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We've got the purists and the pragmatists on KOS waging a hard battle over Obama's stance on FISA. The purists are winning. Is that good politics?

For most of the day, Hunter was clearly winning the war for the purists. With over 1000 responses to his "Even Obama Thinks you are Stupid" diary most of which supported his point that Obama had sold out, the purists were kicking tail. Several similar-themed diaries over the past few days have hit 600 or more responses - giving Obama hard punches to the mid-section.

But tonight the pragmatists struck back hard with a clever night time raid. JeffLeiber rounded up over 300 and planted the pragmatist flag down hard.

So, Kossacks - are we purists or are we pragmatists?  Kind of looks like the former by a ratio of at least 3:1. I have to say - I'm not happy about that. Why? Because the pragmatists often win and the purists often lose.

Isn't Chicago-style politics practical politics? Isn't Obama's trans-partisanship theme anti-purist? Why do the the purists think that Obama was ever really one of them?

The pevalent view here on KOS seems to be: pragmatic politics sucks; it's what wrong with the country.

The pragmatic view is much different:  there is no such thing as political purity. If you don't understand that you will never win anything in politics.

Originally posted to David PA on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 10:56 PM PDT.


When it comes to issues like FISA

23%12 votes
7%4 votes
13%7 votes
5%3 votes
50%26 votes

| 52 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm agnostic, but I appreciate the wisdom (5+ / 0-)

    of this prayer:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to make better those I can change and the wisdom to tell the difference

    •  Sure, take your efforts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bleeding blue, Big Danny

      your money and your vote from Obama, and then pat yourselves superiorly on the back when McSame-Switch is inaugurated in January.

      And remember to cheer your purity when the Supreme Court gets its 5th radical conservative.

      Never get the mothers too angry.

      by pvlb on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:03:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  very few if any are going to vote for McCain (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brentmack, pvlb

        Obama is very wrong about this.

        McCain is very wrong about everything. And while I don't trust any man or woman with the kind of power this confers, I distrust Obama a lot less than McCain.

        You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

        by brainiacamor on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:27:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OK to all the Purist i say this (0+ / 0-)

      now that you have proven how Fickle your support for Obama is,I HOPE CLINTON WALKS OUT OF DENVER WITH THE NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT and it will be your fault.

      •  little known fact (3+ / 0-)

        95% of exchanges over the internet do not translate into real life consequences

      •  P.S. I really don't hope that,I was just Pissed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and was venting.

      •  False dichotomy. The purists and the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        pragmatists will all hang separately if they don't hang together, so to say.

        And that is an ideal that both pragmatists and idealists must accept.

        Really, the idea that there is a wall between the two is absurd and silly.

        Pragmatic steps need to move toward an ideal, or I can guarantee you that pragmatists will walk loopety-loops until they live without freedom.

        Practically speaking, nature really does not care about your freedom: humanity for thousands of generations has lived in tyranny of one kind or another.

        You have to be a human being in league with other human beings that know what freedom is and how to keep it, and claim what should be your inalienable right to freedom--or, pragmatically, you will lose your lunch to the bully next to you.

        Habeas Corpus:See Hamilton quoting Blackstone in The Federalist Papers, number 84.

        by Ignacio Magaloni on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:15:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree with this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          172 IQ

          Take any issue: gun control: why can't we be for both a strong right to carry shot guns and hunting and staunchly opposed to assault weapons (as I am)?  Where is the underlying ideal?  It's a balance between two competing forces, and the strength to acknowledge that there doesn't have to be a slippery slope.  

          Likewise with ANWR: Why does being an environmentalist have to be such a black and white issue.  Can't we seek a balance, as an end, instead of a pure "no humans allowed" goal.  I don't see why we couldn't extensively monitor drilling so that it is minimally invasive, provide jobs for a state that relies on oil for 80% of its GDP, and at the same time remain vigilant that the moves are made in a fashion that wouldn't permanently affect the environment.  Indeed, we could perhaps channel federal money from the drilling into new energy projects.  ANWR can be both about people and the environment.  

          I think there is a real division between idealism and pragmatism.  And I'm not sure that our community here isn't focusing debates oftentimes on ideals when a pragmatic solution, and a denouncing of underlying ideals, wouldn't lead to a better solution.  

