Archive for February, 2008


February 29, 2008



Farrakhan speaks on Obama, Clinton
By News
Updated Feb 24, 2008, 11:33 pm Email this article
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Saviours’ Day 2008 (Official Website)

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addresses Chicago audience on Feb. 24, 2008.
Chicago, IL ( February 24, 2008 — The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speaking today in his annual Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day address commented extensively on the U.S. presidential race, which included remarks specifically concerning the candidacy of Democratic hopeful Sen. Barack Obama. Min. Farrakhan spoke to an estimated 20,000 people at McCormick Place Convention Center.

Although the Minister did speak complimentary of Sen. Obama, he said he would not tell any one of his followers how to cast their vote, but he did say they should vote “their own self-interest.”

Min. Farrakhan went on to say that the litmus test concerning himself given to Sen. Obama should also be given to Sen. Hillary Clinton and other presidential candidates.

The Minister said he did not want the “mischief makers” to use his words to try to hurt Mr. Obama or himself.

Min. Farrakhan is expected to accept invitations that he has received to talk to certain members of the press in the near future.

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Farrakhan: ‘Mischief making’ should not dampen support for Obama
By News
Updated Feb 28, 2008, 11:18 am

( – In response to outrage expressed by many, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan issued the following statement regarding remarks made by Sen. Barack Obama during Tuesday’s presidential debate. Mr. Tim Russert questioned Sen. Obama regarding Min. Farrakhan’s Saviours’ Day address and his complimentary remarks concerning the Obama campaign.

“Those who have been supporting Sen. Barack Obama should not allow what was said during the Feb. 26 presidential debate to lessen their support for his campaign. This is simply mischief making intended to hurt Mr. Obama politically.”



Louis Farrakhan backs Obama for president at Nation of Islam convention in Chicago
Senator has criticized him, says support not sought
By Margaret Ramirez | Tribune reporter
February 25, 2008
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Digg Facebook Fark Google Newsvine Reddit Yahoo Print Reprints Post comment Text size: Speaking to thousands of members of the Nation of Islam at their annual convention Sunday in Chicago, Minister Louis Farrakhan praised presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as the only hope for healing the nation’s racial divisions.

Farrakhan, 74, the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam, said the war in Iraq, the nation’s faltering economy and the increased number of natural disasters were signs of “a nation in peril.” He said those problems provide the broader context for Obama’s rise.

“We are witnessing the phenomenal rise of a man of color in a country that has persecuted us because of our color,” Farrakhan told the crowd of nearly 20,000 gathered at McCormick Place.

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Tribune religion page
“If you look at Barack Obama’s [diverse] audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed from what they were,” he said. “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better.”

Although Farrakhan’s praise for Obama may generate increased support from the black community, the Obama campaign’s response was cool.

“Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan’s past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister’s support,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Farrakhan’s two-hour speech, titled “The Gods At War — The Future is All About,” closed the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day Convention, which commemorates the birth of the movement’s founder, Wallace D. Fard Muhammad.

In his opening remarks, Farrakhan commented on his unexpected return to the public stage. Last February, the controversial leader said his Saviours’ Day speech in Detroit would likely be his last public address.

Speculation also arose about a potential successor to Farrakhan after he handed leadership of the Nation of Islam over to an executive board and underwent surgery for complications due to his treatment for prostate cancer.

On Sunday, Farrakhan said he was thankful that God had granted him another year. He said he had spent most of the last year working internally within the Nation of Islam to put the movement on “the best road possible” to the future.

“I’m still here. I’m alive. My mind is very sharp,” he said.

In the past, Farrakhan has sparked outrage for his controversial comments, which include anti-Semitic statements. But in recent years, most significantly after his battle with prostate cancer in the 1990s, he has tried to strike a more conciliatory tone. His popularity among young black Americans grew significantly after the 1995 Million Man March.

Farrakhan said he refused to be a stumbling block to Obama’s success.

“Why do you hate him so that you want to make me a stumbling block?” Farrakhan asked. “I want to see that brother successful and I don’t want them to use me or that Nation of Islam.”

After Farrakhan’s speech, some Nation of Islam members such as Jabari Muhammad, said Farrakhan’s comments had changed their opinions of Obama.

Muhammad, who traveled from New Orleans for the convention, said he had become disenchanted with politics, until he heard Farrakhan’s message.

“I was never political because I felt like nothing changes,” he said. “But, after all that Minister Farrakhan said, I’m going to look at Obama a little closer and see what he’s about.”


Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune


February 27, 2008


Even White Supremacists Don’t Hate Obama
by Michael Crowley
David Duke: “I don’t think Obama will be any worse than Hillary or John McCain”

The New Republic

by Michael Crowley
Even white supremacists don’t hate Obama.

David Duke was on the phone, talking about Barack Obama. Yes, that David Duke: After a query lodged at his website, the infamous ex-Klansman had responded via a mysterious e-mail address–he appeared in my inbox as “info45.” (Duke regularly changes address to combat hate mail–the kind he doesn’t like, that is.) Duke said he was traveling in Europe, where he often meets with fellow Holocaustdeniers, and agreed to discuss the possibility that the United States might soon elect a black president.

Bloody Flag

Putting it mildly, one would not expect Duke to applaud this development. During Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, after all, Duke said Jackson’s election “would be the greatest tragedy ever to befall this country.” Warning that “the white majority in this country are losing their rights,” Duke announced his own counter-candidacy, one whose main purpose seemed to be hounding Jackson.

Yet, far from railing at Obama’s rise, Duke seems almost nonchalant about it. Self-described white nationalists like himself, he explained cordially, “don’t see much difference in Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton–or, for that matter, John McCain.” Sure, Duke considers Obama “a racist individual,” citing his Afrocentric Chicago church. But soon the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People was critiquing Obama as overhyped and insubstantial in terms you might hear from, say, Clinton strategist Mark Penn. “They say he’s for change. What change? He’s become almost a cult figure. I don’t see any shining light around Obama’s head. I don’t see any halos,” Duke said.

Sure, we may not see David Duke strolling around with The Audacity of Hope under his arm any time soon. But his mild tone is still a curious reaction to what white supremacists have long considered a sign of racial apocalypse. “Does Race Still Matter?” asks the latest issue of US News & World Report, which features Obama on its cover. Undoubtedly, it does. But, thus far, Obama is largely delivering on his promise as a post-racial candidate–and hilariously confounding the worldview of white supremacists at the same time.


February 26, 2008


by Andrew Sullivan

Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters

The logic behind the candidacy of Barack Obama is not, in the end, about Barack Obama. It has little to do with his policy proposals, which are very close to his Democratic rivals’ and which, with a few exceptions, exist firmly within the conventions of our politics. It has little to do with Obama’s considerable skills as a conciliator, legislator, or even thinker. It has even less to do with his ideological pedigree or legal background or rhetorical skills. Yes, as the many profiles prove, he has considerable intelligence and not a little guile. But so do others, not least his formidably polished and practiced opponent Senator Hillary Clinton.

Obama, moreover, is no saint. He has flaws and tics: Often tired, sometimes crabby, intermittently solipsistic, he’s a surprisingly uneven campaigner.

Also see:

Interviews: “Containing Multitudes”
(November 6, 2007)
Andrew Sullivan speaks candidly about why he supports Barack Obama, how he became a blogger, and why he’s not afraid to change his mind.

Audio: “Barack Obama on the Baby Boom Generation”
Listen to an excerpt from his interview with Andrew Sullivan. (Audio player will pop up in a new window.)

Interviews: “Obama and America”
(November 6, 2007)
Listen to a podcast of Andrew Sullivan’s discussion with Tom Ashbrook on NPR’s On Point.
A soaring rhetorical flourish one day is undercut by a lackluster debate performance the next. He is certainly not without self-regard. He has more experience in public life than his opponents want to acknowledge, but he has not spent much time in Washington and has never run a business. His lean physique, close-cropped hair, and stick-out ears can give the impression of a slightly pushy undergraduate. You can see why many of his friends and admirers have urged him to wait his turn. He could be president in five or nine years’ time—why the rush?

But he knows, and privately acknowledges, that the fundamental point of his candidacy is that it is happening now. In politics, timing matters. And the most persuasive case for Obama has less to do with him than with the moment he is meeting. The moment has been a long time coming, and it is the result of a confluence of events, from one traumatizing war in Southeast Asia to another in the most fractious country in the Middle East. The legacy is a cultural climate that stultifies our politics and corrupts our discourse.

Obama’s candidacy in this sense is a potentially transformational one. Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us. So much has happened in America in the past seven years, let alone the past 40, that we can be forgiven for focusing on the present and the immediate future. But it is only when you take several large steps back into the long past that the full logic of an Obama presidency stares directly—and uncomfortably—at you.

At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo­mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce.

The traces of our long journey to this juncture can be found all around us. Its most obvious manifestation is political rhetoric. The high temperature—Bill O’Reilly’s nightly screeds against anti-Americans on one channel, Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” on the other;’s “General Betray Us” on the one side, Ann Coulter’s Treason on the other; Michael Moore’s accusation of treason at the core of the Iraq War, Sean Hannity’s assertion of treason in the opposition to it—is particularly striking when you examine the generally minor policy choices on the table. Something deeper and more powerful than the actual decisions we face is driving the tone of the debate.

Take the biggest foreign-policy question—the war in Iraq. The rhetoric ranges from John McCain’s “No Surrender” banner to the “End the War Now” absolutism of much of the Democratic base. Yet the substantive issue is almost comically removed from this hyperventilation. Every potential president, Republican or Democrat, would likely inherit more than 100,000 occupying troops in January 2009; every one would be attempting to redeploy them as prudently as possible and to build stronger alliances both in the region and in the world. Every major candidate, moreover, will pledge to use targeted military force against al-Qaeda if necessary; every one is committed to ensuring that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb; every one is committed to an open-ended deployment in Afghanistan and an unbending alliance with Israel. We are fighting over something, to be sure. But it is more a fight over how we define ourselves and over long-term goals than over what is practically to be done on the ground.

On domestic policy, the primary issue is health care. Again, the ferocious rhetoric belies the mundane reality. Between the boogeyman of “Big Government” and the alleged threat of the drug companies, the practical differences are more matters of nuance than ideology. Yes, there are policy disagreements, but in the wake of the Bush administration, they are underwhelming. Most Republicans support continuing the Medicare drug benefit for seniors, the largest expansion of the entitlement state since Lyndon Johnson, while Democrats are merely favoring more cost controls on drug and insurance companies. Between Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan—individual mandates, private-sector leadership—and Senator Clinton’s triangulated update of her 1994 debacle, the difference is more technical than fundamental. The country has moved ever so slightly leftward. But this again is less a function of ideological transformation than of the current system’s failure to provide affordable health care for the insured or any care at all for growing numbers of the working poor.

