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Oratory, Politics, and Video
March 14, 2008 9:41 PM   Subscribe

If one can look past the Obama/Political filter, here is a fascinating series of debates between two masters of the ancient art of oratory. The setting: The 2004 Illinois senate race. The participants: Barak Obama and Alan Keyes, (who are about as different as politicians get in the US). The arguments: various subjects of national interest such as the war in Iraq, the 'axis of evil' and world diplomacy', gun control, legislative experience, and abortion, trade, poverty and globalism.

Three debates, available in three formats, video, audio, or transcript. Many question addressed by Obama that he dosen't usually get to address at length, and he's not sharing the stage with a dozen other (lesser) hopefuls.
posted by dawson (72 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd heard Alan Keyes' name before, but never seen him speak. He's a friggin' idiot!
posted by spacewrench at 10:03 PM on March 14, 2008


Regarding Keyes, I don't think he's an idiot; I just think he's completely bugfuck crazy.

From Kung Fu Monkey: The Crazification Factor
John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is --

Tyrone: 27%.

John: ... you said that immediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgment. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That's crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:24 PM on March 14, 2008 [25 favorites]


Seriously, I'm no liberal but even I had to vote for Obama when it was him versus Keyes. These aren't the Lincoln/Douglas debates. So Obama can shine when he's the only star on the stage. Yawn.
posted by sbutler at 10:25 PM on March 14, 2008


I think if these were required viewing, Obama would be the next president without question.
posted by Huck500 at 10:25 PM on March 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's an earlier post about another fascinating and important set of debates between two prospective Illinois Senate candidates that took place 150 years before Obama and Keyes (Keyes? Really?) toed the podiums. Back then, though, the eventual loser of the senate race was the one who ended up being president. Does this mean we'll have President Keyes in '08? He is a declared candidate and apparently still in the running.
posted by notswedish at 10:27 PM on March 14, 2008


Indeed, the Lincoln-Douglas debates of our era.

We need a Lincoln about now.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:34 PM on March 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's leave this thread open and rename it the 'Obama Worship' thread so that the faithful have a continual safe haven in which to echo agreement as to the man's godlike oratory powers, unquestionable leadership potential and such other respectful platitudes that will, by simple virtue of their righteous energy, vanquish all opponents and see safe passage of their fearless leader to the white house in November. Amen.
posted by peacay at 10:35 PM on March 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Stinkin' Lincoln! Stinkin' Lincoln!"

"Dirty Douglas! Dirty Douglas!"
posted by mazola at 10:43 PM on March 14, 2008


I'm looking forward to watching these tomorrow morning, but I know they can in no way compare to the best thing ever, which I once (or twice!) saw on C-SPAN: Alan Keyes debating the proper role of religion in society with ALAN DERSHOWITZ. It's impossible to choose a side to root for since they're both such assholes. (Though at least Alan D. didn't disown any of his children for being gay.)

It's even a fairly interesting debate until the end when they both accuse each other of being liars and just start insulting each other.

Yay, video and transcript online!
posted by 1 at 10:46 PM on March 14, 2008


Say what you will about him, but Alan Keyes was the only candidate who was willing to get into Michael Moore's mosh pit back in Iowa during the 2000 caucus.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:56 PM on March 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Metafilterette Newsletter, as it would have been distributed sometime around 1960:

"Let's leave this thread open and rename it the 'King Jr. Worship' thread so that the faithful have a continual safe haven in which to echo agreement as to the man's godlike oratory powers, unquestionable leadership potential and such other respectful platitudes that will, by simple virtue of their righteous energy, vanquish all opponents and see safe passage of their fearless leader."

Which is not to say he's anything near MLK Jr., it's to say people would have been doing a heck of a lot of talking about someone that came through with a surprising ability to address concerns, and who many people black and white, looked to in a time of turmoil. Someone who has a gift to speak to people, and make regular words sound meaningful. And I'm sure there were a lot of people whining about MLK Jr. back then.

So excuse the hell out of me for actually wanting to see more of this guy, since the other people who came along like him were murdered. I'm so used to having people who look like me made fun of, treated like demons and lazy wastes of space or otherwise made to feel like shit and inferior, that you'll excuse me if I actual revel in this for a bit.
posted by cashman at 11:04 PM on March 14, 2008 [19 favorites]


You know, Geraldine Ferraro would have at least been on to something if she had said Obama wouldn't be in this race if he wasn't blessed with both prodigious rhetorical talent and a stately baritone.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:15 PM on March 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama's great, but he hasn't debated Sinbad yet.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:17 PM on March 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


peacay writes "Let's leave this thread open and rename it the 'Obama Worship' thread so that the faithful have a continual safe haven in which to echo agreement as to the man's godlike oratory powers, unquestionable leadership potential and such other respectful platitudes"

peacay, I love you man, but, really. I'm a fervent Obama supporter and contributor, and if he's our candidate I'll sacrifice two months pay to go volunteer for him.

