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Where stands Obama?

by ValentinD Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 at 07:45:05 PM EST

Since we're practically on the Eve of the US elections, here is a post on something many pointed out about the Democrat candidate, Barrack Obama:
knowledge about his position, ideology, philosophy, is at best fuzzy.

People seem to connect to the person - his personal history, his self-assured calm, even professoral tenure, his brains. Some call him a socialist, pointing at his record in the US Senate - the most leftwing voting history. Others point at his speeches, where he preaches hope, change, even pragmatism, not crossing (like John McCain) - but raising above strict party lines. The first reply he practically never voted against his party - his first genuine anti-establishment action would be in opposing Hillary Clinton for the presidential primary.

So where does Obama stand ?
All this, to share with you this website, that you might actually know already:

On The Issues...

At first sight, it looks well documented and non partisan.
After browsing a little on a few issues, I'd say his interviews and speeches make him come off as much more "centre" (or pragmatic) than his voting record, or the way he's rated by different social action groups (ie, full 100% leftwing).

Is there a gap between what Barrack Obama does, and what he thinks (or what he says he thinks) ? Where would Obama be situated on the political spectre ?...


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It's impossible to tell at this point. His voting record is liberal (for the U.S.) but brief. His stated policies are somewhat left of center. What he does if he is elected will depend on a bunch of things, including the makeup of the congress, Bush's antics during the last few weeks of his term, world events, etc.

I think there is a hope amongst many in the liberal wing of the Democratic party that he will be a combination of FDR, JFK, and LBJ, perhaps with a bit of the Messiah mixed in, and that we will make considerable strides towards becoming an admirable society. One argument supporting this is that he ran a huge campaign without any major complications.

Alternatively, his term could be a friggin' disaster. Nobody knows.

by asdf on Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 at 09:47:23 PM EST
I wonder then, does this mean a vote for Obama will essentially be a vote anti-Bush ?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 07:51:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people are probably voting against Bush, but Obama has a huge fan base. He has a very magnetic personality, isn't intimidating, is obviously intelligent, etc. So I think that quite a few Obama supporters are voting in favor of him more than against Bush/McCain/Palin.

On the other hand, if the Republicans had run Romney, he probably would have won easily. Good economic background, personally attractive, smart, etc. Unfortunately for the right, their party has been taken over by a bunch of evangelical Christians that couldn't stomach a Mormon. Too bad for them--now they get a bona fide liberal Christian.

by asdf on Tue Nov 4th, 2008 at 09:42:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>> if the Republicans had run Romney, he probably would have won easily.

No F'ing way.  Romney was probably Obama's most hoped-for opponent.  He was destroyed by Huckabee in the primary :

"He not only looks like the guy who sent your job overseas, he IS the guy who sent your job overseas".  And that was true.  Ouch.

In other words, Romney was the worst sort of neoliberal scum and Obama would have destroyed him easily.  

Plus he had a worse flip-flop problem than McCain did with trying to run from his non-religious-right (i.e. pro-choice) platform as Massachusetts governor to the hard-right in order to try and win get the Republican nomination.

These reasons may also explain why McCain didn't pick Romney for VP.

I will agree with you that the takeover of the GOP by the hard-religious-right is making it difficult for them to compete nationally anymore.  To survive in the blue states, Republicans like Romney can't run this way, but then they get whipsawed when they try to take their campaigns national and are forced to tack 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

by sTiVo on Wed Nov 5th, 2008 at 04:02:58 PM EST
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My fear remains that he will try to be bipartisan and govern from the beltway centre and not from the centre of sentiment out in america.

Also, as far as I can see, the US needs some pretty urgent interventions on stuff that I'm not sure Obama is ready to do. And you have to divert a signinficant proportion of the military budget into the civil structure of the US to do it and he won't do that.