Even on issues that are seen as integral to the polarization, the practical stakes in this election are minor. A large consensus in America favors legal abortions during the first trimester and varying restrictions thereafter. Even in solidly red states, such as South Dakota, the support for total criminalization is weak. If Roe were to fall, the primary impact would be the end of a system more liberal than any in Europe in favor of one more in sync with the varied views that exist across this country. On marriage, the battles in the states are subsiding, as a bevy of blue states adopt either civil marriage or civil unions for gay couples, and the rest stand pat. Most states that want no recognition for same-sex couples have already made that decision, usually through state constitutional amendments that allow change only with extreme difficulty. And the one state where marriage equality exists, Massachusetts, has decided to maintain the reform indefinitely.

Given this quiet, evolving consensus on policy, how do we account for the bitter, brutal tone of American politics? The answer lies mainly with the biggest and most influential generation in America: the Baby Boomers. The divide is still—amazingly—between those who fought in Vietnam and those who didn’t, and between those who fought and dissented and those who fought but never dissented at all. By defining the contours of the Boomer generation, it lasted decades. And with time came a strange intensity.

The professionalization of the battle, and the emergence of an array of well-funded interest groups dedicated to continuing it, can be traced most proximately to the bitter confirmation fights over Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, in 1987 and 1991 respectively. The presidency of Bill Clinton, who was elected with only 43 percent of the vote in 1992, crystallized the new reality. As soon as the Baby Boomers hit the commanding heights, the Vietnam power struggle rebooted. The facts mattered little in the face of such a divide. While Clinton was substantively a moderate conservative in policy, his countercultural origins led to the drama, ultimately, of religious warfare and even impeachment. Clinton clearly tried to bridge the Boomer split. But he was trapped on one side of it—and his personal foibles only reignited his generation’s agonies over sex and love and marriage. Even the failed impeachment didn’t bring the two sides to their senses, and the election of 2000 only made matters worse: Gore and Bush were almost designed to reflect the Boomers’ and the country’s divide, which deepened further.

The trauma of 9/11 has tended to obscure the memory of that unprecedentedly bitter election, and its nail- biting aftermath, which verged on a constitutional crisis. But its legacy is very much still with us, made far worse by President Bush’s approach to dealing with it. Despite losing the popular vote, Bush governed as if he had won Reagan’s 49 states. Instead of cementing a coalition of the center-right, Bush and Rove set out to ensure that the new evangelical base of the Republicans would turn out more reliably in 2004. Instead of seeing the post-’60s divide as a wound to be healed, they poured acid on it.

With 9/11, Bush had a reset moment—a chance to reunite the country in a way that would marginalize the extreme haters on both sides and forge a national consensus. He chose not to do so. It wasn’t entirely his fault. On the left, the truest believers were unprepared to give the president the benefit of any doubt in the wake of the 2000 election, and they even judged the 9/11 attacks to be a legitimate response to decades of U.S. foreign policy. Some could not support the war in Afghanistan, let alone the adventure in Iraq. As the Iraq War faltered, the polarization intensified. In 2004, the Vietnam argument returned with a new energy, with the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry’s Vietnam War record and CBS’s misbegotten report on Bush’s record in the Texas Air National Guard. These were the stories that touched the collective nerve of the political classes—because they parsed once again along the fault lines of the Boomer divide that had come to define all of us.

The result was an even deeper schism. Kerry was arguably the worst candidate on earth to put to rest the post-1960s culture war—and his decision to embrace his Vietnam identity at the convention made things worse. Bush, for his part, was unable to do nuance. And so the campaign became a matter of symbolism—pitting those who took the terror threat “seriously” against those who didn’t. Supporters of the Iraq War became more invested in asserting the morality of their cause than in examining the effectiveness of their tactics. Opponents of the war found themselves dispirited. Some were left to hope privately for American failure; others lashed out, as distrust turned to paranoia. It was and is a toxic cycle, in which the interests of the United States are supplanted by domestic agendas born of pride and ruthlessness on the one hand and bitterness and alienation on the other.

This is the critical context for the election of 2008. It is an election that holds the potential not merely to intensify this cycle of division but to bequeath it to a new generation, one marked by a new war that need not be—that should not be—seen as another Vietnam. A Giuliani-Clinton matchup, favored by the media elite, is a classic intragenerational struggle—with two deeply divisive and ruthless personalities ready to go to the brink. Giuliani represents that Nixonian disgust with anyone asking questions about, let alone actively protesting, a war. Clinton will always be, in the minds of so many, the young woman who gave the commencement address at Wellesley, who sat in on the Nixon implosion and who once disdained baking cookies. For some, her husband will always be the draft dodger who smoked pot and wouldn’t admit it. And however hard she tries, there is nothing Hillary Clinton can do about it. She and Giuliani are conscripts in their generation’s war. To their respective sides, they are war heroes.

In normal times, such division is not fatal, and can even be healthy. It’s great copy for journalists. But we are not talking about routine rancor. And we are not talking about normal times. We are talking about a world in which Islamist terror, combined with increasingly available destructive technology, has already murdered thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Muslims, and could pose an existential danger to the West. The terrible failures of the Iraq occupation, the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Pakistan, the progress of Iran toward nuclear capability, and the collapse of America’s prestige and moral reputation, especially among those millions of Muslims too young to have known any American president but Bush, heighten the stakes dramatically.

Perhaps the underlying risk is best illustrated by our asking what the popular response would be to another 9/11–style attack. It is hard to imagine a reprise of the sudden unity and solidarity in the days after 9/11, or an outpouring of support from allies and neighbors. It is far easier to imagine an even more bitter fight over who was responsible (apart from the perpetrators) and a profound suspicion of a government forced to impose more restrictions on travel, communications, and civil liberties. The current president would be unable to command the trust, let alone the support, of half the country in such a time. He could even be blamed for provoking any attack that came.

Of the viable national candidates, only Obama and possibly McCain have the potential to bridge this widening partisan gulf. Polling reveals Obama to be the favored Democrat among Republicans. McCain’s bipartisan appeal has receded in recent years, especially with his enthusiastic embrace of the latest phase of the Iraq War. And his personal history can only reinforce the Vietnam divide. But Obama’s reach outside his own ranks remains striking. Why? It’s a good question: How has a black, urban liberal gained far stronger support among Republicans than the made-over moderate Clinton or the southern charmer Edwards? Perhaps because the Republicans and independents who are open to an Obama candidacy see his primary advantage in prosecuting the war on Islamist terrorism. It isn’t about his policies as such; it is about his person. They are prepared to set their own ideological preferences to one side in favor of what Obama offers America in a critical moment in our dealings with the rest of the world. The war today matters enormously. The war of the last generation? Not so much. If you are an American who yearns to finally get beyond the symbolic battles of the Boomer generation and face today’s actual problems, Obama may be your man.

What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy. The war on Islamist terror, after all, is two-pronged: a function of both hard power and soft power. We have seen the potential of hard power in removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. We have also seen its inherent weaknesses in Iraq, and its profound limitations in winning a long war against radical Islam. The next president has to create a sophisticated and supple blend of soft and hard power to isolate the enemy, to fight where necessary, but also to create an ideological template that works to the West’s advantage over the long haul. There is simply no other candidate with the potential of Obama to do this. Which is where his face comes in.

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

The other obvious advantage that Obama has in facing the world and our enemies is his record on the Iraq War. He is the only major candidate to have clearly opposed it from the start. Whoever is in office in January 2009 will be tasked with redeploying forces in and out of Iraq, negotiating with neighboring states, engaging America’s estranged allies, tamping down regional violence. Obama’s interlocutors in Iraq and the Middle East would know that he never had suspicious motives toward Iraq, has no interest in occupying it indefinitely, and foresaw more clearly than most Americans the baleful consequences of long-term occupation.

This latter point is the most salient. The act of picking the next president will be in some ways a statement of America’s view of Iraq. Clinton is running as a centrist Democrat—voting for war, accepting the need for an occupation at least through her first term, while attempting to do triage as practically as possible. Obama is running as the clearer antiwar candidate. At the same time, Obama’s candidacy cannot fairly be cast as a McGovernite revival in tone or substance. He is not opposed to war as such. He is not opposed to the use of unilateral force, either—as demonstrated by his willingness to target al-Qaeda in Pakistan over the objections of the Pakistani government. He does not oppose the idea of democratization in the Muslim world as a general principle or the concept of nation building as such. He is not an isolationist, as his support for the campaign in Afghanistan proves. It is worth recalling the key passages of the speech Obama gave in Chicago on October 2, 2002, five months before the war:

I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war … I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

The man who opposed the war for the right reasons is for that reason the potential president with the most flexibility in dealing with it. Clinton is hemmed in by her past and her generation. If she pulls out too quickly, she will fall prey to the usual browbeating from the right—the same theme that has played relentlessly since 1968. If she stays in too long, the antiwar base of her own party, already suspicious of her, will pounce. The Boomer legacy imprisons her—and so it may continue to imprison us. The debate about the war in the next four years needs to be about the practical and difficult choices ahead of us—not about the symbolism or whether it’s a second Vietnam.

A generational divide also separates Clinton and Obama with respect to domestic politics. Clinton grew up saturated in the conflict that still defines American politics. As a liberal, she has spent years in a defensive crouch against triumphant post-Reagan conservatism. The mau-mauing that greeted her health-care plan and the endless nightmares of her husband’s scandals drove her deeper into her political bunker. Her liberalism is warped by what you might call a Political Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Reagan spooked people on the left, especially those, like Clinton, who were interested primarily in winning power. She has internalized what most Democrats of her generation have internalized: They suspect that the majority is not with them, and so some quotient of discretion, fear, or plain deception is required if they are to advance their objectives. And so the less-adept ones seem deceptive, and the more-practiced ones, like Clinton, exhibit the plastic-ness and inauthenticity that still plague her candidacy. She’s hiding her true feelings. We know it, she knows we know it, and there is no way out of it.

Obama, simply by virtue of when he was born, is free of this defensiveness. Strictly speaking, he is at the tail end of the Boomer generation. But he is not of it.

“Partly because my mother, you know, was smack-dab in the middle of the Baby Boom generation,” he told me. “She was only 18 when she had me. So when I think of Baby Boomers, I think of my mother’s generation. And you know, I was too young for the formative period of the ’60s—civil rights, sexual revolution, Vietnam War. Those all sort of passed me by.”

