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Primaries

Bass-Invader said:
i wouldn't worry about Nader. Obama will crush McCain.
With the "voting irregularities" that have happened the last two elections, I'm a little less sure of a crushing win.

However, there's no doubt in my mind that Obama stands a good chance of winning, and that the issue of race will be a huge undercurrent should he win the presidency. The way the media and other politicians have tackled the issue and insinuated throughout the run, for the most part has been disgraceful.

Plus, Rush Limbaugh should be forced to eat nothing but McDonalds and painkillers continuously until he explodes. "Magic Negro" that you fucking cracker junkie gasbag.
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
The voting irregularities tipped a very close race in Bush's favour. I don't think McCain would even be party to that, but more importantly I don't think it's going to be a nailbitingly close race.
 
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Flashy_McFlash said:
Who, if anyone, is Limbaugh officially supporting in this race? I've heard him slam McCain enough times.
I think Rush got behind McCain after the smear campaign saying that he had an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist last week.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
el presidente Highsteppa said:
I think Rush got behind McCain after the smear campaign saying that he had an inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist last week.
As much as there are things to admire about McCain, there is much less to admire about his party.

And as much as the smear against him represents a weak tactic that distracts from the substantive issues, it does make me happy to see the bumper crop of Republicans caught in the last few years engaging in the very sexual activity they so self-righteously spent years exploiting for partisan advantage.

Even if its true, I don't think its any of our business, but since the Repugnants have spent years cultivating an environment where this is fair game and furthering their little "culture war" flip on middle america, its really nice to see them reap what they've sown.

So ya, f*ck McCain. I woulda been happier with you in 2000 but your party establishment sidelined you pretty viciously and we got Bush instead. My hate for them has grown immeasurably since your "maverick run", and since you are after all their candidate, too bad. Even weak-ass smears against you won't win my sympathy. There's too much stink on you now.

F*ck the lot of you jerks.
 
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If I'm hearing you correct (and with this head cold, I hope I am) - don't mind the candidate, hate the party that he comes from?

I'm pretty happy at how fractured and disorganized the Republican party is right now, and amused at how they look at Schwarzenegger and McCain as if they're mavericks and moderates. This is not even considering that Ahnuld is elected and pretty popular (60% approval rating), and McCain is blowing the rest of their candidates out of the water. Maybe they're hearing what the public wants better than the rest of the party?
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
el presidente Highsteppa said:
If I'm hearing you correct (and with this head cold, I hope I am) - don't mind the candidate, hate the party that he comes from?
Maybe "didn't" mind the candidate...;) He's zig zagged on all the issues he had me on his side for...;)
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
el presidente Highsteppa said:
If I'm hearing you correct (and with this head cold, I hope I am) - don't mind the candidate, hate the party that he comes from?

I'm pretty happy at how fractured and disorganized the Republican party is right now, and amused at how they look at Schwarzenegger and McCain as if they're mavericks and moderates. This is not even considering that Ahnuld is elected and pretty popular (60% approval rating), and McCain is blowing the rest of their candidates out of the water. Maybe they're hearing what the public wants better than the rest of the party?
do keep in mind that the republican primary is set up differently than the democratic one. The republican has many states where the delegate counts are 'winner-takes-all'; that is, if a state had 100 delegates, then whoever out of the candidates gets the highest percentages takes all of them. It's designed to produce a winner quick. The democratic primary is all proportional based, so the races are closer, and take longer to decide. Had the race been proportional then Romney might still be in it.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Ya and the other fact is that McCain and Schwarzenegger are outside of party orthodoxy on some major issues. The Repugnants have really taken the gold medal in partisanship and I hate their culture war rhetoric worse than something really really bad. This is their bed, they can lie in it. Huckabee is also a great guy to have around, because he represents the religious legacy of their gameplan come back to haunt them.

This is a really sweet election season in so many ways. Maybe four more years was worth it to feel as great as I feel just typing this.

