Baracking for Obama
Monday January 29th 2007, 6:07 am

Obama! Obama! Obama!Getting my finger on the pulse of American politics is a fairly difficult thing to do from 12,000 kilometres away. However, when I look at the two front-runners for the Democratic nomination, my choice for the next US President is blindingly obvious.

Hillary Clinton supported King George’s misbegotten invasion of Iraq, despite all the evidence for doing so being completely bogus. That’s enough for me, despite right-wingnut claims that Obama has limited political experience. Jimmy Carter suffered precisely the same accusations from the wingnuts- but this actually worked much to Carter’s advantage back in the 1976 Presidential campaign.

Carter was the first US President to be elected after Gerald Ford served out the remainder of Richard Nixon’s second term, following Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate affair. Carter was indeed ‘inexperienced;’ that is to say he’d not gotten any really heinously stinky political poo on his shoes before running for the top job. Obama is just the same. America needs a president who is not part of the corrupt Washington machine, just as it did at the end of the Nixon era.

Obama was educated at the world renowned Harvard Law School and in fact was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In the last issue of the Review which Obama edited prior to his graduation in 1990, Obama gleefully took the piss out of himself:

I was born in Oslo, Norway, the son of a Volvo factory worker and part-time ice fisherman, a mock self-tribute begins. My mother was a backup singer for Abba. They were good folks. In Chicago, I discovered I was black, and I have remained so ever since.

Oh, my- well spoken, on the thoughtful side of the political fence and has a sense of humour? Whoa.

Sign me up for the letterboxing campaign!


20 Comments so far
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Hi Weez,

Got this “Hillary vs Obama” email from a friend in the USA, answering my question who she’d prefer. Thought you’d like to read her thoughts as she takes a different approach to you:

“Hillary and Obama. My semi-informed opinion . . . they’re both conservative, so I’m not that happy with either of them, but I’m leaning toward Hillary. She’s been trying to get universal health care since Bill’s first term as president, she actually gives a damn about education, and she has some foreign affairs experience from being First Lady and a senator of a major state. Any kind of experience like that may be necessary to get us out of the mess we’re in.

Plus, to state the obvious, she has a vagina and it’s about fucking time this country had a female president. I can’t even remember the last time a
notable woman ran for president in this country (no, the Hemp Lady of Vermont doesn’t count!).

Plus, she pisses off Republicans like no one else does and I personally think they deserve to suffer at least 4 years of someone they truly despise in office, after what they’ve put the rest of us through.

People I’d rather see run, however, are Howard Dean (who should scream like a crazy man at all of his rallies) and Al Gore (because maybe — just maybe — he’s been out of politics long enough to be his own man, and not that of the corporations and other lobbyist groups that constantly try to steal this country from the people).”

Whaddya think? I’m sure my pal would be interested to hear what you have to say.

Comment by Colours 01.30.07 @ 10:33 pm

He seems alright – I just get uncomfortable whenever any politician speaks of embracing the evangelicals… but I guess that’s all just part & parcel of politics in the US.

Jimmy Carter tried to get religious sorts on board too didn’t he? What with all his talk of being a born again christian…

Comment by Marcus 01.30.07 @ 10:49 pm

Colours wrote: “Whaddya think?”

I think quite a lot of Hillary- she’s well educated and spoken, arguably the best politically qualified First Lady ever, ex- or otherwise.

However, I don’t think Hillary would have gained a lot of foreign relations experience as a First Lady in the same manner that I shouldn’t be prescribing medicines because my girlfriend may happen to be a medical doctor.

Hillary has too often played the Democratic party line and hasn’t kept the agendas of the people who elected her in the fore of her mind- and thus in her actions. The very last thing Americans need now is a president who is unresponsive to the will of the people.

Al Gore failed the ‘nads’ test when he failed to take the challenge to the 2000 vote tallies to the end of legal possibility. Kerry did the same in 2004. No thanks.

I’m not so sure the gender of the officeholder makes much difference in the US Presidency, other than the fact that a woman has never held the office. Sure, some woman will have to be first… but let’s hope that she handles it better than Nancy Pelosi has handled the Speakership. Pelosi recently said, “Maybe it takes a woman to clean house.” While I think she thought she was being clever, the result was a needless reinforcement of a sexist stereotype.

Obama has a personal style that doesn’t piss off the Repuglicans as much as Hillary. I think some ability to negotiate will be an important skill for the next US President, but the recent Dem takeover of the Congress makes it a bit easier to implement reform and repair of all the damage Bush et. al. have done in the last 6 years.

Still hoping Obama gets the Democratic nod.

Comment by weez 01.31.07 @ 8:55 am

Marcus wrote: “Jimmy Carter tried to get religious sorts on board too didnt he? What with all his talk of being a born again christian”

He sure did. Carter was open about his born-again xtianity, but to my recollection, never allowed his religion to play in his public policy. Carter is thus recognised to this day as a neutral and introspective elder statesman.