          •  I wish it were that easy. But we need both (0+ / 0-)

            voices operant at all times, and we need to understand when an idea is a firewall for freedom (based on history and human nature), and we need to bring in those people that are upset with a current event into productive discussions without dismissing their understanding of a major threat to our political framework as a misapplied idealism.

            ANWR has serious practical drawbacks that do not rely on an immovable distinction between ecological soundness and human existence.

            We really can't just "take any issue" and choose a golden mean. That will not guarantee the kind of social progress we desire--history shows this, clearly.

            Habeas Corpus:See Hamilton quoting Blackstone in The Federalist Papers, number 84.

            by Ignacio Magaloni on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:15:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The Fisa vote is wrong, period. (4+ / 0-)

    From my point of view, there's no way to spin any good out of it--neither electoral advantage nor as some sort of political compromise.

    •  I was thinking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue earth, ZAP210

      (and please understand that I am quite disappointed with BHO, not only about this but also about supporting Barrow in GA, and about his stuppid pretentious seal; but am still a big supporter)

      that what we infer about politicians, their motives, their intelligence and wisdom, etc, is like what one would infer about the life of a person by peeping through their windows... what I mean is, who knows what was going on behind the scenes? who knows if the dems and/or Obama would look better or worse if we knew?

    •  Can you say President McCain. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't want this (3+ / 0-)

    Look, I know there's been a lot of fighting over this issue... it's been a bad weekend so far. But you can't sum up all my views in one word, nor can I do the same with your views. The worst thing that could happen to this community is that we start slapping labels on each other.

    "He's patriotic in sincere ways, and not in photo-op ways." - jenontheshore

    by Ivey476 on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:03:51 PM PDT

    •  agreed. can we get away from the binary bullshit? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All this "you're a single issue guy" and "You're a sheep who couldn't give a rat's ass about the constitution" and "hey, if you stay home this weekend cause you're pissed McCain will win."

      How about: like most of the issues in this campaign, FISA and the fourth amendment are incendiary. But they aren't divisive to us.

      The only ones saying they'll vote McCain are creeps. The candidates have been made aware that the Kos cash cow could go to pasture if there's too much bullshit. And for the first time since I joined (I'm a relative newbie) we don't sound like an echo chamber.

      I see a lot of people calling a healthy dialog a "take your ball and go home" scenario. Nobody's going home.

      Relax and let the conversation play out.

  •  There are times when you must stand (3+ / 0-)

    and fight on single issues.  The pragmatists have been in control of congress for the last two years and look what it has accomplished.  We have gone deeper into the abyss.  Once you give the opposition an opening, they will exploit it until they destroy you.  Name one thing, that has happened in the name of bi-partisanship that demonstrates the Republicans have given up anything of value.  We have lost everytime.  We will lose on the FISA bill.  It will come back to haunt us down the road.  The pragmatists are myopic on this issue.  I'm not saying that we cut off our nose to spite our face, I'm saying we need to unite and act as a powerful entity to reshape the party.  The cowards within the Democratic party are so numerous that it's difficult to win anything.  They will cave on every issue, every time...and then call it pragmatism.

  •  Hey! (0+ / 0-)

    Daily Kos is the home'o'da-purists.

    Don't you remember Hillary?

    (She was so impure, I can't even talk about it in polite company, right now.)

    Pluto now orbits Overnight News Digest ʍou sʇıqɹo oʇnld

    by Pluto on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:11:15 PM PDT

  •  I reject the false labels (6+ / 0-)

    "purist" versus "pragmatist".

    I'm someone who stands up for important Constitutional principles, which is something that every elected President, Senator, and Congressperson swore an oath to do also.

  •  I have come to admire Hillary Clinton Supporters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    in comparison to many of Obama's so-called supporters here in the last few days they stuck by her no matter what,they had her back,they bent over backwards to keep her going and what happens with many so-called Obama supporters "oh he didn't say an do the "right thing" and it upset us so screw him.It is sad that Hillary's Supporters are better thru thick and thin than Obama's Supporters who are turning out to be nothing more than fair-weather friends.

  •  lol (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But it's mostly that it's news so it's going to be discussed.

    In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

    by yet another liberal on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:15:18 PM PDT

  •  The Republic is dead. Long live the Empire! (3+ / 0-)


    We're just trading in one Executive for another at this point.

    This one (Obama) might be benevolent, but who's to say about the next one?

