I’m from Chicago, too, and known Obama from the time he came to the New Party to get our endorsement for his first race ever. I’ve been in his home, and as an IL legislator, he’s helped or community technology movement a number of times. He said all the right things to the ACORN and New Party folks, and we endorsed him, but I noticed too, that he seemed to measure every answer to questions put to him several times before coming out with it.
He spoke at our first antiwar rally. He spent most of his speech detailing all the wars in history he supported, then finally made a distinction between just wars and ‘dumb’ wars, and going into Iraq, which was still six months down the road then, was a ‘dumb war,’ and he flatly opposed it. Good, that put him on our side, and some of us organized a fundraiser for him for his Senate race. But a friend of mine, and also an Obama campaigner, at that first rally, nudged me and asked, ‘Who was that speech for? Certainly not this crowd.’ Now we know.
After he visited Iraq when the war was on, he turned. Now we had to set aside whether it was right or wrong to invade, now we had to find the ‘smart’ path to victory, not Bush’s ‘dumb’ path. Also, in dealing with Iran, we had to leave on the table bombing their nuclear sites. For this, a lot of the local antiwar activists started calling him ‘Barack ‘Obomb ’em’. He wasn’t listening much to us anymore, but to folks much higher up in the DLC orbit. He had bigger plans.
To be fair, I read a recent speech he gave to laid-off workers from a plant closing out in Galesburg, IL, around globalization, corporate responsibility, the safety net, the third wave, and so on. It was very good. Save for not mentioning the war, I probably couldn’t written a better one myself.
Giving the current crisis and developments in Congress, he may move back to our side on the war, and get as far as, say, Murtha’s position. But right now he’s not in the ‘Out Now’ camp, not as good as Murtha, and a triangulator par excellence. I’ve watched him do it up close. The press and his publicists put him in our camp, but if you look at his speeches and votes since his trip to Iraq, I think you’ll find he has a way to go. Our peace groups here are sending a bunch of us to visit him soon, and get on his case. Perhaps he’s still a work in progress, as Jesse Jackson says, but he still has a way to go to get back in my good graces, and those of many more of us here also.
Carl Davidson, Chicago
Your article , I’m afraid, doesn’t make a strong case for why voters should choose Obama over any of the other liberal Democrat candidates for president. Besides being charismatic, handsome, articulate, a budding diplomat, and Black, I can’t think of any reasons why anyone would be attracted to him as a candidate. So far it’s all about image and style. We are being told a lot about HOW he would go about doing things, but we don’t know much about WHAT things he wants to do. And I am curious why so-called progressives have decided to totally ignore Kucinich’s candidacy, although he has the best progressive voting record in Congress and is very clear about his position on all issues. Is it because he isn’t charismatic — the trait that is becoming the #1 condition for nomination. I think that Obama is a candidate who has been manufactured by inexperienced white progressives and experienced white conservatives, for whom his candidacy would be a coup and a dangerous diversion. One group for which he has little appeal seems to be black progressives. I wonder why!
I enjoyed your article on Barack Obama, but I must say that I take exception
to the notion that he’s somehow wrong about feeling a need for serious
discussion, even when he fully disagrees with the other side. That’s the
biggest thing wrong with Bush, in my opinion. A president should be
listening to everyone in this country, not just the people that agree with
him. As a newly converted Catholic, and even more so as just being a human
being with a viewpoint, I think abortion is wrong. But, I sense that our
government is not here to represent God’s views, and therefore, I listen to
people on the other side of the argument. I don’t think I’ll ever see them
as being right about it, but I can sense their need to not have the
government control their morals. And that’s one thing I adore about Barack –
he seems to be willing to listen to the other side and find common ground,
which WILL make him a great leader, and worthy of being President Obama some
From the time I heard Barack Obama’s (limelight- catapulting) keynote speach at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 I had him pegged by one very simple and telling observation: He did not repudiate the Bush administration’s illegal, insane and immoral doctrine of preventative war and it’s follow-up high crime against the peace by waging an illegal war against Iraq. Of course neither did John Kerry or any of the other presidential candidates or speakers for the “democratic” party at that convention–or since.
This simple and telling observation should lead any genuine, thinking democrat to one enexcapable conclusion:
Presently there is no prospective candidate against U.S. imperialism for the 2008 Presidential elections.
Where the hell is Bulworth?
David Murphrey Amarillo, TX
Dear Beyond Chron,
Nice piece by Chris Daly about BMW. What Chris may be missing in the Migden/Leno match-up is that temperment matters. When two candidates share similar values, then personality can effectively distinguish the two in terms of effectiveness. Being abrasive can be counterproductive. Why Chris may be insensitive to that possibility is beyond me.
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