Go Left, Young Man

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The Nation's open letter to Barack Obama ("Change We Can Believe In") went up on Wednesday and has collected more than 15,000 signatures since then. What's everyone signing on to?

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.

Nothing too exciting here, until you see that one of the initial endorsers is former Salt Lake City Democratic Mayor Rocky Anderson. That's this Rocky Anderson.

Nader's host for his Utah visit was former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. "Ralph Nader seems to be the person who always takes the lead," Anderson said.

Anderson and Nader have been speaking about impeaching President George W. Bush and fighting to be included in presidential debates. Both agree tax policies are unfair, that the war in Iraq has been mishandled and that corporate greed is out of control.

Hm. That'sone strategy: Browbeat Obama into talking up your issues by threatening to endorse the insomnia-curing guy who's been running for president since Miley Cyrus was an embryo. It's a surprise because it's way outside the boundaries of today's Nation. After hosting a spirited debate over whether to endorse Nader or Gore in 2000, the magazine put out a hit on Ralph in 2004 in another "open letter." Apart from the occasional John Nichols blog post, there's nothing about Nader in the magazine this year.

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  1. Well, I certainly hope he reads and heeds the words of that magazine. You know, actually does this stuff instead of giving the wink and nod to them while continuing to pretend to move to the center.

    Maybe if he introduces a bill for collectivization then these folks will take him seriously.

  2. I signed it! The Nation will be proud to know that Mr. Hugh Jass strongly endorses their proposal, product, or service.

  3. Moe: [answering the phone] Flaming Moe’s.
    Bart: Uh, yes, I’m looking for a friend of mine. Last name Jass. First name Hugh.
    Moe: Uh, hold on, I’ll check. [calling] Hugh Jass! Can somebody check the men’s room for a “Huge ass”?!
    Hugh Jass: Uh, I’m Hugh Jass.
    Moe: Telephone. [hands over the receiver]
    Hugh Jass: Hello, this is Hugh Jass.
    Bart: [surprised] Uh, hi.
    Hugh Jass: Who’s this?
    Bart: Bart Simpson.
    Hugh Jass: Well, what can I do for you, Bart?
    Bart: Uh, look, I’ll level with you, Mister. This is a prank call that sort of backfired. I’d like to bail out right now.
    Hugh Jass: All right. Better luck next time. [hangs up] What a nice young man.

  4. Considering the general treatment he’s gotten from the press, wouldn’t Amanda Huggenkiss have been more appropriate?

  5. I can see why the people at The Nation are pissed off. Obama is running in a Democratic year with an enormously friendly media. If this isn’t the year to actually stand up and make the case for things like objecting to the FISA Bill and off shore drilling, then when is? I disagree with the Nation on those issues but I will admit there is a case to be made and the Nation has a right to expect their guy to make it rather than just rolling over.

    Is there any doubt anymore that Obama is a cult of personality?

  6. John,

    Better be careful. When He is elected His people will be checking the intertubes for comments like yours, to identify people who need targeted education.

    The Political Literacy Initiative should be the first thing He begins after the election.

  7. Why weren’t right wingers screaming about imminent authoritarianism and cults of personality the two years after 9/11 when Republicans and the media treated Bush like the new Churchill?

  8. “Why weren’t right wingers screaming about imminent authoritarianism and cults of personality the two years after 9/11 when Republicans and the media treated Bush like the new Churchill?”

    Because there never was a cult of personality. Did Bush go to Germany and talk about “being a citizen of the world”? Did he give his 2004 Convention speech in a football stadium because the ordinary basketball arena just wasn’t big enough for him?

    Further, a “cult of personality” is when someone has followers based on themselves and not their positions. Love him or hate him Bush always had positions. People supported Bush because he prosecuted the war on terror and cut taxes and they were willing to ignore his flaws and love of big government because of that. Why exactly do people support Obama? Because he wants to bring the troops home? No, he plans to move them to AFghanistan and has totally caved on his promise to end the war in Iraq. Because he objects to FISA? No he voted for that. What primary position of any significance hasn’t he pivoted on in the last few months? None I can see.

  9. John, the Aircraft Carrier after the Iraq War was pretty creepy, and on the level of a football stadium. Admit it.

  10. Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

    All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

    Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

    The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

    The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

    And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.
    _______________________________________________

  11. “John, the Aircraft Carrier after the Iraq War was pretty creepy, and on the level of a football stadium. Admit it.”

    No way. The football stadium is the height of creepy. They might as well have the supporters march in in step behind eagle banners. To top it off there will be a fenced in area outside the stadium for “protestors”. Obmama and his adoring masses inside, the disenters isolated in a cage outside. That stunt is going to be the end of Obama. I can’t beleive they are doing it. What does it get them? It is insane. But, I still can’t beleive he went to Europe.

  12. I guess my point is every since at least 1977 (Gerald Ford was the last one who didn’t do this) acts like hes the voice of God on Earth.

  13. Really,

    Not sure what “right wingers” you are talking about over here. Perhaps you should be voicing this over at Free Republic?

    Other than me and a couple others who lean toward the hawkish while still being free market folk, this is a den of pacifist free marketeers.

