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Thread: Hit Parade - is Barack Obama ready?

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Hit Parade - is Barack Obama ready?

    Anyone who is not deeply nave about American politics had to know it was coming: an intense assault on Barack Obama's character, his past, and his judgment. Now, as the previous fragments of rumor, innuendo, online reporting, and political gamesmanship are intersecting into a broader tale, we are about to see what Senator Obama -- and the United States of America -- are made of. We are about to move from "the silly season" to "the ugly season."


    The sudden surfacing of a picture of Obama in traditional Somali dress; the charge that he had plagiarized his friend and advisor, Governor Patrick Deval; Senator Clinton's recent incensed discovery of leaflets circulating in Ohio exaggerating her support for NAFTA -- all of this is trivial in relation to the hit parade that is coming. Ties to Arab-American money and influence, Iraqi Baathist billionaire money, the PLO, domestic American terrorism... follow the money, connect the dots. This is now what is gaining traction (and detail) on the conservative blogs. It is just a matter of time (my guess is, a few days to a week) before it hits the mainstream press and the nightly news

    The timing is probably no coincidence. This week is probably Hillary Clinton's (and everyone else's) last chance to stop Obama from winning the Democratic nomination -- or at least from winning the primary elections and caucuses so decisively that the Democratic Party would be shattered if it then tried to deny him the nomination at its Denver convention on the strength of votes by "superdelegates." For weeks now, Senator Clinton's campaign has been trying to stimulate media interest in the story of Obama's Chicago past, to little effect. Now, finally, many of the threads have been picked up, extended, and woven together by conservative New York radio talk show host John Batchelor, in two extended blogs on the website, humanevents.com.

    The implication of the story is that Obama got his start and rose to his heights in Illinois politics with the support of crooks, terrorists, and foes of Israel. Obama's early ties to Tony Rezko, a Syrian-American businessman about to go on trial next week for corruption (whom Hillary Clinton denounced in an earlier debate as a "slum landlord'), is the one part of the story that is more widely known. The idea here is that Rezko was a seminal figure in helping to fund Obama's political rise, and that he introduced Obama in 2003 to a shadowy Iraqi-born British billionaire, Nadhmi Auchi, who is allegedly implicated in financial wrongdoing or criminal activity on three continents. Other strands involve Senator Obama's associations with Professor Rashid Khalidi (then of the University of Chicago, now of Columbia University), who is alleged to have worked for the PLO in the late 1970s and is an outspoken critic of Israel, and his interaction with William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, former members of the revolutionary, terrorist organization of the late 1960s and early 70s, the Weather Underground, which was responsible for several bombings of government buildings.

    Much of what hangs out there on the Internet now amounts to innuendo and guilt by association. No one is alleging that Obama has done anything illegal. Rather, the implication is that this is not the sort of man you would want to trust the future of your country to. And to the Jewish-American community: This is not the sort of man you would want to think about entrusting the security of the state of Israel to.

    Many people (Jewish and otherwise) who have come to know Obama, watched him grow, and taken the measure of the man have come to feel differently. If every president (not to mention presidential candidate) had to agree with the views of or be held personally accountable for every individual he or she had met, served on a board or committee with, or taken a campaign contribution from, it is hard to imagine who we would have left to serve. **

    I tried to think of a president in the post-World War II period who had not had to deal with a serious scandal in his administration. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and on, they all had skeletons tumbling out of their presidential closet. For a moment I thought, well, there was Jimmy Carter, who promised the country "a government as good as the American people." And then I remembered his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance, who was forced to resign over allegations of prior financial mismanagement.

    There is a lesson in Carter's experience. There are no angels in politics, and aspirants to the presidency should not present themselves as such. Politics does not attract angels. It attracts people who want to get close to power to advance their interests (which often include getting richer than they already are), and it attracts people who want power for a variety of reasons (which often include making the country and the world a better place). In the mix, we get corruption, scandal, or sometimes simply bad judgment. It seduces even people who think of themselves as honest: witness Senator McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal, or the recent allegations in a New York Times article of his close relationship with a lobbyist. It is important that Barack Obama's avid followers not idealize him into something he is not, and that he not mislead his devoted following and the country into thinking he is something superhuman in a moral sense. He is fallible and imperfect, and so has been every president in American history. The questions are ones of scale and balance, of what is left when you account for the fallibility, and of how a president, or would-be president, acknowledges and learns from his mistakes.

