February 19, 2008


Cult of Obama Will Turn Off Independents (Froma Harrop, 2/20/08, Real Clear Politics)

Volunteer trainees at Camp Obama are told not to talk issues with voters, but to offer personal testimony about how they "came" to Obama. Makes the skin crawl.

Centrists generally do not find cults of personality entertaining. The mass hypnosis reminds them of the mortgage frenzy -- all these people buying into a dream and not caring about the fine print.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, has given them a choice. This is despite the best efforts of its right wing to pick a candidate against whom any Democrat would be better. And the more the radicals beat up on the Arizona senator, the more he looks like a contender to moderate Democrats.

Why might this group like McCain? Count the ways. He had the fiscal discipline to vote against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and the decency to complain that they unfairly favored the rich. He's OK on the environment, concerned over global warming and against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He supported tighter fuel-economy standards and opposes torture. John McCain is not an embarrassment.

Inspired, But Not Inspirational (J. Peter Freire, 2/19/2008, American Spectator)
THE BIGGEST thorn is not Hillary Clinton, but John McCain. It was an unexpected twist. At the end of the Bush administration, weren't the Democrats supposed to have this down? Their candidate was supposed to be, well, the Messiah, come to bury the failures of the Republicans' supposedly false one. It didn't happen. Instead, they're arguing about which candidate is the least likely to get buried. With the nomination for the Republican Party decided, the Democratic contest is eclipsed by McCain. McCain who was always a maverick. McCain who has his own cult of personality, but also war experience, foreign policy expertise, and, most important, time to gather his base. This was never supposed to happen.

Which is why Obama's campaign is so fascinating to watch as it unravels. Even if he doesn't admit it, he has taken huge hits. His personality, and the integrity that seems so engrained in it, is open to debate. While he has lived up to his promise of running a clean campaign, it seems just as much politically expedient as it does seem honorable. And his campaign contribution flap has placed serious doubt in whether he is a man of his word anyway. And Obama's use of funds to effectively bribe super-delegates is hardly reassuring when considering the "new" politics about which he's so excited.

Additionally, his speeches are now being derided as empty. A stumped reader writes in to WaPo:

...The Cult of Obama is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. When I hear things like "We are the ones we have been waiting for" and "We are the change we seek," I want to scream.

And David Brooks picks up that thread, asking with laser-point accuracy, "If we are the change we have been waiting for then why have we been waiting since we've been here all along?"

When you're in a cult you think it's about to become a mass movement. When you're outside you think: "What a bunch of weirdos."

Obama Wave Stuns Clinton's Black Supporters (Kevin Merida, 2/20/08, Washington Post)

Obama has swamped Clinton among black voters in each of the 20 contests that had exit polls and large enough samples of African Americans to be meaningful. Just to put that kind of shutout in perspective, black voters represent the only demographic group that the New York senator has not carried at least once during the Democratic primary campaign. Obama now has such a lock on the loyalties of African Americans -- 84 percent of the black vote in Alabama, 87 percent in Georgia, 84 percent in Maryland, and on and on -- that the black vote is no longer contestable.

Which brings us back to the dilemma facing some of Clinton's high-profile black supporters -- those with titles and constituencies of their own. They are feeling some kind of crazy pressure. Last Friday, about 25 of them held an hour-long conference call to discuss what one described as an effort to "pester, intimidate, question our blackness" for not supporting Obama.

The catalyst for the call was a report in the New York Times that Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was wavering in his support of Clinton. Lewis would not comment, but according to the Times, the congressman had indicated he was prepared to fully flip and back Obama and thus be more in step with his congressional district, which voted 3-to-1 for Obama on Super Tuesday. This bit of news was extremely significant, for Lewis is one of the coveted "superdelegates," those 796 elected officials and party insiders who are not bound by anything that has or will happen at the polls. They are free to choose the candidate of their liking, as unpledged delegates to the national convention. And with the nomination fight so razor-close, they are being wooed -- some say harassed -- like never before.

Lewis's office tried to put the brakes on the notion that a switch of allegiance to Obama was imminent. But too late. Some of Clinton's other black supporters decided to rally and try to blunt the fallout. Among those on the conference call were Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, former Denver mayor Wellington Webb, and congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio.

Palmer was among the more forceful voices, urging others on the call, as he put it yesterday, "to stand up and say why you're for Hillary Clinton in the face of adversity. We can't afford to be wishy-washy . . . Stand up. Fight. Advocate for your candidate. Don't capitulate. . . . Don't let nobody intimidate or threaten you. Just hold on."

In an interview Palmer still sounded riled about a few things he had heard about. One of them, reported by the Associated Press, was a private conversation between Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), one of Obama's national campaign co-chairmen. Both lawmakers are superdelegates. Jackson had asked Cleaver if he wanted to go down in history as someone who prevented an African American from occupying the White House for the first time.

Just in case you thought his candidacy was about more than identity.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2008 6:41 AM

We must vote for Obama else his Havard educated high power lawyer wife would not be proud of the country any more.

Posted by: ic at February 19, 2008 5:44 PM

Energy Independence Now!

No more Oil Wars!

Stop funding the terrorists!

Drill in Anwar.

Build more nuclear power plants

Use More coal.

Use more natural gas

Turn trash into energy

Double the efficiency of windmills and solar cells.

If France can do nuclear power so can we.

If Brazil can do biomass/ethanol power so can we.

If Australia can do LNG power so can we.

Posted by: poetryman69 at February 20, 2008 7:22 AM

Sounds like poetry to my ears and yes, we can do all that and more, but we won't until we get rid of the lefties whose aim is to destroy our country and take complete control of the mindless robots who allowed them to do it.

Remember, like it or not, be sure to vote for the Republican candidates, the farther right, the better. We can sort them out later.

Posted by: erp at February 20, 2008 10:35 AM