Obama and Liberals: A Counter-Productive Relationship
Continued from previous page
As I wrote earlier in a comment, "up yours" to the ACLU used to be known as "triangulation" when a certain William Jefferson Clinton did it. Today it is known as "11 dimensional chess." Another episode today demonstrates the transformation of "triangulation" into "11 dimensional chess:"
Sen. Tom Harkin, a liberal Democrat from Iowa, said fellow Democrats had surrendered too much in a bid to appease three moderate Republicans who can ensure passage in the Senate.
"I think our side gave in too much in order to appease a few people," he said in a hallway interview in the Capitol earlier on Wednesday. He said Democrats should have dared Republicans to filibuster and "see what the public outcry" would have been. "I think the people are getting shortchanged."
Imagine if Bill Clinton had capitulated like this to a Republican Congress in 1995? Or said "up yours" to the ACLU the way Obama did? Do you think the cries of "sellout" would be hard to find today? Me neither.
Political ideas and values that have no meaningful pressure being exerted on their behalf will always be those that are most ignored. That's just the most basic rule of politics. Last year, Accountability Now was created to provide exactly that pushback against political incumbents, and there will be a major announcement very soon along with its formal launch (an Executive Director has been hired and much of the infrastructure has been created and the groundwork laid). For the moment, on one issue after the next, one can vividly observe the harm that comes from a political faction being beholden to a leader rather than to any actual ideas or political principles.
© 2009 Salon.com
AlterNet is making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Glenn Greenwald is a Constitutional law attorney and chief blogger at Unclaimed Territory . His forthcoming book, How Would a Patriot Act: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok will be released by Working Assets Publishing next month.