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Thread: A fellow named Barack, pt. II

  1. #1
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    To actually get the full flavor of a candidate, you have to read, so get cracking.

    From National Review Online:


    Who Is Barack Obama?
    His autobiography paints a disturbing picture

    MICHAEL GLEDHILL

    Who is Barack Obama? Obama the presidential candidate presents himself as a man who has loved America from his earliest childhood, a man proud of his mixed-race roots who comfortably transcends polarized racial politics, a man who eschews the ideologies of Left and Right, an optimistic healer. But in his critically acclaimed autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Obama is something else entirely.

    Obama published his autobiography in 1995, when he was in his mid-thirties. Unlike most books by politicians, which are concoctions of clichés penned by ghostwriters, Dreams was clearly written by Obama himself. Unlike most politicians, Obama can write and loves language. (He was contemplating a career as a novelist at the time he wrote Dreams.) Most important, Obama wrote his autobiography after he had become a political activist but before he was a politician; the book is therefore candid in a way a conventional politician’s memoir would never be.

    Dreams is a complex, introspective book. Its theme is how Obama, born in Hawaii to a white student mother and Kenyan student father, grows to view himself and the white society around him. The Obama of Dreams abandons his multiracial roots to forge an alienated black identity — that of a man steeped in radical ideology who views history in terms of a huge chasm separating oppressor from oppressed, white from black, and rich from poor; a man who is never more emotionally at home than when sitting in the church pew listening to Rev. Jeremiah Wright rant about white racism.

    People and politicians change, and the Obama of today may not be the one of 13 years ago. But he has never forsworn Dreams or given a detailed explanation of how he has evolved since writing it. The book thus remains an extraordinary window into Obama.

    WHAT DOES HE LIKE ABOUT AMERICA?
    Candidate Obama claims that “throughout my life, I have always taken my deep and abiding love for this country as a given.” He tells us his “heart swells with pride at the sight of our flag.”

    In Dreams, his heart swells at many things but sight of the flag certainly isn’t one of them. There he presents a warts-only history of the U.S., a story of evil and suffering. U.S. society is a “racial caste system” where “color and money” determine where you end up in life. He tells us of white children’s stoning black children, Jim Crow, and heatless Harlem housing projects. He describes “Japanese families interned behind barbed wire; young Russian Jews cutting patterns in Lower East Side sweatshops; dust-bowl farmers loading up their trucks with the remains of shattered lives.”

    Obama says the Hawaiian islands, where he grew up, are beautiful, but quickly reminds us that behind the beauty lurks the “ugly conquest of the native Hawaiians . . . crippling disease brought by missionaries . . . the indenturing system that kept Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino immigrants stooped sunup to sunset in [the fields].”

    Candidate Obama proudly tells audiences that his white grandparents were raised in the American heartland. But in Dreams he describes this heartland as the “landlocked center of the country, a place where decency and endurance and the pioneer spirit were joined at the hip with conformity and suspicion and the potential for unblinking cruelty.”

    Candidate Obama fondly tells audiences that one of his earliest memories is of sitting on his grandfather’s shoulders proudly watching the Apollo astronauts return to Hawaii after their splashdown in the Pacific. But in Dreams, even this event is an occasion for outrage, as Obama asks: “How could America send men into space and still keep its black citizens in bondage?”

    American affluence offends Obama. The vast upper-middle class lives in a land of isolation and sterility. As a teenager, he envies the white homes in the suburbs but senses that the big pretty houses contain “quiet depression” and “loneliness,” represented by “a mother sneaking a tumbler of gin in the afternoon.” American consumer culture is comforting but mentally and spiritually numbing, yielding a “long hibernation.”

    Studying U.S. law at Harvard, Obama concludes it is mainly about “expediency or greed.” Working in a large modern corporation, he sees himself as a “spy behind enemy lines.” Even science and technology draw his disdain as he warns of “technology that spits out goods from its robot mouth.”

    Finishing Dreams, I could not recall a single positive sentence about the United States or European society. I reread the book specifically looking for positive remarks. The pickings were lean. Obama does write glowingly of JFK’s Camelot and its promise of a “bright new world,” but concludes this promise was a mere illusion quickly transformed into “war, riot, and famine.” At the end of the book, Obama acknowledges that “faith in other people” can be found everywhere: among Christians as well as Muslims and in Kansas as well as his beloved Kenya. If you’re looking for rousing patriotism, that’s about as good as Obama gets.

    Earlier this year, Michelle Obama made headlines by declaring that her husband’s primary victories were the first time she had ever been “proud of my country.” Michelle’s remark simply echoes the assessment Barack presents in his 442-page autobiography: Aside from a few comments about what he regards as the largely unsuccessful struggle for civil rights in the Sixties, Obama has nothing positive to say about his country. Even his hopes for the future are modest and “sometimes hard to sustain.”

    POST-RACIAL OBAMA
    Obama is touted as a post-racial statesman who sees beyond the narrow issue of white versus black. The Obama of his autobiography is, to the contrary, obsessed with race: Almost all of Dreams is about race and race conflict.

    Obama’s early life is marked by uncertainty and rootlessness. Born in Hawaii, he is abandoned by his black Kenyan father at age two. At six he goes to live in Indonesia with his white mother and Indonesian stepfather. At age ten, he leaves his mother and returns to Hawaii, where he spends the rest of his youth, living mainly with his lower-middle-class white grandparents and attending an expensive, almost-all-white prep school.

    In multiracial Hawaii, Obama’s encounters with racism, he admits, are pretty slight. On occasion, he deploys what he calls a “bad-assed nigger pose,” but he understands its artificiality. Obama seems well accepted by the youth around him, but, inside, he feels anxious and apart. A turning point in the narrative occurs when some of his white teenage friends attend an otherwise all-black party with him but feel uncomfortable and ask to leave. Obama is enraged and wants to punch his friends.

