Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Obama Having Fun With The Big VP Tease?


So far I've been able to shrug off every nauseating head-fake that's come our way regarding an Obama running mate. The floating of Republican ex-Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman was a signal, to me at least, that we were entering silly season and that Obama was having a good laugh. Not as funny as CERN's Large Hadron Collider (particle accelerator) being shut down by ripples from the future, but funny enough to not get much buzz out of the media. So they next float, a more aggressive one, was for homophobic anti-choice, lobbyist-loving Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. That got some more attention and certainly caused an outpouring of your proverbial teeth gnashing and clothes rending from the base.

So I said to myself, "Self, what's he doing?" There's not much drama at the National Conventions and chances are, that's when the running mate gets announced-- and for that reason. Obama's cool as a cucumber and he's not about to float a bunch of trial balloons so he can gauge public opinion. Then came Evan Bayh-- with lots and lots and lots of attendant hoopla. Before Bayh let the air out of this one, entire wardrobes were rendered and orthodontists were getting booked up.

Now, after these three, almost anything (reasonable) that Obama picks will cause dancing in the streets. Katherine Sebelius? America's sweetheart. Hillary Clinton? Well,,, can she send that husband off somewhere? But, honestly, except for a small handful of die-hards, Hillary would be greeted by Democrats as the solution to everything that plagues Obama's campaign. I've never really doubted that Obama would keep it to himself and hold it back for as long as possible... but I do admit that I started researching Bayh the other day.

Obviously, Obama could pick a worse running mate than Bayh. He could choose a Republican. He could choose Ben Nelson or Tim Johnson, the only two Democrats in the Senate who have been more consistent supporters of the Bush-Cheney agenda that Evan Bayh. He could pick Lieberman, although Lieberman votes more frequently-- considerably more frequently-- with the Democrats than Bayh does. If Obama were to pick Bayh I would still hope the venal and hateful McCain loses. But Obama will have lost me. I live in California and if he can't win this state without me, he's going down to the worst landslide in history in his attempt to prove he stands for nothing whatsoever anyway.

When Gore picked Lieberman in 2000 I wrote a letter to the L.A. Times, the only letter I ever wrote to that paper; and it got published! I said I could forgive Al Gore, Tipper; after all, we all make rash and even disastrous decisions when we're young. But Lieberman was asking too much. I ran into Tipper at a White House bash for the president of the Czech Republic and she asked me if I'd support Al. I think I was more plainspoken than people are supposed to be at State Banquets but I said that I wouldn't. But, you know what... in the end I did. I'll never forgive myself but I voted for Joe Lieberman. That isn't going to happen again. And Evan Bayh, at least in terms of voting records, is worse.

Bayh's Iraq voting record is putrid. Only Tim Johnson, Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu have been worse Democrats on the most important issue of our day. Some Obama supporters says he can't pick Hillary because she had the same response to Iraq that McCain did? Well so did Bayh. On October 10, 2002, Bayh backed Bush and Cheney on all 5 roll calls to authorize the use of force and he did the same thing on Oct 11. The following year he strayed back towards the Democrats on procedural and inconsequential votes but stuck with Bush-- as he still does-- on the important Iraq votes.

On June 17, 2004 Joe Biden proposed a bill to roll back the tax cuts on millionaires so that the war in Iraq would be funded responsibly. Even Lieberman voted with the Democrats on that. But not Bayh. He, Ben Nelson, the deranged Zell Miller, Mark Pryor and Max Baucus crossed the aisle and voted against working families and for more unpaid for war. And this piece of DLC shit is what Obama is teasing us with. I mean something untoward could happen to him.

Bayh, in fact, has been a supporter of the same approach to Iraq as McCain. For example, on September 19, 2007, McCain offered a sham alternative to the resolution proposed by Jim Webb (D-VA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to allow active duty service members and reservists to spend as much time at home as they do deployed in combat. Obama and all but 6 Democrats voted against it. Bayh voted for it. The next day Bayh chose McCain, Bush and Cheney over Obama again when Russ Feingold and Harry Reid offered an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act to withdraw troops from Iraq in 3 months. Obama and most of the Democrats voted yes. Bayh stuck with Bush, McCain and Cheney again.

