Will Barack Obama be Another Ralph Nader?

December 16th, 2007

In the close 2000 Presidential race between Gore and Bush, many Democrats blamed Ralph Nader for throwing the election to the Republicans. Hanging chads and other voting anomalies aside, Nader’s Green Party collection of 2.74% of the vote was seen as a slap in the face to millions of Democrats who wanted a government that would represent their views.

Those Americans ended up getting George W. Bush by the thinnest of all margins. Adding insult to injury, Bush did not win the popular vote, and ran to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief against a recount that Florida’s own Supreme Court deemed proper. While Bush’s political cronies did their best to make Gore seem like a sore loser for daring to challenge a close and problem-riddled count, many Americans instead focused on the 2.74% of the vote that was “wasted” on Nader, who didn’t have any real chance of winning the election, never mind ever being any sort of valid contender.

Now we have Barack Hussein Obama.

160px-obamabarack.jpgIt is politically incorrect — probably even politically suicidal — to mention the obvious in a climate where the slightest hint of an offense turns into a month of volleying soundbites, but I am not a politician, and I’m not particularly good at pretending reality doesn’t exist, so let me say what many millions of other Americans are no doubt thinking: Obama doesn’t stand a chance in hell of becoming our next President.

No, it’s not because he’s a person of color. I think most of America is moving beyond race, and Colin Powell would certainly be a popular choice for many. It’s also not about the teen drug use Obama wrote about in his very moving autobiography, Dreams from My Father. Most Americans, I think, are forgiving of teenage transgressions.

It’s not because Obama doesn’t have a stellar resume — because he certainly does, and Obama has been far more places, and done far more in his relatively young life, than many of his fellow Ivy Leaguers. After attending Harvard Law School, Obama became the first African-American president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. His credentials would have welcomed him into many circles, but Obama chose instead to practice civil rights law in Chicago, and to teach law at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois Senate, where he served until 2004, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate by a very enthusiastic and hopeful constituency.

At the 2004 National Democratic Convention, the charismatic and youthful-looking Senator gave an enormously powerful keynote speech that brought the crowd to its feet, and that thrust his name into the public consciousness.

John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper — for alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we’re all connected as one people. If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

2004 was just yesterday in the national political sphere, and Obama’s lack of experience would be a major stumbling block for voters, even his name were not.

Much (but very quiet) ado has been made about Obama’s name and his Muslim roots. Obama was born in 1961 to an American mother and a Kenyan father who met while students at the University of Hawaii. They separated when Obama was two, and Obama went with his mother and her new husband Lolo Soetoro to Indonesia, where he attended school from the ages of 6-10. An article by Insight that described one of the schools Obama attended as a madrassa was heatedly denied. Obama’s own biography states he attended a Muslim school for two years, and a Catholic one for the same amount of time. Thereafter, he returned to Honolulu, where he was largely raised by his mother’s parents.

Obama barely knew his father and only recalls one visit from him, at the age of ten years old. Barack Obama, Sr. died in a car crash when Obama was twenty-one years old. While raised a Muslim in Kenya, it is said that the senior Obama eschewed religion as an adult and was an atheist.

At 26, Barack Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ which, along with other UCC branches, preaches inclusiveness, community service and oneness with God.

Still, the Islamic roots remain, if not within Barack Obama himself, than certainly for many in the public who have an alarmist, kneejerk reaction to anything sounding like, close to, or resembling Islam. A Washington Post article, “Foes Use Obama’s Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him”, points out that rumors about Obama have run rampant on Internet message boards and in chain e-mails. Ibraham Hooper, communications director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations says, “The underlying point is that if you can somehow pin Islam on him, that would be a fatal blow,” Hooper said. “It’s offensive. It speaks to the rising level of anti-Muslim feeling in our society.”

Hooper, I think, is correct. About the fatal blow, the offensiveness, and the level of anti-Muslim feelings in America right now. It may not be fair, or right, or logical — but Obama’s roots will very much be at play in the coming election. The fact that his father was raised Muslim, and that his stepfather is a “non-practicing” Muslim, will not sit well with many Americans, despite Obama’s own professed Christian faith.

obama_austin.jpgThen there is what the Muslims think. Would they consider Obama’s Christian faith a genuine choice — following the Koranic line of “religion is not compulsion” or would they believe instead the Shar’ia law that would make Barack Obama an apostate who, guilty of abandoning the faith of his fathers, should be put to death?

This is the command of the Prophet: Any person (i.e., Muslim) who has changed his religion, kill him. (Hadith, see “apostate” link above).

It is not a good time in history to be Barack Obama. It is not a good time for moderate and liberal Democrats to choose a nominee they admire on so many fronts, even while they understand that he ultimately has no chance of winning the Presidency of the United States.

It’s a terrible choice that Obama supporters are left with — do they nominate a largely inexperienced candidate, and then attempt the almost impossible task of removing cultural brick walls and barricades of prejudice in order to win votes? Or do they give up someone they thoroughly admire and believe in, in order to nominate the Democratic candidate that stands the best chance of winning the White House, and changing the course of this country?

