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Looking Beyond the ‘Racial Divide’

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Posted on Mar 17, 2008
Obama in Seattle
flickr.com

By Bill Boyarsky

Sen. Barack Obama’s latest, and possibly greatest, challenge is to overcome a simplistic view that the United States is hopelessly split by a racial divide that could badly damage his candidacy.

I’m not arguing against the existence of such a divide. That would be dumb. But voting and polling in this year’s elections, census studies and other surveys show that attitudes are changing. The change strengthens the prospects that Obama will survive this current grim period for his campaign and go on to win the presidency.

There’s no doubt that the race issue has buffeted Obama, son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

Last week, he was forced to deal with the assault of Geraldine Ferraro, a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee, portrayed Obama as an affirmative action beneficiary—someone who made it only because he was black. 

Obama has had to condemn the sermonizing of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, who said, “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye.” In a later sermon, Wright declared, “No, no, no, not God bless America—God damn America!” 

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Wright has left the Obama campaign’s spiritual advisory committee. And Obama told Keith Olbermann on MSNBC: “I did not hear such incendiary language myself personally either in conversation with him or when I was in the pew. ... These particular statements that have been gathered are ones that I would have strongly objected to, strongly condemned had I heard them in church. I would have expressed that concern directly to Rev. Wright.”

There was a time when association with the Rev. Wright would have been fatal to the Obama candidacy. But the nation is changing, a transformation dramatically reflected in an analysis of the census done by the Population Reference Bureau of Washington, D.C. The analysis, published in the bureau’s June 2005 Population Bulletin, focused on intermarriage.

“Interracial marriage has increased across most racial groups, and although they are still the exception to the norm, these interracial marriages are generating a growing population of multi-racial Americans,” the study said.

It found that racial intermarriage increased from less than 1 percent of all married couples in 1970 to more than 5 percent in 2000. The number of children living in interracial households rose from 900,000 in 1970 to 3.4 million in 2000.

A Gallup poll in 2003 reported that 86 percent of blacks, 79 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of whites would accept a child or grandchild marrying someone of a different race. And a Princeton Research Associates poll the same year said that 77 percent of the respondents agreed it was all right for blacks and whites to date each other.

These polls and analyses fit in with the experiences of many Americans who have a son, a daughter, a cousin, a grandchild or another relative or a friend in an interracial marriage.

“As intermarriage continues to increase, further blurring racial and ethnic group boundaries, Americans’ notions of race and ethnicity will surely change,” the study concluded.

I saw a graphic example of this recently when I moderated a debate between the candidates for a California state Assembly seat in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. The district itself is an example of racial change. Once heavily white, it is now 42 percent white, 39 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Asian and 5 percent black.

I asked the candidates what they thought of the gang warfare now afflicting Los Angeles, exacerbated by battles between African-American and Latino gangs. 

One of the candidates, Bob Blumenfield, is white, Jewish and chair of the Valley Anti-Defamation League. His wife is African-American. They live across the street from his parents. She was in the audience at the synagogue where the debate was held. Twenty-five years ago, this would have been unimaginable.

Blumenfield’s reply to my question about gangs also reflected something new. A quarter of a century ago, a candidate’s reply would have been simple: more cops. Blumenfield’s was complex, reflecting his family’s life. With his wife and their daughter African-American, and knowing the racial aspect of the gang warfare, he said he worries about them both.

Primary election exit polls also offer hope to Obama that the racial divide will not cost him the election. In Deep South primaries, he won about 24 percent of the white vote, a trend that was first evident in South Carolina and continued into Mississippi. In Ohio, Clinton beat him among whites 65 percent to 33 percent. But they split the white vote in Maryland. Obama took 52 percent of the white vote in Virginia, compared to Clinton’s 47 percent. And polls show Clinton and Obama running equally well against Sen. John McCain.

It could be that race relations in America are taking a new turn, unfamiliar to those of us who see everything through the prism of mid- and late 20th century conflict. Obama talked about that Saturday in Plainfield, Ind. Speaking as “someone who was born into a diverse family, as someone who has little pieces of America within me,” he said, “what I believe is this country wants to move beyond these debates, that this country wants something different.”

In the heat of the campaign and in the blur of daily news and commentary, we forget how this contest between a woman and an African-American man shows how far the nation has come in a relatively few years. The rivalry between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be remembered long after 2008 as a turning point in American history.


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By bert, March 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

And in less than one hour after that response Republicans make a $5,000,000 ad buy in the swing states and run nearly non-stop ads of Rev. Wright’s speeches. See Joe of Maine’s excellent post of a possible ad in this vein on some thread here in Truth Dig.

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By bert, March 19, 2008 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

nail, meet hammer !!

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By bert, March 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Hon - ABC News’s Brian Ross bought the tapes from the church’s web site where they have been for sale for years. Then he did what any good investigative reporter would do. He watched them. Then he reported on them. This is common knowledge.

Clinton had nothing to do with them.

Reports about Rev. Wright have been around for years. I first saw reports of Wright’s extremist views more than a year ago in various papers, magazines, and blogs.

However, whenever they survaced most of the MSM said, oh no no no no, this is just racist attacking of Obama. Ross is the first to go check them out for himself.

There are some reports/rumors now that FOX News had then even BEFORE Ross got hold of them but FOX was going to wait until Obama got the nomination and then blindside him right out of the starting gate with them. That is why it seems that FOX had clips almost as soon as Ross finished his report.

This is what happens in campaigns all of the time. People run for office. They get vetted so that we can learn about them.

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By john polifrono, March 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not race that is dividing this country, or this presidential contest, it’s Obama’s lies.  With all the highminded talk, in Obama’s speech, and in the desperate efforts of his supporters to continue to conceal, that Obama has repeatedly deceived the American people, the fact remains, that Obama is a fraud.  It doesn’t matter how skillfully he delivers speeches, you can lie your way to power, but you cannot lie your way to democracy.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

It’s hard to believe that the Clintons would have anything to do with one of the three issues identified by David Axelrod as potential deal-breakers for Obama. They didn’t need to nudge the Write story onto Fox. They’ve had it for over a year. Some suggest, and I am inclined to believe, that Axelrod himself pushed this story onto Fox at this precise moment. Think about the timing. Four weeks to put the story behind them before PA, it’ll be very old news come the general. Who had more to gain than Obama himself to control the release of a story that would have certainly broken at some far worse moment for him. Like say October?

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

I was moved, yes. I got a chill when he began the speech with the Lincoln line. I agree with much of what he spoke. I am only commenting on the speech because I believed it was critical moment for him. I am afraid that the elequence and poetry will be lost on the most important voting blocks in November. The speech was brillant but only pales when played back to back with “Nah Nah Nah God Damn America” in the mind of Joe Sixpack when he goes into the booth in November.

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By Ted Swart, March 19, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Hi “White Natural Born 44 yr old Female Atheist”.
Of course you are correct that the fundamentalist evangeical white churches are every bit as extremist and racist as Rev Wright and, if anything, less commendable.
I note that Obama is not your “first choice” candidate but suggest that the “fraudulent electoral process” has at least managed to give us an Obama. 
The truth is that he is a really smart guy who has surrounded himself with really outstanding advisers and actually listens to their advice. This has allowed him to use an obscenely complex and ridiculous primary system to his advantage.
But I don’t know and I’m sure you don’t know how he will behave if and wnen he actually becomes president.
Someone else pointed out that THE truly major problem is not Iraq (which is indeed a ghastly problem) but the economic shambles (due to greed and the obscenely large gap between the rich and poor) and neither Obama nor McCain seems to shine in that arena

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By lib in texas, March 19, 2008 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Cyrena there you go with your magical powers.  You have NO idea about anything.  Go back down in your favorite rabbit hole.

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By RdV, March 19, 2008 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Really, it was THE CHURCH who went to usual Clinton outlet (when they aren’t leaking to Drudge), FOX news and said, “look we thought you might want to use these little blips to smear Barak Obama and demonize our beloved and highly-respected Pastor”.
  Give me a fucking break.

