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Froma Harrop: Obama, Say-Nothing Superstar

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Posted on Dec 26, 2006

Froma Harrop

To fully grasp the allure of Barack Obama—the Illinois Democrat and media sensation—it helps to start with his fellow senators from neighboring Indiana.

In 1996, Richard Lugar ran for president as a brainy, issue-oriented moderate and all-around decent guy. He said back then that the voters had tired of the mud-throwing and cheap sound bites in Washington. “If they really want shouters and screamers,” the dark-suited Lugar said, “then they’ll vote for someone else.”

Lugar lost the Republican nomination to Bob Dole, who then lost the election to Bill Clinton.

Indiana’s junior senator, Democrat Evan Bayh, recently visited New Hampshire to weigh his prospects for a 2008 presidential run. He was flattened by crowds running to see Obama, and dropped out.

What was Obama saying that other centrists would not have? Absolutely nothing.

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Obama talked about ending the nastiness in Washington and taking personal responsibility, and said that government can’t solve all problems—platitudes empty of all controversy. If anything, his colleagues from Indiana would surely have offered more exciting commentary.

Obama’s appeal comes not from the things he says, but from who is saying them. He scores as an exotic who talks of barbershops and church socials in the flat tones you’d expect from any son of the prairie.

Had Bayh been half-Kenyan and raised in Hawaii by white grandparents from Kansas, he too would have become a political star, at least for the month of December. But he is a conventional white man. When Bayh speaks in the quiet Midwestern way, he gets tarred as lackluster.

Listen to Obama:

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.” These unremarkable words, spoken at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, set off wild applause.

And here is the similar quote that got hearts thumping in New Hampshire: “We’ve got a series of very important decisions to make, and we have the opportunity to make them, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. And it’s that promise that I’m most excited about.”

Obama likes to say things like “We can do better” and “America is ready for a new set of challenges.” He is all for “a spiritual recovery.”

The senator dislikes the “either-or” type of debate and warns against “false choices.” He’s not too left, not too right. Sort of black, and sort of white.

Obama is humble in all the right places. Before a thousand swooning fans in New Hampshire, he says, Evita-like: “This isn’t about me. This is about you.” One gets the impression from his public appearances and book, “The Audacity of Hope,” that he doesn’t even get a haircut without first consulting his wife.

What Obama really thinks should be done about healthcare and the terrorist threat remains a secret that his book does not unlock. His two years in the Senate certainly haven’t revealed any bold policy ideas.

This leave-them-guessing strategy slips out in the book’s prologue. “I serve as a blank screen,” Obama writes, “on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” He notifies readers that “my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete.” It takes some doing for a politician to write a 364-page book, his second volume, and skate past all controversy.

Obama does seem to have an impressive résumé and polish. And it’s not his fault that a mania for some new political face intrudes on every presidential election season. But one does wish, for the sake of democracy, that we could skip the crush and give less glamorous contenders who actually say something more of a hearing.

Copyright 2006 The Providence Journal


New and Improved Comments

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By Arthur Burghardt, January 4, 2007 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you, and absolutely right on, dear Eleonore Kjellberg, comment #44720! I had not read your comment until just now and it was a lot more (a light year more) balanced than my own tirade. Obama is young man who has a lot to learn before we elevate him to statesman and it makes sense that he’s a bit overly acquisitive as well: fodder for the scandal grist mills of D.C. (For his and all our sakes: I sincerely hope not!)Things and property don’t make the man(or the woman). And for the record: I am Black and proud of it but I am more proud of the fact that I take a properly jaundiced look at faddishness and strident high sounding rhetorical flights - a strong indicator of empty-headed foolishness in ALL our politicians and pray stridently that I won’t get fooled again! I am myself an orator, but I have learned that I must walk as I talk and be vigilant with regard to my own disingenuous behavior when it crops up, and not make promises I cannot keep. Votes be damned.  nappyblack.

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By moi, January 3, 2007 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Co-sign!!

