Posts Tagged ‘2008 presidential election’

A Slightly Different Take on the Election…

November 7, 2008

Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation’s broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, “It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can’t catch a break.”

Gotta love The Onion. It still doesn’t beat their all-time best Obama related report, “Black Guy Asks Nation For Change.”

Nov 5: Post Election Day thoughts

November 5, 2008

The seemingly interminable Presidential campaign has at last been terminated. Barack Obama will be our next president. With the day upon us, my wife and I breathed a collective sigh of relief. The relief only grew as drew on and the final results came in.

I was impressed by McCain’s concession speech. While it included many obligatory lines, I felt McCain made some very genuine, gracious statements. They recalled the man whom I admired in the 2000 campaign, for whom I voted in the primaries in 1999, and who has been absent far too often in the intervening years. I’m glad to have sighted him again. Hopefully he will reemerge in the new Senate.

I was rather confident that Obama would win this election, and I’m grateful that my confidence was not misplaced. I chose to vote for Nader as the best possible choice. But while I believe McCain would have been an improvement over the current administration (his choice for Vice President notwithstanding), Obama is the mainstream candidate under whom I have the most hope for a more progressive direction to our government.

Race is no reason to elect a President, but last night race certainly was a reason to celebrate a President. The ugly stains of bigotry were still dark and widespread in the fabric of our country not so long ago (it is within my lifetime that the LDS Church finally surrendered its own racist policies). Nor has racism been expunged from the republic. Yet this election is an enormous symbolic step for blacks and other minorities. We should relish that step and the jubilation of our minority sisters and brothers who feel empowered, inspired, and validated by this moment.

Obama’s acceptance speech was brilliant. I was moved by the humility, by the solemn tone, by the broader perspective of the task ahead. Of course, being a marvelous speaker does not make one a great president. I’ve been somewhat skeptical of the number of Obamaniacs who seem smitten solely based on his oratorical skills. Obama obviously has intelligence and incredible poise, but only time will tell whether he has the virtue, wisdom, and the fortitude to be a truly great president. We will see whether he has the character to bring people together to change course, or whether “Change” was merely a cynical political slogan. We will learn if he can make the honest political compromises necessary in government without being compromised.

But no matter how Obama turns out, we should take inspiration from his beautiful address last night. The focus of the speech was not “Yes I will,” but “Yes we can.” No matter how magnificent a president he may turn out to be, he cannot solve all of our problems. His wisecracks at the recent charity dinner aside, Obama is not Superman. Conversely, no matter how inept or unprincipled he might reveal himself to be, we are neither powerless nor incapable of reforming our nation from the grassroots up. As Obama pointed out, this nation has made remarkable steps towards overcoming its flaws—not without stumbles and serious deviations from time to time; but improvement nonetheless. That progress, slow as it may be, has only occurred through the determined effort of people throughout society.

In this period in which we face many serious challenges, we can and must harness the energy catalyzed by the Obama campaign before it fizzles out. We can mobilize the youth who supported Obama in such numbers to continue to follow the liberal impulses which drew them in. We can recognize that, despite what Palin and those of her persuasion believe, community activism and organizing are noble and meaningful pursuits. We can put aside the self-interest which has played such a dominant part of the nation’s ideology to instead focus on sustaining the community; looking to care for the earth which supports us all, as well as for the needy, the downtrodden, and “the least of these.”

Yes we can.

Why I Like Obama’s Chances: The Historical Perspective

July 2, 2008

I know of a number of liberals who are (understandably) frustrated and pessimistic. Snakebitten by the previous elections, they don’t believe Obama is going to win, and that we will be stuck with another Republican president.

I’m not saying Obama supporters can be complacent or that it is in the bag. But I think there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

In 2000, the Democratic candidate was a stiff, wooden candidate, unable to connect with voters, tagged by the media as a liar, and who made all the wrong political moves. The Republican candidate was considered folksy and personable. He also had an incredible fundraising machine, and was able to significantly outspend his opponent. The Democratic candidate defeated the Republican candidate before the Supreme Court threw the election.