It really seems to be a Ralph Nader question all over again, except this time the stakes are much, much higher.

48 Responses to “Will Barack Obama be Another Ralph Nader?”

  • Ralph Nader? Hillary is more of a Ralph Nader candidate than Hillary ever was.

  • Thank you for articulating what I have felt in my gut for awhile.

    I also feel frustration, and wish Hillary wasn’t the alternative. I am sick of old school politics, and no matter what side she’s on, that’s her background and experience. I really wish Gore would run again. The Supreme Court stole the election from him in 2000, and look at the consequences.

    I’d even vote for a Gore/Clinton presidency, in that order.

  • While Barack has denied ever practicing Islam, the Washington Post discovered that he was registered at both schools he attended in Jakarta, both the majority-Muslim and the Catholic one, as a Muslim.

    Under Islamic law, a child apostate wouldn’t be put to death but jailed until he was an adult at which time he would be given a choice between Islam and death. Nice, huh?

    The Koran says contradictory things, such as the line about compulsion……but that line isn’t meant for Muslims but for others. In Islam, if your father is a Muslim, then so are you. Converting to another faith is not allowed. Men can marry Christians and Jews, but the children must be raised Muslim. Muslim women are not allowed to marry outside their faith at all.

    I am very worried about this election, and there’s not one candidate in any party that I’m happy about.

  • Haha! The democrats will split their own party and Ron Paul will be left waving the victory flag!


  • Jane,

    As you know, Nader had to stay in the race and shoot for 5% of the vote so that the Green Party would qualify for matching funds in ‘04. I understand that a lot of Democrats weren’t happy with him but I felt and still feel that this country needs a third and even a fourth party.

    The Republicans have gone to the ultra-right on so many issues, while outspending every conservative before them. The Democrats have gone too far left on some issues, including border control. Most Americans are probably (wishful thinking?) more moderate either side gives them credit for.

    I support abortion, but not late term. I want our borders secured. I want to end the practice of automatic citizenship for every baby born to illegal aliens here. I’m divided on the issue of universal health care, but know that something has to be done. My husband and I have good insurance, but we’re still paying for an illness that happened two years ago, and our $1000 dental insurance barely covers one root canal, which we need more of now that we’re older.

    I want us out of Iraq and I want us to quit developing oil-for-support relationships with dictators and royalty in the Middle East, period.

    I want a clean environment, and big sanctions against companies that pollute.

    I want white collar crime to be punished the same as blue collar crime. Why is it that a millionaire can rip off stockholders for millions and get a slap on the wrist, while an urban kid who holds up a convenience store for $30 gets twenty years?

    I want equal funding for schools, instead of the neighborhood based funding that creates huge disparities between the education of the rich and the poor kids.

    I don’t want religion and politics mixed. I don’t want a corporate-sponsored government, pork in the legislation, or $1500 toilet seats bought with taxpayer money.

    I don’t know yet who I’ll vote for, but I know it won’t be for anybody who wants us to spend more years and more billions in Iraq. And you’re right, it probably won’t be for Obama. I think he’s been puposely vague about his family’s religious orientation, bit more than that I just don’t think his limited exposure to mainstream America and politics has given him the experience I’d want in a President.

  • This whole premise boils down to how prejudice are the American people. Ok, it’s not racism, but it is about how many Americans would be against a person IF they ever were Muslim in their life. It’s really not much different than racism in my eyes. It’s all a form of intolerance.

    Barack Obama is not Muslim and he likely never was. Yet, some people would even hold it against him because of an internet chain letter says so. But let’s face it — those people who would hold it against him are not those who will vote for him or Hillary or probably any other Democrat in the general election.

    While this might be one of the things that Obama will have to deal with in a general election, there isn’t one Republican who is going to have an easy go of it either. Each major candidate has BIG flaws and will have their hands full defending their own records, personal lives, religions, etc.

    Barack Obama will be able to win the same states as Al Gore and John Kerry and, once again, it will boil down to the usual suspects this time around (Ohio, Florida, Virginia and a few western states).

    This opinion piece is making a lot more of these Muslim rumblings than there needs to be. Because there is NO evidence, this will be a non-factor in whether he becomes president or not.

  • Kissman,

    The whole premise isn’t that people are prejudiced. Although they are right now, particularly against Muslims. The other part of this article is about being inexperienced, which Barack is.

    I’m kind of reminded of the old story…..The Emporer Has No Clothes. It appears to me that Barack’s supporters refuse to see some of the issues that will stand against their candidate in a general election. When the Muslim connection is brought up, they shoo it away as unimportant. When inexperience is brought up, they ignore it and say he will bring a fresh vision to the whitehouse.

    But people do care about these things, and in the end as Jane points out they will be a factor. People may not talk about it outside the booth, but they’ll vote using the same criteria they use in every day life. And in every day life people are leery of people with Muslim names. You think America is ready to have a president with the middle name Hussein? I don’t. They weren’t even ready for a Lieberman.

