Obama Begins the Sellout Phase of His Campaign

It started earlier this week when Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate to forgo public money. It continued yesterday when Barack Obama pledged support for the FISA “compromise” bill, which grants telecom companies immunity for past offenses of illegal wiretapping, and issued this appalling statement. With Senator Harry Reid flip-flopping over his “total opposition to immunity” to save Obama’s ass, it is becoming quite apparent that the Democrats are once again content to take on the instincts of frightened little animals. And it’s a pity that all this comes immediately after Dennis Kucinich’s efforts to move impeachment articles through the House Judiciary Committee. Obama’s Clintonian spin on the telecom bill represents the acts of a pusillanimous opportunist. The rest of us, pining for the integrity that led us to Obama in the first place, feel sick to our stomachs.

Meanwhile, Senator Russ Feingold, one of the few Democrats demonstrating some capacity for outrage, has called FISA “not a compromise. It is a capitulation.” One might say the same of Obama’s recent decisions.

[UPDATE: Some additional context from BLCKDGRD.]


  1. I really don’t understand why this all is so horrifying. Foregoing public money…well if he doesn’t have to rely on public coffers better for everyone (including those who do not support him?). And leaving “past offenses” behind that fell under the jurisdiction of the current administration, well that seems like a reasonable way to start things over within a spirit of compromise. And please don’t bring up the effort by Kucinich to impeach at this point in time. That is just a day late and a dollar short and if anything seems cowardly, the piling on with less than 8 months left in office certainly raises my personal frustration level with all the howlers and screechers who didn’t have the nuts to do it years ago. Please don’t whine about having an upset stomach if this is all you can come up with. I think higher of you than that. This is politics and there’s still plenty of time to come up with something more substantial if you want to toss dirt on a Democratic last chance.

  2. I won’t argue the FISA point, but how is accepting money from the largest, most effective grassroots movement in political history selling out? It’s not like he’s getting bankrolled by Coke.

  3. So, Ed, what’s the appalling part? That the FISA oversight process will revert to its pre-Bush status? I could see your point there, since FISA has typically rubber-stamped whatever was brought before them. But Obama is very clear on continuing to oppose telecom immunity: “I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.” Reid also said he wants two separate votes – one on FISA itself, one on immunity.

  4. Obama’s promise to oppose telecom immunity is a joke. Without telecom immunity, Bush will veto this bill. Since the majority of Democrats support the bill, the immunity provision will stay. Predictably, Obama will make a show of opposition, then vote for it, saying it’s the best compromise available.

    I’m now inclined to vote for Ralph Nader.

  5. I’m not all that interested in playing fair with the Republicans. And I don’t think most ‘liberals’ should be. Bipartisanship was never their intention; their policies have been far more damaging. Whatever helps crush them in November, I say use it.

  6. Yes, he is a sellout. But I take exception to the use of the term “Clintonian” within the context it was used. Some in the media are saying that Obama wants to win and is shrewd for taking a page out of Bill Clinton’s playbook–but that is flat out an inaccurate contention. Bill Clinton come on the scene as a “New Democrat” – a centrist right from the start and had as a centerpiece of his campaign, welfare reform, even though the Newt Gingrich republican congress seems to get credit for initiating welfare reform. The fact is, Clinton talked about welfare reform all through the ‘92 primary and released a campaign video (which I still have) in late ‘91 or early ‘92 that addressed the issue. Clinton was a centrist during the primary and there was no big calculated move to the right after the primary season. So no, Obama is not taking a page out of Clinton’s playbook as some say in regards to his post primary shift to the center. The only thing that remotely resembles the Clinton strategy is the fact that he is trying to now be a centrist and put some southern states into play, as Clinton did. The difference though, is that Clinton started with that strategy. What you saw during the primary is what you got during the general election. Not true with Obama. He IS a sellout. And it was totally spineless the way he left General Clark out to dry. While McCain supporters might be put off by what Clark said, there was nothing controversial or “unartful” about it. He praised McCain’s service but said that by itself, his specific military experience doesn’t make McCain more qualified to be president. For Obama to publicly repudiate General Clark smacks of intense spinelessness. Obama and the Democratic Party has to stand for something and stand their ground and quit being a bunch of pansies. Bill Clinton realized that had been the weakness of Dukakis and Mondale and had an aggressive campaign strategy. Democrats have to stand for something—stand their ground, fight back and quit being a bunch of wusses. Obama is a wuss.

  7. I used to think the Democrats were simply cowards. Now I understand that they have the same corporate agenda as the Republicans. It’s not that they’re afraid, it’s that they are beholden to the same money providers & so they continually betray you. It’s time people who want a change faced the fact that it will not come from the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly. You cannot vote for someone who obviously does not stand for the things you want and expect that you’ll get what you want. Until Americans face the hopelessness of the current major parties, repudiate the system & vote for someone who espouses our desires (get out of the war, institute universal health care, reign in corporate power) we cannot rationally expect change. We are the ones who lack courage.

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