Archive for the ‘BLACK CHILDREN’ Category


March 3, 2008

from the

The Sunday TimesMarch 2, 2008

Barnstorming Obama plans to pick Republicans for cabinet

As he jets across two key states whipping up the support that could finish off Hillary Clinton this week, the Democratic frontrunner is already mapping out a government of all the talents. Our writer joins him aboard Obama One

BY Sarah Baxter
AS Barack Obama enters the final stages of the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, he is preparing to detach the core voters of John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, with the same ruthless determination with which he has peeled off Hillary Clinton’s supporters.

The scene is set for a tussle between the two candidates for the support of some of the sharpest and most independent minds in politics. Obama is hoping to appoint cross-party figures to his cabinet such as Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska and an opponent of the Iraq war, and Richard Lugar, leader of the Republicans on the Senate foreign relations committee.

Senior advisers confirmed that Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and one of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate, was considered an ideal candidate for defence secretary. Some regard the outspoken Republican as a possible vice-presidential nominee although that might be regarded as a “stretch”.

Asked about his choice of cabinet last week, Obama told The Sunday Times: “Chuck Hagel is a great friend of mine and I respect him very much,” although he was wary of appearing as though he was already choosing the White House curtains. But after winning 11 primary contests in a row after Super Tuesday, he is ready to elbow Clinton off the stage.
Little more than a year ago the Illiniois senator, 46, used to laugh that he was called Alabama or Yo! Mama, because so few people knew his name. If he can win one or both of the Texas or Ohio primaries on Tuesday, he is expected to wrap up the Democratic nomination – and begin the next phase of the battle for the presidency against McCain.

The Sunday Times was aboard Obama One, his private campaign jet, as he crisscrossed the two key primary states. It was an exhilarating ride with a candidate on the cusp of making history and robbing Clinton, who aimed to be America’s first woman president, of a distinction she thought was hers for the taking.

Obama is cutting a dash through Texas, addressing up to 20,000 people a day, and has overtaken Clinton by two points in the polls, according to Real-ClearPolitics. In blue-collar, recession-struck Ohio, he has narrowed the gap to within five points of his rival.

From snowbound Cleveland, where the ice was scraped off the wings of the jet before it could take off, to balmy Texas, where spring has arrived, the journey took Obama from one rally to the next where huge, multiracial crowds cheered wildly and stomped to cries of: “Yes, we can.”

On the plane Obama walked the aisle, chatting to journalists with a confidence that came from knowing his mighty opponent might be on her way out of the race in 48 hours and a slight edge of nervousness that the nomination is now his to lose.

Narrow wins for Clinton in both Texas and Ohio might encourage her to fight on, although Obama’s team believes she needs a lead of more than 5% to justify continuing her campaign.

Obama is taking nothing for granted in his quest to become America’s first black president. “Remember New Hampshire!” he said, recalling the primary upset that restored Clinton’s status as the frontrunner after her initial shock defeat in Iowa.

Earlier Obama had told the audience at a suburban high school rally in Dallas, Texas, that he intended to follow the example of his hero, President Abraham Lincoln, and appoint a cabinet of the talents, irrespective of party labels.

“I think America deserves the best person for every job and so we are going to be canvassing far and wide if I am fortunate enough to be elected,” he said.

Richard Reardon, 64, a security officer and veteran, said: “I’ll be honest. Maybe 20 years ago, I’d never have voted for a black man, but after the Bushes and the Clintons, give the man a chance.”

After overtaking Clinton in the national polls, as well as the popular vote and delegate count in the Democratic primary contest, Obama is now sizing up McCain with the same cool eye for signs of weakness.

They are evenly matched in the polls, an enviable position compared with the 20-point lead Clinton held over Obama for the best part of last year. He believes he will be able to make deep inroads into the conservative vote that put George W Bush into the White House twice but might not transfer its loyalty to his successor. McCain blurted out that he was a “conservative liberal Republican” last week, a slip of the tongue that confirmed the fears of die-hard Republicans that he is not one of them.

But the Arizona senator, 71, has an advantage over Obama, a foreign policy novice, on defence and national security. Republicans intend to draw a sharp contrast between McCain, who was imprisoned in the “Hanoi Hilton” by the North Vietnamese, and Obama, who was a schoolboy on the same continent in Indonesia at the time.

Obama got a taste of McCain’s withering scorn last week when he was ridiculed for appearing to suggest in a televised debate with Clinton that Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq. “I have news for you,” McCain chided him. The terrorist group was already there and was called “Al-Qaeda in Iraq”. Round one, by general consent, went to McCain.

Obama believes he will be able to neutralise McCain by drawing on the expertise of independent Republicans such as Hagel and Lugar, who is regarded by Obama as a potential secretary of state.

Larry Korb, a defence official under President Ronald Reagan who is backing Obama, said: “By putting a Republican in the Pentagon and the State Department you send a signal to Congress and the American people that issues of national security are above politics.”

Korb recalled that President John F Kennedy appointed Robert McNamara, a Republican, as defence secretary in 1961. “Hagel is not only a Republican but a military veteran who would reassure the troops that there was somebody in the Pentagon who understood their hopes, concerns and fears,” he said.

Obama intends to pour more troops and resources into defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He told The Sunday Times he would expect European allies to contribute more to the fight. “You can’t have a situation where the United States and Britain are called on to do the dirty work and nobody else wants to engage in actual fire-fights with the Taliban.”

He praised Prince Harry’s “commendable” service – “I’m sure the British people are very proud of him” – and said America would have a “special, special relationship” with Britain should he win the White House. “That’s inviolable,” he said.

Europe, he added, would get something in return for an extra push in Afghanistan. “It’s important for us to send a signal that we’re going to be listening to them when it comes to policies they find objectionable, Iraq being top of the list.”

As the plane flew on to Beaumont, Texas, a southeastern town near the Louisiana border, Obama let rip about parents’ responsibility for their children, a theme that appeals to conservative voters as much as the predominantly black audience in the theatre.

He drew the noisiest whoops and cheers of the day when he admonished parents for their failings. “Turn off the TV set, put the video game away. Buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don’t know how to do it, give them help. If you don’t know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give them some breakfast. Come on! And since I’m on a roll, if you’re child misbehaves in school, don’t cuss out the teacher! Do something with your child!”

He then went on to attack childhood obesity. “We can’t keep feeding our children junk all day long, giving them no exercise. They’re overweight by the time they are four or five years old and then we’re surprised when they get sick … I know some of you that get cold Popeyes [chicken] out for breakfast! I know! That’s why you are all laughing! I caught you out!”

It is impossible to imagine either Clinton or McCain addressing a crowd in this manner without sounding bossy and patronising. Obama pulled it off with humour.

Cornel West, a professor of African American studies at Princeton University, believes Obama has found the language to address problems in the black community. “You have to respect black people enough to say that sometimes we make bad choices. You have to talk about personal responsibility as well as social conditions.”

Obama was equally at home the next day at a gathering of evangelical ministers in Brownsville, southern Texas, where he talked about his introduction to Christianity as an organiser in Chicago. He opened the meeting by referring to the prophet Jermiah, who told people “in a time of uncertainty and despair” that God had plans to “prosper” them and give them “hope”.

