Barack Obama’s vote last month to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies for warrentless wiretapping upset the base of the Democratic Party. Bloggers at the Natroots Nation conference voiced their disappointment, while unequivocally establishing their support of Obama.
MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: Last month, Barack Obama upset the base of the Democratic Party by voting to give telecommunication companies retroactive immunity for joining the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Here at Netroots Nation, a gathering of progressive bloggers and liberal online activists, the issue is still on people’s minds. In fact, the first mainstream coverage of the event was from a writer at The Wall Street Journal, which quoted [“PA-rog-MEN-ta”], from the Democratic National Committee, teaching organizers how to respond to Democrats who are upset by Obama’s vote, suggesting that they say it was, quote, “a bad pill but there were things in the bill worth fighting for.” With so much conversation around the issue, I decided to find out how the progressive base really feels about Obama’s vote.
DAVID ATKINS, VENTURA, CA: I was disappointed in it. I didn’t agree with it. I wish he had done differently, but it is what it is. Nobody’s perfect, and he’s still a million times better than John McCain.
BEN WYSKIDA, NATION MAGAZINE: The nation really felt like Obama missed a really good opportunity to lead and to show leadership over the FISA suit, and it’s really extremely disappointing.
RUDY MALVO, AUSTIN, TX: Just being aware of the fact that he is running for president, and he’s going towards the center, and that happens just about with anyone that runs for office. So he’s making his dash towards the center. I wasn’t happy with the vote, obviously, but the thing is that I think that progressives, liberals, or whatever you want call us, need to be more mature about why someone that we’re supporting would do something that we think is against our interests—and it was.
JOE STAN, BLOGADS: As somebody who works, like, in sort of the nuts-and-bolts parts of politics, I’ve realized that’s something you have to do. But it was sort of disappointing for somebody who is so, like, inspiring to do that.
JOE TRIPPI, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: [inaudible] you know, most people realize that you can’t agree with your candidate on every single issue, and he’s—. I don’t agree with where he’s at, but, you know, it’s the same thing: what’s the choice at this point? So it’s political reality, and people have to understand that political reality is going to exist, whether it’s Barack Obama or anybody. I mean, they’re not going to take the same—you know, you can’t dictate every single one of your positions on one candidate. I mean, look it, there’s millions of us. If we did that—you know, we can’t have our personal guy for president, so we all push, try to push our candidates in the right direction. Most of the time he’s there. You know, we will have a bigger impact on him when he’s president, I think.
PALEVSKY: As Trippi suggests, most bloggers here are begrudgingly giving Obama the benefit of the doubt.
ALISA GOLD: I’ve been around the campaign trail a couple of times, and I think the way people act as the candidate and the way they act as a politician are usually quite different.
MALVO: I think that you can trust Obama with doing this, but, again, it’s tough. It’s almost like if, you know, you catch your girlfriend, you know, not cheating but flirting with somebody—your imagination will do more things than she actually did. And I think that’s what we’re dealing with with Obama. You know, the love affair’s still there, but it’s like, “Baby, you can’t wear white on our wedding day.” You know? And that’s the situation that we’re dealing with with Obama, man.
WYSKIDA: I’ve, you know, given his campaign money and support, and definitely was part of the sort of online effort and signing onto the various petitions and that kind of thing to try and get him to change course. And he didn’t lose my support, I guess, ’cause I think that the stakes are too high on too many issues right now. But I certainly wasn’t happy with it, and it was something that made me think twice about supporting him.
FAITH, SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Some people consider it a flipflop. I just consider it political expediency. Sometimes compromises have to be made. The entire premise of it was flawed from the beginning, so you can’t expect one person to wave a magic wand and fix everything that many people participated in destroying.
ATKINS: A lot of people had misconceptions about Obama, and they projected their own desires onto him. I mean, a lot of people figure he’s a constitutional law person—he’s going to vote correctly. But, you know, there are a lot of calculations that go into these things, a lot of political issues that go into these things. I certainly understand why somebody would vote on it. I mean, that’s the Democratic Congress cast it. But he always had a lot of centrist positions on some things, and if he wasn’t centrist, he was certainly the guy who reached across the aisle to try to achieve comprise, to achieve solutions on things, and he figured this is the solution.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.