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Yes, We Can.
February 2, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Yes, We Can! -- Obama's words, set to music.
posted by empath (184 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will only grow louder and more dissent in the weeks and months to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.


Goddamn, I like to think of myself as a hardbitten cynic, but I'm in tears here. This man -- this movement -- is something else.

Sorry for the political post, but I had to share this.
posted by empath at 9:57 AM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


louder and more dissent dissonant...

Slick. But good slick.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2008


as a political message, fine - as music - it doesn't work for me
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM on February 2, 2008


(yeah, i copy/pasted that from CNN's transcript of his speech, didn't notice the mistake until now)
posted by empath at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2008


Goddamn, I like to think of myself as a hardbitten cynic, but I'm in tears here. This man -- this movement -- is something else.

Really? Political cliches and and platitudes spun eloquently get you hot? Obama's another middle of the road politician with a gift for oratory, with barely any experience, pandering as he can.
posted by xmutex at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


How much does a 4 and a half minute superbowl ad cost?
posted by empath at 10:08 AM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Thanks for that, empath. I hope it gets neither deleted nor snarked to shreds.

I've been pretty firm in my resolve since around the time of Gingrich's moment in the sun in '94 that American politics was an irredeemable swamp of self-interest, empty bombast and corporate PR, increasingly coupled with imperial delusions.

So I was having a drink with a professional acquaintance the other night, and we both sort of tentatively danced around what we were thinking about "the election," trying to maintain a veneer of healthy skepticism and dispassionate reason and all that. After a couple minutes we realized we were coming from the same spot, and then we were both gushing about how Obama was the first serious US presidential candidate in our lifetime (both of us born in the mid-70s) who we'd actually campaign for.

We're both Canucks, alas.

On preview, I see the snark brigade is already on the scene. Alas.
posted by gompa at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this works surprisingly well as music. The insistent, swaying rhthyms of his speech style reveal themselves when supported by melody. I've heard a few great speeches set to music - MLK, Kennedy, "Sunscreen" - and this blends better than any other examples I've run across.

Obama is hands down the best orator we've had in the US in quite some time. Judged purely on speech, Clinton was good, and Reagan was good, but Obama is great at speaking in a way the US hasn't heard in a couple of generations. A lot of this is due to his speechwriter (who is 26). But, having read Obama's books, the basic ideas about the use of language are Obama's.

Some of the video is treacly, and I wish they'd dropped the 'we want change' descant out of the mix. But overall, I really like the layered speech/singing/fills/voices/music. Thanks. It's very cool.
posted by Miko at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2008


besides, it's been done a LOT better
posted by pyramid termite at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Interview with Will.i.am
posted by empath at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2008


My ears had trouble hearing the music and the speech at the same time. Allen Toussaint has a good song called "Yes We Can Can." I like to think that John Edwards heard it during one of his trips to New Orleans and is now humming it as he strolls around his 500 thousand square foot house.
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2008


Wow, those gals were fabulous, huh.
posted by Miko at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2008


How much does a 4 and a half minute superbowl ad cost?
posted by empath


A brazillion dollars, or about 1.2 brazillion shenanigans, but the US banks have been pulling shenanigans recently, in an attempt to prevent a run on deposits.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


(the snark brigade doesn't matter because they're too cynical to vote)
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


George W Bush has about seven years of experience as president of a country. Experience does not seem to be as important as some people think.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on February 2, 2008 [16 favorites]


I dug that. The speech is better than the music though.
I suppose that's the way it should be.
posted by brevator at 10:35 AM on February 2, 2008


I thought it was a gorgeous piece of optimism. More of that. Hurrah.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:41 AM on February 2, 2008


I thought about posting this but didn't want to be snarked to death, MyFavoriteCandidateFilter and all. I'm glad someone did, because it had me in tears today.
posted by awesomebrad at 10:41 AM on February 2, 2008


Higher Quality (no affiliation whatsoever)

Did the Obama campaign even endorse/condone this? I'd rather see more actual plans (I will balance the budget in this manner, I promise to replace Bernanke within my first 5 minutes in office) than more fucking celebrities.
posted by datacenter refugee at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2008


High-res version.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:45 AM on February 2, 2008


As far as I know, the campaign had nothing to do with it.
posted by empath at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2008


I don't think people mean to snark, necessarily...they're just depressed. When was the last time a politician didn't disappoint you (I'm talking to the lefty/progressive crowd here)?
posted by you just lost the game at 10:52 AM on February 2, 2008


datacenter refugee, not according to that ABC news interview above, it was a spontaneous effort by will.i.am and his fellow celebrities. Which is what happens when people are inspired. Good show.

Obama's website has his policies in some detail, as do most of the candidates.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:53 AM on February 2, 2008


Anything is better than 1988-2016 running

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Clinton
Clinton

Anything at all
posted by A189Nut at 11:03 AM on February 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Love it. Wish I could vote for him. Thanks for the post.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2008


I think this is awesome. There's a lot to be said for a presidential candidate coming from a place of optimism and positivity, from a place where he's trying to bring people together - as opposed to what we've had for the last 8 years, a president who governs from a place of fear mongering and trying to divide and conquer.

Great stuff, thanks for posting this.
posted by MythMaker at 11:08 AM on February 2, 2008


I like Obama and will still probably vote for him. but these words are a bit trite, and they are his speechwriters'. Comparing them to his rambling, borderline-incoherence when forced to speak without a script at Thursday's debate is a bit jarring, actually.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:20 AM on February 2, 2008


The REAL Obama song.
posted by Crotalus at 11:21 AM on February 2, 2008


Up until last year, he didn't use a speech writer. His 2004 Democratic convention speech was all his, his announcement speech was all his. He only uses a speechwriter now because he doesn't have the time to perfect his speeches. He wrote his books, too, no ghost writer.

It's a weird criticism to make of the man. His somewhat rambling debate appearances seem to be because he doesn't rehearse answers, unlike every other candidate.
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Forget experience. This guy is the best politician I've ever seen. Politics is about getting elected to office and then doing what you want once you're there. The man has served two years in the U.S. Senate and has somehow managed to make his candidacy more than just a candidacy - a movement. That is slick. To anyone who still considers this guy an empty suit, I just have to shake my head. Look at what he is doing, who he is inspiring, the numbers of first-time voters he is getting to come vote for him. Those who are being cynical about his candidacy aren't being cynical enough - can you at least marvel at the way this guy has shown the ability to twist everything that is thrown at him to make him look even better? Every negative barb that someone throws at him he uses to his advantage, suggesting the imperative for "change." Now that, you could argue, is ultimate in cynical opportunism. He's figured the game out, has changed it, changed the way politicians are able to talk about each other. And it's like the other candidates haven't even noticed it. They keep trying to call him inexperienced, that he is too full of rhetoric, that he is really not as perfect as he claims. And with everything he seems to be able to find a clever way to use it to his advantage. The guy is good, and whether he wins this primary or not, he has a long future in politics ahead of him.
posted by billysumday at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


Given her time in the Governor's mansion, White House and Senate, if Hillary Clinton was a man, she would still be a credible Presidential candidate. My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?
posted by Crotalus at 11:29 AM on February 2, 2008


Given her time in the Governor's mansion, White House and Senate, if Hillary Clinton was a man, she would still be a credible Presidential candidate.

Hillary is a fantastic presidential candidate and would make a good president. But the "experience" thing is just so incredibly disingenuous. Laura Bush has spent six years in a governor's mansion and more than seven years in the White House. Maybe she should run for Senate.
posted by billysumday at 11:32 AM on February 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?

Ah yes. The heart of the matter. It's about race.
posted by billysumday at 11:33 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary is a fantastic presidential candidate and would make a good president. But the "experience" thing is just so incredibly disingenuous. Laura Bush has spent six years in a governor's mansion and more than seven years in the White House. Maybe she should run for Senate.

You didn't address the question in my comment.
posted by Crotalus at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2008


the only thing that makes me sad about this post -- and the comments -- is that no one is pointing out that these, technically, are not obama's words...

they're caesar chavez's.

SI SE PUEDE.

yes we can.

the speech/video are moving, beyond words, to me. but i think it's that much more meaningful when we all know the root of the phrase.

