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View Diary: Sunday Talk - Scent of a Loser (272 comments)

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  •  Is that really his strongest work? (4.00)
    I'm all for stopping voter fraud.  I don't know Obama's solution - if it actually helps disenfranchised voters, I'd call it civil rights.

    Obama's speaking style is generally fine.  Although, note that he does actually splutter for a while when Stewart asks for his solution to Iraq.  When Obama regains his composure, he does his "fire the bus driver" applause line without fully answering.  He did say more about pulling out than I've heard from him before.

    Do you really think avoiding topics like torture, national security, and presidential accountability - or waiting for a comedian to corner you before you can speak about Iraq - shows leadership right now?

    •  I'm sorry (none)
      how long has he been a Senator? You do realize, that freshmen Senators rarely get the chance to shape the debate on much of anything, don't you?

      Look how long Kerry's career in the Senate has been, and no one knew of anything much he had done, legislation-wise, when he ran for President. Granted, he did some great investigative work regarding Iran/Contra, but again, no one remembered it (and he certainly didn't capitalize on it during the election.)

      Why are you so disgruntled at Obama? He just got there, and you're begrudging him his popularity as a charismatic new generation of Democrat because he hasn't changed the world enough to suit you in the few months he's been there?

      "Losing to Bush is like a healthy person losing an event in the Special Olympics" - Lewis Black

      by Rat on Sun Nov 13, 2005 at 09:23:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All he has to do is speak up. He doesn't. (4.00)
        He doesn't have to change the world.
        A few points:
        • If your defense for Obama is to compare him to Kerry, that's sad.  (I love your Lewis Black tag line.)
        • His strongest line in the interview was either a calculated lie (see my comment below), or a joke dismissing the fortunes of future Iraq victims.  Or do you think he will actually call for the resignation or impeachment of Rumsfeld or Bush?

        He thinks Condoleezza Rice - who claims she can't tell a imminent threat report from a historical document - should represent our country in the world.  He's been silent or acquiesced on plenty else.

        But since you ask, what ticks me off most is his silence on torture, especially at Guantanamo.  When they were nailing up his Illinois colleague Senator Durbin - for saying that not even Arabs should be chained to the floor in freezing cold, urinating and defecating on themselves as the FBI reports - Obama disappeared.  (Durbin actually avoided mentioning that the feces soaked prisoners were also wrapped in Israeli flags.)
        Finally, Durbin relented and apologized for saying the illegal imprisonment and torture of 500 Arabs might be as important as the feelings of Jews.  Most Jews were disgusted by the retreat, but evidently Obama felt his own silence would appease the 20% bigoted minority - currying their favor as Lieberman might, instead of standing up for his colleague.

        I'm bothered that Bill Clinton and Dick Durbin are both blacker than Obama is.

        •  That last sentence (none)
          is offensive. And what exactly do you think it means?
          •  I'm happy to clarify it. (none)
            Perhaps it was a little compressed.

            I'd be the last person to claim you have to be or should be a person of color, to fight for civil rights or the disenfranchised.  I've spent my whole life in the civil rights movement, and it's always been full of people from every race and mix.

            But perhaps you've noticed that somehow the Black Caucus, including Barbara Lee and others, speaks out more to defend the disenfranchised than the rest of the Congress.  Sure, there are also Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, and Armstrong Williams literally being paid to fight for the rich agenda and against equality.  But when someone like Obama is elected, I'm hoping he's not one of them.  I'm hoping that when the majority thinks someone's race and religion make them fair game, he'll speak out for human rights rather than remain silent.  The way Dick Durbin dared to do.

            Also, you may have heard the meme/joke (from Toni Morrison, Chris Rock and others) that Bill Clinton is black.  He's even in the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.  He's been quietly fighting segregation in the South since he was a kid, if you believe him.  He never gets a break from The Man.  Suffice to say, I was making a reference to that joke, though it might not have been clear.

            Anyway, when people of any ethnicity are being held without charges, denied due process, and tortured by Americans, I want someone to compare the German and Soviet camps, and I don't care what race or religion any of them are.  So do most Jews, maybe because they're liberal and they've been disenfranchised.  When at that moment Obama disappears and slinks silently away, abandoning his colleague and our human rights obligations, I admit I'm even more disgusted with him than I am with 98 other Senators.

            He's not Uncle Thomas or Armstrong Williams yet, but I frankly don't see what's muzzling him.  I'm glad he was among 42 Senators (too few) who voted that tortured Guanatamo prisoners oughtn't have their Habeas Corpus rights discarded.  But the vote lost because not enough Senators spoke out.  Has has he ever spoken out about Guanatamo?  It's unseemly for him to think he should disappear into a crowd.  Where is that vivid voice when it's needed?  

            •  Thanks for the clarification (none)
              So Obama isn't black enough for you because he doesn't do exactly what you think he should do. Perhaps he feels he represents ALL Americans,  whatever their color. After all, he's as much white as he is black.

              I get that you are disappointed in Obama--that he isn't the firebrand you think he should be. Perhaps he chooses to go another way, perhaps it just isn't his style to make comparisons with Soviet and Nazis. Whatever. It may even be that knows better than you how to get on with what needs to be done.

              You know, not so long ago, when Kilgore's nefarious death penalty ads first came out, I remember a lot of negative comments here about Kaine. How he wasn't fighting back hard enough. That his response was tepid and inadequate. Not a real progressive. How he should come out swinging and BURY that sonofabitch Kilgore.

              Frankly, I wondered about this myself. Turns out, Kaine was right and we were all wrong. Well, he is the one with actual political experience, so it is hardly surprising. And now we have another Democratic governor, for which I am profoundly grateful. Even if he doesn't meet a lot of people's exacting standards.

              Perhaps this isn't the best example, but it is the most recent and, of course, most on my mind, as I am from Virginia. It wasn't only the Republicans who miscalculated--there were a lot of Democrats/liberals/progressives who did likewise.

              May I respectfully suggest that we let Obama be Obama? This is a man with--I hope-- a great future and he is wise to step carefully. There are many years ahead and many battles left to fight.

              BTW, to even link his name with that of Clarence Thomas and Armstrong is ridiculous. Or merely histrionic?

              •  The question was about leadership. (none)
                This wasn't  "what I want".  Leadership is standing up for principle before it's popular.  You don't have to mention Nazis or Soviets when you're standing up against torture.  You just have to speak.

                It's clear that you, too believe he's said nothing about Guanatamo at this crucial juncture.  It's sad you need to make excuses or cover for him.  It does not make him a great leader.

                As to the comparison with those other disappointments of color - more interested in their careers than in human or civil rights - we might call it hyperbole, and we might call it, in simple qualitative terms, truthful.  I think he has much more in common with Hillary than Martin Luther King.  We have more than enough Hillarys and I'm not in a mood to pretend or compromise.

                •  MLK was a great and inspirational leader (none)
                  So was Ghandi. But neither were elected officials.

                  You want strong, independent, charismatic, idealistic politicians without faults. Do any exist? CAN any exist? Do you know of any?

                  •  I want Senators who will stand up to torture. (none)
                    They don't have to be King or Ghandi.  If they think standing up against torture or defending the Constitution will hurt their careers, they're not leaders - and they're also wrong.

                    In case you didn't notice, McCain has reaped moral and political benefits from his recent public fight against torture.  Obama appeared on a comedy show.  Guess who gained more ground for 2008?

                    If Obama is smart, he'll publicly support Bingaman and the Constitution to reverse the most unconstitutional parts of the Graham Amendment this week.  If he's dumb like Kerry, he'll keep a low profile for another year or two.

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