Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Obama Hearts Rumsfeld and Bush

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is in the mainstream. Who said that? Was it Karl Rove? Perhaps it was Dick Cheney. No, it was Barack Obama. He didn't turn into Mr. Two-faced Democrat in Name Only overnight. He has obviously been planning a presidential run for a long time and never passed up a chance to suck up to the powerful people who could get him into the White House.

Way back in 2001 when Bush was announcing his cabinet choices, state senator Obama said that Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush gang were just A-OK with him. Read it here and listen to the Rumsfeld statement here.

" 'The proof in the pudding is looking at the treatment of the other Bush nominees,' Obama said. 'I mean for the most part, I for example do not agree with a missile defense system, but I dont think that soon-to-be-Secretary Rumsfeld is in any way out of the mainstream of American political life. And I would argue that the same would be true for the vast majority of the Bush nominees, and I give him credit for that.'

'So I don’t want to be pegged as being far left simply because I find certain aspects in John Ashcroft’s record to be divisive or offensive,' Obama continued. 'I think it’s legitimate for me to raise that. As I said before, if he brought before us a nominee who didn’t agree with me on affirmative action and yet said that, you know, I do think that and showed a history for showing regard and concern for racial justice, if he came before us and said I oppose a woman’s right to choose, or I oppose abortion, I find it religiously offensive, and yet I do respect, for example, the notion that we shouldn’t be solving these things with violence, historically, if that had been what was said, then I don’t think I would object. And I think that’s a fair position to take.' "

What on earth is he saying? I have yet to see an opponent of affirmative action have a "concern for racial justice." What is the bar for this concern? Is it not being overtly racist? Is it being pleasant to black people? What is Obama's standard for these good hearted people who can oppose justice but still get his support? Supporting affirmative action does further justice, and justice comes only with a struggle and a willingness on the part of a president to join in those fights. Oh wait, I forgot. Obama will put an end to partisan bickering. Damn. I guess we're just screwed.

His comment on abortion opponents is similarly troubling. Apparently he won't fight for abortion rights as long as religious belief is the reason for opposition and those opponents don't burn down clinics. We can say good-bye to abortion rights in an Obama administration.

Progressives who don't pay attention to what Obama says are responsible for this mess we now find ourselves in. From FISA to Iraq to Moveon to Wesley Clark, Obama has thumbed his nose at people who supported his campaign. Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill said it best, progressives should have been players and not cheerleaders during the nomination battle. They weren't. They had no guts for a fight and now we are stuck with Senator Testy who gets hot under the collar when anyone dares to ask him what it means to "refine" his Iraq policy.

If your little political heart is now broken, don't complain. You just weren't paying attention. As Obama would say, "So long suckers."