“The calling to apply the values of faith to our society is one that has been heard throughout the ages,” he said. “I think about the evangelicals I know who may not agree with me on every issue” – he was thinking of abortion – “but know that poverty has no place in a land of plenty.”

On the economy, the closely fought battle for Ohio has led Clinton and Obama to adopt populist, protectionist policies that have alarmed America’s main trading partners, including Britain. Even so, he takes time in his speeches to praise capitalism and entrepreneurship. Peter Wehner, a former White House adviser to George W Bush, believes Obama is a “completely orthodox liberal” whom McCain will be able to defeat on the issues. However, he could pivot to the right once he is the Democratic nominee. “He should take two or three issues, such as merit pay for teachers or school choice for low-income kids,” Wehner said.

If education is to be Obama’s signature issue, he might consider appointing Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, as his czar. The billionaire media magnate last week ruled out running for president as an independent and said he would offer his support to whichever candidate took the most nonpartisan approach to America’s problems. The subtext was clear: “Hire me.”

Bill may tell Hillary to quit on Tuesday

IT is the burning question of the moment: who will have the courage to tell Hillary Clinton it is time to quit? Friends of the couple say the chances are that it will be her husband, and that he will tell her if she loses Texas or Ohio on Tuesday. He has already made it clear she cannot soldier on without a double victory.

If, however, she wins narrowly in both states but lags significantly behind in the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination, then who will tell Bill Clinton to tell Hillary the game is up?

It could be Vernon Jordan, the African-American power broker who is so loyal to the Clintons that he arranged a job for the former intern Monica Lewinsky when she was no longer welcome at the White House.

The Clintons believe they could still fight on if Hillary wins the popular vote in Texas but ends up with fewer delegates under the state’s peculiar system, which combines a primary election with caucuses. Hillary’s camp is threatening to sue the local Democratic party if this happens but it could leave her with the reputation of a petulant, sore loser.

Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, said: “There comes a point where you can drag this thing on in a way that doesn’t really give you the votes you need and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”

He regards the Clintons as “pros” who will know if the race is over. “In the end the former president and Hillary are going to understand what needs to be done. They get it.”

Clinton has been outshone by a candidate who resembles her husband more than she does. At a rally in Beaumont, Texas, Samantha Bartley, 40, said she had expected to vote for Hillary. “Because we knew him, we thought we knew her. Bill inspired me when I was young. Now I’ve got my 18-year-old, my 20-year-old and my 21-year-old all voting for the first time. Barack Obama’s charisma reminds me of Bill and makes me feel young again.”

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for Obama, said: “The Democratic Party wants to be united and is looking forward to running against John McCain. Spending millions of dollars against each other instead of the presumptive Republican nominee is not going to help the Democrats to win the presidency.”

There was a rush of sympathy for Margaret Thatcher when she was ousted by her colleagues, even though the country did not want her back. If Clinton loses the race, Panetta believes, “It will be a tragedy for her. It’s everything she wanted and was prepared to do.

“All of us expected that with the money, the organisation and the Clinton name, she would win.

“The other lesson with the Clintons is, they always come back and that will be true for her. She could be the next Senate majority leader.”


March 3, 2008


Confidence in the air for Obama
By Jeff Mason
Sun Mar 2, 10:20 AM ET

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) – After 11 straight wins in the race to become the Democratic White House nominee, Barack Obama has reason to feel good and it is showing in his demeanor on the campaign trail.

There is a subtle air of confidence about the Illinois senator, even as he is quick to remind voters that he is not yet his party’s nominee and that he lost to rival Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire in January despite expectations of a sizable victory.

“It’s a tight race,” Obama told reporters on Friday when asked how he felt about this week’s crucial primary elections. “The Clintons are formidable.”

Clinton must score significant victories on Tuesday, when primaries are held in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio, as well as Vermont and Rhode Island, to keep her presidential hopes alive.

Obama’s solid performance in last week’s televised debate and his interaction with crowds at rallies in Texas and Ohio illustrate a growing conviction that he is on a winning path.

At a rally the day after the debate, Obama, who usually plows into his regular speech directly upon taking the podium, basked quietly in the crowd’s cheers while “City of Blinding Lights,” the U2 song that signals his entrance to the stage, played on.

During the debate last Tuesday, Obama deflected smoothly the attacks on his health-care plan and ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. But his quick look at Clinton, a senator from New York and former first lady, when they were asked about Russia’s new president indicated to some that he preferred she take that foreign policy question first.

At other events Obama seemed to ignore Clinton altogether, directing more criticism at Republican front-runner John McCain in a preview to what he clearly hopes will be a general election fight ahead of November’s election.


“Senator Obama’s confidence has grown as his political successes have grown,” said Ed Dorn, a professor at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

But Dorn said the candidate had not gone too far with his attitude. “I see no evidence that he’s making a leap toward arrogance,” he said.

The confidence is clear throughout Obama’s campaign staff. Campaign manager David Plouffe poured scorn on Clinton’s chances as he discussed the stakes for the Texas and Ohio primaries.

“The Clinton campaign needs to begin winning big states with big margins to have any hope,” he told reporters in a conference call on Friday. “They are going to fail on that measure and fail miserably.”

Strategist David Axelrod said the staff was pleased but focused.

“We’re happy with the way that things are going but we’re also aware that we have a great challenge ahead,” he said.

“We’ve won some primaries, some caucuses. We’ve not won the nomination and we have to battle for that nomination and we know there’s another fight behind that that’s going to be very, very challenging.”

Obama said recently he would be facing pressure to drop out if he had lost as many contests as Clinton has.

“Look, I’m the challenger. I’m the upstart. I’m the insurgent,” he said. “She’s the champ. She’s part of the Democratic network in Washington and, you know, if you’re the titleholder, then you don’t lose it on points. You’ve got to be knocked out.”

(Editing by Bill Trott)


March 2, 2008


Obama marches toward White House
By Askia Muhammad
Senior Correspondent
Updated Feb 19, 2008, 11:59 pm

Senator Barack Obama speaks to his supporters at his Super Tuesday Rally at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Photos: Kenneth Muhammad/
WASHINGTON ( – Sen. Barack Obama continued his run for the White House with victories in Maine, Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The wins over the Feb. 9 weekend gave him a narrow lead in “pledged delegates” from caucuses and primaries over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the battle for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. However, Sen. Clinton held a small lead when “super delegates”—elected officials and party leaders—were counted., an independent poll-tracking website, reported Mrs. Clinton had 1,123 delegates, while Mr. Obama had 1,120 delegates. The Illinois Democrat was projected to win an additional 15 delegates to nine delegates for the former First Lady in Maine.

Things looked good for Mr. Obama with his victories and expectations high going into the Feb. 12 “Potomac Primary” covering Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The wins came after Super Tuesday victories and talk from strategists that Mrs. Clinton was focusing on winning in March. Her aides argued Texas and Ohio could be big victories. Mrs. Clinton also replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with Maggie Williams in a surprise move. Her campaign denied the change was a “shake up,” but many saw it as an attempt to halt the Clinton campaign’s freefall.

When Democratic and Republican Party strategists envisioned the Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday” presidential primary in 24 states, they anticipated a virtual national primary in which only the most viable, best financed campaigns would survive.

