Nation magazine’s open letter to Obama: Please tack left before the election

posted at 5:11 pm on July 30, 2008 by Allahpundit

Yes, please do. 33 percent of Democrat-identified uncommitted voters demand it.

Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance–including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters.

We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy. We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised…

In other areas–such as the use of residual forces and mercenary troops in Iraq, the escalation of the US military presence in Afghanistan, the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the death penalty–your stated positions have consistently varied from the positions held by many of us, the “friends on the left” you addressed in recent remarks. If you win in November, we will work to support your stands when we agree with you and to challenge them when we don’t. We look forward to an ongoing and constructive dialogue with you when you are elected President.

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him to denounce “mercenaries,” but never mind that. I’m intrigued by the fact that sending more troops to Afghanistan is now a sufficiently tenable position among the left (at least the HuffPo-reading left) that the Nation would dare inject it into a critique of Obama meant for wide publication. Gallup had some new information about that today, in fact: 56 percent of Democrats support redeploying some troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to bolster the effort there (which is also Obama’s position), but make the question more vague — do you support more troops for Afghanistan? — and the numbers shift to 50/47 against. That’s in line with that tantalizing bit of data from the WaPo poll a few weeks ago claiming (without giving actual numbers) that “majorities” of Democrats now think the war there wasn’t worth fighting and isn’t linked to the eventual defeat of terrorism. I keep waiting for the GOP to zero in on this, although maybe it’s a case of the party’s interests and the right-wing blogosphere’s interests not being aligned. After five years of nutroots shrieking about chickenhawks and fighting the “real war,” it’s darkly amusing for us to watch the left’s support dwindle just as the prospect of escalation finally looms; but for the Republican leadership, pointing it out only gives Obama an opportunity to break with his own side on the issue and prove to those same uncommitted voters what a sensible centrist, er, maverick he is. In which case, the less said, the better.

Be sure to follow the link for an impressive list of signatories that includes not only the guy who got tackled at a George Allen campaign event a few years ago but also Phil Donahue.


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Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance

Oh, you mean those 22 flip-flops?

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 5:20 PM

AP:

I’m intrigued by the fact that sending more troops to Afghanistan is now a sufficiently tenable position among the left (at least the HuffPo-reading left) that the Nation would dare inject it into a critique of Obama meant for wide publication.

Tenable? Or tenuous?

Or not sending more troops to Afghanistan is now a sufficiently tenable….

SteveMG on July 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM

impressive list of signatories

Juan Cole, baby. That’s all I have to know.

Love the title, too. Suggested subtitle: “Change for we, not thee”

calbear on July 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM

impressive list of signatories …

Studs Terkle and Gore Vidal! :D

But wait, no Deepak Chopra? :(

SteakRules on July 30, 2008 at 5:25 PM

I think it is more likely Obama will write a conservative column for the Heritage Foundation before he tacks left again. He can’t let his Marxist mask slip again.

Star20 on July 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Do non-activists even know what the FISA imbroglio was all about? When polled about the immunity issue Americans supported it. So go ahead, tack Left and leave the majority of Americans behind to please the nut jobs on the Left. Please.

DerKrieger on July 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM

I’m umm Barack umm Obama umm and some ummm of my umm supp umm orters have umm ur umm ged umm m umm e umm to tack umm l umm eft umm. I umm I r umm ep resent umm ch umm ang umm e and umm h umm o umm e and umm I umm c umm a umm n umm ‘ umm t umm hope umm for ch umm an umm ge unles umm s umm w umm e t umm a umm ck umm t umm o umm gether umm.

sabbott on July 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Here’s what they want:

§ Defeat in Iraq post haste.

§ Communist financial and welfare system; blah blah blah; and meaningful government enforcement of all of the above.

§ Universal healthcare rationing.

§ An environmental policy that transforms the economy by sending 2,999,965 Americans into the rice fields.

§ An end to the protection of American and prosecution of our enemies that has flourished in the Bush era.

§ Loads more abortions.

§ A commitment to showing whitey how racial inequality feels, for a change.

§ An immigration system that doubles our serf numbers every decade.

§ Repeal drug laws.

