“I’m an Older, Whiter Obama.”

McCain’s speech last night was a strange speech. Whoever wrote the speech did a terrible job, because it made McCain look unenthusiastic about his own candidacy. He isn’t known for his oratorical skills, but the speech lacked any overriding theme that could serve as an argument for the Republican “cause,” and it featured a few choice lies about his political record and that of Sarah Palin, as well. McCain wants to be seen as a lobbyist-bashing, reform minded Conservative, when in fact a lobbyist wrote his economic policy, he voted with Bush 95% of the time, and he is willing to adopt the very economic policy he once criticized as being “unfair to the middle class”. “Straight Talk”? Please.

The speech can be summarized like this: “I will change Washington by fighting against the special interests. I will fight for you. I will fight for America. We’ll all fight, fight, fight. Change is coming. It’s time to change politics as usual. It’s time to lessen the influence of the lobbyists in Washington. Fight, fight fight. I’ll never stop fighting for you because I’m a fighter. I remember a Latino man from Michigan…”



HE DID IT! Self-professed “skinny black kid from the South Side” defeats Hillary Rodham Clinton

We have all witnessed the greatest upset in American political history. Senator Barack Obama, 46, has been chosen by the Democratic party as their nominee who will compete against Senator John McCain, 71, in November, according to a new Associated Press delegate tally.

It is such an exciting time in American history- we’re witnessing the first ever black nominee campaign for the presidency. We all need to pay close attention to everything that happens now, because this will be one of those moments where people say “Where were you when…” We’ll be able to recount this historic moment in the great history that is the United States of America.

Obama has managed to clinch the nomination based on genius political strategy, adept management of campaign finances, a unifying message of change and hope and an unwillingness to take the low road. He has revolutionized the way political campaigns function, catalyzed the participation of America’s youth, and told us that the “American dream” is not dead- rather, it has been lying dormant for almost eight years, and he brings enough energy and enthusiasm to resurrect it.

Obama’s candidacy makes me so proud of our country. His story couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the world. We are the first white Western nation to give a black man a real shot at the presidency, and we need to take a step back from the What-Will-The-Clintons-Do-Next-Saga and pay attention to Barack Obama’s historic candidacy.

Barack Obama embodies America at its best, and I feel privileged to watch it all happen. Obama ’08!

Why Michigan and Florida Shouldn’t Count

-Obama will have more delegates and popular vote anyway, so Hillary’s people aren’t accomplishing anything monumental by getting half of the delegates seated or losing anything monumental by not having 100% of the delegates seated. Hillary turned the plight of MI and FL into a reason for her to stay in the campaign, although she herself said “We all know Michigan and Florida aren’t going to count” in October of 2007.

– We can’t devalue the states that DID abide by the rules, because if we do so by allowing all the delegates from MI and FL to be seated, then DNC rules lose their meaning. We then have an even more fractured and divided party.

-You can’t equate the current situation to the 2000 election because the delegates from MI and FL are not going to decide the election. In 2000, the incident in FL decided the election. Adding MI and FL would only give Hillary a nudge up in delegate count, but it is by no means a deciding factor in the election.

-You can’t call an election in which not all the candidates’ names were on the ballot a true election, and to retroactively attempt to account for those who meant to vote for Clinton vs. those who would have voted for Obama is going to lead to more debate and confusion.

-In Florida, voters were told that their votes wouldn’t count. How are we supposed to account for the voters who would have voted had they known that their vote would count vs. those who went ahead and voted anyway? There are 4 million democrats in Florida, and 1.7 million voted. We don’t know how many were deterred from voting.

-While I sympathize with the frustration of the voters who haven’t been counted, I see the overriding necessity of having a party that is united behind its rules and not divided into warring Obama or Clinton factions. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided cannot stand.”

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: In Defense of Rev. Pfleger’s Character

First of all, I do not agree with Rev. Pfleger’s recent statements, and like Barack Obama, I reject them. However, I resent the way Rev. Pfleger, fondly referred to as “father Mike” in Chicago, is being portrayed by the media. Rev. Pfleger’s comments were clearly out of line, but he is by no means the crazy, rogue reverend the media is making him out to be by playing his one sound bite over and over again. He sometimes turns to extreme measures in his social activism, but is overall a good person. I want to list a few of his achievements so that the people who read this blog have a more complete picture of who he is.

“Pfleger and his parish demanded the shutdown of a number of Auburn Gresham businesses specializing in drug paraphernalia. Pfleger also campaigned for the removal of tobacco and alcohol billboards from their neighborhood.

