cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

There is one guaranteed way to end the Democratic primary, and that is for Obama to win resoundingly over Hillary Clinton. If you are a supporter, it’s time for you to do more. Talk to your family and friends. Volunteer. Phonebank. Donate. Canvass. The premise of his presidency is that he’s offering a voice and a seat at the table to a more active citizenry. That means you. Reading about the election and feeling good inside about your vote ain’t enough.

I’m doing my part by 1) going to Texas this weekend and 2) offering this post as a set of useful tips on how to represent Obama to friends or strangers. If you’re getting on a bus to Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island or Ohio, print this out, and read it along the way. Email it to your friends. Post it on your blogs. But please, do something.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hat tip: Politicalinaction.com, and a JJP replier

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Clinton aides threatened lawsuit over Texas caucuses, officials say
By Jay Root McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008

AUSTIN — The Texas Democratic Party warned Thursday that election night caucuses scheduled for next Tuesday could be delayed or disrupted after aides to Hillary Clinton threatened to sue over the party’s complicated delegate selection process.

In a letter sent out late Thursday to both the Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, Texas Democratic Party lawyer Chad Dunn warned a lawsuit could ruin the Democrats’ effort to re-energize voters just as they are turning out in record numbers.

Spokesmen for both campaigns said there were no plans to sue ahead of the March 4 election.

“It has been brought to my attention that one or both of your campaigns may already be planning or intending to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party,” Dunn wrote in the letter, obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Such action could prove to be a tragedy for a reinvigorated Democratic process.”

Democratic sources said both campaigns have made it clear that they might consider legal options over the complicated delegate selection process, which includes both a popular vote and evening caucuses. But the sources made it clear that the Clinton campaign in particular had warned of an impending lawsuit.

“Both campaigns have made it clear that they would go there if they had to, but I think the imminent threat is coming from one campaign,” said one top Democratic official, referring to the Clinton campaign. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another Democratic official who was privvy to the discussions confirmed that Clinton representatives made veiled threats in a telephone call this week.

“Officials from Sen. Clinton’s campaign at several times throughout the call raised the specter of ‘challenging the process,’ the official said. “The call consisted of representatives from both campaigns and the Democratic Party.”

The source, who asked not to identified by name because he did not have authorization to speak about the matter, said Clinton ‘s political director, Guy Cecil, had forcefully raised the possibility of a courtroom battle.

Rest of article HERE.

It’s not Obama’s fault that Clinton didn’t have a post-February 5th plan. And, it’s not like the Texas rules were invented in the dead of night on February 5th. They’ve been there all along. This changing the rules in the middle of the game garbage has got to go.

UPDATE: Copy of letter from Texas Democratic Party is HERE.

Thanks to an anonymous commenter for pointing out this video. Devastating closer. Stay till the end

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

Well, Derrick is at it again. I guess I can stop claiming him since YouTube has sort of set this brotha on another level with his two videos so far. (For anyone new to the Internet, Derrick answered a man-on-the-street question about Obama a few weeks back, and that video is near 600,000 on YouTube now, plus his response is over 170,000).

So what’s next? Rather than create some punditocratous platform for himself (I kid because I love :)), he’s hoping to demonstrate that he’s not alone among young voters willing to spit substance about their stance on a candidate or issue.

Every week, citizens will upload their statements and submit to a voting process. The winner will get a $100 donation made to their candidate, and hopefully we all get a more informed, articulate election year discourse.

Check the new video, and then Take Back The Mic



cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

This letter was passed on to me recently. There’s been a lot of talk about Republicans for Obama (Obamacans), often followed by the assertion that they are faking their support for him. This writer, a Brooklyn-based reverend, no less, makes a stronger appeal to Republicans than merely Clinton-bashing…

An Open Letter to Republicans in Open Primary States: Vote for Obama

This is an open letter to my American brothers and sisters among the Republican Party who have yet to vote in your state’s primary. If your state is among those that are OPEN primaries, I am writing to ask you to consider voting for Barack Obama. For those of you who are not aware, an open primary registered voters of one party can request and vote upon the ballot of the other party. This is a truly powerful and progressive privilege, and in this year’s election, with John McCain as your party’s de facto nominee, you should consider the rare opportunity you have to venture across the party line, albeit temporarily, to vote for Senator Obama. It might be enough for some of you that a vote for Barack could effectively guarantee that Hillary Clinton is blocked from reaching the general election, but I will ask you to consider voting for Senator Obama on the basis of a higher plain of reasoning.