It was also expected to be a coronation, not a contest for Sen. Clinton. Sen. Obama came on strong, winning Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah.

“It seems to me that the expectation of the Clinton camp and maybe a lot of other people was that after Super Tuesday, Sen. Clinton would be, clearly the nominee-to-be, and all other candidates, including Barack Obama, would be gone,” Roger Wilkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning former journalist and now a professor of American Culture and George Mason University told The Final Call.

“And instead, they are neck-and-neck. The idea of Clinton’s inevitability, the idea of her access to far more money and resources than he had, right now that’s all evaporated, and they are neck and neck,” Prof. Wilkins continued.

While the Democratic contest is far from being decided, many objective standards now favor Sen. Obama being a more formidable candidate in the November general election against Republican front runner Sen. John McCain.

“If (Sen.) Obama is the nominee, he has the potential to win, and win comfortably and bring additional Democrats in” to office on his coattails, Dr. David Bositis, senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies told The Final Call.

“For one thing the enthusiasm and the record turnouts that are occurring right now, he is responsible for. People are not turning out in record numbers to vote for (Sen.) Hillary Clinton,” he said. And, while the Clinton campaign would like to assert that her gender-based campaign has generated energy and excitement equal to the Obama campaign, “It’s just not true.”

“If he is the nominee, not only does he not have all of the negative connotations that Hillary brings, including all the scandals and everything else from when Bill Clinton was president, he will bring that enthusiasm and desire for change, and arguably that’s the Democrats biggest edge right now,” Dr. Bositis continued.

But despite Sen. Obama’s “millennial,” “post-racial” campaign, race and racism are still likely to be important—if unspoken—issues in the 2008 White House race. In addition, Republican dirty tricks must not be discounted, if Sen. Obama wins the Democratic nomination.

What the success of the Obama campaign across most gender, race, economic, and education boundaries has done, is to “create this huge possibility, that everybody’s been talking about, and that is an African American president,” Dr. Ronald Walters, professor of political science at the University of Maryland told The Final Call. “And once people start looking at that in the face, I think people are going to gravitate toward it for one reason or another.

“I’ve said that was not the case because of American racism, but I think at least he can get through the nomination process. Republicans will ‘Swift Boat’ you. They’ll dog you, whatever. It will get down to race in the general election, no question about that, they’re good at that,” Dr. Walters continued, referring to the “Swift Boat” dirty-tricks campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

“You don’t have to have any baggage. That’s what Kerry showed. (Sen.) Kerry was a national hero, and they said he wasn’t. They found some people to say he wasn’t. It’s not that you have baggage, these people are creative in creating sort of a counter-narrative, and causing people to doubt whatever you say you are.”

With the Democratic campaign continuing on, possibly to the August convention, Sen. McCain has an opportunity during the interim to overcome his own considerable intra-party liabilities. He is the presumptive nominee with Mitt Romney’s decision to drop out of the GOP contest. Gov. Mike Hukabee, of Arkansas, isn’t seen likely to catch him. But the war hero has problems: Not only is he considered an in-authentic conservative, but his sometimes volatile, abrasive, argumentative personal style has some Republicans anxious about his fitness for the White House.

FCN is a distributor (and not a publisher) of content supplied by third parties. Original content supplied by FCN and News is Copyright © 2008 FCN Publishing, Content supplied by third parties are the property of their respective owners.

Top of Page

National News
Latest Headlines

Farrakhan: ‘Mischief making’ should not dampen support for Obama
Farrakhan speaks on Obama, Clinton
America suffers nature’s wrath
Obama marches toward White House
National movement confronts AIDS epidemic
Black buying power to reach $1.1 trillion by 2012
Man served 31 years for stealing $62
Oh Canada! Let us stay, say U.S. war resisters
Defender of controversial clients tries to avoid prison
New York town mourns young Black police officer
Black History: Its true meaning and purpose
Pressure forces changes on BET website
Black women major force in 2008 election
Saviours’ Day Shootout a success!
Project Modesty Contest comes to Saviour’s Day


March 2, 2008


Kenyan town plans demo over Obama Somali photo By Noor Ali
Wed Feb 27, 12:59 PM ET

ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) – Residents of a remote Kenyan town plan a demonstration on Friday over a photo of U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama in Somali dress.

The picture, which appeared on a U.S. Web site, showed the Illinois senator donning a traditional white headdress and robes during a 2006 trip to Wajir in northeastern Kenya.

Aides to Obama, whose late father was from Kenya, accused his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign of “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering” of the election season after the picture was published.

Obama has fought a whispering campaign by fringe elements that say erroneously that he is Muslim. Clinton’s camp denied officially approving the photo’s release.

Wajir residents plan to demonstrate in the town after Friday prayers to show their support for Obama, said Ahmed Sheikh Bahalow, an elder from ethnically Somali Wajir.

The controversy made headlines in Kenya where many people support the Democratic front-runner in the way the Irish idolized U.S. President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s — as one of their own who succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Bahalow, a retired teacher, said his community was offended by the insinuation Obama had done anything wrong on his visit.

“The Somali community and in particular those living in Kenya have never been that interested in American politics,” Bahalow told Reuters in the central town of Isiolo. “But we are following it keenly now because we have been provoked.”

Clinton needs to win next week in Ohio and Texas to keep her campaign alive after Obama’s streak of 11 straight victories.

Once the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination to run against a Republican candidate in November’s poll, she has lost big leads in public opinion polls in the two states as Obama has gained momentum and made inroads among her supporters.

In an emailed statement, a St Paul, Minnesota-based lobby group, the Somali Justice Advocacy Centre, said it had demanded an apology from the Clinton campaign over the photo affair.

(Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Giles Elgood and Robert Woodward)


March 1, 2008

from Keyboard for Africa’s Largest Spoken Mother Tongue
Though, global communications explosion plays a major role in the gradual yet steady extinction of languages, projects like the Yoruba Keyboard Project undertaken by African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-I), winner of this year’s IICD Award on Local Content Applications are taking advantage of information technology to rescue Africa’s drowning languages writes Tunde Okoli


The seeming preponderance of tiny language communities in contemporary times points to the fact that majority of the world’s languages are vulnerable and may not just decline, but vanish into extinction. A recent study established that most human languages today, are spoken by exceedingly few people. In fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) raised alarm that majority, of languages will soon vanish. The organisation backed its claim up with scary statistics. It said, over 50 percent of the world’s 6000 languages are endangered; 96 percent of the world’s 6000 languages are spoken by four percent of the world’s population; 90 percent of the world’s languages are not represented on the Internet and that one language is disappearing on average every two weeks.

Studies have identified some of the forces which make for language loss to include: the impacts of rapid growth in urbanization, Westernization and global communications, all serving to diminish the self-sufficiency and self-confidence of small and traditional communities. This is aside the fact that discriminatory policies, and population movements are also taking their toll of languages. Post-modern linguists are of the opinion that languages are being lost, because we now live in a world that is fast contracting to a tiny global village. A world where a defined identity is what makes a man, nation, or race. A world where everyman, community, nation or race need a strong presence in the world’s information superhighway to remain in sight.

More than ever before, people across the world are awake to the reality of saving their mother tongues from extinction. This is because it is the first mark of being and identity.

