Category: Barack Obama

Impeachment: “Constitutional Scholar” Obama Opposed! w/poll

Apparently Senator Obama taught Constitutional law at one time.  Good for him.  Bad, apparently, for those who wish to hold the current administration accountable for their crimes.  Bad, apparently, for those who are worried that Dick and W aren’t restrained by the law or the Constitution (since they haven’t been during their entire administration).

Quit giving $$$ to politicians; give the gift of peace

We’ve been regularly donating to two presidential candidates — not large amounts, but smaller contributions about once a month – for the past year.

But we’ve declared a moratorium on those checks and online contributions until after there is a Democratic nominee.

Instead, we’re going to put that money somewhere that is more likely than any politician to end the war in Iraq.

Whether we max out to Obama, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Clinton or whomever isn’t going to have the slightest impact on their policy stance.  Our contributions are a drop in the multi-million dollar campaign bucket.

The same amount of  money, given to an organization working to stop the war, is far more likely to actually accomplish something.

Obama Supporters: a couple of questions

I lean Edwards, but will vote for the Democratic nominee.  Of the current field, Obama would be my second choice.  I’ve given money to Edwards, Obama, and Dodd.  I like Obama more than Hillary, less than Edwards at this point.

I don’t believe in candidate tear-down diaries (hell, I barely believe in diaries at all lately), but I have some concerns/fears about an Obama candidacy and really want to be convinced that my fears can be put aside. Especially in light of recent polling.

As you can probably guess, my concerns involve electability, especially as it relates to race, experience, and temperament.  I would like to have a constructive conversation on these issues in a political context, but on showing this diary to fellow Kossacks and Docudharmentarians, I’ve been told it will be interpreted as a hit piece.  That’s not my intention, but I can’t control how readers perceive my writing or slant. I also threw in some general campaign questions I have if anyone’s interested.

Are You Inspired? Leadership and African American Politics III


You can fool some people sometimes,

   But you can’t fool all the people all the time.

   So now we see the light (what you gonna do?),

   We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)

   So you better:

   Get up, stand up! (in the morning! git it up!)

   Stand up for your rights! (stand up for our rights!)

   Get up, stand up!

   Don’t give up the fight! (don’t give it up, don’t give it up!)

   Get Up, Stand Up-Bob Marley and the Wailers

Britain’s Tories, Race/Ethnic Politics, and the 2008 Election

crossposted from Daily Kos, Truth & Progress, and My Left Wing

Ever since the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 during the American Civil War — when President Abraham Lincoln committed the Union to ending slavery — the issue of race has bedeviled not just the United States to this day but in recent decades, several European countries too as they struggle to assimilate minorities of color in their societies. Progressive-minded parties in Western liberal democracies have long been the home of minorities and immigrants seeking to benefit politically and economically from government policies designed to ease their assimilation into society. Some tangible successes notwithstanding, complete assimilation and recognition has often been elusive.  

As has been true for the Democratic Party since the 1930’s — when African-American voters started to switch their political allegiance from Lincoln’s Republican Party to the Democrats as President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs provided economic relief to the poor — minorities in Britain have long supported the Labour Party for over 50 years.  

Are we now witnessing an electoral drift from Labour to the Tories in Britain?  More on the flip side.

Why I support Obama: the importance of rational hope

Detractors of Obama often characterize him as all style, no substance. His inspiring rhetoric is portrayed as a cover for political shallowness; his charismatic charm is claimed to hide inexperience and naivety. Such criticism is uninformed. I won’t concern myself here with Obama’s record, except to note that it compares quite well to that of most of the other candidates from both parties and that I agree with most of his platform. Instead, I want to focus on his speeches, which reveal a mature understanding of the importance of rational hope in effecting change. Obama’s style has substance.

The Missed Opportunity

Some may not believe this, but I have been bending over backwards trying to become a solid supporter of Barack Obama. I really do believe he has a bundle of political talent and generally holds sound views on most issues. But as I have written since 2006, he has simply failed to be the type of Democratic politician we need in this political climate (See my many posts on Obama for more detail.)

