Of course Obama is sliding the center. It’s the general election.

Having recently been a bit (self)removed from the Presidential Campaign, I hadn’t realized that Obama was doing a slight center shuffle, but it does not surprise me. In fact, I expected it. And it doesn’t really bother me. But of course some lefty liberals are peeved about, which was also to be expected.

So-called supporters of Obama, such as Martha Shade from Portland, Oregon, have decided to bail on the Democratic Nominee because of his shift to the center.

“I’m disgusted with him,” said Ms. Shade, an artist. “I can’t even listen to him anymore. He had such an opportunity, but all this ‘audacity of hope’ stuff, it’s blah, blah, blah. For all the independents he’s going to gain, he’s going to lose a lot of progressives.”

Wah. Wah. Wah.

Do these people really believe that Barack can win without courting mainstream voters, which is what the shift is about?

And what specific opportunity is she talking about anyway? To what? Glue himself to only very liberal stances and be praised for taking a principled stance after he loses the election.

Obama is being pragmatic.

For all the idealism and talk of transformation that Mr. Obama has brought to the Democratic Party — he managed to draw a crowd of more than 70,000 here in May — there is also a wide streak of pragmatism, even among many grass-roots activists, in a party long vexed by factionalism.

And since when is that a bad thing?

I want a pragmatic president. Not some fucking ideologue. We’ve had that for 8 fucking years and it has been a disaster but most any measure. And ideologue from the left, as opposed to the right, which is what some of these lefty liberals seem to want, isn’t going to be an improvement. If anything, it will only end up making matters worse.

Some supports understand, or at least think they do:

“We’re frustrated by it, but we understand,” said Mollie Ruskin, 22, who grew up in Baltimore and is spending the summer here as a fellow with Politicorps, a program run by the Bus Project, a local nonprofit that trains young people to campaign for progressive candidates. “He’s doing it so he can get into office and do the things he believes in.”

Don’t be so sure that he’s doing it just to get elected. I would not expect Obama to stand firmly in the middle during the election only to suddenly jump back to the left. How do people think that would play? Not well, I’m guessing. And it would go against one of Obama most basic tenants and that is to bring the country together, to govern from the center, to do politics differently. And that is what I expect him to adhere to.

Some people are trying to use creative tactics to nudge Obama in the direction they think he should go:

Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com, a progressive Web site, started asking his readers last month to pledge money to an escrow fund for Mr. Obama, as opposed to contributing to him outright. The idea was to make Mr. Obama rethink his decision to support the Bush administration’s wiretapping measure.

But will it really work? What kind of precedent would it set if such idea took hold? Doesn’t it seem like the kind of thing that could be abused. Imagine organization setting up such escrows as a way to hold a gun to candidates and even already elected officials heads to get them to vote the way they want them to. It’s like a kind of coercion. Even if these people end up deciding to give Obama the money, I don’t think he should take it. Not that he’s going to listen to the likes of me. And who knows? Maybe he’d have a pragmatic reason for doing so.

Hey. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down with Obama voting for legislation that “grants legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the wiretapping program.” But I also happen to believe that if elected, he’d be more likely to listen seriously to my concerns than John McCain would be. And in the end that is what is important — being heard. You want someone who will listen and take your position seriously even if he ultimately does not end up siding with it. Barack will do that, will be that kind of president. McCain won’t. And then where will these people be? And Mr. Fetik see that:

But Mr. Fertik also said that while Mr. Obama’s change on the spying issue upset some supporters, it was not necessarily emblematic of a troubling shift to the center. He said he continued to support the senator, though he added, “We don’t see the need to close our eyes and hold our noses until November.”

Which is a good sign. Because he’s attitude is reasonable and rational. Not hysterical, which is the only way to describe those who want to jump ship as soon as they realize that the candidate they support doesn’t automatically espouse everything that they, the so-called supporter, believes. That just isn’t going to happen. Never has, never will.

And that isn’t me being cynical. It is simply being realistic. Pragmatic.

But of course, I realize that plenty of people do not see things that.

Still, others warned that Mr. Obama risked being viewed as someone who parses positions without taking a principled stand.

“I’m not saying we’re there yet, but that’s the danger,” said David Sirota, a liberal political analyst and author. “I don’t think there’s disillusion. I think there’s an education process that takes place, and that’s a good thing. He is a transformative politician, but he is still a politician.”

Being principled is a good thing, but taken too far it can be hindrance. And really the most telling part of this quotes is the last sentence. Mr. Obama is a politician. And a such he wants to win the election. How, after what we’ve been through with the last two decades or so, especially with Bush and The Clintons, anyone can be naive of this fact is mind boggling.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen him lie to us, and it makes me feel disappointed,” Mr. McCraw said. “I thought he was going to stand up there, stand by his campaign promises like he said he would, and it turns out he’s another politician.”

Boggle boggle boggle.

Here is the best assessment of the situation from the article:

“I think it’s accentuated by the fact that Obama’s appeal is an appeal to idealism,” said Kari Chisholm, who runs a blog, blueoregon.com, and does Internet strategy for Democratic candidates. “They believe their ideology is the only idealism and Obama’s is very mainstream. I’m not surprised they’re getting a little cranky. They’ve always been kind of cranky. A mainstream Democrat has always been too mainstream for them.”

People who believe that their ideology is the only idealism are people to be wary of, whether they are on the right or the left. I’m not saying such people are not a useful part of the democratic process. They are. They are important and necessary. But they are not mainstream, and this is largely a mainstream country. Deal with it.

You can say or complain that Obama is politician just like all the others, but still there is something different about, something special. He’d have to be to draw some 75,000 people to a political rally held in may in Oregon.

“Seventy-five thousand people do not attend political rallies unless something truly magical is happening,” Bob Blanchard wrote on May 18 in the comment section accompanying an account of the rally on The New York Times’s Web site. “Our great country will soon close the book on ‘government by division,’ and embrace ‘government by inclusion.’ ”

And the expectation is that Obama will deliver his acceptance speech to a crowd in Denver’s Mile-High Stadium to a full crowd. How amazing is that going to be?

And Mr. Blanchard is dead on in his attitude about disgruntled lefties options:

“[Where] are these people going to go, anyway?” Mr. Blanchard said of left-wing critics he believes have hurt Democrats in past elections. “My attitude is lighten up on the guy. We want to win. Moving to the center is not a crime in this country.”

But hey, it’s a free country. People can do what they, vote how they want. But before they do decide to defect to The Green party. Consider the careers of a few supposedly very principled candidates:

Barry Goldwater

Dennis J. Kucinich

Ralph Nader

Michael Dukkakis

George McGovern

even Ross Perot

You cannot govern if you do not win!


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