Posts tagged ‘Obama’

A Time for our Country to Feel Good Again

When I was a kid, there was a family drama on TV called “The Waltons”. It was about a rural family struggling during the Depression. What I recall was that while I found the show a bit corny and didn’t watch it religiously, every time I did watch it, I came away feeling better than before I turned on the television.

Two moments during this, the first night of the Democratic convention, left me feeling so much better than I did beforehand. The first moment was the appearance of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who against great odds appeared before the adoring crowd to reiterate his support of Barack Obama’s candidacy. I have a loved one who is a cancer survivor and I know through her the terrible physical burden placed on the body by chemotherapy and radiation. In keeping with his passion for service to this country, Teddy made the trip to Denver and delivered a rousing speech. Using a variation on his 1980 convention speech closer, he said “the work begins anew, the hope rises again and the dream lives on.” For a man battling brain cancer, it was a stirring courageous moment.

As if the emotional impact of the night could not get any more profound, Michelle Obama then appeared and delivered a speech that crystallized her and Barack’s embodiment of the American Dream. Born on the south side of Chicago, raised by hard working parents, one of whom rose above a debilitating disability, Michelle Obama excelled far beyond expectation. In perhaps the most masterful part of her speech, within one sentence she honored the historic campaign of Hillary Clinton and the life’s work of Joe Biden. It was as if to say, Hillary did a great historic thing, and now we have to move on and accept the candidacy of a life-long public servant, Joe Biden. She managed to say, implicitly, that Biden’s selection does not diminish Clinton’s accomplishment.

Tonight was a night of themes that could not help but lift the spirit. Courage, hard work, hope, achieving the American Dream and loving our country for providing the potential to achieve that dream.

Next week, when I watch the Republican convention, I will stay as open minded as possible and see if I come away with such a feeling of hope. All I can say is tonight, I feel inspired. I feel that if the Democrats emerge victorious in November, our country will have a chance to set aside fear, cynicism and hopelessness and once again make people believe they can achieve their dreams.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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August 26, 2008 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

The Color of Infidelity

Tonight, two thoughts occur to me concerning the revelations of John Edwards’ infidelity.

First, I’m so thankful that I had not put all my hopes and dreams in him as so many of his supporters had. I say this without a speck of “I told you so” attitude. On the contrary, when I first heard the rumors of John’s fooling around, I dismissed it. But this election season has been characterized by the involvement of young voters who have cast aside the cynical attitude towards politics so prevalent in today’s discourse. My heart goes out to Edwards’ young supporters and I hope they understand that his personal failings don’t invalidate his stand on important public issues of the day.

Second, I cannot help but conjecture about how race effects political coverage. Is there any doubt that if the National Enquirer caught Barack Obama at a hotel with a strange woman, the MSM would have been all over it? When it came to Edwards, they gave the story a pass. It’s possible that his wife’s battle with cancer might have given the major media outlets some cause for restraint. Still, I cannot help but believe that Barack Obama would never have made it past last October if such a story leaked out about him.

Which brings me back to my first point. I HAVE invested a lot of my hopes and dreams in Barack Obama. I am hoping that any Obama mistress that might be out there would have been unearthed by the Republican attack machine by now. As self confident as Obama is, let us hope that the narcissism that brought down John Edwards does not compromise the moral stature of Barack.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

August 8, 2008 at 10:44 pm 11 comments

The Obama-Moses Ad: God is Dead

Last week we entered Silly Season in presidential politics with the McCain campaign publishing two ads that look like audition tapes for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote an op-ed on Saturday discussing the black man, white woman taboo exploited by the Britney Spears ad. To the modern eye (including mine) this subtext went completely unnoticed but to the American bigot who has not emerged from the pre-civil-rights era, the message was there, albeit subliminal. On “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, David Gergen made a similar analysis, this time citing the “Obama thinks he’s Moses” ad and indicating that the message clearly understood by traditional southerners is that Obama is an “uppity” black man.

