Monday, June 30, 2008

On Criticizing Obama

I was going to quote a really well written post that Kos did on the subject a few months back, but I can't find it. As usual, Chris Bowers provides a good response to the truly silly "debate" that some people are having on whether or not criticizing obama ok:
I'm not going write anymore about the "to criticize" or "not to criticize" debate that, in certain quarters of the blogosphere, still seems to have some legs. While it is an interesting abstraction, it also ignores two key realities:
  1. Many progressives will continue to criticize Barack Obama in public between now and Election Day.
  2. Barack Obama will receive more grassroots, progressive activist support than any other Democratic candidate in history.
No matter what we say, both the activism and the criticism will flow. Both are unavoidable, necessary and healthy We would be a pretty lame grassroots movement if we managed to quiet criticism, forge consensus or sit on their hands en masse. I would simply suggest that if you are interested in generating activism for Obama, that you should encourage activism rather than criticizing criticism. Because, in the end, telling someone to SYFPH(Shut your fucking pie hole) really isn't a very effective call to action.
You can count on one hand the democrats who you can assume are doing the right thing and kicking ass at all times. Barack Obama isn't one of em', and it's not looking like he's gonna be. But this isn't the end of the world, and it means that you just have to treat him like any other democrat and pressure him to do the right thing. Take the FISA bill for example. If next time he's debating a move to the right and one of his advisers has to say "But we're gonna take a lot of shit from dailykos, you know that place where our money and man power comes from"... that is a success. A really cool development on this front is people creating group on Obama's own website condemning his FISA vote.

Another point that should probably be made: The people who are doing the criticizing are probably likely the most passionate members of the progressive movement. If they weren't, why would they even bother criticizing? So it's not like these people are gonna for vote McCain, Nader (he's running?), or cast ceremonial ballot in support of Bob Barr's mustache.

Criticism is good. Keeping people honest is good. Politicians are vehicles, and are to be treated as such.


  1. Well, that's funny: I guess we're very much on the same page about this.

  2. PS: Yeah... Nader's running. I'm still on his email list from '00 or '04, and let me tell you, they send out some insane emails. And I don't mean "why is he running again?!" type insane: I mean straight-up mentally unstable ramblings. E.G., this, from February, from which it was completely obvious that he was going to run but he wasn't about to come out and say it:

    Just exploring the possibilities here.

    Just trying to figure out how to proceed in this corporate political system of ours.

    The mainstream media wants to know – will it be Obama, or will it be Hillary?

    We want to know – when will the Democrats hold Bush and Cheney accountable for the illegal war in Iraq?

    Obama, Hillary and the corporate Democrats say – impeachment is off the table.

    But nuclear power is on the table?

    Just asking questions.

    And exploring the political scenery.

    Your response has been great.

    Thank you all.

    Of course, we’ve taken the usual flak for messing with the corporate duopoly.

    Hey, that’s life in the fast lane.

    But as we continue to explore, we’re going to need your energy.

    In this election year, will it be ever expanding corporate control over our lives?

    Or will it be – people fighting back?

    The betting is heavily in favor of an all corporate election year, all the time.

    Of course, it doesn’t have to be...


    The Nader Team

  3. Uh... you've just convinced me to join Nader's email list. Nice clarification: "And I don't mean "why is he running again?!" type insane: I mean straight-up mentally unstable ramblings."