Obama’s mother was, in fact, born only five years earlier than Hillary Clinton. He did not politically come of age during the Vietnam era, and he is simply less afraid of the right wing than Clinton is, because he has emerged on the national stage during a period of conservative decadence and decline. And so, for example, he felt much freer than Clinton to say he was prepared to meet and hold talks with hostile world leaders in his first year in office. He has proposed sweeping middle-class tax cuts and opposed drastic reforms of Social Security, without being tarred as a fiscally reckless liberal. (Of course, such accusations are hard to make after the fiscal performance of today’s “conservatives.”) Even his more conservative positions—like his openness to bombing Pakistan, or his support for merit pay for public-school teachers—do not appear to emerge from a desire or need to credentialize himself with the right. He is among the first Democrats in a generation not to be afraid or ashamed of what they actually believe, which also gives them more freedom to move pragmatically to the right, if necessary. He does not smell, as Clinton does, of political fear.

There are few areas where this Democratic fear is more intense than religion. The crude exploitation of sectarian loyalty and religious zeal by Bush and Rove succeeded in deepening the culture war, to Republican advantage. Again, this played into the divide of the Boomer years—between God-fearing Americans and the peacenik atheist hippies of lore. The Democrats have responded by pretending to a public religiosity that still seems strained. Listening to Hillary Clinton detail her prayer life in public, as she did last spring to a packed house at George Washington University, was at once poignant and repellent. Poignant because her faith may well be genuine; repellent because its Methodist genuineness demands that she not profess it so tackily. But she did. The polls told her to.

Obama, in contrast, opened his soul up in public long before any focus group demanded it. His first book, Dreams From My Father, is a candid, haunting, and supple piece of writing. It was not concocted to solve a political problem (his second, hackneyed book, The Audacity of Hope, filled that niche). It was a genuine display of internal doubt and conflict and sadness. And it reveals Obama as someone whose “complex fate,” to use Ralph Ellison’s term, is to be both believer and doubter, in a world where such complexity is as beleaguered as it is necessary.

This struggle to embrace modernity without abandoning faith falls on one of the fault lines in the modern world. It is arguably the critical fault line, the tectonic rift that is advancing the bloody borders of Islam and the increasingly sectarian boundaries of American politics. As humankind abandons the secular totalitarianisms of the last century and grapples with breakneck technological and scientific discoveries, the appeal of absolutist faith is powerful in both developing and developed countries. It is the latest in a long line of rebukes to liberal modernity—but this rebuke has the deepest roots, the widest appeal, and the attraction that all total solutions to the human predicament proffer. From the doctrinal absolutism of Pope Benedict’s Vatican to the revival of fundamentalist Protestantism in the U.S. and Asia to the attraction for many Muslims of the most extreme and antimodern forms of Islam, the same phenomenon has spread to every culture and place.

You cannot confront the complex challenges of domestic or foreign policy today unless you understand this gulf and its seriousness. You cannot lead the United States without having a foot in both the religious and secular camps. This, surely, is where Bush has failed most profoundly. By aligning himself with the most extreme and basic of religious orientations, he has lost many moderate believers and alienated the secular and agnostic in the West. If you cannot bring the agnostics along in a campaign against religious terrorism, you have a problem.

Here again, Obama, by virtue of generation and accident, bridges this deepening divide. He was brought up in a nonreligious home and converted to Christianity as an adult. But—critically—he is not born-again. His faith—at once real and measured, hot and cool—lives at the center of the American religious experience. It is a modern, intellectual Christianity. “I didn’t have an epiphany,” he explained to me. “What I really did was to take a set of values and ideals that were first instilled in me from my mother, who was, as I have called her in my book, the last of the secular humanists—you know, belief in kindness and empathy and discipline, responsibility—those kinds of values. And I found in the Church a vessel or a repository for those values and a way to connect those values to a larger community and a belief in God and a belief in redemption and mercy and justice … I guess the point is, it continues to be both a spiritual, but also intellectual, journey for me, this issue of faith.”

The best speech Obama has ever given was not his famous 2004 convention address, but a June 2007 speech in Connecticut. In it, he described his religious conversion:

One Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called “The Audacity of Hope.” And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, he would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works.

To be able to express this kind of religious conviction without disturbing or alienating the growing phalanx of secular voters, especially on the left, is quite an achievement. As he said in 2006, “Faith doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts.” To deploy the rhetoric of Evangelicalism while eschewing its occasional anti-intellectualism and hubristic certainty is as rare as it is exhilarating. It is both an intellectual achievement, because Obama has clearly attempted to wrestle a modern Christianity from the encumbrances and anachronisms of its past, and an American achievement, because it was forged in the only American institution where conservative theology and the Democratic Party still communicate: the black church.

And this, of course, is the other element that makes Obama a potentially transformative candidate: race. Here, Obama again finds himself in the center of a complex fate, unwilling to pick sides in a divide that reaches back centuries and appears at times unbridgeable. His appeal to whites is palpable. I have felt it myself. Earlier this fall, I attended an Obama speech in Washington on tax policy that underwhelmed on delivery; his address was wooden, stilted, even tedious. It was only after I left the hotel that it occurred to me that I’d just been bored on tax policy by a national black leader. That I should have been struck by this was born in my own racial stereotypes, of course. But it won me over.

Obama is deeply aware of how he comes across to whites. In a revealing passage in his first book, he recounts how, in adolescence, he defused his white mother’s fears that he was drifting into delinquency. She had marched into his room and demanded to know what was going on. He flashed her “a reassuring smile and patted her hand and told her not to worry.” This, he tells us, was “usually an effective tactic,” because people

were satisfied as long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved—such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.

And so you have Obama’s campaign for white America: courteous and smiling and with no sudden moves. This may, of course, be one reason for his still-lukewarm support among many African Americans, a large number of whom back a white woman for the presidency. It may also be because African Americans (more than many whites) simply don’t believe that a black man can win the presidency, and so are leery of wasting their vote. And the persistence of race as a divisive, even explosive factor in American life was unmissable the week of Obama’s tax speech. While he was detailing middle-class tax breaks, thousands of activists were preparing to march in Jena, Louisiana, after a series of crude racial incidents had blown up into a polarizing conflict.

Jesse Jackson voiced puzzlement that Obama was not at the forefront of the march. “If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” he remarked. The South Carolina newspaper The State reported that Jackson said Obama was “acting like he’s white.” Obama didn’t jump into the fray (no sudden moves), but instead issued measured statements on Jena, waiting till a late-September address at Howard University to find his voice. It was simultaneously an endorsement of black identity politics and a distancing from it:

When I’m president, we will no longer accept the false choice between being tough on crime and vigilant in our pursuit of justice. Dr. King said: “It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.” We can have a crime policy that’s both tough and smart. If you’re convicted of a crime involving drugs, of course you should be punished. But let’s not make the punishment for crack cocaine that much more severe than the punishment for powder cocaine when the real difference between the two is the skin color of the people using them. Judges think that’s wrong. Republicans think that’s wrong, Democrats think that’s wrong, and yet it’s been approved by Republican and Democratic presidents because no one has been willing to brave the politics and make it right. That will end when I am president.

Obama’s racial journey makes this kind of both/and politics something more than a matter of political compromise. The paradox of his candidacy is that, as potentially the first African American president in a country founded on slavery, he has taken pains to downplay the racial catharsis his candidacy implies. He knows race is important, and yet he knows that it turns destructive if it becomes the only important thing. In this he again subverts a Boomer paradigm, of black victimology or black conservatism. He is neither Al Sharpton nor Clarence Thomas; neither Julian Bond nor Colin Powell. Nor is he a post-racial figure like Tiger Woods, insofar as he has spent his life trying to reconnect with a black identity his childhood never gave him. Equally, he cannot be a Jesse Jackson. His white mother brought him up to be someone else.

In Dreams From My Father, Obama tells the story of a man with an almost eerily nonracial childhood, who has to learn what racism is, what his own racial identity is, and even what being black in America is. And so Obama’s relationship to the black American experience is as much learned as intuitive. He broke up with a serious early girlfriend in part because she was white. He decided to abandon a post-racial career among the upper-middle classes of the East Coast in order to reengage with the black experience of Chicago’s South Side. It was an act of integration—personal as well as communal—that called him to the work of community organizing.

This restlessness with where he was, this attempt at personal integration, represents both an affirmation of identity politics and a commitment to carving a unique personal identity out of the race, geography, and class he inherited. It yields an identity born of displacement, not rootedness. And there are times, I confess, when Obama’s account of understanding his own racial experience seemed more like that of a gay teen discovering that he lives in two worlds simultaneously than that of a young African American confronting racism for the first time.

And there are also times when Obama’s experience feels more like an immigrant story than a black memoir. His autobiography navigates a new and strange world of an American racial legacy that never quite defined him at his core. He therefore speaks to a complicated and mixed identity—not a simple and alienated one. This may hurt him among some African Americans, who may fail to identify with this fellow with an odd name. Black conservatives, like Shelby Steele, fear he is too deferential to the black establishment. Black leftists worry that he is not beholden at all. But there is no reason why African Americans cannot see the logic of Americanism that Obama also represents, a legacy that is ultimately theirs as well. To be black and white, to have belonged to a nonreligious home and a Christian church, to have attended a majority-Muslim school in Indonesia and a black church in urban Chicago, to be more than one thing and sometimes not fully anything—this is an increasingly common experience for Americans, including many racial minorities. Obama expresses such a conflicted but resilient identity before he even utters a word. And this complexity, with its internal tensions, contradictions, and moods, may increasingly be the main thing all Americans have in common.

None of this, of course, means that Obama will be the president some are dreaming of. His record in high office is sparse; his performances on the campaign trail have been patchy; his chief rival for the nomination, Senator Clinton, has bested him often with her relentless pursuit of the middle ground, her dogged attention to her own failings, and her much-improved speaking skills. At times, she has even managed to appear more inherently likable than the skinny, crabby, and sometimes morose newcomer from Chicago. Clinton’s most surprising asset has been the sense of security she instills. Her husband—and the good feelings that nostalgics retain for his presidency—have buttressed her case. In dangerous times, popular majorities often seek the conservative option, broadly understood.

The paradox is that Hillary makes far more sense if you believe that times are actually pretty good. If you believe that America’s current crisis is not a deep one, if you think that pragmatism alone will be enough to navigate a world on the verge of even more religious warfare, if you believe that today’s ideological polarization is not dangerous, and that what appears dark today is an illusion fostered by the lingering trauma of the Bush presidency, then the argument for Obama is not that strong. Clinton will do. And a Clinton-Giuliani race could be as invigorating as it is utterly predictable.

