Can we still believe in Obama?

I’ll vote for him – I’d vote for practically any Democrat over “the Maverick” (who I once kind of respected until he showed sings of being Bush III). But all progressives with even a minimal portion of grey matter have to realize that something is really, really wrong. This is not the Obama who mesmerized us on those jubilant nights early on in the primary as he sailed from victory to victory, the one who was going to stand by principles above all else, never abandoning his moral compass. There is real cause for alarm here. Maybe, as some are saying, this is something he “has to do” to win over the center and independents. But how do we know which is the real Obama? That’s a scary question. Just how progressive is he?

And yes, I am still voting for him. And yes, I’m worried as hell as our last great hope transmogrifies into something quite different from what drew us to him a year ago.

Alarming tendencies. I’m deeply missing John Edwards and Al Gore.


The Discussion: 45 Comments

bob barr is looking better and better. i never thought i would say those words!

July 4, 2008 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

No, don’t say that. The last thing we need is a libertarian kook in the White House.

July 4, 2008 @ 11:06 pm | Comment

I think the best discussion of the current foolishness can be found here:

Obama was never quite as progressive as you seem to think he was. Personally, I find that a relief. What he said about the war in Iraq and how he would try to disengage from it was quite consistent, even when it would have been popular to say (as Hillary did) that he would withdraw on a rigid schedule no matter what the circumstances on the ground.

He is going to have to deal with the mess that was made of funding of healthcare in 1993 and the mess that has been made of the American consumer economy in both the 1990s and since (consumer debt doubled in the boom years of the 1990s). That’s going to take someone as pragmatic as FDR, and I continue to be optimistic that Obama is our best chance at being such a figure.

July 4, 2008 @ 11:18 pm | Comment

You may be right, but he certainly catered to the progressives during the primaries and packaged himself differently. I agree, we shouldn’t be overly rigid or dogmatic about topics like troop withdrawal from Iraq – no matter how apocalyptic te situation is there, we created it and we have to get out with as little carnage as possible. But when it comes to the FISA issue there is simply no way out for Obama. We simply don’t know who he is or what he stands for.

July 4, 2008 @ 11:26 pm | Comment

It always amazes me that Americans are so eager to look for miracle solutions. The only thing I am sure about Obama is his communication skills. Can any one point out his other achievement? Sponsoring bills? Work with the other side? administration skills? I really can not think of anything.

After Iraq war, US liberals are frustrated with the loss of moral high ground. The election of Obama could put US back to moral high ground and declare US finally over racial discrimination. In my view, that is a silly reason to elect a president.

July 4, 2008 @ 11:41 pm | Comment

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July 5, 2008 @ 12:41 am | Pingback

[…] aliveandkickin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMaybe, as some are saying, this is something he “has to do” to win over the center and independents. But how do we know which is the real Obama? That’sa scary question. And yes, I am still voting for him. And yes, I’m worried as hell as … […]

July 5, 2008 @ 1:45 am | Pingback

I don’t think China believes in Obama

July 5, 2008 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Obama’s big winning streak ended in February. From February to the end of the primaries, it was all Clinton, and only a rigged primary process kept her from the nomination.

I say this not to make the argument that Clinton would have been the better choice but to illustrate that Obama does not wear well, that his campaign was based almost entirely on branding and marketing.

Of course, I said from the beginning to anyone who cared to listen that Obama was not a progressive but those who had drunk the Kool-aid didn’t want to hear it.

And now it’s too late.

July 5, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Comment

Please don’t vote for Obama. His weak stature and ideals will only lead the U.S. further into destruction as a society. Obama represents the complete wrong part of Westernization that is now filtering into Chinese culture. If you know China, you know what I’m talking about.

July 5, 2008 @ 4:33 am | Comment

I’m a democrat and I voted for Kerry in 04 and Clinton in the primaries. I don’t think I will vote for Obama because of his weak political stance. He seems to be trying to court the conservatives in the recent weeks makes me worry.

As bad as Bush is, he pretty much leaves China alone during the 7.5 years and it seems to be the same stance from McCain. One thing Obama says is that he wants to ban on Chinese Toys because it is unsafe toys from China. I’m not saying there isn’t any unsafe toys from China, but 85% of the toys that were unsafe were due to design flaws rather than the production process. Even the CEO of Mattel apologized to the Chinese government because of this. The US government has only 1 person working for the government who checks for the safety of the toys. The fact that Obama don’t even acknowledge this and use the toys issue to bash China in order to score some political points is just low of him.

