Sam Nunn? Seriously?

Kristin Teigen

Barack Obama has been testing my patience a bit these days. From his vote on FISA to the notion that the government should ever limit a woman’s right to an abortion (tip - it’s never up to a bunch of politicians, never), I’ve been a bit frustrated. I'm still with him, so don't get all worked up, but I'm getting tired of defending him to my far lefty friends. Really tired.

One potential decision, however, might just send me to scrape the bumper sticker off of my car.

Apparently, on Obama's short list for vice president is the former Democratic senator from Georgia, Sam Nunn. Nunn served admirably in some ways and today, he's working to reduce the the threat of nuclear and chemical weapons. In one particular realm, though, he really, really messed up.

Nunn was chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee when President Bill Clinton took office. During his campaign, Clinton had promised to end the ban on gay men and lesbians in the US military. For progressive folks like me, this was a BIG DEAL. Yet Nunn stood in the way of his own president and blocked implementation of the policy change. In doing so, he helped guarantee one of the more asinine policies in our nation’s military history, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Since then, the strongest denunciation he has made of his role in this pathetic history is that he would be willing to "take another look" at DADT. Not good enough.

Now, on gay rights, Obama is not perfect. He opposes gay marriage. He does, however, favor civil unions and has spoken strongly against a proposed amendment to California’s constitution which would outlaw gay marriage. And, he opposes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. For the record, McCain is in favor of California's amendment and is in favor (seriously) of DADT.

So, if Obama truly takes this whole, you know, equality thing seriously he should reject Sam Nunn entirely. Please, Senator Obama, I hate scraping bumper stickers. Please don’t make me.

Comments

  • JHL (unverified)
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    People, please know that this is classic Republican strategy: Leak all these stories about how Obama is moderating his positions (sprinkle some true ones in there just for effect) and try to take some of the wind out of his enormous sails.

    I'm interested to know the source of this "Apparently..." story. Also "Apparently, Obama is a Muslim extremist..."

    I voted for Barack Obama knowing full well that there were a lot of issues I disagreed with him on. And I voted not merely proudly, but enthusiastically. Not because I agreed with him on everything, but because I truly believe that he can change the way business is done in Washington... and I haven't believed that of a candidate for a long time.

    Please wake up and smell the underlying Rovian communications plan at work here.

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)
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    Seriously, the function of the Vice Presidential candidate is to deliver states where the Presidential nominee is weakest. That's it. Cheney's puppetmastering to the contrary, the VP normally has no voice in setting policy, and mostly just goes to funerals and stuff. Really.

    Nunn would be a masterful choice. He would excite enough white deep south voters to put Georgia, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Louisiana, maybe even Alabama in play.

    Who cares what the VP's beliefs are?

  • admiral_naismith (unverified)
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    Oh, yes. "Apparently" is the smear artist's best friend.

    Apparently, John McCain is a Manchurian Candidate who was brainwashed by Vietnamese communists and will start a nuclear war if he gets in the White House. Sources say so and so it must be true!

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    Please tell me that you did not just write "He would excite enough white deep south voters."

    The thing about Obama that excited me was that we didn't have to PLAY that CRAP anymore. All done, people. We stand on our record, on our beliefs, or we don't stand. No more pandering.

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    And OK, not "apparently" -- according to every reputable news source in the nation.

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    Not a chance. Sam Nunn is a creation of The Great Mentioner in the Beltway. The "they" in "that's what they say". Idle chit-chat in certain bars in D.C.

    But if the D.C. people were right, Barack Obama wouldn't be the nominee.

    Obama's appeal is not a regional one or an ideological one. Rather, his is a thematic appeal - change, hope, a new generation, from outside Washington.

    It seems obvious to me that Obama doesn't operate from weakness - "I don't do cowering", he told Rolling Stone - which means that he won't be trying to "fix" a regional or ideological problem.

    The Beltway chattering class may be stuck in old ways of thinking - gotta shore up the South, gotta shore up the military cred, gotta get a wise old man, etc. - but Obama operates from strength, and knows that his appeal is a thematic one (or what the marketing people would call "brand".)

    And the worst thing you can do to your brand is pollute it, undermine it, damage it.

    Rather, I suspect he'll follow the lead of the single greatest VP pick of the last half-century. Like Clinton picking Gore, he won't seek "balance" (as defined by the Beltway), he'll seek to double-down on his brand.... find a way to emphasize his strengths.

    If his pick is designed to "fix" his weaknesses, he'll merely emphasize them. A military man? That merely says he's not ready to be commander-in-chief. A old Washington hand? That says he needs adult supervision.

    Not a chance.

    Obama will emphasize his thematic strengths - change, new generation, outside Washington. (While avoiding the one thematic weakness that comes with "new generation" - which is "inexperienced.")

    I suspect the short list looks like this (in my preferred order): fmr Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Claire McCaskill, former Mayor Federico Pena, Gov. Janet Napolitano.

    Each of these people is experienced enough to be vice president, represents change, and comes from outside Washington. All but John Edwards come from a swing state. (Yes, Montana is now a swing state.)

  • Jim Et Al (unverified)
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    I’ve been a bit frustrated. I'm still with him, so don't get all worked up, but I'm getting tired of defending him to my far lefty friends. Really tired.

    I got off the bus when he voted for FISA. Whatever enthusiasm I had is as dead and gone as my right to privacy. For a candidate who is also a Constitutional attorney, what he did in the Senate is as perplexing as it is despicable. Sorry, as it now stands I can't vote for the guy...

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    p.s. I'll gladly wager a pint of Oregon's finest microbrew that the VP pick comes from my short list of six -- which, you may have noticed, includes three women and one Latino. Change vs. more of the same.

  • Ann (unverified)
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    There are 300 million people in America, 900 million opinions (apparently), 2 presidential candidates and 1 president. Obama's in the center where I guess the winning candidate has to be, but he's sharp and knowledgeable, has good judgement, a good life story, forms coherent sentences, and believes in community empowerment. I'm saving all my disagreements on issues until after the election. He's taking enough crap from the right, and, oh yes, the left. He doesn't need any from me.

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    Kari,

    I'm not willing to wager you a beer, but I'd oh so happily buy you one anyway if you're right.

    And I agree. The reason I'm still firmly in the Obama camp is because he does not believe that you need to send a homophobic white guy down to the South, or anywhere, to get a vote.

    And Jim, I'd ask you to read his statement on his FISA vote. I don't have to like the system to understand why he did what he did.

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    I may disagree with him on FISA, but I disagree with McCain a whole hell of a lot more.

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    And why are the parents up (Kari, Jenni, me, ?) commenting on this..who knows when the kids will wake up?

  • SBC (unverified)
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    I'm all for values and principles but I've heard enough from these folks who think that they are so righteous and Obama is selling out.

    Here's what I have to say to these folks:

    Shut up.

    This election isn't about you. It's about all of us. And we don't need you telling all of us that you are always right and you are so moral and good and you stand on your principles and rabble rabble rabble. Fundamentalists are no good, liberal or conservative.

    Obama is the best thing to happen to America for a long time. Is he perfect? No. Will his presidency be perfect? No. But Obama is so much better than McCain and don't be an idiot and say that Obama is just as bad because of some random crap that you disagree with him about.

