Category Archives: Obama 08

We Are Who We Want to Be

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There are moments in life, in history when even for a brief moment, we can all look in the mirror and see that we are who we’ve always wanted to be. Yes we are.

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Filed under Digressions, Obama 08

Election Day

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Just about two years ago, on October 31, 2006, I wrote my first post about Barack Obama. Then on January 29, 2008, Grave Error officially endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency. In 2008 alone, I have written about Obama’s candidacy some +170 times. It has been a long, long road until today. In looking back, here is what sticks out: Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

How an Obama Victory May Be Republicans’ Only Chance

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It took McCain until the final days of the election to realize that his best argument was that Americans love divided government and distrusted single party rule. From the look of things, not only may the Democrats take the White House, but they could also get a filabuster proof Senate and a powerful majority in the House. That means total control of government and a shameful end for George W. Bush, making W. the worst Republican president, in strictly Republican terms, in history.

But if I were a Republican, I wouldn’t fret too much (unless I was running for reelection tomorrow). Remember 1992? Bill Clinton was in the White House and the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Nevertheless, Bill Clinton was unable to pass any significant legislation. Two years later, the Republican Revolution took control over the Senate and the House for the first time in 40 years, as well as big gains in state legislatures and governorships around the country. That’s right, Americans love divided government. It took a little longer for this to happen to George W. Bush, but the same thing eventually happened to the Republican dominated Congress in the 2006 elections.

What does this mean for Republicans? My guess is that the Democrats will have big congressional victories in state and federal elections tomorrow and if Obama also wins, Americans will once again show their preference for divided government in the 2010 midterm elections. If on the other hand Obama loses, we’ll have divided government with a Republican presidency and Democratic Congress, and no tangible incentive to vote Republicans back into government.

Think about it. If McCain wins and is unpopular — extremely likely with the horrible outlook for reelection plus twelve years of Republican rule in the White House — it will be even more difficult to elect Republicans in 2012. Therefore, the Republicans’ best shot is for 2010 and 2012 is an Obama victory in 2008.

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

In Praise of McCain Palin’s Sense of Humor

Yes, I know I am annoyingly pro-Barack Obama, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t praise the Republican candidates when praise is due. For example, John McCain was very funny on last Saturday’s Saturday Night Live. It’s a shame that his self-deprecating humor doesn’t come off more frequently on the campaign trail, another trait linking him to Bob Dole’s failed presidential attempt. While I did not like the Sarah Palin crank call, I think that she actually came across as much more likable, natural, and ultimately as a good sport. Quite the opposite of making a fool out of herself — though she did reveal herself and her team to be overly gullible — Palin was nice and genuine. In that sense, the Canadian pranksters totally failed to embarrass her.

And of course to plug my own candidate, I should mention that Barack Obama was very good on The Daily Show with John Stewart, especially when Stewart joked about the Bradley Effect:

JON STEWART: I don’t even know how to bring this up. Obviously, your mother is from Kansas, she’s a white woman. Your father African. Are you concerned that you may go into the voting booth and…
BARACK OBAMA: I won’t know what to do.
JON STEWART: Your white half will all of a sudden decide I can’t do this.
BARACK OBAMA: Yeah, yeah, it’s a problem.

It’s nice to see all of the candidate with a healthy sense of humor and ability to laugh at themselves. Kudos to all.

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Europeans, Race and the American Elections

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Throughout the European press, I constantly hear Europeans asking whether Americans would actually vote for an African American as president. This weekend when asked the same question by a close Spanish friend, I played devil’s advocate, pushed all the buttons and cited recent examples of Spanish racism (the Spanish national basketball team, the colloquial use of the diminutive when referring to foreigners, and even their irrational hatred and distrust of Lewis Hamilton’s win yesterday in Formula One), though I do not consider Spain to be an overtly racist country.

Nevertheless, in a recent study by the Pew Research Center’s 2008 Global Attitudes Project, Spaniards came off as amongst the most racist (in terms of being both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic) in Europe. In Spain, unfavorable views towards Jews was up from 21% (2005) to 46% this year; and 52% had negative views of Muslims. At the same time, though, Europeans, especially Spaniards, overwhelmingly prefer Barack Obama.

So there is an irony to Europeans’ fascination with the racial aspect of the American presidential election and whether the “racist” Americans may actually vote for a black president. As I recently commented in a blog post on the subject, Obama has become by far the mainstream candidate with endorsements from all of the mainstream newspapers and with astonishingly record high donations from private citizens, mainly white. More importantly, the African American candidate and his family now look, act, and talk more like the average American than do his white counterparts.

So when you look closely at the facts, what is interesting from the European perspective isn’t whether Americans will vote for an African American but why there is almost no political representation by minority groups at all in European political life.

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Filed under Essays, Living la vida española, Obama 08

The Untold Vulgarity of Blood and Oil

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In the second presidential debate after McCain told him that he “does not understand our national security challenges”, Obama responded,

I don’t understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, while Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are setting up base camps and safe havens to train terrorists to attack us.

That was Senator McCain’s judgment and it was the wrong judgment.

When Senator McCain was cheerleading the president to go into Iraq, he suggested it was going to be quick and easy, we’d be greeted as liberators.

That was the wrong judgment, and it’s been costly to us. So one of the difficulties with Iraq is that it has put an enormous strain, first of all, on our troops, obviously, and they have performed heroically and honorably and we owe them an extraordinary debt of gratitude.

But it’s also put an enormous strain on our budget. We’ve spent, so far, close to $700 billion and if we continue on the path that we’re on, as Senator McCain is suggesting, it’s going to go well over $1 trillion.

We’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq at a time when the Iraqis have a $79 billion surplus, $79 billion.

And we need that $10 billion a month here in the United States to put people back to work, to do all these wonderful things that Senator McCain suggested we should be doing, but has not yet explained how he would pay for.

Now, Senator McCain and I do agree, this is the greatest nation on earth. We are a force of good in the world. But there has never been a nation in the history of the world that saw its economy decline and maintained its military superiority.

Nevertheless, Obama forgot to mention the most obvious reasons why Iraq was both strategically and morally wrong. For one, Exxon Mobil just announced, once again, record profits. How is it that since the war in Iraq our energy costs have gone through the roof, but Exxon Mobil is making a killing? We even want to further reward them by letting them “drill, baby, drill.” The war continues to benefit the oil companies and we pay the economic and human toll.

But worst of all, the press has all but ignored the grotesque civilian tragedy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  At the top of the list of “Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009” was the over one million Iraqi deaths caused by the U.S. occupation. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Which Country Do You Prefer?

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Following in the footsteps first of the Asbury Park Press and then the lesser known Washington Post and the New York Times, The Economist  — not celebrated for its socialism — has just endorsed Barack Obama.

In response to my recent post about Michelle Obama on Leno, a friend of mine recent wrote to me complaining — and the same argument could be made of Obama’s infomercial — that you cannot draw any conclusions about the Obamas based on interviews and speeches that are completely staged and scripted. I responded that, even if the interview were staged, Michelle and the Democratic ticket were trying to give a certain perception of how they wanted the U.S. to be. McCain Palin would give a very different “staged” performance — for they see America differently. As The Economist noted with respect to McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin, she was “chosen partly for her views on divisive social issues.”

So the question isn’t whether Obama is too staged, but rather which staged America do you prefer? One that seeks unity or one that sees America at war?

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08