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By Maani, March 19, 2008 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

RealFish:

You make a mistake to suggest that words and actions undertaken during a political campaign necessarily indicate how that person would perform as president.  Even Obama has said as much on more than one occasion.

I have no doubt that either one of them would handle that 3am call appropriately.  To suggest otherwise is to give in to MSM propaganda and spin.

Peace.

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By lib in texas, March 19, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

In deed the game is over for Obama just to many lies he thought he could fool everyone and by the looks of these posts he still is fooling a few.

I resent him throwing his white Grandmother under the bus.  He didn’t say Rev Wright (2yrs in the Marine Corp)made him cringe but his own Grandmother who sacrificed much for him by his own words (if you can believe his words)made him cringe. Very disrepectful just to save his lying ass.

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By lib in texas, March 19, 2008 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

RdV The source is Himself, the church sells these tapes of his sermons.  Hannity I believe started playing the first ones. 

JEEZ, you need to read more or comprehend what you read.

THE BIG TRAIL LEADS RIGHT BACK TO THE CHURCH!!!!!

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By RdV, March 19, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

How come no asked where these cherry-picked, intentionally provocative blips of the pastor originated from?
It reeks of more of the same ongoing Billary opposition research race-baiting (that Mr. Bill continues with his “myth & mugging” reference yesterday. Think about it—someone had to wade through reams of vido footage to target this and saturate the media with it.
  The media’s only comment regarding the Clintons has been their “silence”, but not too many speculating about where the trail leads.

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By Purple Girl, March 19, 2008 at 3:50 am Link to this comment

The media has assumed once again- incorrectly.
I am a White Natural Born 44 yr old Female Atheist and for all the clips I heard from the Rev’s sermons- I would have stood and clapped. He was absolutely correct. The Gov’t AND the INC’s have taken the Principles and Morals of this country and trashed them.
I was not proud of the action in Japan during WW2,
I have not been prous of the inexcusible history of the White races actions against ALL minorities, I have not been proud of the CIA, and it’s interference in other countries- intentioanlly starting conflicts for for the Gov’t or Inc’s benefits. I have not beenproud to know black men have been inprisoned and Executed at far higher rates than white men who have committed crimes. I am not Proud that a Bi Racisal Candidate must defend the disgusting Actions of White men through out our history. I ,as a Woman would not have-The Truth Hurts but must be Said.
Let’s be honest with each other and ourselves- the actions throughout our history have NOT held up to the Principles our founding Fathers invisioned,Granted we have been a work in Progress- but we have slipped by not DEMANDING the Gov’t to Aspire to the True values of this country. Let’s also be Clear..The REv said ‘God Damn America’ Not AmericaNs. He was insiting his congregation to hold our Gov’t to the high standards we all like to claim, yet have been complacent when they come to the test.
I would have been standing and chering for his call to Arms to rescue our country from the grips of Imperialism,the Inc’s, and the failure to honor the statment “All men are Created Equal”.
How Rcist the media is being harping on these words instead of th eWhite Evangelicals who spew hate,Fear and blame on others. Ye tfail to recognize or acknowledge the evils of entities such as THE MILITARY INDUSTRAIL COMPLEX (those who placed our citizens in harms way on 9/11 as a result of their ‘business practices and World market Stratedgies’
I’d like to see the Rev in Obama’s cabinet!
Obama was not my first choice candidate, but luckily the fraudulant Election process has left him standing (Grass roots (US) are putting these entities back in their place- Servants to mankind , not the masters’!)

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By TheRealFish, March 19, 2008 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

Joe in Maine comment: “Who would you rather have answer the phone at 3am when something is happening in the world. Sorry to have to remind you that the world CAN be a scary place to live. To deny this fact is just your Obama Kool-Aid buzz talking.”

Okee dokee. Glad you asked.

I would far rather have someone who can respond to what amounts to his biggest challenge to-date (Obama’s guilt by association with the commentary of Rev. Wright) by delivering what even one of his *Republican* critics suggested might be the single most important speech on race relations in the last 40-45 years. He was faced with a negative situation and turned it positive. He did not lose his composure and, instead of taking a safe or self-defensive approach, he made what most saw as a quick and politically gutsy move.

On the other hand, we can see, time and again, Ms. Clinton react to fliers in circulation for weeks in Ohio that she treats as something new and eloquently preaches “Shame, shame on you!” (sub-text: I am a victim). Or “I’m interested that I always seem to be asked questions first…” (implying she is a victim). Or “the media is giving Barak a free pass while the media—just look at Saturday Night Live—always casts me in the most negative light” (victim).

Who do *you* want answering that mysterious phone call? One who maintains composure and reacts with a meaningful, measured and positive response, or one who, at least as has demonstrated throughout the campaign, might just say either “don’t pick on me!” or needs to get out of bed, find out where the heck Bill is at 3 a.m. and ask him what she should do?

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By TheRealFish, March 19, 2008 at 12:37 am Link to this comment

Joe in Main: Experience Counts…

Arguably the two most experienced presidential candidates in U.S. history were James A. Buchanan and Richard Nixon. Four presidents all found themselves labeled as too “inexperienced,” “wet behind the ears,” or some other vernacular expression demonstrating their failing the test of having been embedded and/or entrenched in the Washington scene and processes to be effective presidents during times of crisis (economic or of defense):

Abraham Lincoln

Franklin Roosevelt

John Kennedy

William Clinton

While each were certainly more or less effective as presidents than each other, those arguments against their relative lack of experience neither kept them from office, nor did the allegations prevent them from making some level of historic impact while in office.

Does anyone need to explain the benefits derived from those two most-experienced candidates’ terms in office? Maybe. But a relatively cursory bit of historical research on them should cast a little light on exactly how flawed and ill-founded is the whole argument claiming experience counts or is in some way a needed, necessary quality.

Personally, I feel we can look at better and very direct measures of whether one of the current candidates rises above the others to be chief executive: Who has the tightest control over their campaign staff? Who has proven greater effectiveness as raising and managing the massive “econonomies” of their own campaign? Who has proven a demonstrated ability to rally and effectively control the street-to-street ground campaigns all across the country? Who has the extremely necessary quality as chief executive of being able to motivate and coordinate large masses of people?

Answer those questions and the answers lead inexorably to one conclusion.

“Game over” indeed.

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By G.Anderson, March 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

The fastest way to do this ...

Is to shift from Race consciousness to class consciousness….

Nothing could be more threatening to those that have divided us, than becoming aware that we have self interests based on class that trancend our differences.

can’t wait till the race card gets dropped in favor of the class card.

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By bert, March 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

You write:  “Not you, Maani, Lib, Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan or Tucker Carlson will be able to stop a damn thing.”

Thank you, Aegrus for not including me in this list. I hope that wasn’t just an over sight. Maybe you will include me next time after my next comment.

You write:  “You’re thinking is skewed to an old axiom….. The two campaigns, people, life experiences and political abilities are leaps apart. You haven’t been paying attention to what has been happening in the context in which it has occurred. If you have been, you’d see how your argument is flawed. “

Unfortunately, what Obama “got happening” has been derailed by the Wright controversy. I don’t see it going back to what it was before.

You write:    “….however, I would not underestimate Obama’s ability to deflect these arguments in his favor….” 

Maybe so. I will wait to see what happens. But I have to be honest. I don’t see that happening on Main Street, USA and with Joe Q. Public. I may be wrong.

I agree with Joe in Main in his March 18 at 12:47 pm post when he says none of us knows for sure what the #1 issue will be in the fall, but right now it is the economy.

And yes, Americans hate to hear the word, “surrender.” This will be how McCain spins the war. And it will resonate deep in the heart of many Americans.

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By Ted Swart, March 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

Thank you so much for sharing this letter Maani. I certainly had not seen it before.
Wright’s level of adulation with respect to Obama is nothing short of staggering.
The letter rings true and does seem to be genuine.
It is hard to know quite what to make of it.
You speak of it as being a “powerful” letter and there is a sense in which it is also a “scary” letter.
It is precisely the messianic fervour surrounding Obama which worries me.  But realism tells me that he is likely to win the nomination for the Dems and go on to become president.

