As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama boasted of opposing the Iraq War from the start.
By Glenn Thrush and Ryan Grim, Politico
But as president-elect, he has come to the rescue of surge supporter Joe Lieberman and flirted with the idea of keeping on Bush administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates — and now he seems poised to nominate war-authorizing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to serve as his secretary of state.
The sound from the left: not silence, but no howls of betrayal, either.
“Anybody who has reacted after two weeks is not a serious person,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
Members of Obama’s loyal liberal base — from the Netroots to campus liberals to Hill Democrats — are watching closely as the candidate’s vague incantations of hope coalesce into cold, concrete presidential decision making. It’s not a seamless transition, but so far the left seems to be cutting Obama some favorite-son slack. Then again, he’s been president-elect for only two weeks — even milk bought on the day he was elected hasn’t had time to go sour.
“People continue to be excited,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who represents an Oregon district he described as one of the five most progressive in the nation. “They’re still going to websites. There are campaigns they can be involved with. They’re still networking and raising ideas and moving forward.”
Anti-war voters are used to being disappointed. Some were flabbergasted when George W. Bush won a second term in the midst of the war in 2004; others were disillusioned when the Democrats didn’t do more to stop the war after capturing majorities of the House and the Senate in 2006.
And for some, that “here we go again” feeling came rushing back recently when Obama urged his soon-to-be-former Democratic Senate colleagues not to hold “grudges” against Lieberman, who infuriated liberals with his support for Iraq then picked at the scab by supporting John McCain — and opposing Obama — during the presidential race.