I don’t need to go to those arguments. Lots of reasonable people didn’t see what Gergen and Herbert saw. I did see one thing that I am shocked no one else is talking about. The Obama as “The One” campaign ad is an affront to faith. I am not religious, but if I were, I’d be insulted by this ad. The ad says that the high aspirations, lofty goals and faith that we can have a better society, represented in Obama’s soaring rhetoric is a joke. It is something to be mocked. In attempting to ridicule Obama, they ridicule all that is positive about Obama’s message. The ad is an exercise in detestable cynicism. The ad is shorthand for “Vote for McCain because God is dead.”

The McCain campaign makes the very bad mistake of ridicule by comparison. In the Spears-Hilton ad, the comparison is odious but logical. Spears and Hilton are perceived as mindless celebrity burnouts. The implication that Barack is a fad, soon to burn out, is obvious. However, in the “Moses” ad, Obama is compared to Moses who led his people to freedom with the help of God. This means either that Obama is a truly great man or that Moses himself is laughable. If we cannot believe in Obama, who asks us to appeal to our higher callings, then by extension, we have no reason to believe in God or faith in anything at all.

It is one thing for a campaign ad to attempt to destroy a man, it is quite another for it to attempt to destroy hope, idealism and the lofty goals for our country.

A man who tells us to abandon our dreams is not fit to be President of the United States of America.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

August 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm 7 comments

Age Before Beauty

From the desk of The Rigorist

When competing teams first meet there is the handshake to establish the common ground of sportsmanship. When the salesmen of competing businesses first meet they usually attempt to find common ground in their common humanity and their common frustrations.  So here I am trying to make a good first impression.  I start with a joke and I look through the news for something to beat up McCain with.

There is nothing there.  The closest I can find is a breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment.

When I dig deeper I find that he doesn’t have cancer.   I search wider to learn that he’s trying to show independence and he is an “unabashed” conservative.  Big whoop. Like I haven’t known that he was independent and shameless since he hooked up with John Edwards for that patient’s rights bill in ’01.

McCain has got to be the slowest moving target on the political freeway.  Any conservative position he takes is a flip-flop and any liberal one is redundant.  He’s stuck.  His free range maverick ways now leave him mud sucked, unable to move left or right.  His sole attraction for the Republicans is he didn’t actually obstruct President Bush’s policies on Iraq or Afghanistan.  The number of attractions he presents Democrats challenge enumeration.

It is to McCain’s ironic misfortune that Democrats emote rather than think.  The voters he should be able to rely upon cannot consider him.  Entranced with Barack Obama’s looks and kindness and vigor, they are unconflicted while rejecting John Kerry’s partner on CAFE standards, Paul Sarbanes‘ backer on corporate oversight, Senator Charles Robb’s cosponsor for military base closings, Lieberman’s across-the-aisle buddy on global warming and Ted Kennedy’s on immigration reform.  Democrats are unmindful, a sadly accurate adjective, while abandoning the Senator that stood with them against President Bush’s tax cuts, federal embryonic stem cell research funding bans, and Supreme Court nominees.

A jilted McCain must turn away from the spectacle of Democrats swooning over their latest everlasting love d’jour and face Republicans unimpressed with his cleverness.  The media that called him ‘Darling’ has tossed him aside to chase a younger, more slender tart with an easy smile and vacant eyes.  Oh, the heart break of it all.

It puts a grin on my face, but I’m cold like that.

The only thing left for McCain or the Republicans is to calculate the proposed cost of Obama’s excesses and track the many dangerously dumb ideas Obama has had in order to scare people into voting for the dead guy.

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July 30, 2008 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

The Surge: Premature Joculation

Much has been made lately of Barack Obama’s refusal to admit that the surge has worked. Even the liberal MSM has questioned why Obama won’t give McCain his props for supporting such a great military strategy.

What am I missing here? We are not even at pre-surge troop levels yet and the oft cited reduction in violence has not had much time to endure. In fact, just today three female suicide bombers struck Baghdad and another struck Kirkuk killing and wounding loads of innocent citizens. We won’t even go into the fact that the goal of the surge, to provide Maliki’s government some air cover while they get their act together, has not yet been completely achieved.

