Rick Santorum waxes poetic on the floor, and earns a Hewitt nomination at Andrew Sullivan’s:

The other thing we have to do is we have to stand up and say, look, America — Conservatives believe in the stewardship of patrimony. In other words, there are things in America that are really good, that work, have worked for 200 years. And we have a guy named Barack Obama who’s trying to fundamentally rewrite everything, change our economy, change our social structure, change our foreign policy, to something new, something fashionable, something cool. Well, we’re not cool, we’re not fashionable

I’m not sure why this got a Hewitt though, which is “named after the absurd partisan fanatic, Hugh Hewitt, is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics”.

I read it as a pretty accurate description of Conservatism in America and how they sincerely view Obama.

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What to do about torture?  I’m torn.

Yes, we must get to the bottom of it and penalize the culprits to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  We have a moral obligation, and as a practical matter it is needed to regain our standing in the world, and the moral high ground if we are ever to criticize China on Darfur, etc.

But at what cost?

David Brooks thinks Obama is trying to build a 60% majority, and all the recriminating would kill that by turning off many independents.

Lincoln Mitchell is afraid that “Opponents of the president will see these prosecutions as license to prosecute members of President Obama’s administration when they leave office”.

They may be right, but I’m more afraid about losing our focus and giving up healthcare, energy and education reform, just for starters.  Did we forget how the stimulus package was starting to look troubled before Obama’s P.R. blitz?  Part of his success has been in driving the message and cutting through the media chatter to speak directly to people in plain terms.  But what if everyone stops listening?

Case in point:  How many people know a climate bill was being deliberated over the last week?  There was nary a word about it amid the waterboarding and impeach Bybee stories.  Today Waxman delayed further action until next week.

If we do go ahead, it should definitely be a bipartisan independent commission, and I like Andrew’s terms: “Give it two years to report, to allow emotions and tempers to cool. Then and only then make a decision on prosecution, so that there is no scintilla of haste or heat.”

It’s all about dignity

February 28, 2009

I’ve heard so many definitions of ‘liberal’.

Like this one: “He’ll do anything to prove he’s a good guy. He’s a liberal” from the movie The Color of Justice.  It’s cynical and clever, but not right.

Instead, I love this one from one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers:

I came to this country and worked hard also.. and, like you, have been lucky enough to be successful.  This country is wonderful that way – if you work hard you have a good chance of being successful.  But many people work very, very hard and are not successful – and not because they are stupid, or lazy.  The difference between Obama and his predecessors is that he realizes that the people who work hard and don’t make a lot of money, or work hard and don’t have health insurance, or who worked hard all their lives and now – in their golden years- have little to show for it also deserve some minimum level of dignity.

And yes, someone has to pay for it, and I’m happy for it to be me and people like me, because there for but for the grace of God.  It’s not punishing the successful, it’s realizing that hard work is only part of the equation and we as a society need to recognize our obligations to those people who have held up their part of the bargain but didn’t end up on the winning side (and children get an automatic pass).

I don’t know if he considers himself a liberal, but his feelings are also mine, and I do.

Obama outfoxes again

February 7, 2009

I totally agree with Andrew Sullivan:

Politically, as the dust settles, I suspect Obama outfoxed his opponents, again. They are playing the 24 hour news cycle game. That’s all they know (ditto cable news). Obama isn’t. That’s why he’s president. Eventually, they’ll figure it out.

Republicans were never going to support it.  But Obama genuinely reached out to them, and in slapping his hand so resoundingly, they have justified him in going his own way when restructuring the banks, reworking health coverage, and all the other important legislation that is coming.