On principle, I am not registered with either party. As an Indpendent, I voted for Bush in 2000, Kerry in 2004, and in this election I support Senator Obama. Recently, I have spoken with a handful of Republican friends and relatives who have expressed not only a respect for Senator Obama, but even a willingness to consider voting for him (one direct quote: “he’d be the first lefty I’ve ever voted for!”). Everytime I hear something like this, I smile. I can’t help it. And I can’t help thinking: if there are ten, there might be ten thousand who hold a similar secret (or not-so-secret) admiration for Obama.

Now, much has been made of the inspirational note that he strikes in his speeches, and rightfully so. But the next time you’re watching coverage of an Obama rally, turn down the volume and observe two things. First, watch his face, and especially his eyes. For those who pay attention to such things, there is—despite the grueling schedule of his whirlwind campaign—a consistent mark of intent yet patient intelligence, a visible directness that seems to meet the audience halfway. Second, look beyond Senator Obama, and see how the crowds that gather around him forge a powerful tableau of American diversity: the faces in the bleachers blend in a display of the mottled beauty that is our diverse heritage. There are men, women, senior citizens, babyboomers, and droves of the oft-reputed apolitical generations X and Y. And now, imagine adding to this tableau a contingent—even if it be a small one—of Republicans not afraid to recognize a leader with the ability to bring a universally desired change to the earmarked halls of Washington, D.C.

One can see the potential power of a message by its ability to attract a large crowd. But one will know the true transformative power of a message by the diversity of the crowd that gathers to listen. And the world—at home and abroad—is listening to Barack Obama. Here is an individual who has re-engaged large swathes of the American populace with the American political process, and who—as a perspective national figurehead—possesses the rare potential to re-engage the goodwill of the World community and introduce to them a renewed American identity.

Consider, for one, Senator Obama’s bold assertion to hold diplomatic discussions with foreign leaders branded by our current president as members of the “axis of evil.” The current administration’s policy of “diplomatic embargo” and isolating un-friendly nations is a modern phenomenon based upon a new wave of false patriotism and xenophobia. Recall that throughout the Cold War, American presidents communicated directly with their Soviet counterparts (Kennedy with Kruschev, Reagan with Gorbachev), and it very well might have been this direct communication that kept the Cold War from ever heating up.

On the more immediate level, I believe that if you cast your vote for Barack Obama in the open primary, you would be voting in favor of a more enlightened debate in the general election. Senator Obama has made a policy of not attacking Hillary on anything other than what is based on fact. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, the Clinton campaign showed its willingness to bring a knife to a boxing match as former POTUS Bill put on a shameful display of race-baiting. Obama kept his head up and weathered the assault with a tremendous amount of grace. After Senator Obama’s recent eight-state winning streak, Hillary is spinning yet another yarn, calling him as a candidate of speeches and not a candidate of substantive policy [hint: go to www.barackobama.com, click on the word “ISSUES” and you’ll find Senator Obama’s “Blue Print for Change,” which lays out in plenty of detail his position on fifteen major issues, the first and foremost of which is ETHICS].

Needless to say, I suspect that an election between McCain and Clinton would deteriorate into a montage of Bill Clinton, red-faced and jabbing his finger in the nose of anyone who criticizes his wife, and McCain raising the spectres of the Rose Law firm, Whitewatergate, and Bill’s oval office infidelities. Personally, I dread the idea of five months watching the dirt fly as the political steam shovel we’ve all grown to detest digs up skeletons from the 1990s.

On the other hand, I would welcome the opportunity to watch a debate between Senators McCain and Obama. Although it would be just as vigorous and heated as any election, I believe that the trajectory of the debates would be more enlightened, more forward-looking and issue-driven. Furthermore, with respect for the candor of both Senators McCain and Obama, I believe that each of these candidates would be mutually elevated by the other: two strong, vigorous competitors making for a strong, vigorous competition.
And I smile when I think of this. I can’t help it. This would be the kind of debate that the American people deserve. So I remind you once more of the rare opportunity you have to bring this forward-looking debate to the stage by casting your vote for Senator Barack Obama in your state’s open primary. And then, on Tuesday, November 4th, after the great debates have ended, we’ll all line up for the same ballot, free to re-join our respective party lines.
Or not.

