News & Views from 465 California Street

Obama’s Perilous Road

Clint Reilly
Sep
2
2008

In December, I wrote a column endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. In it, I registered three major concerns about Barack Obama’s candidacy:

First, Obama’s claim to be an agent of transformational change was overblown and bound to deflate.

Second, Obama would be hampered by his lack of specific solutions to America’s problems and by his thin résumé, which fails to demonstrate his ability to implement practical solutions.

Third, Obama would embrace the very Washington insiders he campaigned against once he captured the nomination, further alienating those hard-core supporters he initially enticed with a promise of transformational change.

Although I am now strongly supporting Obama, my reservations have turned out to be valid.

Labor Day marks the beginning of the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, and Obama has his work cut out for him. His presumptive landslide has not yet materialized, and any post-convention bump will inevitably level off. Furthermore, John McCain’s choice of a female running mate reinforces his maverick credentials and sets the stage for a classic battle for the center.

But if Obama wants to win the center, he’ll still need to overcome the same set of hurdles I listed in January.

Recently, a longtime Sacramento Democratic politician and good friend told me the following story. He had been talking to Attorney General Jerry Brown, a former two-term governor and two-term Mayor of Oakland – both notoriously tough jobs. Brown reminisced about how difficult it had been to clear several blighted blocks of downtown Oakland despite eight years of focused effort.

My friend wondered how Obama intended to transform the entrenched culture of Washington DC without a clear agenda or a track record of having effected major change anywhere in his short public career.

Since securing the nomination, Obama has made symbolic choices that contradict his rhetoric of transformational change. The shift began quickly, with his selection of quintessential Washington insider James Johnson to lead his vice presidential selection committee.

Obama’s selection of Johnson, the former chief of Fannie Mae who also helmed John Kerry’s vice presidential selection team, was a sign that he was genuflecting to the Beltway establishment. Obama shoved him aside only after Johnson’s close ties to disgraced Countrywide executive Angelo Mozilo emerged and Fannie Mae became entangled in Wall Street’s credit crisis.

Choosing old school Democrat Joe Biden as his running mate has also raised eyebrows among the idealistic reformers who thought Obama augured a new brand of politics.

The admission that Obama’s thin international affairs résumé required an experienced player like Biden to shore him up – in spite of Biden’s initially strong support of the Iraq invasion – forced his backers to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton’s vote for the war was not the Rubicon Obama claimed.

A Gallup poll last week concluded, “John McCain has an edge over Barack Obama in the public’s eyes as a strong and decisive leader, and McCain is also significantly more likely to be viewed as able to handle the job of commander in chief.”

It was inevitable that an African American in his 40s would face a tough road to the White House. But many of Obama’s most ardent supporters have failed to acknowledge his perilous path to the presidency.

Now that Obama’s utopian bubble has burst, will his ideologues retain their white-hot commitment? Now that he is relying on the support of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden to attract bread-and-butter Democrats, will the hard core still turn out in record numbers?

They were on their feet at Denver’s Invesco Field last week cheering wildly. But will they be walking precincts on Election Day?

More important, will the women and working-class whites who were Clinton’s core voters rally for Obama?

The jury is still out.

Comments (22)

  • I enjoyed reading your piece today (in the Marin IJ). I too
    am “strongly supporting Obama.” Certainly every political campaign
    is filled with drama and continued refinements on how best to deal
    with the many significant issues facing this nation (the economy, the
    environment, the “war”, etc.)

    While the jury is still out for sure, I think there will be a record
    turn-out and Obama will emerge the victor on Election Day.

    Biden is certainly a much stronger vice president candidate than the
    inexperienced governor of Alaska.

    Obama does offer hope which is what the country needs. I do believe
    that he can be an agent of transformational change. His own life
    story reflects some of that it seems to me.

    There is substance beneath the “utopian bubble” and moving to the
    center, or selecting Biden, or orchestrating a successful convention
    are all signs that he will do well as the next President of the
    United States.

    Posted by: Aune | September 2nd, 2008 at 4:48 am

  • Having recognized all of Obama/Biden’s shortcomings and having reservations regarding their candidacy, why do you still “strongly support” them?