———————————

“Comment #44023 by nappyBlackIsBack!  on 12/27 at 4:30 pm

Right freaking ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Senator Obama (obamaramalamadingdong!!!!!!!!!!!) is all oratorical sound and (whimperishly oratund) fury signifying (little) or f——-g nothing! His book says nothing! NOTHING! I am Afr-Amer and would even prefer a mildly odious white man or woman who has a positively decent stand to take on something for the good of the commonweal! Well, something tells me - as a gnat at my ear - that this sweet-faced child of God (spouting the theodicy of nothingness ala Seinfeld with a tint) is just a faddish political money front, a nearly (I’ll give him that) empty suit of clothes and mind: that is, he ain’t very bright either or very knowledgeable of history, particularly of the disastrous and formative American 19th, with which these times are critically parallel! (Dubya reminds me of puppet President Polk so much I won’t bother to connect the dots for those who do not know - but the rest of you look at it - the parallels are there!) We want a change so deeply that this antidote to hate and corporate nepotism in our scandal ridden government that this oracular sweet faced “political prodigy” looks real good.  American suckas ‘ll fall for anything. Pretty soon, this brainless sweet faced product of political ads and Dem Party money will be quoting Frederick Douglass - whoops FD is still too controversial for the fence sitters - and not know what the f—k he’s talkin’ about. But what do I know, he is so skinny cuddly femmy cute (right lonely voting ladies?)as he stands (sits) on the fence behind daises so comfortably in the bloodless hollow middle! He hasn’t been in politics or even in the Senate long enough to consider even thinking of running for the presidency or even of wiping his mother’s milk off his lips to maturely deal with that snearing brutish Trent Lott and a couple of others who wait in leer. This is just a know nothing boy! Does anybody see this with me?? Has he written one bill?! He is the new homogenized flavorless sweet faced negro fad of the month, I guess, who has no real ideas of good governance in the midst of our present crises, just the ability NOT to engender fear in the average white - middle aged - middle American - middle class voter, who also has no balls or intestinal fortitude these days it seems either. And to the African American electorate he is a sop thrown at us - we is so well represented! Tank yew, massa! We Americans are the comical jest of the whole world right now; just look at our damned candidates and WHO THE HELL WE CHOOSE. How many of you can see behind the facade of this poor child that people like Okrah are throwing to the wolves of the Senate? In our president, we need a man (or woman) of wisdom, substance, and intellectual gravitas to replace this hickish, cowardly prevaricating, dumb, draft-dodging, lout and buffoon front man for the so called “Neo-Conservatuives” in Bush, who cannot be anyone’s CIC! Our kids are dying and this negro kid who ain’t seen shit in life is RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES ON HIS LIPS AND HIS LOOKS. Whatever, I cannot have this brown skinned boy as my CIC, for he has no discernible ideas for good governance, nor do I see him taking risks and stands that will move us all as a united people forward. This guy is the same old empty headed, spineless, stupid s—t we elected (or allowed to be elected in Bush 2)- but in black (brown) face.  nappyblack is back, baby!”
———————-

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By Ben Takin, January 2, 2007 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“More disgusting racist patronization of Black people by guilty Whites…
So what else is new?”

Jeremy,
How typical to dismiss all ideas, by calling them racist—don’t project your own idiosyncrasies on everyone else.

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By Jeremy Rothrock, January 2, 2007 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More disgusting racist patronization of Black people by guilty Whites…

So what else is new?

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By S, January 1, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s interesting how we are supposed to automatically assume that a “son of the prairie” is white.

Oh, and “exotic”? Are you kidding me? According this post, those poor white male politicians, who aren’t getting enough credit for representing the ‘real America’ and ‘regular’ Americans. According to the poster, people of color just shouldn’t enter politics; their perceived statuses as the ‘other’ and as ‘foreigners’ are too much of a threat to people like the poster.

The white-normativity in this post is repugnant.

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By Skruff, January 1, 2007 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

According to the posters below, a “canidate must voice a position.”

Some of the positions suggested include;

MPG policy relieving dependence on off shore oil supplies.

Bush voiced such a position (hydrogen cell fueling) but failed to act when in office.

Immigration reform
Bush talked of his ideas regarding immigration reform however he could not get his own party’s support.

He also campaigned on reforming social security,
making education more relevant and limiting abortion.

He will leave office with none of those things accomplished.

What difference do a politician’s stated positions make?