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By KYJurisDoctor, March 18, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. ...

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper.”

That says it ALL, folks.

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2008/03/heres-obamas-speech-on-race-religion.html#links

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By jackpine savage, March 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

All the aid money to Africa is because it looks like it will be the next best source of oil, and the Chinese are beating us too it.  They’re spreading far more money around, and they do it with no strings attached.  Moreover, we print the money to sell/borrow from them, and then they spread it around.  So when it comes down to it, our children will be paying for China beating us to Africa’s oil…plus interest.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

All:

Others may have seen this before.  I do not know its origin (it was sent to me by a friend in an email), and thus cannot speak to its authenticity, although I believe it to be real.  It is a letter from Rev. Wright to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, sent in March 2007. [N.B. Possible misdating, and really 2008? Not sure.]  Note that I have not found an article in the NYT by Ms. Kantor around the time of the letter (thus my questioning of the date).  Finally, I make no judgment here, except to say that it is a powerful letter, and all the more so if everything that Rev. Wright claims is true.

Peace.

—-

March 11, 2007

Jodi Kantor
The New York Times
9 West 43rd Street
New York,
New York 10036-3959

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in sixty-five years. You sat and shared with me for two hours. You told me you were doing a “Spiritual Biography” of Senator Barack Obama. For two hours, I shared with you how I thought he was the most principled individual in public service that I have ever met.

For two hours, I talked with you about how idealistic he was. For two hours I shared with you what a genuine human being he was. I told you how incredible he was as a man who was an African American in public service, and as a man who refused to announce his candidacy for President until Carol Moseley Braun indicated one way or the other whether or not she was going to run.

I told you what a dreamer he was. I told you how idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn’t I think it would be incredible to have somebody in the Oval Office who not only knew about Muslims, but had living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told you how important it would be to have a man who not only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how important it would be to have a man who knew what Sufism was; a man who understood that there were different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others because they believed something other than what he believed.

I talked about how rare it was to meet a man whose Christianity was not just “in word only.”  I talked about Barack being a person who lived his faith and did not argue his faith. I talked about Barack as a person who did not draw doctrinal lines in the sand nor consign other people to hell if they did not believe what he believed.

Out of a two-hour conversation with you about Barack’s spiritual journey and my protesting to you that I had not shaped him nor formed him, that I had not mentored him or made him the man he was, even though I would love to take that credit, you did not print any of that. When I told you, using one of your own Jewish stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?,” that Barack was like that when I met him. Barack had it “in his hand.” Barack had in his grasp a uniqueness in terms of his spiritual development that one is hard put to find in the 21st century, and you did not print that. [Part II to come]

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

[Part II]

As I was just starting to say a moment ago, Jodi, out of two hours of conversation I spent approximately five to seven minutes on Barack’s taking advice from one of his trusted campaign people and deeming it unwise to make me the media spotlight on the day of his announcing his candidacy for the Presidency and what do you print? You and your editor proceeded to present to the general public a snippet, a printed “sound byte” and a titillating and tantalizing article about his disinviting me to the Invocation on the day of his announcing his candidacy.

I have never been exposed to that kind of duplicitous behavior before, and I want to write you publicly to let you know that I do not approve of it and will not […word(s) missing…] reputation, the integrity or the character of perhaps this nation’s first (and maybe even only) honest candidate offering himself for public service as the person to occupy the Oval Office.

Your editor is a sensationalist. For you to even mention that makes me doubt your credibility, and I am looking forward to see how you are going to butcher what else I had to say concerning Senator Obama’s “Spiritual Biography.”  Our Conference Minister, the Reverend Jane Fisler Hoffman, a white woman who belongs to a Black church that Hannity of “Hannity and Colmes” is trying to trash, set the record straight for you in terms of who I am and in terms of who we are as the church to which Barack has belonged for over twenty years.

The president of our denomination, the Reverend John Thomas, has offered to try to help you clarify in your confused head what Trinity Church is even though you spent the entire weekend with us setting me up to interview me for what turned out to be a smear of the Senator; and yet The New York Times continues to roll on making the truth what it wants to be the truth. I do not remember reading in your article that Barack had apologized for listening to that bad information and bad advice. Did I miss it? Or did your editor cut it out? Either way, you do not have to worry about hearing anything else from me for you to edit or “spin” because you are more interested in journalism than in truth.

Forgive me for having a momentary lapse. I forgot that The New York Times was leading the bandwagon in trumpeting why it is we should have gone into an illegal war. The New York Times became George Bush and the Republican Party’s national “blog.”  The New York Times played a role in the outing of Valerie Plame. I do not know why I thought The New York Times had actually repented and was going to exhibit a different kind of behavior.

Maybe it was my faith in the Jewish Holy Day of Roshashana.  Maybe it was my being caught up in the euphoria of the Season of Lent; but whatever it is or was, I was sadly mistaken. There is no repentance on the part of The New York Times. There is no integrity when it comes to The Times. You should do well with that paper, Jodi. You looked me straight in my face and told me a lie!

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. ,
Senior Pastor
Trinity United Church of Christ

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By Blackspeare, March 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

The problem with Reverend Wright’s comments, endlessly played on TV, is not so much what he said per se, but rather it’s effect upon those with latent anti-black sentiment looking for a reason not to vote for BHO should he be the nominee.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller:

“Has to do with the war, Hillary seems to like the concept of the war, she has not shown otherwise.”

Even if I agreed with this, you are getting as obsessive and myopic as MMC.  There are dozens of issues facing the country and the world - economic, environmental, judicial, etc. - not just a single one.  Maybe Hillary IS “the same” as McCain re war (though I disagree).  But that does not mean she is the same IN EVERY OTHER REGARD.  Indeed, her ideas and positions on almost everything else are so clearly better than McCain’s that it is almost laughable.

If you are truly going to sit it out or vote for McCain SOLELY because of her vote for the war, you are truly cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Peace.

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By August West, March 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

Katie Couric: Senator Obama, your reaction?

Obama:Thank you Katie and I thank my esteemed colleague who has served his nation well in public service.  The Constitution of the United States requires the President to be a natural born citizen at least thirty-five years of age and who has resided in the United States for at least fourteen years.  Both Senator McCain and I meet the consitutional qualifications.  But when you cast your ballot you will be determining the critical question of this generation: whether we continue with the policies of misguided, interminable wars that are bankrupting our nation, whether under the guise of free trade we continue to move millions of good-paying jobs overseas, you are not simply voting for the candidate who has spent the larger number of years in the political establishment.  You are voting for diplomacy instead of aggression; you are voting for jobs in this country, not abroad.  You are voting for fiscal responsibility, not throwing trillions of dollars into never-ending wars that do not make us more secure but which secure more money for war profiteers.  The question is not experience, but the ability to lead this country away from the failed policies of George W. Bush.  I am the only candidate on this stage who pledged to do just that.

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By Leefeller, March 18, 2008 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

Has to do with the war, Hillary seems to like the concept of the war, she has not shown otherwise.

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By benza, March 18, 2008 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

America why not open out a little of your myopic vision and look around you?
You who enjoy 25 per cent of the world’s resources.
We do not grudge your hard work and quality leadership that brought you to this high standard of living.
But, just as you saw an inhuman, cruel dictator with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq . . . why not do something about that relentless dictator who has achieved many firsts for his nation, besides mass murders ?
The world’s highest inflation in the range of 100,000% ...
The world’s lowest life expectancy: 45 years ...
The world’s highest paid Army and Police 1 Billion Dollars a month ...
The world’s costliest cotton shirt 2 million dollars ...
The world’s first queueless petrol filling stations ... for they have nothing to fill with.
Does it prick your conscience America?
No, it wouldn’t, after the way you are reacting to Katrina !!!

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By benza, March 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Scientists agree, the man on the street see for himself, that ‘Climate Change’ is a fact.
The whole of America knows ‘Climate Change’ for a fact.
Yet selects to be governed by ‘father and son’ Bush who have proved themselves to be stupid in many ways besides being blind to the bvious: ‘Climate Change’.
The ‘father’ Bush proved he is stupid on knowledge of Geography of World and Current Affairs.
The ‘son’ Bush proved his stupidity by his behaviour at a Summit Conference: G8 in Germany.
Americans deserve their ‘Leader’.
QED.