But it's not because I consider Obama a god -- I have had, and contine to have my doubts abot hhim.

I'm a fervent Obama supporter because the alternatives are horrendously bad.

McCain means indefinite, pointless, unwinable war in Iraq, and the strong possibility of bombing Cambodia war against Iran too.

Hillary means less likelihood of getting out the of the war, top advisors who promoted the war or who work for Blackwater, and anoter eight years of Clinton triangulation, DLC Republican-lite, Clinton lies, and vituperative Clinton hate that funds the right wing.

Given those alternatives, of course I want Obama. And Obama, if no god, because of the way he energizes teh youth and the (usually) cynical, has a chance to be a game-changer, both for the Democratic Partty and the country. And we desperately need a game-chnaer, after eight years of war, police statism, the defunding and denigration of science, and rampant corporatism.

Hell, just the fact that most of Obama's fnding comes from one million small donors means he's not bought and doesn't owe favors to the establishment. I'll fight in the trenches for that alone.

Hillary and McCain offer only the same old failed polices; therefore Obama's my only and best choice.
posted by orthogonality at 11:21 PM on March 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


Even though Obama forgives you, peacay, I... I don't know if I can.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:58 PM on March 14, 2008


As poster, I was concerned that this may overly focus on Dr Keyes. I am no apologist for the man, and I mostly admire him for his oratory and defense of the unborn. I find his position on homosexuality reprehensible, but not indefensible. I would maintain tnat he is well educated, has excellent experience, and is not ones idiot. I have always found him articulate, logical and inspiring. As Obama says in the final debate: Dr Keyes is 'exceptionally intelligent', 'fair-minded' and one who "articulates (his) positions" with eloquence and intelligence.
I am an Obama supporter, he's the first candidate I have ever given money too, but compared to Obama's pastor, Keyes sounds like Socrates.
The reason I wanted to post this, and I debated about a week, is that we see Obama (and may I stress again that I do not see him as a 'messiah', but as the most honest, principled, rational[the others have obvious psychological issues] the candidate about as raw as we are likely to see him.
He takes the most pointed questions from a master and, IMHO, handles them with finesse, eloquence and grace.
I have no control over the comments here, nor do I want such control. But I would urge you to focus on Obama's words, not the 'pony show' of a debate.
and God knows I hope this does not appear as racisist, but my heart is warmed that we have here two highly educated, thoughtful African Americans going head-to-head over issues of national import.
That's not all I have to say, but it is all I will say here, do carry on my friends!
posted by dawson at 12:00 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Peacay, you're going to be awfully sorry if you get sick and you need Barack to faith heal you.
posted by mullingitover at 12:27 AM on March 15, 2008


Let's leave this thread open and rename it the 'Peacay Pontification' thread so that s/he may have a continual safe thread in which to poop in keeping with said mefite's godlike self-absorption, unquestionable trolling potential and such other disrespectful platitudes that will, by simple virtue of their bitter energy, vanquish all relevant discussion and see safe passage of their fearless leader to MetaTalk by Sunday.

Lame, men.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:33 AM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Let's leave this thread open and rename it the 'Obama Worship' thread so that the faithful have a continual safe haven in which to echo agreement as to the man's godlike oratory powers,

Has nothing to do with Obama's public speaking skills. Even in a debate with the maundering Senator Clinton, Alan Keyes (darling of the white right,) would appear completely bugfuck crazy.

You know, Keyes wouldn't be in the position he's in if he wasn't black.
posted by three blind mice at 12:36 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


i.e., what blindmice3 said.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:38 AM on March 15, 2008


Hillary means less likelihood of getting out the of the war

Based on what?:
[Obama] disappointed some Democrats by not taking a more prominent role opposing the war - he voted against a troop withdrawal proposal by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in June 2006, arguing that a firm date for withdrawal would hamstring diplomats and military commanders in the field.
And Clinton:
"I've been very clear in saying that I will begin to withdraw troops in 60 days. I believe that it will take me one to two brigades a month, depending on how many troops we have there, and that nearly all of them should be out within a year."
DLC Republican-lite

How exactly is Obama less Replubican-lite? He's arguably softer on universal health care, and more economically conservative about the minimum wage and middle class tax cuts than Clinton. I see little evidence that Obama is more Left-wing.

