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Friday, February 15, 2008

Washington Congressman Brian Baird, Superdelegate and Surge Supporter, on His Obama Endorsement

posted by on February 15 at 13:00 PM

I just got off the phone with Washington Congressman Brian Baird (D-Vancouver), a superdelegate who today announced he is supporting Barack Obama.

Of the three superdelegate Congressmen in this state who were still on the fence as of this morning, Baird was the last one I would have expected to suddenly back Obama. After all, Baird is best known these days as a Democrat who strongly supports the surge in Iraq.

Baird says things like this:

I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future. Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.

While Obama says things like this:

The notion that somehow we have succeeded as a consequence of the recent reductions in violence means that we have set the bar so low it’s buried in the sand at this point. (Cheers, applause.)

Weóand I said this beforeówe went from intolerable levels of violence and a dysfunctional government to spikes and horrific levels of violence and a dysfunctional government, and now two years later we’re back to intolerable levels of violence and a dysfunctional government.

So why, I asked Baird, is he endorsing a candidate whose views on the defining issue of the time, the Iraq war, are so diametrically opposed to his? Baird replied:

One of the most interesting things to me about our political situation these days is so many people feel itís important to agree with someone on 100 percent of the issues, 100 percent of the time, or you canít support him…

Itís clear my position is somewhat different from Senator Obamaís right now. [But] most importantly, itís not where we differ, but where we agree, and where we agree is I think Senator Obama brings a new voice…

Iím particularly impressed with the enthusiasm of people who have never been involved in politics before, particularly young people. I think thereís just such enthusiasm here that could really help turn the tide in this country.

Like the enthusiasm demonstrated in your district this past Saturday, when your constituents voted overwhelmingly for Obama in the Washington Democratic caucuses? Baird:

Yes, of course.

So should other superdelegates take the wishes of their constituents into account when making their decisions on whom to endorse?

Iíve never thought that the role of an elected person is simply to follow the whims of a majority. I think they should pay attention to that. But thatís why we call it a Republic, even though most people donít…

I donít really think the superdelegate process is all that bad. Think about it. The superdelegates themselves have to be electedÖ I very much respect what people on either side of this election process may say because people have to make their own decisions.

Ok, but should other superdelegates do as you’ve done and factor the will of their constituents into their decisions?

I think it should be a factor, certainly.

Will you talk to Obama about his differing views on the success of the surge?

I will if the opportuntity arises. I will tell him what Iíve seen on my trips over there and in the region. Thankfully, the facts on the ground have improved since I made my position known in August. I really think itís a mistake on either side to say that today, given the situation today, I know exactly where the next president should stand when he or she takes office a year from today.

Yes, but Obama has made clear where he will stand if and when he takes office. He wants to begin withdrawing troops immediately.

My point is, I believe what we do is elect a person who you think has good judgment and who evaluates the facts… One of the things Senator Obama has talked about is trying to find areas where people come togetherÖ I think Senator Obama is saying that people of good principle have a right and responsibility to occasionally disagree with one another.

Letís look at where we agree. We agree that we need change in this country. We agree that the American people are thirsty for us to unite around common valuesÖ And thatís what I think is exciting people, that they are seeing a candidate who is stepping forward and saying, ‘I am not going to spend a lot of time tearing people down, Iím going to put forward a positive vision for this country.’

RSS icon Comments

1

things like this anger hillary supporters. wait for the two paragraph response from unPC

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 1:09 PM
2

Brian Baird, another wild-eyed Obama supporter who is "Fired Up" and "Ready to Go." Did I say "Yes we Can", well we can, so there. Seriously though, how can people support a politician as utterly brilliant as Obama. I just don't get it. I mean, you can't get elected President of the Harvard Law Review unless you are utterly brilliant. Didn't we make that a disqualifier for the presidency about 8 years ago.

Posted by Mike in Iowa | February 15, 2008 1:13 PM
3

Sounds like he's where I am.

Look, the thing that Clinton supporters don't grok is that many people know that Obama has slightly different positions on certain policies - but they don't care.

It's a gestalt thing.

I know that drives you guys batty, but it is what it is.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 15, 2008 1:21 PM
4

Obama should demand that Baird support the end of the war.