July 5, 2008 @ 5:47 am | Comment

@Robert Vance

I don’t most Chinese hates Obama because of his black color. Even China’s CCP propaganda depicts that they are working with Sudan to get oil from there and other Africian Nations to get raw materials from those countries.

July 5, 2008 @ 6:15 am | Comment

Why is this a big surprise? American campaigns are always about buzzwords, marketing, big speeches, never about substantial policies. And each election looks more like entertainment. Voters stupid manipulated. Obama, a black man with only 3 years in the senate, and he’s qualified to be president? Come on, even Bush had more experience when he was running. People are voting or Obama because they care only about buzzwords, marketing, speeches, and nothing else. No substance, no policy, no understanding of the real issues in America. (Which is the current financial crisis and general oncoming depression caused by the subprime crisis, the high energy prices, and the failing American education and public infrastructure). The only thing America has going for it is the dollar and military, the former is now showing obvious signs of slippage, the latter is outstretched and bogged down in Iraq.

It’s game over Americans, go take a shower and go to bed.

July 5, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Comment

So which candidate gets the coveted HongXing endorsement?

July 5, 2008 @ 9:08 am | Comment

No matter what Obama says or does from now to Nov, He will win, in a land slide. It’s gonna be like prom queen v janitor in a popularity contest, it will be ugly. Not only because GOP are in decline and the forever going on war, but also because Mccain has “old, angry, has-been, loser” written on his forehead. I mean just look at Obama give speeches, all that stardom, how could Mccain beat that.

6 months ago I talked to my chinese friends who should we prefer, supprisingly we all said Mitt Romney. He looked like the one would keep the status quo and biz as usual, oh well…

July 5, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Comment

ColdBlood, I tend to agree – Obama will be our next president for a number of reasons, so we’d better get used to him. (I do believe that if the Reverend Wright stuff had come out at the beginning of the primaries instead of the middle-end, we’d be seeing a very different race today.) I don’t like Hillary Clinton very much, but I don’t see her as a crazed Manchurian Candidate who will wreak total havoc on the world. People I know say they don’t really know who she is or what she stands for, and that’s based on her Machiavellian, cut-throat image, and the way she handled her campaign only made things worse for her. To a large extent she brought it on herself. However, I still feel I know her better than I know Obama, whom I endorsed, and issue by issue her policies are more progressive. And I know all the complaints against her and her two-facedness and hypocrisy, etc. But I see a fundamental difference in philosophy between her and Obama, and I prefer hers. I know this will piss off some of my friends – please don’t hold it against me. But I feel a grudging admiration for her, which increased as I watched the idiot far-left flay her alive as if she were a monster. If I had a choice right now between the two I would choose Clinton. If I had a choice of anyone I’d choose John Edwards, Al Gore or Chris Dodd. So I am no Hillary lover, but I hate seeing people demonized in a way that’s totally out of proportion to their alleged defects.

All of this said, I will vote for Obama for reasons stated in my post. We can’t take the risk of McCain nominating the next Supreme Court justice, a decision that will affect all of us more than the presidency itself. Every decision nowadays is 4-5. We are one vote away from abortion rights being taken away, and for the end of habeas corpus to be legislated. Damn straight I’m voting for Obama, with a sense of disillusionment and some trepidation.

July 5, 2008 @ 11:16 am | Comment

Robert Vance, I just checked out the link you provided and read some of the comments and all I can say is Oh My God.

What planet are you from? Why in God’s name would any freedom loving, God-fearing, hard working white person vote for Obama?! He does not represent them in any way, shape or form. You are deluding yourself to think that this piece of human feces will be Prez. Chinese do not like (or take as spouses) blacks because they, unlike many brain-dead whites, can still see and reason, and understand that blacks, in any country in which they are located in any numbers sufficient to form a gang or community, cause nothing but crime and destruction. They are culture destroyers, not culture enhancers……PERIOD. When the Chinese eventually move into Africa, which they will, you will see how kindly they treat the natives (as they roll over them with tanks).

And the fenqing come here and accuse us of racism?