Sincerely,
The Reverend John DeLore
Brooklyn, NY

SCHEDULE:

Tues, 03/04: Ohio [OPEN, 2/3],
Rhode Island,
Texas [OPEN, 2/4],
Vermont [OPEN, 2/27]
Sund, 03/09: Wyoming [dem. only]
Tues, 03/11: Mississippi [OPEN, 2/10]
Tues, 04/22: Pennsylvania [OPEN, 3/23]
Tues, 05/06: Indiana [OPEN, 4/9],
North Carolina [closed, 4/6]
Tues, 05/13: Nebraska [closed, 5/2],
W.Virginia [closed]
Tues, 05/20: Kentucky [closed, 4/22],
Oregon [closed, 4/29]
Tues, 05/27: Idaho [OPEN, 5/27—register day of]
Tues, 06/03: Montana [OPEN, 5/3],
New Mexico [closed, 2/5],
South Dakota
Sat, 7/12: Nebraska

Links to state election offices & list of open primaries.

I had her on in the background. Kind of bored me so I never paid much attention, but someone out there may have time to do it justice.

Any good points? Wackness? Discuss amongst yourselves :)

Dayam son. This is hot. Flipped it and reversed it. Rhetoric can be so cool when it makes a solid point.

This is what scrolled across the screen while watching CNN. Maybe it has something to do with him getting a Primary Challenger…..hmmmmmm…..

How many else will follow?

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

rikyrah just told me she thought my last post about the Ohio debate should not have hidden the article I referenced in the end. I agree. Much of my case for Obama rests on his premise that “activating the civic gene in Americans” (my term) is ultimately what’s necessary to solve our biggest problems.

Ok, sounds good. But where he differs is in offering the tools to realize that engaged public. You can find it in his technology plan and government transparency initiatives. Any politician can “talk” about getting citizens engaged, but it’s a rare one who also promises to provide the tools of said engagement.

So that’s two points.

1) he talks about increased transparency and civic engagement
2) he promises to offer the tools to make that engagement effective

But wait, there’s more. He has already delivered on this idea in the financing of his campaign. That’s where this article by Robert Parry comes in. Parry explains the significance of Obama’s non-traditional financial support. Obama is beholden to the people. Hillary is beholden to more established, moneyed interests.

The more I think on it, the more significance this point makes. Go back to the piece I wrote where I discussed the compromises all ascending politicians make by necessity and the concept of “who does Obama owe?” Well, increasingly, he owes us.

But read on, and check this excerpt:

While some cynics still view Barack Obama’s appeal for “change” as empty rhetoric, it’s starting to dawn on Washington insiders that his ability to raise vast sums of money from nearly one million mostly small donors could shake the grip that special-interest money has long held over the U.S. government.

This spreading realization that Obama’s political movement might represent a more revolutionary change than previously understood is sparking a deepening resistance among defenders of the status quo – and prompting harsher attacks on Obama.

Right now, the front line for the Washington Establishment is Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign, which has been stunned by Obama’s political skills as well as his extraordinary ability to raise money over the Internet. Obama’s grassroots donations have negated Clinton’s prodigious fundraising advantage with big donors.

Powerful lobbies – from AIPAC to representatives of military and other industries – also are recognizing the value of keeping their dominance over campaign cash from getting diluted by Obama’s deep reservoir of small donors. It’s in their direct interest to dent Obama’s momentum and demoralize his rank-and-file supporters as soon as possible.

Money rules the world. If the money is increasingly from the people, then we have a shot at actually getting a seat at the table. It’s not just talk. It’s not just promises. It’s the real deal.

If you want to add to the donor pool, go right ahead. It’s a good investment.

Fired Up!

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

As usual, yall rocked the open thread. I was on a shaky Internet connection, so MSNBC’s stream fell off, but I kept up thanks to yall. Read the transcript on the train this morning, and I thought the following were worth highlighting from Obama on Iraq and mobilizing the American people.

BTW, I think Hillary did fine. The SNL callout and whining about getting the debate question first did look petty, but I think she did OK in explaining the breadth of her actions around trade and in discussing Russia. Her attempt to over-anti-anti-Semitism Obama also read a bit awkward.

Tim Russert was a bit of an asshole overall. If you have concerns about Obama’s church, please check the facts.

Anyway…

Obama on Iraq. Many have commented on his “drive the bus into the ditch” line, but the entire answer I thought was pretty good.

Let me just follow up. My objections to the war in Iraq were simply — not simply a speech. I was in the midst of a U.S. Senate campaign. It was a high-stakes campaign. I was one of the most vocal opponents of the war, and I was very specific as to why.

And so when I bring this up, it is not simply to say “I told you so,” but it is to give you an insight in terms of how I would make decisions.

And the fact was, this was a big strategic blunder. It was not a matter of, well, here is the initial decision, but since then we’ve voted the same way. Once we had driven the bus into the ditch, there were only so many ways we could get out. The question is, who’s making the decision initially to drive the bus into the ditch? And the fact is that Senator Clinton often says that she is ready on day one, but in fact she was ready to give in to George Bush on day one on this critical issue. So the same person that she criticizes for having terrible judgment, and we can’t afford to have another one of those, in fact she facilitated and enabled this individual to make a decision that has been strategically damaging to the United States of America.

