I'm from Chicago, too, and known Obama from the time he came to the New Party to get our endorsement for his first race ever. I've been in his home, and as an IL legislator, he's helped or community technology movement a number of times. He said all the right things to the ACORN and New Party folks, and we endorsed him, but I noticed too, that he seemed to measure every answer to questions put to him several tmes before coming out with it.
He spoke at our first antiwar rally. He spent most of his speech detailing all the wars in history he supported, then finally made a distinction between just wars and 'dumb' wars, and going into Iraq, which was still six months down the road then, was a 'dumb war,' and he flatly opposed it. Good, that put him on our side, and some of us organized a fundraiser for him for his Senate race. But a friend of mine, and also an Obama campaigner, at that first rally, nudged me and asked, 'Who was that speech for? Certainly not this crowd.' Now we know.
After he visited Iraq when the war was on, he turned. Now we had to set aside whether it was right or wrong to invade, now we had to find the 'smart' path to victory, not Bush's 'dumb' path. Also, in dealing with Iran, we had to leave on the table bombing their nuclear sites. For this, a lot of the local antiwar activists started calling him 'Barack 'Obomb 'em'. He wasn't listening much to us anymore, but to folks much higher up in the DLC orbit. He had bigger plans.
To be fair, I read a recent speech he gave to laid-off workers from a plant closing out in Galesburg, IL, around globalization, corporate responsibility, the safety net, the third wave, and so on. It was very good. Save for not mentioning the war, I probably couldn't written a better one myself.
Giving the current crisis and developments in Congress, he may move back to our side on the war, and get as far as, say, Murtha's position. But right now he's not in the 'Out Now' camp, not as good as Murtha, and a triangulator par excellence. I've watched him do it up close. The press and his publicists put him in our camp, but if you look at his speeches and votes since his trip to Iraq, I think you'll find he has a way to go. Our peace groups here are sending a bunch of us to visit him soon, and get on his case. Perhaps he's still a work in progress, as Jesse Jackson says, but he still has a way to go to get back in my good graces, and those of many more of us here also.
Carl Davidson, Chicago