  • Jane, I respect your writing, and have enjoyed your past blogs, but I think you’ve gone off the deepend with this….cautionary (?) entry! You don’t admit to being a Hillary supporter (at least not here), but from the points you bring up, particularly focusing on the Muslim red herring, you leave me thinking you’ve bought into the Clintonite propaganda. I’m disappointed by your narrow and overtly misguided assessment of Obama’s abilities, and the public’s ability to sort out who and what he represents. I expected more thoughtful reasoning from you. HRC is clearly the LEAST likely of the Democratic candidates to bring out the break from ugly, corporatist politics as usual. Her track record speaks volumes about where she will go for support and guidance on the tough issues facing us, and it isn’t progressive OR positive leaning. Sorry, NO BUSH/CLINTON/BUSH/CLINTON….Thanks for allowing me to respond.

  • I see it the same way Jane does.
    And BTW Jane has come out on this forum for Hilary.
    Hilary knows Old politics alright. And there are so many issues to deal with on so many levels right now. We need to start dealing with global diplomacy. Hilary can do that.We need our economic situation addressed. Hilary can do that. We don’t even need to discuss the situation with our medical care. I believe she knows how to begin to tackle that issue. This border situation I see as just another thing that has been thrown out like a bone to a dog. Just gnaw on this one awhile folks and we can continue our war machine. While I am not completely satisfied with Hilary’s vague answers on the Iraq situation, I am sure she isn’t just for staying either. The only candidates that simply say leave, we know can’t be elected. That is why Barrack is like Ralph Nader. I felt bad for Ralph Nader, because he has been a champion for people for decades, but I was angry at him. because I do believe it split everything up. As will this. Mr. Obama can do much for this country. I wish he was willing to wait awhile for the White House. I have respect for him, but I don’t think he is the man for the job. It isn’t a race issue, but it will be.
    We aren’t going to get perfect, or anything close. I will happy just to get moving in the right direction; forward, into peace.
    But we need to win the big show folks.

  • Dear John,

    In the most idealistic sense, I might support Barack Obama for President, as the lesser experienced but less corrupted candidate — if my faith in the American populace rested at all in their ability to reason. Here is the portion of my entry that speaks to my lack of trust:

    “It may not be fair, or right, or logical — but Obama’s roots will very much be at play in the coming election.”

    I have watched apathetic Americans vote based on little more than star power or family history, giving us Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarznegger and most damaging, George W. Bush. I watched a majority of Americans shrug their shoulders when the U.S. Supreme Court issued their verdict of George W. Bush for President.

    Here in Minnesota, when the inner-city voted Keith Ellison into the Senate, and he chose to take his oath while holding his hand on a Koran, you would have thought the world exploded outside of Minneapolis. Thousands of people wrote letters, called into radio stations, and vowed “never again”.

    So now, in 2008, it seems that Democrats have two front-runners for the Democratic nomination. The relatively inexperienced Barack Obama, who has come onto the scene exuding hope and confidence, but whose roots and political astuteness will be an issue for many Americans — and an older, experienced warhorse of politics, Hillary Clinton, whose history has already been vetted, chewed up and digested one way or the other.

    Those (hopefully few) Americans who would vote their immediate prejudices on color or gender would seem to offset each other, so I don’t consider race or gender to be any sort of win-lose issue. However, if I consider the prejudice that many Americans feel, and have exhibited, towards anything pertaining to Islam into the mix then the wheel tilts towards Clinton. Adding the issue of experience and public recognition, that wheel tilts a bit more.

    John, I realize that there’s more than a little cynicism attached to my view, but given the choices Americans have made in the last two Presidential elections (they voted a C- cheerleading National Guard dropout into the Presidency!), I don’t trust that a nomination for Obama will result in anything more than a temporary feel-good vote for the bright underdog.

    In the end, I don’t think that nomination will result in an Obama Presidency, and the thought of four more years under the Republicans is more devastating to me than seeing HRC in office. Will she get us out of Iraq? She has said she would. Will she make health care a priority? It appears so. The most critical issues for me would, I think, be addressed by either candidate.

    The question is — who stands a better chance post-nomination of actually becoming President?

    I appreciate your response, and understand your view. I can only hope that in any case, 2008 will be the year Americans step up to the plate with a united front.


  • Jane, as a moderate Republican, I have voted both Democrat and Republican. I am not party-specific but issue specific. More than anything this year I want America out of the middle East. It really is almost a one issue race for me.

    I think whoever’s going to get us out is going to get a lot of votes from the other side. The swing voters will be with the candidate that gets us out, and restores (starts the long process anyway) our economy.

    I can see Dems swinging Republican for Guiliani if he comes up with an exit strategy and economic plan. He’s still riding high on the heroism he displayed 9/11. I don’t see though the possibility of Reps, particularly harder core ones, swinging their votes towards Barrack Obama.

    I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I won’t vote for Obama. I don’t think he has the international experience or background needed.

