Here's what is scary. It's not August. There aren't any Republican attack ads.
And yet, Obama is getting swiftboated... by himself.
Admittedly, as someone who will remain a Clinton supporter to the very end, I have been enjoying the rude awakening that many Obama supporters have recently received from !quelle horreur! Barack Obama, himself.
FISA, gun control, public finance, the death penalty, religious-based initiatives, late-term abortions, Iraq, turning his back on groups such as MoveOn, and throwing people like Wes Clark under the bus. They all add up to Obama's progressive base wondering with justifiable uncertainty: Who is this guy and what the hell is he doing?
Well, it seems that Barack Obama can and will do whatever he pleases -- particularly if it paves the way to victory. In order to win the nomination, Obama posed as the candidate of Change. Remember he was the outsider who wanted to restore Hope in all of us. He was the candidate we could Believe in. Not surprisingly, after 8 years of Bush fear-mongering and Republican-led emoting hate towards terrorists, Obama's offering of emoting hope and unity towards feel-good horizons was extremely appealing. The marketing worked. Back then, Obama appeared pure, honest, and trustworthy; Obama was definitely not the entrenched, untrustworthy Washington-insider, Hillary Clinton.
But who is Barack Obama now?
Unfortunately, none of us know who Barack Obama really is especially in light of his recent mercurial political positions.
Usually when someone behaves in such an unrecognizable manner, you turn to the person in question's past history for reassurance. Not so with Obama since his public record is so short. Indeed, Obama's public life started a mere 10 years ago and his uncanny ability to spend no longer than two years in any one post or place translates to Obama never being held accountable. That lack of accountability translates to Obama being an unknown entity merely offering up his lofty, poetic, and very pretty promises to trust. But lately those pretty little promises aren't holding up much -- let alone anyone's trust.
And I am not going to shut up and trust Obama for the sake of party unity. Just like I refused to shut up and trust Bush after 9/11. Remember, Dissent is Patriotic. Obama promised to be something different. He promised to stand up and do the right thing. He promised the Change that many people were yearning for. While I never believed him to have authentic principles, Obama's early supporters did. And those early supporters are responsible for Obama receiving the nomination. They voted for Obama specifically because he said that he wasn't the type of person that he has now revealed himself to be.
So why is Obama acting like his early supporters don't matter to him?
Because he can. He doesn't need you folks anymore. Obama knows that he has all of your votes in his back pocket. He knows with certitude that you will not vote for McCain. So as long as Obama stays more than a hair to the left of McCain, he'll do just fine, thank you. Obama really doesn't need to pander to all of you and your silly Progressive causes anymore. He and Michelle have got a general election to win and a large swath of (perceived) centrist voters to sucker.
But if there was ever a year that the progressives could have run on a strong, strident and non-negotiable platform against the Republicans, 2008 should have been that year. More than 70% of Americans are unhappy with the course of our country -- a country that has had Republican leadership for the past 8 years. If Progressives and their candidates cannot be true to themselves and their core-guiding principles now, then when?
2008 is the ultimate year for an unyielding progressive platform and agenda because on every major issue that Americans care about (like for example Iraq, the economy, the environment, health care, and national security) the Republicans (and the policies of the Right and Center-Right) have failed miserably.
More pointedly, in 2008 when more Americans identify themselves as Democrats and supporting Democratic principles, why in God's green Earth would Obama or any Democratic candidate for that matter ever run anywhere near the center? It's idiotic. Take a look at South Carolina where Obama received more votes than all of the Republican candidates, combined. Go further and add up both Obama and Clintons' votes in South Carolina, and you have a Democratic landslide! And South Carolina is supposedly a fairly conservative Republican state.
So it's not that Obama is merely abandoning the Left. No, it's that Obama is abandoning the vast majority of the American people and what they truly want from their political leaders after 8 horrendous years of George Bush.
Alas, as many Clinton supporters already know, it's not so bad living under the bus once one's been thrown there. The important thing to remember is to not get disillusioned and bitter with the political process. You (yes, We) can all still make a difference.
Here are some simple ways to stay a part of the system and send a message to the tone-deaf Obama:
1. Unhappy with Obama's turnaround on issues that matter to you?
STOP SENDING YOUR CHECKS TO HIM. Spend 5 minutes on Google and send money directly to organizations that support your issue or cause. For many grassroots organizations, a little money goes a long way--your money will be well spent and better spent.
Remember that Obama opted out of public financing--that means he needs your money. If you stop sending it, he might pay attention. More to the point, by sending cash directly to well-established organizations that support your cause, you will know that your voice is truly being heard and appreciated.
Furthermore, such organizations will not materially change their position on any issue to fit the prevailing winds. With these people there is no risk of getting burned or thrown under the bus.
2. Nervous about Obama's seemingly lack of core-guiding principles and even more concerned about how he will govern as President?
Start supporting Hillary Clinton as his Vice President. Clinton would serve well as a stern rudder to Obama's wayward sails. Hillary Clinton has a well-documented public record and history. Like it or not, we fully know Hillary Clinton and we know how she governs. We know her core principles. More to the point, we know that there are certain non-negotiable, core Progressive principles that she would never capitulate on.
Any Obama supporters who initially found Clinton unacceptable because of her triangulation and willingness to do anything to win, might as well listen to your own recent justifications about Obama and his own triangulation and willingness to do anything to win. Enough said?
3. Reminder to all: The Superdelegates have not yet voted. They cast their vote at the Convention in August which means Hillary Clinton's "suspended" campaign could be reinstated. (Because, Oh, Yes She Can!)
Of course, this reality is probably why the Republicans have remained mostly silent against Obama since they'd rather run against Obama than Hillary. The Republicans know that a small window remains open for Hillary to get the nomination. And a coup at the Convention is not entirely out of the question-- particularly in light of Obama's recent behavior in thumbing his nose at the Progressive base. Yes folks, it's not too late.
It's July 9, 2008. There are 6 weeks left until the convention in Denver. And I think all Americans should be paying close attention to see what Barack Obama does. Does he continue to flounder and move to the center compromising important Progressive principles? Or does he correct his wayward ways?
Democrats must have a candidate with clear conviction to beat John McCain in November. The question that must be answered between now and August is whether Barack Obama is that candidate.