If you want to read a conservative's lament on the loss of conservative centrist figures like McCain from the mainstream of American conservatism I highly suggest reading Michael Lind's "Up From Conservatism". He was a protege of William Buckley and a pretty serious Republican until 1988, when he realized the party had changed. It's strongest when describing the changes in the political landscape of the 40s, 50s and 60s - and how the "vital center" was consumed by both sides.

Anyway, in another era, it would be the Tom Delays that would be the fringe "mavericks" and the McCains and Shwarzeneggers would be the ones calling the shots.

In politics there's always the backroom deals and the sweetheart deals and the ruthlessness and the scandal, but I really do think it's fair to say that the political dynamics in America have sunk to lower lows and more partisan-ey partisanship.

This is why the Republicans under McCain still need to go to the wildnerness. Dems need to win all 3 and the worst excesses of these jackasses repudiated. McCain after all, has had to speak their language.

I dare to hope - my internet friends - of a future where nobody has to speak their language anymore. And even though shit will still be f*cked - we might be a half step more civilized than the stuff that goes on today.
 
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xsre

TRIBE Member
McCain is NOT centrist conservative. He's anti-choice, pro-death penalty, pro-Iraq, pro-Bush tax cuts.

McCain being centrist because of his campaign finance thing is a total myth - he's been shown to be trying to circumvent those ideals.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
xsre said:
McCain is NOT centrist conservative. He's anti-choice, pro-death penalty, pro-Iraq, pro-Bush tax cuts.

McCain being centrist because of his campaign finance thing is a total myth - he's been shown to be trying to circumvent those ideals.
I think he's much more centrist in manner than he is in policy, especially after the last two years. He doesn't really go for the partisan kind of bullshit you'll see from Linsey Graham or Hastert or Delay.

Policy wise I agree that hes changed from where he was before - and policy wise he's no longer centrist.

But I think his manner is still somewhat cordial and to be honest thats the only part of him I'm left liking...
 
xsre said:
McCain is NOT centrist conservative. He's anti-choice, pro-death penalty, pro-Iraq, pro-Bush tax cuts.

McCain being centrist because of his campaign finance thing is a total myth - he's been shown to be trying to circumvent those ideals.
Never said that he was, but he's sure being portrayed that way by the more extreme sides of the Republican party.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
McCain disqualified?

McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out

The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.​
 

Aeryanna

TRIBE Member
For anyone that hasn't heard Obama's latest speech I strongly urge you to watch it - it's long (about 35 minutes) but it's worth it.

This guy can really give a speech.
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member



Historical speech for sure.

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

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

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
A few selected reactions culled from Andrew Sullivan:

  • I'll state right away that I am a McCain supporter. Still, I am very much drawn to Obama. It's not a silly, unthinking attraction. It has nothing to do with his race, and I have very little love for the Democratic party. I am also aware that he, in many ways, is just another politician. In other ways, he is anything but another politician.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was at my bank when Obama began his speech. I sat down with a group of people (all white, male and female) and watched. The collective groans coming from the group surprised me. Even when Obama was reaching out, saying things I felt were absolutely true, sincere and conciliatory, he was met with derision.A couple people felt the need to talk back to the television as if Obama could hear them (as if their opinions were appropriate at that moment). This was done in public, in the midwest. A fairly moderate town overall. Maybe I'm out of touch, but what has happened over the past 16 years to my country?

    Then I left, got in my car, turned on the radio and already Laura Ingram was taking soundbites of Obama's speech and mocking them, dismissing them out of hand while her listeners chimed in, supporting their queen of talk. I hate this all so much. But then I remembered that Obama will still probably get the nomination and face McCain. One is already great man, the other, Obama, may have taken his first step on his way to greatness. I hope America was listening.

