Matt Gonzalez released an op-ed yesterday in BeyondChron. He points out some decent points. But I’m confused why he targeted Obama rather than Hillary (or maybe both). According to the National Journal, Obama has a more liberal record.
Obama’s not the perfect progressive liberal candidate, but Gonzalez himself is an example of the fact that a progressive liberal can’t even win — even in the San Francisco mayoral race. Frankly, my first choice in this race was for Edwards, but I’m happy with my vote for Obama.
Now with him announced as the VP running mate for Nader, his rational for this whole article makes a whole lot more sense. Nader’s campaign for president has never been about winning isn’t been about yelling “your not liberal enough!” which basically sums up Gonzalez’s article about Obama.
As a progressive liberal myself, I think these things should be said, and I applaud everyone who critiques the records of all the candidates. I’m happy to see anyone write good criticism of Obama or Clinton. However in a presidential race that looks to be close, running as an unwinnable leftist third party just to say these things is irresponsible. Nader himself proved this in 2000. As much as Gore was a pandering sycophant to the center during his campaign, Bush has turned out to be a tragedy for the interests of liberals.
The Nader candidacy may be fairly irrelevant in this upcoming election, but if getting out of Iraq is in any way important to your liberal values then every vote god damn counts against John “100 years” McCain.
Critiquing the Diatribe
Seeing now Gonzalez’s motivation for writing the article it should be obvious that it probably contains some hyperbole. I don’t have time to deconstruct it completely but I’ll take a crack at some of it.
- The War in Iraq – Obama’s public stance here leans more towards a quick exit, but his votes have been less hardline. It would be great if he was otherwise, but the political climate has not been flavorful for hardline tactics like cutting off funds to the troops. Still he’s better than Clinton on this issue and obviously better than McCain.
- Connection with Joe Lieberman – As much as I can’t stand Joe, Obama’s connection with him doesn’t worry me too much. Lieberman was his mentor when Obama became a Senator. I’ve heard that as a junior senator you’re basically assigned a mentor. Anyways, it’s not a surprise that he campaigned for his mentor.
- Class Action Reform – I don’t have a lot to say here. Gonzalez may have a point but I’d like to see more of Obama’s voting recond on this issue.
- Credit Card Interest Rates – Obama had a problem with this bill and I don’t know what it was, but neither does Gonzalez. Voting against it may or may not have not been a good vote but I believe Obama is in support of credit card customer considering his promotion of the Credit Card Safety Star Act and his policy of a Credit Card Bill of Rights. The fact the Gonzalos ignored these other measures is disingenuous.
- Limiting Non-Economic Damages – Again Gonzalez may have a point here, but considering that this article already has a few holes I’d like to review Obama’s other votes on this issue.
- Reform of Mining Law of 1872 – As this One Good Move commenter mentioned While Obama has stated his stance against the bill it hasn’t come up to vote yet. Still it seems like a decent bill that Obama should vote for so Gonzalez has a bit of point here.
- Regulating Nuclear Industry – I’ve read about this issue before and it seems like the classic example of a bill getting weakened to death in the legislative process. The fact that Obama used this as a example of accomplishment is disingenuous. Point to Gonzalez here, though this topic isn’t a big issue for me.
- Energy Policy – Another point to Gonzalez, ethanol is a waste and whomever is scientifically advising Obama on this is ignorant.
- Single Payer Health Care – I am more supportive of a single payer system like Edward’s plan. I kinda doubt we could ever get there, and I bet Obama does too which is why he’s offered his compromise plan. I kinda don’t like that Obama has compromised this early in the game, before even getting elected, but I understand his reasoning. Also, again his plan is better than McCain’s which is basically just deregulation and tax credits. A good review of the different stances can be found in this NPR Report.
- NAFTA – Again I don’t know Obama’s complete voting record details on this issue. I don’t completely trust Gonzalez’s summary. Obama has to be better than McCain on this issue.
- Gonzalez’s other examples – most of his other points are decent though I never really supported the impeachment issue. I may want Bush and Cheney out but I never saw a concrete impeachable offense. The lists of reasons to impeach read more like reasons to despise them and vote them out. The war was sold using using propaganda and lies, it was wrong, unjust and possibly against international law, but none of those are impeachable offenses. The Plame scandal was the closest we got to an impeachment level offense, but there never was good enough evidence.
Gonzalez ended his article with this:
“I remain impressed by the enthusiasm generated by Obama‚Äôs style and skill as an orator. But I remain more loyal to my values, and I‚Äôm glad to say that I want no part in the Obama craze sweeping our country.”
Gonzalez if you were loyal to your values, you and Nader would sit this one out and just yell from the sidelines. As a bee in the ring, you’ll do nothing more than make Obama falter and possibly give McCain the win. And if that happens you and all the others who share your progressive views lose.