Africa has been at the receiving end in world development. More than any other continent in the world, the continent has lost of most of its indigenous languages, by extension culture to modernity.

The advent of information technology has opened new vistas in world information order. And researchers are taking advantage of the phenomenon to salvage endangered languages. It is in the light of this that the effort of African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-I), a research and development organisation headed by Tunde Adegbola, a computer scientist and linguist, is receiving accolades from within and outside Nigeria for developing Africa’s first indigenous language keyboard – the Yoruba Keyboard for which it won this year’s edition of IICD Award on Local Content Applications of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The award is one of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) Media Awards of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The award aims to recognize users of innovative or pioneering applications of ICTs to local content defined as ‘the expression of the locally owned and adapted knowledge of a community’ in Africa. It is established to recognise and reward efforts from different sectors using any medium with a demonstrated link with ICTs that provide opportunities for local people to interact and communicate with each other, expressing their own ideas’ knowledge and culture in their own languages. The Alt-I-developed Yoruba Keyboard Project fits that bill, especially for its innovative features and in applying ICT to the local context. Moreso, because of the present needs of the continent.

Adegbola disclosed that he was inspired to develop the scheme when he realised the need to save the Yoruba language, which he described as ‘the largest spoken mother tongue in Africa’, by extension other African languages and its literature from going extinct as the world inches faster into the information age. Yoruba language, by extension most African languages, according to him, are tonal languages in which tone marks play important role when communicating.

He said it is a fact that the common personal computer (PC), as it is today, is not designed to accommodate text in many, if not all African languages. “Neither the hardware nor the software on most popular computer platforms considers the language needs of the African. Hence, African computer users are constrained to communicate with their kith and kin in languages other than their mother tongues.” Usually, desperate African computer users have to device rather awkward and often tortuous means to force the computer to produce text that may bear some resemblance to those based on the orthographies of their mother tongues.

Prior to Alt-I’s Yoruba Keyboard, most approaches for the application of tone marks to Yoruba texts on the computer have been based on desperation. Alt-I’s research reveals that for Yoruba, the production of one single character may sometimes require up to five keystrokes on the computer keyboard. “In response, Alt-I developed a statistical language model of Yoruba language and designed an ergonomic and efficient keyboard layout for the typing of Yoruba texts,” he said.

He explained with video demonstrations that the Yoruba Keyboard layout which is a modification of the QWERTY keyboard guarantees that no Yoruba character will require more that two keystrokes. “The keyboard layout is based on the statistical distribution of characters in typical Yoruba documents, taking due advantage of the unique features of the Yoruba language in relation to the English language on which the QWERTY keyboard is based. The scheme takes advantage of the fact that written Yoruba never uses the letters Q, Z, X, C and V, to develop Yoruba fonts and other software complements that take account of the complete Yoruba character set and remap the QWERTY keyboard accordingly,” he said.

The first Yoruba Keyboard layout developed by Alt-I took advantage of widespread familiarity with the QWERTY layout. But they found this somewhat deficient. Yoruba language being a very tonal language places premium of certain letters, especially vowels and diacritical signs which are frequently used. These letters are found to be too far from the strong fingers. Alt-I then remodel another layout based on the statistical distribution of characters in typical Yoruba texts that enhance typing efficiency and user ergonomics. The rearranged keyboard shares the general principle of the Dvorak layout of the English keyboard.

Adegbola explained that “Yoruba is a tone language in which meaning is determined by appropriate combination of consonants and vowels as well as tones. The need to represent tones in written form presents an orthography challenge, particularly for the computer. This is because, when the Yoruba orthography was developed, nobody anticipated the computer age. But we are today faced with the reality. Even though Yoruba orthography is based on the Latin script (which has enjoyed generous attention in computing), the need to indicate tones by the application of diacritical signs in position that are not normally supported by popular computing platforms presents a fundamental problem for Yoruba literature in the digital age. That challenge lead us into developing the Yoruba Keyboard,” he said.

Aside developing the Yoruba keyboard, Alt-I is also developing a Yoruba text-to-speech software, which Adegbola said, “would educate even those we considered literate to effectively read and write Yoruba.” For him, though Yoruba has a mature writing system, there is still a high level of illiteracy, among the Yoruba. And due to the widespread use of English as the language of education and officialdom in Nigeria, many literate Yoruba are incapable of reading Yoruba with fluency. Furthermore, the circumstances of the differently-abled (particularly the blind) Yoruba can be substantially improved by the creative use of modern ICTs. According to him, it is in realisation of this fact that Alt-I is implementing the Yoruba text-to-speech software with which a common multimedia computer would read any Yoruba text typed in standard orthography. “This automatic Yoruba text reader which will read any Yoruba text in standard orthography with functional intelligibility is presently undergoing aesthetic enhancements,” he enthused.

As the world proceeds into the information age with more and more of human interactions being mediated by information technologies, he disclosed that Alt-I aims to continue to strive to ensure the inclusion of as many African peoples as possible in the information society by making their languages relevant to information technologies.

The initiative is aimed at salvaging dying African, by extension world languages. “Alt-I aims at appropriating Human Language Technologies (HLT) for use in African languages via advocacy and service projects.” To this end, one component of the project addresses HLT awareness and research capacity building by supporting the Africa Regional Centre for Information Science in the University of Ibadan. Alt-I is also contributing to the research on the Yoruba language which is spoken by about 30 million people in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. The research led to the designing and implementation of the Yoruba Keyboard and consultations towards the standardization of mapping of the full Yoruba character set in ASCII and UNICODE and Yoruba text-to-speech software to meet the information demand among non-literate people.

“We recognise that people who are not literate in the normal languages of communication suffer certain deficiencies. We at Alt-I want to be able to use this software to take development information to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.”

Alt-I found in the Yoruba language a convenient starting point for obvious reasons. “One, because it is the largest spoken mother tongue language in Africa. Two, because Yoruba was Africa’s first language to be written. It was written in the 1800s, so has a matured orthography. Three being that it is the only language in the whole of Africa that has been used to write a Ph.D. thesis.”

This notwithstanding, he said “we do not intend to stop there. For Alt-I, the award provides a much needed impetus to continue on a project that our immediate environment does not seem to recognise as necessary. We celebrate therefore, not merely because the award bestows international recognition and honour on our work, but because at least somebody somewhere is in agreement with us that language is the soul of culture and that death of any language spells the death of the culture it supports.”

He stated that the lessons learnt in the Yoruba project and the best practices that were developed in the process have inevitably become part of the body of academic literature of human language technology which are available as intellectual foundation for work in other African languages.

“It is rather heartening that barely three weeks ago, while the award ceremonies were being held in Addis Ababa, I was in Bubaque, one of the 28 islands of the Bijagos archipelago, off the coast of Guinea Bissau discussing the prospects of extending the evolving orthography of the language of the Bijagos into forms that will ease their use on the computer.” For him, any orthography being developed now should take into consideration, the application of information technology.

He explained that Africa’s development will only come when it is tied to its culture with language as the anchor. “Asian countries like Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea among others as good examples of countries with culture-based developmental plans. These countries learn science in their own languages.” Hence, he suggested a return to Professor Babatunde Fafunwa’s earlier experiment wherein science was taught in Nigeria in indigenous languages. “The experiment, we would recall, never produced a single drop-out,” he said.