    Don't act like a little four year old throwing a hissy fit because you didn't get the toy you wanted. YOU GOT A TOY. YOU WON. DON'T THROW THE TOY AWAY BECAUSE YOU ARE MR. MORALISTIC WHO WILL SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE PISSING PEOPLE OFF AND NOT ACCOMPLISHING GOOD, VALUABLE, MEANINGFUL STUFF BECAUSE YOU ARE IN YOUR OWN MORAL DREAM WORLD.

    Sorry. As you can tell, this whole thing makes my blood boil.

    Just remember: It's not about you. It's about us. And our kids and grandkids. So get the stick out of your ass and vote for Obama.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)
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    I'm as willing to play the parlor game as anyone, but ultimately I really don't give much of a crap who the VP nominee is. As long as Cheney's gone, pick anybody plausible and don't let them do any policymaking, and I'm happy enough.

    But what I want to reply to is the "rovian communication plan" comment.

    Karl Rove and the right-wingers may be responsible for a lot of evil in this world, but Senator Obama's disgraceful vote on the FISA bill was all his own work. (See: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/09/fisa/) Pretending that Obama hasn't made a calculated move to the right, and that this is just some right-wing hatchet job, is facile and unconvincing.

    FISA is an incredibly frustrating vote, and it's compounded when his supporters twist and turn to rationalize it, or to blame Karl Rove or some other boogeyman. And I strongly take issue with those who think that we should shut our mouths and avoid criticisms of Obama. Like any politician --sorry everyone --Barack Obama will take as much wiggle room as he's given, and needs to be pressured by voters, not simply annointed.

    John

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    I suspect the short list looks like this (in my preferred order): fmr Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Claire McCaskill, former Mayor Federico Pena, Gov. Janet Napolitano.

    I've never heard Pena's name mentioned before, but after doing some research, I am quite enthusiastic about him. It's interesting to see some names that haven't been beaten to death yet.

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    I don't believe at all that Obama will change the way business is done in Washington. He won't have the power, and I don't believe he particularly has the inclination.

    However, I do believe that he will change a considerable amount of the content of the business that is done in the White House, by comparison to McCain, and if we are lucky and find the right combination of encouragement and pressure, may just follow through on some of his promises to cooperate with or lead Congress in rolling back parts but not all of the Bush power grabs.

    His lack of leadership on FISA is a sore disappointment and makes me less hopeful about the previous paragraph.

    Above all, I believe that he will not appoint troglodytes to the federal courts, from the Supremes on down, and that John McCain will. That is my lodestone for the election.

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    C'mon, Nick, you didn't watch my appearance on Outlook Portland a few months back - where I made that bold prediction? :)

    Pena would be quite a candidate. Former mayor of Denver (swing state), former Secretary of Transportation and Energy. Marathon runner.

    And oh yeah, chairman of the Obama campaign.

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    Wow, I haven't seen a thread on BO dominated by so many sensible comments in a long time.

    I like the idea of wagering against Kari on the VP choice just for fun, but I'd be forced to root against myself if I did. I'm developing a fondness for Brian Schweitzer in that role myself and as far as lists of half a dozen possible candidates go, that one's far superior to most of the other ones I've seen.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    It would be interesting to find out Nunn's view on D.A.D.T. now. If he actually came out in favor of rescinding the very policy he helped create then it could go a long way towards making it a reality. If Obama pushes for it he will get flamed. But if Nunn does it (and if he does it as Obama's VP nominee) then it will be harder to attack.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    John Mulvey said: Pretending that Obama hasn't made a calculated move to the right, and that this is just some right-wing hatchet job, is facile and unconvincing.

    Of course Obama made a calculated move to the right; he wants to win this gall-durn election!

    The Rovian tactics are in the jumping on those moves and trying to convince the Democrats that Obama exists in a vacuum and that he's either a perfect candidate or one not worth voting for.

    So we end up with people like "Jim Et Al," who is either a Republican troll or some honest idealistic Democrat who has been convinced that Obama's not worth voting for because he's imperfect.

    People like that got suckered into the same message in 2000 and we ended up with 8 years of Bush. And before that, we all heard, "Well, Al Gore is soft on whale-hunting," or "I like Al Gore, but he sold out on campaign finance reform." Hey... he doesn't look so bad now, does he?

    Bottom line: Anyone trying to convince me NOT to vote for Barack Obama is carrying John McCain's water. Maybe not on purpose, but you're carrying it.

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    What matters most here is the Supreme Court, which is already badly damaged and will be ruined permanently under McCain. I don't care if it's Sam Nunn or Al Sharpton as VP, getting Obama elected is just about the most important thing any of us will do this year.

  • Matthew Tress (unverified)
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    By not standing up for the Constitution and voting "Yes" on FISA, Obama has proven that he will not "Change" Washington. He is just going to maintain the status quo and give in to the special interests running our country. He is no different than McCain. Neither are the other 21 Democrats who voted for this bill. What happened to the Left?? Now they are going to vote on H.Con.Res 362 and basically start a war with Iran! Look how many Democrats are sponsoring this act of war!

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.CON.RES.362:

    Here is some great info about yesterdays hearings on H.Con.Res 362.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9_vpQEX5Z0

    Find out if your representatives support this and let them know your opinion.

    We need to change BOTH parties from the inside out.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Sam Nunn would be a Brilliant Choice!

    He has always been more "outside" the beltway than "inside". He is a free thinker and has a wealth of forwein relations experieince as well as defense experience. both areas Obama is sorely lacking in.

    Don't ask, don't Tell was a foolhardy mission of Clinton during his first 100 days in office when there were far more important matters facing the country. Nunn's opposition was well founded, he believed at the time. Too many people on either side of the aisle are strong polarizers.

    Kristen, aren't your polarizing views over this matter in direct contrast to Obama's on-point message of, "Yes, We Can"?

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    Hey -- I'm still for Obama! For those who like to read it's in the first paragraph. I'm expressing my discontent with one potential vice presidential candidate.

    Don't read into my post more than is there. Back away from the "shut ups" and the "polarizing" and the "carrying McCain's water." I'm a deeply committed Obama supporter. I happen to not like some of his recent decisions and would abhore Sam Nunn as a VP. That's allowed, right? I can be a deeply committed supporter of Obama and not like Sam Nunn very much, right?

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    and besides, any society in which one is not allowed to criticize their candidate of choice is a pretty scary one indeed.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    and besides, any society in which one is not allowed to criticize their candidate of choice is a pretty scary one indeed.

    Of course you're allowed to criticize, and we're allowed to talk back. Aren't we?

    I just see nothing wrong with Obama picking a VP who would be strong in regions where Obama needs a boost. And frankly, Nunn is not even all that bad as southern conservatives go. I remember him mostly from his presence on the Iran-Contra investigation committee hearings and his leadership in the arguments leading up to Bush The Elected's Iraq invasion in 1991. In both of those important events, Nunn used his hawkish cred to bolster the liberals, and gave considerable weight to the proof that the Republican "hawks" were full of what makes the corn grow.

    BTW, although I'd like Nunn, I'd also be extremely pleased with anyone from Kari's list above. With the possible exception of McCaskill solely because I wouldn't want to risk losing her important Senate seat. If Gephardt would help shore up Missouri for the national ticket, I'd like to add him, too.