  • John, you seriously don’t believe that Obama’s muslim ties will be a part of this race at all? I disagree. What you call a red herring isn’t going to be perceived as a small issue since our country has been engaged in war, and attacked by, Islamic extremists for several years now. I’ve seen Obama supporters get outraged over this issue as if
    there really is no issue. They get totally pissed, for instance, when Obama’s middle name is actually published. “They” say people do it as a smear. There’s no smear…..that IS the guy’s middle name. It’s a fact. It’s a fact that members of his family are Muslim. He obviously grew up with his own mind and chose Christianity. In a nonjudgmental world, maybe people would not see a Muslim converting, but a man choosing his own religion for the first time. It’s not a nonjudgmental world though.

    For me, I see a guy who skirts issues, has no economic experience, no international relations experience, and very little political know-how. I think he’s been somewhat evasive about the Islam issue as it pertains to his family. And I think, despite common sense, those who are far to the left, the most liberal of liberals, are going to insist Obama’s their man, and probably tip this election to the Republicans. Thank you Oprah!

  • Jane,

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I’ll even take heat for being naive, but I really do believe America is ready for a change much bigger and more substantial than Hilary Clinton is capable of bringing us.

    Yes, prejudices and perceptions will play a role, but don’t they always? Look, some people probably didn’t vote for Bush for precisely who his family is. Some people probably didn’t vote for the Arnold because they hate his movies. Prejudices and excuses and yes, even the inability to reason, are part of every election in a free populace.

    But do I think that Obama will be thrown out of the race due to his exotic background and name? No, I really don’t. I find it as likely, or even far more likely, that Clinton will be tossed aside simply because many Americans are just sick-really sick-of “politics as usual” and all the game playing that comes with it.

    My vote’s going to Obama, and I’ll make it with confidence that America has learned its lessons.

  • I really wanted to believe in Obama as being the “something for everyone” candidate but after watching him in few debates and various interviews, I found myself completely underwhelmed. He just wasn’t living up to the hype and seemed truly out of his league in the political fast lane. He’s charming and has an appealing enough message, yet as I’m listening to him I’m unable to feel he has the strength of presence or commanding tone to get people to follow him. In fact, as president I think he’d get eaten alive.
    I was willing to support Hillary early on, if for no other reason than I thought she could inspire confidence enough to get elected. I was somewhat leery of the entrenched politician syndrome but was more concerned with going with our strongest name brand. Then she voted for the Kyl-Lieberman resolution and proved herself completely as a status quo, business as usual, lobbied politician–another craven Republican-lite Democrat.
    Then Edwards started to really come out of the shadows. He was speaking more forcefully, more bluntly than either Clinton or Obama. He impressed me in several debates and, to me, he exudes a genuine passion and sincerity on many major issues.
    I could feel comfortable with him in all facets of the presidency in a way I cannot with the other two. Edwards is my final choice and I have no reservations about his abilities. I just hope Oprah’s endorsement of Obama doesn’t elbow him out of the running with her superficial product marketing. One judicious vote is not enough to qualify someone as president anymore than happening to be a functioning mayor of New York City during a crisis should. And LBJ, don’t be sucked in by the myth of Rudy. Giuliani was vaulted to hero status by a hyper jingoistic media that was throwing the term “hero” around to elevate as many people to an iconic symbol of national pride as it possibly could. As someone who has been a close observer of Giuliani’s tenure as mayor, his demeanor and scruples left much to be desired. And on 9/10/01 he was a very unpopular and divisive figure, on 9/11/01 he acted in the way one would expect a mayor of a major city to act. A vote for Rudy is a vote for the continuation of the Bush presidency, internally and externally.

  • Hi Alison, long time no see! LOL. I’m not really swayed by Guiliani, my point was just that I can see more dems. swinging votes towards him than I can see Reps. swinging votes toward Obama.

    I haven’t made up my mind about anybody at all and will wait until I see a few more debates. I don’t know much about Edwards at all. So far none of the Rep. nominees are moving me.

  • Hi LBJ, I was also happy to see your post earlier. Please don’t take my anti-Republican invective personally. You are a wonderful example of a Republican with reason, compassion and well-thought out opinions. It’s the inmates currently running the asylum that I was referring to. My judgments are based on their actions, not their party label.

  • Jane,

    Here’s the perfect - PERFECT - example of reality and facts about Obama being called a “smear”.


    Reading the first comment below the article, I am SHOCKED that a reader agrees that John Kerry’s remarks were an attempt to “smear” Barack Obama! Kerry was actually extremely complimentary!

    This is the part of the whole “PC” package that just slays me. When the facts of one’s existence cannot be mentioned due to the “offense” it may cause. So, America is being psychologically trained to - do what exactly? Bury our heads in the sand? Not to speak on the lives of our politicians?

    I’ll tell you in all heartfelt honesty, it pisses me off! Kerry has long been a fan of Obama’s, and his admiration is clear although he endorsed Clinton for her experience. To see him attacked for saying something so honest, and so lovely, is just maddening.

    No way I’ll vote for someone who takes the factual presentation of his life as a smear.

  • Hi to everyone, I feel if he didn’t want to be associated with his name, he might have changed it.
    Otherwise, walk proud. It is his name, and it will be a factor. It just will.
    I mean no disrespect to anyones opinions and feelings, but I have no problem with the fact that Hilary is a well seasoned, already been attacked, and turned inside out politician.
    I don’t think the desire for change is going to do what needs to be done. We need expertise, and experience.

