My friend Annie has criticized a couple of things Barack Obama has said saying they are divisive. He said something like "They'll say I don't look like all the other Presidents and they'll try to make you afraid of me." Annie said he couldn't possibly know this unless he was clairvoyant. Maybe he is clairvoyant. The last few weeks, increasingly the McCain campaign has been painting Obama as "other" and "scary" (and it's not just the liberal elitist media that has noticed). Moderate aned even Conservative Republicans are even becoming uncomfortable with the tone of the campaign.
Yesterday, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama. The great oracle Tom Brokaw predicted that some might say this endorsement was about race. Today, as if on clue, the Conservative pundits quickly sought to minimize the enormity of such a famous Conservative and great military leader putting his stamp of approval on Barack Obama.
Gordon Campbell called Colin Powell a black Benedict Arnold for endorsing Obama, drawing Benedict Arnold in black face and said it was all about race saying:
"The only reasonable explanation for such a public political "about-face" in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House," (emphasis mine) Campbell said.
"It's my opinion that General Powell has based his endorsement of Barack Obama on the color of his skin, not his qualifications, his experience or the content of his character."
The great comedian blowhard Rush Limbaugh echoed the sentiment.
"Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," Limbaugh wrote in an email. "OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with."
"I guess he also regrets Reagan and Bush making him a four-star [General] and Secretary of State and appointing his son to head the FCC. Yes, let's hear it for transformational figures."
There has been a wave of conservative pundits and newspapers endorsing Obama. Christopher Buckley, Kathleen Parker, Christopher Hitchens and on and on. Newspapers that have never endorsed a Democrat have endorse Obama. But, Colin Powell endorses him and suddenly it's about race. Rush wants to know which white inexperienced liberal Powell endorsed. Which inexperienced white liberals have any of these other conservatives ever endorsed? How is that the point? Is Powell supposed to be so grateful for his appointments and that of his son that he never bites the hand of the Conservatives? Isn't it possible he earned that appointment and his four stars?
George Will (hereafter known as George "The Hypocrite" Will) actually wrote less than month ago about how erratic McCain had become; opening his article titled "McCain Loses His Head" with this quote: "Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama." Yet, Colin Powell could not come to this same conclusion without race being the only factor? George mentions Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton in the same breath with Barack Obama on national TV and minimizes his success by saying that he gets two votes because he's black for every one he loses because he's black?
Seems Obama is not only the "One", he's a prophet, too. He told you this was coming.
p.s.- When Annie made this comment the first time, I told her it didn't take a clairvoyant to see this coming. Sometimes I just hate being right. Unfortunately, this is not evidence of Barack Obama's powers of clairvoyance (it made a catchy title). It's evidence of his ability to learn from history and see what's coming.
While a kernel of truth may or may not lie at these guys comments, it doesn't really matter. What really matters is that we have known General Powell was going to endorse Senator Obama for quite some time, and he waited until it was politically expedient to make it official.
His reasons are much different than conservatives such as Buckley. Buckley is doing it for a reason. He does not respect the positions of the democratic platform. His reason is because he wants the neo-cons out of power. Period. He wants to see this country take a left turn so that the Republican party will reexamine itself and move away from "compassionate conservatism". He is hopeful that like the Jimmy Carter experiment, a strong conservative like Ronald Reagan or Newt Gingrich will rise back to the top of the party and the country club Rockefeller type Republicans will be sent back to the wings.
Two years ago, Christopher Buckley penned these words.
"With heavy heart, as a once-proud—indeed, staunch— Republican, I here admit, behind enemy lines, to the guilty hope that my party loses; on both occasions."
His reasoning is clear, as is the reasoning behind many conservatives who simply decided that the party had left conservatism behind.
Are you saying General Powell could not possibly be endorsing Obama because he respects him as the best leader for our country? And, how did we "know" General Powell was going to endorse Senator Obama for some time?
You presume to know the mind of General Powell. You are implying that the reasons he gave for the endorsement are lies. Fascinating. At least you're not accusing him of being a racist like Rush Limbaugh and others have. (At least not yet).
Don't you think General Powell would have had a position in Senator McCain's administration? If he was simply seeking political gain (kind of weird for a man who's never run for anything), I think he could have chosen either side and had a role in their administration. He and John McCain have been friends for decades and they have the military background in common. So political expediency surely was no the sole reason for his endorsement. It may have an effect on the timing. Or, he may have waited, as he said, to see as much of the two men as he could before making a decision.
General Powell is a very moderate Republican who has on many occasion leaded to the liberal side with regard to policy. He's also very pro-choice. In addition to that, Obama has no miliary background, while McCain does. General Powell's resume' will be more well received by an Obama administration.