But if you sense, as I do, that greater danger lies ahead, and that our divisions and recent history have combined to make the American polity and constitutional order increasingly vulnerable, then the calculus of risk changes. Sometimes, when the world is changing rapidly, the greater risk is caution. Close-up in this election campaign, Obama is unlikely. From a distance, he is necessary. At a time when America’s estrangement from the world risks tipping into dangerous imbalance, when a country at war with lethal enemies is also increasingly at war with itself, when humankind’s spiritual yearnings veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all, and when sectarian and racial divides seem as intractable as ever, a man who is a bridge between these worlds may be indispensable.

We may in fact have finally found that bridge to the 21st century that Bill Clinton told us about. Its name is Obama.

Andrew Sullivan, an Atlantic senior editor, blogs at His most recent book, The Conservative Soul, has just been published in paperback


February 26, 2008


Feb. 23, 2008, 7:52PM
Election call: It is Obama

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Call me a fool, but I’m not waiting until a week from Tuesday.

I’m calling the Texas Democratic primary today.

It’s Barack Obama.

My projection is based on the numbers.

“But the polls have been notoriously off base,” said a colleague.

That’s why I’m not relying on the polls, although they are showing Obama pulling even.

I’m basing my prediction on early voting patterns.

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has posted the totals for the first three days of early voting in the state’s 15 largest counties.

Turnout is up dramatically across the state compared to the first three days of 2004, especially for Democrats.

But what tells the story is where it is up most dramatically.

Not a bad jump, but . . .
Among the top 15 counties, the ones where Sen. Hillary Clinton is expected to fare the best with the help of older Hispanic voters are:

•El Paso, where the percentage of registered voters voting in the Democratic Party in the first three days was 2.7 times what it was in 2004.
•Hidalgo, the border county where McAllen is the largest city, where the Democratic turnout was 1.6 times that of 2004.
•Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi, where the turnout was 2.5 times that of 2004.
•Cameron County, including the border city of Brownsville, where for the first two days (I was unable to get the third), the turnout was 3.1 times that of 2004.
So in Clinton country turnout is up 50 percent to 200 percent. Not bad.

Big cities and suburbs
But in the counties that are seen as Obama country the increases ranged from 400 percent all the way up to 870 percent:

•Harris County saw 8.3 times as many people vote in the Democratic primary as in the first three days of 2004.
•Dallas County went up a stunning 9.7 times.
•Tarrant County, including Fort Worth, voted at 7.6 times the 2004 rate.
•And Travis County, home of the People’s Republic of Austin, turned out at 5 times the 2004 rate, which was already one of the highest in the state.
These numbers are particularly striking in light of the assertion by Clinton officials that they are concentrating their efforts on the early vote. It appears they need to concentrate harder.

I ran these numbers by Royal Masset, Austin-based Republican strategist and former political director of the state party, and SMU political scientist Cal Jillson, who is knowledgeable about state and Metroplex politics.

They both agreed that the turnout differential described above boded well for Obama. But both were equally impressed by what is happening in traditionally Republican suburban counties.

In Collin County, which includes the upscale Dallas suburb of Plano, the Democratic turnout was nearly 12 times as much this year as four years ago. In Williamson County, just north of Austin, the turnout was seven times as much.

And in Tom DeLay’s Fort Bend County, the turnout in the Democratic primary was 15 times what it was four years ago.

In all three suburban counties, significantly more Democrats have already voted this year than Republicans — a striking shift from four years ago.

Something new going on
In 2004, 4 times as many Republicans voted in Fort Bend’s first three days as Democrats. This year the Democrats pulled in 5,259 voters to the Republicans’ 4,103.

“That has to be Obama,” said Masset. “Hillary would attract the normal Democratic people. Clearly there is something new going on in these counties.”

One of the things going on is a shift among independents. As exit polls have shown in other parts of the country, Obama does well among independents. And some independents may be going where the action is in the primary but haven’t yet committed for November.

And some Republicans are voting in the Democratic primary.

Houston Republican campaign consultant Mary Jane Smith says a number of her Republican friends tell her they are voting for Obama in the Democratic primary.

“They’ll come home in the fall,” she said.

Smith said she would prefer they vote for Clinton, because Hillary would help some of her clients by turning out more otherwise dispirited Republican voters in the fall.

But her friends are afraid a Democrat might win the White House, and they want to make sure it isn’t Clinton.

But Republican interlopers are likely a small part of these numbers.

One part of the dynamic is a dirty little secret that I’d ask you to keep to yourselves.

Texans have done an excellent job of perpetrating the myth that we are different than the rest of the nation.

We are. But not nearly as much as we’d like to think, or we’d like the rest of the nation to think.

The same factors that carried the last 10 states for Obama will carry Texas.

You can write to Rick Casey at P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210, or e-mail him at

Most recent comments
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RealityChecker wrote:
NonLAfan, if you want to speak of experience in general, then you have a point. Richardson blows away all the rest by a mile in terms of experience…and yet he wasn’t close to having a shot as the nominee. If you’re comparing Obama to Clinton for experience, then that’s completely laughable. Her managerial “experience” as First Lady is a joke, and if she tries that on on McCain he will eat her alive. Her voting record is even thinner than Obama’s, and she voted for this insane war in Iraq (and never repudiated it). At best she’s said, “If I knew then what I know now…” but over 20 senators voted against that resolution – which begs the question what did they know that she didn’t. After her vote to give Shrub carte blanche the only place you could find her for 3 years was on the side of a milk carton.
Either Clinton or Obama will do far better than a third term of Bush executed under then name of President McCain. Few people realize one of the most important issues is the Supreme Court, and if there will be some semblance of balance, or most become Scalia clones – which will hit every American for decades to come.
But just remember it takes more than experience alone — Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz and the gang have decades of experience, and it has run this nation off of a cliff.
2/25/2008 11:31 PM CST
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hhusky wrote:
The republicans screwed up their primary nomination, now their going to screew up the democratic primary.

What can we expect, look who they voted for in the last two presidential elections.
2/25/2008 9:14 PM CST
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Fusernames wrote:
Comparing McGovern and Obama is like comparing LaRouche and Bill Clinton. Furthermore, anyone who thinks Obama can be swiftboated isnt paying attention. He’s above and beyond that bs.
2/25/2008 4:23 PM CST
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Whizzer wrote:
I think the criticisms miss the point. This was a straight forward election analysis editorial pointing out the obvious – that this election is different. It is pulling new people into the process and old line democratic constituencies are also voting in larger numbers. These trends favor Obama because he is the guy creating the majority of the excitement. It isn’t by itself anti-Clinton. I think it is telling that Clinton people ,like their hero, take anything other than talk of her imminent coronation as unfair criticism. She has that Nixonesque personality that makes me wonder if she has an enemies list. Instead of Agnew’s “nattering nabobs of negativity” she has the “vast right wing conspiracy”. Grow up people.

As far as Repubs voting in the primary, I saw an early poll that found 22% of the total that stated they were going to vote in the dem primary were self-declared independents or republicans. Even if you figure 1/2 of those are repubs, I think it highly unlikely that they are all looking to throw their vote away simply to cause problems. People just don’t do that with voting. Most of them are probably truly interested in one of the dems, either Clinton for being a hawk or Obama for being someone who can break lobbyist power. Based on the poll I think the number of republicans looking to cause mischief is probably less than 2% of the total – that’s if one in five are looking to throw away a vote to be a jerk. Plus there are a lot of important down ballot races for repubs to be interested in, especially Texas house races that will determine the fate of speaker Craddick.
2/25/2008 11:51 AM CST
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dmmoran wrote:
I am finding it hard to believe that all of the independents and Republicans voting for Obama would stick with him in the general election. Except for health care, on issues like energy, he is to the left of Hillary, since only she also advocates more domestic drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with new environmentally sensitive technology IN ADDITION to aggressively supporting green alternative energy solutions. My father is a petroleum geologist, and although he has preached conservation as long as I can remember, he says that in the short term, additional supplies of domestic oil are also needed to reduce our dependence on the 11 million barrels of foreign oil a day we import. This is one area of difference voters need to know about.

It makes me feel incredibly proud that the Democratic party has put up two historic candidacies, but for right now, I lean toward Hillary in terms of her overall positions. I do like Obama’s general premise that talking with the right tone can help solve problems, but I do not think it will turn out to be the panacea Americans hope for. Too many issues are just plain emotional for people. If Obama wins the nomination, I will heartily support him, but I am more worried that he can be more easily defeated by John McCain, even though that does not look like the case in the poll numbers.
2/25/2008 11:34 AM CST


February 26, 2008


End and Endgame
How can she win? Actually, the more important question may be: How does she lose?

By John Heilemann Published Feb 24, 2008

The cheeseheads had just rejected her emphatically, overwhelmingly. The Teamsters had just flipped her the bird. The pundits were composing her political obituary. And another handful of superdelegates had just thrown in their lot with Barack Obama. Now, on the evening after the Wisconsin primary, Hillary Clinton was deep in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, standing onstage before a crowd of mostly Hispanic students in Brownsville, Texas. The Rio Grande Valley is the place that gave Hillary her first taste of national politics in 1972, when she volunteered there for George McGovern—and that, 36 years later, she is counting on to help rescue her increasingly doomstruck-seeming presidential campaign.

A moment ripe with possibilities, no? A moment to show that she’s not dead yet, to summon up those elusive qualities of fire and tenacity and humanity that flashed so briefly, so tantalizingly, during the New Hampshire primary. Or maybe to let loose and rip Obama a new one, to draw a powerful contrast between herself and a man she regards as her inferior in all matters except speechifying. But, alas, it was not to be. What Clinton did instead was shout the same bromides that have deposited her in a hole so cavernous she can almost see Beijing. “Thirty-five years of experience.” “Ready to lead.” “Ready on day one.” Yadda yadda yadda.

It’s sometimes said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is a functional definition of insanity. In politics, though, it’s typically an indicator of desperation or exhaustion—or, as seems to be the case with Hillary, both.

Yet however excruciating the past few weeks have been for Clinton, the days ahead will confront her with two of the most daunting and fateful questions of her political life. In the face of a crumbling electoral coalition, a corps of advisers riven by dissent, and a rival coated in some unholy admixture of Teflon and pixie dust, what can she do to win the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4? And if she does, but still lags behind Obama, just how far will she then go to secure her party’s nomination?

In case you harbor any doubts that Clinton needs to carry both the Lone Star and Buckeye states, no less an authority than her husband said so publicly the other day. But in Texas, despite the Clintons’ long ties to the state and a vast Hispanic population, the public polls show the race to be a statistical dead heat. Add to that the state’s complex rules for delegate allocation, the effect of which is that areas with sizable black populations are weighted more heavily than those laden with Latinos, and its bizarro part-primary, part-caucus process, and you can see why many Texan pols believe Obama has the edge. Meanwhile, in Ohio, Clinton currently holds a lead, but the state’s demographics are similar to Wisconsin’s—only with a higher proportion of African-American voters. D’ohh.