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By cyrena, March 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Brewerstroupe..

I agree 1000% with your statements here, 1-4, having reached the very same conclusions myself.

Now, on my Coca-Cola usage…

For the first 40 years of my life, I simply didn’t much drink soda of any kind. (didn’t like the carbonation).

But then, just under a decade or so ago, I started drinking Coca-Cola. Not on a daily basis mind you, and not even more than maybe once or twice a week.

Still…based on the reaction from the ‘youngsters’ in the family, you would have thought they’d caught me ‘shooting up’ or something.

When I ordered a Coke with my popcorn at the movie theater, my nephew very solemnly advised me that if I was going to indulge in something so unhealthy, I should at least be very careful upon ordering, and to make sure that I specifically indicated that it was COCA-COLA that I was asking for, and NOT ‘coke’. He said: “ya know Auntie Cyrena, ya just never know what you’ll get!”

And I responded, “Well Mr. Nephew, I have $1.17 cents here, to pay for my ‘coke’. If they (whomever ‘they’ are) give me something other than ‘coca-cola’, I’m damn sure taking it!” However, I really didn’t expect such an error to occur.

That said, I DO still ‘indulge’ in the occasional Coca-Cola, (especially when I need a jolt of caffeine, and it’s cheaper than coffee) but only occasionally. wink

So, I think my brain is probably still OK, though, if it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t know it, eh?

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, March 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Joe in Maine, weren’t you absolutely moved by his speech?  I’m not a supporter of his but he sure caught my attention.

How can one man walk the DC tight wire and still harbor beliefs in an ideal America.  I always said Kucinich should lie his way to the presidency—tell them what they want to hear—then, once elected, get on with his agenda.  If Obama’s agenda in even close to what he spoke about, he’s the man.

I can’t begin to imagine any other candidate thinking or speaking in his terms.

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By jbart, March 18, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does the American public, at large, see Tiger Woods as a great Afro-American golfer, or just a great Golfer who is American?  I see the latter.  Nuff said.

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By cyrena, March 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

If you all cared about honesty, we would know it by now. You’ve proved otherwise.

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By lib in texas, March 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Cafferty file tonight thinks Hillary should drop out so Obama can win.  Things like this just floor me.  Obama doesn’t have a chance in hell.  These Obamoites are just making sure McCain wins.  600,000
Americans have moved to Canada in the last couple of years.  If McCain wins I may join them.

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By Margaret Currey, March 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a woman I would want Hillary she is smart as a tack I liked her expression that Wall is in the soup or something like that, of course I also like Obama and if he wins the nomination I will vote for him, he has a smart wife also.

This Wright thing is blown out of porportion, won’t people remember that what he said happened five years ago, and how many imflamatory speeches did he make is this the whole of the man, I think people should think how would I feel if I were in this man Wright’s shoes, the man fought for his country and I am sure that as a black in the Marines life was not always a picnic, I am not making apology for the man just asking people how would feel if you were in his shoes and in his skin?

I am for Hilliary if she wins the nomination, I am for Obama if he wins the nomination.

The man stands for his black brothers and sisters, and he also stands for his white brothers and sisters, people must remember he was raised in a time very different from his pastor, but the spin makers will play this for all its worth, and they will play it and play it and play it, and then when they are tired of that then they will go after his name, a name that was picked for him.

How in the world would he be a Muslim just because of his father’s name.

Kind of like the song a Boy Names Sue,

And another thought there is not one perfect candidate. But I will want change in the next administration.

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By lib in texas, March 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

thank you for you comment.  I was beginning to wonder if no one cared about honesty. Its pretty important to me.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

BT:

Since I drink no Coca-Cola at all, I guess that makes me “tough-brained.”  If so, that must, in turn, make my opinions less “dumbed down” than those of Obama supporters who DO drink Coke, particulary those who drink alot of it.

And this would be especialy true of my comments to Aegrus re the Obama supporters here who are foolish enough to believe that Hillary and McCain are “the same” - without question the most “soft-brained” comment I have heard yet.

Peace.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Aegrus:

Thank you for bringing up the SC.  This is yet ANOTHER EXTREME difference between Hillary and McCain: there is no question that Hillary’s choices would be WAY to the left of McCain’s, even if they are only centrist, since we KNOW that McCain would pick more Scalias and Thomases.

So if Hillary does happen to win the nomination, and Obama supporters vote for McCain, they will have no one but themselves to blame when McCain nominates Bill Kristol to the SC.  LOL.

Peace.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, March 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

I thought Obama’s speech was nothing short of MASTERFUL. And I’m not a supporter of his.

If Obama gets elected, at least we’ll have a president who can use the language and his brain.  These two ought to be part of a talent test to be president. 

The down side is, admittedly, if you get a president with brains and criminal tendencies, you’re really in trouble.  Thank Zeus our current C in C only has one of them.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 18, 2008 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

“Undoubtedbly, some of these views will get me in trouble, I am new enough on the national political scene that I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripe project their own views. As such I am bound to disappoint some, if not all of them.”

Who said the above? Was it the amorphous John McCain or the deceptive Barak Obama?

You know, I’m sure that it was Obama. So let me ask you this. What do you see when you look at the blank screen? No matter what that might be, thanks to his love for his pastor, a growing number of people see a more elequent and socially acceptable version of Jessie Jackson at best and Louis Farrakhan at worst. He has become the black candidate. It is a mortal wound in this day and age, I am afraid. A more serious problem for Obama is his growing credibility issue. He’s playing loose with the truth on a regular basis. People have a strong sense of BS when they hear it.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

I’d never discount any argument which has been the staple of Republican propaganda; however, I would not underestimate Obama’s ability to deflect these arguments in his favor. Watch what unfolds with the way he reacted today in his speech. Look to the shift which will occur. You’ll begin to see how this man is really, really ready to be President of the United States of America.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 18, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

You are correct in your general assesment of the conditions of the democratic primary race as of 3:18 PM EST on March 18, 2008. Can you say for sure what matters today is going to be the #1 issue in September? I think we’d all agree that the economy is the dominant issue today. I saw some poll that had the economy as the issue twice as many people are concerned about over the Iraq war. McCain will always play to his national security strengths regardless of the polls. as a nation we may be fed up with the war you cannot discount the power of the word Surrender.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

It was not meant to associate you with them so much as it is a view I have that all of you have some inherent skepticism and anti-Obama sentiments. They serve only to try and derail the steadfast.

I’ll say right now, unequivocally, that anyone voting for McCain is not a progressive and is voting against American interests. The SUPREME COURT is more important than Hillary or Barack winning the Democratic Nomination. John McCain has no plan for the economy, getting us out of Iraq and will support neo-conservative supreme court and attorney generals. IT IS NOT IN OUR INTEREST TO VOTE FOR JOHN MCCAIN!

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Aegrus:

“Not you, Maani, Lib, Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan or Tucker Carlson will be able to stop a damn thing.”

First, I resent being put in the same company as Limbaugh, Kristol, Hannity and Buchanan.  I am FAR smarter than ALL of them.  LOL.

Second, you assume I am trying to “stop” something.  I am not.  Yes, I support Hillary and would like to see her win the nomination.  Because I continue to believe that she will be the more effective candidate and the more effective president.  That is my opinion; you have yours.

But I am full ready to support Obama if he becomes the Dem nominee, while you and other Obama supporters here are NOT ready to support Hillary if SHE becomes the Dem nominee.  This is significant.  Because the foolishness about Hillary being “the same” as McCain is the same as Nader’s bluster in 2000 about Gore and Bush being “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”; i.e., “the same.”  Anyone who believes that - especially in light of what has occurred over the past seven years - is in a truly frightening state of denial.

The fact that many Obama supporters here don’t care whether Hillary or McCain wins is exactly the same.

Peace.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

RdV:

Oops.  Sorry.  Sounded like a retort.  Understood.

Peace.

