Posted by: Randy Allgaier | July 13, 2008

No one is perfect

Okay, so the left is upset with Senator Obama’s stance on the two Supreme Court decisions- agreeing with the court’s decision to strike down the gun law in Washington DC and disagreeing with the court’s decision that applying the death penalty to child rapists is unconstitutional.

I hold opposite views that Senator Obama on these two items, but do I expect any candidate for President to ultimately agree with me on everything? No. But I can’t find a whole lot in the Senator’s background that make me think he did a complete 180 on these. Yes he is a constitutional scholar and I am surprised that he agreed with Justice Scalia’s upside down interpretation of the Constitution on these issues but I will give him a pass on these two positions.

I’ve also been surprised by the attention paid to his statement that he when he becomes President he would refine his position on withdrawal from Iraq based on the counsel of commanders on the ground. Come on folks, Senator Obama has always said he would be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in to Iraq. So where is the inconsistency? I don’t get it.

The left is also upset with him for voting for the FISA bill that eviscerates the fourth amendment. This is where I agree. I am upset by the Senator’s vote on this and I support the ACLU’s and “The Nation’s lawsui and it was clearly a political move because he knew that he would be plagued by 527 and RNC and McCain ads attacking him for being soft on terrorism. It would be inevitable.

I understand the motivation of this calculation but it was clearly a political calculation and not a vote of conscience. Some of the Senator’s most diehard supporters were crushed that he would make such a blunt political calculation. I too was disappointed, but I am also a realist. I would rather see Barack Obama in the White House rather than John McCain and that means he needs to sometimes make political concerns be the deciding factor.

It wasn’t like Obama’s vote made the difference between passage and defeat; it didn’t; so he was freer to cave to the political calculus. Sure I would have liked the Senator to vote against the bill, but he did do the pragmatic thing politically. Having a label of “terrorist enabler” would have weighed him down from now through November even though that label would be totally unjustified and unfair. But when it comes to this topic, you know that the Republicans usually successfully play the fear card and rightfully the Obama campaign was not about to make.

The media are all over these labeling them with the “flip flop” label. If I hear that term one more time- I think I’ll flip out- it is the most overused hackneyed expression of this campaign. Come one folks- can’t you come up with something else? I thought that this term saw its day in the Kerry campaign. It seems so 2004.

Every presidential candidate moves from the sides (right or left) in the primaries to the center for the general. But has Obama truly shifted to the center? Were these folks on the left listening? He has promised a post partisan Washington and that would be pretty difficult if he were a staunch ideologue and didn’t have views that weren’t exclusively those held by the left. So what’s the problem here? I don’t really see one.

If any group expects a candidate to hold every one of their views- well than they are pretty immature. It seems that people view what they want to in Senator Obama and having him on a pedestal is dangerous.

Mr. Obama is after all a politician- he wouldn’t have gotten where he is as fast as he has if he didn’t have a political mind and understand how to play it. Yes he promises a different kind of politics. But it is impossible to practice that different politics pristinely in a world where the old politics is still being played and is still effective. You cannot change the playing field over night.

The Obama campaign has a difficult issue to straddle – it has one foot in the world Obama promises and one foot in the world where we live now. As far as I am concerned the Senator is navigating these waters well. Besides should we expect any candidate, or person for that matter, to be perfect? If you do – you will always be disappointed because perfection just doesn’t exist in nature.


  1. […] my last post, No one is perfect, I address some of the problems Obama faces on this issue- with accusations from both the right and […]

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