(interesting side note: united farm workers has endorsed...wait for it...hillary. and, the woman who co-coined the phrase with chavez (whose name is escaping me right now) is pretty unimpressed with obama's co-opt-age of the UFW rallying cry).

all of that said....

baRACK the vote. OBAMA in '08
posted by CitizenD at 11:35 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


On preview, I see the snark brigade is already on the scene. Alas.

O HAI

This idea that he isn't just another scumbag is pretty funny. He was clearly being groomed by sundry party scumbags as a contender. But, hey, he's good at reciting his speechwriters' words! Am I too cynical to vote? Well, I have enough sense not to support a political party and there's closed primaries here, so I'm too cynical for the primaries. In the general I'll probably vote for him as better than the other scumbag, and he's probably better than the other Democratic scumbags that were allowed to realistically compete, but I'll believe he's not another scumbag politician when I see it. And you can call me out on this post a couple years in if he runs a presidency free of hypocrisy and disingenuity and cleans house in Washington, and I'll admit I was wrong, but I don't expect I'm going to have to do that.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:36 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?

I can't believe someone in America really believes that the only reason Obama is taken seriously is because he's black. Think about that for a second.
posted by empath at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Ah yes. The heart of the matter. It's about race.

Wrong. It's about the novelty of charisma. I'd vote for Colin Powell over anyone running.
posted by Crotalus at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2008


My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?

I'll answer the question. But it may come as a shock to you. Here's the thing: Obama is poised to win the Democratic nomination. The race-baiting thing hasn't worked. It won't. Now, of course, he may not win, and if doesn't, it will still have been a formidable challenge to Hillary that no one foresaw a year ago. But let's be clear: there are no hypotheticals here. What if Hillary Clinton had eight legs? Would she be credible? What if Gallagher ran for president? Would he be both hilarious and credible? Hypotheticals are silly. The facts are much more interesting. Obama is a credible candidate because he's won Iowa and South Carolina and has challenged the establishment candidate in the other primary states. He's a credible candidate because he may very well win the Democratic nomination.
posted by billysumday at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Profile of Obama's speech writers.

They're 26 year old kids.

The campaign staff has started teasing Mr. Favreau about his newfound celebrity. Not that it’s any great pickup line. Mr. Favreau, who said he doesn’t have a girlfriend, observed somewhat dryly that “the rigors of this campaign have prevented any sort of serious relationship.”

“There’s been a few times when people have said, ‘I don’t believe you, that you’re Barack Obama’s speechwriter,’ ” he went on. “To which I reply, ‘If I really wanted to hit on you, don’t you think I’d make up something more outlandish?’ ”

posted by empath at 11:40 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't believe someone in America really believes that the only reason Obama is taken seriously is because he's black. Think about that for a second.

Obama's ethnicity and his prodigious political skills combine to produce the bulk of his charisma. The idea of the having the African American President, coupled with his appeal as an orator is what excites people. I seriously doubt people are stoked about any specific policy he's put forward.
posted by Crotalus at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2008


My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


If that were true, Al Sharpton would be president now. Come on. He's winning DESPITE his race, not because of it.
posted by empath at 11:43 AM on February 2, 2008


I seriously doubt people are stoked about any specific policy he's put forward.

Okay, cool, I'll get to disavow you of that notion, then. I'm greatly excited about his health care plan, his intentions for our involvement in Iraq and his desire to re-address the situation in Afghanistan, his ideas for supporting and developing energy independence. I could go on. But yes, I'm greatly excited about the specific policies he is interested in proposing and implementing as president. I'd urge you to check out his website - he has his policy ideas all spelled out there.
posted by billysumday at 11:45 AM on February 2, 2008


I seriously doubt people are stoked about any specific policy he's put forward.

Nobody ever votes for anyone based on their policies. People vote for leaders, not agendas.
posted by empath at 11:46 AM on February 2, 2008


(This is hopefully the only thing I will say about the Obama movement on this site, because I am embarrassed that someone has given me a small shred of hope for this country and I am prepared for the let down of Hillary Clinton losing to John McCain in a landslide.)

Brilliant oratory skills matter a lot in a presidential candidate. More so than experience. More so than detailed politics. In my lifetime, there have been *at most* two or three politicians who have demonstrated an ability to think about government in compassionate, complex terms and then convey their vision to other people as effectively as Obama has. It signals a level of intelligence and competence that may never have been this close to winning the presidency. The single most important characteristic of a good leader is being able to unify and inspire a group of diverse people, with diverse interests, to work toward a common vision.

No candidate has ever successfully implemented the agenda they promised once they got into office. And, as pointed out above, experience hasn't helped Bush at all. But if someone could make 300 million Americans to believe in their country and start working towards solutions, man that would be something.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:47 AM on February 2, 2008 [34 favorites]


McCain and Hillary's "experience" permitted them to allow an idiot President ruin a country half a world away while crippling our own military and bringing us close to the abyss fiscally. And neither has had the guts or brains to admit any kind of mistake.

Experience? I'll take some other kind of experience, thank you very much. I'll take the experience of someone that got himself through Columbia, got accepted to Harvard Law School, became the first black president of the Law Review, worked retail politics in a diverse Chicago neighborhood and got elected to the US Senate by something 90%. On his own.

What the hell has Hillary accomplished on her own since she got into Yale Law. No offense intended to her intelligence and ambition, but what exactly has she accomplished on her own?
posted by psmealey at 11:48 AM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Crotalus: It's about the novelty of charisma. I'd vote for Colin Powell over anyone running. (...) I seriously doubt people are stoked about any specific policy he's put forward.

And what, pray tell, are Colin Powell's specific policies?
posted by billysumday at 11:52 AM on February 2, 2008


But if someone could make 300 million Americans believe in their country and start working towards solutions, man that would be something

it's important enough to repeat.

But if someone could make 300 million Americans believe in their country and start working towards solutions, man that would be something

hillary may have more experience (MAY being the operative word there), but she's as inspiring as adipose tissue.

i want to be proud of my country again. obama ain't perfect, but he's leagues and leagues and LEAGUES ahead of any of the other contenders.

(...well, now that kucinich and gravel are out of it, anyway.....)
posted by CitizenD at 11:53 AM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks empath for the video. That is all.
posted by localhuman at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2008


My two Fox/Obama moments:

1> John Cleese [?!?] was on Fox asking some punters if they knew how much experience Margaret Thatcher has before she became prime-minister. The answer apparently was that she had only been Minister of Education.

2> Today they started calling Obama a radical. I think you will hear that over and over again. Obama the Radical.
posted by meech at 12:03 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's interesting with the various issues regarding Obama's race is that he is essentially "not Black" at least in the sense of what, as far as I can tell, America mostly thinks "Black people" are. (Not that there's any universal or fixed definition there.) He'll be proclaimed the "first Black president" when really his personal experience of race probably doesn't follow any of the accepted American categories of "Black," "White," etc. people.

Solution: get rid of these divisive categories, but if you go to BarackObama.com and mouseover "People" you'll see his campaign is all too ready to make use of them.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:04 PM on February 2, 2008


I'm still reeling about the "experience" thing. George H. W. Bush was the most experienced president probably since Eisenhower. No one was more "qualified" to be President than he. But you know what, he was a shitty leader. He was great at a couple of aspects of his job (assembling and keeping the first Gulf War coalition together), but for the most part he was a C- president. He was as inspiring as a bowl of cold oatmeal, had no clue how to manage the economy, got us into a bizarre war in Panama to cure us of our "Vietnam Syndrome" and couldn't even keep his own party together.
posted by psmealey at 12:04 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually the words belong to Bob the Builder. Can we fix it? Yes we can.
posted by A189Nut at 12:06 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


First two Kennedys, now an Eisenhower
posted by A189Nut at 12:08 PM on February 2, 2008


Solution: get rid of these divisive categories, but if you go to BarackObama.com and mouseover "People" you'll see his campaign is all too ready to make use of them.

I think this is a bit wrong-headed. Just because his campaign has targeted different social groups, it doesn't mean that they're being divisive. Some people are more receptive to a message if they are brought to that message with the support of the group they identify with. But if the message that all those groups are ultimately hearing is one of inclusion and support, does it really matter how they got there? It's not a pick one group and screw the others dynamic they got going on there.
posted by billysumday at 12:10 PM on February 2, 2008


if you go to BarackObama.com and mouseover "People" you'll see his campaign is all too ready to make use of them.