    Posted by: Nezra | September 2nd, 2008 at 9:26 am

  • Thanks for your helpful column in yesterday’s CCTimes on Senator Obama’s need for practical solutions beyond the inspiring speeches. The same problem has troubled me for some time, as an ex-Department of Agriculture budget office staffer in the fifties and early sixties where I witnessed three changes of administration, then as a Stanford Research Institute consultant on several major Defense and Transportation Department policy matters such as a widely and favorably reviewed $2 million feasibility study of ways to facilitate a family of new, energy-conserving urban transportation systems–which was scotched by Nixon in 1968 as an inappropriate activity for the newly formed Department of Transportation!.

    I gained a great respect for most of our civil servants during that period, as they strove to adapt to and implement policies of new administrations.

    I have already tried to communicate with Obama’s campaign on the need for early preparation of his strategies and working groups, to put flesh on his promises and take them to a practical level that our bureaucrats can deal with. Health insurance is a good example, where he has wavered between an unaffordable patchwork job retaining the unnecessary expense of insurance companies (who simply cannot resist raising prices and denying coverage whenever they can get away with it), and now announcing in his latest literature his intention to “take on” the insurance companies. But does that promise a single payer plan, which has been extensively researched by a supportive doctor’s group with an active and interactive web site? And would the plan include, contrary to many national health plans, costs for alternative health providers to allopathic doctors, at enormous savings, especially if you include nutritional approaches to disease prevention and health? And how could the new plan be most fairly and effectively defined and phased in? I noted that Ben Bernanke has suggested an independent commission for researching the best possible plan, which might remove it one step from undue political influence. Of course, I believe Congress and especially Ted Kennedy has already spent a lot of time on this issue, but we are still the only industrialized nation without such a plan now that South Africa has gotten aboard.

    Of course, my initiative in raising these and other policy refinement and planning needs by mail with the Senator’s staff went unanswered, and my questions for you are, do you have any better ideas about how to funnel suggestions of this type to Senator Obama or his lieutenants? and if so, would you be willing to share them with me, assuming of course that you believe this would be a helpful activity? Or should I run such suggestions through you for concurrence or refinement first, or even leave their presentation up to you, as a more established or plausible source of such ideas?

    Posted by: Curry | September 2nd, 2008 at 10:15 am

  • I completely agree with your opinion. I was an early Edwards supporter and then switched to Hilary. I will of course vote for Obama, but I am deeply concerned with each of your points because they are valid concerns. Let’s hope for the best. Four more years of Bush is out of the question.

    Jerry Hood

    Posted by: GERALD HOOD | September 2nd, 2008 at 11:07 am

  • He makes a good point in this piece. Why has Obama strayed from his platform of fundamental change and now seems to be embracing the traditional Washington D.C. types that he spoke so strongly against? The choice of Biden was a cop-out, I’m finding another candidate…

    Posted by: John Hughes | September 2nd, 2008 at 12:44 pm

  • I couldn’t disagree more with you here Clint. You know better than anyone that running for the nomination is a tad different than running for President. I think we see this in the Hail Mary desperation move that Mccain has just made in selecting Ms Sarah Palin. And that move isn’t meant to be a maverick move, it’s a craven, cynical attempt to shore up the evangelical base while completely bastardizing Ms Clinton’s fantastic run.

    I did not support Obama because I thought he was a change agent that would bring in a whole new untested team. Rather, I supported him because he has ignited folks to think bigger, to lose their cynicism, to feel there is a genuine possibility to move this country to a more decent ground and to do so with the eye to uniting on the side of our better angels. What turned me to Obama was exactly what Caroline Kennedy cited…she watched the excitement and hope in her children’s eyes. I witnessed the same in my own daughter’s eyes and in the eyes of many who are generation behind me. I remember well what that feels like, it comes infrequently. John and Bobby Kennedy were our generation’s leaders. I believe Obama is this generation’s.

    Obama made a very good selection in Joe Biden as his running mate. He’s a man tested, with a record you can actually examine and has been right on most, if not all of the issues. He and Barrack Obama bring dignity back to the Oval Office.