The reason that strong feelings about Obama are somewhat unsettling (and detract from his appeal) is how fundamentally similar the candidates are on policy issues. There is no real justification for excitement. The Ron Paul disciples at least made sense, in that Paul had extremely different policy ideas than the other candidates. Same with Nader in 2000. With Obama I get the sense that his appearance and superficial traits (voice, body language) are playing a far stronger role with voter emotions than they reasonably should.

Comparisons to MLK are just completely specious and suspicious, especially since, as Tim Wise suggested in that recent thread, Obama largely ignores black issues to appear politically moderate. That is not to say that Hilary is better on this, just that there are some dubiously strong feelings that far exceed what has been earned in declaration or accomplishment. He is in no way a radical candidate. Can we at least pick our unexciting, centrist American politicians with some perspective and honesty about picking unexciting, centrist American politicians?
posted by dgaicun at 12:40 AM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see little evidence that Obama is more Left-wing.

On GLBT issues, Obama is far left of Hillary.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 AM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama is more of the same old politics and policies. People who say he somehow is different need to take the stars out of their eyes and take a good hard look at their candidate. Not to say he wouldn't be a better president that Hilary or McCain, but enough of the BS already. He's probably the best POLITICIAN (in the best and worst sense) we have seen in the last few decades. And seriously, Obama versus Keyes debate transcript as required reading. Did I miss the joke?
posted by available at 1:05 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your favorite politician sucks.
posted by ryoshu at 1:22 AM on March 15, 2008


ryoshu writes "Your favorite politician sucks."

How dare you insult (minorities||women||the senile) like that!
posted by mullingitover at 1:40 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Policy-wise, the main difference between Obama and Clinton seems to be whether or not a national health plan should include mandatory coverage. This difference may, in the end, amount to nothing, because it is not clear that any such plan will be implemented, or implemented in the form that the candidate wishes.

The idea that Obama can transcend the political bickering of the baby-boomer generation, something that has been floated by many, including the Atlantic, is premised upon a fairly optimistic view of the right-wing. The whole Muslim-Manchurian candidate meme that they have, if not developed, then perpetuated, gives the lie to this.
posted by Tullius at 5:04 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


no one is going to mention wright?
posted by empath at 6:57 AM on March 15, 2008


I'm wishing Obama (or even Clinton - anyone really) would win the bleedin' Democratic nomination so MeFi could get on with the rather more interesting business of beating McCain up online as opposed to the eventual Democratic nominee. I'm rooting for Obama if only because he offers more enjoyable speeches (to listen to) than anyone else in the race. Always loved a good orator!
posted by WalterMitty at 7:06 AM on March 15, 2008


“Obama is more of the same old politics and policies”

Yeah, ‘cause he’s such a Washington insider. Unlike...er... *cough*

I’ve met the man. Heard him speak. Hillary too (hell, I’ve eaten with her at Booby’s) Obama - It’s like I imagine watching Abraham Lincoln, you don’t get it unless you’ve seen the man (’but he’s so UGLY!’ ‘Yeah, but look at what he says and how he says it’ ).
In boxing it’s more of the same old punches and combinations. But even between two boxers with the same style (out-fighters, say) there’s a vast difference between Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali. One was a great fighter, the other completely transcended the sport. Same deal here. Clinton has technical expertise, but...
(And there are policy differences - but as in boxing it’s about execution)

What’s funny about Keyes is that he is an excellent speaker. And I think the contrast here is apt. There, but for the grace of a good number of things, goes Obama. I half expected to see Keyes wearing an ‘evil’ goatee.
Keyes is seductive and that works on a lot of people - much in the way opponents accuse Obama supporters of being seduced.

But of course there’s some thing, beyond Obama’s charisma, that convinces you - his methodology, his cogency, the way he thinks, his clarity, he doesn’t vaccilate and it’s obvious he’s speaking from the heart.

We can debate about what he says (I think there are some sharp, critical differences between him and Clinton - but I recognize the validity of counter arguments, different folks focus on different things) but in terms of execution, clarity, having value in his words as opposed to being platitudes - he’s way way ahead. And that’s why he destroyed Keyes who was plugged into his own system and can certainly put on a show.

I’ve also met Jack Ryan. Obama would have annihilated him if the ‘scandal’ hadn’t come up. Shallow prick investment banker pretending to be a teacher for political points. He would have been destroyed. I clocked the guy in two minutes as a deciever and I was way way off my game at the time (no sleep, stressed out, plus a bunch of other things).