Pfleger has become one of the best known critics of The Jerry Springer Show, a controversial television program which is videotaped in Chicago. Believing the program to be immoral, Pfleger and his parishioners began picketing outside the show’s studios in 1991. By 1998, he had organized a boycott of the show’s advertisers. “[Springer is] glorifying violence every day…. Calling a woman a ho and a bitch is sick. This is not normal behavior,” Pfleger declared.

In 2007, Father Pfleger and the faith community of Saint Sabina erected twenty billboards across Chicago with the words “Stop Listening To Trash”, followed by a list of ten “disrespectful rappers”. Pfleger said in a press release, “If we are going to end the violence and disrespect of women, we must fight every form of negativity, including the music industry.” He explained to WMAQ-TV’s Alex Perez, “When you disrespect women and you continue to demean a community or race by names and by language, that’s unacceptable. . . We can kill with our words.”‘

Pfleger also led several protests against Chuck’s Gun Shop, which sold over 2,000 weapons that were traced to crimes committed between 1996 and 2004.

While his recent rhetoric is divisive and backward-looking, Rev. Pfleger is hardly Rev. Wright. He is not an attention-seeking egomaniac hell-bent on hurting Obama’s campaign. He has done countless good works in Chicago’s inner city and is a bold voice against drugs and crime. He himself said:

“I regret the words I chose Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama’s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them.”

Enough with the madness, already!

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 11:27 pm  Comments (4)  
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Rupert Murdoch Supports Obama- WHAT?!

“He is a rock star. It’s fantastic. I love what he is saying about education. I don’t think he will win Florida…..but he will win in Ohio and the election. I am anxious to meet him. I want to see if he will walk the walk.”- Rupert Murdoch

On one hand, I am wary of Rupert Murdoch supporting Obama just as I am wary of Karl Rove heaping praise on HRC. However, the situations are different because there is really no incentive for Murdoch to support Obama, whereas it would benefit Republicans to support the losing Democratic candidate.

I say this because #1, Obama has publicly said that he supports reinforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act (divides businesses that have an unfair monopoly), a measure that could possibly sound the death knell for News Corps’ hegemony and that of Right-wing talk radio. In short, it gives Murdoch’s admiration for Obama credibility, however unlikely, because Obama supports an Act that could possibly ruin what Murdoch has created. One might ask themselves why Murdoch supports Obama, then, if there’s nothing in it for him?

But not so fast- maybe there is something in it for him. Maybe he, the right wing overlord, sees the error of electing someone like John McCain, who he says “has a lot of problems.” Maybe Murdoch’s red, red blood has begun coursing Obama blue…

HRC Singlehandedly “Assassinates” Chances of “Dream Ticket”

“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it.” -Hillary Clinton, trying to justify her decision to remain in the race despite calls for her to exit. In doing so, she (unecessarily) references Bobby Kennedy’s assassination as an example of another campaign that went until June.

Here are the results of Hillary Clinton’s statement: No dream ticket, alienation from the democratic party, and disgust from people like me who thought that she would leave this contest with some dignity.

However, nobody should be surprised that she took the low road yet again. Like someone who is just waking up from a good dream (in her case, while sleeping in a pantsuit), her eyes are still shut as she tries with all her might to cling to the last fleeting images of her dream world, because she lucidly knows that it won’t be the same once her eyes open.

What Hillary Clinton said cannot be ignored. It is not merely another gaffe in a sequence of gaffes, but rather an invocation of a national tragedy that occurred in 1968 in reference to the first black man to have a real chance at the presidency. It was unforgivably insensitive to mention RFK’s assassination on the heels of Ted Kennedy’s recent brain cancer diagnosis, especially in the blasé fashion that she mentioned it.

Furthermore, using RFK’s June campaign as justification for her to remain in the race until June is completely inaccurate, because RFK didn’t begin campaigning in 1968 until March, and her husband likewise began campaigning at a later date than she did. It is not the same thing.

The superdelegates need to stop being gutless wonders- While Hillary Clinton has been saying things that are more and more divisive as her desperation grows (i.e. comparing the DNC’s punishment of Florida and Michigan to the kind of discrimination that fueled the civil rights movement, even though that comparison is ludicrous at best and intended to affect the very uninformed and the very dimwitted) she continues to be a distraction and a liability for the democratic party. The superdelegates need to end this by moving en masse to support Obama, and they need to end it now.

For Hillary Clinton, the first candidate to say that delegates would determine the winner of the democratic primary election, to act like the delegate system is some bizarre loophole as opposed to the legitimate system of election is nothing short of ridiculous.