  • Aw Alison there ya go making me blush again. :-)

    I agree about the inmates running the asylum. In my opinion Bush is about as far away from a Republican as anyone has ever dared to go while still claiming the title. My party was taken over first by religious zealots and now its warmongers and spendthrifts. That’s not Republican, that’s something alot more sinister.

    Our economy is crumbling. http://www.safehaven.com/article-8957.htm For the first time in my memory the dollar is falling short to other currencies. I don’t know why real Republicans, along with everyone else, aren’t totally alarmed because I’m scared to death, and I don’t even have kids or grandkids to worry about!

    To Allison with two LL’s. :-) I agree with you about the name issue. If it’s such a sensitive issue and the mere mention of its origin is seen as a smear…..well, that ridiculous.

    I can’t go for HC because I really really really don’t want the Universal Health Coverage she proposes. I know something has to change, but I don’t think the government is the way to go, and there will end up being too many restrictions to it anyway. I think the HMO’s are responsible for much of the rising costs of health care, and I think we have to find a way, with insurance companies and physicians, to make health care affordable again. It was affordable in the 70’s and 80’s, and almost every business I worked in offered it as a benefit. We need to find a way to get there again, and I just don’t think Uncle Sam is it.

  • Hi LBJ,
    I never thought I would be for “socialized medicine ” either, but I have been eye witness and too close to the HMO horror to have confidence in the private sector and the fend for yourself crazy, cruel, corporate, disgrace we have today.
    My cousin and her husband are retired. They just had thier rates raised by Kaiser again, and are now paying $1200.00 a month for medical. If they are hospitalized it is $500.00 a day! They are forking over half thier income every month. If they get put in the hospital how long will they even be able to stay covered? Many are paying more than half, and many just can’t afford it.
    Schools in America are public. Payed for the same way we could pay for medical care in this country. It doesn’t mean you can’t pay for your own care anywhere you wanted.
    Why would you deny the many people who will be left out, the opportunity for vital care?
    Do you pay into Social Security? Government handled. I get that you don’t want the government to be in your business and taking your money. But the medical industry is so ugly and corrupt like everything here because it is a business venture, instead of a mission of health and welfare.

  • Allison, public schools are not paid for in the same way as the proposed health care. While they get some federal money, the schools are largely supported by the neighborhoods they are in, and voters get the opportunity to increase school funding at the referendum time.

    And look at SS. My mom and dad worked hard their whole lives. My mom’s SS check is $603/mo! That’s hardly retirement income, especially for people who didn’t save alot of money. She’s on Medicaid and still pay about $200/mo for meds. If it weren’t for the small insurance policy my dad left and the help of her kids, my mom would be destitute.

    The government’s corruption is also ugly, and I don’t think that previous examples of social programs are at all confidence building.

    I don’t want to deny anybody medical care. I simply want us to work on getting health care back the way it once was….affordable for most Americans and the businesses who employ them. I think that can be accomplished.

    In my state, we have programs for the poor that cover kids and their parents, and I don’t disagree with that. But working people who are not poor should be able to afford their company’s insurance.

  • I just came to read tonight so I am not armed with statistics, but skimming the comments, did I miss illegal immigration being mentioned? That is a big issue with Americans and they have spoken and been heard this year about it. The Democrats are sorely lacking in what the majority of the American people want. It may turn the race in the end to another Republican win no matter who is the Democratic nominee.

    The illegal population is one huge reason for the problems with our health care, not to mention our schools and the closings of hospitals. Prisons are full of them. No taxes being paid. The welfare system. I could list others but that should do it.


  • P.S. Barb, great post from top to bottom! And you did mention illegal immigration.

  • Hi LBJ,
    I just don’t see costs going backwards now.
    I know government is corrupt. There is no easy answer, but something must be done, and public medical care, while not perfect, does get that care to people.

  • Okay,
    What has Barack said he will do?
    Somehow all I see is Hilary is old politics.
    What is he going to do different and new to put things straight?

  • OK, Hillary supporters. Here we go with where we will be for the next 4-8 years of a Clinton administration. Shocking the we are willing as a nation to continue this charade… SAD….BUSH/CLINTON/BUSH…CLINTON/BUSH


  • And for those shaking in their boots afraid to support someone with ‘Muslim ties’….well, I’m no Pollyanna…I just won’t go willingly back to the 1950’s with its race and Commie-baiting. If you’re willing to rollover and resign yourself to Hillary’s inevitability, then you are complicit in continuing this slash and burn mentality. Congratulations. No love for Obama, no problem; but a vote for HRC is CLEARLY a vote to continue in the same direction of distraction, defamation and de facto race/scapegoating we have been fed…with no end in sight!

  • Ta-dum! And John Mc. hits the nail on the head……..and man, does it hurt!

    Idealism vs. pragmatism. Heroics vs. Constancy. A brightly colored rainbow of hope or a tried but somewhat true thread?