Given all this and the thunderous wave of momentum Obama is surfing, Clinton’s central strategic objective is to alter the dynamics of the race. Beltway gasbags galore have offered helpful suggestions of Hail Mary maneuvers regarding her positive message. Be humble! Be bold! Be personal! Be … somebody else! Clinton’s advisers have heard it all. Some of them even agree. (“Oh, the roads not taken,” a senior Clinton adviser sighed to me recently.) But few of them believe that such gambits would be successful this late in the game. Instead, they’d be seen as inauthentic gimmicks, as her “likability tour” of Iowa all over again.

Hence Clinton’s decision, on the positive side, to stick to her well-thumbed script. To the riposte that it simply isn’t working, her people point to her victories in places such as California. But the problem is that the race has shifted in ways that limit her capacity to accomplish much with such appeals. “The day after Wisconsin, I looked at the exit polls and saw that she’d won among voters who care most about experience by a margin of 95 to 5,” says one Democratic strategist. “So her message is speaking exclusively to a group from which she has nothing left to gain.”

With all positive avenues effectively blocked off, the debate in Clinton-land is all about going negative—or, more precisely, how negative to go. In Wisconsin, the campaign hit Obama with TV ads attacking him on health care, Social Security, and his refusal to debate Clinton there; with direct mail on his “present” votes in Illinois; with conference calls accusing him of flip-flopping on his commitment to public financing, and, yes, of rhetorical plagiarism. “A friend of mine told me how the Marines train people in hand-to-hand combat,” says retired Über-consultant Bob Shrum. “If your opponent has a weapon and you don’t, you pick up an ashtray, a lamp, a chair, anything you can, and keep throwing stuff. It seems to me that’s what the Clinton campaign is doing.”

You might think the shellacking Obama administered in Wisconsin, and particularly the fact that he won among late-deciders, suggests that those brickbats were futile. Some Clintonites maintain, however, that their hammering came too late and was too light. Hillary’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, is correctly tagged as the most vocal internal advocate of hard contrasts, especially the charge that Obama is unqualified to be commander-in-chief. (The irony here is rich, for no one has berated Obama more for echoing, and thus validating, right-wing talking points in his criticisms of HRC than Penn.) And he is not alone.

But although Team Clinton is replete with bare-knuckled pugilists, many of whom believe that John McCain would, as one puts it, “gut Obama like a fish,” the shrewder among them grasp that heavy-handed, gratuitous assaults would likely backfire, reinforcing the prevailing view of their boss as old politics incarnate and further propagating the image of Obama as the ever-virtuous avatar of the new. What remains unknown is whether Hillary gets that, too—though her refusal to trash Obama’s credentials at last week’s debate in Austin may provide a clue.

If Hillary declines to throw a haymaker, where does that leave her? Hoping that Obama makes an unforced error. Fantasizing that the press will turn against the chosen one. Pleading with Hispanics in San Antonio and aging soccer moms in Cincinnati to feel her pain. Praying that buyer’s remorse sets in before the deal is closed.

Some Clinton advisers realize that heavy-handed, gratuitous assaults would likely backfire. Does she get it, too?

All of which is why, it seems to me, the probable outcome is that Clinton will lose Texas, Ohio, or both, thus destroying any rationale for her continuing to soldier on—not to mention making it difficult for her cash-poor operation to raise money. (How cash poor? Her staff members are currently sharing hotel rooms on the campaign trail.) But let’s imagine that Clinton holds on to her diminishing leads and squeaks out a pair of victories. Let’s imagine further that the momentum then shifts and she carries Pennsylvania. Obama would almost certainly still end the primary season with the lead in pledged delegates. He would have won the majority of states and, quite possibly, the overall popular vote. But Clinton would have taken all of the largest states save Obama’s Illinois. What then?

A hellacious fight over Democratic arcana: over superdelegates and their proper role, over the seating of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations. To many observers, the Clinton side’s positions—that superdelegates, or “automatic delegates” in the Orwellian construction of her adviser Harold Ickes, should be allowed to override the will of the Democratic electorate; that Hillary’s victories in two states where there was no competition should be ratified, despite the sanctions of the DNC—are absurd on their face. Even some of Clinton’s supporters apparently agree. To the delight of the Obama forces, Bob Kerrey recently opined about the Michigan-Florida situation, “You don’t change the rules in the middle of the game. Period.”

But when I spoke to Kerrey, he sang a different tune. “Harold is saying that they aren’t changing the rules of the game, that the rules permit a challenge,” Kerrey told me. “I don’t know if that’s true, but if those delegates can be seated without breaking the rules, I think that’s fine.”

Fine in theory, maybe. But in practice, a disaster in the making. If Clinton somehow were to secure the nomination by dint of a credentials challenge and a bitter floor fight at the Democratic convention, it would rip the party right in two, with Obama’s supporters believing their man had been denied by anti-democratic finagling. Would winning that way justify the price? Some members of the Clinton crew think so. Chillingly, they say that any Democratic nomination is a nomination worth having. But does Clinton agree?

Cynics will say that the answer is: Are you kidding? Among many in the Democratic Party, the rap on the Clintons has always been that they’re self-regarding, self-centered, infinitely narcissistic. That they see the party as a vehicle for their ambitions, nothing more and nothing less. That their preeminent cause is their own power. How Hillary conducts herself in the days ahead will speak volumes about whether that is actually true of her. (Her husband is another story.) Her debate performance in Austin was gracious, if tough, and free almost entirely of witless ad hominems. When she spoke of being “honored” to share the stage with Obama, it even had an unmistakable valedictory feel. If this is the way she has chosen to go out, the ensuing enhancement of her reputation will be the silver lining to her loss, should losing be her fate. It will also set her up nicely for 2012 if the pessimism of her adjutants about Obama proves painfully prescient this fall—and you’d be a fool to believe this implication hasn’t crossed her mind.


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Recent Comments On This Article

SlickHill&Bill were a disgrace from the first night they jumped on the beds in my White House until the day they left while selling pardons and stealing furniture.
SlickHill wants her White House Experience to put her back in the White House. Let us all remember during her occupation she testified over 1000 times that she, “Did not know, did not remember, did not recall” when asked questions during various scandal investigations. Since she did not know anything that was going on when she was there why should we consider this relevant experience now?
SlickHill has the White House Machine to get her carpetbagged into the Senator from my home state of New York and she has paid off everybody with jobs, perks, contracts and who knows what else, to keep it.
SlickHill surrounds herself with Federal Secret Service so all of us, the unwashed masses, cannot get close to her. But in her hypocritical fashion, when the cameras are on her she is waving, throwing kisses and touching her heart while she mouths “I love you” to her campaign crowds.

Why we allow our elected officials to feed off the taxpayer trough with salaries, staff, perks, expenses, fringes and pensions while they are derelict in one position while they campaign for another is beyond me. When SlickHill loses she can keep all her remunerations from New York State and go back to a job she obviously does not want and only took in the first place to make this run.

I may not know a lot about Obama but I know enough about this Clinton Co-Presidency that I do not ever want it back in my White House.

To: FROMTHESIDELINE: Hillary DID NOT campaign in Fla. She had ONE photo op arriving in Fla for a fund raiser which was allowed by DNC rules.

How can she win? Actually, the more important question may be: How does she lose? … Read the story

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Clinton has virtually no chance of securing more elected delegates than Obama in the remaining states.

Barring Clinton’s withdrawal, then, the Democratic Party should prepare for a party-splitting fight. Millions of Obama supporters will feel disenfranchised at the fight itself. If she manages to wrangle the nomination by way of superdelegates, Clinton will be left with a demoralized party in November.

And, just like he did in the primaries by taking advantage of the conservative split between Romney and Huckabee, John McCain will walk through the middle of the Democrats’ fight, right to the White House.
By hscooper on 02/25/2008 at 12:30am
What is completely amazing is that just 100 days ago Hillary was up 30% + nationally.
Lost the delegate races in Iowa & Nevada by 1, tied in New Hampshire and got doubled in South Carolina.
She went from leading every super Tuesday race, save one to a break even and a lost by 17% or more since.
Has there every been a more complete and total collapse in American political history?
After referring to Obama as “W” Hillary’s future looks more like Nader’s than LBJ.
By paul94611 on 02/25/2008 at 12:54am
Give them enough rope ….

This campaign has shed a little light on the corrupt “business as usual” mentality represented so aptly by both Clintons. Politics as a “sport”, win at all costs, and unbridled lust for power – so much so that their seasoned Washington experience has rendered them both sociopaths, believing their own lies and void of any ethics. It’s quite a spectacle – especially in the glaring contrast of Obama’s integrity and “high road” approach. Sure – he is not perfect. But finally we have a choice other than the same old, same old. We do dare to HOPE for healing in this nation.

Obama MUST win – or the resultant collective collapse of spirit will be a national disaster and we will all just crawl back into our cynicism and leave politics to the snakes.

This is THE key reason that Florida votes should NEVER be counted. A revote maybe, coutning them as is, totally unfair!


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Obama haters, how can you say Hillary is experienced when she cannot run a campaign. Barrack Obama has been running his campaign on truthfullness. What he revealed on the flyers were based on facts and not lies. By mandating health insurance means forcing you to pay for even if you don’t have the means. I am a Dutch citizen and a graduate working and still find it diffcicult to pay my health insurance. The cost is increasing every year and no one has to argue, we just have to pay because it is mandatory and for about four years now I haven’t used it because I’ve never been to the hospital. To me Obama’s plan on Health care is better than Hillary.
You might say what concerns a Dutch person on American politics but the truth is this, its going to affect the entire world. Sometimes people in the world look at Americans as clowns but you shouldn’t blame them. The Democratic party decided to sanction Florida and Michigan long before the Primaries started which was accepted by everyone and now Hillary is claiming the delegates from those states because she is loosing. I still see some top media like fox and cnn and also top statesmen talking as if the delegates of Michigan and Florida has to be seated. I always believe America has been a country of laws and should always maintain rules and laws.
I have been following this primaries ever since it started and reading lots of articles and information about the canditates, and I strongly believe Obama is the best candidtate. He can restore the image that Europe and the world had about America.

By rocky4356 on 02/25/2008 at 2:41pm
Barack Hussein Obama was born in
Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM

temporary at best.

In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce,
and never again had any direct influence over his son’s education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham,
introduced his stepson to Islam.

Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta.

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim
terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking Major
public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined
United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential

The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside
out, what better way to start than at the highest level – through the
President of the United States, one of their own!!!!

ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office – he DID NOT use
the Holy Bible, but instead the Kuran (Their equivalency to our Bible,
but very different beliefs)

Obama also refuses to pledge allegiance the the USA flag. How can
someone who wants to be president refuse to commit to the USA.

Before you vote for any candidate I’m sure you can search the internet
and find out about all the candidates.
By mikehasson on 02/25/2008 at 3:21pm
Just for the record…

The “white atheist” mother was still a teenager when Barak was born.

Obama’s parents separated when Barack was two, his father moving not to Kenya, but to the mainland United States, where he attended Harvard. Eventually he returned to Kenya, and worked as an economist for Kenya’s SECULAR government.

When Obama’s mother remarried, it was indeed to an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. But it was his “atheist” mother who supervised his education. It’s highly unlikely an ATHEIST from Kansas would have wanted her son indoctrinated into Islam.

Once a Muslim? When? Yes, he lived in a Muslim country during part of his childhood and briefly attended a Muslim school there, but he certainly wasn’t raised a Muslim by his ATHEIST mother.

Barack Obama placed his right hand on the Holy Bible during his swearing-in ceremony — attended not only by reporters, but also other newly-elected Senators — including Conservative Republicans. Think they wouldn’t mention it? Clearly, whoever made this allegation has confused Obama with Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota, who really is a Muslim and was sworn in on January 4, 2007 using a copy of the Qur’an.

All Senators, including Barak Obama, take turns “presiding” over the opening of Senate business each morning. On multiple occasions, Barak Obama has taken his turn in this role — and the duties include LEADING THE UNITED STATES SENATE IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. Do you think that Senators like Trent Lott and Jesse Helms, and a host of other right-wing conservatives wouldn’t have screamed to high heaven if the Senator from Illinois had refused to recite the Pledge, turned his back on the flag, or done any of the other BS this talks about.

C’mon. Do you think Americans are REALLY that stupid and gullible? Shame on the author of this pile of crap.

Find out the truth before you join in a smear campaign.
By duanenorris on 02/25/2008 at 3:34pm
The questions concerning Barack Obama and his loyalty to America have been put to rest by the CIA, FBI, DIA and NSA when they all conducted their full field background investigations and awarded Obama with the very highest Top Secret clearances.
So much for the slandering KKK wacko’s in our society and their panderers who feed discredited misinformation to a society taught to disregard the Constitution and hate based upon a name or dress failing to mention his security clearances that Bill Clinton did not qualify for prior to his election to national office.
There are many republicans who will either never qualify for a clearance now or will loose theirs because of the fraud and corruption they have committed while in public office.
hence the reason so many are retiring this year.
By paul94611 on 02/25/2008 at 3:44pm
As to be expected the only way the GOP can win is by trying to scare the crap out of the voters. Anyone who expects McCain to play nice and try to win without pandering to fear and racism should put down the crack pipe.

Republicans slime their opponents. Hillary tried to do the same and now she’s paying the price. Sucks to be her.
By nighttimer on 02/25/2008 at 3:51pm
SAMH0711 is right – especially since 40% of the vote went to “none-of-the-above”.
What is also troubling is that Clinton did a little late campaigning in Florida when she
had previously agreed not to do ANY campaigning.
TH_NY is wrong. Nobody should lose their right to vote because they are misinformed.
We are all misinformed to some degree.

By SeattleMark on 02/25/2008 at 4:14pm
‘it would rip the party right in two, with Obama’s supporters believing their man had been denied by anti-democratic finagling. Would winning that way justify the price?”

You must be joking. Changing the rules in the middle of the game wouldn’t be anything new for these world-class grifters. Do you remember the 2002 New Jersey Senate Race? Can you say “Bob Torricelli”? Can you say “Frank Lautenburg”? Look it up if not. The past is prologue.
By betsybounds on 02/25/2008 at 4:30pm
The voters are speaking loud and clear.

Primaries or caucuses have already been held in 36 of 50 states. Obama is ahead by nearly a million votes, and has won twice as many contests as Hillary Clinton. He also leads Clinton in pledged delegates. Obama’s appeal among independent voters makes him a formidable general election candidate.

But if Clinton is nominated, the race will be too close to call against McCain.

Enough is enough. We are a coalition of voters urging the Democratic superdelegates to support Barack Obama:

Take five minutes and call or e-mail an undecided superdelegate in your state.

We can make a difference by letting superdelegates know how many of their constituents want Obama to be the Democratic presidential nominee.
By VotersForObama on 02/25/2008 at 4:34pm


February 25, 2008


Monday, February 25, 2008

David Seifman
Michael Bloomberg
February 19, 2008 — Mayor Bloomberg charged yesterday that “fraud” was behind the unofficial results in the New York Democratic presidential primary that produced zero votes for Barack Obama in some districts.

“If you want to call it significant undercounting, I guess that’s a euphemism for fraud,” said the mayor.

Unofficial tallies on election night gave Obama no votes in 78 out of more than 6,000 election districts.


February 25, 2008


Rod Lurie

Why America Needs a Black President
Posted February 22, 2008 | 09:46 AM (EST)

Several years ago, I wrote and directed a film called The Contender in which Jeff Bridges played a president who nominates a female senator, played by Joan Allen, to be his vice president. In 2005, I created the TV series Commander-in-Chief in which Geena Davis played Mackenzie Allen, America’s first female president. In both cases, the conservative press descended upon me like I was some sort of typhoid-riddled Beelzebub and, of the latter, I was accused of making nothing more than a commercial for Hillary Clinton.

I have to admit that all of us creatively involved with Commander absolutely intended to put the term “Madam President” into the zeitgeist. I can’t deny it. Indeed, if Hillary somehow gets the nomination, I’ll be out there waving a flag for her like I was in the cast of Les Miserables. I respect her, think her wildly qualified, and wise.

But until that time, I’m rooting for Barack Obama.

The policy differences between the two are so slight that you have to look elsewhere to determine where to cast your support. There is the issue of leadership skills. I give that to Obama. There is the issue of electability. Again, Obama. But for me there is something even larger to consider…

Right now, at this point in history, it is more important to have our first black president than our first woman president (although I find that vital, as well).

There have been many nations that have had female leaders. But there are very few, if any, that have elected a member of their ethnic minority to lead them (Botha doesn’t count). Were we to put Hillary in office, the world would shrug their shoulders and say “finally.” Put in Obama, and we lead by example.

We are viewed by the world as a quasi-racist state in which we allow natural disasters to obliterate our minority community, in which our penal system is designed to treat blacks unfairly, and in which we let the medical and educational systems in our ghettos fester to the level of some third world countries.

The election of Obama will say as much about the American people as it does about Obama himself — that our Declaration of Independence means what it says in its opening lines, that being the world’s greatest nation means that we offer the world’s greatest opportunities. It is no shock that, with the exception of Great Britain, polls in every European nation favor Obama over Clinton.

And don’t tell me that what the world thinks doesn’t matter. Because how the dollar performs overseas matters. Our ability to form military alliances matters. How we team up economically and scientifically with China matters.

While they share similar governing philosophies, the fact that Obama is black and Clinton is a woman does affect how they prioritize their policies. Simply put, the issues that afflict blacks (some of which I mentioned three ‘graphs up) are in more urgent need of our attention than those (very real) issues that matter to women. If you doubt that, then you need only look at how the vast majority of black women, their hearts split in two, have voted: They feel that Obama is the person to solve their immediate needs.

All this having been said, I should end with three disclaimers. One, Obama was one year ahead of me at Punahou High School in Hawaii. Two, my brother’s name is Barak (sic). And three, when I met Obama at a fundraiser not long ago, he shook my hand and whispered to me, “Jeff Bridges was the best movie president ever.” He had my vote then.

Yasmine (See profile | I’m a fan of Yasmine)
Your post shows superb logic and diagnosis.
thank you.
I care a lot about the new generation …….the future belongs to them.
and if they choose OBAMA………..I say more power to them.
I said many weeks ago that Obama would usher the POST-RACIAL and POST-PARTISAN ERA FOR MY BELOVED AMERICA.
OBAMA by birth personnifies UNION of black and white. Also because of his father who was a Moslem, the Islamic world will look at America very favorably .


Yasmine (See profile | I’m a fan of Yasmine)
Your post shows superb logic and diagnosis.
thank you.
I care a lot about the new generation …….the future belongs to them.
and if they choose OBAMA………..I say more power to them.
I said many weeks ago that Obama would usher the POST-RACIAL and POST-PARTISAN ERA FOR MY BELOVED AMERICA.
OBAMA by birth personnifies UNION of black and white. Also because of his father who was a Moslem, the Islamic world will look at America very favorably .

Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 06:14 PM on 02/24/2008
Jazz42 (See profile | I’m a fan of Jazz42)
You are entitle to your opinion. As a black man who grew up in this country. I will be voting for Senator Obama, not because he is black, but because he is the best candidate.
I voted For Senator Clinton husband twice. People want to relive the 1990’s with Senator Clinton.
It ain’t going to happen. The Citizen of the United State need to move forward.
There is nothing to be gained by trying to relive the past.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 09:44 PM on 02/24/2008

Jazz42 (See profile | I’m a fan of Jazz42)
You are entitle to your opinion. As a black man who grew up in this country. I will be voting for Senator Obama, not because he is black, but because he is the best candidate.
I voted For Senator Clinton husband twice. People want to relive the 1990’s with Senator Clinton.
It ain’t going to happen. The Citizen of the United State need to move forward.
There is nothing to be gained by trying to relive the past.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 09:44 PM on 02/24/2008

Jazz42 (See profile | I’m a fan of Jazz42)
You are entitle to your opinion. As a black man who grew up in this country. I will be voting for Senator Obama, not because he is black, but because he is the best candidate.
I voted For Senator Clinton husband twice. People want to relive the 1990’s with Senator Clinton.
It ain’t going to happen. The Citizen of the United State need to move forward.
There is nothing to be gained by trying to relive the past.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 09:44 PM on 02/24/2008

veracal (See profile | I’m a fan of veracal)
We don’t need a black president; we need an effective president with a democratic majority in congress. This post is devoid of common sense.

BTW Mr. Lurie, black women’s hearts are not split in two. We are overwhelmingly for Obama and don’t feel any guilt about that. We, unlike so many white people, will not vote against our own best interests…so if Hillary is the nominee we will vote for her in the general election.

Please stop the condescending hyperbole.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 01:40 PM on 02/24/2008


February 25, 2008


Hillary Clinton’s “Shame On You” Moment Tells A lot about Why She’s Loosing to Barack Obama
Posted February 25, 2008 | 01:01 AM (EST)

Hillary Clinton generated another telling campaign moment Saturday as she waged her finger and angrily said, “Shame on You Barack Obama”. Her statement came after increasingly effective attacks by Obama on the Clinton Administration’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – a pact that is widely despised by the working class Ohio voters upon whom largely rest her hopes for keeping her candidacy alive.