If Obama had, like Hillary, kept resetting the benchmark for winning the primary, he’d have been out by now. If Obama had lied about sniper fire, he would’ve been out by now. If Obama had lost ten straight contests, he’d have been out by now. Hillary is now only in the race because she’s Hillary.

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 1:47 am  Comments (1)  
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We Hate Smart People Because (Republican) Politicians Tell Us To

The current presidential election has brought into the collective psyche a hatred for intellectualism. This sentiment was created by Republican politicians (we can trace the current brand to its origins in the 2000 election, though elements of it have been floating around in the cultural stratosphere for some time) who think that the vast majority of Americans are too stupid to realize that, while they tout their everyman/woman-ness, they are also ivy-league grads and, compared to your average joe, fabulously wealthy. The reason we hate intellectuals is because politicians can fool us into believing (as we did in the 2000 election) that intellectuals are somehow out-of-touch. I think that idea has been disproven through the trials and tribulations of the failed Bush administration. Would Al Gore or John Kerry have been as “out-of-touch” as George W. Bush? My guess is, probably not, because Al Gore wouldn’t have denied global warming (and dismissed it as a figment of the liberal imagination, no less) and John Kerry would not have Ok’d the barbaric torture tactics that are currently being used. In either case, the candidate that was branded as “out of touch” and “elitist” would have been the smarter choice. Therefore, whenever the Republicans start calling someone elitist, we should all take that as an incentive to run, not walk, to the polls, and vote for them. We need to stop being distracted by who may or may not wear an enameled piece of metal (the flag pin) on their lapel and pay attention to the fact that, by electing a Republican, we will turn back the clock on human rights through an all-conservative court. We need to stop thinking that Barack isn’t patriotic enough, because he’s running for president, and he wouldn’t be doing so if he hated America. We need to stop being the wheelbarrow, hat, dog, or boot in the Republican game of Monopoly.

The funny thing is, the Republicans have invented this concept of a liberal elite that they are able to contrast to their own “normalcy.” What is rarely, if ever, mentioned, is that there is a much larger group of conservative elites- you know, the elite class that actually benefits from Bush’s economic policy?

Now, we see Barack Obama, who was raised by a single mother and whose family had to go on food stamps, being called out of touch. You know what’s really out of touch? Thinking that we’ll believe it this time around.

America: If you like a candidate because they seem like you could have a beer with them, then have a beer with them. Don’t make them President.

“Dream ticket” a nightmare

There has been a lot of speculation both in the media and amongst us ordinary folk about the possibility of a “dream ticket” of Obama-Clinton. While I understand the rationale behind this idea, I think that the “dream” would prove to be a nightmare. Here are the three most common arguments for an Obama-Clinton ticket and why they aren’t strong enough to justify its existence.

Argument 1: Clinton’s supporters won’t vote for Obama. Therefore, she needs to be his running mate.

Why it doesn’t hold up: Clinton supporters are still democrats, and when the general election begins, democrats will see the clear contrast between John McC (aka GWB’s third term) and Barack Obama, and they will vote for the democrat. John McC is not a viable alternative to a democratic candidate. Those who say they’ll vote for him instead of Obama are short-sighted and unwilling to give up the dream for Clinton- and if they really will vote for John McC instead of Obama, then they’re idiots.

Argument 2: Hillary wins swing states that Obama can’t win.

Why it doesn’t hold up: First of all, Obama is redefining the electoral map. He is bringing in states for the democratic party that have been red states for some time. Secondly, does anybody really think Californians will vote for a pro-life Republican candidate over Obama?

Argument 3: There’s so much excitement and voter turnout for these two candidates that we risk losing the voter turnout if we don’t have a “dream ticket.”

Why it doesn’t hold up: As in my previous refutation, if Obama is the nominee, Hillary supporters will not flock in droves to John McC. It just won’t happen. However, if Hillary is the nominee, you can bet that many African American voters won’t vote. The ratio of African American Obama supporters to African American Hillary supporters is 9:1. If Hillary is nominated at this point, with the math against her, it will look like she stole the nomination from Obama. Which, in effect, is exactly what it would be. In order for her to win, (though even discussing this is far-fetched and I wouldn’t be discussing it at all if Obama’s and Clinton’s roles were reversed) Michigan and Florida would have to count. Neither of the “elections” in these states were true elections. Obama and Edwards pulled their names off the ballot in Michigan because they knew that the date set for the primary was outside party rules. Hillary, however, let her name remain on the ballot (because when has she actually cared about rules?) and picked up the votes. She even said in October that “Michigan won’t count for anything and everyone knows that.” In Florida, all candidates were forbidden from campaigning because the date set for the primary was likewise illegal according to democratic party rules. Now Hillary wants the vote to count. She wants two states that conducted their primaries illegally to essentially tip the popular vote scale in her favor. She wants illegal primaries to determine the outcome of the election, which in my mind equals a nomination theft.

