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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:38 pm 
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Earlier in this thread, Wampus linked to a story that detailed some of Obama's successes in shepharding initially unpopular bills through the Illinois legislature, and eventually passing them into law with bipartisan support. That is the kind of experience that I think we need in a president. It is just Obama's ability to speak well that I find attractive (although after 8 years of Bush's mangling of the English language, that is certainly welcome); it is the ideas that he expresses that I find so compelling. There is a consistency of thought and action that is reflected in his abilty to present those ideas so well, and I think that could translate to an extremely effective president, in a time that one is so badly needed.

You know, for all of Hillary Clinton's touted experience, and her "remaking" of herself as someone able to work with the other side, I have never heard of any similar legislative successes that she has had. Does anyone know of any bills at all that she proposed that resulted in new laws being passed? I'm not saying that it hasn't happened, just that I'm not aware of any. I'd be interested to know if anyone else is aware of any.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:55 pm 
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The demographics provide some insight.

While Edwards and Clinton outpolled Obama and more or less split the non-black vote over age 30, Obama got 52% of the under-30 non-black vote. This isn't a huge block of votes percentage-wise, but nonetheless I find it encouraging at a deep and visceral level.

Obama won in all age brackets except over 65, in all but two counties, in all income brackets, and among both men and women.

It should be noted the pre-election polls were as off in SC as they were in NH, except in this case instead of the late surge producing a different winner, they took what was supposed to be another relatively close race and turned it into a 2-1 blowout. It's hard not to point the finger at Mr. Bill: of the quarter who found his presence in the campaign "very important", 46% went for his wife--but 42% went for Obama.

Now things get weird. For all the bucks they've raised, neither Clinton nor Obama can afford to maintain a full-court press kind of campaign through Feb. 5. They either have to concentrate on some states or spread themselves thin everywhere. It will be instructive to see how they both handle it, if their tactics change (one has to suspect, or at least hope, that Bill will be re-leashed). And, of course, to see what Edwards does, and when he does it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:59 pm 
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I asked these questions about Obama a year and a week ago. I am still interested. The Clinton who could work with Congress was of course Bill.

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Can he deal with the hatred that any Democratic incumbent generates? Is there any evidence of his delegating skills? Is he a candidate like Clinton who can work with Congress? Can he count on a wide based campaigning force loyal to him? What would be his attraction in the South? I'm not especially referring to colour here, more the North/South divide. Can he actually mobilise the black and ethnic vote, something that helped Clinton? Would the blue collar vote come out for him?
Those quotes from him posted earlier sounded like the most waffly platitudes but politicians are addicted to them


I am prepared to accept that his rhetoric has proved to be inspirational when your nation needs to feel that again. I was glad to see his campaigning and legislative skill described and that was what made me start to take him seriously. If he gets into office, will he be temperamentally able to survive the character assasinations in office that both the Clintons had to endure?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:25 pm 
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That's a good question, Tosh, but let me turn it around: could the Clintons come back for more and actually be at all productive, or would they be back in 1998 mode from that "all-important" day one? Sure they could survive it at this point, but to be honest, I'm not as worried about them personally as I am about the country.

As to actually answering your question: no one can predict the future. But Obama has shown an ability to not only recover from crises and missteps but to learn from them (his disastrous campaign against Bobby Rush springs to mind). I don't believe he's Messianic, but I don't think he's a fragile flower either, not after being in the IL statehouse, where one has to balance both party loyalty and Chicago/downstate discussions to get anything done--and not after going under Bill's fire for the past couple of weeks.

He's not my perfect candidate. There are issues where I find him a tad too conciliatory for my tastes. But a candidate who is adequate and electable is better than one who satisfies all my needs and is Dukakis.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:36 am 
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Yep, he's got my vote unless it's against McCain. Style and symbolism DO matter, whether in a 'mere' head of government like Churchill, or in a US president who is also Head of State, with all of the weight that entails even if not expressed in ermine robes and a fancy hat.