    As for Mr Mccain? He didn’t even do the most basic thing when selecting his VP…vetting. The pile up is beginning to look like a train wreck that you can’t take your eyes off of. Our country deserves much better; we can’t waste this very real chance. We must unite and support this candidate in full.

    Posted by: Melinda Maginn | September 2nd, 2008 at 4:30 pm

  • So what has Obama done in his life except run for higher political office? And how has his resume become more impressive since you first examined it and found it wanting, indeed thin? The Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers? The land deal with the convicted felon? If the Republicans don’t spend a great deal of time on this and other troubling questions, they deserve their reputation as the stupid party.

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 2nd, 2008 at 4:37 pm

  • Clint,
    Your points are well taken, but I am very distressed about YOU adding more fuel to the Republican attack campaign. Do you really want McCain 72 years old and what’s her name…pro life, inexperienced, total outsider? Well, you may have convinced me and many others to think again and not support Obama.
    This is just what the Republicans want to see. I believe you could have put a different slant on this and made the same points.
    Ouch! This is very disturbing to me. What are you trying to achieve?

    Posted by: Sharon Guy | September 2nd, 2008 at 4:37 pm

  • Your comments, particularly regarding the “transformational change” pink cloud that many supporters are under, is spot on. l consider myself a liberal but I am also a pragmatist. The years of Bush administration policy which has weakened our economy, ignored the middle class and tarnished our standing throughout the world will take years to set right. It will take a leader who is adept at navigating Capitol Hill politics and will do so with a will of steel. I supported Hillary Clinton and I now support Barack Obama, but the concerns you voice are mine as well.

    Posted by: Lynn Valente | September 2nd, 2008 at 4:37 pm

  • Perhaps the Democrats may highlight some of Mr Mccain’s experience such as:

    1. As a Senator, John Mccain got caught helping Charles Keating deregulate S&L’s, which cost taxpayers $200 billion, and was censured by the Senate

    2. John Mccain frequently tauted the quick victory and success we’d enjoy in Iraq.

    3. John Mccain was unable to state how many homes he actually owns.

    4. John Mccain’s vast experience has informed his most important decision to date as presidential nominee of the Republican party…vetting Sarah Palin and standing up to Karl Rove.

    You know the kind of experience John McCain offers might not be the kind we need. Our country is desperate for change and that isn’t a trite and meaningless sentiment. We need someone in office who actually knows what it is like for the vast majority of Americans. Obama had it right when he said John Mccain isn’t evil he simply doesn’t know. A candidate who states the middle class is someone with $5 million and who can’t tell us how many homes he owns is woefully out of touch. We have been under the leadership of out of touch and don’t care Republicans who have handily protected the interests of the wealthy for far too long. THAT is what must change if we have any hope to bring back this nation to any kind of world leadership and future for our children.

    Posted by: Melinda Maginn | September 2nd, 2008 at 5:09 pm

  • Clint,

    Stop holding on, just because you selected the wrong candidate from the very beginning. Obama his wife, Hillary and Bill Clinton all did a superb job at the convention.

    Yes, it will take a lot to beat the dishonest, vote tampering war mongering Republicans, but there is no way an inexperienced anti environmentalist, right to life, gun slinging, poorly educated woman with a 17 year old unwed pregnant daughter who very well may be the mother of the down syndrome child claimed by Paylin, is going to get Hillary supporters. Or will this country put this woman ONE HEART BEAT FROM THE PRESIDENCY.

    GET WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROGRAM !!!!!!!

    Posted by: Anne Lawrence | September 2nd, 2008 at 9:27 pm

  • Thank you for your ardent support of a “competitive ‘free’ press” which facilitates important dialogue among concerned citizens, in particular, dialogue relating to your recent Public Service Message (PSM), “Obama’s Perilous Road”.

    Before any meaningful political discourse can take place, verbally or in writing, it is vital that the institutional partisan barriers of “Republicans” versus “Democrats” be completely dismantled before we, as a nation, can squarely look ourselves in the eye and ask, “Who is the right candidate for president at this moment in our history?”

