--Many have asked me why I did not sign on to the letter by some of the Guantanamo attorneys who are supporting Obama so I would like to take a moment to explain why I could not put my name on that document.
Obama has potential and of course I will vote for him if he is the democratic candidate butObama is NOT the poster child for doing the right thing for the men at Guantanamo. Let me start out by saying that I am from Illinois and when he ran for senate I worked on his behalf… it was exciting when he won that hotly contested senate seat… and then he went to the senate...
His very first vote was for Condi Rice and it went down hill from there… He later voted for either Roberts or Alito (for the Supreme Court) and the outcry from his constituents seemed to give him pause on the other ….
Most importantly he voted for the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA)…. That was the first attempt by congress to do away with habeas corpus...
The list goes on. His official mentor was Liebermann….until Liebermann lost the democratic nomination for his own senate seat.
I met up with Obama at a luncheon/fundraiser in Chicago in the late spring of 2006 (before he decided to run for president) I asked him if he heard a deep sigh coming from the people of Illinois every time he voted… He looked at me in surprise and I started ticking off the things he voted for… and against…. that were very disappointing… (I remembered many of them at that time..)
When I got to the DTA I said to him “I can’t believe that you, as a civil rights attorney yourself, would vote to take away the writ of habeas corpus”and his unfortunate response was “it was going to pass anyway”… I was quite shocked that he made that statement and asked him if that was his "new standard" ... anyway the conversation went downhill from there (ok maybe it wasn’t exactly uphill at any point…)
We all vote need to vote our conscience …. Or, if nothing else... pragmatically….
ButObama should not be held up to what he isn’t and he should not be portrayed as some kind of hero for the gitmo detainees…
by the way Obama did not even bother to show up for the ban on waterboarding a week ago….