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Out to dinner with my wife and daughter in Richardson (Dallas) Texas tonight, and my wife grabs a copy of the local alternative weekly (Dallas Observer) with a big picture of Obama on the cover (actually she grabbed two - nice cover). As I ate I happened to catch the title of the cover story - Obama and Me - by Todd Spivak.

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Uh oh. I had just read the piece online after seeing it posted at MyDD, apparently it is making the rounds of the Obama haters.

The story is linked here Obama and Me

Folks on the ground in Dallas and Houston should have ready answers to some of the charges cause this is liable to come up. Yuck.

Wouldn't hurt if a few thousand Texans tell the Dallas Observer and Houston Press that they shouldn't have this sort of crap in their paper. In Dallas bringing it to the attention of Jim Schutze who actually has a reputation to maintain might not be a bad idea.

More below the fold:

This was a crummy hack job in 2004 when Spivak traded on his "relationship" with Obama and scrounged a few grumbles from Chicago hacks who felt Obama had jumped ahead of the line. Heck he even describes in the article how the original 2004 article was the result of a decision to rough Obama up a  bit cause he was getting too easy a ride. In the current version he has punched it up some by taking out some of the original context and adding some personal flavor so Spivak can grab a bit of Obama's glory while taking him down a notch. The result is a self aggrandizing slimeball aimed at Obama's head and getting wide distribution in a medium that will actually reach a lot of the young voters that make up Obama's base.

Here is the original 2004 turd in the punchbowl along with a Capitol Fax article by Illinois blogger Rich Miller that takes it apart.

The key claims in Spivak's diatribe are that Obama was an empty suit whose only accomplishments in the Illinois Senate were gifts from Senate Majority leader Emil Jones in 2003 after Obama decided to run for US Senate, and that Obama got his first elected position in the Illinois Senate by sticking a shiv in his political mentor Alice Palmer.

A few things the Mr. Spivak evidently forgot to mention:

Obama's signature ethics reform bill was passed in 1998 and the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2000, under Republican controlled legislatures.

Obama chaired the Health and Human services committee in 2003-2004 which accounts for his sponsorship of most of his legislation passed in those years.

The work that Obama did to secure the video interrogation bill against vehement opposition is well documented. Hendon's claim that he took the ball to the 1 yard line is risible.

The story about Obama gaining his senate seat by legal technicality, challenging nominating petitions and so betraying his mentor Alice Palmer completely distorts the story. Obama was encouraged to run by Palmer who was herself running in a special election for US Congress. Before he decided to run, he demanded an assurance that she would not come back after the seat if her Congressional bid failed, which she gave. Days before the filing deadline (in December) and just a few months before the primary which would surely be determinative in his Democratic district, she lost the special and decided to reclaim her state senate seat. Obama refused to step aside and she was unable to gather sufficient valid signatures to get on the ballot. Challenging nominating petitions is standard procedure in Illinois politics and while Obama has indicated he regrets having displaced a distinguished progressive politician, he was certainly entitled to pursue a race he had invested so much in already just as he had said he would in light of her promise not to contest the seat.

See the Tribune story here

Finally when Spivak gathered all those nasty comments about Obama he was the dark horse in a three way race for the US Senate nomination, and most of the Illinois machine was working for his opponents (namely Dan Hynes son of long time Chicago alderman and self funding millionaire Hull). Nearly all of the folks named are now outspoken advocates and supporters (but they're still hacks).

I was active in Chicago politics throughout this period. Obama was the darling of young Chicago progressives that got together through the DL21C (Democratic leadership for the 21st century). I think the notion that he was "made" by the Democratic machine is pretty much backward. Generally the machine promoted black politicians of really limited ability (see Stroger, John) as a way of keeping real political power in white ethnic hands (see Daley, Ritchey). Obama was universally viewed as a threat to nearly everyone, but was sufficiently able that just burying him wasn't feasible. Moving him on to Washington as quickly as possible was the next best thing. Similarly, the stories about how he got a free ride in his Senate race because the Republicans put up Alan Keyes again misses the point. His original opponent (Ryan) was the golden boy of Illinois Republican politics, rich, good looking, with a resume that included teaching at inner city schools. The allegations that ended his campaign weren't really disqualifying, so much as it almost instantly became clear that he wasn't gonna beat Obama with anything that undermined his standing with conservatives (and probably wouldn't have beat Obama anyway partially because he shared the last name of the scandal ridden Governor who more or less destroyed the Republican party in Illinois in that very election). Once Ryan was gone the Republicans simply couldn't find anyone that wanted any part of Obama.