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:18:08 PM PDT

  •  We're meta-purists. (5+ / 0-)

    We demand purity in our anti-purity meta-diaries.

  •  purists and pragmatists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, leisure

    I fail to see what is pragmatic about giving any president authoritarian power. In fact, it strikes me as the very opposite of pragmatism, because it's very hard to be pragmatic in any aspect of your life when you live under autocratic rule. Instead you find yourself at best in a freakshow, at worst in a nightmarish tragedy.

    Expecting our representatives to follow the law, the Constitutional framework which is the mechanism by which our society operates, is the most pragmatic position I can think of. Without law, you have chaos, or tyranny, neither of which are very practical. Kind of hard to get things done in Soviet Russia, or China during the Cultural Revolution, or during the Bush "Shut Up and Sing" Years. As New Orleans and Baghdad have learned.

    I think the purists in this debate are those who refuse to let themselves think a politically improper thought about their saintly candidate. They don't seem to believe that you can criticize a politician and still support him. Until someone better comes along, at which point you say adios mofo. Which is the pragmatic thing to do.

    You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

    by brainiacamor on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:20:00 PM PDT

    •  Everyone here thinks this FISA bill sucks - the Q (0+ / 0-)

      is: what can we do about it and what can Obama do about it?

      That's where it is important to be practical.

      •  You Can't Do a Damned Thing (0+ / 0-)

        The telecoms have already tapped your congressman's phone and they know all about the 15 year old that (you, your wife, your son, your husband, your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your daughter) slept with.

        They got the Sptizer memo.

        Pluto now orbits Overnight News Digest ʍou sʇıqɹo oʇnld

        by Pluto on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:27:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We can do very little apparently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It seems like it's a done deal. And Obama is our candidate and we're hardly going to ditch him for McCain. Even over this. The idea is laughable really; hence the frustration.

        Obama on the other hand can do plenty but he has signaled that he is cool with flip-flopping on it because the media will give him a pass on this flip flop. He could simply oppose it, as he did six months ago. He has the majority opinion on his side and the biggest war chest of any candidate in history to broadcast his views with. Why he chooses not to is beyond me, really. From where I sit, it looks like typical Democratic calculation-unto-paralysis. But Obama has pulled several bizarre moves - supporting Joe Lieberman in the primary for example - that just leave me scratching my head.

        You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

        by brainiacamor on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:38:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In early voting ... night owls more practical (0+ / 0-)

    than the morning birds.

  •  Purists vs Pragmatists. Who cares who wins? (0+ / 0-)

    As long as Barack Obama wins, we all win.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:26:43 PM PDT

  •  Disagree it's about purists verses (5+ / 0-)

    pragmatists.  It's partially about people venting and other people criticizing their venting.

    However, it's mostly about a Democratic blog turning back to its pre-primary Democratic roots and the ongoing battle being between those who feel no Democrat (even the nominee) is above criticism vs. those who feel no Democrat should be criticized in an election year.

    Same as it was with Kerry in 04. Perhaps a bit more dramatics, but the issue in question is rather important.

    You know what's actually kind of funny? In the end it doesn't amount to much outside of the blogosphere.  Didn't then, doesn't now.

    Harsh criticism and expressed disappointment doesn't mean giving up.  There was tons of criticism of Kerry and tons of threats not to support him during his run, but in the end the community had his back.

    Hell, I mostly couldn't stand Kerry until about the last month of the general.  After I read at some point during the summer that he had Bob Shrum on board as a consultant I knew it was a lost cause. But I stuck it out, did my part, hoped against hope. That's pragmatism for you.  

    I was pragmatic about supporting Obama. His stand on FISA is disappointing (and, fairly insulting) but I wish I could say it surprises me. He was put on a progressive pedestal during the primary that NO politician could possibly live up to, especially a politician who has never really been a progressive.

    Until this primary he has always been presented as a centrist.  That how I always view him. Against the war, not with the DLC, but still a centrist. Progressive was an easy label that would be more appropriately applied to someone like Senator Feingold.

    News Pundits - The Dopplerless weathermen of our time. Jon Stewart

    by mentaldebris on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:28:10 PM PDT

    •  It was the blogosphere that powered Dodd (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      last go around on this issue, and it's the blogosphere that even gets it noticed for the most part. (It's the blogosphere and the netroots that made Obama in the first place. Without his Silicon Valley money machine he wouldn't be the candidate.)