God forbid a candidate be inclusive.

You see this crowd? That's the victory speech from his 'black' win in South Carolina. Young people, old people, black people white people.
posted by empath at 12:11 PM on February 2, 2008


Young people, old people, black people white people.

You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.
posted by Crotalus at 12:12 PM on February 2, 2008


Crotalus, I'm still waiting for the specific policies that have enamored you to Colin Powell. Just, you know. Whenever you're ready.
posted by billysumday at 12:13 PM on February 2, 2008


How is Alan Keyes's campaign doing? He's a good orator and a black man. He should be far and away the favorite to win.
posted by empath at 12:14 PM on February 2, 2008


You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.

So, like, they didn't really want to be there?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:14 PM on February 2, 2008


You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.

And every time they smiled, they got a dollar; every time the clapped, they got five dollars; every time they cheered, they got ten dollars. That damn multi-generational, multi-ethnic crowd! What a bunch of fakers.
posted by billysumday at 12:17 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Okay, well how about this crowd in Washington DC?. Explain to me again how this is about race. That really makes no sense to me.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on February 2, 2008


How much does a 4 and a half minute superbowl ad cost?

Name me the last time any organization got a real, lasting bump from a Super Bowl ad.

Besides Apple in '84.

no one is pointing out that these, technically, are not obama's words...

they're caesar chavez's.

SI SE PUEDE.


It's also associated with El Tri. And we know how well they've done on the big stage.

I have a very bad feeling about this.
posted by dw at 12:19 PM on February 2, 2008


re Powell, I guess it must be his knowingly lying about Iraq to the UN. Or maybe covering up My Lai? It's so hard to choose from 35 years of pandering to power.
posted by words1 at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey, all I'm saying is that this guy's appeal is based on charisma and novelty. I'm not even saying that there is anything inherently wrong with that. My wife is voting for him, and I find him captivating as well. However, he's a big risk. Electing Obama is like marrying the hot girl (or guy) before the lust phase of the relationship is over. No one really knows what Obama will be when the romance fades. And it will fade. Maybe he'll be great. Maybe he just has a great speech writer and superb political skills. No one knows. I think everyone can agree that the country is in deep shit right now. In times like these its tempting to vote for the guy who puts a tear in your eye. You may disagree, and that may not be why YOU like him, but for me, its not a good reason to elect someone.

And Colin Powell phoned me the other day to chat about his policies but he asked me not to post them to the internet.
posted by Crotalus at 12:31 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


What if Hillary Clinton had eight legs? Would she be credible?

yes, if you painted a red hourglass on her back
posted by pyramid termite at 12:33 PM on February 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


You know, this is the first time in years that I've dared to hope that the next few years could be better than the last few. I like to think of myself as a logical person, but damn if this doesn't send chills down my spine and lift my heart.
posted by desjardins at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


but damn if this doesn't send chills down my spine and lift my heart

I rest my case.
posted by Crotalus at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2008


I rest my case.

You didn't use that expression correctly, Ron Burgundy.

Being inspired or even moved by a candidate is a perfectly legitimate reason to vote for them. Clearly that's not the case for you, and that's okay too.
posted by psmealey at 12:47 PM on February 2, 2008


I rest my case.

Cynicism isn't going to accomplish anything but allow a bunch of rich white industrialists to murder more innocent brown people. *That's* why I'm voting for a candidate that sends chills down my spine and lifts my heart.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:48 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama & policy experience.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, I became shrill! It happened so fast...Maybe that's why I don't usually allow myself to believe in politicians...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2008


Cynicism isn't going to accomplish anything but allow a bunch of rich white industrialists to murder more innocent brown people.

Bullshit. If we had a few more cynics in this country there would have been a few less people thinking Bush was anything but a worse scumbag than most and a huge fuckup to boot in 2004 when he'd had several years to show that.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.
I just came from a local, grassroots-driven Obama "startup" meeting here in NC.

At the table I was at, I was the only guy. There were four Caucasians, another African-American (as am I), and a Hispanic. And the 4 speakers were 2 Caucasian women, 1 Caucasian guy, 1 African-American guy, and 1 (East) Indian woman.

This is far from unusual, from the Obama events I've been at, Official or not. And when you imply that Obama events aren't diverse, you're simply have no idea what you're speaking on, and display your cynicism and inexperience with the campaign. If you want to actually know, we're happy to help, yet I feel you're more interested in spreading inaccurate discussions, and demeaning people who are actually interested in being involved in what's going on in the country.

I do want people to be for Obama. He's smart, and creditable -- my decision came from his article in Foregin Affairs mag, more than anything -- but moreover, I want people to Stop Being Fuckin' Cynics, and actually participate in the Damned Country. That's something Obama is bringing to the table, and part of why I support him so strongly.
posted by Asim at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


shakespeherian:

I'd love to be proven wrong, but it seems that people who belabor the point about Obama not having enough experience tend to refuse or ignore examples that display the contrary. We see this with Crotalus. The refrain is that Obama is not a serious or "credible" candidate and that his supporters are all drinking the Kool-Aid. When you show them examples of why they are wrong, they are silent, or simply repeat the refrain.
posted by billysumday at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


billysumday:

Sometimes, you post not just to argue the other person into the ground. Sometimes, you post so that others reading are fully aware of your point, and can make up their own damned minds on the issue(s) at hand.
posted by Asim at 12:58 PM on February 2, 2008


I think Obama has an Uncanny Valley problem. He's so close to so many people's ideal of a perfect candidate that the few places where he doesn't match up become jarring.
posted by empath at 12:59 PM on February 2, 2008 [8 favorites]


I just wonder what we're supposed to base our vote on, if not how we feel about a candidate, his (or her) history in government, what he (or she) says, and what policies he (or she) advocates. It seems like if Crotalus is happy to call any of these things bullshit, maybe he can tell us how we should decide who to vote for?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:00 PM on February 2, 2008


Asim: I'm just trying to counter what I feel are unfair claims.
posted by billysumday at 1:01 PM on February 2, 2008


If we had a few more cynics in this country there would have been a few less people thinking Bush was anything but a worse scumbag than most and a huge fuckup to boot in 2004 when he'd had several years to show that.

I think you mean skepticism. Cynicism is the poison the led people to conclude that there was no difference between Gore and Bush in 2000, and that John Kerry was not a patriot who bled for his country as a young man and wanted badly to correct its course as an old one, but was instead a flip-flopping opportunist.

Cynicism is exactly what wins elections for people like George Bush and Dick Cheney.
posted by psmealey at 1:01 PM on February 2, 2008 [29 favorites]


psmealey for Vice President!!!!!!
posted by ramix at 1:24 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.

How silly! In NH, I was at several candidate speeches and was headed for the Obama victory party in Nashua, but ended up staying in Portsmouth because I was too tired for the drive. But several people I knew from volunteering did go and got in. Anyone can go. If you're on the line, they let you in until the hall is full. You don't need to have a name on a list, and you don't need to show ID. There were more people on the line than could get in, but campaign event staff are not selecting an audience for image's sake like a club bouncer.

Seems like a comment from someone who's not very engaged in the political process and so does not know how it works. If you get involved in elections, much cynicism disappears. And the real problems with the system, where they exist, become more evident. It's a lot easier to stay outside the process and snark than to begin working on it and find real areas in which you might have an impact.

For people who are really disenchanted with the system, I recommend signing up with your town's election commission to be a poll worker. It's non-partisan and quite eye-opening.
posted by Miko at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


You flatter me, ramix. Thank you. That said, Obama has my phone number, I'll gladly take his call if it comes to that.
posted by psmealey at 1:30 PM on February 2, 2008


I can only hope by some miracle he wins the nomination. Just like many of you, friends and acquaintances tell me of those same stories where their families, who heretofore liked Bush and half hated black people are in love with the guy.

If he becomes president, I think it will change this country positively in the most amazing ways that many haven't really considered. I'll take the day off and cry and applaud the entire day, and I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
posted by cashman at 1:36 PM on February 2, 2008


Check out this great picture of today's (Feb. 2) rally in Boise, Idaho. 15,000 people!
posted by billysumday at 1:41 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The inauguration will be amazing. I have no doubt that millions of people will come to DC to see it. I don't think that's an exaggeration. I'll be taking the day off from work, for sure.
posted by empath at 1:42 PM on February 2, 2008


There are democrats in Idaho?
posted by empath at 1:45 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


There are democrats in Idaho?