  14. They might as well have the supporters march in in step behind eagle banners.

    Or bigh yellow Swissecheesehats.

  15. John, come on. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED was pretty hero-worshippy. It’s true.

  16. I dare John to go read the National Review Online archives from Mission Accomplished Day. It at least equals anything Obama’s most starry eyed followers say about him now.

  17. ??Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable.
    ??An end to the regime of torture, abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.
    ??Reform of the drug laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands who need help, not jail.
    Three out of ten.

  18. It at least equals anything Obama’s most starry eyed followers say about him now.

    A magazine with the approximate circulation of Reason is something you are going to use in a comparison with every major newspaper, *major* magazine and broadcast network?

  19. George W. Bush is the ultimate Presidential STUD!

  20. Alright Guy, go read the Fox News commentaries from that day. Just as creepy as K-LO’s one-handed blog post.

  21. Phil Donahue?

  22. Really,

    Now you are up to 2 outlets that do not rival the list I just gave you. Are you going to add Free Republic and Little Green Footballs next?

  23. Yeah, the #1 rated cable news channel. Thats just small potatoes.

    During September 2001 to around, oh, late 2003 the entire media had a man-crush on George W. Bush. Even the NYT was sucking him off.

  24. John:

    I can see why the people at The Nation are pissed off. Obama is running in a Democratic year with an enormously friendly media. If this isn’t the year to actually stand up and make the case for things like objecting to the FISA Bill and off shore drilling, then when is? I disagree with the Nation on those issues but I will admit there is a case to be made and the Nation has a right to expect their guy to make it rather than just rolling over.

    Is there any doubt anymore that Obama is a cult of personality?

    Obama is a black dude running for President. Of course he’s going to be cautious. The Republicans are already coming at him with their “Faggot, Nigger, Bitch” politics of resentment. Thing is he learned his politics in Chicago where it’s hardball. Hillary dissed him and his supporters and got steamrolled. Same will happen to McCain.

  25. Why weren’t right wingers screaming about imminent authoritarianism and cults of personality the two years after 9/11 when Republicans and the media treated Bush like the new Churchill?

    Really,

    The brainwashedness of Republicans does not mean you are not a mindless brainwashed idiot. Brainwashedness is not mutually exclusive. The Republicans can be brainwashed mindless idiots, and so can the Democrats. So attacking Bush lackeys does nothing to defend yourself or other Obama worshipers. Understand?

    You are like a Stalinist complaining about Hitler’s evil cult of personality. The truth of Hitler’s evil cult of personality doesn’t change the fact that you are a freakin’ Stalinist!

  26. Hungry-

    You made my point better than I could have. I don’t have a dog in this Presidential fight. Just pointing out their duplicity.

  27. The Justice Department interview question “what is it about Geo. Bush that makes you want to serve him?” is pretty Mussolini-ish.

  28. former Salt Lake City Democratic Mayor Rocky Anderson. That’s this Rocky Anderson … Anderson and Nader have been speaking about impeaching President George W. Bush

    For anyone who doubts the theory that the primary driver of Democratic affiliation is living in close proximity to one’s neighbors, the existence of a mayor like this in the biggest city of otherwise solid-red Utah should dispel all doubts.

  29. “John, the Aircraft Carrier after the Iraq War was pretty creepy, and on the level of a football stadium. Admit it.”

    Nah, the Aircraft Carrier / Mission Accomplished banner thing was a time-delayed Dukakis In a Tank TM moment.

    Whereas a charismatic, extraordinarily gifted and mesmerizing speaker haranguing an adoring massive crowd of Germans on the need for a world state has got to be, on some level, a bit creepy.

  30. The Republicans are already coming at him with their “Faggot, Nigger, Bitch” politics of resentment.

    Really? How?

    The way I remember it, the ugly semi-underground stuff came from Hillary, and now its Obama who can’t shut up about what color he is. What exactly has McCain done that is the “Faggot, Nigger, Bitch”?

  31. I said Republicans, not McCain if you had read carefully. Not that there’s much of a difference.

    “Faggot, Nigger, Bitch” is the Republican’s only play in their playbook besides “no new taxes (for rich people).”

    Imagine if the Obama campaign had run an ad with Brittney and Paris and McCain. Bizarre.

    “Whereas a charismatic, extraordinarily gifted and mesmerizing speaker haranguing an adoring massive crowd of Germans on the need for a world state has got to be, on some level, a bit creepy.”

    Unless you actually listen to what he’s saying as compared to, say, Hitler.


  32. For anyone who doubts the theory that the primary driver of Democratic affiliation is living in close proximity to one’s neighbors, the existence of a mayor like this in the biggest city of otherwise solid-red Utah should dispel all doubts.

    Indeed so. The prototypical Libertarian lives in a compound out in the desert and stares balefully from a slit window, drawing a bead on you from behind a rifle. “GIT OFFA MAH PROPPITY!” 🙂

  33. Wasn’t the “Mission Accomplished” banner in reference to the fact those particular sailors accomplished their mission and were heading home? Am I recalling correctly, or only correctly recalling the post game counter-counter-spin? I could look this up, but I fear it would be very painful reading.

  34. Peter K,
    The leftwing circle-jerk blog called to say they want you back.

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