    With regard to your article in which you state that you “now strongly support Obama…”, do you support Senator Barack Obama for the good of the party, or for the good of the country? Any non-committed voter reading your article would wonder if your recent change of support to Senator Obama is genuine. Are we placing party politics and party gender ahead of what is needed for our citizens, our country and our future diplomacy in the world?

    I’m sure you will agree that none of the present and former candidates, Democrat or Republican, male or female, black or white, young or old, could make a “perfect” president. Had Senator Clinton been the nominee, your article could have read verbatim with only a name change, and I quote:

    * Clinton’s Perilous Road
    * First, Clinton’s claim to be an agent of transformational change was overblown and bound to deflate.
    * Second, Clinton would be hampered by her lack of specific solutions to America’s problems and by her thin resume, which fails to demonstrate her ability to implement practical solutions.
    * Third, Clinton would embrace the very Washington insiders she campaigned against one she captured the nomination, further alienating those hard-core supporters she initially enticed with a promise of transformational change.
    * The boxed Clinton quotation printed in your PSM could have read, “This campaign is not about me, it’s about you (the American people). -Barack Obama

    Your opinion that Senator McCain’s “choice of a female running mate reinforces his maverick credentials” was confusing. What do you mean exactly? The word “credentials” also means “qualifications” which has a positive connotation leaving the reader thinking McCain’s status as a “maverick” is credible and possibly good for the country. The word “maverick” also means “non-conformist”, “rebel”, “one of a kind” which positively portrays McCain as the under dog fighting for the common man. Your statement implies that Gov. Palin also possesses these traits thus making them both a formidable and possibly better choice than Obama and Biden.

    Senator Obama is the candidate you now support, however, any Clinton core voters would certainly not be swayed to vote for Senator Obama after reading your commentary; a contradiction in terms but clearly targeted to capture the reader’s attention.

    Claiming validity to your January concerns, I was left hanging, unable to find evidence anywhere in your article that Senator Obama’s transformational change was overblown and bound to deflate. Obama’s “utopian bubble has burst” because he dismissed Washington insider James Johnson? You see that decision as contradictory of Obama’s rhetoric of transformational change? Does “change” take place immediately necessitating prompt and swift criticism?

    Tossing in one of a multitude of vague Gallup poll results to support your argument also weakens your entire commentary. How many citizens participated in the poll? Where was the poll taken? What question was asked in the Gallup poll to solicit the response that “McCain has an edge over Barack Obama” and is viewed “as a strong and decisive leader”? How much of an edge exactly? How does this poll compare to how many other polls taken in recent weeks or months? You use this Gallup poll reference to support your case, but it does little to give accurate, detailed information to our citizens.

    You have identified Obama’s limited international diplomatic experience, but would Clinton have been any more qualified? Have her past comments demonstrated her ability to be a “world peacemaker”? Will McCain’s proposed strategies qualify him as a “world peacemaker”? Remember, old Washington politics and old Washington money go hand in hand. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Clinton’s money or McCain’s money. And that trail of entrenched money never leads to what is good for the “people” of America. Lobbyist agendas invariably mirror the “entrenched culture, and old money of Washington DC”.

    Your quote, “…many of Obama’s most ardent supporters have failed to acknowledge his perilous path to the presidency”. Since you are acknowledging Obama’s “perilous path to the presidency”, are you not an ardent supporter then? The first part of your commentary acknowledges that you “strongly support Obama”. Another contradiction in terms?

    The word you chose to use in the title of your article, “perilous” also means “dangerous”, “hazardous”, “risky”. Your commentary could have been titled, “McCain’s Perilous Road”. McCain’s “thick” resume does demonstrate his ability to support “perilous” solutions like the indefinite war in Irag and voting nearly unanimously with President Bush throughout his tenure.

    Prudent journalists serve their audience equitably by painstakingly scouring through every bit of political innuendo determined to print “just the facts, ma’am”. Give your readers useful, balanced information that will help them decide who they think the best candidate for president should be.

