Take Back Barack//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/default.aspxChronicling efforts to encourage President-elect Barack Obama to remain true to the progressive principles and efforts that swept him into office. Scrutinizing new appointments and decisions by his transition team and explaining whether they represent (capital-C) Change or just more of the same.enCommunityServer 2007.1 (Build: 20917.1142)Catching up and thinking about tolerance//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/20/catching-up-and-thinking-about-tolerance.aspxSat, 20 Dec 2008 13:27:00 GMTad053fdd-4c7f-49f6-bf6d-6c53a7e614d5:209368Jeff Inglis0//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/rsscomments.aspx?PostID=209368//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/20/catching-up-and-thinking-about-tolerance.aspx#comments<p>I&#39;ve been catching up on the blogosphere and reading <a href="//andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/">Andrew Sullivan</a>&#39;s commentaries on Obama&#39;s choice of conservative evangelical pastor <a href="//www.rickwarren.com">Rick Warren</a> to give the invocation on Inauguration Day. Sullivan and others appear to have struggled mightily and <a href="//andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/12/taking-yes-for.html">come to terms with the selection</a>, saying it appeared abominable at first but is perhaps a new and giant symbol of Obama&#39;s &quot;post-partisan&quot; politics.&nbsp; </p><p>While I commend their intellectual effort and attempt at compassion, I have to caution liberals and progressives about being too inclusive. Remember, we got to the Bush administration by being inclusive, patient, tolerant, and easygoing. We got to the Dems&#39; takeover of the Congress in 2006 - and their utter failure to do anything good about Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, or holding Bushies accountable - by being accepting, and by believing that &quot;this is a process&quot; in which &quot;things take time.&quot;</p><p>That viewpoint has been proven false, a failure, a senseless tragedy. Certainly, wrong-thinking people need to be shown the error of their ways. But that presumes they are willing or able to do so. Some are, to be sure - others aren&#39;t.</p><p>And this is where <a href="//tinyurl.com/TakeBackBarack">Take Back Barack</a> begins. We need to be clear about what our expectations are. I very much believe that progressive ideas can withstand the test of public debate. But does every single perspective have to be taking into account in every single debate? Conservatives and centrists have thrown out progressive ideas without a second thought for decades. I am not saying we need to do the same, but we should certainly not waste our time on failed policies or ideas that have proven themselves useless or damaging. <br /></p><p>It is, if you&#39;ll pardon a one-sentence digressive analogy, ridiculous to be in a position where your mother-in-law and your lawyer are drowning, you can only save one, and you ask: Should I go to a movie, or have lunch? (H/T <a href="//www.amazon.com/Book-Stupid-Questions-Tom-Weller/dp/0446389722"><i>The Book of Stupid Questions</i></a>.) It is similarly ridiculous to be in a position where <a href="//www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov/title-sum/prop8-title-sum.htm">human rights</a> and <a href="//www.statesman.com/business/content/business/stories/realestate/12/20/1220foreclosures.html">dignity</a> are being eroded left and right and ask &quot;Should we consider doing more of those things?&quot; We have no time to waste on pro forma consideration of old, tired ideas that have no future. </p><p>I say the same to those, like Sullivan, who seem to be accepting Rick Warren now as part of Obama&#39;s &quot;post-partisanship.&quot; And I caution against believing that the partisans - <a href="//www.focusonthefamily.com/">who definitely still exist</a>, and wield great power in DC - will look kindly and benevolently upon such feel-good tactics. You can&#39;t get beyond partisanship unless all sides agree to do so. Maybe Obama is playing a great chess game, and maybe he will prove to be a unifying force like none in history. Sure, I hope so. But I don&#39;t delude myself into thinking it&#39;s going to happen, and I don&#39;t delude myself into thinking it&#39;s even likely unless progressives speak up for what we deserve. I still say we lose nothing by continuing to voice our concerns, or by continuing to demand what we want. </p><img src="//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/aggbug.aspx?PostID=209368" width="1" height="1">take back barackbarack obamaobamaRick Warrenandrew sullivanToday's roundup//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/19/today-s-roundup.aspxFri, 19 Dec 2008 23:27:00 GMTad053fdd-4c7f-49f6-bf6d-6c53a7e614d5:209072Jeff Inglis0//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/rsscomments.aspx?PostID=209072//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/19/today-s-roundup.aspx#comments<p>Sorry - it&#39;s been rather a day here, so while I&#39;m waiting for the call to be on the radio (we&#39;re taping it so I don&#39;t have to get up at 1:30 am to attempt to be coherent), I&#39;ll offer a summary of some of my thinking so far. (I&#39;ll also marvel at <a href="//www.google.com/search?hl=en&amp;rlz=1B3GGGL_en___US302&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=spell&amp;resnum=0&amp;ct=result&amp;cd=1&amp;q=%22take+back+barack%22&amp;spell=1">how quickly this TBB meme is expanding</a>.)