Recognizing this problem, Matt Yglesias defends Obama:

I also think I should take my hat off to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — I think this has been less a failure on Obama’s part, then cleverness on Clinton’s. She’s managed to position herself on foreign policy issues in a way that signals her differences with Obama very clearly to the tiny community of specialists while completely blurring them to the broader audience of voters. I’m not sure how this can be overcome . .

I am sure how it can be done and should have been done for the past year at least – by leading on the issues NOW. As Markos writes:

I don’t know how many times I’ve written this, and maybe I’m just wasting my time, but rather than talk about leadership, Obama and Clinton could actually shows us what that leadership looks like by fighting to prevent the Senate from capitulating on Iraq.

Honestly, Yglesias, like too many Left wonks, has been oblivious to what Congress can do on Iraq. It is a terrible blind spot. For them, if it is not in a position paper, Foreign Affairs article or “big speech,” it as if it does not exist. Look at his lament:

I’m not sure how this can be overcome, but I’m sure it can’t be overcome by having writers further obscure the differences by focusing primarily on what a good job Clinton’s done of obscuring them.

The basic reality is that each and every time the candidates stake out a position on something, Clinton takes a less-liberal line. Then each and every time Obama starts getting traction with the argument that Clinton is too hawkish, she backtracks and makes the argument that there’s no real difference here. And it’s true that if you look at any one thing with a microscope, the “no difference” argument can be made to stick. But it’s the pattern that matters . . .

This is, in a word, absurd. There are no substantive differences on what to do NOW, despite attempts by Yglesias and others to pretend there are, among the Big 3. The only candidate who has made real differences on these big issues has been Chris Dodd – by leading NOW.

Unfortunately, Dodd just seems unable to get any traction. Partly because writers like Matt Yglesias pay no attention to what the Congress can do on Iraq. Maybe they would if OBAMA leads in the Senate NOW.

Novak Needs to Resign

(Cross posted at DailyKos)

I saw this over the weekend and filed it in my “dead issue” mental file.

But, today, it is still there!

My question is: why would anyone believe anything that Novak writes anymore? The man should not even be allowed to write a column, even from a jail cell.

He traitorously outed a CIA spy and experienced no charges or reprimand. Now he publishes a little gossip rag and someone actually believes it!!!!! He should put up and shut up. If he has proof, surrender it. If he knows who is planting this trash, expose them or else cease and desist.

Should Edwards and Obama Be In Prison?

In the ending minutes of the Democratic Presidential Debate on MSNBC two weeks ago, Tim Russert asked the candidates if any of them disagreed with Sen. Chris Dodd’s recent statement that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana.  Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards both raised their hands.  Edwards gave his reasons for his opposition:

“I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we’re sending the right signals to young people.”

This is a very interesting statement on the part of John Edwards, and on the part of Barack Obama.  Because John Edwards admitted to having used marijuana during the 2003 Democratic Presidential debate sponsored by “Rock the Vote”.  Obama has gone even further; in his book “Dreams From My Father”, Obama wrote:

“I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years.  Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.  Not smack, though.”

What is particularly fascinating about these statements by these candidates for the Presidency is that they are supporting criminal penalties which they themselves admit having avoided, which in many cases would not only prevent them from being viable candidates for their current and previous elected offices, but would prevent them from even having the opportunity to vote for themselves.  Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote for current or former felony convictions.  Over two million of those Americans are denied the right to vote after having completed their sentence and parole or probation, for the rest of their lives.  

Obama Stands Tall On Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Aliens

This is a great and powerful moment for Senator Barack Obama:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il, is standing by his support for granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, even after Gov. Eliot Spitzer, D-NY, abandoned the proposal amidst rising political opposition.

“Obama said in the debate he supported it and he's standing by it,” an aide to the Senator told the Huffington Post. “He supported a similar bill in the state senate as a law enforcement measure.”

Obama's backing stands in stark contrast to the position taken by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, whose campaign now cites the issue as a basic policy difference between the two Democratic frontrunners.

