Saturday, March 10, 2007

In defense of Dave Obey.....


David Sirota has a great defense of Dave Obey's outburst....Sirota summarizes the flap for us:


The blogosphere is abuzz with talk of Wisconsin Rep. Dave Obey’s (D) frustrated outburst about Iraq caught on YouTube. Antiwar activists are high-fiving each other, almost as if catching Obey’s outburst about "idiot liberals" is as big a YouTube feat as catching George Allen saying "macaca."


and then he spells it out for us:


I’m going to say a few things here that some of my readers aren’t going to like - some things that I’ve been pondering as I am writing my new book. But it’s important at times to look at ourselves and our movement critically if we are to continue advancing. Here’s the deal folks: There are some "idiot liberals" out there, and this episode actually highlights that reality.


Dave Obey represents a pretty conservative district that is not exactly easy for a Democrat to represent (this is why the NRSC can’t wait for him to retire). He originally voted against the war, he has been one of the most outspoken critics of the war, and he has repeatedly used his position as Appropriations Chairman to try to get the situation in Iraq under control. These are the facts, and I witnessed it first hand, having worked for him a few years ago.


Now, you can argue whether his tactics right now are smart. You can have a reasoned disagreement about whether he should be pushing a supplemental appropriations bill that includes new money for veterans medical care and binding language to end the war by March of 2008. There is a very legitimate case to be made that Democrats shouldn’t support any money to continue the war and that the supplemental appropriations bill that Obey is carrying does also do that.


snip


"However, berating one of the antiwar movement’s longtime leaders and then trying to mount his head on the virtual YouTube wall over a debate about the best WAY to end the war suggests that the antiwar movement fundamentally does not understand the very power structure it is trying to influence...."


snip


Dave Obey is an ally of the progressive movement on almost every issue, and on the war in specific. Go ahead and try to claim I’m only saying that because I once worked for him, but then take some time and look at his voting record and his actions. By any standard - other than those of a tiny group of, yes, "idiot liberals" - Obey is a progressive hero. Spending time and energy attacking him, as opposed to the true obstacles to ending the war, is both a waste, and potentially couterproductive, because someone like Obey, representing the district that he does, could easily just walk away (he won’t, because he’s Obey, but conceptually he certainly could).


On a personal note, I know that Dave can be ... ummmmm.....difficult...but I understand him in the context that he's a battle-tested veteran who has paid his dues by taking the slings and arrows of congressional battles for over thirty years....he's heard it all before and he has little patience for ignorance...


I am angry that liberals are trying to hang Dave's scalp on the blogosphere wall...and like LoLo, I find it most strange that the liberals who ambushed Dave Obey just happened to have a camera crew along with them.....


What Sirota says is true. Dave is a hero of the liberal agenda. He always has been and he always will be....


Read the whole blog........

2 comments:

LoLo said...

Thanks for posting this, Ed. Not only is this post by Sirota a great way to defend Obey's actions but it is a tribute to his long history of liberalism and service to northern WI. I was especially interested in reading the comments which followed. Although a few savaged Obey for losing his temper (and Sirota himself said that the comments were over the top but that Obey had apologized immediately and was right to do so), most writers commended Dave for being the great leader he is. I really believe that the positive side is that Dave got a well-deserved bit of fame and that his reputation was actually enhanced and made known to people who before this had no idea of the man behind the name.

EDW said...

A couple of points need to be made...

I think Sirota was wrong about Obey being from a "difficult district". The "fighting 7th CD" of which we are PROUDLY a part is probably the second most progressive district in Wisconsin (second only to Madison). I think Sirota was trying to excuse Obey's support of the supplemental building but it wasn't necessary to do so at all.

Also, I posted elsewhere that debating with Dave (which I've done...gingerly) is a lot like making love to a porcupine...it must be done very carefully...the thing we like MOST about Dave is the very thing that makes him volitile...HE'S A FIGHTER...and for over thirty years, he's been a FIGHTER FOR US.

e