But it’s the style and tone of her response that tells volumes about why her campaign against Barack Obama is gradually sinking.

Granted her “shame on you Barack Obama” was aimed at her opponent, not the voters, but it is symbolic of the tone of her entire campaign, and that tone is what is heard by the voters.

Hillary Clinton tends to lecture. She tells voters to “get real”. She wags her finger, and reminds them of the way they felt when their sixth grade teacher told them that if they didn’t stop talking in class and turn in their homework, they would never amount to anything.

People respond to being inspired and uplifted – called upon to live up to their potential. They don’t respond to being shamed, scolded or hectored.

Inspiration makes people feel empowered. It gets them to behave differently – or vote differently – through positive reinforcement. It makes them feel that they can do and be more than they are. People like being in the presence of someone who inspires them. Barack Obama is all about inspiration.

Clinton’s tone is anti-inspirational. A lecturing, scolding tone makes people feel un-empowered. People don’t like to be lectured. That’s because lecturing tries to change people’s behavior through negative reinforcement – by scolding them. The fact is that positive reinforcement trumps negative reinforcement almost every time.

And that’s not some “softheaded” liberal notion. The research on business management and motivating employees is almost unanimous: inspiration and positive reinforcement get results. Negative reinforcement gets results too, but often unexpected and counter productive results.

In Clinton’s case, her scolding, “get real”, “shame on you” tone just enhances the doubts of the many Americans who feel negatively about her in the first place. They don’t like the prospect of her finger wagging at them on the TV and being lectured and scolded for the next four years.

Voters like the brief glimpses of the generous, personable Hillary that they saw at the end of the last debate. But the “shame on you”, scolding Hillary drives them right into Obama’s inspirational corner.

Much of the blame for this grave political problem rests with the Clinton campaign’s early decision that she would run as the “Margaret Thatcher”, iron-lady of American politics. That might have worked if she had been paired against many, run of the mill opponents. But it was a fatal decision in a race against a master of inspiration.

Being the anti-inspirational candidate is even more disastrous in a context where the overwhelming majority of Americans want fundamental change. Barack Obama says: “Yes we can change the way things are done in Washington.” However she intends it, Clinton’s anti-inspirational, finger waging style translates to: “Get real, you don’t really think things are going to fundamentally change, do you?”

The contrast of inspiration and anti-inspiration has also contributed mightily to Obama’s superior field operations and fund raising. Of course, tapping into the promise this inspiration presented required excellence in execution as well. But in things big and small the Obama Campaign has executed flawlessly and out hustled the Clintonistas at every turn.

Obama’s grass roots, Internet driven fundraising superiority required an inspirational candidacy to work. And the Obama campaign harnessed the grass roots energy with precision, vision and sophistication.

Obama’s spectacular field operation has been fueled by the massive influx of inspired volunteers. And its superior organizational skills successfully turned motivated volunteers into phone bankers and canvassers.

I’m not of the school that it’s all over but the shouting. With all of her negatives, Clinton may very well hang on for weeks or months. But with every wag of Hillary’s finger, Obama’s odds get better and better.

Comments (13)
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mexamerican (See profile | I’m a fan of mexamerican)
clintonistas only want to shoot down obama now. that’s all they have going for them. it’s pathetic.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:30 AM on 02/25/2008
raptor (See profile | I’m a fan of raptor)
“Shame on You” at your age. It’s “losing”. not “loosing”. I see “loosing” in LOTS of comments, but expect factual and grammatical/spelling correctness in posts. Unless some else wrote the headline.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:24 AM on 02/25/2008
wakeupeverybody (See profile | I’m a fan of wakeupeverybody)
Mr. Creamer, I could not agree with you more, I hate it with a passion when someone points their finger in my face and scold me directly or indirectly for that matter.

Hillary is not my mother,my mother has passed on, and I am not looking for a new one. So she can take her condescending attitude back to the “Little Rock” that she crawled out from under.

Once she gets under that rock,maybe she can learn how to communicate with people. There is an old saying that I grew up with, the author is unknow so I cannot accredit him/her with it; “You can catch more flies with honey than you can vinegar”.

Stop spewing the venom, and stop with the yellow pantsuits. Just because you’re dressed like a bee, doesn’t make you the QUEEN bee.

Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:12 AM on 02/25/2008
ParaplegicNomad (See profile | I’m a fan of ParaplegicNomad)
I’m an Obama supporter for a variety of reasons, but I just want to point out that if we (the voters) refuse to vote for Hillary because “she makes us feel bad about our behavior,” ummm… That says a lot more about who we (the voters) are than about Hillary Clinton or our sixth grade teachers.

Sure, it’s a dumb way to try to win a popularity contest or a national election. But let’s not forget that the underlying problem, here, is that we the people are churlish, petulant brats. “We don’t like to be scolded; it makes us sad.” Yeesh. I don’t mind the Hillary criticism, but isn’t this also a good time to remind us all to take responsibility for our own reactions and behaviors?
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:50 AM on 02/25/2008
HowardRoarke (See profile | I’m a fan of HowardRoarke)
The presidency is a popularity contest. To win a general election, you need more than your browbeaten base. You need independents, swing voters, or whatever term you prefer for the so-called “independent thinkers” who are often swayed by crazy things like say human emotions.

So unless you’re seeking the robot vote, it is political suicide to pick unpopular unlikeable candidates. Even a robot should understand that.

Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:13 AM on 02/25/2008
ParaplegicNomad (See profile | I’m a fan of ParaplegicNomad)
Yes, but the cynical voice of unwavering fatalism does not excuse our own complicity in this. We are the swing voters, the independents, and the so-calleds that fall for shiny-toothed smiles and “make us feel good about ourselves” campaigns.

Hillary is losing the popularity contest: her fault. The presidential election is a popularity contets: our fault. You’d think that by the time we hit voting age we’d have enough experience with our crazy, mixed-up human emotions to be able to control them long enough to pick a lever in a voting booth based on crazy things like say foreign policy.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 03:46 AM on 02/25/2008
GLU (See profile | I’m a fan of GLU)
Yeah but at the same time, I thinks its reasonable to want to at least be able to stand the person your voting for.
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 07:49 AM on 02/25/2008
mcnote5150 (See profile | I’m a fan of mcnote5150)
That’s why they call her Hill the Shrill. It’s not the so called “Hillary haters” who are running her discombobulated campaign, giving uninspiring speeches, galvanizing half the country, it’s Hillary. Let’s face it she’s no Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton in 1992 was inspiring, smart, funny, warm, a people person, a leader of a generation ,a great speaker… in some ways Obama is the Clinton 92 of 2008 without the baggage. Before anyone says …well without Hillary…Bill could never get elected. She came up with “a place called Hope”. Well no one denies Hillary it’s a great politico behind the scenes but she a terrible campaigner. Yes she’s smart but she doesn’t connect. She’s great on “paper” and that’s why she was seen as the nominee for four years(she been trying for close to ten) but people want a personality change away from the Bushes and the Clintons. Obama is a really good campaigner that has tapped into this “change” ground swell. He is NOT the second coming(fill in the blank)as Hillary is not the next Eleanor Roosevelt or Golda Meir as some have hoped. Hillary’s failures are Hillary’s(or the great right wing conspiracy or Obamaactics or misogynists or maybe HERSELF)
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:25 AM on 02/25/2008
thicky (See profile | I’m a fan of thicky)
though i am undecided in this election, clinton’s anti-inspirational campaign’s repeated whining about the obama-supporters acting machine-like, robotic, cultish, or messianic reveals a contempt for his supporters that is as soulless as it is offensive.
it seems the gist of clinton’s argument is that we should ridicule obama’s supporters because they are enthusiastic and filled with passion, filled with the fervor to join with others to try and make this a better country. how insulting. perhaps clinton thinks the founding fathers should be ridiculed for their enthusiastic passion for democracy in 1776?
aren’t people who are filled with passion filled with life? without passion, there is only a dull kind of numbness. a kind of numbness that ignores its leaders when they betray their constituents(fisa). a kind of numbness where some think it is ‘cool’ to be dead to the world, letting someone else tell you what to think and do.
i guess when clinton-supporters try and decry obama-supporters as belonging to a cult they are actually projecting the passionless and mindless delusional support they themselves bestow upon their cult idol: hillary clinton.

hmmm, i am beginning to wonder: because clinton repeatedly denigrates passionate people, does that mean the clinton-idolators are actually passionless zombies, unable to conceive of supporting/obeying anyone else other than hillary clinton, while simultaneously bent on converting all to their cold sterile so-called way of life?

Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:02 AM on 02/25/2008
lynnn (See profile | I’m a fan of lynnn)
Read Taylor Marsh or and tell me what you think! (I’d say they are zombies)
Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:11 AM on 02/25/2008
Querent (See profile | I’m a fan of Querent)
I stopped reading Taylor Marsh awhile back. Even when I was still undecided, I found it difficult to read her. It’s like a defensive exercise. She throws whatever she can think of at the reader, in rapid succession, not necessarily examining the validity of any argument, just intent on finding one that will work. Leaps and twists in her exposition have to be canceled out. If I try to follow the thread of her argumentation, I lose my orientation.
I used to enjoy reading Ms. Marsh. However, for her, Clinton vs. Obama is war. I’m sure that after the 2008 election is over, Ms. Marsh’s work will again be something I can enjoy. She has a lot to offer. And I don’t mind that she has lost perspective. But I prefer to keep mine.

Reply | Parent | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 02:46 AM on 02/25/2008
dryfactoidobotanoid (See profile | I’m a fan of dryfactoidobotanoid)
if I am scolded justifiably, it is my instinct to take heed. if I am scolded irrationally, it is my instinct to despise the scolder and have contempt for their foolishness.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 01:46 AM on 02/25/2008
jem286 (See profile | I’m a fan of jem286)
I think you mean “losing,” not “loosing.” I guess you could say she’s losing, but has also recently come loose.
Reply | Favorite | Flag as abusive | posted 01:18 AM on 02/25/2008


February 25, 2008

A Nigerian Prophet has recently announced in relating visions he sees for Nigeria that he sees assassination plans for Obama and Oprah Winfrey and that we should pray to make sure these evil plans don’t happen. Now first a word about Nigeria and Nigerian’s prophets and their powers to see future occurrences which they say can only be avoided by serious prayer and”fasting” Nigerian style. Some white people interviewed people in different countries in the world and concluded last year that Nigerians are the happiest people in the world.That their spirit of HOPE(note that Obamites)enables them to look forward to a better tomorrow. Then another group of white people have declared Nigerians as the most religious people in the world. Hope again figures here as the typical Nigerian believes that God is going to lift them up out of poverty/problems and that their salvation awaits them. Nigerian prophets have predicted 9/11, the Asian Tunsami and many other world events along with their usual accurate predictions for Nigerian events.There was a time A Nigerian General was running for Presidency and an accurate Prophet predicted that he would not live to be sworn in! His whole section of the country went into serious prayer and fasting and that man was able to be sworn in as a result. What I mean here is that we must all now do SERIOUS PRAYING AND “FASTING”(NIGERIAN STYLE OR CHRISTIAN SCIENCE STYLE OF CASTING OUT ALL EVIL,FEARFUL THOUGHTS ABOUT OBAMA/OPRAH AND TRUSTING THAT GOD’S PROTECTION WILL SHIELD THEM FROM THE DEVIL’S PLANS FOR ASSASSINATION!)