I heard that there were roughly 4 at last count. The rest in attendance are crossover voters. But seriously, 15,000 people at a rally in DC, no problem. 15,000 at a rally for a candidate in the democratic primary in Idaho? It is bizarre.
posted by billysumday at 1:48 PM on February 2, 2008


There are 15,000 people in Idaho? I used to live in MT.
posted by desjardins at 1:49 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I found the black guy!
posted by desjardins at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama's another middle of the road politician with a gift for oratory, with barely any experience, pandering as he can.
Obama? How can you support an Illinois lawyer with only two years of experience in national office?

Oh, it worked out pretty well last time.*
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Picture a day in which the country no longer needs to argue about a Bush or a Clinton.

Now picture yet another four years of days in which we surely will.

That's why Obama matters.
posted by william_boot at 2:04 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Young people, old people, black people white people.

You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.

Check out this great picture of today's (Feb. 2) rally in Boise, Idaho. 15,000 people!

Crotalus, they must have all been paid something to show up, amirite?
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on February 2, 2008


More on the Idaho thing:

Sen. Barack Obama brought his presidential campaign here Saturday morning, drawing what his campaign said was about 15,000 to the Taco Bell Arena on the campus of Boise State University.

That's about three times as many people who participated in the state's Democratic caucuses in 2004, when Idaho was not among early and important contests.

posted by billysumday at 2:10 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think you mean skepticism. Cynicism is the poison the led people to conclude that there was no difference between Gore and Bush in 2000, and that John Kerry was not a patriot who bled for his country as a young man and wanted badly to correct its course as an old one, but was instead a flip-flopping opportunist.

cynicism - contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives

I wish more people had been contemptuously distrustful of the nature and motives of the Republicans.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:16 PM on February 2, 2008


It's a double-edged sword, though. You cannot be contemptuously mistrustful of one set of people, and not let that affect your whole world view. That's why negative campaigning is so effective for for the party that delivers nothing more than fear and bigotry (and tax breaks for the wealthy).
posted by psmealey at 2:20 PM on February 2, 2008


Ah, they were. And they were equally contemptuously distrustful of Al Gore. Which is how Bush got elected.
posted by empath at 2:22 PM on February 2, 2008


I'm contemptuously distrustful of all the politicians. That seems to be the most realistic way to me.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:24 PM on February 2, 2008


Increasing levels of cynicism helps the establishment candidates— it's how Bush beat McCain in 2000, because when everyone is cynical and no one cares, only the party faithful go to the polls— all the would-be-first-time voters stay home instead.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:28 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Obama, but this was cringe-inducingly cheezy.
posted by delmoi at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2008


"if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?"

I'd have to see him dance first. *drumroll!*

If he was married to Nancy Pelosi, would we be talking about his arghtyblargh years of public service?

I think we need a female candidate who actually worked as a public servant in the White House... ideally someone who worked under President Clinton, who had access to state secrets, obvious talents, and more openness and natural appeal than Hillary.

Monica Lewinsky for President!
posted by markkraft at 2:35 PM on February 2, 2008


You can rest assured that the people sitting there were picked to sit there.

I don't know about all the rallies he's had but This one I attended had a pretty multi-cultural backdrop, in the middle of Iowa. And people weren't picked to stand back there, it was just who showed up first. That's my friend on the far left in the gray sweater. man, that was last winter, in Obama's first campaign stop after his announcement in Illinois.

(I found his speech kind of uninspiring at the time, actually)
posted by delmoi at 2:36 PM on February 2, 2008


My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?

Because seven years in the state Senate of Illinois, four years as a community organizer, and eleven years lecturing on constitutional law was, what, sitting at home with his thumb up his ass?

Perhaps a better question to ask would be if Obama was white, would some people be as agitated about the idea he's only where he is because of his race, hmm?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:24 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


(interesting side note: united farm workers has endorsed...wait for it...hillary. and, the woman who co-coined the phrase with chavez (whose name is escaping me right now) is pretty unimpressed with obama's co-opt-age of the UFW rallying cry).

The Caesar Chavez foundation put out a statement saying they are fine with Obama using the phrase, in fact I think Obama's campaign actually asked permission first.

Anyway, when it comes to inspiration vs. cynicism, think about it this way. Clearly Obama has the ability to inspire a whole hell of a lot of people, and if so he'll stand a much better chance of getting elected and helping get more democrats in in the congress and have a greater ability to promote his policies.

Since he and Clinton are very similar on policy issues, voting for Hillary makes no sense at all. This is a democracy, and popularity is far more important then experience. Obviously you should vote for the person who's policies you agree with most, but that's kind of a moot point for most people w.r.t Hillary and Obama. I do prefer Obama's foreign policy stance, and I actually prefer his Health care plan, even though it's more moderate.

Simply put, cynicism is not a good reason not to vote for Obama.
posted by delmoi at 3:28 PM on February 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Way up there I already noted I'll most likely be voting for the guy, but that picking the choice that seems most likely to minimize the harms done to self & the world doesn't mean it makes sense to get excited and rah rah rah about the guy.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:41 PM on February 2, 2008


I wanted to believe that politicians were unequivocally corrupt and obtuse. That they served no needs other than their agendas and their friends' agendas. That they were driven by the misguided assertions of morals, differences, and fear that constitute the seeds of division and alienation that put us in opposition of each other and the rest of the world.

I had heard all of this from politicians again and again, but the more I heard Obama speak, the more I wondered if maybe—just maybe—he was the real thing.

Young as I am, I realized that I could not remember a time when I hadn't felt disappointed with my leaders. I had my answer.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:43 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspect that I am 20+ years older than Mikey-San and yet, I feel exactly the same way.
posted by psmealey at 4:53 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


My question is, with two years in the senate, if Obama was as white as chalk, would he be credible?
Because seven years in the state Senate of Illinois, four years as a community organizer, and eleven years lecturing on constitutional law was, what, sitting at home with his thumb up his ass?
<BillClinton>No, it was sitting at home with his thumb up his ass while black.</BillClinton>
posted by Flunkie at 5:21 PM on February 2, 2008


Electing Obama is like marrying the hot girl (or guy) before the lust phase of the relationship is over. No one really knows what Obama will be when the romance fades. And it will fade. Maybe he'll be great. Maybe he just has a great speech writer and superb political skills. No one knows.

I've done enough research to be able to make a decision. His background tells me that he is dedicated and understands how to build social efforts from the roots of the community to national political office. He has dedicated his life to this work, he has an excellent education and the most far-reaching upbringing, and he never seems to tire or lose sight of what's important. I truly think that it's not politics that drives him, but rather the value of putting real solutions to work for people. Unlike just about every other candidate, there is nothing you can say about him that makes him look slimy, underhanded, dishonest, Machavellian, conniving or opportunist, because he hasn't ever lived his life that way. He's the real deal. But he said that he wouldn't want to run again if he loses this time, because Washington will eventually change him in a way that will compromise his purpose, like it does everyone. That sort of honesty and understanding of the corrupting influence is what puts me in his corner. I fully believe he only intends to stay as long as he is doing some good, and not remain as a political careerist parasite on the system. And we'll see. But I'm convinced.

The information is out there. You can check him out, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:21 PM on February 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


We should all be a bit god-damned more critical than to surrender our votes and hearts after we see pop stars sing along with a political speech that contains nothing specific about anything.

Please people.
posted by xmutex at 6:08 PM on February 2, 2008


Thanks, dad.
posted by psmealey at 6:21 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Are we buying a car or electing a leader? That speech says very specific, meaningful things about the meaning of America. It's just not a laundry list of policies, which would make for a pretty shitty song and a boring speech. It's not the delivery, it's the content of what he's saying that makes people tear up and feel good about being Americans. His campaign is all about meaning. He's creating a new story for America and the world, for his place in it, and for our place in it.

Think about this -- if he were a Republican with that kind of of power to move people and he had an agenda of starting wars, scapegoating immigrants, etc -- wouldn't you be terrified? Why would you be terrified?