      Granted, the usual media suspects are ignoring this for now but it may yet get interesting. Here's hoping it will.

      I agree about being pragmatic in politics - Tony Kushner wrote a great piece many years ago about keeping perspective when voting for a candidate. I treat primaries and elections as job interviews - who do I as part of a giant Board of Directors of America want to hire for this position?

      I'm not sure about Obama as a centrist. Frankly, to me he has always been a cipher. From Wright to  Lieberman to saying he's pretty much in agreement with Bush on Iraq to forcefully making the case for negotiating with Iran, he seems all over the place. "Triangulation" doesn't seem to do justice to such polyhedral positioning.

      You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

      by brainiacamor on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:52:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Props for polyhedaral posturing! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        •  yours is better (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "posturing" versus "positioning" LOL

          (But I don't think it's as fair to Obama as "positioning". I do think they've got their serious marketing hats on - I just think they're over-thinking it.

          W took the most outrageous stands in 2004 and still came close enough to steal it (again) simply because people knew where he stood vs. Kerry who didn't seem to stand for much (yeah yeah, it was largely the media's fault but also largely Kerry's too).

          I would like to think Obama's just being advised badly. It's early enough that we could do something about that. What worries me is that he really doesn't feel very strongly about this at all, to such a degree that he underestimated the reaction to his position. But who knows?)

          You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

          by brainiacamor on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:00:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Friday, was surprised that KOS hero KO didn't fan (0+ / 0-)

            the FISA flames. This may heat up yet.  KO would be a good one to do it. But, he seemed so tepid about the issue on Friday.

            •  Glenn Greenwald is on it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And no offense to anyone but, Digby aside, he is the best commentator we've got these days and someone that all the lefty talk radio guys read.

              I hear Young Turks will be back on XM soon and I expect Cenk to be going nuts on this as well. Rachel Maddow is on MSNBC and I think we'll be hearing from her as well, although her presence now is to discuss the twin "war rooms" so she may not want to get into this too much as it would hurt Obama somewhat for her to do so.

              But... when the NYT is coming out against it I think we can be sure we haven't heard the last of it.

              You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

              by brainiacamor on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:17:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good to hear. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The more people who come out against it, even if it make things uncomfortable for the Dems and Obama, the better.  

                There's something very disturbing in the tenacity on display to get this odious thing passed. Can't put my finger on it.

                News Pundits - The Dopplerless weathermen of our time. Jon Stewart

                by mentaldebris on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:25:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, we have activist influence, sometimes little (0+ / 0-)

        sometimes a lot, but I'm talking about influence on the electorate at large.

        Sorry, but the influence there seems to be limited to individual GOTV efforts.

        The bubbles of the blogs, the media, and the DC set intersect and some influence passes between them, but the public is pretty much ignorant of that and that's the way they like it.

        You want pragmatic? I'm supporting Obama for these reasons:

        50 state strategy.
        Not DLC
        Not political royalty
        Talented politician who has a unique ability to inspire voters

        I have very few illusions about what to expect.  I went from Gore, to Dodd, to Edwards, to Obama -- and frankly, since they are all politicians, I wouldn't have expected much from any of them.  Searching for heroes or saviors in politicians has always struck me as a fool's errand. That, and "Politicians are not your friends." strikes me as a motto to always keep in mind when the hero worship begins.

        News Pundits - The Dopplerless weathermen of our time. Jon Stewart

        by mentaldebris on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 01:20:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two words: President Humphrey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I learned the truth at 15, and I will never again make the mistake of sitting out an election because I don't like something the candidate did.

  •  How about: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the "Principled" versus the "Corrupted".

    Which ones win?

  •  Pragmatism gets things done (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yet another liberal, ZAP210, David PA

    Spending as much time here as I do, it's easy to think Daily Kos is representative of the mainstream of Democratic thought.  It's a big tent here, full of an amazing array of wonderful, intelligent people, but mainstream? Not so much. Days like the last few shed some light on how people outside the community sometimes see it: highly partisan, intolerant, and inflexible.

    I'm disappointed Obama didn't voice a stronger stand against the proposed legislation, but I still believe he represents a generational opportunity to change the electoral landscape. His politics are not as progressive as some (insert your favorite candidate here) but if he's elected, and if his policies are enacted, it will on balance be positive for progressive politics.

