Friday, July 11, 2008


Luke Boggs, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Barack Obama just may be the most regretful figure in American politics, no small feat for a freshman senator.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said he regretted allowing his young daughters to participate in a family TV interview with "Access Hollywood."

It was an abrupt shift from decision to regret, even for Obama. The family sat down for the interview on July 4, and the first segment ran on July 8. By the next morning, Obama was saying he regretted including his daughters, even before the other two parts of the interview could air. . .

What jumped out at me was how quickly Obama regretted his decision. And that, in turn, made me wonder how often the senator has regretted other choices. Answer: pretty often. (Googling "Obama" and "regrets" yields more than a million hits.)

In November 2006, Obama said he regretted buying property adjacent to his Chicago home from Tony Rezko, a longtime supporter and big-time fund-raiser who has since been convicted of mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting bribery and money laundering.

In February 2007, as his presidential campaign was beginning, Obama said he regretted saying that the lives of American soldiers who died fighting in Iraq had been "wasted."

In April 2008, Obama said he regretted his choice of words when he told some well-heeled donors in San Francisco that "bitter" folks in Middle America who have lost economic hope "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.". . .

Perhaps the American people are looking for a regretful guy this time around. After eight years of George W. Bush, whose dogged lack of regrets continues to exasperate his critics, perhaps this sort of intense self-scrutiny and navel-gazing will translate into electoral victory.

But I'm not so sure. . . I can't help wondering what Obama might regret in four years as president. . . .

Only time will tell. Depending on what happens in November, we may begin to find out next January. When we do, some voters may well have regrets of their own.


At July 11, 2008 6:33 PM, Anonymous m said...

Given the possible winners in the primaries, Obama certainly appears to be the least evil. One had hopes that he might have some core American values, or at least have read the Constitution and be willing to minimally go along with its precepts.

He certainly doesn't have the courage, leadership, fortitude or honesty to help repair the mess that Bush has made of our nation. An Obama administration will probably be somewhat less immediately disastrous than would one of McCain. The long term is anybodies' guess. Are we better off with the disaster coming to a quick pustulent head, or will there be less suffering with a slower course of illness?

At July 11, 2008 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lazy writing by the Atlanta Journal. I googled Obama Sam and got over 9 million hits.

At July 12, 2008 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two candidates even less evil than Obama, with core American values, able to read the Constitution, and willing to go along with its precepts: Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.

Percentage of Democrats without the courage, leadership, fortitude or honesty to vote for a 3rd party: almost 100%.

At July 12, 2008 6:22 PM, Blogger *Trixie Meanie said...

The last line is particularly pessimistic. When I read this article, it seemed obvious that the author dislikes Obama for other reasons. Here, he is trying to reconcile his prejudices by reaching for something else to criticize.

At July 13, 2008 5:53 PM, Anonymous I would love a McCain/Obama (corporatecrap) vs Nader debate. said...

Will Progressives Go Gently Into Another Political Night?

After the Obama Betrayal

From The New York Times to The Huffington Post, from to The Nation, the outcry is the same: Obama is not the man he presented himself to be.

As he now panders to seemingly any right-wing group that can fill a room, his staff is arranging fundraisers where the cover charge is $30,000. Bob Herbert of the NYT echos the "disillusion" of "many of Obama's strongest supporters who are uneasy, upset, dismayed and even angry."

Across the progressive spectrum, the consensus is that Obama has abandoned any prospect for a transformational presidency, breathed life into a moribund and discredited right-wing, and incomprehensibly placed his very election at risk.

Most crucially, Obama has made the utterly cynical calculation that there is no price to be paid for abandoning his base, that the mantra of Anybody But Bush seamlessly melds into Anybody But McCain, that progressives will simply surrender.

So sure is Obama that progressives will bear any insult that he has taken to channeling the odious Jeanne Kirkpatrick of the Reagan era, denouncing those "counter-culturalists" who opposed the imperial wars from Vietnam to El Salvador and Nicaragua as the "blame America" crowd.

If Obama's analysis of progressives is correct, we can expect another depressing campaign, what Herbert calls "the terminal emptiness of politics as usual," followed by a presidency that honors right-wing ideology while serving corporate power.

But what if Obama is wrong? What if progressives have a breaking point? We have seen a revolt against Obama's FISA/Telecom betrayal play out on Obama's website, but the candidate has already responded to those dismayed supporters by essentially blowing them off. Is this a "deal-breaker," he asks, as if to say, "What are you going to do about it?"

There are some who suggest doing something. John Nichols of The Nation suggests a coordinated push to get Ralph Nader into a debate with Obama and McCain. Google and YouTube are sponsoring a debate in New Orleans this fall, and the bar is set at 10% support. Nader is at 6% according to CNN, and those who would vote for him if he were competitive was 14% in a recent Fox poll. It is vastly easier to go from 14% to 30% than to go from nothing to 14%.

Nader would be -- to say the least -- a formidable presence in any debate. Once one gets beyond the caricature of Nader promoted by the political establishment, one sees a candidate who has intimate knowledge of every aspect of our corporate government, because we learn about an institution not by yielding to it, but by opposing it, something Nader alone has done for decades. Further, he is a man who has never flattered us, never pandered to our baser instincts and never lied to us.

The prospect of such a debate would get Obama's attention; the reality of it might shift the center of our politics as nothing else holds the promise of doing.

For those who do not wish to go gently, there is an alternative.

Gregory Kafoury is a trial lawyer and political activist in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at


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