Furthermore, all gramps would have to do is replay that clip of Hillary saying “John McCain and I both have a lifetime of experience” over and over again if she were Obama’s running mate.

We won’t lose voters sans-“dream ticket” because they will be energized by the general election- the contrast of old vs. new, progress vs. maintaining the status quo, inspiration vs. complete lack of vision- and they will unite behind Obama. He doesn’t need Clinton, but she needs him.

Also, Clinton seems to have an unnerving effect on Obama, and is, as the NYT called her, his “jane jinx.” He needs a running mate who likewise voted against the Iraq war (we need to have a distinct contrast with John McC on that topic) and who will fit in with Obama’s message of hope, inspiration, and a return to America’s greatness. HRC is not that candidate.

Coming soon: The real “dream ticket” and who’s on it.

“We will end it by telling the truth”

The following is an excerpt from Barack Obama’s speech that was made following his win in NC and virtual tie in IN.

Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee because he says “not this time” to all the cynics and doubters, to all those who think that you can only play in the political arena by taking cheap shots, and to all those who underestimate the voters and think that blatant, old-school pandering will win elections. To “Change We Can Believe In,” Barack Obama and the United States of America say “Yes, we can.”

“We will end it this time not because I’m perfect – I think by now this campaign has reminded all of us of that.  We will end it not by duplicating the same tactics and the same strategies as the other side, because that will just lead us down the same path of polarization and gridlock.  

We will end it by telling the truth – forcefully, repeatedly, confidently – and by trusting that the American people will embrace the need for change.  

Because that’s how we’ve always changed this country – not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up; when you – the American people – decide that the stakes are too high and the challenges are too great. 

The other side can label and name-call all they want, but I trust the American people to recognize that it’s not surrender to end the war in Iraq so that we can rebuild our military and go after al Qaeda’s leaders.  I trust the American people to understand that it’s not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but our enemies – like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.  

I trust the American people to realize that while we don’t need big government, we do need a government that stands up for families who are being tricked out of their homes by Wall Street predators; a government that stands up for the middle-class by giving them a tax break; a government that ensures that no American will ever lose their life savings just because their child gets sick.  Security and opportunity; compassion and prosperity aren’t liberal values or conservative values – they’re American values.”

In Defense of “Judas” #2 and the First Amendment

“I hope that Joe Andrew gets a taste of what he did to Hillary Clinton. Too bad he changed his flight reservations on 9/11.”

This was a comment that I received from a Hillary Clinton supporter. While I definitely don’t think that all Hillary supporters have nearly as much hate-and yes- bitterness in their hearts as this person, I think that this comment shows how some in her campaign are viciously and angrily responding to Joe Andrew’s switch from supporting Clinton to supporting Obama.

We could all predict it. When New Mexico governor Bill Richardson endorsed Barack Obama for president, the Clintons called him “Judas.” Well, if Hillary Clinton is “Jesus,” I don’t really want to be “saved” by such a negative campaign.

According to the particular Clinton supporter I quoted, and to some in the Clinton campaign, you’re not allowed to change your mind in this country. You aren’t allowed to speak freely. In their view of the world, you had better keep quiet once you start thinking differently.

Apparently, they were absent during their junior high social studies class, because isn’t it a fundamental right in this country to be able to express your opinion? Maybe, like so many things in the Clintons’ world, the rules have changed.

I don’t hate Hillary. I hate the way she is running her campaign. I write in defense of “Judas” #2, former DNC chairman Joe Andrew. He is allowed to speak his mind and change it if he pleases. He is allowed because this is the United States of America.

This is a moment in history that we should be celebrating- we will have either the first African-American or first woman president come November. We’re all seeing it happen! We’re witnessing it! But if we spend our time feeling anger in our hearts towards our fellow Democrats and countrymen, then we miss the point completely. However, I’m definitely included in this because I experience many a moment of frustration with those who think differently than me. Despite my own imperfection, I ask any of you who might share the above person’s views to please reconsider and ask yourselves if you really want to stand for such negativity. I don’t have an issue with Hillary supporters being Hillary supporters, I have an issue with people who think that others with a differing opinion should be silenced. The First Amendment guarantees us the right to express ourselves through freedom of speech, and this is a right that we should all respect and embrace.