    (And of course, relative to McCain, Obama's positions are - to most reasonable people - vastly preferable. Do I need to mention the Supreme Court, or the Federal bench? Iraq? Iran?)

    But because Obama didn't stake out the politically purest position, many here are done with him. Obama sold them out, stabbed them in the back, etc, ad nauseam. Oh sure, they'll vote for him (maybe) but they're not giving another goddamn penny, and certainly none of their time.

    Remember 2004? Remember what Howard Dean said?

    "The vote gets you a C. If you're going to be a citizen you've got to do a hell of a lot more than vote."

    I loath the GOP, but they are much much better at pragmatism than we are - and they win more elections. Until we can reconcile the passion of the purists with pragmatism, we're going to continue to struggle.

    "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

    by Pacific NW Mark on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:45:12 PM PDT

    •  I disagree (4+ / 0-)

      The GOP are not pragmatic at all. They are ideologues through and through. They win elections by stealing them with the zeal of the self-righteous, and by literally demonizing their opponents.

      Democrats are pragmatists. The ever-maligned Bill Clinton was a supreme pragmatist. He pushed through an incredibly clever budget balancing act that every Republican in the Senate opposed and after having his butt kicked for taking strong stands on gays in the military and universal healthcare, regrouped and learned to outmaneuver a Congress that had no other purpose but to try to defeat Democrats and humiliate Clinton.

      But trashing the Constitution is not pragmatic; it's really playing with fire. If this had been a run of the mill issue - Iraq, or gay marriage - I think people would be less up in arms. Frankly this is kind of scary to think that your own party doesn't really care that much about the Constitution.

      You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

      by brainiacamor on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:11:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What advice is David Axel giving OB? (0+ / 0-)

        He's the Mr. Practical of the campaign. He had been giving OB good advice that Kossacks mostly liked.

        He must be telling OB to lean more to the center.

        This outcry here in KOS-land though - it may have an effect on their strategy.

      •  We can agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

        I grant that the GOP is full of ideologues, but look at who they are, and what they believe in. I believe it's Grover Norquist who talks about the three (ideological) legs of the GOP platform: social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and foreign policy hawks.

        Each group is certainly full of purists, but they all come together - pragmatically - to elect GOP candidates.

        1. The social conservatives have been propping up the GOP since the 80s, but their pet issues - banning abortion, demonizing gays, prayer in schools, etc - never seem to get any action, even when you have the GOP holding both houses of Congress and the White House. But pragmatically, they keep voting Republican.
        1. Fiscal conservatives wax eloquent about 'shrinking government until they can drown it in a bathtub' but when the GOP is in power, the pork is plentiful, budgets bloat and deficits rise. The historical model is clear, but they pragmatically keep voting GOP.
        1. Foreign policy hawks have done well recently - they probably will have Dick Cheney bronzed at some point - but it hasn't always been the case: Nixon and Ford were at the helm when we finally lost Vietnam; Reagan lost hundreds of Marines in Beirut and pulled out nearly immediately (then knocked over Grenada to show he wasn't such a wuss); and GHW Bush launched the Gulf War but failed to deliver Saddam the coup de grace so we had to go back again. Lots of war, not a lot of success - and yet they too still pull the lever for Republicans.

        Again, I would have preferred a stronger statement from Obama. I don't believe a stronger statement would have necessarily moved many votes - that's the pragmatic part of me again, I know - but there a quite a few Democrats who won't even endorse Obama now that he's the nominee. How much weight will his opinion have with them anyway?  Almost half of the Democratic caucus voted for the damn bill.

        I don't believe Obama flips many if any of these - these representatives vote based on their own reasons, not what the newly-minted nominee tells them he believes is right. And while I'm disappointed in the current language in the bill, I don't believe the Constitution will be irreparably sundered if it passes. It's survived for 200+ years - I'm betting it makes it through June of 2008 as well.

        "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

        by Pacific NW Mark on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:50:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think part of the strength of the GOP (0+ / 0-)

          in general elections has always been that they're a regional party. There's a lot more crossover and cohesion amongst the three groups that you stated -- so they in fact can be more purist then the Democrats without having to bend as much when it comes to winning a Presidency.  I'm still trying to come to a personal consensus about how I feel about blue-dogs.  Is a MS democrat really better than a MS Republican?  How much effort and support are they deserving from us?

