The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Obama - oh dear!
Seconds out for Round One at the Senate, and the Brown Bomber comes out tap-dancing.
In the vote on the Rice confirmation, Dems had a glorious opportunity to vote their consciences. Safe from menaces from the usual pack of slavering pit-bulls from AIPAC, the NRA, Parents Television Council, and the rest; free from the need to accommodate the interests of key donors.
One glorious free swing before the sordid bazaar of politics as usual kicked in in the 109th. Pure Capracorn. (Rice was always going to be confirmed; any votes against were always going to be purely symbolic. No harm, no foul.)
In the event, the score was 85-13, Jeffords and twelve Dems, including the full MA delegation.
No Hillary Clinton. In her speech during the debate , she sloughs off responsibility for her vote:
While many of my Democratic colleagues on the committee, including the ranking member, share my concern over her role in our Iraq policy, they think it worthwhile to give her a chance in this new role. That judgement, from Senators who had the opportunity to probe and question Dr. Rice on her qualifications, tips the balance in favor of voting for Dr. Rice's nomination to be Secretary of State, in my mind.
Barack Obama, only in the job for three weeks, kept shtum in the Chamber, but told the Sun Times
I understand the frustrations [of those] who have been here the past four years. My attitude was it was important to look forward and give her the benefit of the doubt.
The piece points out that Obama
ran as an anti-Iraq war candidate with tremendous crucial early support from the anti-war Illinois progressive political community...
That was then...
Why not take the free hit for liberal glory, though? What discussions did he have with Harry Reid and the minority leadership on the issue? Did they suggest to him he ought to lay off? Did he get a quid pro quo for some other liberal sally closer to his heart?
The Rice vote was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Gingrich shutting down the government stunts: a vote against could not have affected the outcome, let alone the lives of any real people. A morale-boosting liberal Charge of the Light Brigade would have been purely symbolic: but so is the Federal homo-marriage amendment. Or the Confederate flag at the Columbia Statehouse. Or many things in politics.
And there were always going to be plenty of chances for Obama to prove an ability to go along...
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