None!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 31, 2006 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

B.O. is a bit acquisitive; he’s gone from wearing tattered sweaters and looking like a graduate student, to dressing in designer suits.  He’s now making big money: his reissued 1995 memoir brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars; the $1.9-million advance he got for his new three-book deal allowed him to move his family out of an apartment and into a new $1.6-million house in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

The Juxtaposition between, Obama, and someone like Alum Booker the Mayor of Newark N.J., is fascinating While Booker grew up in an affluent suburb in New Jersey it only made him more passionate about improving society. His concern about the ever increasing disparity between rich and poor provoked his involvement into public service.

Booker received a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors in 1991 and a master’s degree in sociology the following year. He then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and received an honors degree in modern history in 1994. He entered Yale Law School and received his law degree in 1997.

In 1998, Booker moved into Brick Towers, a housing project in Newark, in order to understand the tenants better and to help them demand better living conditions. In 2000, Booker lived in a motor home parked near locations where drug trafficking was known to occur.

Action speaks louder than words, when Obama stands on a platform and says he is interested in representing the forgotten, his authenticity sounds disingenuous when he parks his expensive car in front of his newly purchased $1.6- million dollar home.

Wanting stuff, is an especially dangerous characteristic in Washington, a city where the weakness for “stuff” makes one an easy victim to a town rife with corruption, a city where being “on the take” is endemic to a days work—will all the temptations be too much for Obama; a guy in search of the good life; perhaps, when he talks about religious values, he’s really referring to the prosperity gospel—-the theological worship of “things.”

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By mite, December 31, 2006 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one becomes President, Prime Minister, or any leader of a country unless they are approved by our masters. Who are the Masters?

“Give me control over a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes its laws”
    ~Mayer Amschel Rothschild, (1743-1812)

The Black Pope (Vatican), and International Bankers, World Bank, IMF, and (U.S.) our immediate masters, Federal Reserve Board Members and Federal Reserve.

Only two Presidents resisted these tyrants- Lincoln and Kennedy, and we know what happened to them. Regan began to make suggestions for change U.S. Green Backs (Real currency) as Kennedy signed a Executive Order 11110 to end federal reserve notes. They sent him a message- a bullet.

We may never expose the “Heads” our real masters but we can expose their Generals with effort and sacrifice-even death. But do we value freedom more then comfort? I wonder. Research: Council on Foreign Relations, Tri-Laterial Commission, and ‘The Bankruptcy of The United States’ March 9, 1933

I suggest some web sites to start us lazy people to the truth and then try library’s and other sources to verify truth. We better wake up people cause these evil tyrants have almost finished their plans. “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” An Introduction Programming Manual-TW-SW7905.1

http://www.lawfulpath.com  http://www.furnitureforthepeople.com

http://www.articbeacon.com  http://www.apfn.org

http://www.wtpconstitutionalactivism.org

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By The Great Stone Dragon, December 31, 2006 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I understand the reaction to Obama that Froma Harrop is looking to speak to, but I would have to agree that this piece is full of the same fluff the writer claims of Obama’s positions. Obama outclasses the rest of the crowd with his oratory skills and the hope is that the party can cobble together the platform that can win in ‘08. It would have been nice for Froma to actually do a little investigation into what Obama has done rather than what he hasn’t.

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By DennisD, December 31, 2006 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not interested in any candidate that speaks in generalities about WHAT needs to be done for THIS country. Anyone reading this page can fill up a list that would overwhelm the available space. I want to hear HOW, WHY and WHEN they would address specific issues and in what order of urgency. Cute slogans and a nice smile aren’t going to fix “this old house”. It’s been neglected way too long.

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By Brion Lutz, December 30, 2006 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually Obama, Edwards and Clinton are excellent candidates and would all make good presidents (we hope…never know until they do the job).

Harrop’s antipathy to Obama looks a bit shallow.  No list of issues and a person’s stand on that issue. Cutting US oil imports for example, Obama’s recent vote for 40mpg standard, Clinton’s vote against it and Edwards past history of not supporting mpg standard increases.

The candidates (and the Harrops) need to focus on the US problems (oil including Middle East wars and terrorism, deficits/debt, healthcare coverage and costs, trade deficits etc) and their proposed solutions to those problems.

