Former Bush Donors Giving to Obama 0 comments

Former Bush Donors Giving to Obama
Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "Beverly Fanning is among the campaign donors who'll be joining President Bush at a gala at Washington's Ford's Theater Sunday night, but she says that won't dissuade her from her
current passion: volunteering for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. She isn't the only convert. A McClatchy computer analysis, incomplete due to the difficulty matching data from various campaign finance reports, found that hundreds of people who gave at least $200 to Bush's 2004 campaign have donated to Obama. Among them are Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the granddaughter of the late GOP president Dwight Eisenhower; Connie Ballmer, the wife of Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer; Ritchie Scaife, the estranged wife of conservative tycoon Richard Mellon Scaife and boxing promoter Don King."

Rupert Murdoch Says Obama WIll WIn 0 comments

At the "All Things Digital" conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch -- Chairman of News Corp, new WSJ owner, and longtime torchbearer for conservative politics -- said this about Barack Obama: "He is a rock star. It's fantastic" "I love what he is saying about education." "I don't think he will win Florida.....but he will win in Ohio and the election". "I am anxious to meet him." "I want to see if he will walk the walk."

About the presumptive Republican nominee, Murdoch said, "McCain is a friend of mine. He's a patriot. But he's unpredicatble. Doesn't seem to know much about the economy. He has been in Congress a long time, and you have to make a lot of compromises. So what's he really stand for?... I think he has a lot of problems."

Yes We Can, by Andy Fraser 0 comments

LOS ANGELES, /PRNewswire/ -- Andy Fraser, legendary musician, songwriter and activist best known for penning the rock anthem "All Right Now" for the 70s British Rock Band, Free, and Robert Palmer's mega-hit "Every Kinda People" has officially come out to support Senator Barack Obama's run for President in song.

Download / stream free mp3, "Obama, Yes We Can:"
View the "Obama, Yes We Can" Video

"Like other citizens of the world, I am not unaware of the global significance of the upcoming U.S. election," states Fraser, a U.K. native but long time California resident. "I may not have a vote, but I have a voice", urging "the U.S voter to get it right this time, as we have all witnessed what getting it wrong can mean... to the world at large". Fraser's political site encourages voter education and involvement by providing visitors with links to Barack Obama's official Web site and Rock the Vote where prospective voters may register to take part in upcoming Democratic state primaries.

Obama Encante Puerto Rico 0 comments

Obama dancing in Puerto Rico

Barack at Wesleyan University 0 comments

He delivered this commencement speech (Ted Kennedy was originally slated but could not do it) and was also given an Honorary Degree (Law.)

Obama's Caminata, Puerto Rico 0 comments

Puerto Ricans aren't allowed to vote in the general presidential election in November. Some questioners at today's event told Obama that it's unfair that Puerto Ricans who fight for the U.S. don't have full representation in Congress. Puerto Ricans have served in all U.S. wars and conflicts since 1917.

On a per-capita basis, Puerto Rico has sent more active- duty forces to Iraq and Afghanistan than all U.S. states except Nevada, according to Defense Department figures.

Obama said today, should he become president, he would look into whether Puerto Rican veterans need an official liaison to the White House.

Portland Rally with French Subtitles 0 comments

This video actually is one with the best audio.

Obama Jewelry 0 comments

portion of proceeds to the campaign

Obama Hitting Puerto Rico Hard 0 comments

ads, offices, Bill Richardson

Oregon Works Magic! 0 comments


Here are results, from Andrew Villeneuve at Northwest Progressive Institute, who has gotten results from the OR Secretary of State's office:

Obama's lead in Oregon is huge. He has over sixty percent of the vote. Clinton is under forty percent. The exact numbers:

Hillary Clinton: 87,639 (38.20%)
Barack Obama: 140,582 (61.28%)

Andrew says, "That's a double digit lead for Obama, which is what I expected."