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    Of course people are "allowed" to "talk back." I didn't think I was the mom in every realm of my life. I was reacting against some of the comments that insinuated that criticisms of Obama were not allowed. It just smacks too much of the "if you're not with us, you're against us" bile that we've been dealing with for the past eight years.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    It just smacks too much of the "if you're not with us, you're against us" bile that we've been dealing with for the past eight years.

    The reason we''ve been dealing with that for the past 8 years is because in 2000, the Republican message to Democrats was that the two parties were two sides of the same coin and that no one should be really enthused to vote for Al Gore because he wasn't really that different than George Bush.

    Now we've got posters like Matthew Tress echoing those same exact sentiments in 2008.

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    "Not because I agreed with him on everything, but because I truly believe that he can change the way business is done in Washington"

    And which is why the FISA vote is so disappointing...business as usual, Democrats running scared from a bill they haven't read, don't know what it means, but are told if they don't vote for it the terrorists will come, and Americans will vote Republican.

    It's not the vote, it's the capitulation when there wasn't the first rational reason to do so. Obama was supposed to be that change, someone who didn't cower and didn't change his tune when things got hot. How was that filibuster you promised to join, Senator?

    Someone called last night asking me to canvass for Obama. I politely told them I can't reward bad behavior, and his behavior has sucked all the enthusiasm out of his campaign for me. He's better, but we were hoping for DIFFERENT. Not happening, apparently.

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    And the worst thing you can do to your brand is pollute it, undermine it, damage it.

    I think the point here, Kari et al., is that many who have raised objections to Obama's FISA stand or, like Kristin, to the idea of Sam Nunn as VP, are not only stating principled opposition based on the substantive issues, but also suggesting that by moving in the direction he's moving Obama is actually sullying his own brand.

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    Dan,

    Exactly right.

    And JHL, I wouldn't compare criticism of Obama to the lack of enthusiasm of Gore...I'm not running off into crazy Nadar land, but am hoping that Obama remain true to the principles that he's expressed better than anyone else in recent memory -- the value upon equal opportunity for all. Sam Nunn, as Dan said, sullies those principles.

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    Kristin, I have to respectfully disagree with your position. It is not the job of democrats at this point to disparage Obama. He is trying to win a presidential election, not leading our movement (which he made abundantly clear after Hillary left the race). Our job as activists is after he is elected, to hold him responsible for our platforms - GLBT rights, protecting the right to choose, reversing illegal or unconstitutional laws, and many many others that he's promised to review upon taking office.

    Remember, this is how Republicans maintain control. They get their people in office, then grill them like steak. If they don't behave, they lose in the next even-numbered year. It will do us well is to follow those rules, don't you think?

  • montag (unverified)
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    I've read the preceding comments with great amusement and some small degree of exasperation. If you folks were true progressives as you purport to be, you would face the truth that Barack Obama is no progressive. He's just another corporate Democrat who has gotten his marching orders from his corporate taskmasters at the DNC and the DLC.

    Stop drinking the Obama kool-aid and wake up, sheeple! If you want true progressives and populists in the White House, support Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez. They are currently polling at 6% nationally. When Ralph gets to 10% (with your help), he'll be allowed in the debates. Even if you don't support him, let his voice be heard. That goes for Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney also.

    Or are you afraid?

  • bugbuster (unverified)
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    Here we go again throwing serious progressive objectives like health care reform and finance sector reforms under a bus for peripheral issues. Does this columnist work for the Republicans?

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    "Our job as activists is after he is elected, to hold him responsible for our platforms - GLBT rights, protecting the right to choose, reversing illegal or unconstitutional laws, and many many others that he's promised to review upon taking office."

    Wouldn't that be better done NOW, while we still have some leverage? Do you REALLY think he's going to do anything about FISA once in office? Look for a repeal of the measures that give him more power? Yeah, right.

    Accountability doesn't start when you win; it began the day he started taking positions and making promises. Waiting until after the election is a sure fire way to have your concerns forgotten.

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    Karol,

    I'm not trying to disparage Obama, but it's an interesting question about what our job is at this stage....

    There was a post on the Huffington Report (can't remember who wrote it) that suggested that right now, during the campaign season is an excellent time to influence a candidate because this is when they're listening to the citizenry the most. After a candidate gets elected, he or she is more apt to be involved in a process that is not as inclusive to the voices of regular folks...

    I also think that he actually has positioned himself as a movement leader in a way that no other recent candidate has, and this is to his great credit. I think that the most effective candidates stand for something far more inclusive and broad than a platform.

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    Bugbuster,

    Laughable that I'd work for a Republican and I'd hardly call gay and lesbian rights peripheral...unless you're a Republican yourself.

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    Kristin

    Like others, I don't disparage your choices but think you grossly oversimplify some issues in such a way that, if typical of Democratic activists nationwide, will lead to electoral defeat.

    You distill Nunn's position on gays in the military down to "he's a homophobe." you conveniently forget how amazingly controversial this policy position was at the time, and how pushing it too hard and too early badly damaged Clinton in his first year. Does this make me a homophobe? A realist? I don't know, but I suspect Senator Nunn has moved tremendously on this issue, as has the whole nation.

    You write elsewhere the notion that the government should ever limit a woman’s right to an abortion (tip - it’s never up to a bunch of politicians, never)

    So is your position that abortion should be completely unlimited, at any time of pregnancy, even in the third trimester? That may be your position, but I hope you acknowledge that this places you far out of the mainstream of American politics, and if that is your litmus test for Democratic candidates, then we'll have to give up the presidency for quite a while.

    All folks are asking is a bit of realism here, folks. We have a long hard campaign in front of us. Let's not shoot the golden goose just yet.

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    I think the point here, Kari et al., is that many who have raised objections to Obama's FISA stand or, like Kristin, to the idea of Sam Nunn as VP, are not only stating principled opposition based on the substantive issues, but also suggesting that by moving in the direction he's moving Obama is actually sullying his own brand.

    Which is EXACTLY the point I made. Sam Nunn for VP -> Obama's brand is damaged.

    I thought I was pretty clear.

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    Paul,

    I don't know if I grossly oversimplify. I was a staff member at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force at exactly the time this whole thing was coming down and I know quite well what exactly Sam Nunn did and said, many comments of which could be characterized as nothing else than homophobic. I didn't forget how controversial it was -- I was living it. He had a clear choice and he decided to align himself with what was a very stereotypical image of gay men -- that they are predators who will go after any warm-blooded American heterosexual man. Again, I heard it...right out of his own mouth.

    And as for abortion, I have my own personal beliefs about abortion, as we all do. My perspective on it is that it is such a highly personal issue, one that is fraught with such highly emotional issues of morality, that we should not involve politicians in it, because some folks sitting in Washington, DC do not know what one particular woman is going through...that said, there is another is another layer of society that can involve itself in the conversation -- a woman's family, doctors, whatever community she has.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Several people have commented in this thread that it doesn't really matter who is chosen as VP and they should be chosen based mostly on whether they can deliver votes in November.

    I have to disagree with that. The VP office can be nearly invisible or extremely involved. In the case of the current administration, they can even run the country by proxy. And they can really mess up the President, their Party and their country by their actions, or lack thereof.