And yeah, met Keyes, he’s crazy in the way that scares you. Y’know, perfectly rational speaking, yet he’s talking chemical castration of homosexuals or some such ( ‘Isn’t that right, Smedley?’ ‘Uh, yeah I guess so.’ ‘Then certainly, you must believe that...’ etc.) he sort of imposes on that interpersonal politeness people extend to each other and pushes it to the limit.
He’d be a great cult leader. Of course, I more than idly wondered if I would be doing the world a favor... but y’know, I’m not *that* serious about politics. People know. And even if they don’t they’ll figure it out (the whole some of the people some of the time thing).
posted by Smedleyman at 7:23 AM on March 15, 2008


no one is going to mention wright?

i'm an avid supporter of obama. i've sent his campaign money and voted for the guy. i think he's the last great hope for this country. that being said, sadly, i think the wright story could take obama down. while much of what wright said (i've only seen what the MSM is playing) is probably true, it's just not palatable to middle america. the story is just going to have to play out. we'll see how the media handles it (uncomfortably) and watch the polls.
posted by brandz at 7:46 AM on March 15, 2008


You know who Obama should pick as his VP? The iPhone. That combo would crush everyone and usher in a golden age.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 AM on March 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm fucking Barak Obama.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:49 AM on March 15, 2008


You know who Obama should pick as his VP? The iPhone

But would you trust the iPhone to answer the 3am call?
posted by Balisong at 8:51 AM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, right now, the media seems to be cozying up to the Wright story like it did to the Dean scream. Something sensational that keeps viewers tuning in; a bit of drama for an otherwise dull horse race.

If CNN shows the videotape another hundred times like it did yesterday, and pundits continue to opine about "how will Obama distance himself", ignoring Obama's already emphatic and clear denunciation of the pastor's words and firing of the man from the campaign, then it could hurt him.

Of course, we'll have another situation where a candidate was undermined by something that was totally not reflective of the candidate, per se, but of the rather shallow sensationalism of the media.

Not surprising, but frustrating, nevertheless.
posted by darkstar at 8:58 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]




Of course, we'll have another situation where a candidate was undermined by something that was totally not reflective of the candidate, per se, but of the rather shallow sensationalism of the media.

Barack Obama: Putting faith out front

It was at Trinity United Church of Christ here, in the late 1980s, that Senator Obama says he found religion. Raised in a secular household, with ancestral roots running from Islam to Baptist to atheist, Obama had grown up a skeptic. But Mr. Wright's blend of scripture and social action resonated with Obama, then a young community organizer in black neighborhoods ravaged by steel-mill closings.

And when Wright preached one Sunday about the sustaining power of hope in the face of poverty and despair, Obama says he found himself in tears.

"The questions I had did not magically disappear," Obama wrote in his recent book, titled "The Audacity of Hope" after Wright's turn of phrase, of the day four years later when he made a formal commitment of Christian faith. "But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth."


Obama would have been a viable religious candidate in an insane climate against the anti-intellectual uber-fraud Huckabee, but the right-wing smartly dumped their preacher asshole in a canal somewhere in January. Liberals should remain as religiously untainted as possible because liberalism strives to end the poverty that religion maintains in order to survive.
posted by Brian B. at 9:57 AM on March 15, 2008


We should be so lucky that this slows this candidacy to give folks a chance to think about his steaming heap of empty rhetoric. I say it is long past due that the media takes a critical look at Obama rather than offering to brush his teeth and turn down his bedding. "What? this isn't 1,000 count Egyptian cotton, let me get some for you. I've had some in my knapsack just waiting for you to need them, Mr. Obama, sir. Oh, forgive me, you can't understand me while I'm fellating you?" You can tell alot about a person by the company they keep. What's the real difference between that guy and one of those foaming at the mouth fundamentalists that liberals are so quick to take pot shots at?

Obama is an egomaniac. Bush is an egomaniac. Obama does not have the experience to be president. Bush did not have the experience to be president. Obama = a Bush who can string more than two words together.

Obama will not listen to you. All he wants is your money and your vote. You will not have any input in his government. That is not change, it is more of the same. He is a snake-oil salesman. He has never done anything significant, nor has he been part of anything significant.

His blow-hard short-sighted empty-pants style of governance will get us into more trouble than you could ever imagine. Our system is designed so that any one individual does not have the power to change anything.