It’s way too early to celebrate, folks, and Barack is right to not ring the victory bell too loudly. That McCain is making the “successful surge” one of his talking points should be no surprise. He’s part and parcel of an administration that declared “mission accomplished” before sending thousands more young American men and women to die.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

July 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Can You Spot the POTUS?

Sit back and let me take you on a flight of fancy.

Imagine Bobby. Bobby has been in a coma for the past nine years. When he awakes, as far as he knows the President of the United States is Bill Clinton. We tell him that is no longer the case but rather than tell him who the current President is, we try a little experiment with him. We play Bobby two sets of video and then ask him who he thinks the President might be.

Video 1: “What do you see, Bobby?”
“Mmmm, well, I see a middle aged tall black man. Looks like he’s talking to the head of Afghanistan. OK, now he’s talking with Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq. Mmmm, he’s shaking hands with Bebe Netanyahu in Israel. Oh, look now he’s talking with Andrea Merkel in Germany. Wow! Look at that crowd in Berlin that he’s talking to! Wait a minute, is he in a press conference with the President of France? OK, I’ve seen enough. I know who the current President is.”

“Hold on Bobby! We’ve got another set of videos to show you.”

Video 2: “Bobby, now what do you see?”
“Ah that’s sweet. Looks like a retired guy going golfing. Hey is that George H. W. Bush he’s golfing with? Wow, real nice of the former President to take that old guy golfing with him. Ah, ok now we see this same guy grocery shopping. Looks like he’s a grandpa shopping with the family. He seems to have a preference for cheese. Oh what’s this? Ah, now the old guy is having a nice lunch at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant. It sure is nice to see this fella enjoying his retirement: heck, golfing, grocery shopping with the family and a nice leisurely lunch. Ehhh, one question. Why are you showing me this video clip of this retiree?”

OK, flight of fancy over. Now I ask you. Isn’t it hard to believe that McCain has put someone new in charge of the campaign?

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

July 25, 2008 at 11:55 pm 15 comments

Jesse Jackson and How to be Black in America

I’ve said from the start that Barack Obama’s candidacy is good for America if for no other reason than that it gives us a good excuse to have some frank conversations about race in this country. The recent “hot mike” remarks made by Jesse Jackson highlight at least two interesting topics regarding how blacks should conduct themselves in this society.

The first issue is whether or not blacks should castigate other blacks in front of whites. When I watched excerpts of Barack Obama’s “Father’s Day” speech, I must confess to some discomfort. While I fully agreed with Obama’s call for responsibility among black men, I wondered to myself when have we ever seen a white politician telling deadbeat white dads to get their act together on national television? All I could do was picture a bunch of good ‘ole boys watching his speech and saying “yep, even the colored guy knows how lazy and shiftless his colored brothers are. Heck, if he’s saying it, it must be true.” I have struggled with my feelings about this. It smacks of airing dirty laundry outside the “family”. On the other hand, how do we fix problems in any community if we don’t discuss them? When Bill Cosby gave the same message not long ago, I didn’t think twice about it. Perhaps it was because he is an entertainer. Obama is auditioning for leader of the free world, and President of ALL Americans so perhaps I’m upset to see him singling out one group for admonishment? In any case, Jesse’s comments resonated with me on a certain level. Yet I’m not comfortable about it.

The second issue involved Jesse’s use of the “N” word during his whispered comments about Obama’s social perspective. This prompted a heated debate on “The View”, a show that I don’t typically  look to for intellectual stimulation. However the following dialog is worth discussing. (The video is a bit long but ultimately worth it.)

Who should use the “N” word? Absolutely no one! In this face off on The View I was astounded to find myself at first on the same side as the too-young-to-know-better conservative Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Sheree Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg’s old argument about how “owning” the word somehow disinfects it is just so much horse manure. The word is hateful and has no place in public or private discourse. But the argument does take an interesting turn when Hasselbeck suggests that “we all live in the same world.” To this, Whoopi angrily pointed out that life for blacks and whites in this country is not the same. Hasselbeck, who more often than not comes off like a spoiled brat who lucked into a reality show and a football player husband, was dumbfounded (and outright hurt) by Whoopi’s reaction. Sadly, Hasselbeck naively believes that her Utopian view of the world is reality. For this she badly needed a wake up call from Goldberg. Whoopi’s only mistake is in thinking that the way we deal with our lot in this country is to “take ownership” of words that demean us.