As Pete Townsend didn't say, "Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss, but not different enough for it to make a difference".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 06:18:19 AM EST
If things go according to what polls say, Obama will also have a clearly democratic leaning Congress. So the question might be, in this case, who's going to be in charge: the congress, or the president. Populist or conservatory tendencies could be smaller in the second case, I guess.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 07:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have very mixed feelings about Obama, but it is really not reasonable to pretend that his positions are unknown.

On the negative side, he has long called for an increase in US military personnel numbers and a concomitant increase in the military budget. This is the number one reason I am lukewarm about him. It is popular in certain circles to pretend that this policy, stated two years ago an reiterated many times, simply doesn't exist. If you post this fact on dkos you will be called a liar and the hounds of hell set loose on you, but it is true nonetheless.

The reasons that I voted for him, the day before yesterday, have more to do with the fact that in other areas, he is pragmatic, not captive to ideology.

There are degrees in these things. We have a vice presidential candidate on the GOP side, one 72 year old heatbeat away from the presidency (never mind recurring melanoma and possibly senile dementia) who believes the earth is six thousand years old, and was recently convinced she was talking to Sarkozy for seven minutes as the hoaxer dropped hint after hint in an accent that would have embarassed Jerry Lewis or Mel Blanc.

There is the matter of the Supreme Court. The next president will in all likelihood appoint two justices and maybe more. Absent the will to govern on the part of the legislative branch, the court is left to decide much more than it should have to. Questions of whether or not the US will abide by international treaties, for instance including some that it wrote itself. Pressing issues of individual freedom v cooked up state interests.

Just a little hope of pragmatism, that's all I have. You can see it in the eleven pages on science policy put out by the Obama campaign. There is no corresponding document from the other side, I assure you.

NB the opening salvo:

It is essential that federal policy benefit from the most complete, accurate, and honest scientific and technological information available. When federal policy is informed by objective evidence rather than by ideology - whether the concern be national security, energy, global climate change, the environment, health, healthcare, or investment in education and research - the people of America will be the winners.

Unfortunately, the current Administration has undermined the integrity of U.S. science policy. It has stacked scientific advisory boards, suppressed research that conflicts with its political agenda, failed to make decisions on the basis of the best available evidence, and prevented government scientists from speaking openly with the public and the media.

Much more in the same vein and in much greater detail.

You might say "But this is merely common sense," and rightly so. But going back to common sense is a radical departure at this point. It is difficult to convey to foreign readers how much we are in the death grip of fundamentalist ideology here, both capitalist and christian. When fonfronted with contradictory facts, the response lately has been to throw more money and pray harder, not to reassess the assumptions.

I presume it is the same thinking that has driven 76 living American Nobel laureates in the sciences to sign an open letter pleading that Obama be elected. Not because they approve of his politics, merely that they want to see a return to simple sanity.

Obama had made it clear that he intends to surround himself with the brightest people he can find. I am willing to take him at his word. Note the campaign he waged, defeating the most powerful machine in American politics without breaking a sweat. This is not a fool.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 06:40:02 AM EST
"it is really not reasonable to pretend that his positions are unknown"

Unclear, rather than unknown. People said this about Obama even when he was a teacher in Chicago: he always gave the impression of keeping a lot of stuff to himself, remaining a bit aside, or aloof, never fully involving, or completely speaking out his mind.

"in other areas, he is pragmatic, not captive to ideology."

My impression too upon reading this different positions on the website I linked above. Still when you look for the true philosophy behind his words and acts, you see why he's rated 100% for gay rights, abortion rights, immigrant rights and so on. Hence my question, are his convictions really in line with the most left leaning of the democrats? or is rather to be trusted to be a pragmatic US president (as opposed to yet another ideology-driven one). Supreme Court nominations will probably be a test. He must realize the last thing he should do if elected is to start taking it on conservatives with the same gusto the Bush administration supported them.

I agree with you about the common sensical issue of sticking to scientifical evaluatins and being honest about it, and also on the "brightest people". Many already said that about his campaign team.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 at 08:09:04 PM EST
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