And the symbolism of an African-American winning that office would be immeasurable. Racism is this nation's Original Sin.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:51 am 
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Tosh wrote:
If he gets into office, will he be temperamentally able to survive the character assasinations in office that both the Clintons had to endure?


Any President from any party would need to deal with constant abuse from certain sections of their opposition. I don’t see any reason why Obama couldn’t cope as well as Clinton, or Romney, or McCain, or Huckabee.

Also, he seems to be held in higher regard than many of his opponents. He still has a lot of enemies, but isn’t the same object of loathing as Clinton, nor the same object of ridicule as, say, Huckabee or Edwards. So far, his enemies haven’t decided if he’s just an empty suit or a power-crazed schemer, which must count for something.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:42 am 
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The CS Monitor has (among other things) some indication of how the campaigns are approaching Ginormous Tuesday :p differently:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0128/p25s01-uspo.html

I can see the reasoning behind Obama spending more effort on the red and purple Southern/Midwestern/Plains states--for one thing, TV time is cheaper there, and they generally have some form of open primary, or even better yet, caucus, so he can draw in some indies. I can also see him concentrating on various potential "markets" in the big states, especially the ones with closed primaries, where independents won't be able to help him out, but where even if he doesn't take the state, he can score enough delegates to make it worthwhile. I just don't know if the numbers will add up.

I think Prim and company in OR may end up mattering more than usual this year. It's entirely possible this will be undecided through May...or if Edwards stays in all the way, even to the convention.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:58 am 
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I also don't get this 'Obama doesn't appeal to whites' thing. Didn't he win decisively in Iowa, which is something like 97% white?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:06 am 
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I wouldn't say decisively, but yes, he did win in IA, and yes, it's awfully pale there.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:29 am 
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Obama has a way of presenting himself and his message that transcends race, gender, and social class. He's managed to stand up not as a person but as an idea. A very nice idea that people like. A very nice idea that I am slowly becoming convinced that he can follow through on.

He has all the makings of a leader people follow because they want to, not because they have to (well, they have to no matter what, but if you don't understand the difference I envy you).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:22 am 
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Indeed — I plan on voting for Obama in the CT primaries. Sadly, some people I know (like my grandparents) are refusing to vote for Obama simply because he's black. Others will vote for anyone except Hillary. I wasn't sure which of the Democratic candidates I wanted to support, but I now figure that (especially if McCain gets the Republican nomination) Hillary might not be able to win against the Republican candidate if she gets the nomination — I think Obama has a better chance. Hillary is too polarizing — people either love her or hate her, I've heard. :scratch: I was for Edwards for a week or two, but I'm a fickle voter and Hillary's 'emotional' moment (was it before the results of the NH primary?) brought me back to supporting her, albeit until I read articles and discussed with others and came to the aforementioned conclusions.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:42 am 
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Following the editorial in the NY Times by JFK's daughter Caroline endorsing Obama (and comparing him to her father), her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy also endorsed Obama. This was somewhat of a surprise, as Sen. Kennedy has not endorsed any candidates in presidential primaries in recent years, and was somewhat close to the Clintons. I know that he is a prime target for conservative critics, but his endorsement is seen as a big boost for Obama, because he has great standing with certain portions of the Democratic Party base that has been leaning towards Sen. Clinton, and the Clintons made a big effort to convince him to remain neutral. A sign of the wide range of Obama's appeal (and thus his potential electability, in contrast to certain statements recently made in this thread), is that he has now garnered endorsements from one of the most liberal Democratic Party senators (Kennedy) and one of the most conservative (Nebraska's Ben Nelson).

One very disturbing sidelight of this development is that the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women has accused Sen. Kennedy of "the ultimate betrayal" for endorsing Obama. Their statement suggested that "Kennedy's decision was a larger representation of society’s ongoing disrespect for women's rights." I can not express how disturbing I find that. I was glad to see, however that at least the national chapter of NOW distanced itself from the state chapter’s comments, issuing a statement that praised Kennedy's record with respect to women's rights and encouraging "women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote."