I also might theororize that the General waited for the proper time to wage a bet on the probabilities - Obama is a 3 or 4 to 1 favorite. That's a good bet.
I don't think the General's decision has anything to do about race, except that one of the key reasons that an Obama presidency is going to be so very historical is because of race - just as George Washington Carver, MLK, Jackie Robinson, and Fritz Pollard made history as black firsts. I don't think it's too out of line to assume that the General wants to be part of this historical event, and I think this is one of the reasons that he will win the election.
I'm glad to see you're the kind of person who can see that while a vote for Obama might have race as a component, it's doesn't have to the sole reason or even the primary reason.
I would be lying if I said that Obma being black was not a "bonus" for me. But, it's a bonus more so because of what it will do for the country than because I happen to be black, too. I would just as eagerly take a woman or any other minority in the White House for the first time as a "bonus".
I agree with that Brian - the fact that this is very historical is an infuential element. I just hope is impacts race relations in a positive way. I hope that it causes people with race or minority issues to take another good look. On the flip side, I hope that it inspires some minorities and people of color to rethink the whole "victim" mentality and know that they can make a great life for themselves in this country.
I hope he suprises me, because I simply don't believe that he's qualified to lead this country - I hope he's a quick study.
And I hope Jackson and Sharpton go on a long vacation and keep their mouths shut :-) After it's over, let's forget about skin color and get to business!!
After having followed Senator Obama for about a year and a half now and with all the endorsements he's gotten from people who "know" and being about half way through his book, I am sure that he is as qualified to lead this country as any President we've had in a long time. But, you already know I have that confidence. I know he'll have a rocky road and he will not have a magic wand to fix everything. I'm sure people will grow impatient with him. So, I don't know exactly how popular he'll be. But, I'm hoping for the best.
I think this will have a great impact on race relations and on our status in the world. I think that having a black man in the White House will elevate the psyches and the egos of African Americans (especially young black men) in a way that will be shocking to many. It will also bring out the racism still running just underneath the surface in this country, which I think will give us an opportunity to purge it. Be of good cheer!
I think Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton are a thing of the past. Thank G-d, they have been pretty much silent during this election. I think Obama represents a new generation of leadership, the first one to take a big leap toward transcending color.
Goot thoughts Brian - hey a quick question off topic - I can't get a straight answer for this anywhere I look - Obama on the Partial Birth Abortion and his voting against a bill to mandate treatment for infants that survive abortion. In the debates Obama's response was that he opposed the bills because they didn't have stips in them to ensure the safety of the mother. It has been proven over and over again medically that at the time of a partial birth abortion, there's more risk in killing the baby than delivering it since the birthing process is so far advanced. As far as a botched abortion is concerned, the baby's already out, so again, no threat to the mother.
This one bothers me the most - primarily because it so violates my own internal moral compass. It also concerns me that when Warren asked him about when life begins, he commented that ansering that was above his pay scale... in essence, he didn't have an opinion.
So how do you vote for or against something when you cannot define it? Oh, I can't tell you how much this one pains me. If a man can't have the courage to make a stance - any stance on a key question like this, then to me, he is a coward. I'm not trying to be mean-spitied here, it boggles my mind. What have you learned regarding this?
Excellent questions. I did a post here with my thoughts on abortion a few weeks ago? Did you catch it? I think Obama's views are similar to mine. We cannot clearly know when a "person" is formed. Good and intelligent people are on both sides of whether a fertilized egg is a "person" or a "human life". A zygote develops into an embryo, which becomes a fetus, which becomes a person. There is a continuum from sperm and ovum to person. As long as reasonable people differ on when that entity becomes a person, we feel that women should have some say so over what they do with their bodies. I could go on and on. But, those are the basics.
Obama did vote against a bill that was introduced in the Illinois senate. He was not the only person by the way. My understanding is that the conservatives in the Senate were in the habit of sending forward bills basically with the idea of "trapping" pro-choice people into votes they could later use against them. They were also of the habit of sending up bills that would chip away at a woman's right to choose.
I've fact checked this thing several places. Obama says some language was missing from the bill that he wanted to see there to protect a woman's right to choose. More importantly, he still asserts that a fetus born during a botched abortion was already protected by Illinois State law. This bill was completely unnecessary. And Illinois law has long stated that if an abortion is performed when the fetus is deemed to be viable, the doctor must:
* Choose the method of abortion least likely to harm the fetus.
* Have in attendance a second doctor who can immediately take over care of the child if it's born alive.
* Use every available means to keep any born-alive child living and healthy.
To do otherwise constitutes a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years in prison. That's been the law in Illinois since 1975.