    He begins to inundate himself in black literature: Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and W. E. B. DuBois. Saturated with themes of anger and alienation, Obama withdraws into a “smaller and smaller coil of rage.” He suffers a “nightmare vision” of black powerlessness and feels whites have maimed blacks with a tragic “self contempt.” Malcolm X becomes his favorite author, although he admits all the talk about “blue-eyed devils and apocalypse” is a bit much.

    Teenage Obama now sees himself as a “would-be black.” He begins to deliberately craft a black identity with alienation and anger at its foundation. The reader of Dreams cannot help being struck by the unexplained contrast between the circumstances of Obama’s life — an opportunity to attend a fine school, white grandparents who love him — and his great anger at white society.

    Today, Candidate Obama presents himself as a multiracial American who is proud of his mixed ancestry and can comfortably draw from both his white and his black roots. In Dreams, he takes the opposite stance. He deliberately and repeatedly rejects a multiracial identity. For example, attending an expensive private college in California, he meets many young people of mixed black and white ancestry who view themselves, not as black, but as multiracial. Obama specifically rejects this option as a sellout. He also rejects integration as a goal because it is “a one-way street. The minority is assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around.”

    After college, Obama has an affluent white girlfriend who loves and wants to marry him. She brings him to visit her family, who warmly accept him. Obama is attached to the girl and respects the family’s deep cultural heritage, but he eventually dumps her because she is not black. He feels that if he marries her he will ultimately be assimilated into a foreign white culture, a fate that is unacceptable to him.

    Obama comes to define and identify himself as a black man. As a young man he views his white ancestry not as an asset, but as an impediment to achieving authentic blackness. The dozens of cultural and historic figures appearing throughout Dreams are almost all black. (White author Joseph Conrad makes a token appearance as a deranged racist.) Obama identifies his principal role models: Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and W. E. B. DuBois. He states that while he might love his white grandfather and Indonesian stepfather, he could “never emulate” them because of the racial difference: They were “white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own.”

    Obama is fascinated by his black ancestry. When he journeys to Kenya he has a deep sense of joy and belonging — he feels he has finally come home. By contrast, he has very little interest in his white ancestors or in the history of white America. He views U.S. history simply as a melodrama in which whites crush blacks (although class oppression and brutality against other minorities provide secondary plotlines).

    It is true that Obama never abandons his affection for his white mother and grandparents. The memory of his immediate white relatives does remind him that not all whites are culpable racists and that some “could be exempted from the general category of distrust.” But beyond this he has no identification or psychic ties to larger white society.

    Dreams does present one exception to Obama’s black exclusiveness. As Obama studies radical Marxist-Leninist literature (Frantz Fanon, neocolonialism, etc.), he comes to see himself as the champion not just of blacks but of the downtrodden of all races. But this shift only distances him farther from the dominant white and European culture, which he views as the focal point of global exploitation. Even in his thirties, he writes with enthusiasm about the Viet Cong, the Mau Mau Uprising, and black rioters in Detroit who lashed out with “street crime and revolution” against complacent white oppressors.

    HATRED
    Generally, Obama sees an unbridgeable gulf between races: “The other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.” He states that at the core of black consciousness is the experience of white hatred of blacks. This hatred inspires an anger in turn that can either be directed out toward whites or in toward blacks themselves, in self-loathing:

    [Black awareness] hadn’t arisen simply from struggles with pestilence or drought, or even mere poverty. [It] had arisen out of a very particular experience with hate [of whites toward blacks]. That hate hadn’t gone away; it formed a counternarrative buried deep within each person and at the center of which stood white people — some cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives.

    As a youth, Obama is shocked when a black mentor tells him that “black people have reason to hate,” but later comes to accept this view. He ponders whether the “ghostly figure” of white hatred can ever be “exorcised” from black dreams. And he goes so far as to ask whether blacks can love themselves without hating whites, but provides no answer.

    Candidate Obama declared that he was shocked when he heard Rev. Jeremiah’s Wright’s outrageous remarks about American society. Despite the fact that he had been a member of Wright’s church for over a decade, Obama asserted that he had never heard such remarks from his spiritual mentor before.

    But in the autobiography, Wright’s rants are in plain view. It is obvious that Obama is drawn to Wright’s ministry not in ignorance, but precisely because of the Reverend’s politics. In Dreams, Wright asserts: “Life’s not safe for a black man in this country, Barack. Never has been. Probably never will be.” Obama apparently agrees, ignoring the obvious facts that nearly all black homicides are committed by other blacks, and that the number of violent crimes committed by blacks against whites is about eight times greater than the number of such crimes by whites against blacks.

    When Wright, in the pages of Dreams, rants from the pulpit about Hiroshima and proclaims that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” it’s not so jarring, since Obama has been saying pretty much the same thing throughout the book. Obama expresses joy and a real sense of belonging in connection with only three places: his childhood home in Indonesia, Kenya, and in the pews of Reverend Wright’s Trinity United Church.

    OBAMA AND THE UNDERCLASS
    In his personal life, Obama has received highly favorable treatment from white society. His grievance appears, at least on the surface, to be abstract rather than personal. It is the existence of the black poor and underclass that justifies his alienation from and hostility to his nation. For Obama, the black ghetto epitomizes the callousness, greed, and injustice of U.S. society.

    Obama became a community organizer in south Chicago to save the black urban poor and underclass. This was no mere job to Obama; it was a quasi-religious calling, his mission in life, offering the promise of personal “redemption.” But at only one point does Obama pause in his narrative and ask the big questions. Contemplating the tangle of homicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and educational failure that blights the public-housing complex where he is working, he asks: What causes this? Who is responsible? After all, there are no white people there, “no cigar-chomping crackers . . . no club-wielding Pinkerton thugs.”

    With this question, Obama broaches the central paradox of modern race relations. Why, at a point when white society ended segregation, created affirmative action, and erected a massive new welfare state, did the self-destructive behaviors of the black lower classes soar, and entire communities begin spiraling downward in devastating social entropy? But, having raised this question, Obama offers no answer. The only solution he suggests is increased HUD funding. Some pages later he returns to vague charges about racism and hidden structures of power.

    Elsewhere in Dreams, however, Obama hints at an explanation for this silence. He says that focusing on the self-destructive behavior of the black underclass smacks of “the explanations that whites had always offered of black poverty: that we continued to suffer from, if not genetic inferiority, then cultural weakness.” A focus on behavior will only confirm the “worst suspicions” of blacks about themselves, pushing them deeper into helplessness and despair.

    Black well-being therefore requires that the blame for black behavior always be placed in historic context — that is, shifted to whites. If 69 percent of black children are born out of wedlock, if blacks kill blacks, if black-run schools don’t teach, it is the white man’s fault. Alternative explanations will only relieve white guilt while raising black self-doubt.

    SELF-PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR
    Dreams from My Father reveals Barack Obama as a self-constructed, racially obsessed man who regards most whites as oppressors. It is the work of a clever but shallow thinker who confuses ideological cliché for insight — a man who sees U.S. history as a narrow, bitter tale of race and class victimization. The Barack Obama presented in these pages is not electable to national office. No wonder that Obama, aided by a compliant media, has created a new self for public view, one the Obama of Dreams wouldn’t recognize and probably would disdain.

    “Michael Gledhill” is the pseudonym of a writer based in Washington, D.C.



    Candidate behind a Curtain


    Connoisseurs are already inscribing Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign into the annals of political theater. From the point of view of spectacle — prescinding, I mean, from any question of content — it is difficult not to admire the disciplined seamlessness Team O has constructed. From the oratory to the haberdashery and beyond, you sense the calculating hand of a seasoned political dramaturge. That dark suit. That white shirt, open at the neck or, when formal occasion demands, pinioned by the signature pale blue tie. What Obama wears are not so much suits as costumes. His message is communicated less by his speeches than by his slogans, or perhaps “mantras” would be more accurate. His overall image is not so much the projection of a personality as the coefficient of his theatrical props: the logos, the posters, and that late if unlamented pseudo presidential seal.

    Given the constraints of present-day democratic society, I doubt Leni Riefenstahl could have done much better. What we’re dealing with, though, is less The Triumph of the Will than a spoiled yuppie’s version of the Children’s Crusade. “Vero possumus” reads the legend on the Big O pseudo presidential seal. It doesn’t have quite the ring of “E pluribus unum,” but it does contain a reassuring echo of Bob the Builder: “Can we build it? Yes we can!”

    The indispensable term for understanding the Obama aesthetic is kitsch, by which I do not mean bad, cloying art but the deliberate sentimentalization, i.e., the avoidance, of reality. Take another look at the Big O seal. What’s that under the Bob the Builder Latin? A rising sun? A long and winding yellow brick road? Who knows? But I find it hard to look at the device without hearing strains of Judy Garland singing “Somewhere over the Rainobama” and thinking of that scene toward the end of The Wizard of Oz where we’re enjoined to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

    Actually, the question of identity is as pressing when you think about the fantasy that Team Obama is spinning as it is when you see The Wizard of Oz. What, really, do we know about Obama? Once you go beyond the props and slogans, there is a disturbing and, one assumes, deliberate vacancy about the man. Who is Obama? Where does he come from? Who are his friends? What does he believe in? These are not easy questions to answer, at least not if you want to go beyond the calorie-free rhetorical pabulum of “Change we can believe in.”

    Several people have noted the large debt that Obama’s favored campaign artists owe to socialist realism. When his campaign is not displaying posters of Che Guevera, it is sporting Shepard Fairey’s Change, Scott Hansen’s Progress (both of which are sold out at Obama’s web site), or Antar Dayal’s Yes We Can. All would have won a smile from Uncle Joe, who also liked his art graphically primitive, ideologically conformist, and morally and politically uplifting. And the continuity, I believe, is more than graphic. Obama’s aesthetic shares the spirit of socialist realism, but adds a non-sugar sweetener to the mix. Stalin’s worker-facing-the-future was sweaty, muscular kitsch. Images of the leader-facing-the-future-over-the-imperative-of-change are spiritually kindred productions redone for the delicate sensibilities of Obama’s decaffeinated-latte-drinking, metrosexual, New York Times–reading claque.

    There is something deeply childish about the Obama aesthetic. But it would be a great mistake to believe that immaturity is a guarantee of innocuousness. There is nothing at all innocent about Obama’s all-encompassing aesthetic, any more than there was about the more obviously minatory aesthetic of socialist realism. What Team Obama offers is socialism lite, with fantasy plugged in where the realism used to be. At bottom, the issue that Obama’s aesthetic raises belongs not to art criticism but to the question of our political future. The crucial thing to bear in mind is how uncompromising Obama’s aesthetic is. Recently, a television interviewer asked Obama if he had any doubts. “Never” was his response. That’s the answer he requires you to have as well.

    — ROGER KIMBALL
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    I read most of it. I did not see any mention of the fact that he is living and profiteering on land 'stolen' from the American Indians.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Daily Kos
    How to Market Obama to Your Republican Friends
    by Press to Digitate
    Sun May 18, 2008 at 08:12:19 AM PDT

    As a [now formerly] lifelong Republican, a [Goldwater] Conservative, and a former GOP activist, operative and professional campaign manager, now ardently supporting Sen. Barack Obama, I feel that I have the proper perspective from which to advise this audience on how to "sell" Obama to your Republican friends, relatives, and business associates.

    There is a large reservoir of discontent among Republicans who are dissatisfied with John McCain as the GOP nominee. As the recent 25% votes against him in the now uncontested primaries indicate, this dissention is far deeper and more persistent than it will be among Clinton Democrats, when the dust settles in August. These votes, and those of other Republicans now disenchanted are ripe for the picking this fall - IF you know how to make the case to these people.

    Below the fold I'll try to give several viable talking points which should hold you in good stead with most any Republican you come across, talking politics with between now and the election...

    * Press to Digitate's diary :: ::
    *

    In general, Republican voters dont have the same priorities as Democrats. The reasons YOU support Sen. Obama are most likely NOT the factors on which your Republican associates will make their voting decisions. Dont assume that your 'hot button' issues are necessarily even important to them, nor belittle the priorities they bring to the voting booth.

    First, to most Republicans, the cornerstone Democratic issues of "Health Care", "Education", and "Jobs" just dont even register in the top five issues on which they will base their vote. Arguing that Obama will best handle such subjects wont win their vote even if they believe you that he is best on these issues. Moreover, Republicans will generally have less confidence in the government to deliver health care, and more confidence in private schools to deliver education than you will. Dont argue these issues, arguments just harden attitudes; save your breath - just dont go there. You want their actual VOTE, not their nodding agreement on some arcane philosophical issue.

    Second, resist the urge to "Bush Bash". While many (even Most) Republicans are no longer enamored with the President, that doesnt mean they are sympathetic with everyone wanting to dump on him, either. They may feel President Bush to have been well intentioned, though blundering; they may have felt events got out of his control, they may even blame the Democratic Congress for his apparent failings. Again, DONT GO THERE. Its not a fight worth having. You dont win VOTES by fighting with people, you win by leading them to the better alternative - from their vantage point, not yours. George W. Bush is not on this ballot, and neither is his Vice President running to succeed him. That "Bush Third Term" drivel just wont cut it in winning Republican votes. Fortunately, with Obama as our candidate, we can make a better, more substantive case than that.

    Third, the only really serious, pervasively damaging charge the GOP will make against Obama is the tried-and-true tactic of painting him as a traditional "tax-and-spend-liberal-democrat, squishy-on-national-defense", in the mold of John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, etc. To most Republicans, that's the killer - if they believe it. All other charges and acusations, no matter how scurrilous, are secondary and incidental to that one. If they buy the 'tax-and-spend-liberal' label, they'll believe all the muddier garbage gossip; if they reject that charge as bogus, they'll most likely reject any other labels that may be pinned on him as 'not credible' either. EVEN IF you, in your heart-of-hearts believe we need more taxes and spending, and you pray to your humanistic wiccan goddess every night (j/k) that Obama will bring these things, for the sake of the Polar Bears, keep those wishes to yourself!!! To obtain an Obama VOTE, you are appealing to your Republican friend's existing sensibilities, rather than trying to change them.

    You may not agree with the following policy conclusions which led me to cross over for the first time in my life, and vote for Sen. Obama in Virginia's open primary, but THEY DID. And these same issues will resonate with other Republicans in voting booths across the country this fall...

    1. TAXES. As a member of the Illinois State Senate, Sen. Obama was cosponsor of a bill which ultimately passed, creating the largest tax cut in state history. Since the start of his presidential campaign, he has consistently favored a broad-based middle class tax cut. By contrast, Sen. McCain "voted against tax cuts before he voted for them", and has no real credibility on this issue among conservatives. McCain was very critical of the Bush tax cuts, which most Republicans believe gave us years of prosperity - until very recently. Obama can thus be taken more seriously than McCain as a President who will cut taxes, rather than raise them.

    2. SPENDING. Most Republicans' biggest gripe with their own party - by far - is its failure to control the bureaucracy and reign in runaway federal spending and deficits. It is useful to mention that while the last five (5) Republican Presidents promised fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, all of them grew discretionary civilian spending by tremendous amounts, and ran up ever larger deficits. Meanwhile, only Pres. Bill Clinton balanced the federal budget, and produced four years of surpluses, with the same forecast long into the indefinite future. A big problem with the federal budget is that almost nobody knows where all the money is going; its easy to add earmarks and pork barrel spending and special interest giveaways when the people back home cant tell the difference. Sen. Barack Obama's major legislative accomplishment in the Senate, the The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 has been to bring transparency to federal spending. Send your Republican friends to http://www.federalspending.gov which his legislation created, a veritable "Google of the Federal Budget", where anyone can research every dollar to see where their tax money is actually going. The whole Federal Rathole is now online, for the first time ever, inviting scrutiny from whoever has the patience to slog through it all. You dont have to be a CPA to realize that this does more in the long run to control wasteful federal spending than all the speeches Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon ever gave on the subject, put together.

    3. BIG GOVERNMENT. In his North Carolina victory speech, among other things, Sen. Obama uttered the words "We dont need Big Government". Whether you agree with that or not, remind your Republican friends that Pres. Bill Clinton's National Performance Review reduced the federal civilian workforce by 250,000 positions (ones they will consider, rightly or wrongly, to be useless tax-sucking bureaucrats). This makes the last Democratic administration the only presidency since Eisenhower's to leave office with a smaller federal workforce that he started with - again, Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon notwithstanding. But, the real stones Obama brings to the table on this issue are his formative years on the south side of Chicago, doing meaningful community social work through voluntary, faith-based, non-governmental community organizations, rather than government bureaucracies. Yes, We CAN - rehabilitate the homeless, educate the illiterate, provide day care for single moms, dry out alcoholics, and clean junkies off the dope without buidling perpetual bureaucracies - Obama himself has proven that, through social entrepreneurship. By contrast, John McCain has never drawn a day's pay that didnt come from the public trough, courtesy of your tax dollars (getting fabulously rich by marrying an heiress or taking money under the table from special interests he did favors for doesnt count as 'earning money in the productive sector').

    4. PERSONAL LIBERTY. Barry Goldwater must be rolling over in his grave over what debasements of the U.S. Constitution the Bush Administration has gotten itself into, and which the man who took his seat in the U.S. Senate, John McCain now ardently defends. Warrantless domestic wiretapping, warrantless searches and seizures, arresting U.S. citizens without probable cause, holding them without trial, etc., etc....No REAL conservative believes these things are legitimate perrogatives of the federal government. There are innumerable horror stories you can research and recount of how the GOP has sat idly by while our cherished Constitutional protections have been ignored, abrogated, and turned into a joke. The last thing real conservatives want is the Orwellian Police State we're presently heading for. Grassroots Republicans dont necessarily trust the feds any more than you do. Thats a case you can make - and make stick - with them.

    5. NATIONAL SECURITY. To the rejoinder, "yes, but its worked, we havent been attacked since 9/11", you must add: "BUT, we havent foreclosed the threat by taking out al Queada, either". The National Security argument is like the Tax-and-Spend one, it doesnt matter where you stand on "bombing al Queada back to the stone age" - the fact remains that your Republican friends will vote for the candidate they perceive to be most in tune with that idea, period. McCain vocally disagrees with the successful CIA program to take out al Queada leadership when located in northwest Pakistan, without alerting the local tribal authorities and Pakistani Intelligence, who have always warned off our targets in the past. Sen. Obama, by contrast, opposes giving al Queada sanctuary in Pakistan, and ardently supports this initiative. When McCain attacked Obama as niave for "wanting to bomb an ally", the very next day the CIA took out the #3 leader in al Queada with just such a raid, with a missile fired from a Predator drone. Coddling Pakistan's corrupt dictator for these eight years hasnt made us safer, and John McCain's simplistic continuation of this weak policy is just being Soft on Terrorism, no way around it. Also, its worth noting that whatever other implications it may have for John McCain's Character, Psyche, or Mental Makeup, having a plane shot out from under you and spending six years behind bars does not automatically qualify anyone as a "national security expert"; that notion is just ludicrous on the face of it.

    6. OPPORTUNITY. While John McCain's four-star Admiral father ensured him a prized appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, his performance - 894th out of 899 cadets in his class - does not attest to diligent effort, whereas Barack Obama (from a broken home, on food stamps) won competitive academic scholarships to Harvard, which he proved himself worthy of by graduating Magna Cum Laude ("With Highest Honors"). Its been a long time since any politicians of either party could talk convincingly about "The American Dream", but Barack Obama can, because he lived it. Without handouts, family patronage, or inheritence, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps from the Chicago ghetto through his own hard work, enterprise, and initiative to become President of the Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious scholarly legal journals in the country. Which President is more likely to make a difference in the lives of people, and motivate them with initiative to best achieve their individual God-given potential?

    Those are the issues that real, hard-core Republicans think about when they vote for a president. Talk TO them - not past them with vague, touchy-feely bleeding heart nonsense they wont understand or agree with - and you might very likely ring up another VOTE for Barack Obama this fall. Getting your friends VOTE is all that matters, not winning their hearts to any grander philosophical cause; that just wont happen, so forget it. Make common cause between your GOP acquaintences and Sen. Obama, even if its on points you, yourself, disagree with. THAT'S HOW YOU WILL WIN THIS ELECTION FOR OBAMA.

    Once you wash that "tax-and-spend liberal, squishy-on-national-security" label away, none of the other, lesser acusations the Karl Roves and Rush Limbaughs of this world can make against Obama will stick, either. All other things thus being equal, the younger, more intelligent, more dynamic, less "Washington Establishment", less 'tainted-by-special-interest-money' candidate should prevail. Even among Republicans...
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    Daily Kos
    How to Market Obama to Your Republican Friends
    by Press to Digitate
    Sun May 18, 2008 at 08:12:19 AM PDT

    As a [now formerly] lifelong Republican, a [Goldwater] Conservative, and a former GOP activist, operative and professional campaign manager, now ardently supporting Sen. Barack Obama, I feel that I have the proper perspective from which to advise this audience on how to "sell" Obama to your Republican friends, relatives, and business associates.

    There is a large reservoir of discontent among Republicans who are dissatisfied with John McCain as the GOP nominee. As the recent 25% votes against him in the now uncontested primaries indicate, this dissention is far deeper and more persistent than it will be among Clinton Democrats, when the dust settles in August. These votes, and those of other Republicans now disenchanted are ripe for the picking this fall - IF you know how to make the case to these people.

    Below the fold I'll try to give several viable talking points which should hold you in good stead with most any Republican you come across, talking politics with between now and the election...

    * Press to Digitate's diary :: ::
    *

    In general, Republican voters dont have the same priorities as Democrats. The reasons YOU support Sen. Obama are most likely NOT the factors on which your Republican associates will make their voting decisions. Dont assume that your 'hot button' issues are necessarily even important to them, nor belittle the priorities they bring to the voting booth.

    First, to most Republicans, the cornerstone Democratic issues of "Health Care", "Education", and "Jobs" just dont even register in the top five issues on which they will base their vote. Arguing that Obama will best handle such subjects wont win their vote even if they believe you that he is best on these issues. Moreover, Republicans will generally have less confidence in the government to deliver health care, and more confidence in private schools to deliver education than you will. Dont argue these issues, arguments just harden attitudes; save your breath - just dont go there. You want their actual VOTE, not their nodding agreement on some arcane philosophical issue.

    Second, resist the urge to "Bush Bash". While many (even Most) Republicans are no longer enamored with the President, that doesnt mean they are sympathetic with everyone wanting to dump on him, either. They may feel President Bush to have been well intentioned, though blundering; they may have felt events got out of his control, they may even blame the Democratic Congress for his apparent failings. Again, DONT GO THERE. Its not a fight worth having. You dont win VOTES by fighting with people, you win by leading them to the better alternative - from their vantage point, not yours. George W. Bush is not on this ballot, and neither is his Vice President running to succeed him. That "Bush Third Term" drivel just wont cut it in winning Republican votes. Fortunately, with Obama as our candidate, we can make a better, more substantive case than that.

    Third, the only really serious, pervasively damaging charge the GOP will make against Obama is the tried-and-true tactic of painting him as a traditional "tax-and-spend-liberal-democrat, squishy-on-national-defense", in the mold of John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, etc. To most Republicans, that's the killer - if they believe it. All other charges and acusations, no matter how scurrilous, are secondary and incidental to that one. If they buy the 'tax-and-spend-liberal' label, they'll believe all the muddier garbage gossip; if they reject that charge as bogus, they'll most likely reject any other labels that may be pinned on him as 'not credible' either. EVEN IF you, in your heart-of-hearts believe we need more taxes and spending, and you pray to your humanistic wiccan goddess every night (j/k) that Obama will bring these things, for the sake of the Polar Bears, keep those wishes to yourself!!! To obtain an Obama VOTE, you are appealing to your Republican friend's existing sensibilities, rather than trying to change them.

    You may not agree with the following policy conclusions which led me to cross over for the first time in my life, and vote for Sen. Obama in Virginia's open primary, but THEY DID. And these same issues will resonate with other Republicans in voting booths across the country this fall...

    1. TAXES. As a member of the Illinois State Senate, Sen. Obama was cosponsor of a bill which ultimately passed, creating the largest tax cut in state history. Since the start of his presidential campaign, he has consistently favored a broad-based middle class tax cut. By contrast, Sen. McCain "voted against tax cuts before he voted for them", and has no real credibility on this issue among conservatives. McCain was very critical of the Bush tax cuts, which most Republicans believe gave us years of prosperity - until very recently. Obama can thus be taken more seriously than McCain as a President who will cut taxes, rather than raise them.

    Obama on Issues: Flashback

    Posted by: Saulo G. Londono | 09/15/2008 6:13 PM


    Obama Watch: Barack on Business

    (Feb. 18, 2008) Ok all, enough talk about the primary. It's time to move on to the general. If Hillary wins, well, we all know the dirt. Now if Barack wins...

    Forgive me for not being one of those Republicans who is "freaking out" over Barack Obama. I have heard him speak and yes, he is a great orator. But I have also seen his record, and I am confident that once the voters see it, they will reject his far left agenda. He is outside of the mainstream on almost every issue that is important to independent voters.

    With that said, let us turn our attention to some of Barack's votes during his time in the Illinois State Senate; in a new segment we will call Obama Watch. It's time to spread the knowledge. Let's begin with Barack on Business.
    During his time as a state senator Barack was no friend of business. Let us look, for example, at four pieces of legislation authored by the good conservative State Senator Chris Lauzen, from Aurora. In 1999 the 91st Illinois State Senate was controlled by a Republican majority. This is the time when Senator Obama famously began voting "present" as opposed to "yes/no" on controversial issues that could hurt his chance of unseating incumbent Democrat Congressman Bobby Rush, from the south side of Chicago. His bid for Congress nonetheless failed, but that didn't keep him from voting "present" over one hundred and fifty times during the rest of his time in the State Senate.

    In 1999 Senator Lauzen (who recently lost a Republican primary to replace Dennis Hastert) authored two pieces of good pro-business legislation. SB 879 was created in order to reduce the minimum contribution tax rate for the unemployment system and SB 777 was created in order to eliminate the "unemployment insurance fund building tax".

    Senator Obama was one of 17 Senators (all Democrats) who voted "no" on SB 879. This law would have cut the unemployment tax rate by 52% for IL employers that already pay the minimum employment insurance tax rate.

    Senator Obama voted "no" on a party line on SB 777. For those who don't know what the "unemployment insurance fund building tax" is, it's basically an extra 0.4% tax imposed on top of the federal and state unemployment tax formulas that businesses in Illinois were asked to pay during the early 1980's to deal with a fund deficit (over two billion dollars at the time). With the economy taking a turn and the increased tax revenues, the fund was even by 1987 and by 1990 hit a surplus of one and a half billion dollars. SB 777 simply aimed at eliminating the 0.4% increase after the problem was already solved.

    In 1995 the Illinois legislature passed a tax cut much like SB 879 and instead of the fund going bankrupt like the Democrats predicted, the fund continued to grow and jobs were created. In retrospect they should have probably passed something like SB 777 at that time, but I digress. The Democrats took the opportunity to advocate for higher benefits for employees. Even with that growing strain, by 1999 the fund's balance was at a record surplus of over two billion dollars. At this time Republicans like Senator Lauzen decided it was once again a good time to pass similar tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Obama and his colleagues thought otherwise. Both SB 879 and SB 777 passed the Senate, but both bills failed in the Democrat controlled House. Benefits to employees continued to grow in the meantime.

    Two years later both the national and state economy were beginning to significantly slow down. Employers felt the crunch and began cutting jobs. This was compounded by the fact that unemployment benefits had gone up by twenty five percent in the last five years. The fund took a heavy hit and Republicans pointed to the last session as a time when they could have done something about it. They still held control of the Senate, so Lauzen re-introduced the legislation. SB 879 was re-introduced as SB 795 and SB 777 was re-introduced as SB 796. Instead of learning from the past, Senator Obama and his colleagues campaigned heavily and voted against both bills, which were killed in the House.

    Six months later 9/11 happened. The country went into a recession and Illinois followed suit. The fund surplus began to disappear into thin air, and by 2003 it was down to four million dollars. It was at that point that Governor Blagojevich got involved and decided that he would fix the problem by increasing taxes and issuing a 1.4 billion dollar bond! Precious.

    Currently Illinois is borrowing their way into oblivion. According to the Illinois Republican Party, the '07 budget proposals by the Democrats included "the largest tax increase in Illinois history, a multi-billion dollar health care proposal, and the continued selling off of state assets".

    So what was Senator Obama occupied with the same day SB 796 hit the floor of the Senate? He was busy lobbying for the Halal Food Act, which made it illegal for a restaurant or food manufacturer to claim that their food is acceptable to Muslims if it wasn't. "Halal" means "approved by God". Certainly a much better use of his time than saving the state's economy right?


    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    2. SPENDING. Most Republicans' biggest gripe with their own party - by far - is its failure to control the bureaucracy and reign in runaway federal spending and deficits. It is useful to mention that while the last five (5) Republican Presidents promised fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, all of them grew discretionary civilian spending by tremendous amounts, and ran up ever larger deficits. Meanwhile, only Pres. Bill Clinton balanced the federal budget, and produced four years of surpluses, with the same forecast long into the indefinite future. A big problem with the federal budget is that almost nobody knows where all the money is going; its easy to add earmarks and pork barrel spending and special interest giveaways when the people back home cant tell the difference. Sen. Barack Obama's major legislative accomplishment in the Senate, the The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 has been to bring transparency to federal spending. Send your Republican friends to http://www.federalspending.gov which his legislation created, a veritable "Google of the Federal Budget", where anyone can research every dollar to see where their tax money is actually going. The whole Federal Rathole is now online, for the first time ever, inviting scrutiny from whoever has the patience to slog through it all. You dont have to be a CPA to realize that this does more in the long run to control wasteful federal spending than all the speeches Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon ever gave on the subject, put together.
    The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590)[2] is an Act of Congress that requires the full disclosure to the public of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2007. The website USAspending.gov opened in December 2007 as a result of the act, and is maintained by the Office of Management and Budget. The Congressional Budget Office estimates S. 2590 will cost $15 million over its authorized time period of 2007–2011.[3]

    The bill was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn, for himself and Senators Barack Obama, Tom Carper and John McCain on April 6, 2006.[1] After a "secret hold" was revealed and removed, it was passed unanimously in the Senate on September 7, 2006 and by the House on September 13, 2006. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 26, 2006.[4]


    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    3. BIG GOVERNMENT. In his North Carolina victory speech, among other things, Sen. Obama uttered the words "We dont need Big Government". Whether you agree with that or not, remind your Republican friends that Pres. Bill Clinton's National Performance Review reduced the federal civilian workforce by 250,000 positions (ones they will consider, rightly or wrongly, to be useless tax-sucking bureaucrats). This makes the last Democratic administration the only presidency since Eisenhower's to leave office with a smaller federal workforce that he started with - again, Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon notwithstanding. But, the real stones Obama brings to the table on this issue are his formative years on the south side of Chicago, doing meaningful community social work through voluntary, faith-based, non-governmental community organizations, rather than government bureaucracies. Yes, We CAN - rehabilitate the homeless, educate the illiterate, provide day care for single moms, dry out alcoholics, and clean junkies off the dope without buidling perpetual bureaucracies - Obama himself has proven that, through social entrepreneurship. By contrast, John McCain has never drawn a day's pay that didnt come from the public trough, courtesy of your tax dollars (getting fabulously rich by marrying an heiress or taking money under the table from special interests he did favors for doesnt count as 'earning money in the productive sector').
    Reinvigorating government - Pres Clinton's bogus reduction of government
    National Review, Oct 28, 1996 by Jim Carter

    DURING the 1992 presidential race, Bill Clinton campaigned as a New Democrat prepared to reduce government and, indeed, to cut 100,000 ''unnecessary'' bureaucrats from the federal workforce. Today, he routinely boasts that by the end of this year the Federal Government will be the smallest it has been since John F. Kennedy was President. Is there any merit to this claim?

    It is true that federal employment has fallen substantially during Clinton's tenure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,922,000 federal employees when Bill Clinton took the presidential oath of office. BLS data show that 146,200 of those jobs have disappeared since January 1993, a reduction in the workforce of 5.0 per cent. In Washington, D.C. -- where reductions in the rate of growth are considered cuts -- any genuine cut is a substantial achievement.

    However, no matter how you torture the data, there is no way to support Bill Clinton's claim that the workforce is lower than at any time in the last 33 years. Even after the cuts of the last four years, there are 433,200 more federal workers today than there were when JFK was President.

    Furthermore, where did the workforce reduction of 146,200 come from? Where else? The military. As the first postwar President to inherit a Soviet-free world, Clinton accelerated (some would say recklessly) the defense downsizing begun during the Bush Administration. Since Bill Clinton assumed office, Department of Defense civilian employment has fallen by 145,400, or 16.2 per cent. DoD employment has fallen from 32.4 per cent of total federal employment in 1989 to 27.1 per cent today. The cuts in defense employment have been so deep, in fact, that Postal Service employment now exceeds civilian DoD employment for the first time since before World War II.

    Curiously, Clinton's paring knife grew dull before he could trim non-defense employment. Since January 1993, non-defense federal employment has fallen a mere 800 positions. If it had not been for a 14.1 per cent reduction in the number of people employed by the Legislative Branch, non-defense federal employment would have actually risen by nearly 5,000 under Clinton. If Executive Branch employment had fallen as steeply as congressional employment, Bill Clinton would be able to brag that he reduced Executive employment by 402,696.

    To create the illusion that federal employment has been falling more rapidly than it has, the Clinton Administration conveniently omits the largest government employer of all, the 850,100-worker United States Postal Service. Yet even Clinton's own officials at the BLS and the Office of Personnel Management include postal employees in their tallies of Executive Branch employment. By excluding the phenomenal growth in the Postal Service since 1993, the Administration is able to pretend that federal employment has fallen by 200,000 positions.

    Furthermore, the Administration has exploited the difference between full- and part-time workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, ''federal personnel reductions aren't as impressive as they first appear. Of the . . . civilians lopped from the federal payroll since January 1993, 17 per cent were part-timers and 13 per cent were temporary employees. At the Environmental Protection Agency, 89 per cent of those let go were temps.''

    The official employment statistics also ignore the rapid growth of contracted labor. As the New York Times pointed out last March, of those federal ''jobs that have vanished on paper, many of the responsibilities are being fulfilled by outside contractors.'' Unfortunately, we don't know exactly how many private-sector employees are working under government contract. According to John Koskinen, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, ''You can use any number you want, but whatever it is it is a lot of people.'' The only data that can be derived from federal agencies show that more than 22 million people work for companies doing business with the Federal Government. Even congressional Democrats have faulted the Clinton Administration for fudging the numbers in this way. Says Arkansas Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat and longtime associate of Bill Clinton: ''The whole philosophy of beating our chest and saying how many fewer employees we have but never in the same breath saying, ''Look at how much larger we are getting in the use of private contractors,' is not an honest portrayal of what's going on with tax dollars.''

    The fact is that many of the reductions in the federal workforce have actually ended up costing tax dollars. To reduce federal employment in certain agencies the Clinton Administration has relied on hugely expensive worker buyout provisions. To help eliminate 272,900 federal jobs through Fiscal 1999 the Administration has offered employees up to $25,000 if they agree to resign or retire. According to the OPM, more than 110,000 federal employees have accepted these costly golden handshakes. Not surprisingly, routine attrition in the federal workforce fell abruptly once word circulated that Congress might authorize buyouts. According to the House Subcommittee on Civil Service, nearly 54 per cent of the buyouts ultimately went to federal employees who were already eligible to retire. Of the nearly $2.8 billion paid thus far in buyouts, roughly $1.4 billion went to people who were already near retirement.


    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    4. PERSONAL LIBERTY. Barry Goldwater must be rolling over in his grave over what debasements of the U.S. Constitution the Bush Administration has gotten itself into, and which the man who took his seat in the U.S. Senate, John McCain now ardently defends. Warrantless domestic wiretapping, warrantless searches and seizures, arresting U.S. citizens without probable cause, holding them without trial, etc., etc....No REAL conservative believes these things are legitimate perrogatives of the federal government. There are innumerable horror stories you can research and recount of how the GOP has sat idly by while our cherished Constitutional protections have been ignored, abrogated, and turned into a joke. The last thing real conservatives want is the Orwellian Police State we're presently heading for. Grassroots Republicans dont necessarily trust the feds any more than you do. Thats a case you can make - and make stick - with them.
    This one is too funny to even bother refuting.

    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    5. NATIONAL SECURITY. To the rejoinder, "yes, but its worked, we havent been attacked since 9/11", you must add: "BUT, we havent foreclosed the threat by taking out al Queada, either". The National Security argument is like the Tax-and-Spend one, it doesnt matter where you stand on "bombing al Queada back to the stone age" - the fact remains that your Republican friends will vote for the candidate they perceive to be most in tune with that idea, period. McCain vocally disagrees with the successful CIA program to take out al Queada leadership when located in northwest Pakistan, without alerting the local tribal authorities and Pakistani Intelligence, who have always warned off our targets in the past. Sen. Obama, by contrast, opposes giving al Queada sanctuary in Pakistan, and ardently supports this initiative. When McCain attacked Obama as niave for "wanting to bomb an ally", the very next day the CIA took out the #3 leader in al Queada with just such a raid, with a missile fired from a Predator drone. Coddling Pakistan's corrupt dictator for these eight years hasnt made us safer, and John McCain's simplistic continuation of this weak policy is just being Soft on Terrorism, no way around it. Also, its worth noting that whatever other implications it may have for John McCain's Character, Psyche, or Mental Makeup, having a plane shot out from under you and spending six years behind bars does not automatically qualify anyone as a "national security expert"; that notion is just ludicrous on the face of it.
    This is more of the same tripe.

    Obama would apparently talk to any dictator on earth, but would negotiate with Pakistan via invasion.

    Sweet!


    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    6. OPPORTUNITY. While John McCain's four-star Admiral father ensured him a prized appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, his performance - 894th out of 899 cadets in his class - does not attest to diligent effort, whereas Barack Obama (from a broken home, on food stamps) won competitive academic scholarships to Harvard, which he proved himself worthy of by graduating Magna Cum Laude ("With Highest Honors"). Its been a long time since any politicians of either party could talk convincingly about "The American Dream", but Barack Obama can, because he lived it. Without handouts, family patronage, or inheritence, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps from the Chicago ghetto through his own hard work, enterprise, and initiative to become President of the Harvard Law Review, one of the most prestigious scholarly legal journals in the country. Which President is more likely to make a difference in the lives of people, and motivate them with initiative to best achieve their individual God-given potential?
    What has he done, though?

    Rezko only recently relinquished control of Barack's bootstraps, and no one from his days at Harvard seems to remember him.

    Besides which, Harvard ain't all it's cracked up to be anyway; hell, George W, Bush went there, if I recall, but it doesn't seem to recommend him, does it?


    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    Those are the issues that real, hard-core Republicans think about when they vote for a president. Talk TO them - not past them with vague, touchy-feely bleeding heart nonsense they wont understand or agree with - and you might very likely ring up another VOTE for Barack Obama this fall. Getting your friends VOTE is all that matters, not winning their hearts to any grander philosophical cause; that just wont happen, so forget it. Make common cause between your GOP acquaintences and Sen. Obama, even if its on points you, yourself, disagree with. THAT'S HOW YOU WILL WIN THIS ELECTION FOR OBAMA.

    Once you wash that "tax-and-spend liberal, squishy-on-national-security" label away, none of the other, lesser acusations the Karl Roves and Rush Limbaughs of this world can make against Obama will stick, either. All other things thus being equal, the younger, more intelligent, more dynamic, less "Washington Establishment", less 'tainted-by-special-interest-money' candidate should prevail. Even among Republicans...
    Conservatives won't vote for Obama, period.


    I still can't believe you do the Daily Kos.

    I think Olbermann writes for them, doesn't he?

    And who is this "Goldwater voter" who wrote this crap?

    I'd think anyone who voted for old Barry could spell better than this clown, whose bone fides are definitely suspect.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    does it really matter who wins ...

    all your base belongs to zionist

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    That is a simplistic- nay, stupid- observation.
    Of course it matters who wins.

    I'm predicting a Democratic landslide...not just Obama but +60 seats in the Senate and an increase in the House as well.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

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