There are two possibilities of ways he can change things: he would make change by doing nothing, or he could make change by becoming a tyrant. The middle ground is where our system is designed to operate. Bush has proven that there is no room for a tyrant. Does anyone really want to go from a little Mussolini to a little Hugo Chavez? I suppose that's change of some sort. But tyranny of the left-wing is still tyranny. I'll choose freedom every time.

No one person has all the answers. The American President needs to be able to sit down with all the stakeholders in a given situation and learn from them all. Obama and Bush are the same because they both think they have all the answers. Hell, senile old Nader is the same way.

I pray to Ganesh that I am not forced to make that choice. I saw what's happening here once on a Simpsons episode. Man, I hate democracy. Where have all the technocrats gone?

Have you wondered for one minute why Karl Rove seems so interested in Obama's campaign? Think about it. There's a reason. It's not because Karl Rove likes you and me.

Obama is so caught up in his own bullshit that he has thrown the wishes of the majority of his party, and possibly the majority of Americans out the window. What is wrong with a Clinton-Obama ticket? The right response would have been something along the lines of "If that's what the people want, then I'll be happy to get on board. For now, though, I'm running for President." The dope was roped again. We cant' afford to have him act that way as the leader of the free world.
posted by valentinepig at 10:46 AM on March 15, 2008


Valentinepig, you've made it abundantly clear that you "hate democracy." If there's one thing Obama gets grief for from Camp Clinton it's not having all the answers (sorry: "solutions"), so the caricature you've drawn here beggars belief. Comparing Bush to Obama is seriously warped. What gives?
posted by joe lisboa at 10:55 AM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm a fervent Obama supporter because the alternatives are horrendously bad.... Hillary and McCain offer only the same old failed polices; therefore Obama's my only and best choice.

But what was the excuse when Kucinich was still in the race? It's not as if the Democrats haven't maneuvered themselves into this current lesser-of-evils predicament...
posted by kid ichorous at 11:00 AM on March 15, 2008


GAAAHHH! Why is life so much like a Dilbert cartoon? See what happens? Is that Obama Kool-aid that bitter? Sarcasm. Adjacent to a Simpsons reference.

Reminds me of Scientologists. (Hat tip Peter Sagal - Wait Wait) Jump the couch, Obama supporters. I think this guy's talking about Obama.
posted by valentinepig at 11:17 AM on March 15, 2008


But what was the excuse when Kucinich was still in the race? It's not as if the Democrats haven't maneuvered themselves into this current lesser-of-evils predicament...

Amen, my brother.
posted by valentinepig at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2008


valentinepig writes "Where have all the technocrats gone?"

A candidate who knows what fisking is isn't good enough for you? I look forward to a foreign policy that can dominate through pure snark.

Maybe I'm just biased because we're friends on Flickr.
posted by mullingitover at 11:19 AM on March 15, 2008


“He has never done anything significant, nor has he been part of anything significant.”

Yeah, getting the only African American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate in office, nothing significant about that.

Or Project Vote Project Vote (the most successful grass-roots voter-registration campaign in Chicago history)
He’s been doing nothing, and been part of nothing significant for years now .

Lemme guess, you don’t realize there’s a whole big chunk of land here between the two coasts with like, major cities, n’stuff?

That whole screed was completely vapid. People have made cogent, well constructed criticisms of Obama’s position and policies (Clinton’s too), that comment - was nothing like any of them.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on March 15, 2008


Well, now I'm convinced. He's the Saviour on Lake Michigan. Oh! Bah! Ma! Oh! Bah! Ma! Oh! Ba! Ma! [sarcasmfilter]

Let's see, 15 years of regional political experience versus 40 and more of national and international experience. Hunh! Kids these days. Think they know everything.

Looks like they're going to continue to make my point for me! Thanks, guys.
posted by valentinepig at 11:29 AM on March 15, 2008


Man, it must be awesome to be so convinced of your own correctness that evidence of the opposing argument gets interpreted as a point in your favor.

Either this is really lame trolling or really brilliant meta-trolling.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:37 AM on March 15, 2008



But would you trust the iPhone to answer the 3am call?


It has visual voicemail, so you can just scroll to the important calls, so yeah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on March 15, 2008


[alternately, given the comment-posting history: valentinepig posts are torture.]
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:41 AM on March 15, 2008


valentinepig writes "Let's see, 15 years of regional political experience versus 40 and more of national and international experience."

Well that does it, I'm convinced. Yes, if only he was extremely experienced in the senate like that great President, Warren Harding, and not a n00b like that loser Lincoln.
posted by mullingitover at 11:56 AM on March 15, 2008


The American President needs to be able to sit down with all the stakeholders in a given situation and learn from them all.

