I don’t want to push my endorsements too heavily, but I thought these two items might be of interest to Sohum activists.

This account is from a poster at Daily Kos who called both campaigns. The Clinton campaign hadn’t returned his call, but he had a 20 minute conversation with an Obama rep.

We talked about Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war from the start. We talked about ethics reform in the senate. And we also talked about the torch being passed from the Kennedy’s to Obama. I asked about medical marijuana and this staffer laid out that Obama would not raid medical marijuana patients because “resources are wasted going after the sick.” This is an important issue to me as I am a medical marijuana patient for chronic back pain.

Hillary Clinton has made the same pledge. However, I suspect it would be difficult to pin either down on whether he or she would support removal of marijuana from Congressional categorization as lacking medicinal value, or at least a law which allows states to legalize the stuff for medicinal purposes free of federal enforcement of its own laws.

The second is more salient to me. He has the backing of Guantanamo attorneys based upon some very real assistance in preserving habeas corpus.

Back in October, John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General and Dean of Franklin Pierce Law School, changed his registration to vote in the New Hampshire Democratic primary and endorsed Barack Obama. Hutson, a life-long Republican, had grown increasingly frustrated with the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

“We fight wars to uphold the rule of law,” he said in 2004, “but then we don’t uphold the rule of law in our conduct of the war.” Hutson eventually becoming a key leader among former military officials pushing back against Bush policies on Guantanamo Bay and torture, worried about the precedent it would set for future conflicts.

“We are running the risk,” Hutson said in announcing his endorsement of Barack Obama, “of historians looking back on the first few years of the 21st century and saying ‘That’s where America came off the rails, that’s where we began to be the next former world power.’” Obama, Hutson argued, would be the candidate best able to bring about the changes we need.

And then on Monday, more than eighty attorneys volunteering their time on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay collectively endorsed Obama for President:

The writ of habeas corpus dates to the Magna Carta, and was enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution. The Administration’s attack on habeas corpus rights is dangerous and wrong. America needs a President who will not triangulate this issue. We need a President who will restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community. Based on our work with him, we are convinced that Senator Obama can do this because he truly feels these issues “in his bones.”

It’s not exactly a popular political stand, or at least it wasn’t at the time.

Addendum: In this week’s Sohum Independent, Ray Raphael makes his case for Obama. In short, he believes that a Clinton candidacy will galvanize the currently fractured Republican opposition and even if she scratches out a win, will pretty much paralyze any progressive agenda if Congress remains close. The Republican hatred for the Clintons is borderline irrational as pundits like Tucker Carlson and Bill Bennett admit to (Carlson when she was running for Senate: “I have to believe she will lose despite the polls, though it’s more theological than rational.”).

Two points however. One, while the House might be close this year, the Democrats may firm up their Senate majority. Of the 10 vulnerable seats this year, nine of them are currently Republican.

Secondly, Obama is still off message. With all the lofty potential from the Kennedy endorsements and the huge crowds he’s drawing, he’s taking too much of his time attacking Clinton. I was listening to NPR this morning, and Clinton employed a bit of rhetorical judo which she’ll use tonight if Obama is as aggressive as in the last debate. When asked to respond to some attack of his, she said, “that’s audacious, but not very hopeful.” It’s telling that I don’t even remember the substance of Obama’s attack.

Point is, the Clintons are brilliant. If they get by Obama, they will probably take McCain apart. What happens once she’s in office, well, they’ve had eight years to think about how they were stymied for 6 years in the 1990s.

Second addendum: Obama was rated “the most liberal Senator of 2007” by the National Journal.

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