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By RdV, March 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

God damn America is right or are you either advocating against free speech, or claiming my country right or wrong or are you ignoring all the Right-wing snake oil salesmen preaching hate on any given day of the week and nobody says boo.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

You’re not pragmatic, you’re skeptical. That skepticism is perfectly valid, and I applaud you for reserving your judgment. Still, the practical point of the matter is that Barack is winning and has more than a chance to trump everyone who comes along.

This is not the 60s or 70s. Yes, looking to the past is a great indicator of the future, YET this is a campaign not precedented before. The climate is different. There are other variables, and you’re only looking at half the details.

Read my text. John McCain is NOT going to win! Anyone who thinks his candidacy has a chance is lying to themselves. He is well-liked, but is completely amorphous. The man is an illusion, and there isn’t any person who will run with him who can help his campaign.

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By RdV, March 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

The only aspect directed at you personally was the bit about his delivery vs read.
The rest is boilerplate contempt for Clinton.
Nothing personal.

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By bert, March 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

You write:    “Just like these folks who say Wright will damn Obama’s campaign are living in a fantasy land. The speech today is just the beginning.”

We said that back in the 60’s and 70’s too. The Age of Aquarius and all that.

I am a pragmatic and like Joe in Maine have seen to many of my hopes and dreams dashed on McGovern, Carter(second campaign) Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry.

I want to win in 2008 and unfortunately I think Obama may be too damaged now. You are right. No one has a crystal ball and can see into the future. Only time will tell.

But we don’t have much time left to choose a nominee that can win, or has to MOST and the BEST chance of beating McCain.

We will have to see what polls say in the next few weeks. I know a lot of you don’t like polls, and I know I have railed her in the past that they are not predictive. They are only a snapshot in time. But if Obama is not able to get past these negatives it is a bad omen for Denocratic chances in Nov.

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By Tom Semioli, March 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What would be the victory if Hillary is elected?

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

You’re thinking is skewed to an old axiom. Kerry was a freaking dead fish. You can’t compare John Kerry to Barack Obama. The two campaigns, people, life experiences and political abilities are leaps apart. You haven’t been paying attention to what has been happening in the context in which it has occurred. If you have been, you’d see how your argument is flawed. I will continue to try and coax you to embrace the truth, but only you can take the blindfold off.

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By brewerstroupe, March 18, 2008 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

A little off-topic but bear with me.

I have long suspected that the dumbing down of Americans may be due to an additive commonly found in Coca Cola which my studies have implicated in premature softening of the brain. I wonder if posters would kindly add a number to the bottom of their posts. This number should correspond to the amount, in litres, of Coca Cola they consume per day. I would then like to compare the result with posts made which ignore the following facts.

1. Voters who are likely to be influenced by Obama’s name are not part of his constituency, never have been and never will be.

2. Voters who are likely to be influenced by something his pastor said five years ago and ignore McCain’s links to fundaloonie Hagee are not part of his constituency, never have been and never will be.

3. Voters, already aware of Obama’s name and pastor, comprise a constituency far greater than Hillary’s or McCain’s.

4. Whoever gets the nomination will be “swiftboated” fiercely by the opposing side given the parlous state of American politics (possibly resulting from the “soft-brain/Coca Cola syndrome). Obama has already demonstrated his superior ability to deal with this type of attack.

(Those posters who stump for Hillary because of the likelihood that she will lose to McCain need not participate. The inability to recognise a McCain Presidency as four more disastrous years of Bushism indicates a degree of brain softness that might distort the statistical curve and is most likely congenital).

Appreciate your cooperation.

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By bert, March 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

You write:    “We can sit here and debate, discuss, argue and vent for days, but there is NO WAY John McCain can handle ANY economic question.”

McCain won’t have to in the eyes of a msjority of voters in a general election. G. Bush could barely get theough a debate. He could not debate economics either. Many times he just babbled. He was terrible.

But Bush won the election. Twice !!!!

The MAJORITY of voters often, maybe most times, seldom vote on particular issues and know a lot less about them than we on this blog know.

Most voters vote on gut instinct - do I like this guy or not. And many Americans love a war hero. Even I have deep respect for McCain and what he went through as a POW. Not enough to vote for him. But he is a true war hero.

That will appeal to a lot of voters and will trump anything he says on the economy and a whole host of other issues.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

The reality is Mr McCain’s war experience is not going to help him as much as many people think it will. It’s a weak argument because people are:

1)Fed up with war
2)Focused on the economy
3)Anti-Republican
4)Flocking to Obama

You can sit there and say things will be devastating and that Obama can’t win, but YOU DON’T KNOW! Ya aren’t clairvoyant! The fact that you support a deaf and dumb campaign means you can’t face reality because the reality has CHANGED. You want to win? Vote for Barack Obama because he IS winning and WILL continue to WIN all the way to the White House.

Not you, Maani, Lib, Rush Limbaugh, William Kristol, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan or Tucker Carlson will be able to stop a damn thing. The Republicans who want to bloody Obama politically will wind up falling on their own double-edged sword.

Go ahead and don’t face what’s happening in America. Refuse to recognize the change. Fine! But change is here, and it is good.

Barack Obama 2008

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Hillary isn’t vetted. Her husband is. This is a dumb campaign strategy, the “ready on day one” lie. Her entire campaign is struggling to find itself. There is a whole lot more to expose about Hillary, but she is doing plenty of damage herself. Please realize your candidate has failed.

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By bert, March 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

I think the scenario that Joe in Maine writes about would be one of the mildest exchanges that would most likely occur should Obama be the Dem nominee.

Joe in Maine does not even mention the stealth campaign to bolster John McCain’s answer with 527 ads and Repub ads.

If you think the swift boat attacks were over the top, you ain’t seen nothing yet. What will come Obama’s way will be devasting. It will be fierce and it will be non-stop.

That is reality.

I have said it before on this blog and I will say it again and echo Joe in Maine. This year I want to win. The stakes are just to great for the country, for the Constitution, for the Supreme Court, and for the survival of this democratic republic.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

That’s a hypothetical to an infinite exponential! You have no way of knowing how Barack would answer that question right now. It’s a bad example of a situation, but the perfect example of a baiting scare-tactic. That is the real reality.

We can sit here and debate, discuss, argue and vent for days, but there is NO WAY John McCain can handle ANY economic question. The economy means more than the war right now, and terrorism is taking a backseat to Iraq in the current political climate. You need to just release yourself from your opinions for a moment and be more objective because you continue to say things which are all hypothetical and are often proved wrong.

Just like these folks who say Wright will damn Obama’s campaign are living in a fantasy land. The speech today is just the beginning. Mark my words, Barack Obama will be the next president.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

I don’t see MMC talk about much other than the Iraq vote. Cyrena genuinely, as far as I read, speaks to a clarity which rivals your own. I certainly don’t agree with the method of everyone’s speech. Even I go over a line at times, but it’s natural for some people to get upset and reply with invective to caustic statements.

The facts as I’ve observed, though, show Hillary supporters unveiling many, many more falsities than the Obama and Independent camps. I’ve few qualms with my campaign other than the lack of correct speech given by certain individuals. There is always room for clarity, and I just wish more people could be as unequivocal as I try to be. Obviously, I sometimes fail.

Look at your bedfellows. I like mine more than you probably like yours.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

Joe is not “writing off an entire campaign with so few words.”  He is simply giving an example - and a darn good one - of the kind of thing Obama is likely to face during a general election campaign.  Indeed, Joe’s example is actually EXTREMELY “weak” compared to some of the things Obama is likely to face, both during debates and as the result of whatever mud-slinging and swift-boating the GOP does.

You REALLY need to wake up and see reality.

Peace.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

RdV:

Holy cow!  Apparently, a Hillary supporter cannot even say something NICE about Obama without getting a negative response.

You might try being a little more gracious.  Something like, “Gee, Maani, considering what a Hill-the-shill supporter you are, it’s nice that you finally have something nice to say about Obama.”

Apparently, you just couldn’t bring yourself to do that.

Peace.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

GOP’s anti-contraceptive teachings have actually spread HIV to Africa. You can flush a whole lot of money down the Nile, but unless it is used correctly there is no point. Your Republican representatives love to cut taxes and spend money that isn’t theirs. Neo-conservatives swear allegiance to money, power and China.