    It is an unfortunate and sad fact that sometimes VPs end up being elevated to President---(see Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B Johnson, Gerald Ford). When I fly on a plane, I dress for the crash, not the trip---doesn't mean I expect the plane to do down or that I'll live if it does, just means that I plan for the worst and assume the best. When I consider VPs (a mental exercise only since I have no say in the decision) I ask "who do I want to be President?"---not becuase I expect that they will be forced to fulfill the role, but because history has shown that sometimes they MUST. And I don't want someone in that job who was only chosen because they could bring in votes in the general election...I want someone who can LEAD if need be. And do so in a time of crisis, because if they are called upon to do so, it WILL be a time of crisis.

    Third, VPs gain name recognition and thus can be positioned to be our next Presidential candidate in eight years. True, they may not want the job but I like the idea of choosing a current VP with the idea of them perhaps running in eight years.

    VPs matter for many reasons. For all time they spend going to state funerals and delivering votes, they also may be called upon to fulfill great duties and responsibilities in the future. Let's not lose sight of that in our discussion, please.

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    It is an unfortunate and sad fact that sometimes VPs end up being elevated to President---(see Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B Johnson, Gerald Ford).

    Over 20% of the time, actually. Of our 43 presidents, nine were vice president and ascended to the office by succession (eight by death, one by resignation.) Another five vice presidents were elected to the presidency in their own right.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)
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    I thought I was pretty clear.

    You've been clear as regards Sam Nunn. Perhaps it's implied, but what you haven't done is apply your brand-sullying theory to the non-hypothetical FISA vote, which could be much more damaging.

    Don't get me wrong here. The implications of a McCain presidency are too frightening to even consider voting for him, or even splitting off and supporting a third-party candidate. Barack Obama will have my vote in November.

    But I very much agree that expecting to begin the conversation about these issues once Obama's in office is ludicrous. It puts progressives last in line, and possibly not even in the door. And frankly, I think you guys gave him too much of a pass during the primaries, and that left him and his strategists to believe that he could wiggle all summer without fear from his left flank. Maybe that's true... I guess we'll find out in November.

    Finally, I'll admit to finding it galling that so many Obama supporters are arguing the "pragmatic" side on his move to the right. All winter and spring we heard how no one could stomach casting a vote for Clinton because she was soooo calculating and cynical and slimy... Yeah, right. Way to change politics, guys! If there was any "rovian communication plan," I worry that it was at work then, not now.

    John

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Kristin:

    I second Paul.

    I also wonder why you haven't been posting anti-Clinton rants for the last 15 years. It was a clear sell-out by Clinton. So to now speak up as if anyone involved with don't ask/don't tell should be banished is a little late. Of course, the broad question should be how to move a progressive agenda forward. Sam Nunn brings lots to the table beyond his status as a white, southern guy. He's got tons of experience (to throw back at McCain), he's got lots of military experience, to the point of being hawkish (again, a rebuttal to McCain), and he's just damn smart. While I personally hope Obama picks someone else, he's be a fool to NOT consider Nunn.

    By the way, since Hillary took credit for Bill's work, should she be pasted with DADT, too?

  • Jim Et Al (unverified)
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    JHL --- I'm always amazed that some people believe they can decipher an entire persona given three short sentences, but I never expected to find that "talent" expressed here at BO. Seems more fitting for the rabble at LGF...

    So allow me to explain more clearly. I am NOT a Republican troll, nor a Republican at all. I am NOT a Democrat either. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I couldn't belong to an organization that would have me for a member. More seriously though, I can't be a Republican even though I admire their audacity because they don't ever stand up for the little guy, and I resent the other party because they rarely stand up even for themselves...

    Enter Barack Obama...

    I haven't seen such an outstanding talent in a presidential race since JFK, but unless he is the second coming of Christ (third if you count the Rev. Moon) he is not perfect. To suggest that people who choose not to support your candidate because he has warts is rather insulting. No...my decision not to vote for Obama did not come lightly, and it had nothing to do with his position on the rights of whales.

    My vote goes to the candidate who is more than the lesser of two evils. That WAS Obama until he betrayed me with when his voted for the evisceration of our Fourth Amendment rights. Yes, I understand that a political calculation was made in effect taking the national security issue to the edge of the table if not off it completely. So Obama, a Constitutional attorney, traded away the Fourth Amendment for a few "centrist" votes. So much for high minded principle. So much for the audacity of hope. So much for restoring the Constitution...

    It would seem that some don't realize how badly they've been had. But just like the loyal Bushies who voted against their personal interests because they were conned into believing the Bush narrative, the Obamacons will remain willingly blind to his faults...

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    I just read this in a Gail Collins article entitled "The Audacity of Listening" and I think it has EXTREME significance to this thread...

    Think back. Why, exactly, did you prefer Obama over Hillary Clinton in the first place? Their policies were almost identical — except his health care proposal was more conservative. You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats. Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

  • genop (unverified)
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    Disappointed, yes - a deal breaker -no. I read Obama's reasoning behind his vote. You can too, and should. Huffington has it verbatim from http://my.barackobama.com/. We will undoubtedly disagree on policy positions but at least his reasoning is transparent and out there for all to see. In addition to helping one understand the compromise nature of his decision, his discussion underscores a firm grasp of reality. It also suggests that this fight is just beginning. I predict future revisions to FISA, that is, provided Obama is our choice. The reality of data mining is it will insure the terrorists use encryption.

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    Jonathon,

    If Bill Clinton was being considered for VP, I would be posting against him too. He is just as responsible as Nunn. And Hillary Clinton has since repudiated DADT fully and completely in a way that I wish Sam Nunn.

  • Godot (unverified)
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    Frankly, a lot of these posters remind me of those bizarre raputre-ready Christians, failing to live their lives while eagerly awaiting the second coming of Jesus.

    Guess what: the Perfect Candidate isn't coming.

    In 2010, I'm sure a lot of these posters will blog and whine about President McCain's policies and the fact that we're now at war with half the world... While forgetting how they self-righteously refused to help because they were afraid of tainting their ideological purity.

    This is how Republicans win elections. And if you say it doesn't matter, then you must have been asleep for the last 8 years.

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    Woops -- it a way I wish Sam Nunn would.

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    The notion that we cannot discuss ways that we want our fellow Democrats to be different means that we risk becoming as simple-minded and as narrow as Republicans.

  • Faolan (unverified)
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    Kari,

    I like your list for the most part. I only have a few quibbles.

    First, Governor Schweitzer has definitively and unequivocally stated he has no interest in the job. Personally I agree I think Schweitzer will do more good as governor of Montana.

    Second, though I like Pena a lot, there is no way that Obama is going to pick a mayor (and relatively unimportant cabinet Secretary, at the time) as VP. It will not happen. If we want (and I think we should) a latino on that list it should definitely be Bill Richardson. He's wildly popular in his state. He has real executive experience. No-brainer as far as I'm concerned, even considering the whisperings of supposed infidelities.