This is Barack Obama's finest moment in this campaign. And Senator Hillary Clinton's lowest. This is certainly a contrast moment and is the strongest evidence to date of the differences the two would bring to leading the country. I have said that if I were to vote today, I would vote for Barack Obama. Prior to this, it would have been a reluctant vote in his favor. Now it would be a proud vote for Obama. This is the promise he has shown now manifested in REAL leadership.

Is this guy ready to be president?

I admit that I never understood the premise of Barack Obama’s presidential run. He’s very smart, very articulate, and very charismatic, but he’s never done anything, never led on any issue, never made clear why he’s different than any of the other candidates. He’s good at raising money. He has the rock star thing going for him. But what makes him presidential material?

I never bought into the whole Purple thing, either. I love the color, but this is not a time to be compromising with a Republican Party that that has gone from red to infra-red. This is a time for reestablishing what the Democratic Party is about, and what America is about. The Purple thing doesn’t do that. When he was elected to the Senate, I thought Obama would learn, grow, get some accomplishments under his belt, and eventually become president. Plenty of time. Plenty to learn. Plenty of room to grow. When he decided to run, this time, I thought his ego and ambition had gotten ahead of him.

So, I have to be open about the fact that I was always skeptical about this run. Then came the Donnie McClurkin disaster. At first, I assumed it was a clumsy staffing mistake, and I discounted those who took a more cynical view. I assumed Obama would fix it. His subsequent actions have convinced me the cynics were right. I now believe Obama is just another craven, calculating politician. Throwing gays under the bus may give him a boost in South Carolina, and it probably won’t hurt him in Iowa or New Hampshire, so why be principled when there are votes to be had?

Now comes this, from the New York Daily News:

Barack Obama sparked a generational fight Wednesday by trashing White House rival Hillary Clinton for being too old to unite America, saying she and others her age have fought the same tired fights for too long.

“I think there’s no doubt that we represent the kind of change that Sen. Clinton can’t deliver on, and part of it is generational,” Obama, 46, said on Fox News. “Sen. Clinton and others, they’ve been fighting some of the same fights since the ’60s, and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done.”

Experts and opponents pounced, saying Obama’s remarks could offend the most reliable voters, people older than 50 – especially in early-voting Iowa. “You are counting precisely on an older group of Democrats in Iowa,” said Iowa State University’s Steffen Schmidt. “You can’t tell them they’re backward-looking. Somebody should be fired in his campaign.”

It’s just stupid. Obama keeps demonstrating that he doesn’t get what it is to be on the big stage, and that he doesn’t understand how to retain his own political framing. Older voters matter a lot more than gay voters, to someone making cold political calculations, so I expect Obama will actually do something, this time, to make amends. The contrast between how he handles this and how he handled the McClurkin situation will only further demonstrate why he didn’t bother to make a serious effort, that time. But these stumbles just further demonstrate that his premise of being a unifier is nothing but political babble. He plays the game, and he doesn’t even yet play it well. And he has still yet to take an original stand that differentiates himself from any other candidate on any major issue.

Many Obama supporters try to make the race a binary: it’s him or Hillary, so we’d best get on board. Frankly, at this point, I’m not sure he wants to force that choice.

Ron Paul and the Democrats We Deserve

So, yesterday, Republican Ron Paul raised $4.07 million, in a Guy Fawkes Day fundraising stunt.  That is more money than any other Republican has raised in a single day, although it falls short of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s biggest single day take.

Dr. Paul is a candidate whose campaign has caused no shortage of consternation, both among us here on the political left, as well as in Republican circles.  Dr. Paul is, after all, a nut.  He’s an unapologetic isolationist, a goldbug, a religious fundamentalist, and a possible to probable racist.  He polls at under 5% in nearly every poll.

So why is this person who most Americans had never heard of a year ago outraising nearly all Republican contenders and most Democrats, without any support from major lobbys or corporations, and drawing adoring crowds nearly everywhere he goes?

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