As I expected, Obama’s candidacy is sparking debate among blacks and whites about racial politics in America. More interestingly, a road map is being drawn for how to conduct oneself as a black in 21st century society. Are we truly in a post-racial period? If so, then blacks criticizing blacks in a public forum might be completely appropriate and part of that criticism ought to be the complete and utter rejection of the “N” word.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

July 18, 2008 at 7:33 pm 15 comments

JibJab Strikes Again

The folks at JibJab have done it again. What I love is that they are equal opportunity offenders. This clip hits everyone from Bush to Cheney to both Clintons, McCain and Obama.

Enjoy!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

July 17, 2008 at 11:15 am 2 comments

An Eye for an Eye

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the death penalty cannot be applied to cases of the rape of a child. This has produced an outcry of opposition from among others, Barack Obama. I think Obama has missed the mark on this one. You see, there is that pesky LINE as in where do we draw the LINE?

Admittedly, I oppose the death penalty altogether. Its deterrent value is questionable and it licenses the state to commit the very act that it is punishing. Of course, that is the death penalty as it applies to murder convictions. While I disagree with it, at least in the application of punishing the crime of deliberate premeditated murder, we have some objective yardstick. In the case of child rape, I see an incredibly slippery slope.

If we apply the death penalty to child rape, what do we tell:
The man whose 80 year old grandmother has been raped?
The engaged woman who was saving her virginity (yes, old fashioned but it still happens) for her future husband and has been raped?
The young woman who is now pregnant with the child of her rapist?
The man who has been raped?

Do we tell all these people that their trauma is somehow less than that of a child?  You answer, “childhood is precious and special. There must be different standards applied there.”

So do we now apply the death penalty to:
Those who physically abuse children (which would put a lot of parents on death row)?
Creators and consumers of child pornography?
Employers who violate child labor laws?

Where do we draw the line? Our national obsession with the welfare of children is somewhat hypocritical in light of our professed disdain of but secret titillation with the likes of Jamie Lynn Spears and Miley Cyrus.

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision. If we must have the death penalty, it must be reserved for the most narrowly defined set of crimes. Otherwise, in the name of so called decency, we are on the slippery slope to a terrorist state.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

June 27, 2008 at 11:04 am 10 comments

The Campaign Finance Flip Flop

There is only one thing that bothers me about the recent Obama flip flop on campaign finance. He started his statement to his supporters by saying that he would be foregoing more than $80 million in funding by opting out of public financing. Why on Earth did he say that and why did his handlers let him say that? The $80 mil he is “foregoing” is a drop in the bucket compared to what he has and what he will continue to raise. Why he felt he needed to frame this in the context of sacrifice is beyond me.

That said, the idea that this flip flop makes him a typical pol is ridiculous. A typical pol, works within the current system and plays it for all it’s worth. McCain will stick with public financing and let the 527′s do the dirty work for him in the traditional fashion. Rather than being a typical pol, Obama is going outside the established system and is really running a campaign “of the people”.  As other pundits have noted, Obama’s approach makes him beholden to no one. He has millions of small contributors, none of whom alone can unduly influence his policies. For that matter, his flip flop is not of the gargantuan proportions that McCain supporters would have you believe. Almost from the minute that Obama signed the “pledge” he started hedging, indicating that he would only accept public financing if he was assured that the playing field with McCain would be fair. He has obviously figured out that a fair fight this year means he needs all the money he can get. It’s a very sensible decision.

I guess the other thing that puzzles me is if public campaign funding is provided by tax payer dollars, why wouldn’t conservatives be overjoyed that their tax money is not going towards Obama’s campaign?

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

June 22, 2008 at 6:01 pm 5 comments

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