For now, Alt-I’s Yoruba Keyboard is not yet available in Word Document. “We hope to approach big time players like Microsoft to help develop it in MS Word. Once they know that the application has a potential of about 30 or 40 million prospective users across the world, they will do it,” he said.

Market the software then would pose no problem. In fact, he said Alt-I is not particularly interested in the commercial viability of the venture now. “Alt-I is a research and development organisation. When the time comes, we will identify a capable marketing outfit to handle the marketing of the product.”

For him, the money’s worth of the awards, ($1, 500) is not the issue. “I see the award as confirming that what I have spent the last 20 years doing is correct. It does not matter the money’s worth. We live in a world where every Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, or Idoma, is speaking English to their children. The value of it (the awards) to me is that we’ve done something that will make the impetus to other African languages, something that will glamourise the Yoruba language and make Africans love their respective mother tongues,” he enthused.


Who Are We ? | About | THISDAY People | Contact Us
© Copyright 2000 Leaders & Company Limited


“Back to Africa “:physically,spiritually,culturally, and morally!


March 1, 2008


Obama analysis – There’s the Beef
February 22, 2008 by ageorgegal

By Steven Pearlstein,
Friday, February 22, 2008; Page D01

During the course of our endless presidential campaigns, lots of silly things are said by the candidates and the press. But few are more ridiculous than the idea that Barack Obama is just an empty suit.

We’re talking here about a former president of the Harvard Law Review. Have you ever met the people who get into Harvard Law School? You might not choose them as friends or lovers or godparents to your children, but — trust me on this — there aren’t many lightweights there. And Obama was chosen by all the other overachievers as top dog. Compared with the current leader of the free world, this guy is Albert Einstein.

Given his youth and relatively short time in government, it’s fair to ask if Obama has the wisdom and experience to be president. But it’s quite another to suggest that he has no vision, no program, no specifics. Read the Washington Post article.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged “Steven Pearlstein”, “Washington Post”, “”, Barack Obama | 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Obama analysis – There’s the Beef”
on February 23, 2008 at 12:57 am1 Villager
My conversion to Obama began after reading his first book. It gave me an insight into how he was brought up that you can’t tell from issues and speeches. He sealed the deal for me during his Iowa victory speech…

I truly feel that Hillary is going to step down on March 5th.

peace, Villager

on February 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm2 Francis L. Holland, Esq.
I first reviewed Obama’s Dreams from My Father at DailyKos on January 14, 2007: “Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father”: It’s Beautiful”

I also wrote at DailyKos on January 21, 2007 about “The Woman Beside Barack Obama”: Mrs. Barack Obama (Michelle) is a Very Impressive Woman

Although my articles at DailyKos about Crashing the White Male Supremacy Paradigm and ending the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency often got as many as four hundred (mostly negative) comments, there were only 13 comments on my diary about Dreams from My Father, and most of those 13 comments were negative or entirely off-topic. It seems that DailyKos readers simply didn’t believe that Barack Obama’s dreams were worth discussing.

Back then, the whitosphere was dripping with ecstasy over John Edwards, who they hoped would become the 44th white male president of the United States. It seemed heretical at the time to assert — day after day and without relent — that the days of exclusively nominating white male Democratic candidates for president and vice president were over. How dared I challenge the white male supremacy paradigm, offending the delicate ears of the whitosphere?

Well, victory is its own reward. White people have since learned that it’s much better to adore a stellar Black man because he is outstanding than to worship a white male candidate simply because he is white and male.

on February 23, 2008 at 1:33 pm3 Francis L. Holland, Esq.
Crashing the White Male Supremacy Paradigm

Because white used to constantly belittle Blacks to convince themselves and us that they were superior, I found that I had to relentlessly attack the white male supremacy of the candidates whom whites favored, in order to help Black and female candidates to have a chance to succeed. We had to prove that Edwards and Gore were not gods by virtue of their white-maleness, in order for Clinton and Obama to have the possibility of ending the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency.

Meanwhile, as Steven Pearlstein points out in the article exegised above, “Barack Obama isn’t a saint. He’s not a savior. But in substance as well as style, he’s the most impressive presidential candidate to come along in quite a while.“

on February 24, 2008 at 7:20 pm4 Kani Saburi Ayubu
Agree with you 100% percent on this one. I also understand people talking about his short time in politics on a national level but the youth issue is the one that’s crazy to me. They say it like the guy is 21 or something. And to me it’s not necessarily about the experience of the candidate, it’s about the experience of the administration and we or I at least don’t know who this team would be for Obama but I have confidence he would select a good one. For goodness sake, he has put together a solid campaign team based on the results thus far! And the most important thing to me is that it seems that Obama will listen to his team or the views of others and the views of the people of this country even if they are different from his own and then make a good decision that is in the best interests of the country. Which is a huge step forward from America’s leader right now.

on February 27, 2008 at 10:48 am5 lawalker0854
Leon A. Walker
Freelance Writer
Pensacola, Florida

February 26, 2008

Hillary Bushwhacked: “The Unanticipated Intangible”

George W. Bush should also be remembered as major contributor to Senator Hillary Clinton’s impending, and what no doubt will be recalled as, a resounding defeat in her failed quest for the democratic party nomination for President of the United States. Realistically, it does not matter if she and her party faithful continue to cling to a fading hope of overwhelming success in Texas and Ohio. The people have already spoken and the contest is lost. The handwriting on the wall clearly indicates that she is, and will remain a substantial distance behind Senator Barack Obama in delegates and the posturing for the support of super delegates has already indicated that she will not likely be the benefactor of their support. How did it come to this? It was because for many voters, Senator Clinton seemingly was tied to in an image of a person is not suspected of anything, but also someone who spent too much time hanging around in a bad neighborhood.

When the campaigning began many Americans, democrats and republicans alike (counting myself among them) assumed that Senator Clinton would easily secure the nomination of the Democratic Party. What I and perhaps most failed to realize, is the massive negative impact the Bush Administration has had on the American Public from a very personal perspective. Certainly, there are well known issues like the war in Iraq and the current state of the economy that are intensely troubling, but these are only the open wounds that are clearly visible when the veil is lifted from the current administrations domestic and international political plague. When the seeds of deception and power mongering were planted seven years ago, no one imagined that such wide range of horrible fruits could spring forth. Today, many Americans are hurting. Hurting both emotionally and financially, along with being angry and frustrated by the arrogant and brazen political scarecrow that has become our world image and our domestic nightmare.

The core problem here was, and remains, an “unanticipated intangible” that became Senator Clinton’s undoing. In spite of her many splendid efforts, she is seen by many as an icon of American politics. An icon of American politics at a time when so many Americans want absolutely nothing to do whatsoever, with anything that reflects or conjures up the slightest image of traditional Washington, D.C. politics or its traditional politicians. I want to make it clear that I respect and admire Senator Clinton and I sincerely believe that she has fallen victim to the circumstance of political proximity. But for massive numbers of citizens, the waters in Washington have become so incredibly murky that many are not convinced that any long time Washington operative has not in some way been tainted.