If there's a better description of Obama's general approach to getting shit done, I've yet to see it. You know, kinda like the exact opposite of Hillary's approach to Universal Health Care in the halcyon 90s.

I'm done wrestling this pig. You know how that old saw goes.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:06 PM on March 15, 2008


"The Obama I Know" (Chicago Tribune)
posted by joe lisboa at 12:08 PM on March 15, 2008


As I get to know Obama more, I feel almost sorry for him. Reallly, whoever becomes president now is charged with cleaning up the worst fucking mess in presidential history. He'll probably walk through the front door of the white house and find it's one of those wooden cut-out things they use on movie sets.

And then, after three weeks and he hasn't fixed the whole country, everyone will hate his guts and call for impeachment.
posted by fungible at 12:43 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"What? this isn't 1,000 count Egyptian cotton, let me get some for you. I've had some in my knapsack just waiting for you to need them, Mr. Obama, sir. Oh, forgive me, you can't understand me while I'm fellating you?"
Are you a writer for SNL?
posted by aqhong at 1:52 PM on March 15, 2008


On GLBT issues, Obama is far left of Hillary.

But still opposes gay marriage.
posted by 1 at 2:14 PM on March 15, 2008


1 writes "But still opposes gay marriage."

Nice rhetorical dishonesty you got there. He supports civil unions. It's that whole pragmatism thing.

I oppose gay and straight marriage. Why is the government dispensing religious sacraments anyway?
posted by mullingitover at 2:28 PM on March 15, 2008


How is that rhetorical dishonesty? Gay marriage and civil unions are not the same, and it's the exact same position as Clinton's. In fact ...

Clinton:
- 89 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard
- Voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment
- Supports the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and supports the rights of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military
- Said she would work to pass a federal law outlawing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation
- Co-sponsored legislation to bring Medicaid coverage to low-income, HIV-positive Americans
- Supports giving gays and lesbians equal rights in adopting children
- Opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions
- Quotes on the gay marriage issue:
"Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman."
"I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out. From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment."

Obama:
- 89 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard
- Voted against a Federal Marriage Amendment
- Supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes it should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity
- Believes we need to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military
- Believes gays and lesbians should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexuals
- Supports civil unions, but is against gay marriage
- Quotes on the gay marriage issue:
"I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."


Would someone please explain to me how Obama's position on GLBT issues is "far to the left" of Clinton's and not, er, absolutely identical in every single possible way?
posted by kyrademon at 4:28 PM on March 15, 2008


"Let's see, 15 years of regional political experience versus 40 and
more of national and international experience."

Here's the juice - that right there? That's a position. That's a statement as to why you prefer
Clinton to Obama. dgaicun's criticism about the social response superficial traits or kyrademon's point about Obama and gay marriage f'rinstnace? - that's a position
and a cogent point (doesn't mean I agree or disagree with either, I merely point out it's sound argument one can respond to with counterassertion, further explication, evidence to refute, whatever)

Pretty much everything else you commented? That'd just be shit. Doesn't even hang together internally (if he's a nightmareish Rovian egomaniacal tyrant, why the hell would Clinton run with him?)Pretty much just saying "Obama sux" 10 different ways because you don't like him. Not a damn thing anyone can say to that.
So...I guess you win Hooray!
posted by Smedleyman at 6:45 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


When compared to Kayes Obama seems to be the "sane" guy; he bases his arguments on facts, not opinions. He sounds almost sounds like an European politician. The presidential race just seems to be be racheting up American exceptionalism, which, imho, is one of the most destructive rhetoric tactics ever.
posted by hoskala at 7:26 PM on March 15, 2008


Jeez valentinepig, don't be a patronizing dick. Whether you support Clinton, Obama, LaRouche or whoever, your screeds are akin to nothing more than shitting on the rug and blowing raspberries. Maybe you need a blog or something to help you sleep better, I dunno.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:28 PM on March 15, 2008


How exactly is Obama less Replubican-lite? He's arguably softer on universal health care, and more economically conservative about the minimum wage and middle class tax cuts than Clinton. I see little evidence that Obama is more Left-wing.

Well he hasn't run an absurdly dishonest and damaging campaign, hasn't appeared to be willing to throw democrats under the bus in order to win the nomination. Those are important things too.