<br /></p><p>I&#39;ve had several really interesting exchanges with people - and have been very entertained by various comments suggesting I&#39;m either a moonbat or a wingnut or both. In any case, these exchanges have helped me sharpen my point, and have deepened my belief that Take Back Barack is the right move at the right time.</p><p>First, today&#39;s <a href="//www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/19/transition.wrap/index.html%20">Obama-pointments</a>. Mainly centrist, with a dash of conservatism and a pinch of liberalism. </p><p>--Dem Hilda Solis for SecLabor. She&#39;s a strong <a href="//solis.house.gov/apps/list/speech/ca32_solis/wida6/nominationlabor.shtml">pro-labor</a> person, who is being touted as pro-union, though her remarks upon her appointment had almost nothing to say about unions. Sure, she said she would &quot;work to strengthen&quot; them, but the examples she gave - and her major policy accomplishment in California of <a href="//d-day.blogspot.com/2008/12/shining-solis-in-distance.html">increasing the minimum wage</a> - were very much non-union in nature. (That is, while they help union workers, they advance the interests of non-union workers at the same time.)&nbsp;</p><p>--GOPer Ray LaHood for SecTransportation. He&#39;s an <a href="//www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=21699">anti-abortion</a> guy - though that&#39;s perhaps less important in a transportation official than one in, say, public health. His record on oil and transportation <a href="//www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_category.php?category=64&amp;go.x=12&amp;go.y=17&amp;can_id=21699&amp;type=category">are mixed</a>. He supported the auto bailout last week, and voted to end the moratorium on offshore drilling. But he also voted to make OPEC illegal, and opposed oil and gas subsidies for exploration. </p><p>--Dem Karen Mills (a Mainer!) to head the Small Business Administration. She&#39;s been touted as &quot;<a href="//www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/19/AR2008121902112.html?hpid=topnews">a venture-capital expert</a>,&quot; though <a href="//www.mmpgroupinc.com/">what her firm does</a> is anything but clear. Also uncertain is how she&#39;ll be able to handle the SBA&#39;s chief task - loaning money to businesses, and offering loan guarantees, in this credit market. And what she&#39;ll do to help the <a href="//news.nase.org/nase_about/PressRelease.asp?PRID=280">millions of Americans who run &quot;microbusinesses&quot;</a> remains to be seen. (Disclosure: I&#39;m an NASE member.) <br /></p><p>--Dem Ron Kirk as US trade representative. Another <a href="//blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2008/02/ron_kirk_suffers_from_bushclin.php">Clintonite</a> and former DC lobbyist, Kirk is <a href="//tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/12/ron_kirk_will_be_obamas_trade.php">a Southerner</a> (of sorts - he&#39;s from Texas) who has <a href="//citizen.typepad.com/eyesontrade/2008/12/ron-kirk-tapped-as-next-ustr.html">supported NAFTA but opposed the &quot;Fast Track&quot; system</a>. How much clout he will wield appears to be in question - a previous candidate for the job declined it because he <a href="//www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-becerra18-2008dec18,0,847515.story">feared trade would be too low a priority</a> for Obama. (Interestingly, Kirk <a href="//www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1089608.html">was a finalist to be SecTrans</a>, so maybe this is a second-choice situation for him, too.)</p><p>Now then, as I&#39;ve had e-mail exchanges with several folks, I&#39;ve come to a deeper understanding of this visceral feeling I have of worry about Obama.</p><p>Progressive ideas and ideals can&#39;t stand up for themselves. We have to stand up for them. Our ideas can prevail in rigorous policy debates, and we can&#39;t shy away from them for fear of conflict or political messiness.</p> <p>Only time will tell whether Obama will do the right things, the things we voted for him to do - withdraw from Iraq, improve our education system, fix healthcare, green the economy. Many liberals and progressives are counseling us to wait and see, to give Obama a chance to make change.</p> <p>That is the wrong path. We cannot sit back on whatever laurels we may have heard by electing Obama and let him do what he and his advisors want. We must remain constantly involved, a constant force to push Obama, his advisors, and Congress to do what we know needs to be done.</p> <p>He might just do the right things, even if we left him alone. But we can&#39;t take that chance - especially with the advisors he has chosen. Maybe he can take the Clinton out of Hillary and the McCain out of Jim Jones. Maybe they will come around - or even already have - to share Obama&#39;s views on many topics. But I&#39;m not willing to bet my future, my country&#39;s future on that.