    Third, Obama cannot pick someone with even less experience in Federal politics than he has. Claire McCaskill has only been a Senator since Jan. 2007. Besides which she is not nearly as Progressive as a lot of people like to think. She has been on the wrong side of a number of important votes already

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Retaliating against Obama because he chooses the wrong VP candidate is totally irrational. Withholding support for Obama means giving support to McCain. Over a single issue that Obama doesn't even hold you're going to flush everything else down the toilet. George Will says definitively, and I agree with him, a McCain presidency is a guarantee of war with Iran. Not to mention social security, health care, Supreme Court, energy policy, environmental policy- all down the toilet. Progressives are turning into irrational people, or perhaps they have been so all along. I thought was one, but now I think not.

  • Godot (unverified)
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    The notion that we cannot discuss ways that we want our fellow Democrats to be different...

    Yes, except we're not just noting how we want them to be different. This thread has engendered a discussion of whether we should scrape off bumper stickers, refuse to volunteer, vote for someone else entirely, etc.

    This race started with a LOT of Democrats in it, and after neary every single state had its say, the Party chose Barack Obama. We just went through a very long, very contentious selection process... and yet we had a lot of hope for winning in November because we counted on that resolving into party unity.

    Let's get Obama elected, and then we can go to President Obama and say, "Well, we all helped you get elected; here's how we think you could improve."

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    Bill, et al,

    Folks continue to fail to read the actual post, particularly where I talk about defending Obama against others and how I'm still voting for him. See, it's right up there. Read before being critical.

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    And Godot,

    I'm going to, and have worked, as hard as the next person to get Obama elected. I just don't happen to believe that he'll be listening as much after he gets elected as he will before...

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kristin, discussion is great! The old "judging truth and falsehood in an open marketplace of ideas" JFK quote from 1962 should define intelligent discussion.

    As long as it is of the "agree to disagree" variety.

    "All good Democracts agree that...." is not really discussion. For instance, I belong to an informal group which believes the true definition of "pro-choice" is that if, for instance, Joan is raising a special needs kid and opposes abortion for her own reasons, Ruth likes to say she is "pro-abortion" although hardly anyone agrees with that, and most people are somewhere in the middle, all of them have the right to be active Democrats--and if any of them can win public office as Democrats, more power to them!

    With regard to Sam Nunn, if he or any other former elected official could help Obama win the South and thus the presidency, I'm all for it.

    I worry about people who allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

    For example, I admire Sen. Casey. Do I agree with him on everything? NO! But he has learned the art of polite disagreement that his Dad never learned, and he supports Obama although they agree to disagree. And I'd rather have Casey, Webb, and other Senators I disagree with if that creates a majority, than to have a Republican Congress with a Republican president.

    If that makes me more Machieveli than member of a movement, so be it. I didn't devote 30 years as a political volunteer---incl. having an article published in a Democratic newsletter saying Democrats had to choose between ideological purity vs. hard work from volunteers because the people who showed up to volunteer were independent thinkers, not the "support [the nominee, the platform, a resolution by someone etc.] without question" types who often pontificated rather than actually showing up to work the booth, go door to door etc.---so that someone could tell me that all good Democrats believe X.

    I was a national convention delegate in 1984. Does that mean I agreed with everything my candidate ever did or said or had done or said? Not on your life! But I was thrilled when we won the Oregon primary overwhelmingly.

  • mlw (unverified)
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    Big tent, people, big tent. After 14 years in the military, I don't agree with Sen. Nunn's position on homosexuals and bisexuals in the military, but I think we should give him credit for being willing to reconsider the issue, and double credit for not just saying he's changed his mind outright to get the VP nomination. I also think that some diversity of opinion is a good thing in an administration. If we insist on absolute ideological purity, we'll end up a very small party indeed.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    It seems obvious to me that Obama doesn't operate from weakness - "I don't do cowering", he told Rolling Stone - which means that he won't be trying to "fix" a regional or ideological problem.

    Obama may not do "cowering" but he did grovel before AIPAC and upped the ante to make matters worse - like making Jerusalem the capital of Israel and ensuring we would send $30 billion in military aid to Israel while we can't give schools and health care for children what they desperately need.

    Please, Senator Obama, I hate scraping bumper stickers. Please don’t make me.

    I understand one of those hand-held hair dryers is a very useful tool for removing bumbper stickers.

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    "I read Obama's reasoning behind his vote. "

    I did too. It was vacuous. First, to say the bill is helpful because it designates the FISA court as the sole oversight vehicle of electronic surveillance, neglects to understand that it already was that...and this stopped Bush from violating it how, again?

    Secondly, the IG has little power to conduct hearings on the evidence in secrecy cases, and the IG is part of the Department of Justice, currently refusing to enforce valid Congresional contempt orders. It's a paper tiger in this instance.

    He justifies this Act by saying it needs to replace the most recent interim bill---which when expired, would leave us with the originally existing bill that was just fine. Obama voted AGAINST that bill, but is now arguing that this bill continues the good work in THAT bill, which would supposedly go away if this version hadn't passed.

    His statement shows either weaseling for political positioning, or simple misunderstanding about what he's voting on. I'm not sure which excuse is less appealing.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    It's amazing to me that so many of you failed to understand who Obama was long before the primary ended. This is NOT a "one-issue" matter, and Obama is NOT what he's selling.

    He is telling the truth about you when he says that you just haven't been paying attention if you believe he was, e.g., "anti-war" (always contended that he wanted to INCREASE military spending, and consistently said, "all options on the table for Iran, all military contractors and tens of thousands of regular troops remaining in or around Iraq"); or "anti-NAFTA; or "anti-corporate"; or "pro-Palestinian"; or "pro-public campaign financing"; or "anti-supply-side": or "anti-Patriot Act"; or "anti-nuclear power"; or "anti-credit-card gouging".

    It was all there, and you ignored it. At least Chris L is honest enough to say that, although he doesn't believe that Obama will be a progressive alternative, he "hopes" for better court appointees. I disagree with Chris about that also, however.

    Clinton was more "liberal" than Obama, and a look at his record on appointees is quite revealing (The Clinton Presidency and the Crisis of Democracy). Furthermore, Democrats have overwhelmingly voted for the present court, including 100% for Scalia.

    The Roe matter is a red herring, since the RP will not benefit from its being overturned, and Roe is not the basis for future protection of womens' rights that many believe it is, anyway, i.e., it is based on the right to privacy, rather than the right to own one's own body.

    I've got lots of references relating to Obama's corporate connections, but typepad won't let me post them.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    His statement shows either weaseling for political positioning, or simple misunderstanding about what he's voting on. I'm not sure which excuse is less appealing.

    Given Obama's history in law "misunderstanding" doesn't seem a valid excuse.

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    John Mulvey replied to me... You've been clear as regards Sam Nunn. Perhaps it's implied, but what you haven't done is apply your brand-sullying theory to the non-hypothetical FISA vote, which could be much more damaging.

    Yeah, because I was actually responding to Kristin's post and staying on topic.

    Faolan -- good thoughts on my little list. Unless I missed something, Schweitzer has merely issued the sort of non-denial denials that all VP short-listers do. Maybe a little more strongly worded, because he's running for re-election in Montana - and there's already concern there that he's "gone Hollywood." Which isn't to say that he wouldn't turn it down -- I know him and his wife personally, and she's pretty astonished that the nice farmer boy she married grew up and became Governor. On Pena -- Agreed; much more likely that he's the chief of staff. On McCaskill -- fair enough. I do think Sebelius is a much more likely candidate. And while I agree that she's "not as Progressive as some people think", that actually makes it more likely that she'd get picked, right?