Then along came Senator Obama. He is accomplished, capable, talented and most importantly “a relative newcomer” a fresh face with an eloquent and sincere message of “change and hope”. No one could have predicted that such a candidate would come forth and so deeply touch the hearts and minds of so many Americans, and at a time when they were gasping for a political breath or fresh air and thirsting for a taste of governmental clean waters. Senator Obama came to the fore and spoke to us as citizens and individuals and as Americans, recreating a vision of a people with the power to reclaim their proud legacy, and dreams of freedom, peace and prosperity that have been so callously and recklessly stripped away. Incredibly, I don’t believe for one second that his campaign would have been nearly as successful had it not been for the horrid condition of our political leadership and the associated landscape. The man and the message are fantastic! But the moment, the moment in time, when Americans desperately sought and alternative, something they could believe in, and genuinely feel good about, had arrived.

Senator Clinton’s campaign is on life support, near death, and if she or her campaign can be blamed for missing anything it is perhaps just slightly telling. The “unanticipated intangible” the tremendous and deep seeded dislike and distrust of traditional Washington politics and the state it has left this nation languishing in. George W. Bush and his failed administration have been much maligned for a broad spectrum of wrongs in the eyes of many in this nation and around the world. However, his most egregious act against countless Americans was not the many broken promises, but rather, that he nearly destroyed their pride and broke their hearts. So through no significant fault of her own, Senator Clinton has absorbed Washington’s stain. A stain that is a grotesque reminder of a failed system and a seat of power that has betrayed the trust of so many and for so long.

The records of achievement, qualifications and the commitment of the democratic candidates have now been considered and in large part put aside. The prize has gone to the man who so many American voters believe with a new found confidence and passion, will keep his promises, lift their spirits, soothe their broken hearts and cause them to hold their heads up again. A man who in their view remains untainted.

As for the “unanticipated intangible” and the Washington insider image, the only questions that remain are: Did the Clinton campaign miss it? And was there anything that could have been done about it?

L. A. Walker

© Leon A. Walker, February 2008

Recent Posts
Eddie Griffin’s bird’s eye view
Magical Mystery Tour
You Can’t Be a Revolutionary and Eat The White Man’s Food
The Public Infatuation With White Women
Obama analysis – There’s the Beef
Recent Comments
Charlie on Images of Black Britain: 1950s…
Eddie Griffin’… on Eddie Griffin’s birdR…
Maryam S on Contact Us
lovebabz08 on Magical Mystery Tour
Winslie Gomez on You Can’t Be a Revolutio…

February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
2nd Book of Asabagna
Acting White
Africa Beat
African American Health Network
African American Opinion
African American Political Pundit
African Diaspora Online
African Executive
Africana News
Afrosphere Bloggers Association
American Journal of Color Arousal
Aunt Jemima’s Revenge
Bent & Twisted
Black Agenda Report
Black and Christian
Black Commentator
Black History Channel
Black Looks
Black on Campus
Black Star Journal
Black Women in Europe
Blog Africa
Blogging Black
Booker Rising
Burundi Youth
Caged Lion
Caribbean Beat
Caribbean Blog List
Caribbean Net News
Charcoal Ink
Chippla’s Weblog
Church Boy
Daana Lost in Translation
Dallas South Blog
Diary of a PHD Student
DJ Black Adam
Dogon Village
Double Consciousness
Dr. Lester K. Spence
Eddie Griffin
Electronic Village
Elle, Ph.D.
Ensayn Reality
Exodus Mentality
Field Negro
Fort Wayne African-American Independent Woman
Francis L. Holland
Global Voices Online
Having Read The Fine Print
Heber Browm, III
Human Beams
Jack and Jill Politics
Kala Nation
La Belle Noire
Le Pangolin
Lies Before Breakfast
Lovebabz LoveThink
Lyrically Yours
Maat’s Feather
Mirror On America
Mosaic Blueprint
Moveable Feast
Ms Dalu
My Urban Report
Native Son
Nuvision for a Nuday
Ore’s Notes
Progress at all Cost
Prometheus 6
Refined One
Sister Doc
Temple 3
Terry Howcott
The African American
The Afropolitan Network
The Assimilated Negro
The Black Sentinel
The Disputed Truth
The Hutchinson Political Report
The Jose Vilson
The Master (De)bater
The Root Magazine
The Way I See It
There… Already
Thin Black Duke
Tony Allen and Ann Brown
Tribute to Black Women
Tyrone Takes America
Undercover Black Man
Wealth Weekly
What An African Woman Thinks
Wholeheartedly Sudaniya
Within The Black Community
Young Black Professional Guide
Site Meter
22222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222WASHINGTON POST’S ARTICLE HERE:
FEB. 22,2008

There’s the Beef

By Steven Pearlstein
Friday, February 22, 2008; Page D01

During the course of our endless presidential campaigns, lots of silly things are said by the candidates and the press. But few are more ridiculous than the idea that Barack Obama is just an empty suit.

We’re talking here about a former president of the Harvard Law Review. Have you ever met the people who get into Harvard Law School? You might not choose them as friends or lovers or godparents to your children, but — trust me on this — there aren’t many lightweights there. And Obama was chosen by all the other overachievers as top dog. Compared with the current leader of the free world, this guy is Albert Einstein.

Given his youth and relatively short time in government, it’s fair to ask if Obama has the wisdom and experience to be president. But it’s quite another to suggest that he has no vision, no program, no specifics.

Let’s begin with the fact that he has written two books (all by himself, unlike a certain other candidate). The first offers a compelling personal narrative that, for some reason, is dismissed as puffery by a presumptive Republican nominee who first ran for office on the strength of his compelling personal narrative. The second book is a thoroughly readable, intelligent and well-reasoned discourse on politics and policy that offers a fresh perspective on a wide range of issues.

Obama has participated in 18 televised presidential debates in which he has managed to hold his own not only with Hillary the Wonkette, but also with the Senate’s leading light on foreign affairs, a former United Nations ambassador and a former vice presidential candidate who was a skilled trial lawyer. I watched most of the debates, and while I didn’t agree with everything he said, I don’t recall thinking that Obama was in over his head.

Now that Obama is sprinting toward the finish line in the Democratic marathon, his opponents are suddenly asking, “Where’s the beef?”

If it’s beef you like, all you have to do is go to, where you will find a refrigerator case packed with prime policy meat. That may come as something of a surprise to you, considering how utterly lacking in substance the reporting and analysis has been over the last year. But it’s all there — as much as or more than is offered by other candidates and certainly as much as any voter would require.

There is, for example, the 11-page, single-spaced energy plan that features a cap-and-trade system that would require businesses to purchase credits for 100 percent of their carbon emissions, along with a requirement that all electric companies produce a quarter of their juice from renewable resources. Obama would also invest $15 billion annually — a big chunk of change, even by federal standards — in biofuels and other forms of clean energy. He wants to change the way electricity rates are set to give utilities more incentives to save power rather than produce it.

Those aren’t uniquely Obama’s ideas — in one form or another, they’ve been part of the Democratic congressional agenda for years. And considering how fiercely they are opposed by industry and free-market Republicans, they aren’t going to produce the kind of across-the-aisle compromise that Obama promises to deliver. But it’s hardly like there’s nothing there.