Because someone who moves people like that has the power to change the world. We should thank god he's on our side and do what we can to help him do it.
posted by empath at 6:26 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


If we go on that speech we're buying a car is the point, I think. That speech is empty rhetoric designed at fluffing the left. Optimism was for sale by John Edwards long before Obama with more credentials and ideas first to back and it and no one paid attention. Why? 400$ haircuts? Who knows.
posted by xmutex at 6:29 PM on February 2, 2008


Think about this -- if he were a Republican with that kind of of power to move people and he had an agenda of starting wars, scapegoating immigrants, etc -- wouldn't you be terrified? Why would you be terrified?

Yeah. That guy was Reagan. It was pretty scary, although we had no idea what his VP's son would later do. Still, Reagan's funeral might as well have been a king's funeral. I hated his policies, but he brought a lot of people together under his banner, mostly due to his leadership qualities as well as the timing of his candidacy.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:36 PM on February 2, 2008


Why do you think it's empty xmutex? You can say 'this is empty rhetoric', but it doesn't make it so. If millions of people get behind an idea and make something happen, is it still empty? Or is it just empty because it's not what you think?
posted by Happy Dave at 6:37 PM on February 2, 2008


The thing about Obama... I'm Gen X, and most of my friends are Gen X. And we're cynical sorts. Eyes are rolled forever.

But they're all for Obama. And with Obama, they're completely uncynical. They talk about how he's bringing this message of hope, and how he may be their only chance to get a Gen X president.

I'm starting to lean towards Obama. No, he's not the political machine that Hillary is, the immense business savvy of Romney, or the seasoned foreign policy wonk of McCain. He's just... Obama.

Maybe he's another Reagan -- great speeches, simplistic policies. Maybe he's just the Democrats' Dubya. I don't know. No, he's not super-experienced, but not all the guys with the long resumes do all that well in office (LBJ comes to mind), and guys with little political experience can do well (Eisenhower had zero political experience; Wilson served as NJ governor for less time than Obama has been in the Senate).

But Obama appeals to me, simply because he's talking about hope. And he's not being ironic about it. I don't know if I'll vote for him. At least I still have a week to decide before the caucuses.
posted by dw at 6:46 PM on February 2, 2008


So, Obama fills up a stadium with 15,000 Democrats in Iowa and attracts way more people than voted in the last similar election. Well... okay. But what does it take for Hillary Clinton to fill up a stadium? Like, for instance, the basketball stadium for the Aztecs in San Diego?

TimesOnline has the answer:

"On closer inspection, the Aztecs’ stadium was not as full as it looked for Clinton. Half the hall was closed off by a black curtain. On the one side were 5,000 cheering supporters - 80% of whom were women, and 100% of whom were Democrats.

The other, empty side could be said to represent the missing independents, disaffected Republicans and young first-time voters Obama is drawing. . ."

Ouch. Leave it to the British to point out the politically incorrect fact that 80+% of Hillary's most voiciferous supporters are women.

We need a unified party, not a gender war.
posted by markkraft at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2008


xmutex: Well, I think it was a 20 minute speech cut down to a few minutes that would work well in a song. It's not like empty rhetoric is all he has. If you want more policy stuff, do some research or something. It's not like the information is unavailable.

If you have a specific policy beef with Obama, what exactly is it? If you don't know what his position on an issue is, then look it up.
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on February 2, 2008


or the seasoned foreign policy wonk of McCain

Uh, the guy who sings "bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran" and wants to stay in Iraq for 10,000 years is not a "Seasoned wonk"

(Also, I watched the video again, and liked it)
posted by delmoi at 6:59 PM on February 2, 2008


I'm still waiting for the obvious 'bad choice' to arise. Because that's who the American's will vote for. Is Huckabee still in the race?
posted by weezy at 7:05 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Better speech, better song.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:26 PM on February 2, 2008


Huckabee is still in the race but not expected to do well outside of the evangelical-leaning states. The Republican nomination is McCain's to lose.

Even though I'm planning to vote for Obama on Tuesday, I'm beginning to feel pretty sanguine about 2008. The likely Republican candidate has Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. clawing at the walls out of frustration. I'm not especially inspired by HRC but I think she'd be competent enough.

Perhaps I am sanguine because each of these candidates have ideals that are mostly disjoint from those of Dixie/the religious right. I am delighted to see that voting block rendered impotent this year.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:29 PM on February 2, 2008


Also, I have to respond to this:

Anything is better than 1988-2016 running

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Clinton
Clinton

Anything at all


I don't think you're sufficiently imaginative. For starters:

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Hitler
Hitler

Or, I dunno,

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Schrute
Schrute

But I will be glad simply if it is not this:

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Bush
Bush
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:34 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


We should all be a bit god-damned more critical than to surrender our votes and hearts after we see pop stars sing along with a political speech that contains nothing specific about anything.

Please people.


Who are you telling this to? Of course you should be more critical than that. It's up to you, though - assuming that people are supporting Obama because of a YouTube video is downright insulting.

I supported Hillary for a long time until I went to see Obama speak for the first time. He gave his basic 30-minute stump speech, which was spine-tingling and truly fresh, then spent a good hour on questions, which were tough and unpredictable. I walked out of that event thinking "I may want to support this candidate instead."

Then I went to his website and read his platform. Then I started reading profiles and news pieces about him, both critical and supportive. My boyfriend subscribed to Google Alerts and forwarded me some great op-eds. I thought a lot about my decision, and did my research, because for me it was a serious move to stop supporting the first really viable and completely capable female candidate for the President. I wasn't going to make this a knee-jerk decision based on a great speech.

You don't have to. No one has to. But if you want to make your decision on something other than a great speech - whether you love the great speech, or think great speeches are shallow and manipulative - you are going to have to go beyond the great speech and find out about the candidate. Barack makes it easy: he's written books, and they're good reads, providing plenty of insight into his thinking, including his strengths and his areas of clear weakness. His voting record is available online, as is plenty of commentary on it, from plenty of perspectives. His platform is right here.

You don't have to support him based on a speech. But if you're going to oppose him in any convincing way, you're going to need more knowledge about him. And if you think others are supporting him because of his oratory, you're wrong. The oratory is the hook - candidates use their words to draw your interest. If you want to vote on something that shallow, it's up to you. But if you want to know more about where your "votes and hearts" are going, it's your job to do the research.
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on February 2, 2008 [35 favorites]


I think it was a 20 minute speech cut down to a few minutes that would work well in a song

That's exactly right. And if you'd like to hear the full speech I heard in NH that night, you can watch here.
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well put, Miko.
posted by billysumday at 7:44 PM on February 2, 2008


I don't think you're sufficiently imaginative. For starters:

Bush
Clinton
Clinton
Bush
Bush
Hitler
Hitler


Ted Hitler? I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. I wish the bastards hadn't kept him off the ballot in South Carolina. He is America and so can you.
posted by XMLicious at 8:32 PM on February 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, that Ted Hitler page on wikiality.com had the weirdest damn google ad:

Adolf Hitler 1938
Want Adolf Hitler 1938 Ringtone? 100% Complimentary - Get It Here!
posted by Kattullus at 10:40 PM on February 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ooooh! Esthero!

She signed her playlist for me. And now she and I have another thing to share.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:20 AM on February 3, 2008


It's actually this, guys:

Vice President Bush
Vice President Bush
President Bush
President Clinton
President Clinton
President Bush
President Bush

And then imagine tacking one or two more Clintons to end of that list. For as long as I have been alive, a Bush or a Clinton has been in office. FOR AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN ALIVE.

I wouldwill not be sadded by the end of the Bush/Clinton dynasty period (A.D. 1981-2009).
posted by Mikey-San at 10:49 AM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to point out I don't see any Ron Paul supporters in here giving the same snark they got. Or libeling anyone in the thread for saying nice things about Obama.

empath, I disagree with a lot (most) of Obama's policies but he seems like a decent guy and he could at least be a well-spoken national representative. Video's interesting. Thanks for bringing info about your candidate to our (my) attention via an interesting offbeat angle.

Cheers
posted by vsync at 11:16 AM on February 3, 2008


vsync writes "I'd just like to point out I don't see any Ron Paul supporters in here giving the same snark they got."

Can't speak for anyone else, but this Ron Paul supporter is also an Obama supporter.