Now we know the history of America. We know that assassination has been used to get rid of serious threats to the status quo,so we know that we must deal with FEAR,Death wishes and other evil forms of discouragement,and know that Obama is God’s answer for good leadership to come in to head America,and unite all of its people behind the need to change many things to benefit the masses.

So those of you who don’t know how to pray, even those Obamites who are agnostic,have got to get to a church and pray,preferable in groups daily,weekly,against this plan of the devil to destoy America’s hope for change.Added to the rest of us who pray regularly,we must daily make this a prayer point and pray too in groups. Already on there is a group who pray every day at l2noon for Obama’s safety. We need Americans,and lovers of America abroad,in Europe,Africa,Asia, to pray,along with their church members or in groups if possible, to break the devil’s plan to destroy America’s great man of HOPE,Obama!


February 23, 2008


Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide

By: Jeffrey Ressner
Feb 22, 2008 04:20 PM EST
Updated: February 22, 2008 08:07 PM EST

Michelle Obama’s senior thesis at Princeton University shows a young woman grappling with race and society.
Photo: AP

Michelle Obama’s senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain “on the periphery.” Read the full thesis here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

“My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before,” the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. “I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.”

The thesis, titled “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community” and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in 1985, has been the subject of much conjecture on the blogosphere and elsewhere in recent weeks, as it has been “temporarily withdrawn” from Princeton’s library until after this year’s presidential election in November. Some of the material has been written about previously, however, including a story last year in the Newark Star Ledger.

Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her “further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.”

During a presidential contest in which the term “transparency” has been frequently bandied about, candidates have buried a number of potentially revealing documents and papers. In Hillary Rodham Clinton’s case, there’s been a clamoring for tax records, White House memos and other material the candidate’s team has chosen to keep from release. The 96-page Princeton thesis, restricted from release by the school’s Mudd Library, has also been the subject of recent scrutiny.

Earlier this week, commentator Jonah Goldberg remarked on National Review Online, “A reader in the know informs me that Michelle Obama’s thesis … is unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008, at the Princeton library. I wonder why.”

“Why a restricted thesis?” asked blogger-pastor Louis Lapides on his site Thinking Outside the Blog. “Is the concern based on what’s in the thesis? Will Michelle Obama appear to be too black for white America or not black enough for black America?”

Attempts to retrieve the document through Princeton proved unsuccessful, with school librarians having been pestered so much for access to the thesis that they have resorted to reading from a script when callers inquire about it. Media officers at the prestigious university were similarly unhelpful, claiming it is “not unusual” for a thesis to be restricted and refusing to discuss “the academic work of alumni”.
The Obama campaign, however, quickly responded to a request for the thesis by Politico. The thesis offers several fascinating insights into the mind of Michelle Obama, who has been a passionate advocate of her husband’s presidential aspirations and who has made several controvesial statements, including this week’s remark, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” That comment has fueled debate on countless blogs, radio talk shows and cable news for days on end, causing her to explain the statement in greater detail.

The 1985 thesis provides a trove of Michelle Obama’s thoughts as a young woman, with many of the paper’s statements describing the student’s world as seen through a race-based prism.

“In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community,” the Princeton student wrote, “I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture.” Other thesis statements specifically pointed to what was seen by the future Mrs. Obama as racially insensitive practices in a university system populated with mostly Caucasian educators and students: “Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.”

To illustrate the latter statement, she pointed out that Princeton (at the time) had only five black tenured professors on its faculty, and its “Afro-American studies” program “is one of the smallest and most understaffed departments in the university.” In addition, she said only one major university-recognized group on campus was “designed specifically for the intellectual and social interests of blacks and other third world students.” (Her findings also stressed that Princeton was “infamous for being racially the most conservative of the Ivy League universities.”)

Perhaps one of the most germane subjects approached in the thesis is a section in which she conveyed views about political relations between black and white communities. She quotes the work of sociologists James Conyers and Walter Wallace, who discussed “integration of black official(s) into various aspects of politics” and notes “problems which face these black officials who must persuade the white community that they are above issues of race and that they are representing all people and not just black people,” as opposed to creating “two separate social structures.”

To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and “comfort” level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. Other questions dealt with their individual religious beliefs, living arrangements, careers, role models, economic status, and thoughts about lower class blacks. In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a “separationist and/or pluralist” viewpoint or an “integrationist and/or assimilationist” ideology.

Just under 90 alums responded to the questionnaires (for a response rate of approximately 22 percent) and the conclusions were not what she expected. “I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.”

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Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 1

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:26 PM EST


Ok, so whats the big deal?
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Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 2


I echo Trevorz…what’s the big deal. It was 1985 and a very very very very different United States. She was a young black woman in a predominately white college and society. This was the same year, I would remind everyone, where Cosby premiered. It was an important shift in racial identity in this country and her thesis illustrates a young woman of color who is attempting to find her voice and place in this changing society. It shows a woman who is balanced in her viewpoint. There’s nothing racists or remotely wrong in this, and it appears as if Politico was trying to make a big deal aobut Princeton refusing to release it, yet they got it with just asking the Obama campaign. Maybe that’s the lesson. You ask the candidates something directly from Obama you get answers from Clinton you get excuses (tax returns, papers in white house, the list goes on). Nothing here. More Politico straw grasping and no-nothing story to scare away the fringe white vote who might take this to be some kind of, I don’t know what, at times all this gets exhausting.

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Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 4

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:34 PM EST


I mean really, is there something I am missing in all of this?
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Dave in Sacramento
Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 5

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:34 PM EST updated


The title isn’t very promising. Anyway, I’m wondering just how long we’re going to have to wait before she announces her candidacy for congress. She looks like a yet another quality addition to match the tide of our times.

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Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 6

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:35 PM EST


I think if anything, this article explains what a lot of blacks would think back in the day almost 20 years ago and why she would say :for the first time in her adult life she is really proud of this country”. It makes sense to me a die hard republican conservative.

It’s just to bad that the Clinton’s want to use it for evil. You know the Clinton’s. Crying for MLK, those people.


I don’t know why we care about her undergrad thesis — anyone would be embarrassed by undergrad papers once over the age of 30. Nothing is that startling. As a smart black women she always felt like an outsider in the Ivy Tower . . . she’s not the first and unfortunately not the last. I just don’t get why politico is so tabloid-ish. A much more important story is that after her “valedictory” moment last night, Hillary Clinton told a Texas magazine this morning that she was going to fight to seat MI and Florida, to get those delegates. Isn’t that much more relevant to what’s going on in the primary?

Telling the truth as it was at that time should not be perceived as negative. We learn by our negative experiences.
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Location: NA

Party: Conservative Reply #: 11

Mercer The Home is the greatest influence on the character of Mankind
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Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 12

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:41 PM EST


Well, you see this and the other story today about Obama meeting Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn are intended to have a cumulative effect. The idea is to recast the Obamas as latter-day Black Panthers (you know, an Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver for the new milennium) in the public mind, and also suggest by inference that they’re willing to countenance terrorism against the United States. It’s a way Politico can play the Race and Terror card in the same instant (and I think it’s pretty obvious who the intended beneficiary is).
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Gil T
Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 13

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:41 PM EST


It is beyond transparent that the folks at are Pro-McCain and Anti-Obama. Why haven’t you covered the fact that the FEC is investigating McCain’s loan? Why is there no update on the McCain lobbyist NY Times story when Newsweek and the Washington Post have reported them? Why is there no story on how most of McCain’s current campaign advisors are lobbyist? Cherry picking what to politically cover is sad. And I thought Drudge and FoxNews were unbalanced. Silly me.
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Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 14

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:42 PM EST


This is Politico’s Lead? Surveys show black graduates of Princeton don’t exclusively identify with race? There are distinctions between what we think of as Black culture and White culture/ Shocking… Way to break the news… Politico is really trying to cash in on chitty-chat pseudo journalism… maybe we’ll get other non storie like Hillary’s undergrad work, McCain giving a wedgie to some of his buds at Annapolis.. Who gives a sh*#??? Also the comment system needs tweaking…
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Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 15

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:42 PM EST


Oh give me a frickin break, Politico really is out to get the Obama camp. First of all people, trying to inject race into her comments about feeling “really proud of America” for the first time in her adult life is just bigot-guilt talking. Look at what she said on it’s face; she said that she feels really proud because people are energized and ready to work together for change. She specifically said in her original statement that it’s not simply because her husband is doing well. If anything, her statement was a political thing not a racial thing; conservatives have basically been in control politically since 1980 and that’s the period that she’s referring to. Surely there was more racial prejudice in America prior to the 80’s, so she would have been less proud during that time if that was really the basis for her statement. You right-wing imbeciles are SOOOOOOOO emotional.
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Location: Sacramento, CA

Party: Republican Reply #: 16

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:43 PM EST

Oh come on. What IS the big deal. The author of this article has taken small excerpts from an academic thesis for the sake of sensationalism. Shame on you.
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Location: NA

Party: NA Reply #: 18

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:44 PM EST


Well, you see this and the other story today about Obama meeting Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn are intended to have a cumulative effect. The idea is to recast the Obamas as latter-day Black Panthers (you know, an Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver for the new milennium) in the public mind, and also suggest by inference that they’re willing to countenance terrorism against the United States. It’s a way Politico can play the Race and Terror card in the same instant (and I think it’s pretty obvious who the intended beneficiary is).
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Location: Spartanburg, SC

Party: Democrat Reply #: 19

Date: Feb. 22, 2008 – 4:44 PM EST


Have we really sunk to this level? When is Politico going to get Cindy McCain to release the contents of her sealed criminal files for stealing drugs? If you are going after Michelle, why not Cindy?
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JFK Dem67
Location: NA

Party: Democrat Reply #: 20

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