McCain’s going to come to the 2008 campaign with solid track record on campaign finance reform, cutting US oil imports and deficit/debt. Democrats better be able to match him with real solutions or McCain will gain the independent voters and the election.

Be nice if Harrop would focus on the candidates positions on issues and their solutions vs. empty complaints about “empty suits”.

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By TOC, December 29, 2006 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find stunning that people can still fall for this democracy nonsense or think that “this or that politician” is Genuine.

The democrats lost to Bush twice? Really hard to believe but it happened. The democrat reaction was not to come up with a vision, but to whine “We was Robbed”

Last time this process of having candidates traipsing around Pig farms in Iowa and snow drifts in New Hampshire came up with not one but two Kennedy want-to-bes for the ticket. This time it seems to be a race between an extremely angry and possibly unstable Hillary and poor Obama, who reminds me of Bush, in the sense of how totally lost he is. He actually is beginning to believe the hype. What an ingenue. I wonder who Obama’s “Neo-Libs” will be that he will listen to opened mouthed like George did to guys like Wolfowitz, Cheney and the rest.

I am not a Republican. I was a Democrat when they with something that resembled an idea. That hasn’t happened in quite a while.

The problems we have in the States are moral and ethical, having to do with how we see our responsibilities as Human Beings. By the way, I am not at all religious.

Moral and ethical problems are never solved by politics. In fact, Morality and ethics are an anathema to politicians. Nor are they solved by Priests, Rabbis, Ministers, Imams and the like. They are solved by individual people. No one is addressing this in any meaningful way.

Change is in the streets, not in the Oval office. Obama? Hillary? At best false gods, at worst dangerous and lacking individuals.

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By b1, December 28, 2006 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If a candidate can’t win the general election it won’t matter how good he or she is.  Sadly, some choices have to be dismissed out of hand, because that’s how enough of the public will react.  It’s called REALISM, NOT CYNICISM.  In practical matters, like politics and business, one has to be realistic and rational.  The logic some people are giving in favor of considering Obama is the same dumb logic presented in defense of Nader’s candidacy, and pushed by the same people, including not a few Republicans hoping to sucker enough Dems to waste their vote.  Besides Obama is a lousy candidate.

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By D., December 28, 2006 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What most strikes me as I read this posting and the comments is the utter cynicism displayed.  Americans do seem to have a great weariness of being fooled by the corporate media and of being disappointed by politicians.  But sadly, that weariness leds Americans to preemptively ‘protect’ themselves from further disillusionment by killing their own hopefulness, their own openness, their own abilities to make more reasoned and mature distinctions.  Much better, the cynics reason, to dismiss a newcomer with quick protective judgments than to take the risk of actually getting to know the newcomer first and risk another disappointment.

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By News Nag, December 28, 2006 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just let whoever’s popular enough to win the presidency rise to the top of the Democratic field without kvetching and griping and moaning about every little thing.  Your voice added to the cacophony of the Stupid Symphony - the Democratic circular firing squad - is not needed here.  Directly focus your voice on defeating Republicans.  Talk about how bad their policies are.  Talk about how the Democrats have the better vision for the future.  Quit parsing and hairsplitting over our entire Democratic field.  We’ve got some winners running.  Put down none of them!  We don’t need to hear your squabbling nitpicking this election.  Unite, dammit!

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By bg1, December 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is being setup by the moneyed interests that run this country, bankroll the politicians and own the media.  They are spotlighting him to create trouble for the Dems in 08. Who better to mobilize Bush’s base than a black yuppy lawyer bs artist, DLCer, i.e. somebody who represents everything working class whites hate, fear and despise?  Spotlighting Obama is the Phillips (‘southern strategy’)/Atwater (Willy Horton)/Rove (racist anti-Ford ads in Tennesee in 06) strategy on steroids.  Obama is a weak candidate.  He won his sentate seat in 04 against an even weaker (wacko) black (in fact even blacker) candidate. He doesn’t stand a chance in the general election which is why the right wing is spotlighting him.  It’s amazing how gullible, naive and ignorant the Democratic base is.

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By david, December 28, 2006 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yea, Kucinich might have the right “character” or “platforms”, but he looks too much like a nerd.  No one will vote that.  Sad but true.