July 5, 2008 @ 11:24 am | Comment

Obama’s certainly gone a long way towards torpedoing whatever enthusiasm I might have had for him — even though I knew at the outset that he wasn’t anyone’s Leftist. Still, come November I will probably be filling out my absentee ballot for him, unless by some divine intervention Pennsylvania ends up being a safe state, in which case I’ll vote Nader. Better to be disappointed by Obama than unsurprised by McCain, and all that.

July 5, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Comment

(Also, Richard — I think the comment you quoted was written by a white person commenting on ‘the Chinese.’)

July 5, 2008 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

I think there’s a lot of misconceptions being propagated here.

I too, initially, was let down by Obama’s ostensible flip-flopism on the FISA bill. What I didn’t realize is that, as I understand it now, even if there was no mention of retroactive immunity in the bill, these companies could not be taken to task for cooperating with the government, even if what the government was asking them to do was quite unsavory.

TPM puts it quite succinctly here:

“Before we all torpedo the best candidate we have had in 30+ years over this FISA thing, be aware of the two facts: (1) there is a long-established government contractor immunity doctrine in American law & what the telecoms did after 9-11 in obeying government demands for compliance is right in stride with that doctrine, and (2) in any event, the federal government is likely required to indemnify the telcos for any judgment or settlement they’d have to pay. Is this really the make-or-break litmus-test the netroots is clamoring for? No way. Is this just another example of liberals eating their own? You betcha. Pop open a brew, chill out, enjoy the 4th and then get back to the task of electing this guy president.”

Still, I think this shows another reason why Obama is the best candidate for president, and it has nothing to do with him. Obama has created a campaign whose base is made up of people who are not going to let the gov’t run roughshod over them. Let’s not forget that the largest opposition to Obama’s tacit support for the FISA bill is ON HIS OWN WEBSITE. This is unheard of.

Moreover, let’s not forget that he’s doing what many of us have been dying for our president to do for a long time: compromise. We can’t expect Obama to come into the White House and avenge the Democrats of all the ills republicans have wrought. He’s going to have to pull us together, not simply flip the coin, and that’s going to be hard for a lot of people to accept.

Also, as Obama’s being accused of changeism on the Iraq withdrawal front, it’s important to remember that we want a president devoted to getting us out of Iraq, but not to doing it at any cost. We have to make sure that we don’t put our soldiers in danger as they’re getting out. It’s going to take time. All he’s saying is that he has to be realistic about the plans and how to progress from step to step.

If he fails, his supporters are going to hold him accountable. If he rushes it, and more lives are lost, his hold country will reject him.

Finally, let’s not forget about his other policies, many of which are bold and innovative.

Obama’s not going to save the world. He’s not going to save the country. I’m quite worried by the apotheosis of Obama, but I still think he’s the best candidate we’ve had in a long time.

I’ve got my doubts about Obama. I know there will be issues where he lets me down (he let me down greatly by not standing up for Wesley Clark in the face of terribly unfair criticism), but I’m really looking forward to his presidency.

July 5, 2008 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

On a side note, Richard, did you know that my Chinese teacher here in Taipei is a friend of yours from Beijing? The other day, she mentioned that if I was interested in learning about China, I should check one of her friends’ websites called “The Peking Duck.”

July 5, 2008 @ 12:59 pm | Comment

The Demise Of America’s Women, and the Death Of The Black Woman.

America doesn’t become a great nation and world leader again, without developing a culture that supports, encourages, and honors women. For now, the demise of America’s women and the imminent death of the Black woman continue its path.

July 5, 2008 @ 1:02 pm | Comment

Robert, is her English name Faye? (Feiyun?) If so, you are extremely lucky because she is the best Chinese teacher in the universe, and I mean it.She forced me to learn characters, something I never thought I could even begin to do.

Back to Obama – you can look at FISA from all sorts of different perspectives, as you can see in the thread over at the TPM Election Central link in my post. It’s all right there, what he said and when he said it and how he dramatically contradicted himself. Maybe we can come up with explanations that justify each remark, but in terms of his image, Obama dealt himself quite a blow. I won’t hold it against him forever and I am willing to keep an open mind, especially if he proves his commitment to progressive ideals is genuine. Right now, however, I see enough little defects that, added together, raise a whole lot of questions about where he stands and what he stands for. I want to believe he’s the best candidate and the great unifier and all that, and I tried hard to hold onto that belief and brush aside the small things. But those small things now seem to indicate a pattern. Paul Krugman has done an excellent job of chronicling them in his column and expresses similar doubts. (Not that whatever Krugman says is always true…)

July 5, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

TalkingPointsMemo has very little credibility when it comes to Obama – Josh M. went in the tank for him early and deep.