With respect to Pakistan, I never said I would bomb Pakistan. What I said was that if we have actionable intelligence against bin Laden or other key al Qaeda officials, and we — and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should. And just several days ago, in fact, this administration did exactly that and took out the third-ranking al Qaeda official.

That is the position that we should have taken in the first place. And President Musharraf is now indicating that he would generally be more cooperative in some of these efforts, we don’t know how the new legislature in Pakistan will respond, but the fact is it was the right strategy.

And so my claim is not simply based on a speech. It is based on the judgments that I’ve displayed during the course of my service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while I’ve been in the United States Senate, and as somebody who, during the course of this campaign, I think has put forward a plan that will provide a clean break against Bush and Cheney. And that is how we’re going to be able to debate John McCain. Having a debate with John McCain where your positions were essentially similar until you started running for president, I think, does not put you in a strong position.

Obama on Mobilizing the American People

You know, she mentioned that she is a fighter on health care. And look — I do not in any way doubt that Senator Clinton genuinely wants to provide health care to all Americans.

What I have said is that the way she approached it back in ’93, I think, was wrong in part because she had the view that what’s required is simply to fight. And Senator Clinton ended up fighting not just the insurance companies and the drug companies, but also members of her own party. And as a consequence, there were a number of people, like Jim Cooper of Tennessee and Bill Bradley and Pat Moynihan, who were not included in the negotiations. And we had the potential of bringing people together to actually get something done.

I am absolutely clear that hope is not enough. And it is not going to be easy to pass health care. If it was, it would have already gotten done. It’s not going to be easy to have a sensible energy policy in this country. ExxonMobil made $11 billion last quarter. They are not going to give up those profits easily.

But what I also believe is that the only way we are going to actually get this stuff done is, number one, we’re going to have to mobilize and inspire the American people so that they’re paying attention to what their government is doing. And that’s what I’ve been doing in this campaign, and that’s what I will do as president.

And there’s nothing romantic or silly about that. If the American people are activated, that’s how change is going to happen.

The second thing we’ve going to have to do is we’re actually going to have to go after the special interests. Senator Clinton in one of these speeches — it may have been the same speech where you showed the clip — said you can’t just wave a magic wand and expect special interests to go away. That is absolutely true, but it doesn’t help if you’re taking millions of dollars in contributions from those special interests. They are less likely to go away.

So it is important for us to crack down on how these special interests are able to influence Congress. And yes, it is important for us to inspire and mobilize and motivate the American people to get involved and pay attention.

This point is critical and is usually my “closer” in arguing my case for Obama versus Clinton. rikyrah pointed out that Obama has reached his one millionth donor, and commenter Angela put me on to this article which explains the significance of his non-traditional financial support. Obama is more beholden to the people than Clinton is. He’s not just talking about limiting the influence of lobbyists, etc. He’s being about it.

But read on, and check this excerpt:

While some cynics still view Barack Obama’s appeal for “change” as empty rhetoric, it’s starting to dawn on Washington insiders that his ability to raise vast sums of money from nearly one million mostly small donors could shake the grip that special-interest money has long held over the U.S. government.

This spreading realization that Obama’s political movement might represent a more revolutionary change than previously understood is sparking a deepening resistance among defenders of the status quo – and prompting harsher attacks on Obama.

Right now, the front line for the Washington Establishment is Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign, which has been stunned by Obama’s political skills as well as his extraordinary ability to raise money over the Internet. Obama’s grassroots donations have negated Clinton’s prodigious fundraising advantage with big donors.

Powerful lobbies – from AIPAC to representatives of military and other industries – also are recognizing the value of keeping their dominance over campaign cash from getting diluted by Obama’s deep reservoir of small donors. It’s in their direct interest to dent Obama’s momentum and demoralize his rank-and-file supporters as soon as possible.

Fired Up!

Sometime, last night, the ONE MILLIONTH DONOR signed onto Barack Obama’s campaign.

ONE MILLION DONORS.

One million people who have said, I believe in this campaign.

This is the core of why I believe Obama should reject public financing. Why should he take something that will handicap him? He doesn’t take lobbyist or PAC money. So, let the donors decide their funding level of his campaign.