    Jane, I have to say I find your skepticism surprising. You have, as far back as my eyes have read, been a continuous fighter for the underdog and, it seems to me, often of the anti-establishment, not status quo, equation. What happened to that fighting spirit?

    John Mc. is, IMHO, the type of peer-voter I want at the polls. Unafraid, and ready to stick it in the face of GWB, old school politics, and cronyism. You seem to think that there are not enough voters like him and I to carry Obama into office. I disagree! Jane, just look at the numbers on your on-site poll! Obama is beating Clinton is almost every state!

    Pick your chin back up off that pessimistic ground, Jane, and join the team that’s going to make the change!

  • #10, Jane: The fact that you would even consider voting for the inexperienced Barack Obama proves to me that you are politically naive. Do you know what kind of danger our country is really in right now? We are on the verge of an economic collapse in the next few years! The link from #19 (LBJ) is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, we need to get out of the war, but we also need to do something about housing costs, insurance, NAFTA, China, fuel sources, other government spending, and so much more. Barack Obama is NOT the man to do that, with his whopping TWO YEARS in federal service!

    #14, Alison: Thank you for pointing out Hillary’s vote for Kyl-Lieberman. Republican-Lite indeed!

    #17, Jule: I’m with you 1000%. It defies common sense.

    #26, John: So, Clinton goes off with Bush Sr. on a public relations junket and you presume collusion? Carter has also traveled in that pack. I do not find it unusual that former Presidents are called to serve together despite party differences.

    #28, Rebecca: I am guessing that you and John are both very young or hail from some liberal mecca, like CA or NY. Your fervent idealism isn’t, I believe, shared by many people who are older or from more traditional states.

    #22, QV: I have grown tired of the oft-stated and always wrong arguments from the apologists and left-wing nuts regarding immigration. Yes it costs! And plenty!

  • Dear Jane,
    I’m reserving my vote for D-Day…oh, that inevitable deadline, the Primary Election?
    When I make my choice and finally take everything into account…I want it to count, and I want whomever I vote for to win.
    I’m not going to vote for anyone I know will lose, like that Independent Party.
    And, I’m not going to believe the opinion polls (Propaganda), anymore than I believe in those news media (CNN or FOX) talk show Attorney/Hosts!
    Love Always,

  • 45 and from Oregon by way of Idaho if it’s any of your business, Callie.

    I was not aware that “fervent idealism” was a geographical quality, or limited by one’s age. I better check that Your Life and the Meaning of it All contract again.

    ****flips pages****

    Aha! Here it is on page 46…..I COULD turn into a bitter and disillusioned old hag IF I allow myself to stagnate and/or/maybe GIVE UP hope.

    You know, I think I’ll stick to my mecca, which is intellectually sound and emotionally comforting, and leave you to…..whatever it is that hysteria-driven, “older” and more “traditional” people do. :-) I’m happy being me, and happy not to share your views.

    Well, I’m off to go weave baskets and skydive naked……you know, like we liberals in Mecca do. :-)

  • Callielou, I’m far from young (well, the last time I checked, 53 was at least middle aged, so what…I will acquire some miraculous wisdom when I’m 80?); and I’m proud and thankful that this ‘fervent idealism’ you disdain is mine to sustain me as I envision the future.

    After enduring 13 years of the NeoCon propaganda machine vilify values that I hold true and dear, and 7 years of watching with growing rage at the stripping of our constitutional rights, I WILL NOT succumb to the cynicism and apathy the rightwing would prefer.

    Their fear mongering has clearly taken hold of you. You certainly are correct that we are at a critical time in our history; and history will tell the story of who was right, what was truth, and what were the lies we were told, and who told them to further an agenda of a greedy self-interest and religious fundamentalism.

    I don’t give a damn what part of the country you come from, staying ignorant of the state of politics in the US today and how it got that way is tantamount to willful promotion of hate mongering, race baiting and a growing corporate state that WILL strangle our precious freedom with tentacles that reach every area of our media, political system and economy. It is THAT serious.

    I hope that thoughtful, compassionate people will awaken to these threats. Unfortunately, I fervently believe that the Clinton juggernaut is too rooted in this same cesspool of greed and self-interest to be able to break away from it (or even want to).

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and comments, and thank you, Jane, for your honesty and integrity.

  • :-) What John said. EXACTLY!

    Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  • Rebecca,
    Just saw your response. Thanks for the chuckles…I tend to get a bit preachy and grumpy I’m afraid. But this matters alot to me!

    I was Oregon-born and raised, so I guess it’s in the water up there! Got any extra jute with you? I feel inspired to macrame a plant holder or two…

  • Dear John,
    “After enduring 13 years of the NeoCon propaganda machine vilify values that I hold true and dear, and 7 years of watching with growing rage at the stripping of our constitutional rights, I WILL NOT succumb to the cynicism and apathy the rightwing would prefer.”