Obama…well, I’ll hold off judgement till he does take a stance.  He’ll inevitably have to if he runs.  Dear god, I completely forget what it feels like to hear a president speak and not want to beat my own face in.

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By ChicagoGuy, December 28, 2006 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to Ann #43904

“Do we know how Obama voted in the Senate on the Iraq war, military spending, no-bid contracting, preserving civil rights?”

Yes Ann, I do know how Obama voted. In fact I know how every Senator voted. Just take the time to go to the US Senate web site and click on the word vote and you will be enlightened. Your negativity is only outweighed by your ignorance of facts.

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By Saul, December 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lugar lost because he was not a politician at heart.
The country is ready for for some moderate as it is neither not Limpaugh or Daily Kos that reprsents the bulk of the country.
Obama’s biggest drawback will be his color regardless of what people say to the contrary.

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By Camus Rebel, December 27, 2006 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who has been adamantly against the war from the start?

Also clearly 100% for UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE
Also was against(voted against) NAFTA from the start.

Who was the only other candidate to have delegates at the ‘04 convention besides “‘ol Skull-n-Bones” Kerry?
Who is corporate media so afraid of they never mention 70-80% of Americans agree with his 3 major positions?  DENNIS KUCINICH

Think for yourselves people.  Dont let the DLC tell you that war is good, We dont really need healthcare and its ok to ship all our jobs overseas…....only one real democrat out there:
    Dennis Kucinich.  Try, for once, to make up your own mind.

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By yours truly, December 27, 2006 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not only is it impossible for one person to represent three hundred million of us, but we continue with this pretense at our own peril, since either we bring the TROOPS OUT NOW and reverse global warming or it’ll be “Will the last one out please turn off the lights.”  What makes all this especially incomprehensible is that with a computer in every house along with the Internet, we don’t need a president or a congress to represent us no more, we can do it ourselves.

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By AllKnowing, December 27, 2006 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bullcrap! You can do anything in politics as long as your a good a giving powerful speeches.

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By nappyBlackIsBack!, December 27, 2006 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right freaking ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Senator Obama (obamaramalamadingdong!!!!!!!!!!!) is all oratorical sound and (whimperishly oratund) fury signifying (little) or f——-g nothing! His book says nothing! NOTHING! I am Afr-Amer and would even prefer a mildly odious white man or woman who has a positively decent stand to take on something for the good of the commonweal! Well, something tells me - as a gnat at my ear - that this sweet-faced child of God (spouting the theodicy of nothingness ala Seinfeld with a tint) is just a faddish political money front, a nearly (I’ll give him that) empty suit of clothes and mind: that is, he ain’t very bright either or very knowledgeable of history, particularly of the disastrous and formative American 19th, with which these times are critically parallel! (Dubya reminds me of puppet President Polk so much I won’t bother to connect the dots for those who do not know - but the rest of you look at it - the parallels are there!) We want a change so deeply that this antidote to hate and corporate nepotism in our scandal ridden government that this oracular sweet faced “political prodigy” looks real good.  American suckas ‘ll fall for anything. Pretty soon, this brainless sweet faced product of political ads and Dem Party money will be quoting Frederick Douglass - whoops FD is still too controversial for the fence sitters - and not know what the f—k he’s talkin’ about. But what do I know, he is so skinny cuddly femmy cute (right lonely voting ladies?)as he stands (sits) on the fence behind daises so comfortably in the bloodless hollow middle! He hasn’t been in politics or even in the Senate long enough to consider even thinking of running for the presidency or even of wiping his mother’s milk off his lips to maturely deal with that snearing brutish Trent Lott and a couple of others who wait in leer. This is just a know nothing boy! Does anybody see this with me?? Has he written one bill?! He is the new homogenized flavorless sweet faced negro fad of the month, I guess, who has no real ideas of good governance in the midst of our present crises, just the ability NOT to engender fear in the average white - middle aged - middle American - middle class voter, who also has no balls or intestinal fortitude these days it seems either. And to the African American electorate he is a sop thrown at us - we is so well represented! Tank yew, massa! We Americans are the comical jest of the whole world right now; just look at our damned candidates and WHO THE HELL WE CHOOSE. How many of you can see behind the facade of this poor child that people like Okrah are throwing to the wolves of the Senate? In our president, we need a man (or woman) of wisdom, substance, and intellectual gravitas to replace this hickish, cowardly prevaricating, dumb, draft-dodging, lout and buffoon front man for the so called “Neo-Conservatuives” in Bush, who cannot be anyone’s CIC! Our kids are dying and this negro kid who ain’t seen shit in life is RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES ON HIS LIPS AND HIS LOOKS. Whatever, I cannot have this brown skinned boy as my CIC, for he has no discernible ideas for good governance, nor do I see him taking risks and stands that will move us all as a united people forward. This guy is the same old empty headed, spineless, stupid s—t we elected (or allowed to be elected in Bush 2)- but in black (brown) face.  nappyblack is back, baby!