If you’d like to join one million others: BarackObama.com

What really gets me about the Clinton campaign’s release of Barack Obama dressed as a Somali (which is meant to terrify Americans with visions of towelheaded terrorists running the country, I assume) is that another black person, Maggie Williams, would be involved. If the Clinton campaign is behind it. Maggie Williams as you might recall Hillary Clinton’s new campaign manager and therefore the buck stops with her with any racist, hate-filled stereotyping aimed at a fellow person of color. She should go down in the HNIC Hall of Fame for this one which if it can be lain at her door which threatens to take race relations backwards about 10 years or so.

Doesn’t look like it’s had much effect so far but something tells me that if Obama gets the nomination that we might not see the last of this and other photos from Africa. The GOP apparently has actually been conducting tests for exactly what the boundaries of racist (and sexist) political messaging might be. Ugh.

But where are other black leaders in speaking out against this black on black smear?

JJP reader Talented Tenth puts it best, I think:

I just saw the Drudgereport photo. I am sickened.

Less than 48 hours after Hilary Clinton attended the
State of the Black Union event, she releases a photo
trying to compare Barack Obama to a terrorist. It is
appalling and and a huge FU to the African American
community.

I belive that the Congressional Black Caucus needs to
respond swiftly

James Clyburn – needs to get off the sidelines.

John Lewis – needs to get off the fence

Maxine Waters, Stephanie Tubbs, and Sheila Jackson Lee
- is this acceptable conduct?

Those civil rights leaders who have now turned into
politicians and corporate leaders – what do you say?

When this campaign first started we saw a Democratic
party that had a Black male, a white woman, and a
Latino male all running for the highest office of the
land. No matter who you supported, you could be proud
to be a Democrat.

In one photo, I am now ashamed.

Me too — of the silence of our leaders in the face of abhorrent color-aroused tactics promoted by one of our own.

Over at TheRoot.com (which has added Jack and Jill Politics to its blogroll, thanks!) — there’s a great opinion piece published Tuesday by Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell of Princeton called Using Our Roots Against Us. Here’s a taste (emphasis mine):

The social death of slavery has cut off many black Americans from our ancestral narratives. During Black History Month we adopt our collective accomplishments and our common heroes as a salve against our lost personal stories. This is critically important, but there is something special about naming your own ancestors and encountering yourself in their reflections.

Yet here in Black History Month, Obama’s own black history is being used as a weapon against him. President Bush can traipse around the motherland safely encased in his armor of whiteness. No one can mistake him for a “native”. His role is simply to dispatch the White Man’s Burden with billions in abstinence-based HIV/AIDS programs and malaria-fighting mosquito netting. In a single photo, Barack can be painted as indelibly tied to a deep and mysterious, exotic and dangerous Dark Continent that produced the shame of slavery and the fear of Islamic radicalism.

Obama is vulnerable. This is the assassination that we should fear, because the Secret Service cannot protect him from it. The voters of Ohio and Texas will have to be the armored vest against these attacks. South Carolina voters soundly repudiated the Clintons for their race-baiting strategies. I believe that Ohio and Texas voters will ignore this revival of fear-based politics and embrace a new direction for American elections.

If they look carefully, these voters will not see the “scary Muslim” that this photo is supposed to evoke. They will see themselves. If they look carefully, they will see their own uniquely American stories that are tied to distant lands whose rituals they still honor and whose languages they still speak. If they look carefully, Americans will see themselves in kilts, saris, and sombreros. If they look carefully, Americans will see the way to throw off narrow, bigoted fear-mongering politics and build an expansive, hopeful patriotism that embraces the world even as it strengthens America.

‘Nuff said.

You know the deal.

hat tip to commenter Craig Hickman for pointing this out.

About two hours ago Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Obama’s Washington State campaign chair, I think, answered questions about Obama and foreign policy experience. Nicely done.



Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, smearing Obama as a “native Somalian” for her friend, Hillary Clinton.

As if the CBC/Fox debates weren’t indication enough, it’s time for some of these longtime incumbents to retire.

Obama wasn’t wearing the “native clothing” of his country. He was a visitor wearing traditional dress, something politicians do regularly when they visit other countries. Tubbs-Jones deliberate smear is an attempt to make it look like this is what Obama wears at home while he’s reading the paper, just to drive home the message that “this nigger Obama is not like you, he is not American, so do not vote for him.” What else is a viewer supposed to take away from this statement:

“We ought to be able to be able to support people wearing the clothing of their nation.”

Get it? America is not Barack Obama’s nation.

Lemme just say this: There’s nothing wrong with being black and supporting Hillary Clinton. But when you use social capitol as a black person to legitimize the use of race and racism to derail a black candidate, you disgrace yourself.

All this is meant to do is knock Obama off his game for tonight. My bet is it won’t. But you can’t say they didn’t try.


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