The idea that Obama can transcend the political bickering of the baby-boomer generation, something that has been floated by many, including the Atlantic, is premised upon a fairly optimistic view of the right-wing. The whole Muslim-Manchurian candidate meme that they have, if not developed, then perpetuated, gives the lie to this.

Not really. So far those things haven't been enough to stop him. And if they don't stop him, then his ideas about a 'new' politics would be vindicated. He doesn’t need to fight back dirty, he just has to win clean.

Obama is so caught up in his own bullshit that he has thrown the wishes of the majority of his party, and possibly the majority of Americans out the window. What is wrong with a Clinton-Obama ticket?

That would make Hillary his Boss. That's certainly something I would never agree too.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if Obama is just bluffing about his religious fever, like any politician covering the angles of attack and willing to use them against liberal opponents (Obama claims to be a good poker player, as quoted on wikipedia, by the way). For example, he lionized his mentor and pastor Wright, then downplayed his influence, then condemned some of Wrights comments. Then he strangely goes so far to say that he never heard the worst quotes because he was home tending to his new children instead of inside of Wright's church. So, it sounds to me like Obama is someone who simply believed that Wright was a safe choice to pick for the invocation at his inauguration, until he started hearing his sermons.
posted by Brian B. at 9:08 PM on March 15, 2008


Obama's great, but he hasn't debated Sinbad yet.

For good reason. Mere mortals such as Obama cannot win debates again The Sinbad.
posted by Tehanu at 9:13 PM on March 15, 2008


I can't help but wonder..how many have actually listened to the nearly 150 minutes of debate at least once between these two.
posted by dawson at 10:18 PM on March 15, 2008


I can't help but wonder..how many have actually listened to the nearly 150 minutes of debate at least once between these two.

Dawson, how many times did you listen to them? (Total minutes will suffice if the number of viewings don't overlap neatly).
posted by Brian B. at 10:56 PM on March 15, 2008


Well Brian, I may be showing some of my 'chemical imbalance' here, but I actually listened all the way through 3 times. So, at least, including other peeks, 500 minutes, or nearly 8 hours which incidentally I do not recommend for anyone else. I am a fan of debate and oratory...and
I'm a first time Dem voter (for national office, not state) so, dammit, I being cautious, even if my vote don't count, my conscience does :)
not you, but some here seem to be just spouting preconceived opinions, not informed ideas based on the debates linked.
But I realize I'm being pedantic, and for that I apologize.
posted by dawson at 11:26 PM on March 15, 2008


kyrademon writes "Would someone please explain to me how Obama's position on GLBT issues is 'far to the left' of Clinton's and not, er, absolutely identical in every single possible way?"

I think it comes down to trust. On gy rights and on Iraq and healthcare. We saw Bill (with Hillary's support) cave with "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and in 1996, run ads down South supporting DOMA. So we know that if it's politically expedient, the Clintons will shaft gays.

Similarly, we saw how Hill and Bill screwed up health care reform; we saw how they pushed through NAFTA and Welfare "Reform"; and we saw Hillary cynically vote for war.

It's not so much that Obama's positons are very different from Hillary's. It's that we know from experience that the Clintons will abandon those positions the moment they see political benefit in doing so.

I don't think Obama will do that. But since I know the Clintons will, voting for Obama at the very least imposes a cost on, and a message to, Democrats who would betray our principles.
posted by orthogonality at 11:31 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Orthogonality, bearing in mind that you were not the one who brought up the original point I was responding to, we have just basically recapitulated the ongoing conversation which is driving every Clinton supporter up the wall, namely:

1) "Obama is far to the left of Clinton on [issue]."
2) "No, he isn't. Obama's position is [exactly the same as] [only marginally to the left of] [actually to the right of] Clinton on [issue]. [Evidence]."
3) "Well, I just don't trust her."

Honestly, I'm much happier when that conversation just starts at point 3.
posted by kyrademon at 7:09 AM on March 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


delmoi, perhaps I was unclear, but your post seems to have missed the point of what I was saying. Obama's victory in the general would not mean that the "old politics" has been replaced. What is at issue is how the right would respond to it. Would they genuinely make an effort to work with Obama, or would they resort to their usual tactics? We have, I submit, no reason to think that the former would be the case, and ample reason to think that the latter would be the case.

So while he may very well prevail in November, to think that he alone will be able to transcend the partisan divide in this country is a bit unwarranted.
posted by Tullius at 7:32 AM on March 16, 2008


Nice rhetorical dishonesty you got there. He supports civil unions. It's that whole pragmatism thing.

