March 14, 2008
A lot of controversy, bubbling here and there, over Barack Obama’s church has been brewing in the media. Comments by pastor Jeremiah Wright and other troubling aspects from Trinity United Church of Christ has put the church under a far amount of scrutiny. I want to look for a second at what the church says about itself via its website, and evaluate under the auspices of a New Testament theology. Read the rest of this entry »
March 9, 2008
The New York Times adds their voice to the “Obama Has No Experience” chorus with a cover story detailing Obama’s “minor role” in the Senate.
He went to the Senate intent on learning the ways of the institution, telling reporters he would be “looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.” But frustrated by his lack of influence and what he called the “glacial pace,” he soon opted to exploit his star power. He was running for president even as he was still getting lost in the Capitol’s corridors.
Outside Washington, Mr. Obama was a multimedia sensation — people offered free tickets to his book readings for $125 on eBay and contributed thousands of dollars each to his political action committee to watch him on stage questioning policy experts.
But inside the Senate, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was 99th in seniority and in the minority party his first two years. In committee hearings, he had to wait his turn until every other senator had asked questions. He once telephoned reporters himself to draw attention to his amendments. And some senior colleagues were cool to the newcomer, whom they considered naïve.
Determined to be viewed as substantive, Mr. Obama kept his head down, declining Sunday talk show invitations for his first year, and consulted Senate elders for advice. He was cautious — even on the Iraq war, which he had opposed as a Senate candidate. He voted against the withdrawal of troops and proposed legislation calling for a drawdown only after he was running for president and polls showed voters favoring it.
Which of course is the kind of thing that a person like Hillary Clinton would never do.
This the wrong way to attack Obama. The Clinton Machine is doing it, her pundits are doing it, and now big media is doing it. But it’s absurd; you cannot launch “No Substance” missiles from the Hillary Clinton base. Mrs. Clinton embodies celebrity without substance. What has Mrs. Clinton done, in many more years and vastly more opportunities than Obama? What has she accomplished? The answer is nothing. She’s married to Bill Clinton–that is her political magnum opus. Everyone knows this. All these attacks will do is turn on their originators.
One more thing:
Finally, Mr. Obama did what he had done when he first arrived in the Senate, quietly consulting those who knew the institution well — Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Daschle — for advice on whether to run.
They told him that these chances come along rarely. His celebrity was undeniable. And yes, he was green, but that also meant he did not have the burden of a long record.
“For somebody to come in with none of that history is a real advantage,” Mr. Daschle said. “I told him that he has a window to do this. He should never count on that window staying open.”
The point here (and elsewhere in the story) is that Obama has obtained his celebrity prowess (thus, presumably, also his ideas) from veteran Democrats. This is designed to offset the charge made by the Obama campaign that a vote for Hillary is a vote for the [corrupt] political establishment in Washington. If Obama is behind closed doors with the same people Hillary publicly parades herself with, why should he be thought of as truly different?
This, unfortunately for the Obama campaign, is a legitimate criticism. It is very difficult to argue against “the establishment” in politics, particularly when one’s success has come largely from the guidance (as most politicians’ have) of that very establishment. Obama might very well be different, but he’s not a revolution.
March 9, 2008
Josh Harris has a deeply affecting blog on his five year old son, Barack Obama, and the most important social issue of our generation.
My five-year-old son, Joshua Quinn, has been following the presidential election with his dad. To him it’s another sport alongside football and NASCAR. Someone wins. Someone loses. He can understand that.
He has seen various candidates on TV and he’s been drawn to Barack Obama. Is it any wonder? Even for a young boy Obama’s words and demeanor are magnetic. But one day I mentioned the fact that Mr. Obama is pro-choice. Joshua Quinn had only recently been informed about the sad reality of abortion. When he learned that Mr. Obama supported abortion, he burst into tears. He was heart-broken.
March 5, 2008
So Rush Limbaugh is urging people to vote for Hillary. Hugh Hewitt is aghast (“If Hillary ekes out close wins, stays alive, gains the nomination and the White House, will Rush hold the Bible at her Inauguration?”) but I can’t say that I’m really surprised. Rush is an entertainer and for all the hype about his ratings, his audience isn’t that large by show business standards (he has half the audience of Fox’s reality show Moment of Truth). He needs a Clinton presidency to remain relevant and give people a reason to tune in to his daily gasbaggery.
