Wednesday, July 9

Why should I vote for Obama?

I'm pissed. Senator Obama's vote today in favor of the FISA bill has completely erased whatever goodwill I might have had for him.

OK, all you Obama fans out there, here's your chance. Tell me why I should vote for the man who just voted in favor of further eviscerating the 4th Amendment and my civil rights.

Don't bring the boogeymen of the Republicans and McCain into it. I'm not looking for reasons to vote against him or his party. I already have plenty of them. I'm looking for reasons to vote for a candidate.


  1. I'm not a big fan of the sprint to the center, but as long as our electoral system is set up the way it is (first, get the base to nominate you, then try to convince everyone else you appeal to everyone, not just party loyalists), this is going to happen.

    But you talked me down during my rough moment, so I'll try to talk you down during yours.

    Obama is vastly, vastly superior on energy policy. He understands how dire the environmental situation is. You can tell by how he hasn't gone for silly stuff like a gas tax holiday or offshore drilling.

    The Supreme Court found in favor of Gitmo detainees...that we can't just keep them there forever. They're still capable of making decisions that go along with the constitution, you know? Obama's picks for the court will be critical--and I think they'll be good ones.

    He's eased up a little bit lately, saying he wants to get the facts from the ground in Iraq (which I like), but in spite of this, I believe he'll have us out of Iraq as soon as is feasible. No more of this "once we've won." (Whatever "winning" means.)

    Don't forget that he was right in 2002 about Iraq...and he was one of the only ones to keep his head in the middle of the jingoism. Being right in the past is the number one predictor of being right in the future. While Obama doesn't bat 1.000, as your recent posts indicate, he's still got a strong batting average when you look at the big picture. If you start fresh--pretend you know nothing about any of the candidates--and went down issue by issue, I think you'll find he's still your guy.

    I also still believe, in spite of recent bumps, that he'll actually be able to bring us together on tough issues. His rhetoric does matter, and I do believe it will bring us together. We're more similar than we seem to give ourselves credit for.

    If you don't think so, maybe this is your year to vote Nader?

  2. Thanks, TRP. :-)

    A few points in response:

    2002 & Iraq - Sorry, that one has never held water. He wasn't in a position to vote on the Iraq war authorization, so therefore he has no right in my book to claim credit for opposing it "from the start". His constant attacks against Clinton on the issue really pissed me off. Regardless of his current stance, his claims are a point against him in my book.

    Nader - Nader is an egotistical jerk who has done more damage than good with his campaigns. Great, he got us seat belts in the 1970s, but he has contributed nothing positive to this nation's politics. 'Nuff said.

    SCOTUS - An excellent point, but he doesn't have enough of a track record to convince me he'll choose well. Then again, considering how unexpectedly some past appointments turned out to be (Reagan-appointee Justice Kennedy, for example), Sen. Obama's lack of a track record may be irrelevant.

    Yes, Sen. Obama's voting record is still vastly superior to his opponent's, but that's not exactly hard to do when you're comparing it to someone who votes wrongly nearly 100% of the time. Nobody's perfect, but "well, he's better than Attila the Hun" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

    I just can't get past the feeling like I'm lacking the incentive to vote for Obama. To me he's still a slick, content-free politician who will say or do anything to get the job. His reversal on his promise to filibuster the FISA bill and yea vote only confirms that perception.

    Am I asking too much to want more from a candidate?

  3. This probably isn't what you're looking for, but won't -all- pols say/do anything to get elected? I was hoping Obama wouldn't be that way, but I'm worried that this--for any politician--might be like getting water to flow uphill.

    Iraq/2002: I don't understand your criticisms. Yes, Obama wasn't yet in a position to make a vote. But he no doubt knew he had a Senate race in his future, and still publicly and strongly took a stance that was not popular at the time...and had the added benefit of being right. And now, saying he wants to talk to people on the ground...well, that's unpopular with his liberal base, but is also 100% right to do.

    Being right on big issues in the past=a far stronger likelihood to be right in the future.

  4. Can't help you 'cause I'm right there with you. I'll fill in the Obama bubble because the alternatives are less attractive.

  5. TRP:

    I guess what I mean is: he claimed to oppose the FISA bill too, yet he ended up voting for it. How can we know he wouldn't have done exactly the same thing on the war vote?

  6. We don't know anything hypothetical like this.
    But have you read his Chicago speech?'s_Iraq_Speech

    I's easy to call him of being a silver-tongued smoothie, because he's better at speaking than any politician in the last half century (beating Reagan, even). But when I read the spot-on criticisms in his speech, there's no damn way he'd have voted for the war. None. Zero.

    He did call the FISA bill "imperfect" and tried to change it to make it more to your liking. I know that's not good enough, but it's something.

    All Senators frequently have to compromise and vote for things they might not expect to. That's why so very few of them get elected President. (None since Nixon, but he'd only been there two years, and he'd been out 16 years by the time he was elected.) Like making sausage--that's making law. I don't hold individual votes against any Senator except for a few big ones (like the war authorization, which helped to kill a lot of people for no good reason). Maybe for you this is a "big one," and if so, I respect that.

    Still...think environment, think lack of bullshit gimmickry, think someone who my Republican sister and mother-in-law actually might vote for (and how this could shatter red-blue bullshit divides), think of all the good the Christian Left has done throughout US History and how an Obama-led recasting of faith could strip the Christian Right of most of its power, think of how the Arab world would have to rethink its view of the U.S. when we're led by a Black man with a Muslim name. There's so much positive here.

    I'm not a fan of the FISA vote, and I don't care for the dash to the center, but shit like this happens (all politicians flip-flop). I'm still a fan of Obama for the reasons above, his opposition to the Iraq war, and more.