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By Spinoza, December 27, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real power is in the streets not the voting booth.

http://www.prisonradio.org/audio/mumia/2005maj/OCTo5/10-30-05WCW.mp3

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By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, December 27, 2006 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

True, Senator Obama has great appeal and if he runs, surely he will get the younger vote.  I am not among that group, yet I find his appeal refreshing.
What I would like to hear from the Senator is his intentions; first, getting out of the Middle East entirely and secondly, his ideas on cleaning up the environment.  These are the two most vital aspects facing humanity.
I am an avid environmentalist and, unlike the big conglomerates who’d continue to destroy the Earth, I realize that she, like everything else, has her limits.  Those limits have been overstepped and those who are interested can see its’ results as I write.  Global warming is apparent everywhere.  Our erratic climate; with temperatures 10-15 degrees warmer in the North East, where I reside and snow in California is not a normal weather condition.  With both poles melting at an alarming degree, the greatest part of the Earth will be under water in less than 100 years, according to scientific studies.  It is intensely amazing and sickening to me that those who’re killing our Earth to further fatten their coffers either doen’t give a damn or has no descendants to suffer the consequences of their actions.
I would like to hear Senator Obama speak at length on the environmental issue.  I would like to hear his plans on redeploying our troops home from Iraq and his plans for sitting down with Iran’s president and working out any differences through dialogue rather than bombs.
I feel sure that he has these topics on the table should he decide to run for president.  If he has workable plans for these enormous tasks, he will become our next president.
Last, but not least, I would like to hear the Senator refer to himself as a servant of the people, as set out in our constitution.  Since the 2nd. world war, this vitally important aspect of the presidency has been turning around so that now, the president of our nation has taken on a king-like posture; untouchable and dismissive of our constitution.  Example:  Should
I have a meeting with our president and he refused to answer my questions, I would like to be able to remind him that he is my servant and it is his duty to answer, without reprisals.

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By Ponder, December 27, 2006 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The difference in Obama and the others is that he seems to MEAN what he is saying and if he is lying I suppose he is just better at it but the people WANT an honest politician.  I know this is a tall order but in a world where a Dem gave us NAFTA and a Repuke with complete control did not take abortion away the people are tired of not getting what they are voting for. 

Gore has still not decided to run, Edwards is a great candidate but he puts the financial sector into convulsions and Kucinich is the greatest president that the wealthy will never allow.  Who does that leave, Clinton who has more people that will vote just to vote against her than to vote for her and who’s centrist positioning have made her look like a Bush light that only the soft right could love unfortunately they hate her and therefore will not vote for her.  This leaves Obama and the “who is he again” crowd that come out every election season. 

In 2004 Edwards was very popular with moderates and non-affiliated voters with his two America’s speeches but to quote the Dem establishment “he doesn’t pol as well as Kerry”.  Considering everyone in the country had then heard of Kerry because the wealthy loved him for his lack of threat to their interests but Edwards did not have the money to get out his name enough so he became the 10,000 watt personality behind Kerry who the American people learned to love to hate.  Edwards himself only became a real contender after the choice of the roots, Dean, was politically assassinated by the MSM and the Dem establishment for one dorky yell.  So if you watch both sides of the political isle you will note that in 2000 McCain seemed to be the centrist that it would be wise for the Repukes to run, at the time I would have considered voting for him(that was a very long time ago though), but the Repuke establishment and the MSM either assassinated his character or paid more attention to Bush, the chosen candidate.  Then Kerry V Dean, then when Kerry still couldnt dispel any doubts Edwards was pulled into the VP slot and told to shut up. 