      •  Ridiculous, Isn't It? (0+ / 0-)

        Frankly this is kind of scary to think that your own party doesn't really care that much about the Constitution.

        We've got the better part of a decade under our belts in understanding this rights-eroding process - and half of this community still doesn't thing it's a big deal.

        The passivity is troubling.  

    •  so Obama votes for FISA and gets a "C" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brentmack, NotGeorgeWill

      Your comment is well reasoned and well said. It outlines why it would be pragmatic for me to actively support Obama's campaign. But I'm also interested in the shape of Obama's pragmatism.

      I don't know what's going on in the channels of power. But public opinion is strong regarding telecom immunity, and taking a stand against it seems unlikely to harm a candidate in the general election.

      I refuse to believe that Barrack wants W to spy on me with impunity (call me naive). So I can only conclude that he has some reason or obligation that he doesn't feel compelled to share with the electorate motivating him to stay on the fence.

      I don't for a minute buy the whole "FISA is so critical to keep America safe that we have to pass it now" line. I can almost get in line with the "It weakens a presidential candidate to tilt against windmills" bit, but it's not so clear to me that doing right by the constitution would be so bad for him.

      Can anyone explain (or hypothesize) in detail how voting for this bill, assuming that the telecom protections remain intact, helps Obama?

    •  The Repubs aren't pragmatists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they are people with no moral center.  They are single minded in that they stand for one thing:  power and money.  So things like principles never get in their way and it's easy to win when you don't care how you win or what you stand for...that's different than being a pragmatist.

    •  Defining down "pragmatism" . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama stated in August 2007 that he was opposed to retroactive immunity and the expansion of Executive authority connected to the FISA rewrite.  He was in favor of updating aspects of the legislation to address some changes in technology.  

      His reversal on this issue in June 2008 has been pretty much close to a 180 flip.  That's kind of troubling in my view.  It's clear that the telecom lobby was able to successfully railroad this one -- even in the face of a Democratic majority and a lame duck opposition party president with the lowest approval ratings in U.S. history.  This is a pretty sobering reality check about what an Obama administration is likely to be able to accomplish (if he wins in November).

      Some of those other areas relating to foreign policy and SCOTUS still weigh very much in the balance.  

      But this is one of those rubber meets the road type votes.  Essentially the Dem leadership is saying if a big corporate lobbying interest pushes hard enough we won't just meet them half-way, we'll give them whatever they want.  That aspect is pretty much business as usual -- it is likely to have some pretty profound repercussions for tax policy, health care policy, banking policy, and energy policy.  Not exactly new politics or really fundamental change.  

  •  The idea that some people think that HRC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    supporters are 'purists' is beyond laughable,

    talk about totally missing the boat...

    Sharing and Caring are for Commies! They should be illegal. Drop by and support the Human Agenda

    by k9disc on Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 11:59:27 PM PDT

  •  I consider myself a pragmatist . . . (0+ / 0-)

    and yet I still have a hard time seeing how the FISA "compromise" is a case of getting at least part of what I went into the negotiations looking for.

    Another commentator pointed out that some domestic spending attached to the Iraq supplemental was the pay-off.  That's something I guess, but not much.

    On it's face the FISA re-write reminds me of the old game "heads I win, tails you lose".  If saying no to that kind of game makes me a purist, then so be it.

    •  The FISA bill isn't pragmatic politics. Lopsided (0+ / 0-)

      support by the house and likely the senate too - deciding how to stand given that it is going to win is where the practical politics comes in.

      •  Based on that same reasoning . . . (3+ / 0-)

        the right political calculation in 2002 would have been to vote for the 2002 AUMF.  I think it's safe to say, in hindsight, that that vote would be considered short-sighted and ultimately a poor calculation.  It likely cost HRC the presidency.

        That's one of the enduring challenges in politics -- the horizon often encourages short-sighted compromises based on short-sighted electoral concerns with some nasty long-term consequences.

        Even in a case where a presumptive presidential nominee is unable to single-handedly override bad legislation -- my sense is that the presumptive nominee still has a fair amount of leverage in the shape of a big piece of legislation like the FISA rewrite.

        I put the bulk of the blame on the Democratic leadership for this one -- not on Obama.  This is such a big vote though, and Obama's influence within the party has increased so substantially over the past several months that I still have a hard time believing that this was the best possible compromise from a policy -- or even political perspective.