Don’t even sit there and try to play the compassionate conservative card. There isn’t anything compassionate happening in New Orleans after Katrina. The only thing the Republican party does is enable business to destroy everything around itself and squander American tax payer money on bullshit while cutting the programs which actually make a difference.

When you get a real libertarian platform and a real conservative, I’ll vote for him or her in a second. It isn’t happening, though, because everyone worships on the altar of social conservatism and war profiteering. You’re a platitude.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

“I don’t insult people Maani. Unless, of course, they are acting completely out of line, but even then I restrain myself mostly.”

My apologies for not being clearer.  When I said “you,” I meant Obama supporters collectively, though there are of course some (like you) who do not.

It is not in me to allow lies, exaggerations or distortions be perpetuated. You know, like when lib would go on and on about Obama being a Muslim, which he is NOT! Or when DC calls him a sexist racist by defending racist comments by Ferrarro.”

Interesting that both of the people you chose to note (lib, Doug) are not Obama supporters.  The question is whether you are as willing to “call on the carpet” those who are like-minded to you - e.g., Cyrena, MMC, et al - when THEY engage in same.  Or are you suggesting that they never do?

Peace.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 18, 2008 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Hillary is divisive? I commend her for doing what the mainstream media should have been doing all along. Asking the tough questions before the GOP Haters get handed an unvetted nominee to peel like a banana. I don’t hear any fear mongering in her campaign. You can look at the 3AM Spot a thousand times and only one question is asked. Who would you rather have answer the phone at 3am when something is happening in the world. Sorry to have to remind you that the world CAN be a scary place to live. To deny this fact is just your Obama Kool-Aid buzz talking.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Such articulate eloquence is in short supply. How many people can write an entire campaign off with so few words? Genius.

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By Malcolm Martin, March 18, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The writing is on the wall. In order to be elected President of the United States Barak Obama must do a magic trick. He must become a white man.

First Obama was ambushed in a nationally televised debate and challenged to reject and condemn Minister Louis Farrakhan. Minister Farrakhan had dared to say about Barak Obama, “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.” The demand that the intellectual author and leader of the redemptive Million Man March be denounced came from the minds of men who would see Obama dead before they would see him president but “this young man” went to his knees and separated himself from a father who loves him.

The lynch party then moved closer. Rush Limbaugh, one of the most vicious and dangerous racists in human history, ranted that Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., the minister who married Obama and his wife Michelle, the iconic leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago since 1972, is a “race-baiter and a hatemonger.” A national Limbaugh-led mob howled that this holy man must be denounced and renounced, and again for the sake of his chances to be president, Obama knelt before them and called Rev. Wright’s profound truth telling “inflammatory and appalling.”

As he answers the hounds questions about his pastor Barak Obama must be heartsick. In that heart he knows where this is going. The racists will not stop at Minister Farrakhan or Rev. Wright. The mouths of their blood-red faces will screech at Obama to deny his Kenyan father and his African name, especially his middle name. Then the test will become to reject the support of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and the others who prepared the ground for him. Then Michelle Obama will have to be muzzled if she continues acting as a strong outspoken Black woman. Then a calming excuse will have to found for his people’s growing pride and excitement in his candidacy. The admiration and support of the African-American people and 91% of the Black vote in a Mississippi primary victory will never do. Why, that’s not the way America elects its president!

Have no illusions about Barak Obama. He is auditioning with the ruling class in this campaign for president. He is desperately trying to convince them an Obama Administration would be business as usual, his empty rhetoric about change notwithstanding. That’s why he is willing to throw his pastor of 20 years and spiritual mentor over the side on command.

But this goes beyond Obama the Black man and candidate for president. Something the ruling class can never permit must happen before Obama can be elected. In all future primaries and in the general election, if he gets that far, Obama will win 90-plus% of the Black vote and his people will turn out in record numbers. But he will win the nomination and then the presidency only with a substantial number of white working class votes. Oh, the unity!

Such unity would shake this county’s ever constricting capitalist bourgeois democracy to its foundation. One of the main engines of that capitalist economy is racism. For the sake of profits racial divisions and the super exploitation of workers of color must be kept intact—at all costs.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 18, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

I am a Democrat that has watched my party nominate Kerry and get Bush. Before that we nominated Gore and got Bush. Before Clinton we nominated Dukakis and got Bush, nominated Mondale and got Reagan. We nominated McGovern and got Nixon. We nominated Humphry and got Nixon.

I am a Democrat and I want to WIN!

Do I believe that Obama would be a great President? Yes I do. Do I believe he can get elected? No way. He is a fatally-flawed candidate. It doesn’t even pass the quickest of smell tests. Let me illustrate what I mean.

Katie Couric: Senator Obama, Senator McCain, thank you both for participating in tonight’s first debate for the presidency. First question to you Senator McCain. You’ve made speeches that suggest your opponent isn’t ready to be POTUS. Can you explain whay you believe this to be the case.

McCain. Thank you Katie it’s great to be here tonight. My friends, I want to assure you that Barak Obama is a good and decent man. It’s an honor to share the debate stage with him tonight. You have inspired millions to get involved in the political process and I commend you for that. I say to you senator Obama that I respect your story and your life’s journey that has brought you to this stage tonight. I have joked many times on the campaign trail that I will try my best not to hold your youth and inexperience against you but like any good joke, there is a small truth buried in the humor. I feel strongly that this must be said. Let me be very clear on my experience. I was educated at the Naval Acadamy. I flew an A-4 in Vietnam and saw many of my shipmates die in a ill-concieved foreign conflict. I was a POW and fought to keep my fellow prisoners safe. I was elected to congress in 1982 as part of the Reagan Revolution. I have served in the senate for over 20 years and always served and loved this great country to the best of my ability for over 50 years. I have to say that the American people, in this time of war and uncertainty, have to be sure of the qualifications of it’s next leader. When the American people are given the choice between a one-third of one term freshman senator, a man who has seemingly been running for president since his speech at the democratic national convention and has never served a day in public life when he was not running for a higher office, and myself, I feel very confident that my life experiences will prevail.

Katie Couric: Senator Obama, your reaction?

Obama: Ahhhhhhh. Yeah. What he said. Oh wait.

GAME OVER

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By RdV, March 18, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Except I am a 53 year old white woman.

  so, tell me, when Hillary trashed the women her husband exploited—do you think she insulted women?

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

He was in Miami.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

I don’t insult people Maani. Unless, of course, they are acting completely out of line, but even then I restrain myself mostly. I’d rather just diminish the bogus claims people try to foist up. While I recognize any issue, no matter how insignificant politically, is a valid issue to the individual, I also realize these pseudo-issues need to be quashed and snuffed out to complete lunacy to move on to real political points.

It is not in me to allow lies, exaggerations or distortions be perpetuated. You know, like when lib would go on and on about Obama being a Muslim, which he is NOT! Or when DC calls him a sexist racist by defending racist comments by Ferrarro. It’s Bullshit and needs to be quashed. Not one ounce of validity can I give to such stupidity. Not for one moment!

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Definitely true on all accounts, maani.

I have to say, though, this is exactly what I wanted Barack Obama to say. This discussion is far from over, but Obama put a significant hurdle in front of the smear machine. If he can keep up this level of potency, poise and perspective, Hillary Clinton and John McCain should just pack up and go home.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

“In the Obama camp, we don’t insult women, and we did not make this campaign about race.”

No, you just insult anyone who (i) does not agree with you, (ii) does not support Obama, (iii) dares to criticize Obama, even legitimately, and/or (iv) supports a candidate other than Obama.

Peace.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Joe, don’t let fear dictate action. Now is not the time for weakness. Do what you know is right.

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By lib in texas, March 18, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, your hypocricy shows itself again WHO ARE THE BIGOTED ONES.