    As the multiple strands of the story are seized upon, worked, researched, and vetted by major media outlets, we will see what is left to it. My guess is we will find that Chicago machine politics remain afflicted with many of the problems that have plagued it for decades, and that a young aspiring politician without deep roots in the city made some errors in judgment in associating with Rezko, and with Auchi if that is established. There is another story to be explained: how a prominent member of a violent terrorist organization 4 decades ago, who was quoted only some years ago as having said, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough," became an influential professor and member of the Chicago social and political establishment. But that is hardly a story that Barack Obama has to answer for.

    What Senator Obama will not be able to do is simply dismiss all of this as more "politics as usual" or "silly season." It may be politics as usual, but it is politics that can be deadly in a general election. Whether Obama used drugs as a young person is not really relevant to what kind of president he will be a generation later. But who he has worked with and depended on for his political advancement is not irrelevant. Barack Obama is not responsible for the views and associations of everyone he has ever associated with. But he would be wise to respond quickly and forthrightly as these questions come to the center stage. He must define in this context who he really is. If he does not do so, the Republican attack machine will be happy to do it for him. And we saw what they did four years ago to a war hero named John Kerry.
    Larry Diamond: Hit Parade - Politics on The Huffington Post


    **Except if you are Hillary Clinton, who in this election has been held accountable for the words of Robert Johnson, the words of Judy Rose, the words of Matt Drudge- and the cheating of her husband, which troglodytes make out to be her fault.

    Anyway, I thought this was a great article. There's a shit storm coming for whomever gets the nomination. Are the Dems up for it?



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Yes, we are up for it. We know it's coming. But this isn't 2004, and he isn't John Kerry! I nor do anyone think Obama is GOD and is without faults.
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

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    How to hate Barack Obama

    Right now, deep in the GOP dungeons, they're planning their racist, disgraceful assault. What will it be?


    By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
    Friday, February 29, 2008
    The name thing is just too damn easy. Childish, sophomoric, a given.
    Of course, this doesn't mean they won't use it. A lot.
    I mean, my God, his middle name is the same as Dubya's irrelevant little dead arch-enemy and his last name rhymes with that of the most-wanted terrorist in the world and this one's pretty much already in the can, nothing much for the right to do with Barack Hussein Obama's moniker except "accidentally" mispronounce it as "Osama Hussein" over and over again on Fox News and at McCain rallies and across Wal-Mart's loudspeakers so trailer park denizens across Bush's 'Merka will get even more confused and panicky and start loading up the bunker with Ding-Dongs and Coors just in case the Muslim radicals take over.
    No, the problem for GOP strategists is not how to inflame the troglodytic, Limbaugh/Coulter-grade sects of the party who, assuming Obama goes the distance, are already hugely terrified of the notion of a black liberal president, given how he'll surely be a slippery slope straight to gay marriage and rampant lesbianism in schools and hourly shriekings to Allah as everyone's forced to give up their guns and drive a hybrid moped to the tofu store.
    The true difficulty facing the GOP's henchmen in the coming months will be how to get those who are just a tiny bit smarter, calmer, less easily swayed, those on the right who might actually be a bit impressed and charmed by Obama's obvious intelligence and oratory power, to hate him, fear him, find his genuinely moving brand of hope and inspiration to be suspicious and problematic and even deeply dangerous.
    It won't be easy. Because at the same time, they must make their own unlikely candidate, a feisty but fuzzy 71-year-old war hawk whose entire campaign is apparently now being fueled by a giant hunk of Cold War phlegm, the nauseating notion that not only is a perpetual state of war and aggression desirable for America, but is actually essential to a healthy and functioning nation, they must make John McCain's musty, patriarchal brand of regurgitated Republicanism seem fresh and visionary and not horribly regressive and embarrassing.
    Wish them luck. Or, you know, don't.
    So then, here's the fun little game all progressives can play until the election itself. Assuming Obama gets the nod, just how will they attack him, smear him, paint him as an evil and untrustworthy force for the nation, the way they did Al Gore and John Kerry? How nefarious, racist, draconian will they get?
    We have a few hints, the first one allegedly (if you believe the Drudge Report, which you should almost never do) coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign. That old photo of Obama wearing a traditional head-wrap and robe while visiting Kenya, looking vaguely like a terrorist because as everyone knows, only terrorists wear traditional tribal garments? Not bad. That sort of thing has potential, something the right normally would hurl all over the airwaves as fast as possible, though it mostly just reeks of the same kind of ignorance-baiting as the "Osama Hussein" name game. They'll have to do better.
    What about the shocking lapel-pin scandal, wherein Obama allegedly refused to wear an American flag button, causing a bunch of angry fat white men in the GOP to grumble and pretend to be outraged over his "lack" of patriotism? Sure, it was deeply stupid reaction. Yes, the minor furor was merely meant to enrage the gun-rack-on-the-pickup-truck crowd. But the patriotism angle might be something they can poke at. Hell, they just don't have much else.
    See, unlike Hillary, Obama can't be effortlessly demonized. He doesn't have Hillary's infamous laundry list of faults and transgressions, the enormous built-in wall of hate the right already has for her, her gender, her husband, everything she represents and carries forward from the Bill Clinton era. Smart as she is, Hillary has truckloads of baggage. Obama has but a tiny carry-on.
    At the moment, the McCain camp is spinning like mad, trying to find its footing and apparently basing his entire run on permanent tax cuts (the same ones he voted against, twice) and war war war. McCain himself ain't exactly the world's sharpest tack, and, given how he's the presumptive GOP nominee only through a rather astonishing series of flukes and lucky breaks, he has enough trouble of his own just trying to articulate a coherent message that doesn't offend the entire planet. He's far short of a master strategist.
    What's more, he has yet to hire one. There's no true genius hate artist like Karl Rove around anymore to attempt to unify the racists and the white evangelicals and the Latinos and the war-lovers into one giant, seething, Obama-fearing voting bloc. Which might be impossible, but given the deeply fractured nature of the conservative wing, it might be McCain's only hope.
    That, and attacking Obama. Will they go for his past drug use? Not available. He's already admitted to everything in his own book, and it's pretty tame. Major past policy errors? Doesn't have any. And what he has accomplished is remarkably consistent with his current vision. Lack of military experience? Nope. The Bush administration saw to it that military experience is considered useless, with Dubya himself running AWOL and even Dick "Go F- Yourself" Cheney saying he had better things to do than serve in Vietnam.
    Which leaves us with the one true hot button, the ugly issue everyone expects: race. This is the card the right will have to play very, very carefully, as the slightest slip-up in demonizing Obama's skin color and playing to America's nastiest, deep-set racist tendencies will offend millions and only make Republicans look like the party of old, white, sexist, racist, classist warmongering men they very much are.
    But rest assured, if the past eight years are any indication, play it they will. For one thing, the GOP is now counting on the cultural discord that's been simmering for years between the Latino and African American communities. While it's hard to imagine Latinos flocking to the Republicans, given the party's hateful, isolationist immigration agenda, McCain is immigration-friendly, and Obama is, well, black. Will it be enough to sway millions of Latinos McCain's way? Does the right even have the power structure in place to try?
    Because here's the thing: When they stole two elections for Bush, the brutal, homophobic conservative machine was tightly organized, had focus, mountains of cash, Karl Rove, the backing of a very nefarious, deeply inbred team of ultra-wealthy war hawks hell-bent on taking over the nation and ruling with a flaccid peni- ... er, iron fist. But now, this monstrous machinery has collapsed, failed, fractured into so many warring factions. There is much foment. There is enormous discord. Iraq is a disaster. Amid the smoking wreckage, McCain stumbles.
    Nevertheless, one thing seems certain: We have yet to see the worst — and most deviously racist — of the attacks on Obama. The sad news is, there are simmering pockets of racist hate in this nation that have never really been tested, pockets of such vehement intolerance and power that it's impossible to know what demons lurk, what sort of outrage will erupt. After all, there is simply no historical precedent for what we are about to get into. No one with Obama's uniquely appealing makeup has ever made it this close to the White House.
    And hence, it's almost a sure bet that the remnants of Bush's Republican machine, mangled and disgraced though it is, will still struggle mightily to find a hugely shameful, pitiful pathway toward playing on Middle America's darkest fears. E-mail Mark.
    Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here
    Mark's column also has an RSS feed and an archive of past columns, which includes another small photo of Mark potentially sufficient for you to recognize him in the street and give him gifts. He also has a raw Facebook page, but has little idea why.
    Last edited by ingi; February 29th, 2008 at 07:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Gosh, that was a great article. But this my favorite part!!
    No, the problem for GOP strategists is not how to inflame the troglodytic, Limbaugh/Coulter-grade sects of the party who, assuming Obama goes the distance, are already hugely terrified of the notion of a black liberal president, given how he'll surely be a slippery slope straight to gay marriage and rampant lesbianism in schools and hourly shriekings to Allah as everyone's forced to give up their guns and drive a hybrid moped to the tofu store.
    He has them pegged!!!
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    At the end of the day, McCain just doesn't come off well on TV at all. He's gonna make Bob Dole look like Jay Leno at the debates and O will smoke him!

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