Archive for Obama

How Hillary lost – It’s the War Stupid!

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 11, 2008 by plinynovo

Over the past few days, I have read and watched the inevitable postmortems on Hillary’s campaign as pundits attempt to explain how HRC went from a planned coronation to being the houseguest who will not leave.  The analysis routinely focuses on a number of factors – usually beginning with her failure to sense the change mood, to poor planning for caucuses, to wasteful spending to a myriad of causes, but one that is rarely mentioned, to me seems to be the obvious elephant in the room – her vote on the Iraq War.


Yes, the fact that she voted for the authorization of force has been mentioned, but it has not been analyzed as a reason for her defeat – not truly.   Here is my attempt to explain that it was this vote that caused many voters to begin looking for an alternate candidate. 

 In 2002 most people who paid attention knew full well that G. W. Bush was marching this country to war with Iraq.  All of the media covered it (and indeed seemed to support it).  During this time period a substantial portion of the democratic activist base saw this and strongly opposed it.  Also at the time, it was apparent that the majority of the country was falling for the Bush Administration’s constant attempts to conflate Iraq with the 9-11 attacks and, helped by a media establishment that abdicated all responsibility for journalism, most Americans were supportive of the War. 

 The base looked to Democratic leaders in Congress to challenge the claims of the administration – indeed they looked to Hillary Clinton herself.  She let that base down – and indeed became one of the most active democratic cheerleaders against Iraq.  Why did she do this?  She has offered various explanations since the vote – none of which admit a mistake and moreover all of which lack creditability.  Perhaps we will never know exactly what was in Hillary’s mind at the time of the vote, but I can tell you want many Democrats believe.  Whether true or not, many see her vote as being purely political.  She was already thinking of a run for the Presidency.  She made a calculation that a vote for the War would show her as a strong leader willing to use force to defend the nation, thereby negating any questions about her future qualification as Commander-in-Chief.  On the other hand, she felt that a vote against the War would open her up to criticism as being a left wing “peacenik.”  Thus, the reasoning goes, she made the vote, not because she believed it was the right thing to do, but rather because it would help her become president. 

 The essence of a purely political act is not doing what you think is right, but rather doing what you think will benefit you.  This is what the activist base saw Hillary do in 2002.  Whether true or not, they knew in their hearts that Hillary, in her heart, agreed with them that the war was wrong.  She was too intelligent, too experienced, too – like them- not to know that going to Iraq was a disaster.  If she voted for it, she had to be doing it to help herself.  It is one thing to make a purely political vote on a spending bill – okay there is a bridge to no-where – but maybe she got something for it.  But it is completely another thing to make such a vote on the decision to go to war.  People die in wars.  It is absolutely immoral to vote to go to war if you do not believe in the justness of the war.  It is the moral equivalent of murder.  One can forgive a mistaken, but good faith, belief in such a vote, but not a politically calculated vote of self-interest. 

 It was with this vote that Hillary lost the activist base of the party.  Had the war proceeded well, she might have pulled off her presidential bid.  But the war didn’t go well.  As the casualties mounted and as the war drug on, it became clearer and clearer that the war was, as the activist had always expected, a disaster.  As this happened, the small activist base grew.  Those who had originally ignored the issue or even supported the war began to join the anti-war contingent.  They began to ask how did we get here.  They looked at Hillary (and others in Congress) and asked “how could you have let this happen?’ 

 Some like Edwards and Kerry apologized, but Hillary didn’t.  She stood by her decision as being the correct one; then she tried to say that she hadn’t voted for war, but for diplomacy.  The fallacy of the argument was clear.  Hillary was seen as saying anything to help herself.  The Clintons have always been seen as being willing to say or do anything to win.  This is the narrative that has grown up around them since the early ‘90s.  It was easy to see her vote on the war as fitting into that pattern.  The more she tried to finesse her vote, the more she looked like a purely political creature with no principals.  The more she looked like she had no principals, the more people grasped for something new – for change.  People began looking for an alternative, for someone who would offer a way out of the mess in Washington.  There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.  Barrack Obama was the perfect person, with the perfect message to capitalize on the mood of the party. 


Rasmussen to stop polling Clinton/Obama – The Race is Over

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 9, 2008 by plinynovo


Okay, if there was any doubt that Obama is the nominee, there can be no more.  Rasmussen has decided that it will stop polling the Democratic contest and will instead focus on the Obama-McCain race.  To sum it up, Rasmussen stated:

With this in mind, Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Barring something totally unforeseen, that is the choice American voters will have before them in November. While we have not firmly decided upon a final day for tracking the Democratic race, it is coming soon.

Obama-Clinton, a hate-filled dream ticket

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Andrew Sullivan has an interesting op-ed in today’s Times of London.  While I am not sure, I agree he makes an strong argument for an Obama- Clinton ticket.  

While I agree with the idiom advanced by Sullivan, that such a combination would ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” I am unsure whether this would serve to show Obama as the uniter he has campaigned to be.  Such a ticket might marginally show some effort at being a uniter, but this type of uniting has a long history (think of Kennedy-Johnson, Reagan- Bush, Roosevelt-Gardner etc).  For that component, I think Obama should take a true page from Lincoln’s playbook and look at a Republican running mate.  I suggest, Chuck Hagel would go much further to show Obama as a new kind of uniter.


Ron Paul praises Obama – stops short of an endorsement

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Here from CNN, Ron Paul comes close to endorsing Obama.  Good for him.  As I have pointed out before, while Paul and Obama are not in agreement on many issues, when it comes to support for Constitutional government and returning to a reasonable foreign policy – the only home for Paul supporters this year will be in the Obama camp.   CNN states:

(CNN) — Even though Rep. Ron Paul has never officially ended his long shot presidential bid, he’s ready to weigh in on the three remaining major candidates for the White House.