    •  It hurts him in the long run. (1+ / 0-)
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      I keep saying it, but remember the words, "Read my lips"...GHWB broke his promise and it cost him the next election.  This lack of stand on Obama's part is going to come back to bite him on the butt.

      These people that think all we have to do is get Obama elected and our problems are solved are going to be very unhappy after one year of his presidency.  I have worked very hard for Obama, but I'm not blind to what he has done.  He made a mistake.

      •  Maybe. (0+ / 0-)

        There's a political calculation in the move that seems to be saying "not now, not this time".  Jack Balkin a Constitutional Law professor at Yale spells at Obama's likely rationale pretty clearly on his legal blog.  Well worth reading, if you haven't yet seen it.

        I haven't really met too many supporters who seem to think an Obama presidency is likely to solve all of our problems -- most of which are likely to take 10 years to fix in a best case -- if not longer.  The real losers here are likely to be the American people.  The FISA matter is a complicated issue, but it strikes me that this is exactly the kind of issue that would be a good test of Obama's communication skills on big issues -- and his political skills to boot.  I think his response definitely leaves a lot to be desired.    

  •  I'm an idealist- (2+ / 0-)
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    brentmack, NotGeorgeWill

    Pragmatism is highly overrated and being a purist is too much like being an absolutist.

    HA (in the key of Tweety)

    I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by valadon on Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 12:15:56 AM PDT

  •  Politics is winner take all (0+ / 0-)

    A loser is a loser is a loser. First and foremost, you MUST GET ELECTED!!!! Otherwise, you and everything you stand for and hold dear is reduced to a whining piece of shit.

    •  Tactics must be in the service of . . . (0+ / 0-)

      a strategy.  

      George W. Bush and the GOP took a zero-sum approach in 2000 and for a while it worked.  It may even pay some very nice dividends for some folks outside of public life, but I think one of the keys to getting elected is enacting good policy.  Expedience is overrated.

      •  Worked for them, sure. (0+ / 0-)

        It was a disaster for everybody else. I'm a democrat, OK? Republican expediency is great for republicans. Democratic expediency is great for ME!

        Even the Clintons (the poster children of expediency) ran a relatively glorious administration compared to the repubs. They did so because the democratic party policys are vastly superior for America, the World and the future. Vastly. No fucking comparison. Get Elected.

        •  Labels change . . . (0+ / 0-)

          but when the process is f-d up, you can be reasonably sure that changing labels won't change much.

          If Clinton enjoyed the same kind of latitude as Bush did over the past 8 years, I'm fairly confident that your reminisces wouldn't be quite so favorable.  

          The means temper the ends -- the process matters.  Zero-sum, winner-takes all politics in its purest form is a really unstable form of government.  It was pretty common in Europe before the 18th century -- and it is pretty common in the 3rd world.  There's a pretty good reason why the standard of living in those countries tends to stink while stable governments tend to produce a better long-term result.

          The Treaty of Versailles is a pretty good example of the long-term outcome of a winner takes all approach -- it resolved a pretty devastating war by helping to lay the ground work for an even more devastating one.  

          I have no problem with compromise.  I see pragmatism in sharing some of the spoils of victory with the defeated, so that they have a stake in future outcomes.

          That's one of the reasons that I'm so trouble by the FISA re-write.  It is hard to see how this particular vote would have been any worse under a Republican controlled congress.  In fact, Bush couldn't even get legal immunity for telecoms before 2006.  That's saying quite a bit.

          At the present time I would say the D's are generally better than the R's.  But I think that's still setting expectations too low and getting stiffed with a raw deal.  I don't think it's unreasonable to demand better D's as well.

          •  Terminal disagreement (0+ / 0-)

            This is POLITICS, a gutter blood sport. Winning is everything. You don't have the votes, you don't have shit. You write no policy, you spend no money, you appoint no crones to position of authority. You're useless for everything but high-minded whining and martyrdom. In short, you're a liberal-progressive democrat, of the 1968-2008 vintage. All the right and noble ideas of public interest and public service given all the influence of duck farts in a stiff breeze.

  •  Bush did not win as a purist. (0+ / 0-)

    As much as we may hate him, he is not considered a conservative by a large swath of that movement.

    Bush is a center-right corporofascist. His loyalty is to corporate personhood, not any ideology. That ideology just got him into power.

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