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By RdV, March 18, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Reading the speech is not comparable to witnessing him deliver it.
Considering Bush’s halting, My-Pet-Goat delivery and Clinton’s scolding monotone, it was an eloquent performance that we don’t have much occasion to appreciate.
  There is no denying that Barak has authenticity and class and that is bound to cause resent, and seething envy in some quarters. In fact, you can gage the effectiveness by the shrill backlash of his detractors.

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By lib in texas, March 18, 2008 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

He admitted he lied and WAS in the pews!!!

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By lib in texas, March 18, 2008 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Jacob Freeze, I never thought it was about race either but Obama has now made it about race. 
Here is my thoughts on his “sermon” making it about race.  Well, what about TRUTHFULNESS ! !!  He admitted he lied when he said he wasn’t present at the inciteful sermons Wright gave.  He also told Major Garret he would have LEFT the church if he had know about Wrights hatred sermons.  So another LIE !!!! There are many other provable lies so why the HELL should any one believe a word Obama says.
HOW ANY ONE CAN NOT THINK THAT ‘GOD DAMN AMERICAN’ IS A HATRED OF AMERICA. What excuses do the people who were amening and yelling agreement and at one point the man who is the the new minister ran up and patted Wright on the back in agreement have!
I’v seen some of you rampid obamoites tell people to leave the country and I say to you if you HATE AMERICA SO MUCH, LEAVE!!!!!!!!!  This is probably a lie too, but supposedly Wright IS out of the country!!!

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By American Who Cares, March 18, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We have endured the worst 8 years in American history in my opinion with the current administration. McCain is an older version of Bush. He would most likely he would continue the gameplan of the neo-zionists to conquer the Middle East and move eastward to eventually try to conquer the world. This country would be on spam and eggs for generations.

Now, we have a black man running for president and his preacher states his mind and America gets stupid. Robertson talked to Bush and calls for the assasination of Chavez and nothing is said. Bush, himself, has said some stupid sh*t and nothing is said. Bush & Co still has not done anything re Katrina relief and nothing is said. America is sill stupid.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 18, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

I don’t always agree with everything you write, but I sure do enjoy reading your thoughts. I appreciate that you take the time to search your soul and share your inner beauty with us. You are absolute correct when you suggest that the racial ugliness of the campaign will never ‘blow over’ for those that were just waiting, on the edge of their seats, for that moment they could point to Obama and say, “See? I knew this guy hated whites! He’s going to destroy the country with his blah, blah blah.” Obama just gave a very good speech, the brilliant work of the constitutional law professor that he happens to be. I fear it won’t be ‘loud enough’ to drown out the filth that will continue to come from the right, but we can all hope right? I still don’t believe he’s electable, does that make me a cynic or what? I want to believe that this country is ready to elect a bold thinker like Obama, but I am still afraid we’ll nominate a man who will be slayed like a spring lamb in the general election.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Although I didn’t see the speech, I did read the transcript.  And I must admit that the overwhelming majority of it was very good, and that he seems to have successfully separated himself “from the words but not the man.”  I still think this may come back to haunt him, but his approach was very good.

One paragraph jumped out at me.  I’m not trying to be nit-picky, since, as stated, I found most of the speech to be well-thought-out.  But this jumped out at me:

“But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”

I have to wonder why he added the last segment after the semicolon.  Even if the “sentiments” of the segment are understandable, it seems like a completely unnecessary - and very much out-of-place - “pandering” to Israel.

Again, other than this, I give kudos to Obama for a speech well put.

Peace.

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By J. Dray, March 18, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jacob, you are everything that is wrong with america!

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By Hammo, March 18, 2008 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Obama’s ethnicity is a significant factor in the current Dem contest ... but many people like him, no matter what his ethnicity, because he was against the Iraq war and appears to have better judgment than Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

Food for thought in the articles ...

“Obama faces Ohio hearts and minds”

AmericanChronicle.com
February 28, 2008

http://americanchronicle.com/articles/53747

-  -  -

“Obama’s Iraq position, mixed ethnicity are key factors”

AmericanChronicle.com
February 22, 2008

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/53128

-  -  -

“Mixed-ethnicity Americans face challenges”

AmericanChronicle.com
January 30, 2008

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/50835

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

cyrena, I thank you for the compliments.

It is to be said, though, that racism isn’t an ideology which is tried and true for dyed-in-the-wool followers so much as it is a social disorder perpetuated by ignorant upbringing. It’s got a lot to do with mental cognizance of others and identity relationship issues. A very complex problem, which requires a lot of attention.

You are right that certain folk do want to exploit these “magic negro” fears, though. It isn’t going to work this time, though. People think the Republican machine is unbeatable, battle-tested and ready on day one to destroy Democratic opposition, but the opposite is true right now.

We have had a lot of experience losing at the hands of fear-mongering and talking points, and Barack has done a skillful job of dealing with any of these tactics. The party as a whole, but particularly Barack Obama, are familiar with the patterns of attack, and are beginning to mount stable and effective defenses in addition to some good offensive maneuvers. The political climate of America has changed, people are very disillusioned with the Republican party and these tactics are really starting to show diminishing returns.

I’m not worried about John McCain. Especially with the economy in the toilet as it is (and expected to worsen), the only talking point necessary is McCain saying he really doesn’t understand economics. Honestly, if it comes down to worrying about terrorists attacking you (some amorphous fear of shadows) or whether or not you’ll be able to get your bread and butter… well, I think you know what will win.

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By cyrena, March 18, 2008 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Thanks Aegrus!! What excellent commentary.

I admit that I believe it to be wasted on Maani, not to mention a handful of others. BUT, it serves a great purpose, (as does the report from Mr. Boyarsky) in putting a 21st Century reality on the social-psychology of our nation.

That said, I don’t know how long it will take this to ‘blow over’ ONLY because it was a ‘created’ incident to begin with, simply because, and ONLY because, Barack Obama is an African-American. And, as far as we have come, as a nation, in getting beyond this, there will ALWAYS be the die-hard racists among us, who will not now, or EVER, accept a black person as the president. It’s that simple.

Since it is not longer ‘acceptable’, socio-politically speaking, to display that racism in open, simple, and basically blatant terms, these people will find any other possible way around it, no matter how desperate it may be, and no matter how obviously irrational or illogical it may be.

I don’t mean to suggest that reasonable people may have perfectly valid reasons for PREFERRING another candidate. Staunch republicans may prefer John McCain, for whatever the reasons. Others may prefer Clinton, for the SAME reasons they prefer John McCain, (since my opinion is that their politics and positions are the same) These are the same people who would approve of a Clarence Thomas in the SC, even though he’s black.

But…I think we can easily differentiate between those who simply prefer another candidate, over those who are die-hard racists, and simply can never accept a black person of either gender, as a POTUS. They would NEVER say this, and have become so accustomed to the enforced denial, that they may even believe it themselves, though I don’t think that is the case with Maani.

But, I said that to say that it is BECAUSE of these people, that the issue with Rev. Wright is even an issue at all, and it has been a massive on-going effort on the part of these people, to PUT this out there to begin with. So, they will keep it going, to the extent that they can.

A comparative example shows the hypocrisy. John McCain has openly solicited and embraced the endorsement of John Hagee, whose hate language knows no bounds. He invokes God to damn Jews, Gays, Catholics, and the list goes on. (see the excerpt and link below).

he McCain-Hagee Connection
Why is the press ignoring this hate-monger?
By Zachary Roth Fri 7 Mar 2008 02:27 PM
•  Print
•  Email
•  Comments
•  Single page
More than a week after John McCain’s endorsement by the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic pastor John Hagee, the media continues to give the GOP nominee a free pass.
Consider the following pronouncements by Hagee, the man who McCain proudly introduced as an ally last week.
On Jews:
It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God’s chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.
And:
How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for his chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings he had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.

And, he goes on and on at the link.
http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/the_mccainhagee_connection_1.php

Still, there is not a peep from any of these people (or the press) on any of this.

Then look back through these threads, and you’ll find the same posters, over and over, bringing attention (and their obvious dislike for Obama) to every single thing that could possibly be connected as a ‘black mark’ on him. (no pun intended).

So THEY will continue to work at it, to poison public opinion.

The rest of us however, will simply get on with the business of improving America.