But let's leave Bayh's record of supporting the war in Iraq alone for a minute and look at other issues where he and McCain have agreed and he and Obama have disagreed:

The Republican Flag Burning Amendment (Jun 27, 2006)- McCain and Bayh were for it; Obama and most Democrats opposed it.

Bush's heinous FISA bill, taking away constitutional rights to privacy- McCain and Bayh supported this horrific, even fascistic legislation and Obama did all he could to support amendments to ameliorate the worst excesses. Example: on February 2 of this year Russ Feingold offered an amendment to provide safeguards for communications involving persons inside the United States. Obama and most Democrats supported Feingold. Bayh stuck with McCain again. The same day Chris Dodd offered an amendment to the same toxic bill that would have rejected retroactive immunity for the telecom companies that broke the law. Obama and most Democrats supported Dodd. Bayh stuck with McCain on this one too.

On March 10, 2005, the Senate voted to agree to a bankruptcy bill written by credit card company lobbyists, as a big fat thank you for the millions and millions of dollars these companies have dumped into the senators' political careers. The bill has destroyed the financial lives of hundreds of thousands of American families, primarily those who were hit with catastrophic illnesses. Not a single self-respecting or half-way honest, decent member of the Senate voted for it. Even Joe Lieberman abandoned his Republican buddies on this hideous piece of anti-working family legislation. Obama opposed it, as did Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Chris Dodd, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden, Russ Feingold, Kennedy, Harkin, Kerry, Lautenberg, Leahy... every Democrat who cares for people and families over corporations and campaign contributors opposed this brazen "F-U" to working people. Bayh joined with all the people Obama is running against: McCain, McConnell, Cornyn, Inhofe, Collins, Sununu, Coleman, bribe-slurping Ted Stevens, Pat Roberts hypocrite Gordon Smith (a walking exemplar of corruption with 117 earmarks worth $151,782,310 to his "credit"), Lindsey Graham... all the Bush rubber stamps.

Maybe even worse than all of the above, is the fact that Bayh is a worthless, elitist dunderhead who learned absolutely nothing from his and Bush's Iraq follies. Along with Jon Kyl, Joe Lieberman, Norm Coleman, Lamar Alexander, John Ensign and Lindsey Graham-- how's that for company?-- he supported the resolution, usually called the Kyle-Lieberman Amendment, that is widely regarded as a first step towards attacking Iran. Neither Obama nor McCain was in the Senate that day but McCain was supportive of it and Obama wasn't. Obama used it as a club to beat the presidential nomination out of Clinton's hands. The two Republicans with the most foreign policy expertise, Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar, joined the non-warmonger Democrats in opposing it. Bayh, of course, was and is gung ho for war against Iran. He is utterly unfit to be on a Democratic national ticket.

But, of course, Obama knows that. He's just having a good time. I'm still hopin' that good time leads to Wes Clark. And I really liked his response to the Texas Tea Party stunt that well-bribed Republican Big Oil shills have been twittering about. Obama was in Berea, Ohio today talking about energy policy.
"Let me make a point about efficiency, because my Republican opponents-- they don't like to talk about efficiency... You know the other day I was in a town hall meeting and I laid out my plans for investing $15 billion a year in energy efficient cars and a new electricity grid and somebody said 'Well what can I do? What can individuals do?'"

So I told them something simple. I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.'"

"So now the Republicans are going around-- this is the kind of thing they do. I don't understand it! They're going around, they're sending like little tire gauges, making fun of this idea as if this is 'Barack Obama's energy plan.'

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant."

Yes, they do. And we just put up with seven and a half years of it. Do we want another four. Could we survive another four?

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At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece Howie, reads like poetry!

"Bayh is a worthless, elitist dunderhead"...

At 9:55 AM, Blogger SharonRB said...

Thanks, Howie. I had fallen for it and really thought he'd announce Bayh today. Glad it's not to be. I'm still holding out for Biden, although I'd be just as happy with Wes Clark.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Wes Clark too, but I still think it will be Hillary - it's already decided and he's just holding off to make it seem like it isn't, imvho.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite everything that happened in the primaries, despite Bill's baggage, despite everything - I still think that Hillary gives Obama the best chance to win. She would bring back disaffected women, those Jews who think Obama is a Muslim or doubt his support for Israel, etc....


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