  • Jute and puka shells aplenty, John. :-) We can roll ourselves a fat one, sit in the back of the decked out van, have some Boone’s Farm, listen to some Grateful Dead, and then streak across town wearing nothing but our Birkenstocks and purple Lennon sunglasses. :-)

  • RF,
    LOL, I tried to get drunk on my graduation night on Boone’s Farm…didn’t do the trick. At this age, I’ll leave the streaking to those with firmer thighs, and looser morals…heehee…

    Not sure I get your (?) Yes, I’m against a continuing of the political era/disenfranchisement that began with Reagan, was whipped to a frenzy by the Republican machine that took control of congress in ‘94, and THOUGHT it had completed some kind of silent coup by way of frightening the entire country into allowing their vision to become our vision.

  • Jane, interesting conversation as always! I love it when you open up for comments, and I get to “hear” people talk about the subject. It will be so interesting to see what happens with the primaries, but like someone else mentioned I’m not trusting the news and early polls anymore when it comes to pronouncing the results. I’ll wait till all the votes are counted!

    (By the way, your story about Jonestown was absolutely awesome and one of my favorites. It’s easy to see why/how your “fingers are flying” through the social issues book because it’s clearly where your heart is. Bravo!)

  • SO the perceived sins of the father & stepfather are to be visited upon the son, but just this son and just because of religion? I understand prejudice, I lived it and will keep living it until the day i die or the day my skin changes colour, but if the American people are so ignorant that they’d let a man’s families faith background determine their president, than they deserve what they get!

  • I think that we would do better as a nation to put someone in the whitehouse who hasn’t been in Washington long enought to become a unethical jackass (like the other senators who have sat in office for so many years doing nothing to bring about change), is articulate, and can bring the American government out of its uneccessary shadows. We need someone who can change the country because lord knows it needs to be changed. We need someone who, no matter what party you are from, you can support fully. Why wouldn’t we want someone whose descion making and person in general we can be proud of? Why would we even want another schmuck from Washington who only wants the four or eight years to be president, without really getting anything accomplished that will help the country farther down the road? Why would we not want someone who can and will unite the country? It’s frustrating as a citizen knowing that our country is in trouble with its special interest groups and misplaced goals and that nothing can be done. His faith is irrelevant to his candidacy, just as his skin color is. It’s his ideas and ideals that make Barack the best candidate.

  • ‘but if the American people are so ignorant that they’d let a man’s families faith background determine their president, than they deserve what they get!’

    I agree, Proud2Be, I would only add: or are too lazy, intellectually or otherwise, or afraid, or resigned to the status quo to take some action, to speak up, to stand up, to write letters to newspapers or congress people, to turn off the TV (try listening to AirAmerica on radio or podcast for a change), to donate time or money to those giving of themselves to make those changes a possibility…

  • I’m all for outside the beltway candidates and limited DC exposure but what I definitely don’t want is someone to come in with a mamby pamby message of “the past is the past, let’s forgive and forget and move forward”. I’m not sure Obama has the intestinal fortitude to prosecute those who took part in treason, war crimes, obstruction of justice, war profiteering, and the general gang rape of the constitution. Not just for revenge but to show that never again will these abuses of power be tolerated, nor will the perpetrators be given a free pass. I’m not looking for a fresh faced idealist, I’d rather have someone as angry and unwilling to forgive and forget as I am for the damage that has been wrought to this country. I could care less about Obama’s religion or middle name or year’s of service–it’s his amiable, mild manner that makes me think he’s ill-equipped to handle the vicious personalities and groups that will be working against him. Look what they put Clinton through from the day he got in office.
    I’d rather have someone with the grit and courage to take on our home-grown neo-cons (PNAC et al), AIPAC and the undo influence the Israeli right wing has on our Congress, and someone who can put the boot to the corporations who are practically dictating their own legislation. I want those responsible for taking this country to the brink of disaster to pay and pay dearly. Edwards may not be my dream candidate but he’s sure talking tougher than the rest of the top tier Democrats.

  • Alison,
    I’m not sure who is going to be THE ONE to right all the wrongs of the past seven years. I don’t think we’ve begun to see Obama’s ‘intestinal fortitude’ yet, but I’m right there with you in that I want those who have sacrificed our country’s honor, strength and economic stability as they lined their pockets and furthered their agendas to be held accountable.

    John Edwards is not my ideal either, but I agree with alot of his message as well. I think Obama will be an entirely different campaigner as the race narrows, and particularly were he nominated by the Democrats, but frankly I don’t think we will know for sure till they are in that seat of authority and have the ‘bully pulpit’ for their own message. What I am sure will be key to holding the opposing forces at bay and bringing them onboard, will be the next President’s ability to COMMUNICATE the reasons for needing this cleaning house as it happens, and the benefits for the country as a whole.

    I know it’s obvious to those of us who dispise what we have seen done to our country by the NeoCons why this needs doing, but we’ve also seen how effective they’ve been with propagandizing the issues till the average citizen is content to just watch more Britney crap!

    I want the person who has A) the integrity to fight the good fight, B) the independence from corporate lobbyists and their financial influence, C) the ability to communicate powerfully and effectively and, D) a sense of fairness and compassion that appeals to the general population.

    Who’s THE ONE? We all must decide that, I only ask we dig deep, do our homework and become ACTIVE in the process. Whomever that ONE is, they can NOT do this task alone.

