, this attitude that we should uncritically support Obama in everything he does and refrain from criticizing him is unhealthy in the extreme. No political leader merits uncritical devotion — neither when they are running for office nor when they occupy it — and there are few things more dangerous than announcing that you so deeply believe in the Core Goodness of a political leader, or that we face such extreme political crises that you trust and support whatever your Leader does, even when you don’t understand it or think that it’s wrong.

At least Greenwald is ideologically consistent. Anyway, I don’t particularly care whether Obama acts like any other politician that’s come down the pike. That’s what I expect him to do, but doesn’t his base expect something more? Won’t these sort of normal, finger-in-the-wind political calculations kinda, sorta undercut the whole “change” mantra?
Sure, the local wonks over on the left get what he’s doing, but Obama is depending on bringing in a whole new bunch of young and idealistic voters. And to the degree that the idealism is dependent on ideological purity, too many politically pragmatic flip-flops may undercut that idealism and the votes that are so inspired. Or not. After all, I suspect that a lot of the voters in this cohort live by the analogy: As Bush is to Everything that is Wrong, so is Obama to Everything that is Right. So it won’t matter what he does, because he can’t do anything wrong. It must be comforting knowing you’re voting for the Alpha and Omega.
ADDENDUM: More here and here.

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Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
13 years ago

Obama’s support among youth is nothing new.
There was the same wide eyed enthusiasm for Jimmy Carter back in the early 1970s.

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

I’ve been trying to stay away from recent Obama stories. But as you brought this one up, Marc, his flip-flop on public campaign funding was also problematic, especially as it was, remarkably, framed as a good government decision.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
13 years ago

There has to be a point where the rubber meets the road with this new version of Jimmy Carter.
I can foresee that aggressive attacks on Obama’s capabilities as the leader of the free world and his policies will be “decried” by the leftists as racism.
I hope this political correctness will backfire on them,but who really knows?
The Newsweek “poll results”are a sign that the main stream media have signed on to the Obama campaign.
Does anyone but me suspect that some of these earnest-sounding leftists seem to be sorry that they are not of “minority” background?I bet not.I think a lot of people see the guilt complexes of privileged upbringings bubbling to the surface.
I think McCain has a known imprint on the American psyche that he cannot change.Whether you like him or not,you know who he is.
Obama is sort of like the “Shmoo”from the old Al Capp comics-he comes to the voters as a blank clay figure waiting for each voter to put their own idealized imprint on him.
It’s a brilliant strategy-“I am whatever you think me to be”.

seth
seth
13 years ago

I’m posting this as part of McCain’s artificial blog commenting campaign. For details see… http://tinyurl.com/6ormqf
Or, when the McCain campaign removes this embarrassing page you can see the cached page from google here … Preview of http://tinyurl.com/57xtq9

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

If he’s not taking PAC money and he’s not taking lobbyist money and most of his donors donate less than $200 then it sounds to me like his campaign is doing exactly what ‘campaign finance reform’ meant to do which is take the big corporate money out of the race.
And nobody but wonks give two shits about campaign finance anyways. If he takes a real hit on this I’ll be shocked.

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