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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 05:27 PM
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Obama on O’Reilly, Thoughts and Considerations
A co-worker sent me a link to the first part of the Obama-O’Reilly interview, asking my opinion and analysis on whether Obama is moving further to the right. While I am willing to “suffer” for my art, watching several minutes of legendary verbal-dysentery-sufferer Bill O’Reilly spew his mental excrement at me is quite a sacrifice. That said, I found the exchange between our nominee and one of the key mouthpieces of our political adversaries most interesting.

First off, Obama comes off relatively well in the interview, O’Reilly attempts several times to bully Obama into a certain position, only to be faced with a candidate who refuses to be cowed. Furthermore,O’Reilly is forced to admit certain failings about the Iraq war and the limitations of the Bush foreign policy in order to maintain a dialog with Obama, so points there.

And then there is the question of the surge. Obama admits that the surge has had some successes. Such an admission, anathema as it might be to those who oppose the Iraq war, (a group in which I include myself) was still essentially true. What Obama stated was that the surge had succeeded in lessening the violence and stabilizing, to some degree the current situation in Iraq. None of this is false, nor can it be seen as mere pandering to Fox and the right, for levels of violence have actually lowered in the past several months. The reasons for this are varied, and certainly are due in part to ethnic cleansing, the “balkanization” of Iraqi neighborhoods, and the mass exodus of Iraqis out of their country into neighboring Jordan and Syria. That said, the massive concentration of American military might in the area also factored into the situation, assisting in the reduction in violence. So, this admission may be considered less a move to the right than an admission of the current realities on the ground.

Lest I be mistaken for an apologist for the right, the rest of Obama’s answer to this question must be taken into consideration. For Obama also pointed out that the primary reason for the surge, the creation of a breathing space for the political solution to the ongoing Iraqi occupation by the Iraqi Government has not been taken advantage of. Instead of resolving their differences, the Iraqi leadership has maintained a sectarian and partisan gridlock, a gridlock that has cost us hundreds of lives and $10-12 billion a month. While all the while the Iraqis have sat on a massive budget surplus of their own thanks to the high price of oil. Therefore, while Obama admits the successes of the surge, he also pointedly exposes its flaws and failures, for while the violence is down, there is no political solution; as long as there is no political solution, the violence can always return, and we remain stuck there, spending massive amounts of blood and treasure in a seemingly unending conflict. Hence while the surge has had its successes, it remains overall a failure as its primary objective remains unattained.

So, has Obama moved to the right? That depends on where you stand on the political spectrum, for the left-right continuum is wholly subjective on your position. For those on the far left, Obama the centrist was always too far to the right. To those who were centrists, (a group that arguably includes the author of this article) Obama has remained relatively consistent during his campaign. To those on the right, particularly in the ideological strain of Sarah Palin, Obama remains a firebrand-waving Marxist to fear and flee from.

Senator Obama is a pragmatist. As such he accepts things as they are at the moment, regardless of the ideological consequences. Were he an ideologue, he would have immediately attacked the idea that the surge had achieved anything, regardless of the facts on the ground. In doing so he would have left himself open to all manner of attacks of his being a wholly unrealistic fool, who was utterly unfit for the leadership of this nation. If such a criticism seems familiar for some reason, apply it to our current Commander and Chief. Bush is anything but a pragmatist, and his cronies are far worse. To Karl Rove there are no policy decisions, only political (ideological) decisions. Such thinking has left our nation in ruins, with wars on multiple fronts, an ill-equipped military to fight them and an infrastructure that is universally rotten.

I’ll take a pragmatist who sees the situation on the ground, accepts it as it is, and seeks to fix the problems that exist instead of the problems he thinks exist any day over another raving unrealistic ideologue whose only solutions are the ones fed to him by his political handlers. I don’t need another four years of “political decisions,” and neither does our country.

Watch the interview if you dare:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/04/barack-obama-o...
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HughMoran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 06:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting on this - excellent analysis as well
As a pragmatist myself (saying this at the risk of being lynched here), I appreciate Obama's willingness to see the situation as it exists versus the less pragmatic approach of making a political calculus and stating something untrue simply to appease a certain group within his own party. Takes a lot of balls to do what he did - I have to respect him for going into the lions den & saying what he did. Your analysis is very well written BTW.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thank you.
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hoosier_lefty Donating Member (172 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. I can't watch the video.
I just ate a honking huge homemade burrito so... :puke:

Great insight in your post.

I think the thing I would say about Obama that goes beyond
pragmatic is Barack Obama is very smart. I don't think anyone
is going to get him on a "read my lips" kind of statement.

We need someone in the White house who has a brain and
can do more than regurgitate talking points.


Barack Obama is that someone.



Buck Fill O'liely.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. No I would not suggest watching it on a full stomach.
I don't think I could get interviewed by O'Reilly, I would end up getting pissed off and cussing him out so badly even Faux couldn't play it.
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MadrasT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-06-08 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thank you for this clear synopsis & review.
I can't watch it yet. This is EXACTLY what I want in a President - a pragmatist who doesn't cling to ideology for the sake of clinging. Who addresses the facts, and makes the best decision he can make with the information available at the time. If the facts and/or situation change... it's perfectly acceptable - and sometimes preferable - to take a new course of action.

I am so looking forward to an Obama presidency.

:kick: and R
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