Category: Barack Obama

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?

On Iraq Funding: A Moment for Obama

Senator Barack Obama has run a campaign criticizing what he calls the Politics of the Moment all the while campaigning for his moments. Well, if this is true, an Obama Moment can emerge:

Despite their rhetoric about not wanting to hand President Bush another “blank check” for the Iraq War, Democrats appear poised to give him exactly that — enough cash to keep the war going full steam for as long as six months, no strings attached.

. . .Democrats are quietly preparing to give the president enough spending flexibility to keep the war going anyway. . . . Democrats began approving billions in extra funding, starting with the first stopgap spending resolution [I have no idea what Roll Call is talking about here. I kow of no additional funding measrues that have been passed since the Iraq Supplelemental that was passed prior to Petraeus's testimony. Frankly, I think Roll Call is wrong.] Next up will be the regular Defense spending bill, expected to go to conference committee Tuesday. Although the bill is not expected to include funding specifically targeted to Iraq, Democrats plan to allow much of the funding to be diverted from regular Defense accounts to the war. . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) The House can not pass such funding without the Senate. Senator Obama, just say no. Put a hold on such a bill. Lead a filibuster against it. This is your moment. Prove you are more than just pretty words.

The Problem With Obama

The Problem With Obama is the discussion of the day. I especially liked Stoller's and Bowers' discussion. Stoller quoted an earlier piece:

Obama is scared.  He hasn't had to make choices for a long time . . . We haven't yet seen what a Barack Obama would fight for in a public debate, and it's something I'd like to see. . . .

Fighting. Obama is not a fighter. That is the problem. In July 2006, I wrote:

How did FDR do it and can Democrats defend FDR liberalism today? Maybe not by calling it FDR liberalism but they surely can and do when they have the courage of their convictions. The most prominent of these instances was the fight to save Social Security Faced with Media hostility, Republican demagogy and flat out lies, Democrats rallied to the FDR liberalism banner and crushed the Republican attempts to roll back the clock. FDR would have been proud of Democrats in that fight. No triangulation. Good old fashioned political populism won the day.

And that is FDR's lesson for Obama. Politics is not a battle for the middle. It is a battle for defining the terms of the political debate. It is a battle to be able to say what is the middle.

Obama refuses to fight for Democratic and progressive values. He holds them of course. But he does not fight for them. He believes in finding “common ground” and, in the process, simply does not fight. He does not work to persuade the persuadable. As a politician fighting for issues, he fails (while perhaps succeeding in burnishing his own image.) If you are committed to Obama, you can be pleased with his political style. If you are committed to Democratic and progressive values, I think you can not be satisfied. More. 

That Went Well

Obama gets his just desserts:

Surprise, surprise, surprise. Obama's anti-gay religious right activist used the opportunity Obama gave him last night to preach his hate to thousands of African-Americans. That's just great. And the white preacher who Obama picked to help explain to the audience that gays aren't minions of Satan? CNN reports that he said nothing at all – just a short little prayer, then he left. As for Obama, he did a taped introduction in which he praised McClurkin, the religious right activist, as one of his favorites. That's nice, because the way to help combat homophobia in the black community is to make sure the gay-basher is first endorsed by someone as high-ranking as Obama, who then chooses to say nothing about the gay-bashing.

Barack Obama is ready to take on the enemy!

Senator Barack Obama has finally decided to forcefully take on the enemy!


“I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breaches, and intentional breaches of the president’s authority,” he said.

USA Today

As opposed to the trivial breaches committed by Bush.

The war?

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

I think it’s hard to project four years from now,” said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation’s first primary state.


Maybe for someone who is not ready to lead.


Obama said only that “if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it” — a transparent hedge given that it is virtually certain that the bill (being marked up this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee) will not come to the floor in its “current form.” That makes Obama’s statement virtually worthless, filled — as intended — with plenty of room for him to vote for amnesty if and when the Senate votes on it.

Glenn Greenwald

Following in Dodd’s footsteps, but not following all the way.


“First, Pastor McClurkin believes and has stated things about sexual orientation that are deeply hurtful and offensive to many Americans, most especially to gay Americans. This cannot and should not be denied.

At the same time, a great many African Americans share Pastor McClurkin’s beliefs. This also cannot be ignored.

Finally, we believe that the only way for these two sides to find common ground is to do so together.”

Huffington Post

Common ground? With bigots?

Well, okay- not those enemies. This enemy…

in Other news… International Edition! (with bonus Barack)

Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “other” community.

  • If you really need your heart broken today, check out the state of Iraqi LGBT, a group that has been running safe houses in Iraq for people who’d otherwise be targets for brutal anti-gay violence.  Two of their shelters are scheduled to close due to lack of funds, and a recent attempt to raise money yielded relatively slim results.  The situation in Iraq is dire:

    Violence against all the gay community has intensified sharply since late 2005, when Iraq’s leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa (religious decree) which declared that gays and lesbians should be “killed in the worst, most severe way”.

    Though there are many crises in Iraq, this is a rare one that we can have a direct impact on, since the houses provide shelter for victims under threat of violence.  Read through the site if you have the stomach for it, and please consider making a donation to maintain the shelters.

  • Congratulations to Singapore, which just decriminalized sodomy…. Whoops: only if you’re straight!  The Singapore parliament finally released legal restrictions on oral and anal sex, provided the participants = one man + one woman. In a seriously bizarre statement, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the government could not allow decriminalization of anti-family homosexuality, but then delivered this nugget:

    Gays “are free to lead their lives and pursue their social activities,” the Prime Minister said, citing the existence of gay websites and gay bars…

    Lee said keeping the statute unchanged, while not aggressively enforcing it, remained the best option.

