Election 2008 Liberalism Obama Politics

The Opinionsphere Looks Under the Bus

Finally right-wingers and left-wingers are starting to agree about Obama.

In a testament to the attention paid to the kabuki theater of the presidential campaign, the new meme spreading around the opinionsphere is that Obama is running hard to the right and “throwing under the bus” anyone who gets in his way.  As Steve Marlsberg, the wingnut and idiot would say:

First Obama threw his grandmother under the bus; ((A ridiculous take on his landmark racism speech.))
then his Reverend; ((How many chances does a guy get?))
and now General Wesley Clark! ((Those who call this “throwing someone under a bus” must have missed the Clinton years altogether.  All that’s there is a mild statement pointing out that General Clark was going off-message.))

Kate Stone channeled David Brooks’s analogy, but replaced the people being thrown under the bus with policies:

First Obama gave up on public financing; ((Although Kate didn’t mention this one, many others have.))
then he gave up on the telecom fight; ((Here, I disagree with Obama’s stand.))
then, he came out in favor of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the individual right to bear arms;
what’s next – will he throw women under the bus and the right to choose?

Now – I’m all for challenging whatever leader we have and for pushing him or her to the positions we ourselves hold.  That’s politics.  That’s the only way that a republic can work. But the hysteria evidenced by Paul Krugman, David Brooks, Kate Stone, and many others in responding to the mild replies, long-expected decisions, and minor re-positioning of Obama demonstrates more about the fears and insecurities of these individuals than of Obama’s candidacy or potential presidency.

Also, let me try to correct the record on guns and Heller v. Washington D.C.  Kate, along with many others, mis-characterizes Obama as supporting “relaxing restrictions on gun control in Washington, D.C.” This with-us-or-against-us take on Obama’s nuanced position is exactly what Obama has described as the problem with partisanship.  The judicial philosophy that Obama has been consistent in supporting is one which judges each case on the merits, individually.  Which is why, as the Heller case was before the Court, Obama repeatedly said that as he hadn’t been able to take the time to fully investigate the case because he was busy running for president.  His comments in response to the Heller decision were about balance:

I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common sense, effective safety measures.

The line, though less elegant, reminds me of his famous line about Iraq:

I’m not opposed to all wars.  Just dumb wars.

In general, Obama has made two things clear: he supports an individual right to bear arms; and he supports gun control.  This has become the increasingly common liberal position.  Whether the Court should have struck down this particular gun ban or not, the Supreme Court’s decision was historic – and Obama, as a card-carrying civil libertarian, would recognize the decision as the boon for individual rights it is.