“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!

Olive Branch (An Open Letter to Clinton Supporters)

Dear Clinton supporters,

I want to address some recent allegations that women are yet again being told to “sit down and shut up” in respect to HRC’s failed candidacy. I think it’s sad that some look at Hillary Clinton, a woman who almost won the popular vote (I’m not counting Puerto Rico because they don’t vote in the general), and think that she’s being told to “sit down and shut up.” The reason that Hillary Clinton lost the nomination is because of a badly conceived campaign strategy that ended on February 5th, a disregard for the caucus states, and a largely negative tone. She did not lose because she is a woman, and it is a disservice to future female candidates for the presidency to create an false aura of prejudice in respect to Mrs. Clinton. Instead, we should look at how many people were willing to vote for a female candidate! America collectively owes itself a pat on the back for not conforming to sexism as it has previously.

One might argue that I’m not acknowledging the small instances of sexism, (remember “Iron our shirts”?) but what they don’t acknowledge is that there will always be elements of prejudice, i.e. West Virginia and the 20% of voters who said race was a factor in their vote. In this election, that prejudice has seemed pretty nominal overall. We’ve had record voter turnout for a black man and a woman.

The fact that we’ve had record turnout for a black man and a woman really demonstrates what the Democratic party is all about- progressive policies, acceptance of all religions, colors, and genders, and a desire for change. Clinton supporters, I know there’s a lot of bad blood out there in respect to the relations between both democratic candidates, but let’s take a look at what a revenge vote for John McCain would get us:

1. A foreign policy identical to that of George W. Bush, fear tactics and all

2. An economic policy identical to that of George W. Bush (tax cuts for the wealthy, trillions of dollars added to the deficit, and billions taken from frivolous things like medical research).

3. A Supreme Court with a majority of conservative justices- a Court that will turn back the clock on human rights. John McCain vows to work to overturn Roe v. Wade.

4. A man whose campaign has been rife with lobbyists (his economic advisor helped fight against victims of home foreclosure!)

5. Someone who has changed policy positions countless times based on political convenience. (see video in my post “McCain falls off the straight talk express again. and again. and again”)

So when you threaten to vote for McCain in November, think of the message you’ll be sending. A vote for McCain equals a vote for what we have right now. Are you happy with the way things are right now? If not, then remember what it means to be a Democrat. Hillary wants to beat McCain at all costs, so help her carry out that mission. That is how you can truly honor her, not by voting for her would-be opponent.

John McCain has been sitting on the sidelines silently, hoping for the Democrats to self-destruct when their win in November is almost certain. Let’s prove them wrong by rising above our intrapartisan squabbling and unifying behind the the Democratic nominee. I extend the Olive Branch to all Hillary supporters and hope that we can come together knowing that this fall is our time for victory. As Hillary has often says, “The goal is to have a Democrat in the White House.”

Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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…

Once-Inevitable-Hillary Accuses Everyone of “Sexism”

In light of Hillary Clinton’s recent allegations that people want her out of the race because they are “sexist,” I have to address the misconception that people who do not support a candidate can be boxed into such divisive terms as “sexist” or “racist” merely because they prefer another candidate. Interesting that there was no mention of “sexism” when she was the inevitable candidate who once proclaimed “It will be over by February 5th.”

As I watch political news, I see that we can, in effect, predict who will win a state’s primary based on the constituencies of each candidate. For example, West Virginia and Kentucky have few blacks and many whites without college degrees, so we could all predict that it would go for Clinton. North Carolina has a large black population, Oregon is more progressive, and Vermont has a lot of “latte liberals” or liberals with college degrees, so those states went for Obama.

But the misconception among, well, everyone, is that if you don’t support Hillary Clinton, then you don’t support a woman president, or that if you don’t support Barack Obama, then you’re a racist. While in some states like West Virginia where 20% of voters said that race was a factor in their vote, it is simply wrong to assume that we as a society are locked in a retrograde pattern for all eternity. To those who wonder if Obama is “electable enough,” he’s won 33 states to Hillary’s 17 and has raised much more money than either other candidate. Wouldn’t that lead someone to believe that he is electable?

While we can often predict who will vote for which candidate, we can’t define them in such general and divisive terms as “anti-woman-president” or “racist” in terms of who they do not support. For example, I fully support a woman president- I do not, however, support Hillary Clinton for president.

It is typical of Hillary to use the Republican playbook, especially the old Divide and Polarize Manouvre. Now, it seems that you’re either pro-Hillary or “sexist” with nothing in between.

This is the last anti-Hillary post I will write. I will now focus on John McCain, Obama’s opponent in the general election.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm  Comments (2)  
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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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“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.”

McCain proposes yet another continuation of the Bush administration. His target? The Supreme Court.

   John McCain uses the word “elitist” like the Spanish Inquisition used the word “heretic”- assuming that each mention of the Word will make everyday people quake in fear with each tri-syllabic utterance. He’s been proved right.

    Barack Obama, former Chicago community organizer and son of a single mom is now the “elitist” whilst Hillary Clinton, the woman who admittedly hasn’t pumped her own gas in years, becomes the blue-collar queen.

    The word “elitist” is being used by John McCain to describe the judges that Obama or Clinton would favor for a Supreme Court nomination. He warns us of “judicial activists”- the horror!- that “don’t seem to mind at all when fundamental questions of social policy are preemptively decided by judges instead of by the people and their elected representatives.”

    While a Cheney aide was subpoenaed to testify to the questionable interrogation practices of the Bush administration, it hardly seems like the time to, as McCain would guarantee, have an entirely conservative Court.

 McCain has, during his political career, pushed for a lifting of the law that bars the death penalty from being used for criminals under 18 years of age. He vows that, as President, he would also push to overturn Roe v. Wade, and would likely be successful with an all-conservative Court at his command.

    Americans must take much into consideration when deciding who they want to elect as President. A little-discussed but imperative question is that of the nomination of Supreme Court Justices. John McCain, seeking to shore up conservative support, vows to model his Supreme Court appointees after George W. Bush‘s.

    We can be certain that the advent of an all-conservative court would drastically affect our way of life. We can be certain that harsher interrogation techniques would be more easily approved. We can be certain that there will be a battle over Roe v. Wade- and that the effects of that battle will affect women across America.

    It is not responsible for democrats, who may be frustrated by the eventual choice of nominee, to suddenly transfer their votes to John McCain. To do so would equal waging war on liberal ideas from inside the party.