  • The other great thing about this speech was that it unequivocally proved that Obama--and Obama alone--is best equipped to fight back against Republican attacks. Do you think John Kerry could have pushed back with a speech against being swiftboated in 2004? Or could Hillary do the same if she was in a similar position? I don't think so

  • John Derbyshire is right that Obama’s vision of how America ought to transcend our racial divisions is essentially left-wing, with whites and blacks joining hands against to raise taxes and government spending, while uniting against their common enemy, the wicked axis of corporations, lobbyists and special interests. But Obama’s candidacy is essentially left-wing; he’s attempting to be a liberal Reagan, not a difference-splitter like Bill Clinton, and I think our political moment is tilting sufficiently leftward that he might just succeed... But this is a conservative's quibble about a liberal politician's address; it's my way of saying "I wish Barack Obama were a little less left-wing," and it doesn't detract from the speech's overall impressiveness.

    I do think the problem Jeremiah Wright creates for Obama's campaign remains unresolved, to some extent, since there was nothing Obama could say in a single speech that would undo the perception created by his long affiliation with Wright and his church ... But by using the Wright controversy as an opportunity to play up their candidate's strengths - as an orator, but more importantly as the rare politician who can deliver a thoughtful, nuanced speech and make you feel like he means it - the Obama campaign made some sweet-tasting lemonade out of some bitter-tasting lemons.

  • I thought I'd email you the exchange between myself and my mother, a one-time strong Hillary supporter that crossed over after hearing Obama speak in our hometown of New Orleans, reacting to the Obama speech today:
    Mom: I heard the Obama speech today. It was brave.

    Me: With each crisis/charade or what have you, even when I find myself surprised that I would stop to question my support for him, he soars and ends up strengthening my reasons for supporting him in the first place. Yes, he is brave, he is real, and he has principles that have remained intact despite it all. The simple fact is that the entire campaign is now if Obama can survive the gauntlet and nothing else. He seems to be doing just that.​

  • I cannot recall any leader or potential leader in the last two or three decades asking us to do that. I hope we are up to the challenge. I do not believe--nor, from his speech, do I think that Obama believes--that to think seriously about race we have to vote for him. But I do think that when we address race, we ought to do it, not by running endless videos of people, black or white, who have said outrageous things but by finally having the honest conversation about race we keep promising ourselves--and keep postponing. Agree or disagree with Obama, I ask people who are less inspired by him that I am, but at least acknowledge that in this presidential candidate, we have a man of honor--and an honest man.

  • That Obama was signalling - "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past" - that his speech - and his candidacy - are about confronting history from a Faulknerian standpoint was, to me, the bravest thing he did. It signalled to me that he feels this discussion is more important than electoral success, and I can't help but admire that. Although I didn't know which words he was going to use in the second half of the speech, from that point, I knew the sense of most everything he was going to say.

    Faulkner is too easily pigeonholed as being about race. Or about "The Fall of the Old South." (You have never truly felt the urge to stab someone with a pen until you're the only southerner in a room full of upper-midwestern accents insisting upon fitting everything in Faulkner neatly into the latter.) But both of those miss the point -- Faulkner is about the past, and the struggle to both accept it as a part of oneself and continue into the future.

    Gavin Stevens, who said the line Obama quoted, got that; he was simply too afraid, in my opinion, to do much about it, especially after he tries and fails once. But the relevant passage to Faulkner, and to Obama, is from "Delta Autumn" (from Go Down, Moses). Ike McCaslin (in his 80s now) is in bed on a hunting trip, and the lover of his nephew comes in with their child, revealing herself. She's also a cousin of the McCaslins, from the illegitimate line caused by an affair with a slave. So it's inter-racial and incestuous. It goes (Ike speaking, emphasis mine):

    "That's right. Go back North. Marry: a man in your own race. That's the only salvation for you--for a while yet, maybe a long while yet. We will have to wait. Marry a black man. You are young, handsome, almost white; you could find a black man who would see in you what it was you saw in him, who would ask nothing of you and expect less and get even still less than that, if it's revenge you want. Then you will forget all this, forget it ever happened, that he ever existed--" until he could stop it at last and did, sitting there in his huddle of blankets during the instant when, without moving at all, she blazed silently down at him. Then that was gone too. She stood in the gleaming and still dripping slicker, looking quietly down at him from under the sodden hat.