</p> <p>We need people in office who will listen to progressive ideas, who will give them serious consideration. We have gone far too long - decades - with leaders who dismiss progressive concepts out of hand. Many of them have just been invited back into the White House. They have tons of practice putting progressivism aside. It&#39;s clear that the policies they espoused aren&#39;t working. We need to make sure they listen.</p><p>Obama called on us to stand up and take our country back. We need to do that - and we start by Taking Back Barack. <br /></p> <img src="//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/aggbug.aspx?PostID=209072" width="1" height="1">take back barackbarack obamatakebackbarackobamaprogressivekirksolismillslahoodTaking Back Barack on the radio//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/19/taking-back-barack-on-the-radio.aspxFri, 19 Dec 2008 14:50:00 GMTad053fdd-4c7f-49f6-bf6d-6c53a7e614d5:208241Jeff Inglis4//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/rsscomments.aspx?PostID=208241//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/19/taking-back-barack-on-the-radio.aspx#comments<p>Many of the comments about <a href="//thephoenix.com/takebackbarack">Take Back Barack</a> so far have been from conservatives shouting with glee, calling Obama a &quot;snake-oil salesman&quot; and a &quot;con man,&quot; and apparently suggesting I&#39;m a sucker for believing his promises. But it appears the progressive community might be paying some attention. Early tomorrow morning (East Coast time) - so early it&#39;s late at night Pacific time - I&#39;ll be on the <a href="//www.newphilhendrieshow.com/">Phil Hendrie Show</a> talking about the <a href="//thephoenix.com/takebackbarack">Take Back Barack</a> effort.</p><p>It starts at 1 am Eastern, 10 pm Pacific. You can listen live <a href="//www.talkradionetwork.com/phil">here</a>, or find out what station in your area is broadcasting it <a href="//www.newphilhendrieshow.com/radiostations.html">here</a>. </p><p>A couple of samples for the <i>Phoenix</i>&#39;s coverage area - Maine: WLOB 1310 AM and 96.3 FM. Massachusetts/Rhode Island: WTKK 96.9 FM and WSAR 1480 AM. Both from 1-4 am.</p><img src="//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/aggbug.aspx?PostID=208241" width="1" height="1">take back barackbarack obamaobamaPhil HendrieStarting out well//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/18/starting-out-well.aspxThu, 18 Dec 2008 17:50:00 GMTad053fdd-4c7f-49f6-bf6d-6c53a7e614d5:208043Jeff Inglis5//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/rsscomments.aspx?PostID=208043//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/18/starting-out-well.aspx#comments<p>So <a href="//www.rickwarren.com/">Rick Warren</a>&#39;s been <a href="//www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/12/18/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4675325.shtml">chosen to give the invocation at Obama&#39;s inauguration</a>. Anybody else super-excited to see a rabidly pro-life, anti-choice, anti-gay evangelical <a href="//www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2008/08/rick_warren.html">cleric blessing Obama</a> and the nation? Fine, so he cares about poverty and children in Africa. You don&#39;t have to <a href="//tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/progressive_clergy_leaders_say.php">turn</a> <a href="//www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Org/35625-305">over</a> <a href="//www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&amp;address=132x2835404">too</a> <a href="//www.raisemontana.org/?p=20">many</a> <a href="//archive.uua.org/news/010319.html">steeples</a> to uncover exciting, progressive clergymen and -women who feel the same way about those issues, and who recognize that legislating things like pregnancy and partnership are never good. (I won&#39;t launch into my tirade about how government is good at - and necessary for - balancing needs between competing interests, but terrible at - and should avoid - attempting to balance desires between different perspectives.)</p><p>But while Obama&#39;s choice is &quot;causing [the] first real rift with progressives&quot; - or so <a href="//www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/17/rick-warren-obama-invocat_n_151877.html">Huffington Post</a> suggests - this effort is taking off. You can read some of the (so far) 16 comments - of which only one is gibberish, and that, literally: &quot;ceguyomvpaxcetgolubxagbjzlwlcr&quot; - on the initial post.</p><p>A little lower is a compendium of the comments from those of you who e-mailed. (Not to worry, I&#39;ll keep your names to myself.)</p><p>But I do want to highlight one in particular, from a Republican strategist here in Maine: &quot;We like him more now that he is being sensible.&quot; I offer this to those of you who suggested I was pushing too hard, too soon, and expecting too much from Obama.