Breakdown by country for both parties:

Ron Paul made a decent showing, also in Kentucky

Bev Harris of Black Box Voting has some questions about scribbled signatures in OR and "moonshine math" in KY

McCain's Media advisor steps down to avoid working against Obama

Rally with the Crow 0 comments


Myrtle Strong Enemy, age 101

Senator Robert Byrd & Billionaire Warren Buffet Endorse Obama 0 comments

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., endorsed Obama, focusing on his hope to end the Iraq War. "As people all across this great nation know, I have been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Bush administration's misguided war in Iraq and its saber rattling around the globe," Byrd said. "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support," Byrd concluded.

Inn Frankfurt, Germany, today, billionaire Warren Buffett announced his support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. He said that he offered support to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, but because it appeared that Obama would win the Democratic nomination, he is endorsing Senator Obama. "I will be very happy if he is elected President. He is my choice." (Below: Warren Buffet, with Bill Gates Jr. and the girls from Hooters)


Obama's InTrade stock value is on the upswing.

How to Market Obama to Your Republican Friends 0 comments

How to Market Obama to Your Republican Friends Excerpted from this DailyKos diary

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. (snip) 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...

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. (snip)

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. (snip)

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. (snip)

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. (snip)

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 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...

This is freakin' Montana! 0 comments

Folks are crawling all over themselves, line around the block, to get their Obama tickets.

Obama Statement on Ted Kennedy 0 comments

"I know a lot of you are interested in the situation with Senator Kennedy. I have been in contact with the family. Obviously they are in our thoughts and prayers," Obama said. "They, I am sure, will be releasing some sort of a statement when they have a better assessment of what the situation is. But you know, as I have said many times before, Senator Kennedy is a giant in American political history," Obama said. "He has done more for the health care of others than just about anybody in history. So we are going to be rooting for him. And I insist on being optimistic about how it is going to turn out," he said.

Gore Vidal Supports Obama 0 comments

(from the London TImes)

I knew JFK, says Gore Vidal, and Obama’s the better leader

At 82, Gore Vidal has reached an enviable position: he is an influential man of letters, a political activist, a scion of the New World aristocracy and a friend of the powerful and famous, including the Clintons.

“I liked the idea of him, but he never managed to get my interest. I was brought around by his overall intelligence – specifically when he did his speech on race and religion.” In Vidal’s opinion, “he’s our best demagogue since Huey Long or Martin Luther King”. "Jack had great charm,” he adds. “So has Obama."

George McGovern: Barack Like Me 0 comments

Caroline Kennedy and Bob Casey both cited their children as part of the reason they joined this campaign for change, now former United States Representative, former Senator, and former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern credits his as well:

“I have three daughters and one son, and 10 grandchildren,” McGovern said. “After I endorsed Senator Clinton, all 14 of them enlisted in the Obama campaign. That is some measure of the influence I had at home.”

Obamanade Stands - from Kids all over Obama Nation 0 comments

This t-shirt design was designed by an 8 year old and is sold at Cafe Press & kids all over sell Obamanade and Baracklate Chip Cookies.

ObamaCan 0 comments

Winner of the MoveOn video contest, features a life-long Republican Vet for Obama

Obama Japan Supports Obama 0 comments

Obama has Fans in Obama Japan

Obama is a Japanese fishing town where "I love Obama" t-shirts and headbands are common and residents gather to watch the primaries, sing songs and to shout "Obama, Obama, Obama!" in the streets. Fish burgers and cakes as well as chopsticks bear Obama's name.

Obama wrote a thank you letter for the chopsticks and Japanese good luck charm that he received from townspeople: "I'm touched by your friendly gesture... We share more than a common name; we share a common planet and common responsibility."

The Mayor replied: "Mr Obama, thank you for this letter. Everybody in Obama city is supporting you. "We're all hoping you win the U.S. presidency and will be able to visit Obama some day."