I am sorry but if Edwards had run he may have won you idiots and Obama is currently heading down the same path that Dean was.  He is getting everyone all excited and the money is flowing in but I will warn you that if Clinton “magically” becomes our only candidate like Kerry did in 2004, and Bush did in 2000 you will lose voters and people are beginning to wake up.  The Libertarians have been shown to be on the Repuke’s payroll and the Repuke’s are well, crazy comes to mind.  The Dems have a shot to make the largest generation since the Baby Boomers believe in their party and give them the same boost that the Repukes got from the Boomers but if they screw it up the far left gen y’rs will vote Green or not vote at all which would mean the Repukes would hold all of the cards again.  The Dem’s need to keep in mind that with much of America they are still on probation but they need not do much to impress us.  Stay away from the Midwesterners guns and clean up government, be honest, and give us a country to be proud of again.  We are tired of being ashamed of the war criminals and corporate lackies that have ruled us since the military industrial complex was built and our sons bodies became a way to make a profit.

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By Lisa W., December 27, 2006 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to agree with Eleanore.  Welcome to the New World Order:  advertising and packaging!  Short sighted, short-term memories, surface thinkers (lacking or neglecting to practice critical thinking skills), gullible, and instant gratification (to name but a few) is our creed!

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By Spinoza, December 27, 2006 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shortly thereafter, the government might start spying on American citizens and detaining prisoners without pressing charges while corporations ravage the earth in pursuit of profit, wiping out entire eco-systems in the process. Oops…sorry; they already did all that without being stopped.

Marveling at the relative lack of resistance, the powers-that-be may initiate mass arrests of suspected domestic eco-terrorists, culminating in the bombing of several ELF and/or ALF safe houses, leaving dozens dead? (Not possible, you say? Ask the folks at MOVE.) We know what the general public would say…the same thing they say every time a new “security precaution” is instituted: “If it makes us safer, I’m all for it.” But how do you think lefty activists and thinkers would react? Would they/could they do anything to stop the onslaught?

This is not a facetious question, an accusation, or an ill-advised attempt at satire. I’m genuinely curious: What do you think radicals, progressives, liberals, anarchists, socialists, communists, and all such fellow travelers would do if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-blatantly killed Michael Moore for his political beliefs and activism?

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net .

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By Spinoza, December 27, 2006 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Last week I was listening to NPR and Michael Moore was described as far left.

Who Killed Michael Moore?

(Inspired by the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya)

By Mickey Z.

10/10/06 “Information Clearing House”——There’s no shortage of outrage on the Left. Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to change this and take back that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the Left typically does just enough to get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream…thus making it that much easier for the police to get away with swinging their nightsticks at the next “anti-globalization” protest.

So, here’s my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly eliminated? For the sake of argument, let’s say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-overtly did away with Michael Moore for his political beliefs and anti-corporate activism.

(Let me clarify something before you send off all those e-mails telling me Moore is a poser, fake, Democrat, opportunist, egomaniac, gatekeeper, whatever. I’m neither endorsing nor condemning Moore here; I’m simply recognizing his current status. In a society as heavily conditioned as ours-a society that defines the “left” to include both Hillary Clinton and Ward Churchill-Michael Moore might as well be Che fuckin’ Guevara. In other words, choosing the nation’s best-known “rebel” as a target would be nothing less than the government declaring war on dissidents of all stripes.)

So, what would the American left wing do if Moore were deported like Emma Goldman, Charlie Chaplin, and (almost) John Lennon? What if he was railroaded, denied a fair trial, and imprisoned like, say, Mumia Abu-Jamal or Leonard Peltier? What if he was to be publicly executed even in the face of massive protests, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Tookie Williams, or Ken Saro Wiwa of Nigeria? How about an assassination; a straight-out hit job along the lines of Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, or even Patrice Lumumba and Salvador Allende?

