Thursday, March 27, 2008


He is for those of us who find ourselves increasingly dismissed by both the partisan Republicans and the partisan Democrats. Those of us who are liberal in politics but conservative in temperament. Those of us who, I think, are in the majority in this country. And yet, somehow, this race has become so ugly that he isn't the inevitable Next President of the United States I once thought he was. And that really, really makes me sad.

Obama is being beaten down by a Clintonista machine that is DETERMINED to do whatever it takes to win. They realize now that they won't win the nomination this year, so their next strategy is to make Barack Obama, the unquestionable Democratic nominee of 2008, totally unelectable ("he can't answer that red phone, he gives too many feel-good speeches, he has too much hope...") so they can come back in 2012 and say, "See, we told you so. We told you that nominating Obama in 2008 would lead to yet another four years of a Republican in the White House." They will do whatever it takes to win. And I do say "THEY" intentionally - Bill Clinton is running for a third term, and so is Hillary Clinton. They aren't so much a marriage as a political team. And I have given them credit for a lot of things - I think the '90s were generally great, and they led us though it - but there is no question that the Clintons are giant opportunists who care primarily about themselves. They jumped into Somalia and then jumped out because they were scared of looking like failures. They ignored Rwanda. They instituted Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. They led the country through the psychological minefield of infidelity. Hillary made us believe that to be a feminist means you have to support a woman who only got to where she is by marrying well and allowing your husband to sleep around. And yet, somehow, they remain popular among a key group of partisans and nostalgists, a group that won't give them up even when presented with a real alternative, a man who is to liberalism what Reagan was to conservatism, a man who can unite ALL of us behind a common purpose, regardless of politics.

Obama is being beaten up by the right, by a Hannity-Limbaugh-Beck machine that really, really wants to run against Clinton because a) she would be so much easier to beat and b) if she did win she'd be really, really good for business in angry right-wing talk radio. He is being given guilt-by-association lashings for standing by and listening to an angry black preacher (the reality in this country, which you can choose to ignore or confront head-on) rather than bolting for political expediency. (And at the same time, the right wing, who hate McCain, is giving McCain a pass even as he proactively seeks the endorsement of theologians who said America brought Sept. 11 on itself by being so gay- and feminist-friendly.) The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has said some ridiculous things. So have a lot of people I have seen speak in churches I have attended. But the Rev. Wright has said some important things, too, just like a lot of people I have seen speak in churches I have attended. Everyone's spirituality is a personal journey, and you progress on that journey by listening to what others say and taking it with a grain of salt. Obama does not think Wright is always right; he does, however, recognize that he represents a major faction within black America that deserves to be recognized, that must be addressed. No, the United States did not infect blacks with HIV. No, Sept. 11 was not God's punishment for slavery. Yes, there is still a vast difference between the White American Experience and the Black American Experience, and Obama is able to see that. He doesn't leave his spiritual home simply because the preacher has some anger that he himself doesn't harbor. I firmly, firmly believe that Barack Obama is completely free of the baggage Jeremiah Wright represents. But I also am certain that this baggage will be a huge detriment to his candidacy, and that is WRONG.

Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States. You all know that I have some strong opinions, but that I hate to be too aggressive with them. But this is a cause more important than any I have ever felt in my life. If Hillary Clinton is nominated by the Democrats (yeah, right), I will vote for John McCain. As I vote for John McCain, I will probably be in mourning. This is a pivotal moment in American history, and I am watching as we are about to blow it. I didn't think we were capable of blowing it. Now I see how we are. He is being attacked by the right and the left. If that isn't proof that he's the best choice, I don't know what is.


amelia said...

WOW. This was such a great post Doug. I wish I had read it before being cornered by conservative "This proves Obama is a racist!" family members. My big point to them was that is the most hypocrtical thing to peg Obama as a racist when, as a Mormon, they are part of a religion that full-on BANNED black people from having the preisthood until the 70s. If someone brought a camera around Romney's church leaders, I guarantee they'd find plenty of fodder for that fire.

I could never vote for McCain, no matter the circumstances. A man that is senator of the second-highest Mormon populated state in the U.S., makes fun of the religion, publicly says he doesn't know much about the religion and doesn't care to know does not get my respect. If he can't learn or care about the constituents of his state, how can he learn or care about Americans?

Off my soapbox.

doug said...

Amelia, I'd never heard of McCain's criticisms of Mormonism. That's not cool. Here's hoping that it doesn't come down to having to make a decision between him and Hillary, eh?

Brad said...

You make such a powerful and valid point and all I can say is that I am proud to be your m:-)m. You are very well educated and informed and your comments prove that. Keep fighting for the right and I will do my best to do the same.

doug said...

Yes, everyone, my m:-)m is named Brad. :)

Just kidding. Mom, all my values and everything I believe came from what I learned when I was young - so it's all thanks to you! :)