(And I gave to Kucinich too. The ratios were 8:4:1, I'll let folks guess which candidates got which amounts. And I'll give Kucinich a little more to keep his House seat in his upcoming contested primary.)
posted by orthogonality at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2008


The high res version. It sounds much better too.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 2:36 PM on February 3, 2008


I've always had a sneaking suspicion that at some point, the DNC establishment is going to let the air out of Obama's tires. Maybe he's gained enough momentum to be beyond the reach of a Clinton-establishment backstab, but it seems like the biggest risk.

Clinton (both of them) has a whole lot of allies within the parties, and represents a laundry list of established interests. She must have a list of favors she can call in a mile long.

All he has to do is look ridiculous in front of one camera when the shutter drops, or make one silly sound bite, and the Clinton campaign will have the ammunition they'll need to end him as a viable candidate. And I think they'll do it, too; neither Clinton has never struck me, insofar as I have any feeling at all for either as a person, as particularly compassionate when it comes to politics. Obama is always exactly one very slight misstep away from "Et tu, Hillary?"

Obama's idealism is as threatening to established political interests (on both sides) as it is inspirational to voters. I can just see them shooting him down, saying to themselves that he can run again in a few years, you know, once he's got a better understanding of how things really work.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:50 PM on February 3, 2008


Electing Obama is like marrying the hot girl (or guy) before the lust phase of the relationship is over. No one really knows what Obama will be when the romance fades.

Unlike just about every other candidate, there is nothing you can say about him that makes him look slimy, underhanded, dishonest,


Wow, that's funny, because I have long found him quite slippery on environmental issues, his positions clearly up for bidding from the ethanol, coal, and nuclear lobbies. Hillary may not be much different in how she makes her decisions, but I am far more comfortable with the positions she's come around to in that way (except on Florida offshore oil drilling).

Read today's NYTimes story on how a nuclear plant was leaking radioactive pollution. Obama's proposals were initially quite tough, but over time, and after meeting with Exelon (the owners of the company), he took the teeth out of them entirely. Now the largest nuclear power plant operators are among his top fundraisers, and Obama is much more positive on nuclear energy than Hillary. He promotes it as something to be looked into, albeit with some caution, while she views it more cautiously and would not investigate it until the problems are resolved. (See Glassbooth.org's collection of quotes from Clinton, Obama).

My personal issue is the protection of animals. Obama is "neutral" on the Endangered Species Act and has signaled he'd be willing to revise it. In today's political climate, any revision would translate to a weakening (it was almost totally gutted a couple years ago). Plus, I don't trust him to lead this effort, having read a newspaper quote a few years back (the small paper doesn't keep their archives online or I'd link it) of him saying he wasn't one of those environmentalists that care about endangered species. Meanwhile, Hilary strongly supports the Endangered Species Act. (See Glassbooth.org's collection of quotes from Clinton, Obama). This holds up in their votes: Clinton voted against the appointment of Dirk Kempthorne as head of the Department of the Interior while Obama voted for Kempthorne -- Dirk Kempthorne recently surpassed a Reagan appointee to now have the worst record in history in this position.

Obama is a compromiser. A good politician compromises in a way that holds on to what they are really trying to achieve. But Obama compromises away things like safe water, reporting of nuclear leaks, protection of vulnerable animals, and other things I really care about. Conclusion: either he is a bad politician or he has values different from mine. I do like the way he talks to people, but I'm not convinced he's going to use that to promote the things I care about. I want to support Obama. I like his focus on lead poisoning and environmental health. But the nuclear example makes me wonder if he'd compromise away the teeth in the legislation there, too. I'm still doing my research, and I'd be happy to be proven wrong so I could join the happy hope bandwagon. But for me, all his inspirational speeches ring hollow.
posted by salvia at 4:36 PM on February 3, 2008


orthogonality, how could you possibly support both Obama and Ron Paul? Paul seems like a decent enough fellow, but he's got some seriously 19th century beliefs. Policy-wise they are diametrically opposed, except for ending the war.

And some Ron Paul fanatic was in the comments on the YouTube video talking about how there was all this momentum behind Paul. Um, right.
posted by lackutrol at 4:40 PM on February 3, 2008


lackutrol writes "orthogonality, how could you possibly support both Obama and Ron Paul? "

Well, I've given my reasons at greater length here.

But basically, I support Paul not so much for Paul, but for how his run changes the process. He was pretty much ignored, shoved aside, or mocked by the mainstream media, but nevertheless raised more money in 4Q 2007 than any other Republican. Most of that from small donors.

He's energized people who would normally excuse their political apathy by claiming all politicians are corrupt, so why bother being engaged.

And he's against the war, refuting the Bushite Republican propaganda that opposition to the war or insistence on the rule of law and separation of powers is tantamount to soft-on-terrorism "treason". And that, in turn, helps to split the Republicans and undermine their "tough on terror" sales pitch.

Regardless of what Paul believes, we desperately need to restore political initiative to the people -- not the corporations, not the lobbyists, not big media. Paul's campaign, the moneybombs and the shear grassroots exuberance, shows how that can be done. And so I supported Paul so that in 2012, in 2016, in 2020, we the people will have an example of a true grassroots initiative to point to and learn from.


My support for Kucinich stems from essentially the same motivations. My support for Obama comes from a similar place; I feel that of all the alternatives, he's least likely to be bought, least likely to owe favors to the powers that be, both within and outside of the Democratic Party.
posted by orthogonality at 5:19 PM on February 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, that's funny, because I have long found him quite slippery on environmental issues, his positions clearly up for bidding from the ethanol, coal, and nuclear lobbies. Hillary may not be much different in how she makes her decisions, but I am far more comfortable with the positions she's come around to in that way (except on Florida offshore oil drilling).

I'm confused: Obama's lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters is 96 -- the best of any Democratic candidate (not just any of the two left). His most recent score is, I believe, 100. Hillary's is 90 -- fine, but by no means stellar. I tend to think they are pretty on top of this. It's an important issue for me, too, and I've never heard or read Obama saying he didn't care about endangered species.
posted by The Bellman at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2008


Yeah, you are right about the LCV scores. I just don't consider them the be-all-end-all since there's so much they don't measure.

> > I have long found him quite slippery on environmental issues

> I'm confused:

I don't mean this in a mean way, but did you read the NY Times article about nuclear power? He's always been surprisingly pro-nuclear, now we find out it's because the largest nuclear power plant owners are among his largest fundraisers. He weakened a bill after meeting with them.

Or take ethanol. I've seen it as a long-settled question where environmentalists are thumbs down (maybe I'm wrong), but he's always promoted it, which I've seen as a political calculation around the Iowa caucuses.

Then I see him slow to sign on to the climate change bill, not showing up at a Grist / Public Radio International forum on energy and environmental issues that Edwards and Clinton both attended, not putting effort into a Sierra Club candidates forum that Hillary did, I just get the feeling that -- he may have the power to be a leader and make things happen -- but he's going to do that by casting traditional environmental issues as something we have to "move beyond." Not cool with me.

But if I'm really missing something here (say, the forest for the trees), please help me see it.
posted by salvia at 9:52 PM on February 3, 2008


Ugh, I have no idea how you guys can stand the hype & hysteria around your elections, particularly because you start getting worked up about the next one pretty much immediately after the last one. I just feel like telling everyone to have a cup of tea and relax.
posted by loiseau at 11:09 PM on February 3, 2008


You have to give some kudos to a speech that continues to inspire people to pick up guitars and sing about it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:00 AM on February 4, 2008


Salvia, your comment has made me look more into this topic (thanks!) and you are right, Obama does not seem to say much about nuclear energy in his platform. However, he does have an extensive platform on energy and the environment which includes a plan for investing in and developing alternative means of energy as well as lowering consumption.

Maybe a reason for what is viewed as his supportive view of nuclear energy might be based on a similar viewpoint as summarized by Justinian in this post:

One fundamental mistake you are making is comparing nuclear power to some pie in the sky ideal 100% clean and 100% safe method that simply does not exist. In the real world your choices are burning coal and nuclear. People like you completely fail to come to terms with the fact that coal kills far, far, far more people than nuclear ever has and does it under normal operating conditions.