</p><p>In response, I say: The Republicans have decided what they think of Obama based on his choices so far. We should too. We have more to learn from the Republicans about getting things done and playing the game of politics than they have to learn from us. (See <a href="//www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/15/politics/politico/thecrypt/main4669084.shtml">Leahy&#39;s delay of Holder&#39;s hearing</a>s, something Republicans would never have agreed to.) </p><p>We need to play the game of politics, but play it with our goals in mind, and with tools like relentlessness and courage. Right now, Obama has chosen a team who have proven they can play politics with old centrist goals in mind and with the old Democratic tools - lassitude, lily livers, and whining. This is precisely why I am worried, and I believe that the fact that a Republican strategist thinks this way is confirmation that we progressives need to act now.</p><p>That said, here are the other comments I&#39;ve gotten in my e-mail so far:<br /></p> <div>--Indeed, it sure seems like we got a Clinton administration cabinet. I know these times of crisis require having people who already know how to get things done in the heart of empire, but there are lots of people with those skills who aren&#39;t so New Democrat / Old GOP as this crowd. Still an improvement over W or McCain, I suppose.</div><p>--The hits keep coming: today Obama announced his secretary of Corn Subsidies [and] the fact that Rick Warren, anti-choice, anti-gay rights fundamentalist, will deliver the invocation at his inauguration. The Progressive movement doesn&#39;t even get bone. </p><p>--I disagree with both your premise and your cause, but I&#39;ll see if I can work in a mention of some sort. Or maybe you don&#39;t want me to! ;-)</p><p>--From the Portland Phoenix .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Verdana } I agree with a lot of what you wrote. One area of difference is the idea of taking back Barack - he was my 4th choice, and really I only supported him because McCain was so f&#39;n awful. What many of his appointments demonstrate is that we&#39;re in for another spell of Corporatism Lite, hardly the change that his campaign espoused (and many of us doubted would actually come to pass).&nbsp; suppose the idea of a true progressive ever getting a whiff of the White House is pretty stupid after all.<br /> </p><p>--Please stop. Please stop now. Relax. I supported Obama from the first inkling of his run. Part of the change that I voted for, as a lifelong progressive,&nbsp;is to move us beyond these ideological food fights and tandrums. Obama promised to bring people together, to find common ground and common purpose. You can&#39;t do that with only one side of the room. You can&#39;t do that with just one party. And you sure as heck can&#39;t do it with just one segment of one party. The problems this country faces are so massive, and so historically unprecedented (they didn&#39;t have climate change during the great depression, for instance), that they require a great mobilization of people across the country, and across the political spectrum. Obama can&#39;t do that by filling every one of his cabinet positions with someone who passes a narrow ideological or partisan test. After decades of work on progressive causes,&nbsp;I&#39;ve&nbsp;slowly but certainly&nbsp;come to&nbsp;some humility about what progressives know, and what they don&#39;t know.&nbsp;Progressives don&#39;t have all the answers - particularly on the economy - any more than the neocons did. Truth and wisdom isn&#39;t allocated that way,&nbsp;to one particular segment of the population. Its scattered around like pieces of a puzzle that need to be&nbsp;rounded up&nbsp;and reconstructed. Progressives simply don&#39;t own all the pieces of the puzzle, though they do own some important ones. The last thing we need in Washington, in my view,&nbsp;is yet another ideologically-driven narrow agenda, that takes us toward arrogance and division. Oh, and by the way, the guy isn&#39;t even in office yet. I&#39;m not ready to write him off just yet.<br /></p> <p>--<span class="entry-content">gotta build a coalition Jeff. He hasn&#39;t done anything yet, give him a chance.</span></p><p>--s time to Take Back Barack<font face="Arial" size="2">good work..i agree..he&#39;s drifting ever further to the right..i gasped when i heard about the evangelical speaking at the inauguration...argh!</font> </p><p>--<font>I completely agree!! I sent an email around yesterday in a panic about his appointment for Sec of Ag. (bad choice!) we so wanted someone such as Michael Pollan: </font><font><a href="//www.pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.com/" title="blocked:://www.pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.com/ //www.pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.com/">//www.pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.com/</a></font> wtf is going on?? I am sure you saw this one too ie. his pick for sec of education: <a href="//www.truthout.org/121708R" title="blocked:://www.truthout.org/121708R">//www.truthout.org/121708R</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;--Thanks for sending me this, I have been feeling a tad uneasy and feeling a bit like I was conned..where the hell is the change? I will send this out to folks I know because many of us are feeling this way yet no one wants to speak out about it too much.