As for Clinton, it’s funny, because I came away with a completely different impression of her by the end of the campaign – I was not a fan initially, at all. But I realized that a lot of what I thought about her was based on a false media image, not any actual knowledge or observation on my part at all. I think she’s more conservative than I would like in a lot of areas but arguably (ironically) more progressive than Obama. She strikes me as pretty consistent. She’s a politician but even more essentially, she’s a policy wonk. She also fights hard and doesn’t start from a position of compromise. I like both of those traits.

And the whole perception that her campaign was this horrible horrible dirty campaign and that Obama was above it all, I know how you would get that impression living abroad and depending on the MSM and unfortunately, a lot of the so-called “progressive” blogosphere, but it didn’t match with the reality I observed. Both campaigns threw a lot of elbows, and I would argue that some of the things that came out of the Obama camp were far worse than anything Clinton did. Like, oh, disenfranchising two entire states and really cheating in some of the caucuses. Texas was particularly egregious.

As for the whole “the Clintons are racists!!” thing, a lot of that originated from the Obama camp as a deliberate strategy. Before S. Carolina, Clinton was far more popular among African Americans than Obama. You tell me, why in the world would the Clintons choose to race-bait in a state where the majority of the Democratic electorate is African American, particularly when the S. Carolina primary was the third state to go, right after New Hampshire, where Clinton came back and won against all expectations? She NEEDED South Carolina. But so did Obama. His entire election strategy was based on winning caucus states and states with large African American electorates. It was smart during the primary but he didn’t demonstrate that he could win a single large state beyond Illinois and Wisconsin. Clinton performed far better in big diverse states and in swing states that the Democrats must win in order to take the White House. Though it’s hard to calculate voter sentiment in caucus states, Clinton arguably won more votes than Obama. I truly believe that he is the weaker candidate.

That doesn’t mean that he won’t win, because the Republicans have so royally f***ed up the country in every area. But it’s by no means a sure thing, and I doubt very much that it will be a landslide.

July 5, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Comment

To be clear, I’ve been let down with Obama lately too. My problems, though, have more to do with his responses to certain criticisms. With all of the heat the FISA bill has generated, he’s been slow to address it. With all of the uproar it’s caused, he should have held a series of townhall meetings, inviting those who agree and disagree with him to come and have a discussion about it. On the contrary, he’s been illusive and slow to react (in my opinion).

Regarding, Wes Clark, he should have emphasized over and over that Clark never once “questioned” McCain’s military service. Clark did quite the opposite, saying that such service, specifically, doesn’t prove that McCain has executive experience. Instead of defending Clark, Obama criticized “those” among his supporters who denigrate McCain’s service for political gain. The press all read that as an allusion to Clark.

Listen, I’m not happy about this FISA mess. I know the government has to do some less than savory stuff to “protect” us, but I’d hope a president like Obama would want to keep that to a minimum.* Yet, I still don’t think it’s the 180 that it’s being made out as. It’s a compromise, and that’s pretty important.

Moreover, I like you once liked McCain a lot. I’ve been truly let down to see him stoop to the levels he has since becoming the “presumptive” nominee.

On to better subjects. I suspect my teacher is indeed the “Faye” that you mentioned, though we’ve never spoken English together, so I do know her English name. She did mention that her nickname is 小勻. Her family name is 鄭. But, to me, she’s just 老師.

Anyhow, she absolutely rocks. She’s the best Chinese teacher I’ve ever had, and she’s nice as can be.

Finally, I didn’t mention in the previous post that I thought her mentioning your site was funny because I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. That was essentially the whole point of mentioning what she said. I didn’t find your site through her, but rather I’ve been reading your site for some time, and it just turns out my teacher’s a friend of yours.

Have a good one.

* Laughable, I know. Call me a dreamer.

July 5, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

Otherlisa, very few people were saying that Clinton’s campaign was the only one getting dirty. Many of us, though, thought she was especially dirty. I’m disappointed at all of the candidates and the mud they’ve slung, but Clinton often seemed to be particularly unfettered by the distastefulness of her actions.