Another telling sign of the "winds of change" is that Nobel-prize winning author Toni Morrison, who famously dubbed Bill Clinton the "first black president" has also endorsed Obama. She said her decision has little to do with Obama's race, but rather his personal gifts, and wrote the following in a letter to him announcing her endorsement:

Quote:
"In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates," Morrison wrote. "That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it.

"Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace - that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom," Morrison wrote.


THAT is why I support Barack Obama for president. Even if I can't say it as well as she can. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:03 am 
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OK, OK, I give in! Obama it is.

So I listened to his NC speech on YouTube. If he walks the walk half as well as he talks the talk, there may be hope yet. Speaking of which, did anyone else find a Tolkienesque ring to his words about hope?

I've done a bit more research, which reassured me further about his stance on certain matters near my heart. Now my one lingering concern is, who would he bring to power with him? The current administration all went downhill after Powell resigned, IMO.

I would not vote for McCain against any democrat, but with a Democratic Congress, I believe he could be tolerable, especially compared to other Republican candidates :scarey:. If the election ends up being McCain vs. Obama, I will feel a lot more hopeful about the future of this country.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:44 am 
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VtF wrote:
One very disturbing sidelight of this development is that the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women has accused Sen. Kennedy of "the ultimate betrayal" for endorsing Obama. Their statement suggested that "Kennedy's decision was a larger representation of society’s ongoing disrespect for women's rights." I can not express how disturbing I find that. I was glad to see, however that at least the national chapter of NOW distanced itself from the state chapter’s comments, issuing a statement that praised Kennedy's record with respect to women's rights and encouraging "women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote."


I also read a letter to the editor in Time a few weeks ago which said that the only reason not to vote for Hillary Clinton was sexism, and that if America didn’t elect her then it would prove that the country didn’t really care about women’s rights. I find that line of thought deplorable as well, myself.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:55 pm 
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That's the problem with identity politics. It boxes you in as thoroughly as ghetto walls.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:26 am 
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I really like seeing all the enthusiasm here for Obama. I keep meaning to watch his speech that everyone so loves, or at least read a transcript. I think one reason I haven't so far is that I don't want to feel even more disappointed if the likely happens and Democrats pick Clinton over him.

Obama is in trouble unless he can start to draw some more Hispanic support. Clinton is still ahead in the CA polling data just on her great numbers with Hispanics.

I've read that Hispanics tend not to trust or want to vote for black candidates. This is obviously one of those really touchy subjects. I don't know how true it is but people are talking about it --- it seems to be part of Clinton's strategy.

From a Novak article:

Insensitivity was reflected in a recent issue of the New Yorker, when Clinton's veteran Latino political operative Sergio Bendixen was quoted as saying, "The Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."

I truly don't know what to say about this, beyond that it is unsettling.


*****************************************


Drudge Report has the following from FL:
EXITS: McCain 34.3%, Romney 32.6%, Giuliani 15.3%, Huckabee 12%

I so hope this holds up. I want McCain to win as badly as many of you want Obama to win.

Oh yes, and farewell to Rudy. I will miss having that rarest of rare beasts, pro-choice Republican candidate.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:45 am 
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I heard another Obama speech tonight on the radio. He was giving it in Kansas, I think. Believe me, I'm not easily impressed, but I had chill bumps. Just the thought that someone might lead us to transcend divisive politics, to pull together to find solutions ...

Sigh.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:54 am 
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That's just it. Listening to him makes me see for the first time just how far down in cynicism and despair I have sunk in the past seven years, at least where politics is concerned—to the point where I catch myself feeling faintly silly, and even a little bit guilty—guilty!—for feeling drawn toward hope again. As if this is something I don't deserve, or something I should automatically suspect or reject.

