Friday, August 1, 2008

Marching to the Winter Palace...

A group of liberal-lefty activists have drawn up an open letter and petition to Obama in the Nation magazine.

Since your historic victory in the primary, there have been troubling signs that you are moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported your campaign, toward a more cautious and centrist stance--including, most notably, your vote for the FISA legislation granting telecom companies immunity from prosecution for illegal wiretapping, which angered and dismayed so many of your supporters. We recognize that compromise is necessary in any democracy.
We understand that the pressures brought to bear on those seeking the highest office are intense. But retreating from the stands that have been the signature of your campaign will weaken the movement whose vigorous backing you need in order to win and then deliver the change you have promised.
They go on to list some "key positions you have embraced that we believe are essential to sustaining this movement."
The contents of the letter are rather unremarkable. They demand "Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable" rather than immediate withdrawal, and "Universal health care" rather than single-payer. However the fact that the letter exists is another sign of dramatic shift since 2004. That election year, liberals were so desperate that any dissent from within the Kerry camp was considered treasonous, especially by Nation-type liberals. A letter like this would have be unheard of, tepid though it is.
Another sign of the growing confidence of American liberals, not to mention this confrontation.