Moreover, I can’t honestly wrap my head around the Clinton argument that Obama disenfranchised two whole states. The Florida-Michigan issue was a bad decision, but it was made by the democratic party, NOT Obama, and agreed on by all of the candidates BEFORE the primaries, if I’m not mistaken. All of the candidates signed a pledge “not to campaign or participate.” Suddenly, when the going got tough, Clinton wanted to include two states that they had agreed would not be seated at the convention and one of which hadn’t even had Obama on the ballot. How exactly is that justifiable?

If I’m wrong in my assumption here, please, let me know by citing sources.

Moreover, I was in the US during the whole primary process, and I was appalled at how awful coverage of all of the candidates was. This goes for some the things you alluded to in your comments on Obama’s “race baiting.” I remember watching CNN at one point when Obama was asked about B. Clinton’s J. Jackson commnent. He essentially said, “I don’t have anything to say about that.” and the CNN anchor said that Obama’s reticence was evidence of Obama’s desire to push the race card. Talk about putting words into someone’s mouth.

Now, all of that said, AGAIN, I’ve been very disappointed by Obama and his shortcomings when it comes to the righteous ideals he claims to hold dear. But, I’d need a lot more evidence to believe that his campaign has stooped lower or even as low as Clinton’s did.

Moreover, to reiterate, I’m very heartened by the beliefs of Obama supporters. There really seems to be an idea among many of his supporters that “we” are going to try to change things, not that we are electing someone to change things for us.

July 5, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

Probably like many of the China-hands who read this blog, I was and am very put off by the cult-like adulation surrounding Obama. The mass rallies, childish slogans, belief in the Leader as the savior of the country…I didn’t like this movie the first time I saw it, when it was called the Cultural Revolution.

America would be a lot better off with a dry technocrat along the lines of Al Gore. Especially because he alone of all the serious figures in Democratic party recognizes THE major issue of this century: climate change. Everything else is details.

Having said that, I would vote for a chimp in a suit if he was a Democrat. President Bananas, I salute you! Lead us out of Iraq, stop torturing people and cut off the subsidies to Big Sugar.

July 5, 2008 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Robert, you are mistaken. The only agreement re: Florida and Michigan was that the candidates would not campaign there. They did not. Well, Obama actually ran national commercials in Florida, but whatever. There were many attempts to resolve Florida and Michigan and the Obama campaign would not agree to any revotes or to in the case of Florida accept the votes as cast. The DNC (which has been in the tank for Obama) GAVE Obama delegates in Michigan that he did not earn, including 4 of Clinton’s. It was a travesty.

I mean, how could a Democratic presidential candidate disenfranchise FLORIDA? This goes several steps beyond irony. It also makes both Michigan and Florida much tougher states for Obama.

It’s not the fault of the Democratic voters of those states that their leadership (and in the case of Florida, a Republican assembly) broke DNC rules. Plenty of other states broke DNC rules and were not punished this way. But these two states happened to be strong Clinton states.

And, honestly, what does it matter what the beliefs of Obama supporters are when the candidate they are supporting does not seem to believe in the same things? Do you think you will be able to motivate him to change? To champion your issues? How’s that working for you so far?

My first clue that Obama was not someone I could support was his lousy environmental record (what you could find of it – the whole point being that he doesn’t have much of a record to examine in anything) and platform – which quickly changed to reflect a more “Green” friendly stance once the campaign got going.

Tell me what Obama stands for. Tell me what he really believes in. Tell me what he’s accomplished.

Obama is like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland – “there’s no there there.” is one of the few progressive blogs I can stomach any more. One of the bloggers is a lukewarm Obama supporter, the other was for Clinton (though she now supports Obama). They tend to back up what they say. There are lots and lots of posts about the things I’ve mentioned, with good links and supporting sources.

Well, probably not the Gertrude Stein reference, that’s one I made up myself.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no way that I will vote for any Republican at this point. But voting for Obama…that’s going to be tough. I probably will. But it will be one of the more distasteful votes I will have ever cast, if I do.

July 5, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

I think that this is a good thing, because for a long time my view was that many Democrats didn’t understand the man. He is a politician, and because of that he will at least some of the time say what people want to hear rather than what he thinks he will probably do.

The worst thing for Democrats would have been voting him in believing that he was the second coming (or whatever) and then having their hopes trashed after the election. If richard, lisa and the rest vote for him knowing exactly what they will get, it will make a possible presidency a lot easier.

July 5, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

First of all, before I box myself in as the fanatical Obama supporter, let me reiterate that I do not think that we are seeing the Parousia here. I know that Obama is fallible, and I know he will make mistakes.

