January 27, 2005


Obama may be trying not to rock the boat (LYNN SWEET, January 27, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

The Illinois senators, Democrats Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, split on confirming Condoleezza Rice for secretary of state.


Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, was one of 13 Democrats to vote no. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who led the challenge to Rice, an architect of the Iraq war, found a dozen colleagues to stand with her against President Bush's nominee.

Freshman Obama, who ran as an anti-Iraq war candidate with tremendous crucial early support from the anti-war Illinois progressive political community, was one of 85 from both sides of the aisle who confirmed Rice.

Earlier this month, on his first day on the Senate floor, Obama declined to join with progressives on the House side in challenging Bush's electoral votes because of mishaps in Ohio balloting. Obama did speak out for fixing the voting system. I wrote then it made sense for Obama not to stick his neck out, especially since the vote was 74-1 to uphold the Ohio tally. Boxer was the only no vote and tackled the Ohio issue despite pressure from other Democrats to take a pass.

My analysis is that Obama may be exhausting a lot of progressive goodwill very early.

I don't know what else he could have done, because I sense he wants to chart a course that keeps him within the majority of the Democratic minority.

Few dynamics of the new Congress were more predictable than that the Left would end up hating Mr. Obama, whose national aspirations force him Right. The mainstream of the Democratic minority in Congress is where careers go to die.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2005 11:04 AM

He also wants to get re-elected. The Illinois GOP can't stay moribund forever. Its demographics make it a marginal state for either party. Taking extremist stances will not help him. At some point, even by accident, the Illinois GOP will produce candidates who can walk and chew gum at the same time, and/or who don't steal everything that isn't nailed down, and/or who don't froth so much that they frighten the children and the livestock.

The real surprise has been Durbin's move to the left in the last decade. He was first elected as a congressman from Springfield, Ill, defeating Paul Findley, a man who proudly called himself 'Arafat's best friend in Congress.' He maintained a standard Downstate Illinois centrist voting record back then and when he arrived in the Senate. Since the end of the Cold War, and Durbin was on the right side during the Cold War, he's moved left. Since he's not a stupid person, there must be something I'm missing here.

Posted by: Bart at January 27, 2005 11:11 AM

Since the end of the Cold War, and Durbin was on the right side during the Cold War, he's moved left. Since he's not a stupid person, there must be something I'm missing here.

Durbin may have, or at least may have had, presidential aspirations, or is hoping (had hoped) to be the next majority/minority leader or DNC chair. The national Democrat party is significantly to the left of reality--witness the number of pro-life Dems who've punted away their concern for the unborn (Gephardt, Kucinich) to ingratiate themselves with the national hierarchy.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 27, 2005 11:47 AM

I read so many who think Obama's Evita's VP material.

I keep saying he's a socialist and a gun-grabber.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 27, 2005 12:51 PM

Let's see--the "Illinois anti-war progressive community" must refer to those folks who consider that having Saddam Hussein in power is some sort of "progress"--how odd.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 27, 2005 1:30 PM

There's no benefit to him being a moonbat. Obama's appeal is that he appears level headed and respectable. If he didn't have that, then he would have lost the nomination because the moonbat is not enough. The moonbats want some sort of saviour figure. They're not going to get one.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at January 27, 2005 6:53 PM

Watch his votes.

Posted by: LUCIFEROUS at January 27, 2005 8:26 PM

There is no advantage in being the John Conyers of the Senate. Check Obama's position (if he has taken one) on reparations for slavery.

Posted by: ratbert at January 27, 2005 10:01 PM

I say, watch out for his wife. She looks like dynamite.

Posted by: erp at January 27, 2005 11:36 PM