Pick your poison; it doesn’t matter how he’s removed. The question remains: What if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-transparently eliminated Michael Moore for his political beliefs and activism? Would we see anything more than a flood of articles, blog posts, t-shirts, and open letters from Sean Penn? Would the reaction go beyond asking the state for permission to protest and agreeing beforehand how many of those protestors will consent to be arrested? Would Bob Dylan re-write “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and have Bono sing it outside the Pentagon?

If that’s the case, perhaps emboldened by the ease with which Moore’s eradication was achieved, the government might then toss Noam Chomsky, Derrick Jensen, and Cynthia McKinney into prison for treason. More protests, more outrage, more fundraisers. Undaunted, Corporate America pulls all advertising dollars from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and forces their shows off the air. In response, 500 new blogs emerge and the “Free Jon Stewart” website registers nearly a million hits a day until it is hacked and removed.

To be continued:

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By Spinoza, December 27, 2006 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Click Here

http://demballs.cf.huffingtonpost.com/

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By anonymous, December 27, 2006 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

His family doesn’t appear to be a bunch of crooks.

He was against the war before it started.

I think he won’t make everybody hate us.

I don’t know if I’ll like him two years from now but, compared to the idiot in office now, of course he looks great!

It’s about time somebody did!

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By KISS, December 27, 2006 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
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Eleanore, how rightly you express. Obama is an empty suit, just dressing and no substance. His mentor was Ron Lieberman, another empty suit. Obama listened well to Ron, the huckster. Tell what they want to hear and rile no-one is the key to success. Obama listened well to his mentor.Name one controversial argument he has ever made. Get along and go along is his motto. Be for the war..than be against the war, be for NAFTA..than be against NAFTA. etc, etc. Remember no one ever remembers and sound bytes are so revealing. YUK!

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By bernard arkules, December 27, 2006 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree : Platitudes and banality uttered by a dazzler.

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By Ann, December 27, 2006 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do we know how Obama voted in the Senate on the Iraq war, military spending, no-bid contracting, preserving civil rights? So far all we see is window dressing, and hear sound bite oratory that hints in a progressive direction. What is this contenders VOTING record?

American democracy depends on “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry.” We have to fight for it every single day.

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By Mark Owen, December 27, 2006 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
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“Obama’s appeal comes not from the things he says, but from who is saying them.”

I believe it’s more a matter of *how* he’s saying them. Harrop says, “listen to Obama” - but we’re not really listening, we’re reading the words on a computer screen. Of *course* they’re going to look unremarkable. If you *do* actually listen to the speech, it’s his intonation, the cadence, the rhythm that’s remarkable. It’s not a flat delivery at all.

“It takes some doing for a politician to write a 364-page book, his second volume, and skate past all controversy.”

Well actually this is his first volume as a politician. His first book was written before he went into politics, and was clearly not meant to be preparation for a political career - it reveals too many personal feelings and self doubts.

And besides, I’m not sure he skates past all controversy in his recent book. He does stake out a position on the constitution; he writes at length about the sort of health care system he’d like to see; he often mentions FDR’s social compact. Enough to allow conservatives to brand him a dangerous liberal, which they have done. I mean, either he has nothing to say, or he is saying something. I wish Obama’s critics would work out which it is.

The thing I like about his book (and I suspect something that appeals to many others) is that he’s engaged in a conversation with the reader. He’s not telling us what he would do in a specific situation, but how he would approach the problem. He admits he doesn’t have all the answers, but the reader feels that at least he would listen to advice, consider all angles, and only then make a decision. We may not know what that decision would be, but we’re comfortable with his conscientious approach. Which is more we can say for the scoundrels currently in charge.

Anyway, he hasn’t even announced yet. Aren’t we jumping the gun a little? Wait for guy to announce, then see what he says. The election’s almost two years away. Plenty of time.

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By darby1936, December 26, 2006 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama won’t have to have the lipstick slapped on him as the present commander-in-chief. I bet if he does something silly, he won’t keep digging, Ms. Harrop.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 26, 2006 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“But one does wish, for the sake of democracy, that we could skip the crush and give less glamorous contenders who actually say something more of a hearing.”

That’s what commercialism is about—-
presentation—pretty packages, attractive displays and illusions; its showbiz and the candidates are thespians in a grand theatrical production—-regrettably the public is viewed as props and Election Day is just another scene in a farcical performance.

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