I thought this might be a good opportunity to offer some thoughts about not only judicial confirmations, but how to bring about meaningful change in this country.
Maybe some of you believe I could have made my general point more artfully, but it’s precisely because many of these groups are friends and supporters that I felt it necessary to speak my mind.
There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate.
And I don’t believe we get there by vilifying good allies, with a lifetime record of battling for progressive causes, over one vote or position.
I am convinced that, our mutual frustrations and strongly-held beliefs notwithstanding, the strategy driving much of Democratic advocacy, and the tone of much of our rhetoric, is an impediment to creating a workable progressive majority in this country.
According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.
In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in “appeasing” the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.
Obama also talks about how to not only gain but also sustain leftist radical policy:
Or to make the point differently: How can we ask Republican senators to resist pressure from their right wing and vote against flawed appointees like John Bolton, if we engage in similar rhetoric against Democrats who dissent from our own party line?
How can we expect Republican moderates who are concerned about the nation's fiscal meltdown to ignore Grover Norquist's threats if we make similar threats to those who buck our party orthodoxy?
In the following excerpt, Obama makes it clear he wants those on the left to continue attacks when a Republican is "wrong, inept, or dishonest." However, he conveniently omits instructions for when a Democrat is "wrong, inept, or dishonest:"
Finally, I am not arguing that we "unilaterally disarm" in the face of Republican attacks, or bite our tongue when this Administration screws up. Whenever they are wrong, inept, or dishonest, we should say so clearly and repeatedly; and whenever they gear up their attack machine, we should respond quickly and forcefully. I am suggesting that the tone we take matters, and that truth, as best we know it, be the hallmark of our response.
With less than a week left, Obama must appear as moderate as possible to the American voter. He must fool the electorate to do this. His campaign is using Obama's “hide and surprise” tactic by burning the Washington, D.C. based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation in the process. Here’s an excerpt of a letter The Heritage Foundation recently sent to the Obama campaign:
Dear Senator Obama:
Two recent campaign advertisements seriously misrepresent the views of my client, The Heritage Foundation. They suggest, quite falsely, that The Heritage Foundation and one of its analysts support your tax plan.
The print ad on your Website as well as your ad entitled “Try This” reference a quote from policy analyst Rea Hederman. In fact, Mr. Hederman never said what is quoted there. Rather, the words you quote are from a New York Sun reporter who interviewed Mr. Hederman and summarized his views erroneously.
That the reporter’s summary is erroneous is evident from the actual quotes from Mr. Hederman presented in the article, which make it quite clear that Mr. Hederman believes your tax plan would be bad not only for the country, but for the middle class. By omitting the direct quotes from Heritage that are contained in the article and attributing to Heritage a conflicting statement not made by its analyst, the advertisement appears to be an intentional attempt to mislead.
As of today, the Obama campaign has not pulled the misleading ad off the air. In terms of campaign strategy, Obama may practice what he preaches to his minions. However, what he preaches to the American public is something else entirely.