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    I heart Sebelius -- she's shown that she can not only very effectively stand up to Republicans (vetoed the coal-fired plant) and that she can woo them (convinced Republicans to run as her L. Gov during her first and second campaigns, including the chair of the Republican Party). She's not so charismatic, but I'm not sure if Obama needs more charisma on the ticket. If he's going to pick a woman, she's also much better on immigration and gay marriage than Napolitano. He also wouldn't need to pull a Dem out of the Senate, as he would with McCaskill, where we are still in need of as many as we can get.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Mathew Tress said, "Now they are going to vote on H.Con.Res 362 and basically start a war with Iran! Look how many Democrats are sponsoring this act of war!"

    I would add that no one on BO seems to know about this outrage: $170 Million More in Military Aid to Israel

    "It's bad enough that Congress passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008 two weeks ago, spending $165 billion more on our country's illegal war on and occupation of Iraq well into 2009. To add insult to injury, after closely reading the bill, we discovered that Congress snuck in a last-minute earmark for $170 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel!"

    If Nader is crazy, as many of you still contend, then what does that make Congressional Democrats, including Obama, who are threatening the security of the United States by their terrorizing of the Arab/Muslim/Persian people?

    But, of course, all of this is "purity trolling", isn't it?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Kristin, You framed your support for Obama based on his VP choice. Scratching off the bumper sticker seems potent symbolism to me. What I find extraordinarily self destructive is the purity trolling that is going on right now at a time in the blogosphere when the Dems need to unify around their candidates. The time for fighting amongst ourselves, and disparaging people who don't meet our purity of "brand" is over. War and peace are on the line, health care is on the line, social security is on the line, economic well-being is on the line. Some people are treating this election as if it's some consumer feel-good exercise. If you only want to vote in an election where your 20 demands are met to satisfaction, then you need to vote in a different universe.

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    (Bill R., that sounds like an excellent topic for a guest column. Care to expand and elaborate?)

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    Bill,

    If I were purity trolling I would be chagrined, apologize and fully agree with you. But AGAIN, once AGAIN -- I am voting for him, and I have strenously defended him to my far lefty friends who have taken issue with everything from his support of nuclear power to his supposed corrupt, corporate nature. And if you look closely, (please READ what I wrote) I wasn't even criticizing him all that much, just despairing that a man who stood in the way of gay and lesbian rights might be a heartbeat away from the presidency. I've fought this fight a long time, and I am looking forward to having a president who will take on the fight too.

    If you think scraping bumperstickers is some sort of potent act, you haven't seen my car -- it's covered with them and they often get switched around. Today, I'm wearing my Obama Mama t-shirt and the lawn sign is still up. So, please, don't lump me in with the Nadarites or those who can't see the bigger picture. It's just that a big part of my big picture is ending the oppression of glbt people, as it is, I hope, for you.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Kristin say: "It's just that a big part of my big picture is ending the oppression of glbt people, as it is, I hope, for you."

    Kristin, then stop pounding on Obama who is a friend of glbt and spend your energies pounding on the right wing fundies and purveyors of hatred.

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    Jeebus, Bill, this is gettin' oooollllddddd,

    I'm not "pounding" on Obama, I'm pounding on Sam Nunn. I still don't think you've READ the dang post. Again, NOT pounding on Obama. I pointed out all the nice things he's doing to GLBT communities, and where McCain is being a true idiot. See? It's up there....whatever meme you've got going in your mind, I didn't write it.

    And I don't need to be told how to fight for glbt rights -- I've been doing it for over two decades. Professionally for many of years. Full time, all day long.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    What I find extraordinarily self destructive is the purity trolling that is going on right now at a time in the blogosphere when the Dems need to unify around their candidates.

    In politics being a purist is not practical or pragmatic. Compromise is almost always required, but there is a limit to compromise beyond which it becomes a sellout and total abandonment of principle.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Kari, thanks for the invite on a guest column. I probably don't have much to add. I'm pretty disgusted with the self-indulging attacking that's going on across the blogosphere that calls itself progressive. They projected all their fantasies on the Obama candidacy and then turn on the guy with a vengeance and carry water for the Republicans when he tells them he's not running to live up to their expectations.

    This election is not a souci bar. It's high stakes. I have high hopes for Obama, but not because he's going to carry out my personal agenda or my measures for ideological purity or consistency. His willingness to reach across ideological boundaries to me is a mark of political maturity and skill, a plus, instead of a personal betrayal like so many of Blue Oregon and the Daily Kos crowd consider it. This election is not going to turn on FISA or gay rights, so get over yourselves, people! If Obama builds a campaign trying to please the likes of us, he will be a loser for sure. We've got people like Markos Moulitsas who says now he just can't give the money he planned on to the Obama campaign because he so vewwy, vewwy upset about FISA. Well, how immature and full of yourself can you get! I'm sure John McCain will be ever so anxious to please him.

  • The Guilty Carnivore (unverified)
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    Not a chance. Nunn is who David Broder and Joe Klein think would make a wise choice, and that's why he's even being mentioned. He's a DLC figurehead.

    When I go out to eat at a steakhouse my Mom, if pressed, would probably try to get people to think I'm considering the halibut or maybe even the half chicken, but of course I'm ordering the porterhouse or the filet.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    This day in age, it seems that we expect the pres and vp cands. to be rock starts, or at least somewhat charismatic. Even Al Gore and Joe Lieberman learned how to slap high fives and throw their fists in the air.

    I interned for Senator Packwood in '94 (I was an active Democrat then and let them know that.) My memory of Sam Nunn is that I always thought he would crash into someone because he always looked down at the floor when he walked. Forget charisma, the guy seemed to have no personality- worse even than Bill Bradley. Nunn was a widely respected senator who many Dems wanted to run in '88, but he never came close to running, and my guess is that he would rather the limelight shine on someone else.

    Nunn could make an outstanding secretary of state, defense, etc..., but I'll bet he would turn down any offer for V.P.

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    This election is not going to turn on FISA or gay rights, so get over yourselves, people! If Obama builds a campaign trying to please the likes of us, he will be a loser for sure.

    On what basis do you claim that FISA is a liberal issue? There is no clamor to allow illegal surveillance, and in multiple elections this year FISA failed to be an effective hammer for Republicans. In fact, in Hastert's old district Bill Foster won in red territory by running AGAINST FISA. Imagine that.

    That's the worst part of Democratic fear--they piss their pants and vote the way the GOP wants, even when there's really no political risk. There's no "reaching across ideological boundaries" here; it's simply triangulation from fear, something Obama claimed he was above.

    I really can't believe the 4th Amendment is a fringe issue to some people. Ask Brandon Mayfield about it.

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    "I really can't believe the 4th Amendment is a fringe issue to some people."

    TJ -- I guess I'm having the same thought about gay rights....when did they get to be peripheral?

  • Jim Et Al (unverified)
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    Kristen

    Speaking strictly for myself (and not TJ), the framers probably had no clue as to a future gay rights movement. They did however feel compelled to specifically mention a thing or two about prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures. As I understand it, the Fourth Amendment confers upon the citizenry a right of privacy which should be construed as a protective umbrella against governmental intrusion into the lives of private citizens. As such, I would expect the behaviors of private citizens to be protected as well...