Around 75% of Americans claim if asked that they are xtians, though very few attend a church regularly. Most are ‘weddings & funerals’ churchgoers only.

American presidential candidates thus still feel it is necessary to espouse some manner of xtian affiliation. It’ll be a while before that wears down to the level we see amongst Australian politicians. Australian pollies can be totally open about their own atheism if they so choose- and you can’t believe how refreshing that is to someone like me.

Comment by weez 01.31.07 @ 9:10 am

Thankx Weez, I’ll send an email to my pal with yours and Marcus’s responses. Will let you know if she has anything to say in reply (and I’ve no doubt she will, she loves a good debate! Then again, she’ll probably end up agreeing with you…)

Comment by Colours 01.31.07 @ 3:04 pm

Here you go, my friends reply. By way of note, the past couple of years shes become very much THE feminist, so after I read her email I realised that shes strongly speaking from a feminist paradigm. Nothing wrong with that, but . well, read for yourself. :-) (I dont agree completely with all she said, as you will note in my editor notes)

“While I understand what your friend meant with the doctor/prescription analogy, I don’t exactly agree with it. I think Hillary’s time as First Lady consists of very relevant career experience. When Bill Clinton was in office, he repeatedly said he and his wife were a team. I think this generally was true (aside from Monica, haha) and is the impression I got from reading their autobiographies. While the autobiographies of politicians are always full of self-aggrandizing bullshit, I don’t see any reason to doubt those particular details. Bush has so thoroughly fucked up foreign relations with just about
every country on the planet it might take someone with experience to fix things. Not to suggest that Obama *isn’t* capable, I just don’t know of any evidence to suggest he *is*. Hillary at least has a head start.

Anyway, I’m not surprised that your friend seems
really taken by Obama. Lots of people see Obama as a kind of hero, especially younger people. He also has the added bonus of not having voted for the war, which is the thing I hate most about Hillary. It’s that, more than anything else, that might keep me from voting for her.

Except . . . I am really fucking excited about the
idea of a woman president. And I think she stands a better chance than any other woman in American
politics right now.

> Im not so sure the gender of the officeholder
> makes much difference in the US Presidency, other
> than the fact that a woman has never held the
> office.

Gotta say I completely disagree with this statement. Women are still so far behind in this country that I think the significance of having a woman president is HUGE.

Maybe it’s not something men can understand – and here I don’t mean to parade a selfish victimhood stance – but in all seriousness just look at how far chicks are from achieving equality.

In what’s gotta be the strongest example, just ask a man how often he worries about getting raped, and what steps he takes on a daily basis to prevent that from happening. Will he even understand the question …?

Ask a woman, and you’ll get a whole list. Just the fact that walking down a street alone at night is a completely different experience for a woman than a man is enough for me to want concrete progress and want it *now*. I think a sure sign of that progress would be to put a woman in the highest legal office we have in
this country. It might not mean much to men, but the significance for women is enormous.

Back to Obama. Ok, so he’s nice and polite, but he doesn’t excite me. He’s anti-war, but who isn’t right now (besides Bush)? The fact that he sucks up to conservative Christians bothers the shit out of me too.
By the way, regarding Jimmy Carter, depending on who you talk to, you might find some very negative
opinions about how he let his religious beliefs affect his politics with disastrous results. For example, see the article “Jimmy Carter and the Culture of Death” by Garry Wills. I came across it in a book I cataloged at work a couple weeks ago . . . lemme google it and see if it’s available online anywhere…

ok, um, it’s on one of your favorite websites!

Anyway, I’m tired of religious loonies forcing their issues and their ignorance on the rest of the country. (More bonus points for Al Gore if he runs — he’s a man who has clearly embraced science. but he doesn’t have a vagina! points lost! . . .) I’m afraid Obama, in his polite and tactful manner, will not take an appropriate stand against people who are causing serious damage to the quality of American lives.
Maybe this is just me being a bitch atheist, but I’ve had enough of this evangelical bullshit.”

Comment by Colours 02.01.07 @ 9:12 pm

Colours, thanks for the go-between with your mate.

However, I’m a little concerned with what she thinks my views on women are. She ought to come by mgk & chat with me herself. Moreover, she really should stop in on my housemate’s site to get a better idea of the feminist politics which are espoused in this household.

I won’t go so far as to call your pal sexist, but she’s certainly well on her way. Just because a person equipped with a vagina hasn’t yet held the US President’s office doesn’t mean there’s any greater imperative to elect a woman. It’s neither prerequisite nor appropriate for an officeholder’s gentialia to be considered by voters. To select a candidate (for any position) on the basis of gender over ability to do the job is definitionally sexist.

The religious right has been punching above their weight in the USA since 1980. This would have a lot to do with Irving Kristol‘s manic nationalism which relied upon divinely justified American manifest destiny myths, now known as ‘neo-conservativism,’ which found its way via various means (Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, etc) into policy for the Reagan administration. Candidates didn’t seem to have to publicly embrace religion until after Reagan had so much success with that tack, post 1980. I bet you find a path straight back to Kristol when you closely inspect the political influences of those presently in the US religious right.

I lived in the mudwest for most of my time in the USA. This isn’t just the Bible Belt- it’s the Bible Belt’s buckle, just north of the Bible Zipper… Yes, there’s lots of xtian fundies out that way, but there’s not so many you’d ever call them a majority. They’re just more politically involved than most other people, who under normal circumstances, just can’t be bothered. So it happens, what we have at this moment (or at least what we had up until last November) isn’t exactly what you’d call normal circumstances.

It takes a lot to move most Americans out of their usual general complacency about politics, me included. I left the US in 1996, while the Clinton Admin was humming along reasonably well- and peace was breaking out all over the place. The theft of elections in 2000 and 2004 resulted in one-party rule and some seriously right-wing extremist policy and legislation, including not calling the President on the carpet about taking the nation to an illegal war. The infiltration and consolidation of the religious right at many political levels has put issues back on the burner which most Americans I know thought were settled eons ago (i.e. teaching evolution in public schools).

The political moderates have definitely gotten back in the game, as we saw last November. However, there’s a lot of repair work to do after 6 years of the reign of King George… I’ve suggested in the past that the USA has got 50 years worth of work to just begin to patch up the damage done by Dumbya.

Due to the prevalent meme that officeholders must have some sort of religious faith, I fully expect that whomever will next hold the Oval Office will at some point make some public acknowledgment of their xtianity… but I do think that ploy will go on a downward trend after all the destruction creditable to the neo-cons who believe America is on a mission from their god.

What I’m hoping for over the next 2 years is for the Democratic controlled Congress to seriously get their teeth into those responsible for election manipulation and the war crime that is Iraq. I won’t be satisfied that anything has actually changed in Washington until we start seeing the Iraq war architects going on trial for war crimes in The Hague.

Comment by weez 02.02.07 @ 8:08 am

Weez, I agree with what you said re ‘heading that way to sexism’. When I initially read her email, I thought, you say you’re not sexist and yet you’re carrying on about a vagina being a prerequisite for Presidency??

I’ll see if I can send her over your way. I’ll give her your link. Mind you, she’s really busy with her job so she doesn’t really have much time to read blogs, but I think this one will be one she won’t want to miss!! Hi, K!!

Comment by Colours 02.02.07 @ 10:52 am

C, thanks for that. I hope my restraint in classifying your excited friend’s approach is appreciated. 😉

I can’t vote for just a penis or a vagina when I’m looking to elect the next US President. I need more than pathologised bits for my decision process, thanks. 😉

Comment by weez 02.03.07 @ 6:04 am

I think Colours’ mate hints at one thing about Obama that concerns me… he seems too damned polished and media friendly, in that he almost reminds me of Sesame Street’s Guy Smiley ( I dunno, and if you combine this with his seeming eagerness to appease religious conservatives… Well he comes a accross as somebody altogether too savy at the political game to match your description of him as an outsider when it comes to the “corrupt Washington machine”. I guess I’m a natural born skeptic when it comes to pollies.

And with Hillary, I’m at least aware of the work she did on Medicare while her hubbie was in power… and I suspect that on health care and other social justice issues, as a President she would maintain similar priorities.

BUT I still reckon that Obama is the potential Democrat candidate with the most likely shot at winning the Presidency, so yeah – good luck to the fella.

Comment by Marcus 02.03.07 @ 9:52 am

Sorry, the ‘First Lady – work experience’ thing just doesn’t fly with me.

I maintain that Hillary gained about as much competency in politics in her time as First Lady as I would get in treating cancer were my housemate an oncologist.

Yes, Hillary lived in the White House for 8 years and she certainly had some laudable opinions about national healthcare for the USA, but she wasn’t in any sort of position of responsibility. The First Lady isn’t elected. She could not be sacked (or even merely impeached before Congress) if she buggered something up, nor did she need to concern herself with re-election.

While I’m sure it’s happened that lobbyists have approached First Ladies with the intent of influencing the President’s governmental policies, it sounds inappropriate and corrupt. As President, Hillary will have to balance many interests. Big Pharma and American Medical Association lobbyists will be all but living in tents on the White House lawn.

On those bases, Marcus, I have to worry that her political positions as First Lady won’t necessarily mirror those she would maintain as President.

Hillary’s political CV begins with her election as a Senator… and her record in that regard isn’t a big vote-getter, at least not with me.

I also find it hard to hold it against Obama that he’s well-spoken. That’s a rather perverse ad-hominem, innit?

I believe that the Democratic Leadership Committee (DLC) has already preferenced Hillary. Consider her already established campaign war-chest, said to be in the $20million area, which is really only about 20% of what she’d need to run a successful campaign. You don’t raise that sort of dough without the Dem political machine already right behind you. The DLC is not exactly known for visionary social policy, rather, they’re more into cynical poll-addicted policy which all too often resembles the GOP party line.

Obama’s going to be pushing shit uphill to get the Democratic nomination. It’ll take a noisy, visible pro-Obama presence at the Democratic National Convention to even begin to bring him in from the cold.

Comment by weez 02.04.07 @ 6:36 am

My fear:

Irrespective of whatever policies and strategies are taken into the presidential election there are simply TOO FREAKING MANY uneducated rednecks… who will l proactively turn out to vote for in order to prevent a woman or mixed race dude from winning office. You know, the sort of people who wouldn’t normally vote but have been on the receiving end of another GOP guerilla word-of-mouth campaign in the marginals to get out there and ensure that someone like Hugh Beaumont wins office over Janis Joplin or Hendrix.

Comment by Darp Hau 02.04.07 @ 11:00 pm

Err …considering all three candidates mentioned above are dead …you still get my drift right?

“Ward, I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night.”

Comment by Darp Hau 02.04.07 @ 11:03 pm

Darp, wouldn’t count on those GOP guerrilla whispering campaigns. It was a reminder to register to vote (along with a registration form) sent by the campaign of Indiana Repuglican Senator Dick Lugar along with a bunch of crap about why I shouldn’t vote Democratic… which prompted a straight-Democratic-party-ticket vote from me last November. As you may recall, the Dems are now giving the Repugs holy hell in Congress in a way they haven’t seen about 6 years.

Yeah, pander that whispering campaign around, ok? Works EVERY time, donit? 😀

Have a bit more faith in American voters, Darp. The cavalry’s coming.

Comment by weez 02.05.07 @ 6:04 am

Unfortuantely, I think Edwards will win, not because of his policies, experience, wisdom or track record – but because he is not female and not black. I think the white shoes and crimplene keks will prevail.

Comment by Boondoggler 02.05.07 @ 10:20 pm

Umm, what are “crimplene keks?”

Beyond that, I wasn’t even aware that Edwards was running!

I don’t actually know enough about Edwards to damn or praise him, outside of the fact that back in November 2004, he did remark on election night ‘every vote counts and every vote counted,’ or something quite similar, a promise he’d made throughout the campaign.

John Friggin’ Kerry wussed out at the earliest available opportunity, fearing some sort of public backlash over taking the challenge to the vote counts to the limit of legal possibility, despite widespread evidence of election fraud. I think Edwards was about as gutted as I was when Kerry caved.

The only thing about Edwards’ background that concerns me is that he’s the usual overprivileged, wealthy person you see running for the US presidency. Being successful isn’t a crime, particularly not in the USA, but highly successful people often are unable to conceptualise the plight of those who don’t do financially as well.

I’m downright un-American in the regard that I don’t consider big pay packets or bank accounts with lots of zeroes to be a gauge of how well a person might execute the Chief Executive’s role.

Comment by weez 02.06.07 @ 5:23 am

Edwards places much emphasis on being the son of a mill-worker, and that he feels the US has moved away from being the nation that allowed a boy from a fairly poor family the opportunities to have a fine education that enabled him to get rich practising law. He talks up bridging the opportunity gaps that have grown over the last decades.

It might be all talk of course, but it’s pretty good talk.

Comment by tigtog 02.11.07 @ 11:24 am

TT, thanks for popping in.

I agree with Edwards that it’s no longer possible for any American to ‘grow up to be President.’ These days, it’s possible for anyone, no matter how unqualified, who can successfully be a party puppet to grow up to be President (i.e Reagan, GHW & W Bush).

I could see an Obama/Edwards or an Edwards/Obama Democratic ticket.

Comment by weez 02.12.07 @ 7:48 am

Hey Weez, that ‘merican friend of mine (the “sexist” one!! ha!)… I haven’t emailed her the responses from this blog cos she’s currently going through a tough time with family issues. The last thing she needs right now is to discuss ‘feminist’/’The Next US President’ type of issues.

Someday I may do, but not right now. Just so you know why I haven’t responded with her reply. 🙂

Comment by Colours 02.13.07 @ 9:30 pm

And, Darp, I, too, have faith in American voters (I’m convinced I saw a resurgence in the last election but it just wasn’t enough). But then again, maybe that’s my biggest fault – always being so bloody optimistic!! (Ha, and therein lies the pessisism!)

At any rate, as Weez said, the cavalry’s coming. If they don’t arrive this election, they certainly will in 2012! (small comfort, granted)

Comment by Colours 02.13.07 @ 9:34 pm

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