In 2004, the incumbent Republican candidate was almost at the peak of his popularity, yet to be dragged down by his administration’s botching of the war effort. He maintained a massive war chest. The Democratic candidate was an aloof, distant candidate, tarred as a flip-flopper and dogged by the very effective (if underhanded) Swiftboat campaign. He lost by an incredibly narrow margin.

This year? The Republican candidate is one who is loathed by many among the conservative base. Discontent with the reigning party is high. Support for the war and conventional foreign policy, the central platform of the Republican candidate, is at low ebb. The Republican candidate, while not aloof or unapproachable, is often seen as cantankerous. His “Maverick” and “Straight-Talk” cachet has worn thin with many. The Democratic candidate is one with incredible charisma, able to inspire and galvanize action. For the first time in years, the Democratic candidate has a significant edge in fundraising.

Two straight elections, the Republicans had substantial advantages, and still only eked out wins. Why not feel hopeful this time?

Obama vs. McCain

June 27, 2008

We now know (finally!) who the two players are in this year’s general election. We have Barack Obama and John McCain. Both have been cast as “different” politicians at various times, and both come with some questions.

Given these choices, I will tentatively support Obama. I’m not locked in; the possibility remains that I’ll go for a stronger statement and vote the independent Nader, the Green Cynthia McKinney, or write in Dennis Kucinich. I’ve been skeptical about the messianic fervor over Obama. I don’t believe that his undeniably brilliant oratorical skills should be a clinching factor in my vote. And a few serious warts have come up regarding his candidacy. Given the mess I believe our method of financing elections is in, I’m saddened that Obama went back on his word and opted out of the public financing system. Furthermore, while Obama said virtually all the right things on foreign policy during the Democratic Primary, I was bitterly disappointed by Obama’s recent pandering to AIPAC, promoting a more traditional sounding foreign policy agenda. Frank of Simple Utah Mormon Politics recently wrote a very insightful post on the conventional U.S. foreign policy agenda regarding the Middle East (a self-described conservative, Frank might well be considered by some almost as “negative” and “anti-American” in his foreign policy views as am I). For Obama to seemingly embrace this sort of foreign policy approach is hardly “Change.”

But while he might not be perfect, I still feel Obama has more integrity than any mainstream candidate in quite some time. Barring further disappointments, I’m comfortable with the idea of Obama as president. And I think the presidency is his to lose. I don’t see McCain being able to rally the support necessary to beat Obamamania.

The fever is even catching here in the typically right-wing Book of Mormon Belt. This may be the first Democratic candidate in decades with an outside chance of winning Utah. Not a great chance, mind you. But where his predecessors had absolutely no chance, I really think Obama has a slim chance.

If what appears to be a largely honorable, slightly left-of-center candidate can win the general election and maybe make some headway in The Reddest of the Red States, that is at least a step in the right direction which I can support.

Update

It appears that I’ve been lax in following the federal news. The recent activity on the FISA bill somehow slipped under my personal radar. I’ve been catching up, and in particular investigating Obama’s involvement. I am now very disappointed. This bill is an egregious breach of the civil liberties for which our nation is supposed to stand, and rather than taking a courageous stand against politics as usual, Obama has thrown in his support.

Given the portent of the AIPAC speech and the FISA bill, I’m now very strongly considering a third-party/write in vote. It is a tough decision. Would the now apparently modest but immediate change Obama is likely to represent worth sacrificing the more fundamental but less probable change represented by third-parties? Something to ponder.

Election Fatigue

April 23, 2008

This morning, while Barak Obama’s Pennsylvania concession speech played on the radio, my wife turned to me and sighed.

“I’m sick of Obama.”

If my wife, who has been swooning over Obama since the 2004 Democratic Convention, is sick of Obama, the election season has gone on far too long.

