Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A postscript to...

my piece "Hands Off Obama:"

Whoever thinks that Barack Obama is shifting to the right is suffering from positional vertigo, and is definitely off-balance.

Senator Obama has been clear all along that he supports what he calls Second Amendment rights to bear arms, but he also says that he supports the government's right to regulate firearms.

If you read Obama's piece a few days ago, on HuffPost, he addressed the F.I.S.A. issue, and clearly stated that he is working fervently with Sen. Dodd to mitigate against the president's clause which allows for retroactive immunity for telecoms.

Oh, and btw, you might also wish to read Dodd's piece on F.I.S.A., if you question Barack Obama's intentions with respect to the retroactive immunity clause.

And, with regard to the war in Iraq, Sen. Obama is only suggesting, wisely, that any decision he makes about when to pull the troops will be impacted by the situation on the ground. Would you prefer a commander-in-chief, like the current one, who obdurately insists on picking a position on a subject, and not budging.

Come on people, four months goes by in the bat of an eye. It is destructive, and foolish, to try to throw the only candidate who has a snowball's chance in hell of making some kind of progressive shift in foreign policy, and the economy, off balance with all this sensationalistic chatter which is neither nuanced nor accurate.

In a country that has more bullies than bully pulpits, it's hard to fathom an ideology that embraces analysis instead of one whose default position is "bomb Iran." If you want intelligence in leadership, and not just military muscle, the ability to rethink must come with the vehicle, not just the ability to react.

All presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican, are answerable to their party's platform, as well as to their party's elders. There will be many crucial congressional races, too. While the president is top gun, so to speak, he still has to work with Congress. We turned up the heat, during the midterm election, and made ending the war in Iraq a campaign issue. We can do it again in 2008.

If you think Hillary Clinton would be sounding any differently now than Barack Obama, think again. Voting for those congressional candidates who pledge to work to end the war is one way to increase pressure on Obama to stick to his timetable. Rest assured, no amount of pressure from Congress will move Sen. McCain, should he become commander-in-chief, to withdraw troops before he's good and ready.

And, in the end, there's more at stake here than who hangs his hat in the Oval Office. There's lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, and whether or not we have a general in presidential drag running the White House.