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By benza, March 18, 2008 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Does not Truth Dig look around the world?

If it did it would see an innocent nation condemned to death by ignorance of international commentators.

In ten more days there would be an election in Zimbabwe.

The one billion dollars a month salaried Army has declared it would NOT accept anyone but Mugabe as president.

Please see: http://benzaloy.blogspot.com/2008/03/heavenly-prices-and-salaries-in-hellish.html

Forgive me if this is the wrong place.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

It was an okay article. Honestly, I don’t like it when people claim common sense is incisive. There isn’t anything inaccurate about what was stated, but it didn’t really provide any insight into the issue. Even-handed… both firmly under the author’s backside.

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By Howard Cossman, March 18, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Freeze,

Thank you for bringing some clarity and TRUTH to this arguement. It’s
refreshing to hear from someone on this site who is not just blindly wedded to
a political agenda.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the clarifications, but it doesn’t make any of the claims accurate. In the Obama camp, we don’t insult women, and we did not make this campaign about race. That twist was spun by the Clintonistas and Fox News conservative machine. They will go away after they find some new chum to feed to the racists in America.

Next piece of news, Obama had pre-marital sex with a white girl when he was 16! Guess he’s a rapist then, right? This is pretty much the value of all these arguments in the past two weeks. A whole lot of racist garbage.

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By Sharon Ash, March 18, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Birds of a feather do ‘flock’ together.  Obama had a 17 year ‘flocking together’ with a slum landlord who is under investigation for various federal offenses.  He has had a 20 year ‘flocking together’ with a racist spiritual advisor.  You are known by the company you keep and if these two are any indication of the type of people he would attract to his administration, well, I personally have not been dumbed down quite enough to find this acceptable.  God damn all angry men, white or black, in charge of the office of president.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

It won’t work in this case. Just watch everything unfold, ye of little faith. These arguments resonate with a diminishing amount of people. I really think you underestimate the political climate right now.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

You have no crystal ball to say where Obama’s “black voters” are going to side. This is a non-issue which will be gone in two weeks if not sooner. Barack will be addressing the whole stupidity today, and those with sense will resonate with his quantifications.

You can discuss what the correct way for Wright is to act, but the fact is these few comments, taken out of context, do not represent him as a whole AND have nothing to do with Obama’s beliefs as he has clearly illustrated on the campaign trail. This whole dumb argument is only meant to discredit Obama’s sincerity, of which is too strong to be questioned.

Question the sincerity of Hillary Clinton. You’ll not need special tools or a union contracted labor pool to find something of insincerity on her behalf. Ferraro is enough to prove that point, but since you can’t find the racism or the ingenuous nature of her comments it is pretty much presumed you are part of the double standard in America.

Jerry Falwell had a fervent following for spouting such “shock value” sermons. You’re argument is bunk again, Maani.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

I posted this on the other thread, but felt it worth posting here.  It is the best article I have read today (out of about a dozen) on Obama’s situation and speech.  It is even-handed and incisive.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9095.html

Peace.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

“Please. What a ridiculous Neo-Conservative talking point.”

You can’t be THAT naive.  OF COURSE it is a “neo-conservative talking point.”  And the right wing will use ANY AND ALL such “talking points” during the general election campaign.  It does not matter how often or well Obama has addressed those issues (flag lapel pins, etc.).  THAT IS HOW THE GOP WORKS!  That is why “swift-boating” works!

Wake up and smell the coffee, Aegrus.

Peace.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Aegrus:

“To chastise these comments is a huge double standard in comparison to your regular TV evangelist, and you should know this to be true as a preacher, Maani.”

As I have said before, if I were a congregational pastor, and I held these types of beliefs and views, and expressed them with such vehemence and vitriol - and especially if I did so from the pulpit - I would not be the least bit surprised if my parishioners began leaving the my church and no longer looking to me for spiritual guidance.

This has nothing to do with “speaking truth” or “not speaking truth.”  As I have said elsewhere, there are “ways” to speak truth and “ways” to speak truth.  MLK did not need to resort to the level of judgment, condemnation and “shock value” of Rev. Wright in order to get his message of righteous indignation and moral outrage across - and this is why he was successful in translating that moral outrage into ACTION.

Obama has two choices.  He can distance himself fully from Wright - which is what he should do - at the risk of alienating many black voters.  Or he can attempt to distance himself from “the words but not the man,” in which case the issue will remain cannon fodder for the GOP to use in the general election, no matter HOW brilliant Obama’s speech might be.

Peace.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Please. What a ridiculous Neo-Conservative talking point. Wanna discuss flag lapel pins? Are you wearing one right now? That was said in the heat of the moment, and there are still a lot of black people who think, sometimes rightly so, that mainstream America doesn’t care about them or is purposely trying to diminish and destroy the black community. Is it accurate? Probably not, but the belief is there. Barack has spoken and acted in contrast to those sentiments. Your whole argument is bullshit.

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By Aegrus, March 18, 2008 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Maani, you and everyone else talking about this issue as if it was valid make me laugh. No one could take Barack Obama down as a person, on the issues or by his merits. Now, the idea is to look at anyone he is associated with and cast guilt on Obama for their opinions. It’s ridiculous, and is not going to work.

Even the argument itself is riddled with faults. Much like the idea of criticizing Obama for his no vote on 100 or so pieces of legislation in his state senate career, which consisted of more than 4000 votes. These clips are just that. Clips of a pastor who has been preaching for over thirty years. Not only are these sound bits not entirely indicative of Jeremiah Wright, but the context has been thoroughly blown out of proportion. It is fair for a person to criticize American foreign policy and Israeli treatment of Palestinians. To chastise these comments is a huge double standard in comparison to your regular TV evangelist, and you should know this to be true as a preacher, Maani.

I’ve no doubt Wright has inspired Barack Obama, as he stated so in his book. However, it is of dubious validity to claim it was the criticism of Israel and any other remarks which could be considered anti-semitic which caused the inspiration. Many inspirational people have personality quirks or beliefs which are unorthodox, and you would be really hard pressed to find anyone worth listening to who is pure status-quo, repeating the same words we all know and believe already. Greatness is often unorthodox.

All this said, I’m willing to let you have the issue, though. Go ahead and vet Obama on his pastor. It’s the only fresh talking point the anti-Obama curmudgeons have. Vet him on this association, and when he deflects and reduces the argument to the bullshit as it is, we will have won again. Do what you must to try and pretend Hillary is relevant, and that Barack hates white people and Jews. Pretend the world is flat too. Whatever suits you best.

The fact is, Barack Obama distanced himself with these remarks when he began his campaign. Facts dictate Barack has challenged the black community to their face in big rallies about the homophobia, misogyny and racial/religious resentment held within their own people. Facts dictate these arguments are bunk as hell and that you have nothing of substance to say about Barack Obama anymore.

You lose. Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 18, 2008 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

He should embrace his friend and distance himself from the political crap, but maybe you would not understand the difference.  Yes I am sure during the wedding Wright said “god damn America” and during the baptism he said “Hillay was never called a N-” 

Sure you will find anyway you can that Obama was in the pew during a uncomfortable truth statement, keep supporting divisive Hillary, if she wins I can feel free to live my life in fear. 

If Obama rebounds from this I will be glad, because you bigoted hate is showing.

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By Maani, March 18, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Obama may not have been “in the pews” when Wright delivered some of his more caustic sermons.  But to suggest that you were COMPLETELY unaware of the beliefs and positions of the person who was your pastor for 20 years, the person who married you and baptised your children, and by your own admission a close friend and spiritual advisor for that entire 20 years flies in the face of logic, common sense and probability.

If Obama tries to distance himself only partially - which is apparently what he intends to do - he will only make it worse.  He needs to distance himself totally and completely from Wright - no matter the length and closeness of their relationship - or this issue will simply not go away.

Peace.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 18, 2008 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Great analogy, RdV.

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By RdV, March 18, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

There was hope that we were poised to make that millennial leap, and then we were dragged back accross the bridge by a matronly school marm, scolding about fear and race and determined that folks not strive for the higher octaves of their hopes if it means she is left on the shores of the past.

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