As I’ve said before, Rush is every bit just as much as a mirror as a fountain for American conservatism. He reflects what conservatives are already thinking as well as shapes ideas. To not understand this is to miss why Limbaugh is so popular. To that end, conservatives have known for a long time that Hillary has more weaknesses than Barack Obama. She’s unlikable, has a past that someone can actually attack, and would represent a very favorable, establishment-oriented opposition to an establishment-oriented John McCain. The national head to head polls have said this for a long time.
Limbaugh may be dramatizing things, but his principle makes sense. As long as Hillary is in the race, there seems to be more hope for McCain. The popular distrust of Hillary Clinton is no myth; people just don’t seem to buy or like her. Her winning of the nomination would put old Democrats against old Republicans, with probablility favoring McCain.
Limbaugh won’t win Hillary the presidency; that’s not his aim. He wants to defeat the religious-like fervor of the Obama campaign, so that people will get to vote for either an old war veteran or an old, unlikable, failed Senator. When its put that like that, the choice seems pretty clear, no?
February 25, 2008
Say Anything on Obama’s church:
Here’s the “value system” posted on the website of a church attended by one of our Presidential candidates.
Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the White Value System, written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee, chaired by the late Vallmer Jordan in 1981.
Dr. Manford Byrd, our brother in Christ, withstood the ravage of being denied his earned ascension to the number one position in the Chicago School System. His dedication to the pursuit of excellence, despite systematic denials, has inspired the congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ. Prayerfully, we have called upon the wisdom of all past generations of suffering Whites for guidance in fashioning an instrument of White self-determination, the White Value System.
These White Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Whites are gathered. They consist of the following concepts:
1.Commitment to God. “The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become White Christian Activists, soldiers for White freedom and the dignity of all humankind.
2.Commitment to the White Community. The highest level of achievement for any White person must be a contribution of strength and continuity of the White Community.
3.Commitment to the White Family. The White family circle must generate strength, stability and love, despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society…
Which candidate believes this nonsense? Why, Barack Obama. Except the version he adheres to is about the “Black Value System” instead of the “White Value System.” So I guess for most liberals that’ll make it ok. Because it’s alright to have a “Black Value System,” but a “White Value System” would be racist.
February 23, 2008
A new blog detailing the mostly incidental, but sometimes disturbing, “saviorization” of Barack Obama. Some excerpts:
Mary Tyszko, a white, 50-year-old health worker, clutched her hands. He has given me hope. I really believe in him. And I just trust him.” Then Mr Obama took to the stage. The noise was deafening, a long, exultant roar with all the force and overwhelming power of a jet engine before take-off. Obama! Obama! Obama! Obamaaaaaaaaa!” they chanted From four giant screens hanging from the ceiling, Mr Obama’s image could be seen from the farthest reaches of the stadium, waving, clapping at this adoring crowd, as they stared up at him with an almost mesmeric fervour. At one point in his speech, delivered in the religious cadence of Dr King, Mr Obama had to blow his nose. “Obama!” they chanted and clapped again, as their idol wiped his face…
I felt the crowd down front tighten as many of us stood on our toes, stretched our bodies forward while reaching out to Barack. I noticed that a six foot tall guy who was standing in front of me had stretched far enough above the crowd and shook hands with Barack. As the guy drew back his hand I asked him, “You shook his hand didn’t you?” Happily the guy said “Yes.” I then said, “give me some of that” and the guy shook my hand with the same hand he had just clasped with Barack’s. A woman friend of mine who was standing next to me saw me shake hands with the guy. I turned to her and said “He [the guy] just shook hands with Barack,” to which she responded…”Hey, give it up.” We then shook hands. She then turned to the person next to her and shook hands. This chain of hand shakes went on for about five or six more persons.
I did not know the tall guy in front of me; he is white, I am black. But at the moment we shook hands, I felt some solidarity with this stranger, consummated by a handshake and signifying some unspoken agreement presumably about Barack Obama and his core message of UNITY!
February 20, 2008
We’ve heard this somewhere before.
I am certainly no Hillary Clinton supporter, but even this is getting hard to watch. Clinton is simply in shock and doesn’t know how to really respond. Why should she? She hasn’t ever had to face this kind of tidal wave of opposition before. Her husband beat the system to become President twice. Her senate seat was given to her with only little serious doubt. She is used to winning, and winning easily.