§ Reduce the influence of those who disagree politically with us.

RushBaby on July 30, 2008 at 5:28 PM

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for him to denounce “mercenaries,” but never mind that.

Heh. Well depends if he ever goes back to Iraq and needs Blackwater again.

Spirit of 1776 on July 30, 2008 at 5:28 PM

This is change I can believe in.

MB007 on July 30, 2008 at 5:30 PM

So the Marxist candidate is too far to the right for these people? Check your meds, folks.

trubble on July 30, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Henry Wallace?

How’d he get on the list?

SteveMG on July 30, 2008 at 5:31 PM

33 percent…….
56 percent…….
50/47…………

……………… Heaven!

Seven Percent Solution on July 30, 2008 at 5:31 PM

Bill and Hillary Clinton, the smartest politicians of their generation, couldn’t get anything of that list done when they were in power.

What makes the progressives think Obama could? Wave his hand and the miracles flow?

albo on July 30, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Please, everyone knows that the whole “Iraq war is a distraction from the war in Afghanistan” argument was just a bait and switch. The left doesn’t want us in either country, they were just using Afghanistan as a faux argument against Iraq. Now that we might send more troops to Afghanistan, they’ll bring out their true sentiment – that we should leave there as well.

Seixon on July 30, 2008 at 5:36 PM

For the left, there isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved by simply having the US walk away from it, not be involved, or capitulate to the opposing party or parties.

SteveMG on July 30, 2008 at 5:42 PM

RushBaby on July 30, 2008 at 5:28 PM

Well done!

mikeyboss on July 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Libs are spooked big time by wiretapping but they never raised an eyebrow when Bill and Hil were mining info from FBI files.

whitetop on July 30, 2008 at 6:04 PM

MB007 on July 30, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Actually his current stance may be Change to fake out people who haven’t been following him to think he will govern as a centrist. Or the Obama from the primaries was Change to fake out the Left to think he would govern as they want. Problem is no one knows which Barry we can Believe in.

clghitis on July 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Obama is smart to use the left to get the nomination, but since the left is such a radical minority, he cannot be elected without pretending to widen his base. He has to have the power to do what the left whats to do, but cannot gain power by only having the leftwing extremist’s support. Obama’s handlers know this and Obama is the tool they need to deceive enough voters to get it done.

volsense on July 30, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Oh, no! The Nation may throw Obama under the back of the bus.

andycanuck on July 30, 2008 at 7:45 PM

Nation magazine’s open letter to Obama: Please tack left before the election

Oh, no! The Nation may throw Obama under the back of the bus.

andycanuck on July 30, 2008 at 7:45 PM

Nah, David Corn’s Nation Magazine won’t EVER throw Obama under the bus. When he said “tack left,” he means Hopnosis Messiah must go so far back to radical leftism, that he’ll actually fall off of planet earth.

byteshredder on July 30, 2008 at 8:16 PM

Ive always wondered why the left has such a “hair across their fanny” about the telecommunication providers. At one point the not so illustrious Bobby Kennedy(speaking ill of the assassinated–I’m a terrible person! )nearly destroyed them and lefties in many States are still trying. Why? I’ve never understood it. The ATT giant died a long time ago! Now the evil corporation is big oil!!! They(the left) never seem to get that the real 100 pound gorilla is our government. Apparently that can never be too big.

jeanie on July 30, 2008 at 8:48 PM

§ An environmental policy that transforms the economy by sending 2,999,965 Americans into the rice fields.

RushBaby on July 30, 2008 at 5:28 PM

What rice fields, you Gaia destroying capitalist!? /

OldEnglish on July 30, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Obama can’t be thrown under the present bus because there’s no room under there anymore. His ego would need a bus of it’s own.

jeanie on July 30, 2008 at 9:32 PM

A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us

“US”? And Phil Donahue and Gore Vidal had the gall to put their names on that?

JimC on July 30, 2008 at 9:36 PM

What? No Noam Chomsky? How does CP-USA way in on this?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 31, 2008 at 8:56 AM

OK. I signed it. I’m number 7161. I’m just after Lucifer Satan. :)

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 31, 2008 at 9:08 AM