    Obama's vote to eviscerate the Fourth should serve as a warning to those concerned about gay rights, abortion rights, and the right to be free from an intrusive government. Those who are willing to gloss over Obama's "imperfection" concerning his FISA vote because he is better than McSame fall into the same camp as the Bushistas, i.e. those who are willing to trust the rule of a man over the mandates of the Constitution. At this point in time, I don't see a dimes worth of difference between the two. Both are too eager to say and do whatever they think will get them elected...

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    "Those who are willing to gloss over Obama's "imperfection" concerning his FISA vote because he is better than McSame fall into the same camp as the Bushistas, i.e. those who are willing to trust the rule of a man over the mandates of the Constitution. At this point in time, I don't see a dimes worth of difference between the two."

    There probably has not been anything written in the past year about Obama that I disagree with more....sad, sad, sad

  • LT (unverified)
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    The comment of Jim et al sounds like the folks who said there wasn't any real difference between W and Gore---or 40 years ago between Humphrey and Nixon.

    Jim, how much campaign work have you done? You can channel your energy into campaigning these next few months, or you can expect people in politics to be perfect--your choice.

    T. Hartmann was interviewing Tom Hayden this morning. And for all the talk about Machieveli vs movement, in the end Hayden said the real heroes were those volunteers for Obama and other candidates who can bring change.

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    Mel Harmon, thank you, thank you on the importance of the vice-presidency. Everybody who is wrongly accusing Kristin of various sins, it's quite simple -- she's expressing an opinion about a vice-presidential choice.

    Harry K., I didn't say I "hoped" Obama' court appointments would be better than McCain's. I know they will. McCain has an ideological commitment to appoint the most reactionary judges possible.

    I hope Obama will still follow through on some of his promises to roll back Bush unconsitutional power grabs. His unwillingness to lead or even vote right on FISA weakens those hopes.

    For me the issue isn't purity, it's understanding what Obama is and isn't likely to be. I am going to scrutinize what he does, and when I don't like it, I will tell him so politely even before the election, as I did today saying I thought he was wrong on FISA and I hoped he would stronger in the future, and that I thought he had missed a political opportunity (which I do think).

    His vice-presidential choice, whoever it is, will also convey information about where he's going.

    The Boy Scouts have a motto, "Be Prepared." If we are to "hold Obama accountable" after the election -- or as I try to think of it, be well placed to try to persuade him in certain directions rather than others, we need to be getting ready now. We need to understand who he is and isn't and where there's movement or lack of clarity. I believe that such lack of preparedness was part of how Bill Clinton was able to be so successful at marginalizing progressive voices and influence during his presidency.

    For the most part, many of the claims that Obama is "moving to the center" (or his right) aren't actually true. He is not saying anything about Iraq that hasn't been on his website from the get-go, except to be more explicit that his "residual" and allegedly non-combat forces are intended to be fully as large as those cited by Clinton's advisors: somewhere around 60,000. But you could tell that's what he meant given that he also is set to maintain the imperial proconsular "embassy" town of 5000. He has said all along that he intends to expand size of the miiitary, and that he intends to use greater force in Afghanistan. FISA was a bit of a shift. His performance at AIPAC wasn't so much except for the gratuitous, unnecessary and poorly thought remarks on Jerusalem. He's always favored cap & trade over a carbon tax, plumped for the illusion of "clean coal" (Illinois is a coal state), been agnostic about nuclear power.

    NAFTA's interesting, because it's the closest I've seen to an outright lie -- his attacks on Clinton over NAFTA now appear completely disingenuous.

    I don't think a single person, not even a president, can completely change "Washington." I am cautious about what he means in practice about change, in terms of partisanship and bi-partisanship. If he just means that he won't play petty games excluding Republicans from his consultations, that's great. But what will he do if they still come back at him with those petty games? I don't know. They were pretty successful at rolling Bill Clinton a lot of the time that way, but I'm not sure their current crew is of quite the same stuff as Gingrich and DeLay & crew.

    The thing that perhaps I fear most about what he means is that he may treat is as a matter of theater -- that he will do something stupidly reactionary just to "prove" he's bipartisan, to strike the pose, to buy into the media memes (never applied to Republicans) that Democrats must demonstrate that they're willing to abandon their constituents and base. That isn't genuine bipartisanship and it isn't change from politics as usual.

    But there is a different kind of bipartisanship that conceivably he could engage in. It's exemplified historically by the way Lyndon Johnson worked with Everett Dirksen (Republican senator from Illinois) to get the votes together to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 despite the strong presence of segregationist Democrats of long seniority entrenched in powerful positions.

    The question is, does he think "change" means the appearance of bi-partisanship for its own sake, or does it mean going in with good will and not assuming bad will and seeing what happens on some things, where there could be meetings of minds, not on everything, but because there is enough of a shared desire to get things done.

    I don't know. But I don't think I'm required to give up curiosity or observation, even critical observation, about those questions, just because I'm going to contribute to getting him elected president. In fact, if he means what he says, he should want us to do that, to be engaged now so that we can be effectively engaged when he's elected.

    As far as I can see, Kristin was expressing just that kind of curiosity about what it would say about Obama if he listened to all the supposed experts about Sam Nunn. Kari's analysis gives some reason to think he may not; he does seem to keep his own counsel on a lot of stuff. After all, if he really listened to them, he would have waited until 2012 or 2016 to run for president at all.

    The flip side of that is, does that propensity to keeping his own counsel also translate into not really listening to the grassroots either.

    But McCain will appoint reactionary judges who will lock in the Bush assaults on the constitution and rule of law, while Obama won't, so that the judiciary will remain a "terrain of struggle" for us to fight on. That large center of institutional power is what will matter beyond Obama's own term.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    From the comments here and in other posts it looks to me that Blue Oregon has become a site where bashing the Dem. presidential candidate is the flavor of the season. I can't imagine why any Dem. candidate anywhere on the ticket would see this forum as any kind of a resource for election support. Democrats who want to see their ticket succeed should begin to look for friends who can support the cause of beating Republicans and not flush out a wave of sabotage before the campaign even gets off the ground, as there seems to be here. I'm scouting for greener pastures.

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    Kristin, You write this: And as for abortion, I have my own personal beliefs about abortion, as we all do. My perspective on it is that it is such a highly personal issue, one that is fraught with such highly emotional issues of morality, that we should not involve politicians in it, because some folks sitting in Washington, DC do not know what one particular woman is going through...that said, there is another is another layer of society that can involve itself in the conversation -- a woman's family, doctors, whatever community she has.

    I don't want to push on this particular issue if you don't, but the statement above gives us zero guidance if we are formulating public policy. There is no way to read your statement other than there should be no restrictions at all on abortion, that there is no public or governmental interest here at all.

    I don't think you intend to do so, but the way you use "politicians in Washington" here sounds sort of Republican.

  • Andrew K (unverified)
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    Kristin, I always wondered if abortion "is such a highly personal issue, one that is fraught with such highly emotional issues of morality, that we should not involve politicians in it", who then protects the life of the Unborn? We as progressives spend so much time protecting the rights of every group in our society but the Unborn. We talk about "gay rights" and "women's rights" and "minority rights". We never just say "Human rights". We segregate everybody into little groups. Why don't we become truly progressive and protect the life of all humans including that of the Unborn (who have no say at all)?

