Sunday, January 29, 2006

Obama on the Filibuster

Hmm...not sure what I think of this yet. Obama criticizes the filibuster, but also says he'll support it--at least through one vote.

Basically, Obama's critique is that filibusters can only get you so far--and that ultimately, if you want to keep bad judges off the Court, you need to win elections. That's true. And furthermore, I can see why it is perfectly consistent with a vote against cloture--chiding Democrats for over-reliance on a given tactic doesn't necessarily require opposition to said tactic in every case. But...still. It smacks of politics. And I don't like politics.

Of course, there's the interesting question of whether the politics will work the way he wants them to, and that's up in the air. My TMV host Joe Gandelman thinks that it's smart politics in the short term, but could become a Bill Frist moment in the future. On the other hand, here's one liberal who is apoplectic with Obama--the type of rage I've almost never seen directed his way from the left. Josh Marshall and Atrios hit more moderate notes, but still aren't happy about it. So this could be a rare miscalculation by the golden boy--though given his sky-high status amongst nearly every stripe of liberal, I don't think it will do that much to tarnish his image over the long term.

Oh, and one more thing. Any malice I may have had toward Obama over this issue completely evaporated upon reading this:
And on the recent Hamas (hah-MAHS') victory in Palestinian elections, Obama says the United States should cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas recognizes Israel's right to exist.

That's a pretty ballsy call coming from an unabashed progressive. One commenter in my last TMV post about Obama said that he seemed good, but wanted to be sure he'd be strong on Middle East issues (Iran, Israel, terrorism, et al). This should go a ways in showing that he's got some fire behind him. Kudos for taking a stand.

1 comment:

jack said...

"So this could be a rare miscalculation by the golden boy--though given his sky-high status amongst nearly every stripe of liberal."

That or liberals are the ones making the huge miscalculation. The people at dKos are actually freaking out. At this point it looks like opposition to the filibuster will basically make democratic activists hate you for the rest of your life. I think Obama's decision was political but I also don't think he really had a choice. The fact that he was hesitant makes me like him more. Thats exactly where I am.