Or perhaps you’d like to curl up with a copy of Obama’s 15-page, single-spaced health-care plan, including 65 footnotes. You’ll find a cogent analysis of what ails the health-care system, along with the best thinking of Democratic health-care reformers on how to fix it: disease management, computerized medical records, radical reforms of the insurance market, tax subsidies for low-income families and federal reinsurance for catastrophic illness. There’s even a requirement that businesses either offer health insurance to their workers or pay into a universal health-care fund.

The plan would be expensive and involve a major federal intrusion into the marketplace, and there is a legitimate question as to whether the plan would work better if everyone were required by law to buy health insurance. But by any measure it is a serious plan that would win the support not only of labor but also of major parts of the business community, including hospitals and health insurers.

Finally, there’s the 40-plus-page economic agenda that outlines Obama’s proposals for avoiding a recession, helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, restoring the rights of workers to form unions, improving public education, combating poverty and shifting the tax burden from the middle class to the upper class.

Once again, Obama has borrowed liberally from the standard Democratic policy playbook, adding a few twists of his own. He’s willing to gently challenge the teachers’ unions on merit pay, the trial lawyers on medical malpractice and liberals on raising Social Security taxes rather than pretending there’s no problem with the retirement program. But this is hardly the kind of challenge to Democratic interest-group politics that Obama’s “change” rhetoric suggests.

Particularly disappointing is his willingness to parrot the labor movement mantra about labor and environmental standards, which is really nothing more than protectionist code. And there’s no way Obama can do all that he proposes and get anywhere close to balancing the federal budget.

But such shortcomings are hardly unusual for a political campaign; the Clinton economic program is no better. And as we’re all about to find out, it’s far better than the thin gruel offered so far by John McCain, who, God help us, plans to bone up on economics by reading Alan Greenspan.

McCain’s economic program consists of extending the Bush tax cuts, cutting corporate tax rates and banning taxes on the Internet and cellphones. His “comprehensive” health-care reform program consists of two pages of platitudes with no specifics and no way to pay for itself. And while he calls for “tough choices” in reining in entitlement spending, he still hasn’t found one he’s willing to share with us.

Barack Obama isn’t a saint. He’s not a savior. But in substance as well as style, he’s the most impressive presidential candidate to come along in quite a while.

Steven Pearlstein can be reached

Hello undefined
Change Preferences | Sign Out Sign In | Register Now
Print Edition | Subscribe

NewsNation Investigations Education Photos & Video World Technology KidsPost Discussions Metro Entertainment Religion Corrections Business Health Post Magazine Archives PoliticsPolitics Blogs House/Senate Votes White House Congress 2008 Campaign In Depth Polls In the Loop DC | MD | VA OpinionsOpinions Home Toles Cartoons On Faith Blogs Telnaes Animations PostGlobal Feedback Outlook Discussion Groups LocalMetro News Weather Local Explorer Jobs Education Traffic Community Guides Cars DC | MD | VACrime The Extras Real Estate Columns/Blogs Obituaries Local Business Yellow Pages SportsRedskins D.C. United Columns/Blogs NFL Nationals Capitals College Basketball NHL Wizards High Schools Local Colleges NBA Arts & LivingStyle Movies Travel Fashion & Beauty Horoscopes Smart Living Television Books Home & Garden Comics Entertainment News Food & Dining Museums Theater & Dance Crosswords City GuideFind Restaurants Find Local Events Find Movies Visitors Guide Find Bars & Clubs Going Out Gurus JobsSearch JobsCarsBuy a Car Sell a Car Experts & Advice Dealer Specials Coupons Real EstateBuy a Home Sell a Home Property Values RentalsFind a Rental Rent Your Place ShoppingShop New Deals & Discounts Shopper Blog Shop Used Sell Your Stuff Pets
SEARCH: Web | Search Archives > ColumnsYour Comments On…

There’s the Beef
During the course of our endless presidential campaigns, lots of silly things are said by the candidates and the press. But few are more ridiculous than the idea that Barack Obama is just an empty suit.
– By Steven Pearlstein

CommentsJackie19106 wrote:
Barack’s books can be downloaded from iTunes or! Barack is about “the beef”. Hillary and Bill are about “the cellulite”. Barack builds bridges. The Clinton’s burn bridges. Bill Clinton is now the first white president who used to be “the first black president”.

2/24/2008 6:24:00 PM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

neaton1 wrote:
Can we assess the two Democratic candidates based on how each has managed their campaigns (planning, organization, financing, etc.) and use our findings as a predictor of how they will manage their presidency? Yes, I think so, and I think Senator Obama clearly wins.
2/24/2008 12:47:10 PM
Recommend (1) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

neaton1 wrote:
Those commentators who say things like Senator Obama is just an empty suit remind me of the people who call customer service with a product complaint. 9 times out of ten they are told that the solution to their problem in is the manual that came with the product. Read the User Manual, People!
2/24/2008 12:36:25 PM
Recommend (1) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

mahousu wrote:
Wonkette categorically denies that s/he is Hillary.
2/24/2008 10:24:23 AM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

rethman wrote:
So Obama is… imagine a drum roll here… really smart?

Is this revelation supposed to come as some sort of surprise — or has Pearlstein inadvertently slipped into white-on-black condescension? (Perhaps not; Pearlstein didn’t find it necessary to mention that Obama “articulate” as well.)

Obama’s description of how, as President, he’ll “pay” for what he proposes is no less fanciful than McCain’s. It’s merely that author Pearlstein chooses to depict one man’s dreamy pro forma as something special — while summarily dismissing the other’s.

The fact is that both “payment plans” are nonsense. But Pearlstein’s pro-Obama drumming — rhythmically pounded out while taking snide sidebar potshots at Bush and McCain — is tiresome. This is especially so when Obama’s plans aren’t seriously dissected, instead just page-counted.

Could author Pearlstein be angling for a job in an Obama Administration?
2/23/2008 11:00:58 PM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

loracc wrote:
I think you’ve misunderstand why some ask where the beef is. Obama gives grand speeches promising change and hope, but he never explains exactly what he means. It sounds great, but what do statements like “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” mean?
As you said, he’s bright and he has policy statements on his web site. But you also said “they’ve been part of the Democratic policy agenda for years.” So, how does that support his statement that he’s going to bring change to Washington? There’s no “beef” when a candidate makes empty promises.
2/23/2008 6:26:59 PM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

um1967 wrote:
One can be a brilliant empty suit. Especially if you perceive that by not asserting substance you benefit.
2/23/2008 12:44:37 PM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

info23 wrote:
Style AND substance.

It rarely happens, but we’ll finally have a president with

*first class intellect
*first class temperment

I think we have a winner. No wonder the GOP is fearful. I would be too.