So he looks like he supports nuclear power, but this is in comparison to the current 2nd choice alternative, coal (because those other greener alternatives aren't developed enough to be considered a contender). Actually maybe it's a good sign that his platform doesn't mention nuclear power. It makes it sound like he is more focused on developing these "green" power sources and getting them into use.

Of course, this is all just benevolent speculation on my part and I admit to that. You may not believe me but I'm on the fence about Obama. I would love to have someone actually from the Obama campaign to comment on this and either affirm or clarify my assumptions.

Additionally I would be OK with a president who changed his mind after speaking to people and made an educated decision. What may be viewed as a "weakened bill" might be more "updated based on thoughtful investigation".
posted by like_neon at 4:13 AM on February 4, 2008


It will be a refreshing change to invade Australia for its uranium.
posted by XMLicious at 5:08 AM on February 4, 2008


Or take ethanol. I've seen it as a long-settled question where environmentalists are thumbs down (maybe I'm wrong), but he's always promoted it, which I've seen as a political calculation around the Iowa caucuses.

Obama, like any other candidate, has to make sure that he gets elected before he can pave the roads with gumdrops and replacing light poles with candy canes. He's from Illinois, an agricultural state, and supports things like ethanol, tariffs on imported sugar, corn subsidies. These are things I wish he wasn't for, but I understand that in a state like Illinois he needs to be for those things. I know he's not perfect but he does seem to be: a) the best candidate out there and b) willing to look further into issues and change his mind. The perfect candidate that a lot of people have in their mind, who would wave a wand and make everyone in the world realize that taxes are good, the death penalty is bad, and decriminalizing drugs is smart, would never get elected. So my hope is that Obama gets elected and is able to exercise good judgment - including possibly a recalculation on some issues that I think he is wrong on. Clinton, I feel, is too indebted to too many people and her judgment relies on the favors she's accrued and needs to repay. Nobody knows how these people will govern once they're elected. But with both candidates you've got to take a little bit of the bad with the good.
posted by billysumday at 5:41 AM on February 4, 2008


And further: I don't want to say that either candidate is a complete crap shoot or roll of the dice. But if you're a one-issue voter, I don't know how you go about ensuring that your candidate does the one exact thing that you want him/her to do. I like Obama's environmental policy, but it could be better, e.g. I wish we had a politician who encouraged a large scale-back in personal energy consumption, simpler living, more public transport, more living density, etc., but that change isn't going to happen by November '08. I also don't like his policies in regards to agriculture. But I do like his stance on foreign policy, the war, education, taxes, health care. He's in favor of incremental changes that I think are possible and positive. And I'm willing to let him be wrong about the Food Bill because I feel like the other issues are so important, and if we can start making progress in those areas I think it will only embolden more change in other areas.
posted by billysumday at 6:27 AM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Salvia: Thanks for pointing out that NYT article -- I don't take it in a mean way at all and I appreciate the good discussion on an important issue. I'm going to keep reading.
posted by The Bellman at 8:27 AM on February 4, 2008


Hillary lost her advantage on ethanol recently when she shifted to a supportive stance, coninciding with the opening of a new ethanol plant in New York State, which will be the largest in the Northeast.

I don't like either of them on ethanol (or the Farm Bill). But I agree with those who say that expecting a perfect Candidate Potatohead who has every single feature I would choose is a losing game. In reality, we elect a leader, not a set of policies. There's absolutely no guarantee that their policies will ever become a reality; that depends on their leadership capability and on their staff appointments. They can talk policy until they're blue in the face, but nothing's going to happen to any imagined policies - not on healthcare, not on the environment, not on Iraq, not on nothin', until they hit the road in the form of Congressional legislation - an arena in which we're empowered to continue expressing our opinions as constituents.

I don't expect to drop the ethanol issue when the new President takes office. Since I'm involved in the whole food-and-farm activism thing I expect that to continue for a long time to come, since there's a lot of work to do. Same with energy and environmental policy. There's no quick fix here. It's up to us to keep in touch with our representatives and talk to people about our views in order to move national policy in the direction we want it to go.
posted by Miko at 9:00 AM on February 4, 2008


Salvia, thanks for bringing up the enviro stuff, which is of course an important issue. I worked for enviro orgs for 7 years, so you better believe I checked him out thoroughly on these issues before I decided to support him (which I did, early and enthusiastically). Of course he has made some compromises, but on the whole, he is the best of the crop of candidates running this year, so...not really sure what to tell you.

As for the Grist Forum, when was that? If it was in the fall or later, it may have simply been the victim of over-forumation. In August, after having attended more than 20 candidate forums, the Obama campaign announced that, barring forums they had already agreed to attend, they would decline all further invitations. It really got to the point where these forums were cutting into the time Barack could spent meeting and talking to voters. And some of these forums were really serving more as a press opportunity for the sponsoring organization than a real opportunity for discussion and debate. At the time, he caught a lot of flack for this decision, but it seems to have worked out pretty well for him!
posted by lunasol at 1:49 PM on February 4, 2008


That video was just awful. Either sing his words, or let his words stand alone, but don't play them over each other so they end up as gibberish. What a waste.
posted by smackfu at 4:50 PM on February 4, 2008


Ah, lunasol, excellent, someone I can ask my questions to!

So, why DID he vote to appoint Bush's nominee, Dirk Kempthorne, to the Department of the Interior? (Hillary voted against.) At the time, Kempthorne's score with the League of Conservation Voters was 1% (!!), and he has now surpassed a Reagan appointee to now have the worst record in history in this position. Why did Obama support him?

He was quoted (in the ones I link above) as saying the Endangered Species Act should be updated and revised. Would he really try to revise it? Given how strong certain lobbies are now, any revision would mean the Act would get weakened, and he must know that because he was on the Environment & Public Works Committee when Pombo & Inhofe were trying to gut it completely. So, would he really open the door to letting it get weakened? (Hillary has said nothing but "it's great, it's working" about the ESA.)

Has he said who he'll appoint to the Department of the Interior?
posted by salvia at 5:55 PM on February 4, 2008


I Don't Like To Make Political Statements:
If you understand why network neutrality is important, if you can imagine how transparency and connectivity might improve our Democracy, if you think it’s sort of important that the people who run this country know something about computers and the internet, then you have no business backing anybody else. Obama understands these issues in the way that geeks understand them.
posted by EarBucket at 9:58 PM on February 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obsidian Wings' hilzoy on Barack Obama's legislative record:
I came to Obama by an unusual route: as I explained here, I follow some issues pretty closely, and over and over again, Barack Obama kept popping up, doing really good substantive things. There he was, working for nuclear non-proliferation and securing loose stockpiles of conventional weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles. There he was again, passing what the Washington Post called "the strongest ethics legislation to emerge from Congress yet" -- though not as strong as Obama would have liked. Look -- he's over there, passing a bill that created a searchable database of recipients of federal contracts and grants, proposing legislation on avian flu back when most people hadn't even heard of it, working to make sure that soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were screened for traumatic brain injury and to prevent homelessness among veterans, successfully fighting a proposal by the VA to reexamine all PTSD cases in which full benefits had been awarded, working to ban no-bid contracts in Katrina reconstruction, and introducing legislation to criminalize deceptive political tactics and voter intimidation. And there he was again, introducing a tech plan of which Lawrence Lessig wrote
posted by Kattullus at 5:07 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh. The Dem primary in NH was very closely contested of course, 1% or 2% lead on Obama, and you might recall that it was punditized as quite pivotal for Hillary because she faced the possibility of losing both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.

Evidently two days before the vote a whole bunch of Democratic leaders in the state endorsed a circulated email that criticized Obama for his abortion record apparently without mentioning that he gets 100% ratings from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. I say "apparently" because one of the people who signed the email seems to not know anything about those ratings. There's a long Washington Post blog entry about it which also claims that Obama supporters hosting pre-election-night events got a large number of questions about his abortion stance.

Oddly enough, even though I live in New Hampshire I found out about this by repeatedly pressing the "Random Article" link on Wikipedia. I guess that just means I need to watch the local news more often.

I've previously mentioned on MeFi that I'm basically pro-life, this was interesting to me because it looks like establishment pro-status-quo manipulation of the results, by an establishment that has talked alot about stolen elections during the past seven years.
posted by XMLicious at 5:10 AM on February 5, 2008


I am SHOCKED that they figured out a way to twist his record so it looked worse than it was. That is crazy.
posted by smackfu at 6:34 AM on February 5, 2008


The point is that the "they" in this case includes many of the prominent Democrats in the state willingly and directly acting as spin doctors, beyond the usual depredations of the hired spin doctors and the candidates themselves.

And, like I said, this in a party that has been known on occasion to howl about stolen elections.
posted by XMLicious at 6:50 AM on February 5, 2008


There's a little more detail about XMLicious' post here.

That was a really crappy attack (and so very Clintonesque!) but I don't think it could possibly have been responsible for much of the surprising poll vs. vote outcome. Based on my observations, I think the loss was due to pollsters' inadequate sense of independents and to people trying to game the primary and vote strategically (for instance, Dems for Obama, confident that he had the lead, choosing to vote in the Republican primary to influence the nomination) rather than vote for the candidate they actually support.
posted by Miko at 7:04 AM on February 5, 2008


Though, XMLicious, you certainly must recognize that spinning data in support of your candidate is a loooong way from illegally engineering election results.
posted by Miko at 7:06 AM on February 5, 2008


Speaking of Viral election videos.
posted by delmoi at 8:14 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure that's all that happened. :D What I'm in particular thinking about is whether party officials themselves are getting involved instead of just Hillary's partisans. I'd love to see a list of exactly who signed this thing.

BTW, the Huffington piece you linked to seems to be talking about a postal mailing whereas the Washington Post one is referring to an email. I also wasn't clear about whether the email was sent by the campaign itself, whereas the mailing mentioned in the Huffington Post does seem to have been.
posted by XMLicious at 8:20 AM on February 5, 2008


Er, that is, whether the email was officially sent by the campaign itself.
posted by XMLicious at 8:21 AM on February 5, 2008


I've always had a sneaking suspicion that at some point, the DNC establishment is going to let the air out of Obama's tires.

Don't forget, The head of the DNC is Howard Dean. And Obama has some pretty powerful endorsements, like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. The Establishment is quite smitten with Obama
posted by delmoi at 8:26 AM on February 5, 2008


I couldn't find any copy of the email, so I'm wondering whether it's the stuff of legend.
posted by Miko at 8:26 AM on February 5, 2008


Hmmm. It would seem that, if the email didn't exist, the Washington Post blogger would have to have faked, or maybe just misrepresented his multiple interviews concerning it. Not impossible for sure.
posted by XMLicious at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2008


You're right, that would be really farfetched. So I'm still searching, though I have yet to find the text of the email itself. From Obama's blog: "the names of the pro-choice people who signed the anti-Obama slime email and direct mailer" (no timestamp link, you may want to search on that quoted text if you're interested).

And here's something about what they said about the email in the aftermath.

...2 of these people represent the district I work in. What a shame.
posted by Miko at 8:53 AM on February 5, 2008


Well, none of those names match the list of NH Democratic Party Officers; so much for my speculations, assuming none of the signers are officers in other states. Thanks for digging those links up, they were interesting to read. If you come across the text of the email please post it here Miko, as will I if I find it.
posted by XMLicious at 9:19 AM on February 5, 2008


Many of them are/were state reps.
posted by Miko at 9:48 AM on February 5, 2008


Yeah, slimy and undignified for elected officials, but not the degree of impropriety I was hoping for. ;^)
posted by XMLicious at 10:11 AM on February 5, 2008


And oh, also stupid and credulous of them to have cheerfully put their signature on whatever the Clinton campaign told them. But it did win her the primary, at the mere price (hopefully) of their reputations.
posted by XMLicious at 10:15 AM on February 5, 2008


Here's the postal mailer, still no luck with the email.
posted by XMLicious at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2008


What the hell... Bill Clinton is a superdelegate?
posted by XMLicious at 1:05 PM on February 10, 2008


Regarding superdelegates -- from today's NYT's: Neck and Neck, Democrats Woo Superdelegates.
posted by ericb at 1:07 PM on February 10, 2008


Bill Clinton is a superdelegate?

Heh. So are Hilary and Barack, as Democratic Senators.
posted by smackfu at 2:06 PM on February 10, 2008


Regarding superdelegates -- from today's NYT's: Neck and Neck, Democrats Woo Superdelegates.

I kept wondering how the Democrats were going to blow this election. Now I know.

Thanks to the superdelegates, we can go ahead and get ready for four years of McCain/Graham.
posted by dw at 7:07 AM on February 11, 2008


Message to superdelegates: back off
posted by psmealey at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2008


Keep in mind that all Dem Senators, Governors, etc are superdelegates. So every time one of them endorses a candidate, like Ted Kennedy for Obama, that counts as a superdelegate in someone's column.
posted by smackfu at 7:40 AM on February 11, 2008


John McCain has a response to this video.
posted by EarBucket at 7:50 AM on February 11, 2008


John McCain has a response to this video.

That's pretty awesome.
posted by Miko at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2008


The McCain “Less Jobs, More Wars” Jugger…Not!
posted by homunculus at 11:48 AM on February 11, 2008


Wow, CNN is really harping on their pre-count of the superdelegates. At the very beginning around the Iowa caucus their Election Center page was showing Hillary with something like 700 delegates to Barack's none (Which I think would have been giving all of the superdelegates to her, right? Totally different from what MSNBC's been showing, according to someone in one of the other threads.) That gap has slowly closed and now she's just slightly ahead of him by their tally.

One of the front-page links on the CNN site right now is Superdelegates give Clinton narrow lead.

In contrast the front-page story on the MSNBC site right now is Clinton sizes up do-or-die tests.
Following a string of losses, the Clinton camp increasingly believes Ohio and Texas have become must-win primaries and the campaign is trying to reassure anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 AM on February 12, 2008


Media outlets label Obama supporters as 'cult-like'.

Because no rational citizen gets excited about politics amirite?!!?
posted by Happy Dave at 7:14 AM on February 21, 2008


Right on, Happy Dave. As an Obama supporter, I'm getting very tired of the "rabid, irrational, kool-aid drinkers" attack, which doesn't describe me or most people I know or sum up our approach to the candidate. The message is one that suits Obama's opponents quite well, and if you can't attack the man's talents or positions, you can always suggest his supporters are tools, easily swayed by impassioned rhetoric. But how would you propose to tell the difference between strong supporters who have been easily swayed by impassioned rhetoric and strong supporters who have made a careful study of the merits of his campaign and have been rationally convinced he's an excellent horse to back? When you're just holding a sign and cheering, there is no visible difference. Fortunately, most people I know have some very good reasons to back up their Obama support - reasons just as good as those for supporting another candidate. I suspect that's widely true.

I also think there's a short-memory problem at work. It's been a very long time since the center-to-left side of the nation was truly excited about a candidate. This is what that looks like - it's just that many people, maybe media people particularly, are a bit too young to remember times when the left had the luxury of being less cynical. I'm old enough to have been in college during Clinton's '92 campaign, and the enthusiasm was just exactly the same as what I see in the Obama camp now. And was equally ridiculed by the press - I mean, remember? He went on MTV and talked about boxers vs. briefs, he played the sax on the Arsenio Hall show, he admitted (sorta) to pot smoking, which many people saw as a bit of a positive. People were excited about the idea of a very cool, rather sexy, "rock-and-roll" president who was also smart as a whip and spoke the language of social responsibility. It was not a different atmosphere from the one Obama creates today.

But I can see how someone under 30 would be utterly surprised and perhaps either enthused or uneasy about the approbation for Obama. It hasn't been a part of democratic politics since the beginning of the Clinton era. For those who are older, it's a recognizable political atmosphere when you are genuinely hopeful that your preferred agenda might be executed by a talented individual for whom you have some personal affinity.
posted by Miko at 10:59 AM on February 21, 2008


❊ Shuts closet door to candle-lit shrine for Obama and stands in front of it. ❊

What, sorry? Cults? What were we talking about?
posted by XMLicious at 12:29 PM on February 21, 2008


Miko - very well said. It saddens me that the media feel the need to be so utterly cynical and impose their own narrative on everything. You know, because Americans are either die-hard realist cynics or dewy-eyed optimists, and there's nothing in between, while not-so-subtly implying that Obama's taking his supporters for a ride. Feh.

Fast-forward to November please.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:05 PM on February 21, 2008


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