The series continues…..
What is and who is this magical Barack Obama? Is he the next Kennedy and/or Jesus? Is he ridiculously overhyped? Should we young folk just gravitate to his amazingness? Should we all smoke cigarettes like him to get that crazy voice?
Or more importantly, of what substance is this Obama imposed on us from above? Just being multiracial and eloquent won’t cut it for me no matter how much I want to vote for a non-white guy. Is he leader on progressive causes? Does he stick his neck out when what is needed and what needs to be said is unpopular? Let’s take a look.
What’s Right with Obama
Barack Obama has been a senator only since January 2005, and before that he served for several years as a state senator in Illinois. After college but before law school, Obama worked as a community organizer in the mostly black South Side of Chicago to help that part of town speak for its own needs. I find it impressive that he took time off between undergrad and law school to spend time doing something like that, fighting battles for the people no one cared to fight for. Who wants help organize the projects?
After Illinois Governor Ryan commuted all death row inmates to life sentences when people on death row were found to be innocent, Obama passed a law requiring that police tape all interrogations of murder suspects. In 2002, he also made a speech opposing the invasion of Iraq while Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and Christopher Dodd all voted for the war that year. He also opposes the free trade agreements like CAFTA, though he supports the Peru agreement.
He pisses off the foreign policy “experts”
Obama also has an internationalist and comprehensive view of how the world works and needs to be improved that I just don’t think another white president is going to “get” without living abroad like Obama did (Hillary’s snide remarks aside about how his living in Indonesia “doesn’t count” for foreign policy experience). He’s African, he’s American, he can be the whole world in one person. I think that should count and help in re-making American foreign policy.
That he hired Samantha Powers who wrote A Problem from Hell about the Rwandan genocide for foreign policy advice is commendable as are his comments that we should meet presidents and dictators that we don’t happen to like (including Castro). He also has announced his support for the abolition of nuclear weapons which is required under the Non-Proliferation Treaty though John Edwards announced his support months before. Obama also said he wouldn’t use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan which is common sense, but also drove the foreign policy experts crazy.
Our “foreign policy establishment” has either failed America or led into idiotic and morally questionable policies. Obama just might be the guy to give them a kick in the pants.
Given that Chicago is still a one-man dictatorship (see the Daley Machine), his win in the Illinois Democratic Senate primary in 2004 was nothing less than miraculous. He was too black for white folk and too white for black folk. He still has to deal with that question with Hillary speaking Ebonics/Southern with black audiences while he needs to convince white people that he isn’t “too black.”
Dirt on Obama
Sorry guys, I haven’t seen much dirt on this guy. The most I can find is that he bought land next to his house from a crooked Illinois businessman so Obama could get a bigger yard. Obama admitted the deal was a mistake and donated the money to charity. ABC also found that he was helping donors get some tax breaks and though he doesn’t take donations from lobbyists, he does from their partners at the law firm. Oh, and he tried cocaine as a kid.
Obama’s good on the basics (like the environment), but I feel that he isn’t taking leadership on anything. Rather than being substantive, he relies on his charisma to get by. When it came to the legalizing the illegal NSA wiretapping program, Sen. Dodd is the one that put the bill on hold, not Obama. I haven’t seen him use his famous face on issues like Guantanamo, the Military Commissions Act, illegal wiretapping, defense contractor corruption/overspending, poverty in America, withdrawing from Iraq, or even healthcare. His healthcare plan for the auto industry (they increase fuel efficiency while the government pays their health bill) is a pathetic compromise that shouldn’t be made. His triangulation when he has media presence to move the country on the big issues I find disappointing. Says a Chicago supporter
“Those of us in the Chicago progressive community still believe in Barack Obama,” says Joel Bleifuss, editor of the left-wing magazine In These Times. “But at the moment we’re pretty much taking it on faith.”
And that might be too much to ask of us. To take it on faith.
Rolling Stone profile of Obama and his church
Bipartisan Proposal to eliminate nuclear weapons
Real Change Skeleton Closet Obama profile
- The new Joe Lieberman: Is California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein Bush’s biggest Democratic enabler in the Senate? Her latest fealty to Bush was to vote for his new attorney general while most Democrats voted against him because he didn’t think that simulated drowning for “suspected terrorists” is torture. Her husband has apparently been lining his pockets with military contracts that she helps write while sitting on a military appropriations committee. Feinstein has just resigned from that committee. Feinstein voted for the war and is trying to get legal amnesty for telecom companies that helped out in Bush’s illegal NSA wiretapping program (retroactively legalized by the moronic Democratic Congress). Amnesty for the phone companies would close off the one avenue to expose and shut down this program since Congress gave Bush the green light on this. And Feinstein does this despite the fact that Bush’s disapproval rating is 70% in California and 90% among California Democrats.
- Hillary’s campaign planted a questioner in one of her campaign stops. The questioner gave her a softball, “What are you going to do about global warming?” I wonder where Hillary learned this from? Oh yeah, that guy.
- Oh damn, I live on an island that is sinking and eroding away. Global warming, rising water, and Galveston.
- Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns has been struck down as violating the 2nd Amendment by a federal court; the Supreme Court will take the case. It would be the first Second Amendment case since 1939 ( United States vs. Miller ).
- The other mafia: Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta rises up over the weak Cosa Nostra.
- South Africa locks up multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis patients. The AIDS epidemic in South Africa has also caused an epidemic in people with tuberculosis (60% of TB patients have HIV). The scariest drug resistant TB is extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) and has appeared in South Africa too. A South African doctor argues against incarceration as unscientific and irrational.
- And when should we listen to supermodels? When Chinese central bankers say the same thing. Ain’t no love for the dollar no more.