2/23/2008 11:49:00 AM
Recommend (1) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

info23 wrote:
Yeah, but it may be to Obama’s advantage to be “misudnerestimated”. Hillary kept saying he was only good at speeches, so when he outperforms expectations at the debate, he wins. Similarly, when they say he doesn’t have specifics, he can unveil some specifics and trump them. It’s a useful dynamic to have — lowered expectations and superior intellect.
2/23/2008 11:39:54 AM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

woowrx2k wrote:
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I’ve been wondering when someone was going to put this out there. I read both books, then loaned them to friends. I went to the website.The quality of the people on his team(and I’m not refferring to Kennedy, or Kerry) is exciting. And BTW, Thank you! Ervin Sowell, Bishopville SC
2/23/2008 3:46:48 AM
Recommend (2) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

spiritguide wrote:
I believe that those who call Obama an empty suit are so prejudiced against the possibility of a Black man becoming our next President that they can’t ( and don’t want to ) see beyond the color of his skin ( his “suit” ). They seem to want to be spoon-fed information (even though I’m sure they really can’t be bothered with the facts ) and don’t want to take any responsability for being an informed voter. This in spite of Obama’s two books and extensive information at his campaign offices and website.
2/23/2008 12:42:03 AM
Recommend (1) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

quietine wrote:
majorteddy wrote:
So many comment that Hillary has had a lot of experience handling crises. However ,they fail to note that none of these crises was of a national emergency or national security variety . She personally has never handled any kind of crisis that came up that was of this nature. She has handled Pr crises all of which were either of her and/or Bill’s own making. They were not national emergencies or national security emergencies. Should she get credit for handling PR emergencies that were caused by the Clinton’s own scandals that they brought on themselves. Is that the kind of leader we need?

Those crises were a Republican invention, not an invention of the Clintons. Don’t even dream that Obama won’t find himself embroiled in the same sorts of messes if he gets elected.
2/22/2008 11:04:45 PM
Recommend (2) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

majorteddy wrote:
So many comment that Hillary has had a lot of experience handling crises. However ,they fail to note that none of these crises was of a national emergency or national security variety . She personally has never handled any kind of crisis that came up that was of this nature. She has handled Pr crises all of which were either of her and/or Bill’s own making. They were not national emergencies or national security emergencies. Should she get credit for handling PR emergencies that were caused by the Clinton’s own scandals that they brought on themselves. Is that the kind of leader we need?
2/22/2008 10:45:51 PM
Recommend (1) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

majorteddy wrote:
Hillary Clinton reminds me of a fighter- Chuck Wepner in specific.A veritable punching bag.
2/22/2008 9:02:59 PM
Recommend (0) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

gbooksdc wrote:
GWGOLDB wrote:
…I’m old enough to remember JFK (I was in college when he was president) and how woefully unprepared he was in foreign affairs in his first year despite 14 years in Congress and having spent part of his youth in the US Embassy in London. Khrushchev privately expressed contempt for him.

Do we want to repeat that with Obama in a war against terrorism?

I’m also old enough to remember President Kennedy. Given how the Cuban Missile Crisis turned out, I’d say, sure.

Maybe Nikita would have gotten more out of that ploy if he hadn’t underestimated JFK. True fact: in 1962, Nikita K. had 44 years of experience. How’d that experience work out for the Soviet Union?
2/22/2008 5:52:13 PM
Recommend (7) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

pelohoki wrote:
Since their programs are very similar and the president is supported by huge phalanx of experts one way or other, if it’s all the same, I would like a new face with a vision and without the trashy baggage and almost impeached husband for not only having sex in his office but subsequently lied about it. Obama is not only versed in but lived multi-cultural environment and has a keen understanding as to how to bring people together for common goal. This new face has a vision and is clearly very skilled in inspiring people, even someone like me who hasn’t voted in 35 years.
2/22/2008 5:18:29 PM
Recommend (6) Report Abuse Discussion Policy

Washingtonian22 wrote:
I will certainly commend the effective campaign Obama has conducted thus far. But as for a testament to his ability to manage the executive branch, it falls short. It merely shows he can run a political campaign effectively. He’s a politician, if you will. I guess to a certain extent, he doesn’t claim to be anything but. He wants to change politics. Great. I personally don’t see the role of President as someone who needs to transcend politics. I don’t think that is even written in the job description, is it? I want him to act as head of government, and commander in chief. Look at Senator Obama’s resume. Does it tell you he will be able to do that on day one? I have serious doubts. Once he gets down the basics, and proves he has the ability to do what the job requires, he can try to change whatever he wants. But President, let’s be realistic. I’ll give him “Special Secretary for Change and Director of Transcendence to Political Ideals”. Now that would fit. But seriously, I don’t want to completely discount his “experience” in the Illinois legislature. I will take it for what it is. He has great legislative experience at the state level, which is why he was elected Senator at the national level. From that, I would conclude that he would do well at Legislating in the coming years…at coming up with decent ideas, drafting legislation, voting, and conducting arguments for his cause, etc. What part of that tells you that he has a) ever been in charge of a government body, or b) could succeed if given the chance? I would prefer that all Presidential Candidates have prior experience as Governor. That way we could look at relevant experience. Case in point: one of his points of emphasis displaying his “good judgment” as a contrast to HRC is his opposition to the War in Iraq back in ’03. This opposition was supposedly displayed while on campaign for his Illinois state senate seat. How is that relevant? It’s a huge stretch. I opposed the war too…from my couch. His display of judgment was more comparable to mine than GWB or HRC…Neither he nor I was in position to make a decision…and we didn’t have anywhere near the facts necessary to make an educated judgment. His mentioning this is completely irrelevant to anyone capable of logical thought. Based on my criteria, none of the front-running candidates really have the necessary experience, and I am disappointed that some of the other ones lacked the campaign power or the catchy slogans that the remaining ones do. I will agree; however, that Obama is an intriguing candidate. Very charismatic. Voting for him is like voting for someone who has the potential to do great. I personally wouldn’t vote on potential, just like I wouldn’t put the fifth year sales rep in the role of CEO of my organization, even though the sales rep has impressive numbers, gives great presentations, and kills at powerpoint. Not yet. There’s no way they can successfully make the necessary decisions without a ton of help, and even more bumps and bruises. I don’t want bumps and bruises. I want to be realistic.

2/22/2008 4:49:28 PM


February 29, 2008



Farrakhan speaks on Obama, Clinton
By News
Updated Feb 24, 2008, 11:33 pm Email this article
Printable page

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.

FCN is a distributor (and not a publisher) of content supplied by third parties. Original content supplied by FCN and News is Copyright © 2008 FCN Publishing, Content supplied by third parties are the property of their respective owners.

Top of Page

National News
Latest Headlines

Farrakhan: ‘Mischief making’ should not dampen support for Obama
Farrakhan speaks on Obama, Clinton
America suffers nature’s wrath
Obama marches toward White House
National movement confronts AIDS epidemic
Black buying power to reach $1.1 trillion by 2012
Man served 31 years for stealing $62
Oh Canada! Let us stay, say U.S. war resisters
Defender of controversial clients tries to avoid prison
New York town mourns young Black police officer
Black History: Its true meaning and purpose
Pressure forces changes on BET website
Black women major force in 2008 election
Saviours’ Day Shootout a success!
Project Modesty Contest comes to Saviour’s Day


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
Article tools
E-mail Share
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.

Related links
Farrakhan healthier, back in charge
Rites and Revelations

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
Report item as: (required) X Obscenity/vulgarity Hate speech Personal attack Advertising/Spam Copyright/Plagiarism Other Comment: (optional)
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
Recommend Report abuse

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
Recommend Report abuse

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
Recommend Report abuse

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
Recommend Report abuse

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

%d bloggers like this: