The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign today calling on President-elect Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and end the military commissions on Day One of his presidency.
Obama, as a candidate, pledged to "close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions." In a full page ad in the New York Times today, the ACLU urges Obama, as president, to fulfill those promises and immediately restore America's moral leadership in the world.
Labor unions want President-elect Barack Obama to move quickly on universal health care and to make it easier for workers to organize. Latino advocacy groups want immigration reform. Even the National Trust for Historic Preservation is urging Obama to seek full federal funding "to protect our heritage."The odds are pretty good that Barack will seek to thrown bones to liberals - with enough meat so he can argue that he's followed through on his campaign commitments - keeping the lefties calmed, but not happy, as he leads from the center. This is what conservatives must fear - a powerful, centrist administration that picks its spots carefully to push a liberal agenda. Like by pushing to courts carefully left.
Interest groups are furiously drawing up wish lists for the incoming Obama administration, many of them hoping to cash in on the investments they made - in volunteers, political support, and campaign contributions - in Obama's commanding win.
The webpage of MoveOn.org, the antiwar group that was one of Obama's earliest and most active backers, said it all after Tuesday's election: "Together we did it!" the group said, claiming to have channeled 933,808 volunteers and $888,572 to Obama's campaign.
Translation: We helped you win, and now we want to see you pursue a liberal agenda in the White House. For the membership of MoveOn.org, that begins with bringing a swift end to the war in Iraq.
For Barack, there's nothing to fear but liberalism itself. His goal should be to be a problem solver who happens to be an ideologue. If he does that, the reinvention of the GOP will be a slow process.
If he chases faultline policies like the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, something much feared by conservatives, we'll have clear and powerful around which to coalesce - making the job of rebuilding the party much easier.