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Barack Obama and the Kyl-Lieberman Flim-Flam

1349219264_a545c9a421_m.jpgRyan Lizza, writing in the New Yorker, falls for some pretty disingenous spin from Barack Obama:

“I think we have a very real difference on Iraq,” he went on, citing Clinton’s public statements and her support of the Senate resolution, co-sponsored by Joe Lieberman and Jon Kyl, which was intended to warn Iran about meddling in Iraq. “She believes that our force structure in Iraq should in part be designed to blunt the impact of Iran in Iraq. I think that is too broad a mission and I think sending that signal to the Bush Administration while they’re still in office potentially gives them cover to engage in more aggressive military action.”

But the truth is, Obama didn’t show up for the vote on Kyl-Lieberman, a bellicose monstrosity that Jim Webb called “Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.”  His full-throated opposition only came after he saw which way the wind was blowing for Hillary Clinton; he doesn’t get to play “profiles in courage” with 20/20 hindsight. (Don’t worry, I whacked Clinton for her Kyl-Lieberman vote on Washington Journal the other day, too. Nobody gets a pass on that horrible piece of legislation.)

Lizza gets suckered on Social Security, too:

A potential crisis in the Social Security system is a long way off. Why, then, would a new President spend political capital on yet another tax hike when he will almost certainly seek to undo the Bush tax cuts for more immediate demands, like universal health care? When I asked Obama about this, he smiled and leaned forward, as if eager to explain that my premise was precisely the politically calibrated approach that he wanted to challenge. “What I think you’re asserting is that it makes sense for us to continue hiding the ball,” Obama said, “and not tell the American people the truth —”

“The truth” is that there is no Social Security crisis; defeating privatization was one of the few public relations wars the Democrats won over the past 7 years, and Obama shows himself willing to open up a very dangerous door again to pander for old people’s votes. (It makes you wonder — does he just not know how the game is played, or is it that he simply doesn’t care?)

I don’t blame Obama for trying to pull a cheap carney act on a gullible journalist — there’s one born every minute, as the saying goes. But Lizza seems to be a consistently easy mark.

(photo by – ART -) 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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