Obama's willingness to sell gay equality down the river for a cowardly centrist position of political expediency - a position that *doesn't even bother to try* convincing mainstream voters of the basic rightness and fairness of gay marriage - is not the same as supporting gay marriage.

Calling the claim that Obama opposes gay marriage "rhetorical dishonesty" is completely insane. Newsflash: Obama opposes gay marriage.
posted by mediareport at 7:39 AM on March 16, 2008


To suggest that you don't trust the Clintons because they had to negotiate and compromise when dealing with an actual legislative body, but you do trust Obama because he's never had to face an actual legislative body that's working against him, and he promises he won't negotiate is silly. So what will he do? Just leave things at a standstill? Ignore the half of the country that disagrees, like Bush? Isn't part of being an executive trying to work with the representatives of all the constituents and accepting you're not King?

You can't vote for an absolute authority who will implement your utopia - and thank goodness. You're voting for someone who will have to make some compromises if they want any bills to get passed, so you want someone with good judgment who knows when it's time to hold fast and when it's time to be flexible. You need someone who will have a good staff and will make good choices about appointees. you need someone who will be able to make big decisions intelligently and sometimes quickly. I like Obama, but I really wish he were willing to be VP first as he strikes me as a little green. I'll certainly vote for him if he's the nominee, but I am worried he'll have a rough time in the general election. Hopefully I'm just a pessimist...
posted by mdn at 10:35 AM on March 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


"...like any politician covering the angles of attack and willing to use them against liberal opponents (Obama claims to be a good poker player, as quoted on wikipedia, by the way). For example, he lionized his mentor and pastor Wright, then downplayed his influence, then condemned some of Wrights comments."

I agree. (Obama is indeed a f'ing shark at poker, btw.) I will most likely vote for him, but I'm under no delusions that he's not a politician. Of course, so is everyone else in the race with any real chance (I don't see Kat Swift pulling it off).

But really - Wright's what he needs to be in Chicago, a fanatically unifying force in the otherwise very disparate black community (whether it is under siege or not, it's a common unifying tactic to pretend so. Dunno about his general comments about the country, but in Chicago, in some quarters, openly spoken 'African-American' hasn't exactly supplanted 'nigger' yet. That on top of the absolutely savage and purposefully divisive political in-fighting in Cook County). And he's an old school south side preacher, the fireworks are pretty much expected. And Public Enemy was saying a lot of the same iconoclastic stuff way back when.

Of course - I think Wright's rhetoric is ass and his criticisms are pretty baseless (What, had Hillary Clinton been called a nigger - that would help?) and y'know, his reasoning and such is just plain wrong (Nagasaki? WTF?).

But the 9/11 stuff, hell, people have to stop treating it like it was some high holy day. I think about 80% of the folks on Mefi have agreed with the sentiment that 9/11 was the U.S's "chickens coming home to roost."
Again, what Wright says specifically - way, way off. I mean apart from the stuff that is just plain incorrect informationally, I disagree with the rest and could pretty easily show - as one could with any opponent's overly emotional words - where his reasoning is flawed.

But it was our policies that led to terrorist attacks on our soil. It was the result of poor planning and misdirection of resources and blind arrogance (if not absolute malfeasance).

Oh, it didn't have anything to do with our support of Botha, South Africa, apartheid and all that, but that stuff is a good example of the kind of thing that pisses people off about the U.S. domestically and abroad.

Wright is a big fish in a small, insular pond so he's used to saying whatever he likes. I think Obama's likening him to a crazy uncle is pretty apt.
Whether folks buy that or not isn't that big a deal. Obama's playing for stakes that are far out of Wright's league. Whether Obama praises what the guy says or condemns it, he's outgrown him either way.

I think it's telling that Obama doesn't use any of that firebrand style, is radically different in speech pattern from Wright, and his reasoning is very clear.

It's also telling that I never got into politics myself. Dirty business, man. You have to make those kinds of moves.

Reminds me of the Roman quote about politicians publically worshipping the gods whether they believe in them or not (escapes me at the moment).
posted by Smedleyman at 7:25 PM on March 16, 2008


I left my dinner early in Lincoln Square this evening because the guy two tables over kept talking about how the blacks were the ones being foreclosed on because they wasted their money gambling and on lottery tickets instead of their babies milk, even though they had such an easier time getting into school and jobs -- Slavery was 100 years ago, and most of these blacks don't know anything about their ancestry anyway.

That guy really pissed me off.
posted by garlic at 9:38 PM on March 16, 2008


And, garlic , that stupid bastard probably votes too.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:33 AM on March 17, 2008


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