In an interview on The Situation Room, Paul told Wolf Blitzer that endorsing Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, “would really confuse” his supporters “because they know we have a precise program and we have to defend that program.”

Having a Republican win the upcoming presidential election is “secondary” for Paul who is more interested in defending the Constitution, having the country go in what he considers the right direction, having a sound currency, and achieving balanced budgets. Paul parts ways with McCain over McCain’s support for the Iraq war, his approach to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and his willingness to spend federal dollars to support military operations in Iraq.

Instead, Paul favors Sen. Barack Obama because of positions on foreign policy. “But that’s doesn’t mean that’s an endorsement,” Paul quickly added.

Paul recently released a new book titled “The Revolution: a Manifesto.” “Unfortunately, it is revolutionary to talk about obeying the Constitution,” Paul said of the book’s title.

Rev. Wright disparages his own color

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 1, 2008 by plinynovo

Lost in all of the crazy comments made by Wright before the National Press Club is this statement made at the end of his comments about the Nation of Islam leader. 

“Louis Farrakhan, is not my enemy.  He didn’t put me in chains; he didn’t put me in slavery, and he didn’t make me this color.”  

Is Reverend Jeremiah Wright saying that his enemies made him “this color?”  Is he saying God is his enemy? 

 As he pretends to defend the Black Church, is he criticizing being black?  Is this some evidence of internalized self-hatred? 

 I do not know the answers to these questions, and perhaps no one will save Wright’s future psychologist, should he make the wise decision and seek help.  

After Wright – Better for Obama to have been a Muslim?

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on April 29, 2008 by plinynovo


For the past few months, I have noted deranged bloggers claiming that Barack Obama is Muslim because of his middle name and because of the fact that the father that he did not know was a lapsed Muslim.  I at first laughed and then cringed, as the rumors seemed to grow, especially after Clinton’s halfhearted repudiation of such rumors, “he is not a Muslim, as far as I know.”  My discomfort came from my libertarian beliefs (I understand how deeply personal and powerful a person’s religion can be.  I absolutely support a person living and practicing any religion or no religion.  But I also, firmly believe that there shall be no religious test for public office and that the wall of separation between church and state must be vigorously defended).  Therefore, these accusations troubled me two fold, one because they were false, and secondly, and for me more importantly, they sent a message to those who are Muslims that neither they nor their children could truly participate in the American Dream.  The bloggers were in fact proving that no matter what the Constitution says, there is a religious test for holding public office.


Why am I writing this, because following the last three appearances of Jeremiah Wright, I found myself wishing that Obama were a Muslim.  The overwhelming majority of Muslims are good, honest people whose theology, while different than mine, is neither hostile nor divisive.  This is true of most Christians, Jews, Buddhist, Hindus and other religions.  Unfortunately it is not true of Wright’s theology.  In his speeches Wright, proved that the clips shown constantly over the past months were taken out of context, and that putting them in context was worse.  Appearing before the NAACP and the National Press Club, he belittled any Christianity other than his own; he repeated outlandish claims about HIV; he showed disdain for all that disagree with him.  And he abandoned and disowned his most famous parishioner, Barack Obama, with an under tone of hostility that to be kind, was un-Christian. 


While I do not agree with all of Obama’s issues, I do agree with much of his central appeal – healing the nation’s divisions (red and blue, black and white, straight and gay, urban and rural, north and south, etc), ending the war in Iraq, and changing the climate of Washington.  


Well now is the time for Obama to put his money where his mouth is.  He has an opportunity to begin showing how to heal our divisions.  He must call Wright what he is.  Yes he is a man, who grew up in a culture, which hated him for his skin color.  How did he deal with that horrible situation? He retreated into himself and came out turning that hate back on others – some of whom hated him, but most of whom were not born and did nothing to him.  Hate breads hate, it is true; but a true Christian does not let hate consume him. A true Christian calls hate what it is.  This is what Obama must do.  The hardest test is when demonstrating that requires a person to cast out a friend, a family member, or a pastor.  It is time for Obama to show that he is a true Christian.

Jeremiah Wright throws Obama under the bus

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , , on April 29, 2008 by plinynovo

Jeremiah Wright played a three game series three game series this weekend.  But unlike baseball, he was playing four other teams – Obama, Clinton, McCain and the fourth team, other voices within the Black Church in the US.  And this game is on points.  Here is my score card:

 Game One (Bill Moyer) 

          Wright (+1)

         Obama (-1)

         Clinton (even)

         McCain (+1)

         Black Church (+1)


Game Two (NAACP)

          Wright (-3)

         Obama (-3)

         Clinton (+1)

         McCain (+3)

         Black Church (-2)


Game Three (National Press Club)

          Wright (-5)

         Obama (-10)

         Clinton (+3)

         McCain (+5)

         Black Church (-5)

 I know that above stats are not scientific, but they sum up my overall view of this debacle.  Wright’s motivations are unclear, but it seems as if he views himself as some martyr and is enjoying playing the role.

 As I watched the Reverend, I could only wonder if Wright wants racial reconciliation.  It has often been said that workers at the American (pick your ailment) who live off of fund raising might not truly work for a cure as if they found it, they would be out of a job.  I wonder the same about Wright.  His entire life has been spent fighting racism.  As this nation moves beyond race, he finds himself loosing power.  Only if Obama looses, can Wright be relevant.  Therefore Wright may be working for self-preservation.