The details get complicated. The bill Obama voted against wanted to extend the law to fetuses that showed signs of life but were not "viable" (a status determined by the doctor). I think this was seen as a slippery slope of assigning a fetus status of human being. But, let's set that aside for the moment. You can read a pretty detailed article here:
I'm a bottom line guy. Do I think Barack Obama supports infanticide? Absolutely not. He has stated his reasons for voting against this particular bill and he's not the only one who voted against it. The bill was defeated. A later version was passed, after Obama left the Illinois senate. If the bill were such a common sense thing as it's been presented to be, it would have passed easily. No one is in favor of infanticide. When the bill did pass, it passed 52-0. Obama has said he would have voted for the federal version of the bill and, had he been in the Illinois senate when this version of the bill was passed, he would have voted for this bill.
Secondly, Obama has said he is in favor of a ban on late term abortions, as long as an exception is made for the life and health of the mother.
Tony, to answer you charge that Obama is a coward for not answering the question, I disagree. I've studied the issue. I've studied the development of a zygote into an embryo, into a fetus, into a baby and while it's easy to pop out the answer "life begins at conception", the reality is it is not that simple. For people who think the Jews and the Bible are the source of all knowledge, the Jews believe life begins when you draw your first breath. I personally don't think there is a clear single point in time when a fertilized egg becomes a human.
OK. That got really long for a comment. But, it's a pretty important subject. I wanted to do it some justice.
I didn't say or imply that General Powell was doing this for any reason other than he believes Senator Obama is the better choice in this election. I didn't mean it was politically expedient for himself, I mean it was expedient to help Senator Obama.
When I say we knew, it has been whispered since before the Democratic convention that Mr. Powell was leaning left. In fact, I recall people debating if he would be a good choice for Senator Obama's running mate.
It is the sort of intuitive knowing, not fact based knowing. It is the kind of knowing that makes most people not all that surprised by his endorsement. I didn't equate General Powells reasons with race or anything of the sort
I was hoping to clear up why some hard line conservatives are endorsing Senator Obama. They recognize the similarities in his policies with President Jimmy Carter. They expect the same result, and so does the rest of the world if we can take Senator Biden's recent comments seriously.
To me, while I tend to think the parallels are striking between the two, I think it is simply disgusting to endorse someone because you are hoping for disaster. I hope that, if elected, Senator Obama is the best president we ever had. Right now I have doubts about that and he does not represent my perception of freedom and liberty. Not even close.
Thanks Brian - that helps... he would do himself a favor if he explained his position more effectively. Sorry about the side note, but isn't this incredible?
* Have in attendance a second doctor who can immediately take over care of the child if it's born alive.
* Use every available means to keep any born-alive child living and healthy.
This makes me sick. We botch the murder and have another on-hand to care for the victim. But wait, if it's not human just prior to the murder attempt, what makes it human 3 minutes later? The cfact that is inhales air?
I love you Brian, but the your pro-choice stance has me so very baffled - I'll never understand it.
I perfectly understand how a person can be anti-choice. I refuse to use the term pro-life because pro-choice people are not anti-life. (see my article on abortion for further explanation, if you're interested).
My point is this. Scientifically speaking, it is impossible to determine precisely when human life begins. It's even difficult to agree on when it ends. You can easily and simply say anything more than a fertilized egg is a human being. But, I can make a very reasonable argument against that.
All I ask of people who are anti-choice is to not accuse pro-choice people of not respecting human life and to work with us to reduce the number of abortions by education, making women's lives better, providing birth control, providing abortion options, etc. Let's work together on the things we can agree on.
yeah, there is an "sick" factor in late term abortions which is why most people who are pro-choice don't object to a ban on late term abortions (including Senator Obama) as long as there is an exception for the health of the mother. And your point about what makes it human after it draws air is a good one.
Since the ruling of Roe v. Wade, late term abortions are already illegal except when necessary for the health of the mother.
This has never changed.
So, why do anti-choicers push for laws banning something that is already illegal? Because if they pretend that it's legal, and pretend that it's being done for fun, they can make people angry, and angry people are more likely to show up at the polling place on election day. It's nothing more than a political ploy to win votes for the Republican party. And the victims are the people who consider themselves "pro-life" who are manipulated into voting for right-wing politicians who don't care about already-born poor people.
They do the same thing with gay marriage now. In a state like Ohio, where gay marriage was already illegal, they put an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot. Why ban something that's already illegal? Again, it was a get-out-the-vote strategy for Republicans. And even today I talk to people who are afraid that gay marriage is coming to Ohio. They don't even remember that it was already banned twice! Wait a couple years, and I'll bet they'll ban it a third time.
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