DID YOU THROW AWAY A LETTER FROM BARACK OBAMA TODAY TOO?
I got a huge stack of mail today. I was tempted to tell the postman to just chuck it into the garbage but he always says no when I tell him to and you never know-- maybe there is something I need to read between all the junk mail. In this case there wasn't and I chucked it all into the garbage myself. Except for one envelope. It wasn't especially work reading and it was most definitely junk mail but I decided to open it, albeit reluctantly, anyway.
It wasn't that long ago that a letter from Barack Obama would have gotten me all excited. Like with Macs, AOL, and iTunes I was an early adapter when it came to Obama. He was barely registered in the Illinois opinion polls when I sent my first check to his campaign. And when I met him in person the first time I wrote an even bigger one. But... that was then. Since then he's been a mixed bag as far as I'm concerned, and not a mixed bag I would write a check for.
The first alarm bell went off right after he took his seat. He voted to move class action law suits from state courts, where consumers and workers generally get a fair hearing, to federal courts, where corporations tend to get their way. But, the glow was still there and it was pretty much his first month on the job so I had no trouble cutting him a little slack. Even after he voted to confirm Condoleeza Rice I wasn't ready to write him off.
But then Obama wound up-- somehow-- with a mentor... the worst possible mentor one can imagine: Holy Joe, the Senate's biggest hypocrite and George W. Bush's favorite Democrat. In quick succession he started voting in a very corporate-friendly way. He voted to cut off debate (for cloture) on the nomination of one of Bush's worst-ever judicial nominees, Priscilla Owen. Eventually he pointlessly voted against her confirmation but-- as we saw later with Lieberman and Alito-- if you vote for cloture your eventual vote in the present circumstances is just a farce.
He's been working behind the scenes to get Democrats to not support Russ Feingold's very moderate resolution to censure Bush and a couple weeks ago he tried to inject some life into the Connecticut Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson dinner by pumping up his much-ignored mentor. Even if his elephant remark was a snide like jab-- maybe for Lieberman taking McCain's side against him in their rancorous and public dispute a few months ago-- Obama endorsed a relatively reactionary Lieberman in a primary where a real Democrat some say could be the next... Barack Obama is running. "I know that some in the party have differences with Joe," he said, all but silencing the crowd. "I'm going to go ahead and say it. It's the elephant in the room. And Joe and I don't agree on everything. But what I know is, Joe Lieberman's a man with a good heart, with a keen intellect, who cares about the working families of America." Those who hadn't passed out by that point then heard him say "I am absolutely certain that Connecticut's going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the United States Senate."
That was the last I heard of smooth operator Obama until today. The letter bearing his signature-- and in an envelope with his name on the return address (not the name of the odious organization he was shilling for)-- was actually from the DSCC, one of the key bastions-- along with the DCCC and DLC-- of anti-grassroots Inside-the-Beltway power-mongering and political prostitution that helps turn people with Democratic values and ideals off to the Democratic Party (and political involvement).
So what were Obama and the DSCC wasting 39 cents on to communicate to me? A lot of brave Bush-bashing to the base that doesn't match up to action on Capitol Hill, complete with a scary photo of Bush and Rove. I fished it out of the wastepaper basket to write Senator Obama a note on it. I told him the photo worked in scaring me. But I also mentioned replacing it with images of Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Rahm Emanuel was something that would ease my fears. I also suggested he not bother contacting me again until after he had signed on as a co-sponsor of Russ Feingold's censure resolution.
If you think the DSCC and the DCCC are getting it all wrong by pushing reactionary or Republican-lite candidates like Bob Casey in PA or by wrecking the career of true blue Democrats like Paul Hackett and Christine Cegelis, you can do what I did: contribute directly to actual progressive candidates or give to Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots' Fund. Either way, you're welcome to do it through the DWTACT BLUE Page, where you will find independent Democratic voices like Ned Lamont, Jerry McNerney, Rick Penberthy, Chuck Pennacchio, Coleen Rowley, and Jan Schneider (among others).