</p><p><br /></p><img src="//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/aggbug.aspx?PostID=208043" width="1" height="1">barack obamaobamaRick Warreninvocationhuffington postIt's time to Take Back Barack//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/17/it-s-time-to-take-back-barack.aspxWed, 17 Dec 2008 19:03:00 GMTad053fdd-4c7f-49f6-bf6d-6c53a7e614d5:207223Jeff Inglis27//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/rsscomments.aspx?PostID=207223//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/takebackbarack/archive/2008/12/17/it-s-time-to-take-back-barack.aspx#comments<p><a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">This story and this effort all started</a>, for me, back when <a href="//www.rollingstone.com/blogs/taibbiunbound/2008/12/the-whore-factor.php">Hillary Clinton&#39;s name was being bandied about as a prospect</a> to become the next American secretary of state, even before she was officially selected. I had been thrilled - and not a little relieved - when Obama won, and I had eagerly awaited the unveiling of the team of cabinet officers and other key executive-branch staffers who would move quickly to Change this country, which has been going in the wrong direction for far too long.</p> <p>And while I respect Hillary, and was largely impressed with her candicacy during the Democratic primary, I was - and remain - worried that sending her out as America&#39;s chief diplomat will not represent enough of a Change for America&#39;s standing in the world.</p> <p>So I got a little worried. And then more announcements and leaks trickled in. Dubya&#39;s <a href="//www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/16034.html">SecDef Robert Gates was staying</a>. <a href="//www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/16034.html">McCain&#39;s national-security advisor</a> during the campaign was going to be Obama&#39;s national-security advisor in the Oval Office.</p> <p>I was - and still am - worried, <a href="//www.altweeklies.com/politics/obamas_center_right_cabinet_foreshadows_a_center_right_presidency/Story?oid=738325">as is progressive columnist Ted Rall</a>, that the people Obama is surrounding himself with will change him, more than he will Change them. He&#39;s not picking progressives. And beyond that, <a href="//online.wsj.com/article/SB122669636685629301.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us">he&#39;s picking Establishment people</a> - not even non-progressive outsiders, generally speaking. Deirdre Fulton and I detail some of these concerns - as well as a few bright-ish spots - <a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">in our story this week</a> in the <i>Portland Phoenix</i> and <a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">at thePhoenix.com</a>.</p> <p>And Obama owes the progressive movement - and the generally progressive American population - much more than he owes the Establishment.</p> <p>We Want Change. <a href="//www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/11/king-george-is-gone-its-time-to-organize/">We voted for change.</a> We backed Obama because of his promise as well as his promises, because of his idealism as well as his ideas. We kept him alive in the primary, and our energy electrified this nation during the general election.</p> <p>It is time to make sure that Obama does what we want - not what he wants, nor what his advisors want, nor even what he thinks we want. We need to tell him, loud and clear, the same things he told us: Change will be difficult. It will take time. But we need to start now, and we need to move fast. But we want Change. And we won&#39;t settle for anything less.</p> <p>It is time to <a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">Take Back Barack</a>. Yes, We Can. And, we must. This is our country. He is our president. He works for us, not the Establishment, not the corporations, not the Democratic Party. He&#39;s ours. <a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">Take Back Barack</a>!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><b>So, what can you do? And what&#39;s this blog all about?</b></u></p> <p>First, check out our story - &quot;<a href="//thephoenix.com/Portland/News/73929-Take-Back-Barack/">Take Back Barack</a>&quot; is its name. Also, <a href="//www.google.com/reader/shared/user/12718493763117696582/label/TakeBackBarack">see the stuff I&#39;ve tagged as related</a> in some way or other, using Google Reader. (The <a href="//www.google.com/reader/shared/user/12718493763117696582/label/TakeBackBarack">link is also an RSS feed</a>, if you want to get updates on the stuff I tag in the future.) Then, post comments here on this blog, saying what you want Barack to do, and what you think of his choices so far.</p> <p>As more developments occur through the transition, and as his administration begins, we here at the <a href="//thephoenix.com/TakeBackBarack">TBB</a> blog will be watching, and giving our thoughts on his choices and decisions.</p> <p>For more information, you can also check out the list of related links - which include other blogs with others&#39; perspectives on the transition, as well as progressive political news, and even some general news sites.</p> <p>But overall, please use this blog any way you want, so long as it helps keep the pressure on Obama to serve us, as he promised he would do.</p> &nbsp;<img src="//thephoenix.com/BLOGS/aggbug.aspx?PostID=207223" width="1" height="1">take back barackbarack obamatakebackbarackobamaprogressive