Crossposted at The Wild, Wild Left

An old friend recently asked me about where I stand in my support of Obama. Up until now I've been outspoken and very vocally supportive of his campaign, based on the fact that A) He seemed unafraid to support progressive issues and B) He seemed the right man, at the right time, to bring our country together. I have to admit, though, that I've been less vocal lately (read silent). Today I redesigned my blog, and after some thought, I left off the little "Support Obama" graphics I've been sporting for a few months now.

I'm just baffled, frankly. I don't understand who these Democratic candidates are listening to. I understand about the need to reach out to the center, and even to the right, in an effort to portray oneself as understanding of their needs. A President of the United States should be willing, insistent, in fact, on listening to the wishes of every citizen. However, for some unknown, unfathomable reason, Democratic candidates lately have felt it their duty to pander instead of listen, to court instead of consider - a tactic that is not only dangerous, it's misguided, and possibly deadly.

So listen up, candidates and earstwhile advisory staff: You can't have it both ways. You can't stand in front of thousands upon thousands of frustrated, hopeful progressives and shout that YOU are the one who will change things, YOU are their one great hope for turning back the tide of the loss of women's rights, the unconscionable intermingling of church and state, and the loss of basic constitutional freedoms while simultaneously voting and speaking in terms which directly refute your supposed ideals.

While he campaigned among and for Democrats only Obama seemed like just what this party needed - a candidate not afraid to stand up against the Evangelical Right that has held American politics hostage for years. And then, magically, once the cards shifted and he found himself the nominee, he started backtracking, shifting, and yes, pandering.

Think the FISA vote.
Think women's reproductive rights.
Think withdrawing from Iraq.
Think faith based initiatives.

It's more than just wrong. It's politically stupid. By trying to play it both ways, Obama is going to lose his core voting block. You can't convince the Republicans that you are one of them. They won't buy it. And your base, your best shot at winning this election, will feel like you've betrayed them and stay home in November. You'll lose to a candidate who is riding the coattails of a President with a 27% approval rating.

Yes, I'm still voting for Obama. In a choice between ANYONE and McCain, I'll still vote for the other guy. However, I don't want to drag my feet to the polls in November. I don't want to go through the motions of choosing the lesser of two evils. I want a candidate I can believe in, a candidate who really can offer me HOPE that we aren't failing as a democracy. So, if you don't mind, will the real Barack Obama please stand up?


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