    "Old man," she said, "have you lived so long and forgotten so much that you dont remember anything you ever knew or felt or even heard about love?"

    So they're talking about love, yes (as Faulkner wrote elsewhere they "had to talk about something"), but it's her rebuttal to "We will have to wait" that's important. Ike is a good person, less racist than almost anyone else of his generation, but the struggle with the past is too much for him. He says wait. The younger woman tells him unequivocally that he is wrong.

    That's what Obama was doing. His speech was accepts Faulkner's opinion of the past -- that it is a part of us, and we must live with it -- but rejects the fear most of his characters have of confronting it. Our national heritage contains some of the brightest moments in human history, but also a number of moral failures. I'm not proud of the latter, but as an American, they are a part of me, and if we are to become a stronger nation, we must learn to understand them, accept them as our past, and move beyond them. What Obama said this morning is that we no longer have to wait for a while yet, maybe a long while yet. The time is now, the place here, the people us.

  • This time, Obama did not rest with incendiary and divisive--words which harbor potential toleration (i.e. maybe a little divisiveness is healthy?).

    He pegged Wright's recreational alienation as wrong, as stereotyping, as a "profound mistake," as founded upon a canard that America has made no progress on race.

    It must be understood what a maverick statement this is from a 40-something black politician. In the black community one does not sass one's elders. One is expected to show a particular deference, understandably, to the generation who fought on the barricades of the Civil Rights movement. That is, to people of Jeremiah Wright's vintage.

    For a light-skinned half-white Ivy League-educated black man to repudiate, in clear language and repeatedly, the take on race of people like Julian Bond and Nikki Giovanni is not only honest but truly bold.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
A commenter writes in reply to Greenwald, who wrote an excellent post on the speech today, highlights:

The speech will be adored by Obama fans, the political and media elite, and high-information, politically engaged voters other than those firmly entrenched on the Right. But politically speaking, that isn't the target audience either. Barbara O'Brien describes perfectly the real question with regard to the speech's political impact:

I think the question about the speech, articulated by Rachel Maddow on David Gregory’s new MSNBC program, is whether white America will step up and receive the speech in the same spirit in which it was given. Obama's speech was challenging. He assumed that his audience could hear his words and and think about them. He assumed people could get beyond simple narratives, sound bytes, and jerking knees.

Steve M. reluctantly makes the case as to why the speech won't work despite (or, more accurately, because of) its high-minded, steadfast refusal to pander:

The premises [the speech] lays out require you to be an adult, and I'm not convinced that most Americans are adults, at least when looking for a candidate to support. . . .

This isn't what Americans like to hear in political speeches. They like to hear: Good people = us (America, our party). Bad people = them (communists, terrorists, criminals, drug dealers, our ideological opposites, the other party, or some group we identify in code rather than explicitly).

That wasn't the tone of this speech. I hope I'm wrong, but Obama may pay a price for not giving people what they like to hear.

The entire premise of Barack Obama's candidacy is built upon the opposite assumption -- that Americans are not only able, but eager, to participate in a more elevated and reasoned political discourse, one that moves beyond the boisterous, screeching, simple-minded, ugly, vapid attack-based distractions and patronizing manipulation -- the Drudgian Freak Show -- that has dominated our political debates for the last two decades at least.

Nobody actually knows which of these views are right because there hasn't been a serious national campaign in a very long time that has attempted to elevate itself above the Drudgian muck by relying (not entirely, but mostly) upon reasoned discourse and substantive discussions -- at least not with the potency that Obama generates. Will George Bush's ranch hats and Willie Horton's scary face and Al Gore's earth tones and John Kerry's windsurfing tights inevitably overwhelm sober, substantive discussions of the fundamental political crises plaguing the country? Obama's insistence that Americans are hungry for that sort of elevated debate and are able to engage it -- and his willingness to stake his campaign on his being right about that -- has been, in my view, one of the most admirable aspects of his candidacy.