Now, having said that. I think what we have (and had when Clinton was in the race) is a gamble between two possible risky ventures: an “inexperienced” candidate being elected and fumbling his way through the presidency or an “experienced” candidate leading us down the same road we’ve been going down (emphasis on the “down”).

Again, let me emphasize “possible.” I’m not saying this is what WILL happen with any of these candidates.

Obama, obviously, is the former. I don’t buy the “inexperience” claim, because (1) experience doesn’t only come from being a politician and (2) some of our best presidents have been the ones with the least “experience.” (There was a great graph in TIME Magazine that accompanied this article, but it is not on the website, the article’s good though:,8599,1717926,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-sidebar ) But of course, voting for Obama is risky in that he could blow it. It could all be lofty, combaya talk that doesn’t amount to much action (or actions that fail miserably).

The other side, McCain and Clinton (yes, they’re different, I’m not making that claim), is that you elect a president with “experience,” but their political philosophy is rooted in another period of time (McCain = Cold War / Clinton = the 90s). Times are different, but these two candidates often lead me to believe that their view of the world are reflections of these periods. This could also be a reflection of my age, too, though.

So, I see voting for president as a risk assesment. Gambling the possible bad outcomes for what I think would be best. I want change (it’s amazing how trite I feel using that word now), and I’m willing to take the risk of voting for Obama for that reason. Don’t read too much into that. I don’t think Obama IS change. I think that something has caught on, though, around his campaign that might well bring about change if Obama is able to maintain a certain level of decorum and direction.

I feel that voting for Clinton or McCain might be safer in many ways, but I feel, deep down, that in most ways it would be more of the same. Coming from South Carolina, I know how much people hate Clinton (I’m not saying their right). Yet, I’ve heard some of the most conservative, Reaganite republicans back home speak highly of Obama, some of whom even plan on voting for him.

That, to me, means a lot. At least, it might mean a diminuation in the polorization we’ve seen since, I guess, the mid-90s.

Moreover, I think it’s laughable that there are those out there who want to mock Obama for using change and hope as though he never says anything else. It’s just simply not true. I’ve watched many of his speeches (the whole things, not just the sound bites). I was at his speech in Charleston when he came before the primary in South Carolina (I didn’t vote for him, by the way). I’ve read is stances on issues on his website, and I’ve read his books. I’ve also seen talks with his advisors and interviews with him. I know that there’s a lot more than just “hope” and “change.” There are ideas, and what I like is that most of his ideas call for people to do things themselves. For instance, he is proposing scholarships for college students which would require the students to do a certain amount of community service in return for the money for school. I think that’s pretty meaningful.

Sure, I was unnerved when I was at his speech at the College of Charleston and the people around me were chanting “Yes, we can!” Certainly, I did feel like it was over the top, and it did look a lot like a propaganda video. Yet, Obama didn’t start it. The people around me were genuinely energized, and I don’t discount the power of a president to motivate the people to get out and do something for themselves.

So, Otherlisa, I’m not going to tell you what Obama stands for. It’s all there for you to find yourself. Go to his website. Go to the interviews. Read his books. If you disagree with me, that’s perfectly alright. Moreover, I appreciate you getting me to question what I thought was a certainty on the Florida-Michigan issue. I’m going to look more into it.

I’m not being sarcastic either.

What it all comes down to is that I’m always open to being proved wrong, and I’m not going into this election without my doubts. Yet, as someone who is fairly politically astute, I’m pretty confident in my decision right now, and I’m ready to hold Obama to his word in any way that I can.

I really appreciate the debate, and I think the reason I’m rambling on and on here is because living in Taiwan I don’t get much of a chance to talk about American politics. So, I guess, I should also apologize for my verboseness.

…he said and quickly drank a glass of water….

July 5, 2008 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

[…] Obama, Goggle is another entity that has enjoyed quasi-religious coverage in the media, branded with a […]

July 5, 2008 @ 10:48 pm | Pingback

Robert, a suggestion – do not tell people who are suspicious of Obama to go to his website. That was something drilled into Obama volunteers from the get-go. They were told to avoid any substantive discussion of issues, to just refer people to the website. Instead they were instructed to relate their own “personal conversion narratives” about how they “came to Obama.”

No, I’m not kidding. And I’m not exaggerating. Here is an article from way back in January outlining the training. It’s from the Sacramento Bee.