UPDATE: I wanted to clarify that my wife’s frustration is with the campaign, and not Obama himself. The point of the post was to comment on the length of the election period. She still is a big supporter and absolutely wants him to win(though the crush may have worn off… ;) ).

Some Other Thoughts about the Presidential Election and Militarism

February 8, 2008

Romney’s “surrender” statement provides us yet another opportunity to reflect on foreign policy and militarism.

Jeff Huber of Pen and Sword, a retired Navy commander, looks at the attitude of the presidential candidates towards war and foreign policy in Blooper Tuesday.

Whatever line may have once demarked American foreign policies from domestic ones has vanished, probably forever. We cannot possibly address our internal woes effectively without some sort of workable solution to the overseas fiasco our Unitary George has created, but I’m somewhat pessimistic that the majority of our leading presidential hopefuls can provide that solution.

John McCain gives the promise of more war, even though war has devolved over the Bush decade into a degenerative tool of foreign policy. All Mitt Romney seems offer is a chance bribe the rest of the world into cooperating with us from his personal fortune, but even his pockets aren’t deep enough to pull off a stunt like that. As best I can tell, the crux of Mike Huckabee’s foreign policy plan involves having Chuck Norris beat up anybody who doesn’t do what we tell them to, and I fear Hillary Clinton will still be explaining how she didn’t really vote for the war in Iraq she voted for even as she explains how she didn’t really promise to get us out of it.

That leaves one viable candidate who might have a chance of hauling us out of the sand trap we’ve hooked our way into. So far, Barack Obama’s taste in foreign policy advisers (like Zbigniew Brzezinski) seems impeccable. Let’s just hope we never hear of him hunkering down with the likes of Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan.

Faithful Progressive looks at the lack of depth in the Conservative agenda revealed in Romney’s statement.

If Mitt Romney is the great hope of the conservative movement, it is a very shallow movement indeed–particularly when it comes to foreign policy and efforts to curb world-wide terrorist groups. Romney offered the American people only cheap and bellicose slogans rather than a coherent strategy to oppose al-Qaida. It is a mildly hopeful sign that even red-meat, rank-and-file Republicans rejected his one-liners and slogans.

…This is the most self-serving and ridiculous statement made by a Presidential candidate this year. Neither Democrat has talked about any such surrender where we have real interests at stake.

…This latest slogan–Democrats are for surrender– comes after his earlier promise to double the size of Guantánamo. How this would help the US national interest is unclear: Romney offered only slogans, not a policy…

…Now that the cheap slogan-eers are out of the race, perhaps Americans can have a real debate on whether or not we remain a Constitutional Republic.

Romney Suspends Presidential Campaign

February 7, 2008

It appears that Mitt Romney has all but thrown in the towel on his presidential aspirations. His campaign never really gathered any steam, despite the copious amounts of personal money he put into the campaign. Was the anti-Mormon bias among much of the mainstream Christian world to strong to overcome? Or is it that he is courting a conservative base which has run out of gas and no longer dominates the Republican party? Regardless, I’m not the least bit bothered by his exit.

While I’m not in any way interested in examining the horserace or making predictions, I do think it has been fascinating watching the ups and downs of the overall primary campaign. Giuliani was strongly favored to win the nomination; now he’s out. McCain was dead in the water several months ago; now he’s virtually guaranteed to be the Republican candidate. Huckabee was a fringe candidate, then a frontrunner, then ignored. And the Democratic race has been virtually a toss-up between the two frontrunners from the get-go. I don’t seem to recall a primary season having been so unpredictable on either side, let alone both sides at once.

In parting, Romney took the time to release one more absurd statement.

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror (AP).

Like the Cold-Warmongers of old, the Right persists in using blood and fear for political advantage. I wish that Romney understood that proactively promoting peace, is not a surrender to terror; on the contrary, it will undermine the roots of terrorism far more effectively than militarism ever could.


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