Obama has known for some time about the small town that bears his name. He once said that during a visit to Japan, the immigration officer took a look at his passport and said to him: "I'm from Obama".

"Japan has to get beyond the older generation of politicians and find its own Obama," said political commentator Minoru Morita in Tokyo.Obamajapan200

Happy Mother's Day 0 comments

Race and gender need to become irrelevant - and weren't Barack's Kansas parents "hard working" and "white"? It is amazing how a bit of color and an unusual name trigger the "other" response in the small-minded. I guess many of us grew up with it, but it's time to stop. Blogs blither on today about swing states and who can win Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida and the contest is over.

It's time for the new model - voter registration in all fifty states. Enfranchisement. New civil rights movement color blind and unified.

Evangelicals for Obama - It Could Happen 0 comments

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For decades, evangelicals have been seen as solid supporters of the Republican Party. That could be changing. The religious right, a cornerstone of the so-called Reagan revolution -- the battle over abortion law, and gay marriage -- wants a change. At least some evangelicals do. A group of influential Christian leaders are declaring they are tired of divisive politics, tired of watching fights over some issues trump all the good they could be doing.

"Our proposal in [our] manifesto is to join forces with all those who support a civil public square. ... a vision of public life in which people of all faiths -- which, of course, means no faith -- are free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faith," said evangelical leader Os Guinness.

For Democrats, the timing is good. The party has been pushing to overcome the "faith gap," that many feel has hurt them with church-going voters. Candidates are appearing in more religious settings, and conversations.

"What I try to do is as best I can be an instrument of His will," Sen. Barack Obama has said.

Some Evangelicals Leaning Toward Democrats

Change vs Status Quo: Obama Gears up for the General 0 comments


He promises to keep the focus on the issues, but McCain's scandals and skeletons are relevant if the voter should know about them.


"I always felt that if anybody establishes himself as the clear leader, the superdelegates would fall in line." — Don Fowler, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The Republican National Committee is planning a $19.5 million advertising campaign to portray Mr. Obama, 46, as out of touch with the country and too inexperienced to be commander in chief, seeking to put him on the defensive before he can use his financial advantage against Mr. McCain, 71, party officials said.

"In 1984, Ronald Reagan said, ‘I’m not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience,’ " said Frank Donatelli, the deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Well, we are going to exploit Obama’s youth and inexperience."

1400 New Yorkers Turned Out to Register Voters 0 comments

This happened all over the country. (From The Atlantic)

The Vote For Change program will lay the foundation for Obama's general election get-out-the-vote efforts. Obama aides won't say much more, but I gather that the campaign is constructing an incredibly elaborate online interface to allow its more than a million donors and volunteers to directly persuade their neighbors through a variety of media. Names gathered from the voter registration effort will be merged with names gathered through Obama's primary efforts and the names off of the Democratic Party's integrated voter file as well as lists purchased from outside vendors.
On election day, Obama might have more than a million individuals volunteering on his behalf. That should scare the beejeesus out of the McCain campaign and the RNC.

Obama Opposed the War in 2002 0 comments

Only 13 seconds of the original footage remain, but the transcript is finished by supporters. At the time, the Washington establishment had to have suspected that the war would be not only a farce but a tragedy, but lacked the will to investigate more deeply or to speak the truth.

Great things in SF 0 comments

Alan C of Seattle received this from a buddy in San Francisco .................................. :>

Subject: Big voter registration drive here

Dozens of young folks and some seniors are up and down Fillmore Street right now and at our Saturday Farmers' Market registering new voters. And each one is wearing an Obama sticker. They're not pushing their candidate but they respond with a big grin when they hear someone is voting for Obama and ask if you want to be a precinct worker or make an on-line donation. Haven't seen any Clinton workers in our neighborhood in months.

Convince Me. Convince Me. Convince Me. 0 comments

This article comes from Mary Beth Saffo in Cambridge - abridged so read the whole thing - it's powerful.

The Cynic & Senator Obama

The cynic wants to believe. But far too much has happened, and inspiration is no longer enough. The cynic will need to be convinced. [. . . . .]

The cynic doesn’t think he’s wiser or more clever or more politically attuned than anyone else. It’s just that he fears that, every morning, he’ll discover that his country has done something to deface itself further, that something else he thought solid will tremble and quake and fall to ruin, that his fellow citizens will sell more of their birthright for some silver that they can forge into shackles. [. . . . ] He works the knobs and finds the [Obama] speech on some local public-radio station. [ . . . . ]The cynic decides that politics is better on the radio, the same way baseball is, where you have to construct the scene in your own head. Radio is for dreamers. Television is for hucksters, and it has leached from American politics all of its creative imagination.

[. . .] “Freedom,” the water tower reads. There was a time when the cynic would have read into this the hand of what the powdered-wig set in Philadelphia called “Divine Providence.” It would have been more than a landmark. It would have meant something else entirely. But politics has lost its imagination and it is dead to metaphor, and the cynic sees the water tower that says “Freedom,” and it’s only a measure of how utterly lost he is.

Convince me, he says to himself. Convince me that I’m wrong. Convince me that there’s enough left that’s worth saving. Convince me that there are enough people left who care enough to save it. Convince me. Convince me. Convince me.

And the cynic turns away from the center of town and back out onto the cold, narrow road that leads out of Freedom.
Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost.

More than anything else, the presidential election ongoing is -- or, as a right, ought to be -- about ending an era of complicity. There is no point anymore in blaming George Bush or the men he hired or the party he represented or the conservative movement that energized that party for what has happened to this country in the past seven years. They were all merely the vehicles through whom the fear and the lassitude and the neglect and the dry rot that had been afflicting the democratic structures for decades came to a dramatic and disastrous crescendo. The Bill of Rights had been rendered a nullity by degrees long before a passel of apparatchik hired lawyers found in its text enough gray space to allow a fecklessly incompetent president to command that torture be carried out in the country’s name. The war powers of the Congress had been deeded wholesale to the executive long before Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and a passel of think-tank cowboys found within them the right of a fecklessly incompetent president to make war unilaterally on anyone, anywhere, forever. The war in Iraq is the powerful bastard child of the Iran-Contra scandal, which went unpunished.

The ownership of the people over their politics -- and, therefore, over their government -- had been placed in quitclaim long before the towers fell, and the president told the people to be just afraid enough to let him take them to war and just afraid enough to reelect him, but not to be so afraid that they stayed out of the malls.

It had been happening, bit by bit, over nearly forty years. Ronald Reagan sold the idea that “government” was something alien. The notion of a political commonwealth fell into a desuetude so profound that even Bill Clinton said, “The era of Big Government is over” and was cheered across the political spectrum, so that when an American city drowned and the president didn’t care enough to leave a birthday party, and the disgraced former luxury-horse executive who’d been placed in charge of disaster relief behaved pretty much the way a disgraced former luxury-horse executive could be expected to behave in that situation, it could not have come as any kind of surprise to anyone honest enough to have watched the country steadily abandon self-government over the previous four decades. The catastrophe that is the administration of George W. Bush is not unprecedented. It was merely inevitable. The people of the United States have been accessorial in the murder of their country.

Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost.

Most of the damage was in plain sight in 2004, when Barack Obama became a political star by giving a speech in which he told America what a great country it was, and what great people were in it, and then the country went out and reelected George W. Bush anyway. Then came even further revelations -- of warrantless spying, of a Justice Department turned into little more than a political chop shop, of torture and black prisons, of the length and breadth and sheer audacity of the lies that led to a seemingly endless war. The Democrats even took over the Congress in 2006. And nothing, it seemed, changed. Nobody was held responsible. White House aides simply ignored congressional subpoenas. Documents vanished. E-mails were accidentally deleted. The sound of the shredders working in a hundred different offices in the executive branch of the government must today sound like the starting line at Daytona five seconds before they drop the flag.

Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost.

That is the election that the cynic thought we’d have in 2008, an epochal choice of wisdom over stupidity, energy over apathy, grimly serious business over shiny trivialities. He was no less a sucker than any of his countrymen for appeals to the better angels of his nature. But this time around, he wanted those angels to be carrying flaming swords. He thought he’d measured the wreckage, walked through the ruins, and counted the cost. He didn’t think he was smarter than his countrymen or shrewder about his politics or wiser in the ways of the world. The cynic simply thought he was adequate to the times, and he didn’t want to be “moving on” just yet. He didn’t want an election that offered absolution without confession, without penance.

Instead, he got an incredible collection of clowns on the Republican side; he was at one debate in which three of them, 30 percent of the Republican field, declined to state publicly that they believed in evolution. (Looking at the bunch of them on stage, the cynic began to have his own doubts.) [. . .] On the other side, an equally sizable field thinned itself down pretty quickly. Hillary Rodham Clinton was bright and enthusiastic, and her campaign seemed to be doing everything correctly, but she was engaged without being particularly engaging, her campaign something out of 1972. Barack Obama, as the tennis coaches say, wrong-footed her almost from the start.

The cynic had been in the hall for Obama’s big speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. It was beautifully written, impeccably delivered, and its rhetoric was thrilling. Obama took the crowd through the incredible ethnographic stewpot of his upbringing -- Kenyan father, white Kansan mother, a brief stint living in Indonesia, high school in Hawaii, and then Columbia and Harvard Law -- and when he got to the peroration, the cynic knew that Obama had won the country as surely as he had lost the cynic himself.

“Yet, even as we speak,” Obama said, “there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spinmasters and the negative-ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there’s the United States of America.”

(A month later, at the Republican convention, the cynic saw fat little delegates and their fat little wives wearing Purple Heart Band-Aids to mock John Kerry’s war wounds. He saw the Swift Boat ads. The country bought it. The country moved on.)
“There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America, there’s the United States of America.”

(Three months later, the cynic watched black voters be systematically disenfranchised in key precincts all over the country. There was no anger. There were no demonstrations. There was no great rising in defense of a fundamental right. There was, instead, nothing. The country bought it. The country moved on.)

“The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans and blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states, and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states. We are all of us one people, all of us defending the United States of America.”

(Over the next several months, the cynic watched as the Republicans masterfully used the threat of gay people getting married to gin up turnout where they needed it the most. It was a creepy, shabby election that wasn’t about anything that was really happening in the country. The country bought it. The country moved on.)

So when Obama caught fire in Iowa this year and then moved along through the process, bedeviling the Clintons and selling out the halls, the cynic wondered when he was finally going to measure the wreckage, walk through the ruins, or count the cost. Obama was critical enough of what had happened over the previous seven years; his early opposition to the war in Iraq gave him an unbeatable trump card against Edwards and Clinton and tremendous cachet with younger and more liberal voters. But as Obama’s campaign gathered strength, the cynic kept hearing that 2004 speech again, in bits and pieces, in every stump speech Obama gave, and he saw that what Obama was offering was exactly what the country did not need. He was offering absolution without confession, without penance. In 2007, when asked about the possibility -- just the possibility -- of impeaching George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney, Obama scoffed at the idea, not entirely because it was constitutionally unsound but also because it was impolite and a nuisance and might make many people angry at one another, and he was, after all, running to help save us from ourselves.

“We would, once again, rather than attending to the people’s business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus.”

He was offering a guilty country a nolo plea. Himself. Absolution without confession. The cynic declined the deal. There were not enough people in handcuffs yet.

The cynic will admit that it’s all great politics. Tell America that it is a great country that simply has lost its way for a spell. Tell the American people that they are a great people who are better than those hucksters who come to divide us. It has a marvelous anesthetic appeal. Swirl down through the clouds of memory and forget that the country allowed itself to follow George Bush over the cliff not merely because it was shocked by the attacks of September 11, 2001, but because it was too pissing-down-the-shoes scared to do anything else. Forget about how eagerly the American people cheered the brutish and the nasty, how simple it was to sell raw animal vengeance dressed up as geopolitical wisdom, and how dumbly everyone followed until well after it was revealed that the people selling it didn’t know enough about the world to throw to a cat. This was the era of complicity. Can Obama end it, thought the cynic, without admitting it ever existed?

We have not been a great country for a very long time, the cynic believes, and it does us no good to claim otherwise. We are not an honest and decent people in our politics, in the way we deal with one another as a political commonwealth. We will trade away our most precious rights in exchange for a bag of magic charms, and even when we find out that these include the black prison, the waterboard, and the secret microphone, we’ll think we got the better of the deal. We’ll swap our obligation to intelligent self-government for any huckster’s trick that makes us laugh or keeps us entertained in our cars for the evening drive-time shift. We hold this truth to be self-evident -- that all men are out to get what’s ours.

[. . ] The cynic wondered if Obama was tough enough, so he went to the far South Side of Chicago, where Obama did his community organizing. Snow was mixing with rain, and a woman stood on the sidewalk, screaming at the raw and empty air, trash blowing all around her shoes until she screamed at the trash and then ran down an alley. He stopped by the Lilydale First Baptist Church a few blocks away, where Pastor Alvin Love was finishing up Sunday service, and Pastor Love talked about the young Barack Obama, who’d come to him to do community organizing through the various churches in the area. “Barack kind of broke down those barriers for us, because it was easy for us to get into our own agenda,” Love recalled. “And it was all the neighborhoods on the South Side, and all the pastors were saying the same thing, so finding out that we had more in common than we thought was an eye-opening experience.” Obama also worked in the Altgeld Gardens, a housing development built in 1945 atop an ecological hellspout where two thousand families lived on an old landfill and hard by fifty-three different sites that had been designated as “toxic” by one study of the area. He left an impression as a stubborn, stiff-necked grinder with a gift for changing tactics on the fly. His very first meeting at Altgeld Gardens did not go well, Pastor Love recalled. An arrogant city bureaucrat got everybody’s back up. Half the people wanted to walk out, and the other half wanted to deck the guy.

“Barack wouldn’t quit,” Love said. “He pulled us off to the side and he said, Well, we messed that up. We didn’t see that coming. We need to strategize right now about how to deal with stuff like this and hold people accountable so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.” Altgeld Gardens, the cynic believed, was tough enough. The far South Side was tough enough.

The cynic wondered if Obama was smart enough, so he went to Harvard Law School, where Obama went and shone more brightly than he ever had before, thriving in a lush rain forest of towering egos in which every second person already has the Supreme Court in his eyes. Students bustled between classes, heads bowed, ambition fairly crackling from every pore. He stopped by the office of Professor Laurence Tribe, Obama’s mentor at the place and someone who is on the short list every time a Democratic president gets a chance to appoint someone to the Supreme Court. In 1989, Tribe took Obama on as a research assistant, putting him to work on a paper entitled, “The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn from Modern Physics,” which sounds like something Learned Hand wrote from Mars. “To deal with it, one had to get a reasonable command of the general theory of relativity and Heisenbergian physics,” Tribe explained. “So I got to know him in a context that really tested the qualities of his mind. It wasn’t a grinding kind of a job. It required a very wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and imagination.” Heisenbergian physics, the cynic believed, was smart enough. Harvard Law was smart enough.

He wondered if Obama was shrewd enough, so he went and he talked to Congressman Mike Capuano, a former mayor of the blue-collar town of Somerville in Massachusetts, who went to Congress in 1998 because he was a better street pol than the prettier, wealthier candidates he ran against in a massive brawl to succeed young Joe Kennedy to his uncle Jack’s old congressional seat. Capuano is no dreamer. He’s a hard-eyed, calculating man who endorsed Obama only because Obama convinced him that there was a chance he could win.

“I’m not on some sort of a mission,” Capuano said. “I’m looking to combine what I think is a good person, a good politician, with somebody who can win. And I try to figure it out. I try to figure out if the rest of America is capable of really getting over it and voting for a black man. And I realize there’s a shot that the answer might be yes.”

Convincing Mike Capuano, the cynic believed, was shrewd enough. Somerville is shrewd enough. So the cynic did due diligence, and at the end of it, he watched the campaign go on from Wisconsin and he realized that tough enough and smart enough and shrewd enough weren’t anywhere near enough. Not in the country in which the campaign was now taking place. Not in the country that made the intemperate eruptions of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright from a pulpit in Chicago more relevant to its choice of the next president than the speechifying of Moqtada al-Sadr from a balcony in Baghdad. Not in a country that didn’t care if there was an actual heart left in its politics as long as the candidate put his hand over where that heart should have been or wore a pin above it on his lapel. The cynic believed that journalism wasn’t enough. He felt like that woman he’d seen in Chicago, screaming into the sleet while the trash piled up around her shoes.

Patriotism, the cynic read. There were “questions” about Obama’s “patriotism.” (Reading the elite political press had long ago forced the cynic to think with quotation marks.) The cynic knew where the “questions” about Obama’s “patriotism” were coming from. They were coming from the “conservative America” that Obama had told the Democratic convention four years earlier didn’t really exist, from the fat little delegates and their fat little wives who thought the Purple Heart Band-Aids were oh so very clever. They were coming from the people who did their best to disqualify black people from voting and gay people from marrying, in those red states that Barack Obama had told the Democratic convention were only an imaginary construct meant to divide us, as though the country didn’t open its eyes wide and walk into the divide, skipping and whistling like the children of Hamelin.

“Patriotism?” the cynic thought. “Patriotism” to what? To the forms of democracy and not the tattered remnants of its substance? To the words of the Constitution but not its neutered spirit? [. .]

[. . ] This country has rolled back its constitutional order to a point where you’d think Thomas Jefferson had died as a child. It’s rolled back its jurisprudence to a point about a month before the Magna Carta. It has done so willingly, even eagerly.[. . ]

Obama takes the stage and the hall explodes, the way all the halls have exploded in this, the last really good week he will have. All the rest of the upcoming weeks and months will be about becoming aware that the country he imagines is not the America that is, and that it hasn’t been for a very long time. And the cynic realizes at last that he is more naive than anyone else here, particularly more than the slim, smooth candidate himself, stalking the stage in his edgeless way and looking out over the crowd at something in his private distance. The cynic believes in an old, abandoned country that’s no less illusory than the redeemed one Obama is promising to this crowd. Isn’t that something? the cynic thinks. Maybe that’s enough, that single revelation, just a flicker of the lost imagination. For the last time, in the roar of the crowd, it comes back to him again. Convince me America is not an illusion. Convince me that it never was. Convince me that you’re not a pious mirage. Convince me that we’re not. Now that you brought it up, convince me.

Convince me. Convince me. Convince me.

Tributes Keep on Coming 0 comments

Robin in OR sent this from her reggae newsletter
(Obama is doing a Town Hall in Bend tomorrow)

The latest artist to sing the praises of Obama is Jamaican dancehall star, Mavado. The singer recently dropped `We Need Barack` for Russell Simmons and Green Lantern¢s official Barack Obama mix tape. The album will be given away as part of the candidate¢s campaign and feature other artists Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Jay Z, Common and Mos Def.

Mavado joins artists like the Mighty Sparrow and Cocoa Tea, who have all sung tributes to Obama.