That’s the thing. Rock stars “inspire” people. Preachers and great speechmakers “inspire” people. But what are they inspiring them to do? Lofty rhetoric about “hope and change” means nothing if it isn’t backed up by concrete plans and principles.

I am not interested in having a motivational speaker as President. But I guess that’s the choice we have right now.

July 6, 2008 @ 2:50 am | Comment

You mean all that hope-iness and change-itude isn’t enough? Richard, do you realize that you could be President if you’d had the foresight to change your name to “Anybody Else” ?

July 6, 2008 @ 4:48 am | Comment

A general election, is a popularity contest, that’s the way it is, there is no other way. The conventional wisdom would tell you to pick a president based on his charactor, not his stands on issues; you pick a visionary, not a manager. I believe at this point of American history, these old principles are probably right. America needs the next president’s vision and persona to heal the wounds, down play the stupid polarizations, regain the Ameican hope. (by stupid I mean the stupidity not only from the wingnuts, but also from the tree huggers.) Clinton cant do that, she’s a butler, Mitt is a manager(I still like him though, if he’s for sale I would hire him for China’s PM), McCain is just an old fool. Gore would be a good candidate, but he’s been smoking too much, put that pipe down Al! So that leaves you Obama, the only viable candidate, you have no other choices, vote for him and get it over with.

July 6, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Comment

For me, Obama’s reversal on FISA was the most disheartening blow. The man’s a *constitutional scholar* for heaven’s sake! He, more than most, should be exquisitely attuned to what’s at stake. Yet, despite having relatively little to gain by reversing his vow … he did. I found that deeply unsettling.

July 6, 2008 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Otherlisa, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. In an ideal world, all of your supporters would know your stances on all of the issues backwards and forwards. But, that’s simply not the way it is, no matter what campaign you’re talking about. The issues are there on the website.

Making a personal connection is a good thing. That’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned living abroad. Forming a worthwhile connection with someone before diving into the more nitty gritty stuff is key. I’ve had plenty of meaningful conversations with Chinese friends while living in France, for instance, and it’s only because I didn’t say, “Oh, you’re from China? What do you think about censorship? Tibet? the one child policy?”

Sure, I’m dubious as to the idea that one can reduce it to 30-seconds, and I hate the general idea in politics these days that convincing someone to give their vote to a candidate is seen as a “sale.” Obama’s campaign certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on that market, though. Moreover, I’m unsettled by people talking about the “look” on Obama’s face.

For a post where so many people are talking about being realistic about politicians, it seems like this would be part of it.

Again, I don’t doubt that there are more than a few Obama fanatics out there, but I feel that your “rock stars ‘inspire’ people” comment leads me to believe that missed the whole point of my comment. I don’t think I said that I was basing my decision on his power to inspire. I’m quite aware that good and bad people can inspire. I simply said, “I don’t discount the power of a president to motivate the people to get out and do something for themselves.” I have enough faith for the time being that Obama’s not going to encourage people to put their toddlers to work or take up arms to cleans the motherland of foreign devils, so, for now, I see the inpiration as a good thing, something sorely needed after a president who encouraged us to do little more than to stand aside and keep shopping while they took care of all the big boy stuff.

Furthermore, it’s not just “hope and change.” He’s saying a lot more than that, and I look forward to holding his feet to the fire and making sure that he lives up to the “lofty rhetoric.” I know I’m not the only one. I know he’s a politician, and when he tries to backtrack I’m going to do everything in my power to pressure him to live up to the ideals that convinced us to put him in office.

AGAIN, I can’t say this enough. I do not support Obama unconditionally. I’m just frustrated to no end by those who want to say he’s nothing more than talk. Empty hope and no change. I’M NOT ARGUING THE OPPOSITE. I’m just saying that I find fault of those who want to over simply him just as egregious as those who think he’s the first American messiah.

July 6, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

One of the protesters at Bush’s July 4th speech at Monticello shouted at Bush:

“Bush has brought fascism to America!”

July 6, 2008 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

He might have read Naomi Wolf’s book on fascism in America. Here’s a quick peice by her:

That author, though, I just searched, is apparently voting for Obama, too.