Letís look at where we agree. We agree that we need change in this country. We agree that the American people are thirsty for us to unite around common valuesÖ And thatís what I think is exciting people, that they are seeing a candidate who is stepping forward and saying, ĎI am not going to spend a lot of time tearing people down, Iím doing to put forward a positive vision for this country.

Common values like ending the fucking war.

Earlier from BA

that is what bothers so many hillary supporters. he's getting people that they cant logically fathom would support him. its a failing on the part of hillary's campaign and supporters to realize that rationality doesnt mean much.


Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 1:23 PM
5

obama gains supporters because he doesnt have a "my way or the highway".

its like picking teams for school yard football;

hillary only wants staunch democrats and left wing liberals on her team

obama wants republicans, democrats, liberals, indies, anyone he can get on his team. he isnt going to alienate them by forcing people to agree with him on every issue.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 1:30 PM
6

B.A. how about one issue? The war.

Think "Yes We Can ", "Change" "Hope" "Unite" will play for 7 months?

Since the latest polls have Obama leading McCain by 3.7% after a great stretch and Bush having a 33% approval rating it doesn't look like those Republcans and Independents are quite as in the fold as advertised.

Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 1:42 PM
7

That's the nice thing about Obama. He'll never ask anyone to choose anything, or give up anything, or anything -- except hate Hillary and Vote for Obama.

Thus will the new world replace the old.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | February 15, 2008 2:16 PM
8

why should he force people to conform to him ouch?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 2:19 PM
9

Obama doesn't demand you hate Hillary.

He's about forgiveness, and the future.

Sadly, some people who support him think this means they should hate Hillary.

But that's not his message.

Just like some people support Christ, but then go and practice hate and division and stealing from the poor to give to the rich - all things he was against.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 15, 2008 2:20 PM
10

why should a politician purposely try and force other people to agree with him when it would sabotage everything that has worked so far, and would sabotage possible progress in the future?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 2:22 PM
11

i think this is what aggravates hillary supporters; he isnt being definitive enough for them on certain things and it actually is helping him gain more support.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 2:29 PM
12

From the book of B.A.

that is what bothers so many hillary supporters. he's getting people that they cant logically fathom would support him. its a failing on the part of hillary's campaign and supporters to realize that rationality doesnt mean much.
i think this is what aggravates hillary supporters; he isnt being definitive enough for them on certain things and it actually is helping him gain more support.

Will 2.15.08

But that's not his message.

Just like some people support Christ, but then go and practice hate and division and stealing from the poor to give to the rich - all things he was against.

I know don't blame the man for his supporters.

Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 2:41 PM
13

ouch, is it or is it not true that his campaign strategy has worked thus far?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 2:45 PM
14

Obama has run a great campaign. With little scrutiny he leads McC by only 3.7%. "Hope" "Change" and "Unity" will not hold up for 8 more months and if in the end he wins with no more commitment than the mishmash in Baird's statement, nothing will get done just like JFK.

we need an end to this war and that's little enough to ask of his supporters.

Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 2:55 PM
15

so you want obama to give ultimatums? how will that gain him support?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 3:15 PM
16

"He'll never ask anyone to choose anything, or give up anything, or anything -- except hate Hillary and Vote for Obama."

He doesn't ask people to hate Hillary. Hillary, Bill, and Mark Penn do a good job of making people hate her all on their own.

Posted by Carl | February 15, 2008 3:46 PM
17

If he gave ultimatums than it would make him just like Sen Clinton - and that would be even more confusing. We like choices.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 15, 2008 3:48 PM
18

ouch

After "35 years of experience" and the highest name i.d. numbers in the country - how does Hillary do against McCain in head-to-head matchups? How about in swing states - like Colorado? Or how do we think she'd do against him in Virginia?

Keep brining up that 3.6% number and ignore that McCain beats her or ties her in just about every poll. Intellectually weak argument.