    Posted by: Fround | September 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 am

  • “GET WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROGRAM !!!!!!!”

    There won’t be a second warning.

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 3rd, 2008 at 6:48 am

  • Re Your Article “Obama’s Perilous Road”

    “Obama’s claim to be an agent of transformational change was overblown and bound to deflate.”

    Obama’s candidacy, let alone election, has ALREADY brought forth a huge transformational change, and continues to INFLATE, not deflate.

    Don’t you think that one of the greatest things a leader can accomplish is to motivate and inspire the youth of a nation? Inspiration is a completely relevant top priority for a president of the U.S., today as much as ever. Also: the greatest national wound in our country is the rift between blacks and whites – the traumatic and continuing effects of slavery, of racism (from lynching to profiling) and the great financial disparities in many, many communities. Obama has ALREADY gone quite far, from his first nationally heard speech to the recent Democratic convention, toward beginning the healing of this wound. The election of the first African/white American president is no small matter for the health and sanity of this nation. It will continue to bring both an increase in trust and a positive energizing in all people of color. One needs just to walk down a street of an American city to observe a more wholesome interracial relationship since this man of good, decent character and judgment began to run for office. Like JFK, he is a young Senator; since when is that a flaw? He is also a sophisticated citizen of the world, and the people and leaders of the world know that, and respond – as we have ALREADY recently witnessed.
    If you now support Senator Obama, as you say, Mr. Reilly, why in the world are you writing such slanted articles as this against him, picking at him with opinions when the actual facts against the Republicans are so hugely glaring and imminently necessary to deal with? If Obama were an intelligent, inspiring young German running against the Nazis in the 1930′s would you have questioned him more than the fascists in your articles? The Republicans have ATTACKED another nation by using a basis of blatant lies. They have, to quote Bush’s former fraternity brother, Garry Trudeau in his apt list, brought about: ” a catastrophic, unending war, Guantanamo, torture, Abu Ghraib, kangaroo courts, waterboarding, Halliburton, no-bid contracts, cronyism, recess appointments, warrantless wiretapping, fired U.S. attorneys, Plamegate, Katrina failure, doubling national debt, denying global warming” plus ruining the great economy we had under the Democrats, and bringing great stress to the middle/working class. The Republicans lied very well along the way, with the help of Karl Rove. So who are you questioning? Obama! Why? What about the Republican – John McCain – who supported his fellow Republican Bush 90 percent of the time?!!!

    Posted by: S. Ann Lutzky | September 3rd, 2008 at 4:00 pm

  • you left me with a tad bit of confusion.

    To your bullit points:

    > 1. Obama’s claim that his transformational change is overblown and soon will deflate.

    > 2. Obama lacks solutions to America’s problems.

    > 3. Obama embraces the very Washington insiders and brokers he promised not to, once nominated.

    Hmmmmm?????

    Well, from your own contentions as you stated you observed in advance through your gift to see the future that Obama would do and say the things that he is actually doing, here’s how my common sense sees it. By the way, please excuse my common sense.

    To your bullit points:

    > 1. Obama was, is and offers nothing more than the same political spin where his gift of rhetoric sways voters without substance.

    > 2. Obama through the “same ol politics” game, talks the talk but has never walked it by promising the world to everyone who needs and/or wants handouts, has no real solutions to plans that cannot be afforded.

    > 3. Obama says one thing during his primary campaign leaving out Washington insiders as the core of his “change” message. Wow…..that lasted about 6 months. He either knew then and deceived the public ( which directly challenges his honesty and integrity ), or he didn’t know and is now finding out that without those insiders and power brokers, he’s toast! ( which directly challenges his judgment and his own forsite ). There is no 3rd option here.

    Above all else in your article, the single sentence that captures an example of the average Obama voter, which seems to include you – positions America once again as to “we get what we pay(vote) for” is as you say…….’ your reservations about Obama have come true, yet you strongly support him’.