July 6, 2008 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

When an electorate is ignorant, lazy, uninformed, superstitious we all wind up with the system we currently have. Political expediency becomes the only way to play the game. Obama is no different than any other politician except maybe for some oratory skill. Our system is not interested in merit, character, leadership or any other consequential quality. Instead we have popularity contests driven by media frenzy and the ADD of the average couch potato. Leadership, public service and vision have not been in the vocabulary of American politicians for some time much to the detriment of our democracy.

July 6, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

I’ve read Naomi Wolf’s book “The End of America”.

I also recommend Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”.

July 6, 2008 @ 4:10 pm | Comment

Missing John Edwards? Would that be the same John Edwards who tried to cosponsor the War in Iraq?

My home state of Illinois is going to Barack anyway, so I’ll just vote Barr on principle since it won’t matter anyway.

July 7, 2008 @ 2:01 am | Comment

Sorry, Robert, I just don’t see any substance there. He doesn’t have enough of a track record to go on his accomplishments, and what he says changes to fit the current situation. This isn’t just typical “politicians being politicians,” this is someone who as far as I can determine has no real center. The things I can find out about him – the neo-Liberal economic advisors – worry me profoundly.

If his supporters couldn’t “hold his feet to the fire” on FISA, where in the world would you expect them to have any leverage?

It will be interesting to see how his campaign reacts when the Republican attack machine really cranks up. He isn’t doing too well with it so far, and the mud hasn’t even started flying.

July 7, 2008 @ 3:25 am | Comment

Americans need to stop putting all their hopes on one guy in the White House to make the broad changes they crave. Obama will fall in line like everybody else, and all those great speeches on reform will soon be forgotten. I have never felt so hopeless towards my country as I do right now. My opinion is that if we really want something done, Americans have to get out and demonstrate. We have to stop passively complaining to our televisions and media outlets, and get out and create political havoc for the idiots that represent us. Until this happens, the government will simply continue to happily spin its wheels, making a lot of empty gestures to dissatisfied Americans in order to keep them quiet long enough for everything to blow over, so they can continue getting rich passing laws for special interests. America has become the joke of the world, when are we going to start fighting for democracy again? We have no one to blame but ourselves.

P.S. If you think I can complain about the CCP , don’t get me started on the U.S.A!

July 7, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

President Bush will be commander in chief until the new president if sworn in on January 20, 2009. This means it is impossible for the next president to make any changes to the Iraq policy until January 21st, 2009.

On November 4th a new president will be elected. Starting sometime after the election the new president’s transition team will come to washington and begin the process of reviewing each government agency and bringing the the new cabinet online to take over on January 21st 2009.

If Obama wins in November then immediately after the election he will be given access to all the available information regarding Iraq and ongoing US military operations around the world. At that point he will have access intelligence and other information and will be able to start formulating a new plan for what to do in Iraq and elsewhere. He will have the attention of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He will be able to discuss the situation with the JCS and his SECDEF, his Secretary of State. He will be to undetake then all the items from the Iraq study group that the Bush Administration has ignored or stonewalled.

There will be a tremedous sea change in Iraq policy once Obama is in the White House, he will be able to shut down Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rescind presidential directions on torture. He will be able to have intelligent meaningful dialogues with US Allies. He will be able to select a new Chairman of the JCS.

He could bring back Admiral Fallon (Petraeus’ former boss), who was fired because he tried to manage petraeus and formulate a military regional strategy for the middle east that involved operations other than war and to take the focus off iraq and to address the region as a whole.

Obama really should not tie his hands to withdrawal time table. Once he gets access in November he can begin to formulate a rational policy to withdraw and reshift focus for the US military.

The reality is if Obama is sworn in on January 20th, 2009, the US military forces will not be instantly withdrawn from Iraq. Its physically impossible for that to happen.

But there will be a sea change in policy from the dishonest incompetent leadership of Cheney and Rumsfeld. At the very least realistic honest dialogue amongst military, state department, other agencies, allies, Iraq’s neighbors can begin once Obama is sworn in on January 20th 2009, until then George Bush is Commmander in Chief. Obama is being realistic about the situation by backing off from committing to a rapid withdrawal time table. He will not know if that is possibly or how fast it can be done until November 5th. It would be wise of him to spend November and December of 2008 discuss strategies and policy with his cabinet and the current JCS before laying out his plans.

No matter what it will be a 180 degree shift from the Cheney policy and can only lead to getting america out of the ditch george drove us into.

July 8, 2008 @ 12:15 am | Comment

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July 8, 2008 @ 5:29 am | Pingback

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