But in Obama's faith in the average American voter lies one of the greatest weaknesses of his campaign. His faith in the ability and willingness of Americans to rise above manipulative political tactics seems drastically to understate both the efficacy of such tactics and the deafening amplification they receive from our establishment press. Even Americans who authentically believe that they want a "new, better politics" may be swayed by the same old Drudgian sewerage because it is powerful and ubiquitous.​

And the reader comment:

A very thought-provoking post, thank you
I understand completely that halting sense of skepticism one can get when witnessing something so uncommonly genuine and intelligent in American presidential politics. Certainly, much evidence exists that the "average" American voter is often driven by tribal, anti-intellectual, strobing impulses. One need only look to Fox News and several other neoconservative media outlets to see the infamous "lizard brain" on horrid display, and this can indeed give even the most optimistic some pause.

However, for many, many reasons, I think Obama's gambit will succeed. I believe it will succeed not only despite the reflexive and visceral tendencies of the common voter, but in part because of it. This dynamic starts with the cold and opaque machinery of the party leadership.

This speech, as you point out, has resonated very strongly with the (non-right-wing) intelligentsia and the political class. It has people like Chris Matthews swooning. It has many DC professionals, including me, walking on the clouds of its pure, honest, and thoughtful brushstrokes. The babblings of approval from (most of) the media elite can be read like a diviner's casting bones to glimpse into the hearts and minds of the silently sought Superdelegates that hold the power to annoint Obama the nominee. A very telling canary in the cage of this latest development is Joe Biden, who had very kind words to say about a speech on which he had no need to comment in the first place.

So I agree in part with Retired Military Patriot that this speech - whether by design or accident - will be precisely the gravitational force that draws superdelegates further into Obama's orbit. And while some of those superdelegates may continue to hold their cards close to their vests late into spring, I believe that Obama won their hearts tonight, and it will take a miracle or a calamity for Hillary to swoon them to her side now. For Obama's speech demonstrated to the Nobility at least two critical attributes: he showed not only that he can turn a snarling, unthinking Cerberus of political tumult into an opportunity for dialogue on the very themes that undergird his person, but that he can do it in a strikingly candid and impressively balanced way.

Consequently, the political leadership having largely applauded Obama's A More Perfect Union, the media churning out memes of the power of his words and message, and the intelligentsia gravitating invisibly yet palpably toward his beacon, I believe the populace will sense a familiar swell, and will be pulled back in by the gravity of their instincts.

This is because although Obama didn't pander, he struck chords that lie in every American's lives and experiences, and he earned the legitimacy of the only voices given license to approve him as "safe" once again. It doesn't have to happen in overwhelming numbers. It only has to happen in enough numbers to tilt the critical mass, to trigger the invisible logarithm of mass spirit and historical moment.

And it will.​
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
Definately a great speach. He comes across as a tough straight shooter, not afraid to confront things that are uncomfortable. That's what's needed. No dodging or hidding.

It really gets moving about half way through though. By the time he says

The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
and

This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
the momentum practically sweeps you to his conclusion.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Woah - just found out about the passport breaches on Clinton, Obama and McCain.

Interesting... I doubt it will go anywhere but it would be nice to have a big bright light shone on a few dirty tricksters! I highly doubt that all three breaches were just curious employees taking a peak - those people were "turned" by others with a motive to find some dirt.
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
I thought Obama saved himself after the Wright debacle - but don't expect this issue to disappear if he wins the nomination. But whatever, that's for another time. What this episode has done for me is highlight what an effective campaign Obama has run compared to HRC, whose campaign has been a complete and unmitigated disaster. Just compare how Obama handled Rev. Wright and HRC's veep proposal to HRC with Bill's rants and her losses in a few key primaries. He's a very able politican, rising to the moment, as opposed to HRC, who very much seems to dread facing the public in a difficult situation.
 

Lurker

TRIBE Member
HRC's campaign is also running out of money whereas Obama keeps raking it in.

I'm doubtful that she'd be able to raise enough money to fight an effective Presidential capaign given the couple articles I read about it today (one was CNN and the other Reuters I think - I'll try to find links)
 
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