Frankly, I feel like someone coming off a long, abusive relationship who's just met someone who seems both honest and kind. The temptation to assume that anything good is too good to be true can feel almost overwhelming at times.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:06 am 
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There was an article in the Chron yesterday that Obama - in an attempt to win over Hispanic voters, especially in California - is taking a very risky tack: publicizing his support for driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. To me, that would have been a reason for me to lean more strongly towards supporting Hillary Clinton - but unfortunately, on this issue (as on so many) she seems to have tested out all the positions for size before picking one that seemed politically expedient.

I would like a female candidate who was so uncontrovertibly the best candidate - from a liberal OR conservative point of view - that it would be possible to contend that anyone (of that political bent) who did not support her was sexist, anti-women's rights, etc. Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton is not that candidate. And yet, I am still so deeply swayed by the frustration of never having had a female President (and the earthshattering ramifications of that taboo being broken) that I have to admit that that factor may decide my vote.

Before anyone cries sexism: I cannot find a valid substantive/policy basis - based on my views and the candidates' policies and positions in THIS election - to lean strongly towards Obama or Clinton - although there may be various aspects of, say, one health care proposal vs. another that I like - they just aren't substantial enough to place me squarely in one camp or another. (As for certain past foibles of the "Clinton political machine," I have yet to be convinced that Obama will not have analogous scrapes on the national level, or that Hillary will have more - though I suppose it is possible to convince me. And it is particularly ironic to me that those who contend Hillary has no more relevant experience that Obama are quick to point to a long laundry list of errors that Hillary has allegedly made (which apparently were not done within the course of Hillary getting "relevant experience").

So if it really comes down to extraneous considerations (I question whether we can truly determine which candidate has the most "integrity" with any degree of accuracy), then I feel it is as legitimate for me to consider the importance of a woman breaking through the most daunting, substantial "glass ceiling" in this country as anything else. (Another fun thing is the people who gripe about women supporting Hillary on the basis of gender, while simultaneously extolling the significance of someone of Obama's lineage being the next President.)

If given policy considerations related to the economy, the budget, global warming, troop withdrawal, universal health care, stem cell research, immigration, appointment of judges with particular judicial philosophies, women's rights, gay rights, or other civil rights issues - where I felt that one candidate's platform was likely to translate to a substantial difference in implementation once in office, then I could be persuaded to make my decision on the merits. But when I constantly hear people differentiating between the two by claiming that Hillary never issued a mea culpa for her initial support of the war, while Obama campaigned against it when running for office, or differentiating between the precise number of troops the candidates plan to withdraw from Iraq in a particular number of days after taking office? That's not good enough to persuade me NOT to vote for the first viable female candidate in history. For more than 225 years, 50 percent of this nation has never had a chance to vote for a viable candidate of their gender (or, well, to vote at all for a good percentage of that time, but I digress.) That's huge. That may be one of the hugest political developments that has ever occurred in my life. I am TIRED of women being made to feel guilty if they feel this factor is relevant (or if they feel that it is not.) Yes, it is relevant to my vote, and no, I will not apologize for weighting it accordingly.

Of course: Harvard Law School has only had ONE President in its history , and so I am mindful that a vote for Hillary is a vote for our enemies at Yale Law School. So, should Obama win the nomination, I will be delighted to support him in the name of alma mater solidarity. :D But, someone needs to give me better policy reasons to support him before that time; the alleged "integrity" of the "candidate of change" is not sufficient, nor is the mere oratorical skill that seems to seduce so many.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:21 am 
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I would like a female candidate who was so uncontrovertibly the best candidate - from a liberal OR conservative point of view - that it would be possible to contend that anyone (of that political bent) who did not support her was sexist, anti-women's rights, etc. Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton is not that candidate. And yet, I am still so deeply swayed by the frustration of never having had a female President (and the earthshattering ramifications of that taboo being broken) that I have to admit that that factor may decide my vote.


I personally feel that breaking the racial barrier is more important right now than breaking the gender barrier, though I'm not sure I have anything to base that on beyond my gut feeling.

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