    If one cranium cell has been seized by the Obama rhetoric of McCain being a Bush 3rd term, then maybe – just maybe, you are actually one of those who fall prey to spin. In that way, Obama is brilliant. But his brillance is only measured by how much he’s supported by people who are not so brilliant aka ( the misguided, the easily swayed, party politic blinded, sheeple without a shepard, etc )media such as MSNBC who is nothing more than a 24/7 Obama network infomercial led by Mathews, Oberman as well as some op-ed authors in the country who fully disclose major failures, misgivings and counterdictions presented by Obama, yet they still support him. Does anyone remember the pied piper movie blowing tunes on a flute on roof tops?

    Again, I apologize for my common sense which is driven exclusively by demanding not to have some one blowing smoke in places not needed to be mentioned. It appears that some Americans continue to place little importance on the one precious right we all have…..the vote. Personally, my vote will not be casted simply by party lines, the color or gender of the candidate, who has which VP pick or what planet / galaxy they come from as it amazes me how easy it is for some to be melted by any candidate that talks well but says nothing. I take my vote a little more serious.

    Posted by: George | September 4th, 2008 at 10:16 am

  • Ms Lutzky has given us a parody of the angry, Code Pink, Sheehan loony left, right? There’s no way she’s being serious . . . is there?

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 4th, 2008 at 10:23 am

  • Jerry Carroll- Rather than name-calling, can you please give a valid, mature argument against the list of failures of the Republican Party (in the list that I quoted above). Or, at the least, try to give a logical factual argument against Senator Obama’s platform (see his website.) Just, exatly what is it in my statement that you do not take seriously?

    Posted by: S. Ann Lutzky | September 4th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

  • Well, OK.

    You seem to argue that the most urgent mission facing the nation today — a nation at war, I would remind you — is electing a partly black man to heal “the traumatic and continuing effects of slavery, of racism (from lynching to profiling) . . .” There is general agreement even on the part of BO that a half century of affirmative action has run its course and is now counter productive and remedy should be on a class basis in the future. Read the black thinker Shelby Steele on this, as well as on his persuasive argument that white guilt, the animating force behind political correctness, is a millstone preventing progress. The best thing that could happen to the African-American community would be for men to take care of the children their multiple partners have. Any practical thoughts on that? (No denunciations of slavery, please — you’re talking to the choir here.) Even BO has half-heartedly said something must be done in this regard. You wrote, “He is also a sophisticated citizen of the world . . .” The world doesn’t have a vote, thank God. If it did, our government would look something like the United Nations. And there’s a reason the European Union gets voted down every time it finds it necessary to consult the people. “Sophisticated” leaders would rather avoid that inconvenience. You dwelt a lot on Bush. He’s history now. Let it go. McCain? We’ll see.

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 4th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

  • To Jerry Carroll – Thank you for responding in this way. My response to your main points:

    1. You say that my post seems “to argue that the most urgent mission is…”

    But I didn’t talk about an “urgent mission,” not even any other kind of mission. The topic was whether or not Obama is an agent for transformational change (using Mr. Reilly’s phrase). My statement was simply meant to say that Senator Obama is already bringing change. And my argument was that Senator Obama has already inspired large numbers of both young people and African Americans. (I’d like to add now that he’s inspired millions of others, too, including Asians and Latinos – and my 84-year-old formerly Republican/Navy wife mother – by his decency and good judgment).

    2. Your statement which began “For African Americans, the best thing that could happen…” is bringing up another new topic, which seems to me to be about sociology, not about the election or the presidential candidates. As for the candidates, in this regard, it is the all white Republican who has had the “multiple” wives you talk about – in succession, leaving his first wife and children for the other woman who is presently his wife. The “family loving” Republican Party, by the way, needs to heed the old adage that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” it seems to me, since they always make such a tremendously big deal about marital fidelity, with many of them not having lived up to that ideal themselves.

