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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recordings and Sen. Obama's "politics of purpose"

Some folks are faulting the blogger who recorded, then reported, Sen. Barack Obama's comments at a San Francisco fund-raiser about "bitter" small-town voters who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them." They argue that intimate fund-raisers like this one "are always off the record," such that  Sen. Obama was fully justified in being less careful with his language than he would have been had he known it was going to be recorded for public scrutiny.

They're obviously unfamiliar with even the very thin record of legislative accomplishments that Sen. Obama can claim in either the Illinois or U.S. Senates. From his campaign website:

Amid the partisanship and bickering of today's public debate, [Obama] still believes in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose — a politics that puts solving the challenges of everyday Americans ahead of partisan calculation and political gain.

In the Illinois State Senate, ... after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

So: If a recording can be used to undercut a capital murder prosecution, that's good. If a recording can be used to expose a side of a Democratic presidential candidate that he'd rather conceal, that's bad.

Such is Sen. Obama's "politics of purpose" — as practiced, if not as preached.

Posted by Beldar at 06:30 PM in 2008 Election, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Apr 16, 2008 7:15:20 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Cast your mind back to 11 August 1984, also a presidential year. Ronald Reagan is testing a microphone, and says:

My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

But the microphone was live. The context made it obvious that he was kidding, but that didn't stop the left from bawling Warmonger, Warmonger, or the New York TIMES from sniffing that this proved RR was just an actor (and a bad one) who didn't appreciate the seriousness of the high office he held.

Now Obama has been caught with an explosion in the manner of Wile E. Coyote, and his supporters are sore about it. The Seelye article you link has this snortworthy quote:

"Comments on dailykos.com became so furious that one poster suggested that readers let Ms. Fowler off the hook. “No,” someone else responded, “if we let her go, others will do it... We’ve got to show the ‘journalist’ that they can’t manufacture dissent. This isn’t about Obama, this could easily be a story about Iraq or Iran. This is the type of disingenuous reporting that we have to stop. We need to make an example of her.”

Just what this season, needs, gangs of Kossacks running around the country beating up bloggers who do not salute Obama saying "Zu befehl, Herr Obergruppenfuhrer."

I think this story does both the blogger and the Huffington Post credit. It's hard to imagine many accredited journalists publishing it at all. Try to imagine Russert, or Andrew Sullivan, or Dahlia Lithwick of SLATE publishing it. All right, stop laughing, it isn't that funny.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(2) proof made the following comment | Apr 19, 2008 1:39:48 PM | Permalink

The libs weren't all that upset when someone illegally taped both sides of a cell phone conversation with Speaker of the House Gingrich, you'd think they'd be happy for a little more transparency in politics, wouldn't you? Heh.

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