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    Paul,

    You misread the "politicians in Washington" statement. The majority of said people right now are Republican men and will never understand what it feels like to be a pregnant woman. They have no idea. Really. No idea. So, I don't know why they could be formulating policy about something about which they don't have a single clue, only, in the case of many, to project a moral agenda that should not apply to a pregnant woman.

    It's kind of like sending me to guide an Inuit expedition or something.

    I'm not saying we should have no policy, but the idea that again, someone who has no clue, would decide for someone else seem quite inane.

    I'm not quite sure why there needs to be a government policy for it. I'm not quite sure there needs to be anything but the conversation between a woman, her family, and her doctor.

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    Gotta strongly back Kristin's overall effort and POV here, if not all particulars. Chris Lowe pretty much nails my situation too.

    If we are to prepetuate government of, for, and by the people, we need to be on our own guy when he screws up.

    We also need to question our guy when we think he might be going down the wrong fork in the road. Pre, during, or post, there is no bad time to hold an elected official accountable.

    That's the essence of a republic.

    <hr/>

    I did like the pullquote from Garrett:

    You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats. Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

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    Actually "politicians in Washington" is entirely Obama-ish, and Clintonian as well. No GOP trademark on that one.

  • genop (unverified)
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    Criticism when not simply engaged in for it's own sake, helps sharpen the issues. It excites response and critical thinking. The Obama I have come to know encourages that kind of discourse especially when his actions are at issue. Rather than leave this site due to some perceived slights to our candidate, we should remain and applaud those willing to expose perceived flaws, especially when they support their view with well reasoned argument. While there are some cheerleaders weighing in here, BO ain't no rally squad and I thank it's contributors for that. A hallmark of friendship lies in pointing out the warts rather than ignoring them.

  • RuthAlice (unverified)
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    Sam Nunn would be one of the few VP candidates that could get me writing in someone else. I wrote to him several years and asked him to just stop pretending he was a Democrat and join the GOP already. It embarrasses me every time someone mentions him as a Democrat. Besides his infamous homophobia, Nunn is the one thing no Democrat should ever be - a flat-taxer. He wants to eliminate the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. I would hope this is one venue I need not explain how horribly wrong and regressive that it.

    As to those who say "who cares who is VP?" Well, I care. Accidents, illness or great evil can happen. We have lost 4 presidents to assassination and others to illness. The Vice President matters - and the VP must be someone who is not anathema to the values of the Democratic Party.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    TJ said, "There's no 'reaching across ideological boundaries' here; it's simply triangulation from fear, something Obama claimed he was above."

    I really don't see much of an "ideological boundary" to reach across in the first place. The DP establishment is of the same mind as the RP establishment, and both ignore the desires of the political center.

    I think Chris L is correct about Obama's foreign policy not having "changed"; he's been a hegemonist all along:

    After the invasion of Iraq, he said he wasn’t sure how he would have voted when the resolution authorizing Bush to use force to overthrow Saddam Hussein came before the Senate. More recently: "What I said is that we do need to have a strike force in the region. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in Iraq; it could be in Kuwait or other places."

    His repeatedly declared desire for interventionism and militarism in "situations beyond self-defense" won him praise from the neocon (and McCain adviser) Robert Kagan.

    He endorsed U.S. client-state Colombia's right to attack "terrorists" in Ecuador and to apply the reactionary "Merida Initiative" (which combines the so-called "War on Drugs" with the so-called "war on terror".

    He announced his intention to continue the despicable 47-year U.S. embargo on Cuba, and he described the democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua as a ‘vacuum' to be filled.

    In "The Audacity of Hope," Obama criticized "left-leaning populists" for suggesting that developing nations should resist America's efforts to expand its hegemony and follow their own path to development.

    I wonder, Chris, how you know what Obama's court appointees will be like.

    Clinton was more "liberal" than Obama, but his court appointees were less than "liberal":

    "...in the two appointments he made to the Supreme Court, [Clinton made] sure that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer would be moderate enough to be acceptable to Republicans as well as to Democrats...Breyer and Ginsburg both defended the constitutionality of capital punishment, and upheld drastic restrictions on the use of habeas corpus. Both voted with the most conservative judges on the Court to uphold the 'constitutional right' of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade organizers to exclude gay marchers...In choosing judges for the lower federal courts, Clinton showed himself no more likely to appoint liberals than the Republican Gerald Ford had in the seventies. According to a three-year study published in the Fordham Law Review in early 1996, Clinton's appointments made 'liberal' decisions in less than half their cases..." (The Clinton Presidency and the Crisis of Democracy).

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    Harry,

    Obama appointees might well be comparable to Clinton ones, although I think the D majorities in the Senate were smaller when Clinton appointed Ginsburg and Breyer than they may be next year, and it may also be that the extremism of Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia would push in the other direction.

    But McCain would appoint more Scalia types, true reactionary ideologues. It is a difference that makes a difference.

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    Chris,

    Actually I think it goes back to Carter at least, if not a hell of a lot farther. My only point is that we want to be careful when adopting an anti-Washington, anti-government meme, since this has been used so successfully by the GOP over the past three decades.

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    Right about Carter. For once I'm blaming Ds more than you, in saying it's not just a GOP meme! ;-> It's a phony populist meme is what it is, and a bipartisan one since Carter. I don't think we're really in disagreement.

  • Justin (unverified)
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    It's the lefts fault, people like this blogger, for thinking he was one of them (a liberal) in the first place. It is not responsible as a citizen for you to get mesmerized by words like "hope" and "change" and for that think he's a liberal. He rode on the coattails of his opposition to the war in 2002 to victory today as the nominee. But what did he do to help stop the war since then? All you had to do was look at his record. He was never the progressive candidate, in spite of his rhetoric. He wasn't the one with the detailed policy positions that would please the left. This year that was John Edwards. But we are where we are now, and I'm sick of people like you being "so shocked" that he's being dismissive of lefty religion. Wake up, and stop blaming him for your initial ignorance. Get to know your candidates, oh ... YEARS in advance, like I do!!!

  • Sims (unverified)
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    Sam Nunn is exactly what Obama needs!!! I'm extremely fond of Sam Nunn personally. He and my grandfather were extremely good friends before he past away. Even before I heard the news of Obama's consideration of Nunn I told everyone he needed a southern candidate!!!!!! This is still VERY true! Even if he doesn't go with Nunn he needs to strongly consider pickin up votes in the south and I think this is the only way he can pick up a significant amount. If he doesn't pick Nunn I hope he goes with Webb

  • Richard Clark (unverified)
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    <h2>I will not vote for Obama if he picks Sam Nunn as his VP candidate! I never did like Nunn. I remember Nunn when he first ran for Senate in 1972. A CBS News story showed him campaigning for votes among White Georgia voters. Some old Cracker asked him if he had any association with George McGovern (the greatest person the Dems ever nominated) he would not vote for him. Nunn just laughed and said, "Don't get me confused with McGovern, I'm just a good ole Georgie Democrat." His statement made me puke! Nunn's only claim to fame while in the Senate was bringing back draft registration in 1979. If Nunn's the VP, I'm voting for Cynthia McKinney (Green Party).</h2>

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