    3. You say “The world doesn’t have a vote, thank God …”

    No, not in our election, but the rest of the world does have it’s own (growing) powers and it also does deserve acknowledgment and respect, doesn’t it? In my view, it is the Republican war in Iraq, brought about by a proven lack of sophistication in negotiation and foreign relationships, combined with obsessive $ greed concerning oil, that has brought about the horrible state of affairs today in our own economy and in the quality of American life – for all those except the wealthiest; and at the same time it has created a new generation of more terrorists in the middle east as well as a large number of Europeans and others who went from sympathy and respect at the time of 9/11 to dislike and disrespect for our nation. At any rate, I think a lot of people who have voted Republican in the past are realizing all of these things, and that is why the GOP is trying to disassociate itself from itself – a magical act that can only be attempted because it trusts it’s finely honed marketing skills to use rhetoric that turns reality and truth inside out and upside down.

    Lastly you say that I “dwell a lot on Bush.” I did only mention his name once, and that was only to introduce a quote by Garry Trudeau about what has happened during these last eight Republican years. I truly do not put all the blame on President Bush (or even Vice-President Cheney). I see President Bush as a pawn in the games of the Republican Party, and I believe that Party has come up with a couple more pawns. With the help of Mr. Rove, a brilliant man, it is true, we have Candidate McCain: chanting “Change!” as if he wasn’t one of Bush’s greatest supporters. The fact remains: Senator McCain really did vote for almost everything that George W. Bush asked for.

    Posted by: S. Ann Lutzky | September 6th, 2008 at 3:13 pm

  • This what you wrote: “Also: the greatest national wound in our country is the rift between blacks and whites – the traumatic and continuing effects of slavery, of racism (from lynching to profiling) and the great financial disparities in many, many communities. Obama has ALREADY gone quite far, from his first nationally heard speech to the recent Democratic convention, toward beginning the healing of this wound. The election of the first African/white American president is no small matter for the health and sanity of this nation.”

    So excuse me for thinking you put race tops in the scheme of things, though “greatest” maybe means something different to you than the rest of us. When you throw around another word, “transformational,” I wonder what you mean. What has been transformed? About 50% of the population, as I read the polls, think Obama is an attractive politician who out-witted an old war horse in pants suit, but they’re not buying what he’s selling: bigger government, open borders, more taxes and the rest of the left agenda. As for African-Americans, their plight moved beyond sociology into politics a long time ago. Haven’t you been paying attention the last half century? Black children are far more likely to be born into poverty. Their missing fathers mean they are three times more likely to fail at school, three times more likely to commit suicide, and from 20 to 33 times more likely to suffer child abuse than are the children of low-income married parents. Their prospects in later life are just as grim: 70 percent of long-term prisoners, 60 percent of rapists, and 75 percent of adolescents charged with murder grew up without fathers. This is a far graver problem than your cheap shot about McCain’s marital background says you think it is. The Republican war in Iraq, as you put it, was supported by an overwhelming number of Democrats, including Hillary and Biden. Obama says he was opposed, but he was as lowly state legislator at the time so it doesn’t matter. The Democrats would like people to forget this, and it appears to be working to judge by your Code Pinkish pop off. McCain has departed from his party with far more regularity than Obama has, even throwing out all the Present votes meant to hide his true beliefs. You may mention Dubya only once, but it’s clear you are another victim of BDS — Bush Derangement Syndrome. Incidentally, I think he’s been a lousy president, and I don’t like McCain. I just hate to see mushy-thinking liberals go unanswered.

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 6th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

  • Thank you Mr Carroll for highlighting the essential difference between what the Democrats represent versus the Republicans. The tone in which you have decided to argue your points is exactly why Obama will win this election. We are a nation that serves the wealthy and has forgotten the middle class and certainly the poor. We are a nation that for far too long has wallowed in cynicism and lack of hope. We are a nation that has allowed the far right to squash the dreams of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. It takes a figure to emerge to lead us back to the side of our better angels.

    If you’d like to understand the motion behind Obama and why our younger generations are ignited with the forgotten spirit of the promise of better day, of the idea that yes we can make a difference…perhaps this video will help. This country is filled with people who want to be hopeful again and feel their contribution will actually make a difference.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVi4rUzf-0Q

    Posted by: Melinda Maginn | September 7th, 2008 at 9:20 am

  • You’re welcome. Anytime.

    Posted by: Jerry Carroll | September 7th, 2008 at 9:31 am

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