And she’s never had to beat her own party, either. That, I think, is the salt in the wound for Mrs. Clinton. Her party, which has always appeared to deify the Clintons, has dumped her for some rookie who can speak better than she can. The Democrat’s mantra of power before loyalty, which Mrs. Clinton has embraced time and again, is bringing her down.
She really needs some new talking points. All she can do is scream about inexperience (which very few voters actually take into account), while continually conceding that, yes, compared to Obama, she sounds like nails on a chalkboard. She makes a valid point, but validity does not equal effectiveness, and if she is going to land the Hail Mary needed to salvage her campaign, something new has to be tried.
February 20, 2008
Barack Obama has destroyed Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, and John McCain has done pretty much the same against soft GOP competition.
In Obama’s case, to call the numbers “disparate” would be a laughable understatement. This is how Drudge sums up the exit polls:
All age groups under 65
All education levels
All regions of the state -- urban, suburban and rural
Voters without college degrees (50-48)
White men (59-38)
Voters who decided in the last week (58-42)
Won or tied voters of all income levels
Tied among white women
Tied among union members
Tied among union households
Big, big numbers. I especailly note that Wisconsin’s labor unions, a major factor in that and surrounding states, did not give the victory to the storied Clintons. Obama also took the women vote, which was pretty much her most reliable voting bloc. To see that go to Obama is a blow to Mrs. Clinton’s base that only the miraculous could repair.
I am going to take this opportunity and officially call the nominees: Barack Obama and John McCain. Even though Clinton and Huckabee are still mathematically alive, they would have to achieve that which would be amazing given equal momentum in their respective races, much less the kind of slanted momentum that we see in both parties. It’s not going to happen. Obama and McCain have gained the confidence from their party and it appears infectious.
The nominations are locked, as far as I can see. Your 2008 Presidential election features Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ).
February 12, 2008
The race for the Democratic nomination is far from over, but probably not as far as you think. Cogitamus makes clear why:
Even if Clinton manages a narrow loss, tie, or narrow win in Virginia, Barack Obama should win Maryland and DC handily. Combined with a likely big win in one of his home states (Hawaii), he’ll have roughly a 100 delegate lead going into the Wisconsin primary. Let’s be pessimistic and assume Obama loses by 15%. With 75 pledged delegates, that means his lead will drop to the high 80s.
We’re now all the way to the Ohio and Texas primaries, with a total of 334 pledged delegates at stake. To claw back to a draw, Hillary Clinton will have to win a whopping 61% of them. There’s no way that can happen; the only state where Clinton has managed a margin that large is Oklahoma. And remember, this is the pessimistic scenario; if Obama wins Virginia by 15% as polls indicate, and can play two out of three between Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to virtual draws, he’ll have lead large enough that Clinton will have to pack it in.
What you are esssentially dealing with in the Clinton campaign is a Hail Mary pass situation. Something huge and unexpected has to happen, it has to happen fast, and it has to happen more than once. AND it would have to be completely against the momentum that Obama has been enjoying for about a month or so. In other words, if Hillary makes a comeback, it will be one of the most stunning comebacks in political history, and certainly nothing that could ever be forecasted.
Possible? Sure. Likely? No chance.
January 28, 2008
Barack Obama destroyed Hillary Clinton in this weekend’s South Carolina primary. There might be some legitimate shock at just how disparate the numbers really are, but honestly there’s a simple explanation for why Senator Obama won.
Obama has outpoliticked Hillary Clinton every conceivable phase of the game. He has presented himself as the smarter, more sensible agent of real anti-establishment change and has conistently demonstrated that his appeal is not exaggerated. This has to irk the Clintons; Hillary, for the obvious backhand to her smug self-assuredness, and Bill for the loud and clear message it sends him about his own lack of deification within the Democratic party.
Let’s face it: The Clintons are on the run. They played hardball hoping to call in old loyalties, and instead looked like the scum of the political earth. Obama has beaten Hillary by letting her be herself, and the inevitable result will be not just defeat but disillusionment. What can she do? Well, for one thing, she’s leashing the attack dog. She might perhaps be able to repair her image in less aggressively pro-Obama states, but the sound bytes she has given out (particularly to a conservative media base that has all but ignored the Illinois Senator) will be on loop for some time.
The nomination is Obama’s to lose. Whether he will or not is too early now to tell, and weirder things have happened. But the reversal of fortunes has been finalized.