Posted by Ed | February 15, 2008 4:09 PM
19

Rasmussen, Friday, February 15, 2008

"In general election match-ups, Obama leads John McCain 46% to 43% while McCain leads Clinton 49% to 41%"

Posted by elenchos | February 15, 2008 4:20 PM
20

@1

Sorry for keeping you waiting!
2 paras follow:

1. Best news for Obama today is the poll showing only a 9 pt. Clinton lead in Texas. Why aren't the Obama supporters talking about that fact it's pretty good news for Obama?
2. Baird = Joe Leiberman of Washington State. He's on my shit list. Is it okay to be angry with surgemongers? Why hasn't some enterprising activist filed against him? He's with McCain on teh surge and should be tkaen out or at least challenged for his office. He doens't represent the people of his district. And now Obama will owe him a favor! Obama certainly won't be out there trying to replace Baird now. So we all lose one vote against the war and get stuck with Baird's pro war vote.
[bonus paragraph just for Bellevue Ave]
Now Obama's buying support not just with dollars but thru selling off favor chits wthat will dilute his position on Iraq and ability to pull out quickly.
If this type of politics is "change" to you -- you just might be a redneck! And, you apparently just fell off a turnip truck -- cruising Bellevue Avenue.]

Posted by unPC | February 15, 2008 4:32 PM
21

does it burn yet?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 4:34 PM
22

how do you know baird will be owed a favor? maybe baird needs to ride the coat tails of obama for future elections. "i supported obama, so why not elect me again".

i dont need to crow about poll numbers in states before theyve voted. I just crow afterwards when he's won em.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 15, 2008 4:39 PM
23

Elenchos - Rasmussen is a Republican pollster - check realclearpolitics.com O up about 3.7 C down about 1.8% See more below.


Ed - Obama with a lead of 3.7% isn't bringing in the Republicans and Independents as advertised. He hasn't been run through the ringer with negative ads (HRC has one up today I hear saying he won't debate ooooh that's really negative) or the potpouri of Republican tactics.

Obama's strength has mainly been in states that won't go Dem. He lost the California hispanics 2 to 1 and they like McCain. Look at the realclearpolitic.com polls - FL, OH and PA were highlighted - both Dems were behind in FL and OH by 2% and HRC had a bigger lead in PA than Obama.

Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 5:00 PM
24
how do you know baird will be owed a favor? maybe baird needs to ride the coat tails of obama for future elections. "i supported obama, so why not elect me again".

aaaah exactly - pro-war Dem keeps seat with Obama support - maybe Lieberman next?


Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 5:08 PM
25

No, it could be true - remember a lot of Independent and some Conservative voters are pro-Obama - and Baird's district is more interesting than Seattle ones.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 15, 2008 5:28 PM
26

Baird's district elected Linda Smith.

Posted by what what | February 15, 2008 6:07 PM
27

Will @ 9 -- Obama's standard stump speech is hate speech. It's only lightly veiled, and it does the job as intended ... just like his dog whistle appeals to the Right.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | February 15, 2008 8:18 PM
28

unsoeld voted for gun control lost to linda who held the office for six years starting in 1994 - republican for six out of the last 20 years woohoo.

Posted by ouch | February 15, 2008 9:26 PM
29

unPC said: Baird = Joe Leiberman of Washington State. He's on my shit list. Is it okay to be angry with surgemongers? Why hasn't some enterprising activist filed against him?

That enterprising activist would be Cheryl Crist.

Posted by albaum | February 16, 2008 6:05 PM
30

First, let me share the facts:

**Democrat CFR member Candidates:**
Barack Obama: Also, his wife Michelle Obama is on the Board of Directors in the Chicago branch of the CFR.
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Chris Dodd
Bill Richardson

**Republican CFR member Candidates:**
Mitt Romney
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Fred Thompson
Newt Gingrich
Mike Huckabee: Huckabee is not a CFR member, though he named Richard Haas, president of the CFR, as his adviser on foreign policy. On Feb. 21, 2006, Hass wrote a column for the Taipei (China) Times titled, "State Sovereignty Must Be Altered in Globalized Era." This is an explicit solicitation for global government. Here is the article --http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2006/02/21/2003294021

So what is the "CFR" anyway?

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is David Rockefeller's private thinktank. This group has nothing to do with our government since it is entirely private. This group is pro-war and pro-North American Union (loss of American sovereignty and loss of Constitutional protections). You can read more about this group at --
http://www.infowars.com/articles/nwo/cfr_stacks_deck_with_dem_gop_presidential_candidates.htm

Posted by dds | February 18, 2008 5:56 AM

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