    (h/t Towleroad)

  • In happier news, I’m sure you’ve heard that some character in some ludicrously popular series was apparently gay.  Major props to author J. K. Rowling, who just assured that her novels will be burned in schools for many decades to come.

    Seriously, major props to her: there’s no reason she had to go back and announce that a dead character in a completed series was gay, other than to stick it to the fundies.  Maybe I’ll actually read her books now, in gratitude!

African American Leaders on Equal Rights For Gays

There can be no doubt that Senator Barack Obama is a proponent of gay rights. There should be no question on that point. But in their zealous defense of their candidate regarding the McClurkin controversy, some Obama supporters have argued that a strong defense of gay rights alienates African American voters. This is not borne out by the positions taken by these African American leaders.

John Lewis:

FROM TIME to time, America comes to a crossroads. With confusion and controversy, it’s hard to spot that moment. We need cool heads, warm hearts, and America’s core principles to cleanse away the distractions.

We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

Al Sharpton:

[S]ome high-profile black ministers continue to employ an agenda focused solely on sexually-based themes, like denying a women’s right to choose an abortion or a gay couple’s right to marry, to rally their congregations and drive a wedge through our people.

Not only are they speaking narrowly on the issues of gay marriage and abortion, but even as the Supreme Court is today taking on affirmative action, there has been silence from the black church.

Many African-Americans recognize the narrowness of scope of these beliefs. To that end, we held a conference — The National Conference and Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church — in Dallas, Texas, last week where more than 100 ministers restated and reemphasized what issues are of dire importance to the black populace as a whole.

David Dinkins:

At times ebullient, at times seemingly close to tears of joy, Mayor David N. Dinkins defied his detractors yesterday and joined a rousing dance at an outdoor celebration in Greenwich Village with the Irish lesbians and gay men he had joined in Saturday’s abuse-marred St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“The behavior of some people yesterday was despicable,” the Mayor declared as scores of people at the party in Sheridan Square surged around him on a springlike afternoon, chanting his name over and over and singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

“You did the right thing!” someone shouted.

“We all did the right thing,” Mr. Dinkins responded.

Yes of course, like of all our society, there is homophobia in the African-American community. But to portray this unacceptable view as dominant in the African-American political makeup is simply false.

The Plot Thickens For Obama on McClurkin

Via Aravosis, HRC weighs in:

The nation’s biggest gay rights group is trying to force Sen. Barrack Obama (D-Ill.) to cancel presidential campaign event with a controversial preacher who claims he was homosexual but has been cured. The Human Rights Campaign has expressed its strong reservations to Obama over his campaign-sponsored tour that features gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. The influential organization, representing a powerful Democratic constituency, let Obama’s campaign know that it would issue a public demand if Obama did not immediately cancel the event, said a person who had been briefed on the exchange….

See also this:

A gay rights group has urged Barack Obama to cut ties with a gospel singer who it says spreads false information about homosexuality being a choice.Donnie McClurkin is among several gospel singers scheduled to raise money for the Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate at a concert in South Carolina this weekend. McClurkin has drawn attention from gay rights activists for his views on homosexuality.

“We strongly urge Obama to part ways with this divisive preacher who is clearly singing a different tune than the stated message of the campaign,” Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, said in a statement.

McClurkin is “Just a Supporter” like I’m Walter Cronkite

One argument that I’ve heard repeated ad nauseam for the past few days is that Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin is nothing more than one of Senator Obama’s supporters.

Inland says it here:


Last I knew, a president needed half the country. (1+ / 0-)
Anyone that thinks that they are going to love all the supporters of the democratic candidate…..well, it’s not that small a country.

[. . .]

by Inland on Tue Oct 23, 2007 at 07:38:25 PM EDT
[ Parent | Reply to This |Recommend  Troll ]


What A Cult Of Personality Can Do

Geekesque is one of my better blogging friends now. Ironically so, as a spat he and I had was the the first step to the mutual decision made by Kos and I to go our separate ways re: Daily Kos. He is a smart fellow. Very astute. But like I was with Clark in 2004, he defends Obama no matter what and dreams up ways to justify his actions. Take this diary:

In other words, if a candidate appears on stage with 100 black South Carolinians, 62 of them share the basic beliefs of McClurkin towards homosexuality.  (They may not have his zany ex-gay beliefs, but then most of them probably weren’t repeatedly raped by a male relative as a child).

If there are 10,000 people in the audience at a gospel concert, 6,200 hold the same basic beliefs as Donnie McClurkin.

Supposing that were true, the obvious point here is those 6,200 are not representing the Obama campaign, McClurkin is. Look, this whole thing was a monumentla STAFF fuckup. If they knew then what they know now, McClurkin would not be within a 100 miles of Obama. My own damage copntrol advice for Obama would be to ask McClurkin to “voluntarily” drop out because he is a “distraction.”

The Top Tier on the Near-term Future of Geopolitics: I Got Nothin’.


I really can’t say what we’ll inherit.  Sure, I spent 8 years in the White House with Bill, but I wasn’t really paying attention to geopoliltics and shit.  And that was a while ago, anyway.  Besides, my head is full of rocks.  You saw my vote on the AUMF.  That Iran vote was pretty mindless, too.  [Cackling noises].

“I mean, she’s a woman. Why would I not vote for a woman?”

“Well, I hope you’d vote for the best candidate, regardless of gender or race.”

“She is the best candidate. She’s smart, she knows how to play the game, she has visibility, she’s been through shit and survived, she’s someone who would have made it on her own, without her connection to her husband. I really believe that – she’s made me believe that.”

“What do you think about what many liberals are saying, the ones who write on the blogs I frequent? That she’s a corporatist, that she takes lobbyist money, that she’s beholden to big money?”

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