  • I take hope in this much at the very least, that most people ARE ready for a change and that despite ideological and political differences between the Democratic candidates, it seems that we WILL support whomever wins our nomination…….bypassing, I think, all the Republican dickheads (I can say that, can’t I?) who’ll try to compete.

    Yep, I’m still hoping it’s NOT the First Lady of Public Relations Disasters, and I really don’t think it will be, but if it comes down to that, I’ll go there. Feeling a bit queasy, but still….

    Don’t worry about sounding preachy and grumpy, John Mc. I think a lot of us are feeling that way, and feeling like this really IS THE MOST IMPORTANT election we’ve had in our lifetime. It is, isn’t it? I myself tend toward the snarky side when confronted with people who just don’t get why the rest of us feel so passionate.

  • Rebecca,

    I agree with you on the importance of this election. What you call my pessimism is a recognition of how critical the last two elections were, too.

    I have actually been in a state of amazement anger numbness disbelief for the last seven years, marveling at the success luck frightening results the neo-cons have had with brainwashing, misleading, and flat-out lying to the American public. I have been shocked by how quickly the public took to the “us against them” mentality, and how rational questions have been viewed with contempt, and labeled “unpatriotic.”

    Back when I worked in radio, I understood that certain personalities were more charismatic, and that each would gather fans that resonated with the particular mix of message and host, but until this past decade I would have never guessed that a fan base could exist for even the least charismatic and most obnoxious right-wingers — that people would actually believe the hate-filled rants of someone like Ann Coulter, for instance.

    Sure, there have been other times when I found human naivete striking, like when thousands of his faithful followers sent Oral Roberts the millions of dollars he said he needed so God wouldn’t strike him dead. I was pretty amazed by that, and certainly found it strange, but I could at least reason that the situation was limited and probably didn’t hurt more than a few thousand pocketbooks and one man’s reputation.

    This decade, though, seemed to belong to the zombie-like Rush “dittoheads” who took a peculiar pride in their own intellectual fatuousness, while swelling at the seams with all the blustery one-liners they could remember from their most recent brainwashing session. It was “America: Love it or Leave it” all over again, except this time it was all about the yellow ribbons, “family values”, and the “liberal media” that really didn’t exist as a large entity anywhere except in the neo-cons minds as propoganda. (Well, now we have Air America, but it’s a tiny dent).

    My passion rises to the same level as yours, John’s, Alison’s, and others who have commented here, and my blood pretty much boils over the same issues. And yes, I will end up supporting whoever the nominee eventually is, and will throw myself into volunteer mode like never before because it is, as you pointed out, “THE MOST IMPORTANT” decision our country will make next year.

    Speaking of blood boiling: http://www.rosie.com/blog/. The story of gang rape, Halliburton, and the massive failure of our present government to uphold the law and protect the rights of a victim.

  • 31 yr. old single mom here, rooting for Obama.I have to, because Ive run out of hope. Daycare $600.00 a month. Rent $900.00 a month. I make $1400.00 a month before taxes and get 200.00 for child support. Do the math. It’s hopeless. I have to go to food shelves and xmas will be supported by the S. Army. Other then that, theres no help anywhere. My parents are older and help as much as they can but they’re strapped. There’s no joy in a life like this. Thx for letting me vent. Back to work for me.

  • Dear Jane,
    Guess you read they arrested Mireles in Mexico.

    Dear desperate,
    I’ve shopped at Salvation Army for many years. It’s good to know how much they do to help others!
    I had a neighbor with 6 little girls, she couldn’t work and take care of them all. However many people helped her and her family over the years, especially their Church.
    Please try to enjoy your children.
    God Bless!

  • I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here.
    The next President inherits the responsibilities of the previous one, right on down the line.
    He or she is a ‘figurehead,’ ‘a face,’ ‘a presenter,’ that reads what the speech writers, write.
    The Government is a body, it’s never been ‘up to’ one person to change the course of this country.
    Change comes slowly, and surely, and from the ground up…by voting for the local officials, and your state senator.
    It’s takes decades, sometimes, to correct a mistake.
    Slowly and surely this country grows, and merges with the rest of this great, big world.
    It’s a ‘merry-go-round,’ really.
    We need someone to lead the leaders, someone the ‘heads’ all respect.
    I can’t vote for the wife of a man that had ’sex’ in the greatest office in the land, when she seems to have condoned that…or pardoned it…or never addressed it.
    How will, or can she address the nation?
    Freedom is one thing, but taking advantage of ‘it’ is another thing entirely.
    Freedom does not mean you do as you please.
    Too, many do that, especially men, it seems to me.
    If HRC would denounce ‘that’ behavior…well, I might have second thoughts, and consider voting for her.
    If Obama would denounce ‘that’ behavior…well, I might consider him.

    Heck, if they would just get passionate, and get real, instead of just ’speaking,’…I’m just tired of the rhetoric…and makeup.

    Stay Warm…I think that’s a nice Holiday message that might pass Political and Religious and Ethical, or moral inspection!!!