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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

by digby

The Strange Bedfellows Campaign is really gaining steam. The reason, of course, is because we are watching a sell-out of epic proportions happen right before our eyes and people are angry.

We hear a lot about how people want change in Washington. It's assumed by the Village media to mean that everybody is just desperate to stop fighting and get along --- comity, compromise and good feeling between good friends. I'm sure there are people who feel this way, first among them Washington wags and hostesses, who love a big bipartisan guest list.

But there is just as much reason to believe that the change voters want is actually an end to the back scratching and glad handing that characterizes the bipartisan symbiosis between the political and corporate world and the incumbent protection racket that makes it possible. Nothing illustrates that corruption better than this FISA fight.

Pace Godwin, the idea that it's a good principle to indemnify corporations from law breaking when its done at the behest of the government is getting close to the definition of fascism --- the joining of corporate and government power, beyond the scope of law, in the name of national security. We should not go there. Judging from the amount of money raised in a very short time for this campaign --- and more to come from the libertarian side of this argument --- there are people in this country who actually do care about these things. And with the new technology, they are able to organize and raise money to make their voices heard.

Today, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller and Howie Klein call upon Senator Obama, as head of the party, to lead on this as dday has been doing for the past couple of weeks. They point out in particular that Obama has decided to intervene in the primary in Georgia's 12th District and back reactionary incumbent John Barrow, one of the worst FISA sell-out, Bush Dogs in the House, over progressive challenger Regina Thomas, on the eve of this vote.

Stoller writes:

70% of the primary voters in GA-12 are African-American. Barrow is white and has $1.3 million, Thomas is a progressive African-American and a state legislator, and has very little money...As Obama consolidates his power within the party, note who he is bringing with him in terms of economic policy and foreign policy, and note who he is protecting politically.

It is up to us to create a progressive check on Obama, and we might just have our first opportunity.

Thomas is a wonderful progressive candidate who Blue America has endorsed enthusiastically.

Obama wants to redraw the electoral map and thinks there might be a chance in Georgia. I'm sure that's why he's doing this, even though it's the longest of long shots. I think it's our year, but you can't take anything for granted, so I understand they are single mindedly focused on getting to 270 and have decided they need to make a right turn to do it. It's the predictable (and probably smart) move. I just don't think playing this particular incumbent protection game is worth it unless there's a really good chance of winning in that state. Guys like Barrow are toxic and will pay you back by voting against you when you need them most. It's how they do business.

With Obama's recent appointments of centrist and conservative people to his economic and foreign policy teams and his endorsements of such reactionary creeps as Barrow in the primary, it's probably a good idea for progressives to start pulling on our end of the rope a bit. I think it will help him, not hurt him. If people want change in our politics then seeing our gifted, young candidate stand up strong for the constitution against corruption and institutional torpor would be a breath of fresh air. I would love to see him do it.

Christy Hardin Smith has more information on the impending FISA vote. The Strange Bedfellows web-site is here. You can join the alliance here. You can donate here.