Anyway, forewarned is forearmed. Hopefully this will get little attention and do little damage, but if not we should make clear to the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press and any impressionable readers that Obama really does have a great record of accomplishment in Illinois, that he conducted himself honorably there. There are lots of folks who have bought into the excitement over Obama without really knowing much about him, and so he is awfully vulnerable to this sort of "insider" slime. Since these papers won't run again until after the primary a retraction doesn't do much good but at least we can be prepared to respond.

E

Originally posted to Economaniac on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommend if this is getting play (17+ / 0-)

    otherwise let it quietly disappear

    E

    •  Rec this up, people. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, geomoo

      Whether it is getting play yet, or not.  The potential is there, sometime in the future.  Stomp Spivak.

      "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

      by MTmofo on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:19:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure if rec'ing is good idea (0+ / 0-)

        I just popped over for a look and this is not on Mydd rec list or on Hillaryis44.

        Maybe another the stupid like the bizarro red neck in the gimme cap that we should try ignoring.

        Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -=-H. L. Mencken

        by crazyshirley2100 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:31:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Real concern is the cover (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          This is a freebie all over Dallas and Houston and that cover (see the picture) is really appealing to Obama supporters.

          If it was just the article no one would see it. But that cover is gonna grab a lot of eyeballs.

          E

          •  Great Picture! (0+ / 0-)

            "We're all working for the Pharaoh" - Richard Thompson

            by mayan on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:59:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I just looked this up (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko
            and they are part of the New Times chain, known for its courting of post-college ex-frat boys with a mix of sex, sports, lurid crime stories and cynicism about all things political, particularly anything that might smack of being positive. Our local NT paper slams eveyrone, although their particular target right now is Kucinich. They virtually devoted their entire Valentine issue to destroying Dennis.

            We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

            by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:00:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep that is them (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              The Dallas Observer has a bit of credibility here because of Schutze, and because the just retired Dallas Mayor Laura Miller made her name muckraking there.

              •  Most of their Cleveland staff (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko
                is from other places so they don't have much rep one way or another. They really don't cover national politics at all; the only presidential campaign they've mentioned much is Dennis's in order to make short jokes and elf jokes about him. Yawn.

                We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

                by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:18:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I was EXTRA hot (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            after I read it.  Immediately fired off a comment on their website.  I was concerned because a great many youngsters pick up this paper - I know I always did when I was in my 20's.  Let's all write some letters - either on the website or directly to the paper.  

            Barack Obama 2008. No State Left Behind.

            by Texanomaly on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 06:07:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Both New Times/VV papers, aren't they? (0+ / 0-)
      I'm pretty sure. If so, it's their typical modus operandi. They claim to be apolitical, meaning they evince a sort of curdled cynicism about everything, and take pride in shooting down signs of hope, energy and positivsm in politics.

      We in Cleveland were spared this story from our New Times/VV paper, the Scene, beause they devoted their cover story -- heck, their whole issue basically -- to trying to take down Kucinich, basically giving his corporate-backed primary opponent a blowjob in print.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:56:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  they are going to collar everyone they can to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    work this, im not surprised, there will be more lackeys trading on what ever little string they have left and pull as many as possible, they figure since the assault didnt work, they have to undermine the walls

    please pardon the poor keyboarding, i can never decide which two of my ten thumbs to use, so hopefully some of you are fluent in Typo

    by TAPayne on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:05:55 PM PST

  •  Hillary sure had some stiff competition in..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, Ericwmr, geomoo

    her two Senate campaigns! LOL

    •  for real.... (0+ / 0-)

      The odd thing about people trading jabs back and forth about the other one never having a serious opponent is that each of them are currently facing the toughest opponent of their respective careers.  

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:14:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  give them a reason to be cynical again... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, geomoo

    If anything sums up the best strategy Republicans have to counteract the massive number of new younger voters Barack Obama brings out, getting them back in touch with their inner cynic is the GOP's best bet.  They should know these people largely will not support John McCain no matter how many times he pops up on the Daily Show, but they've achieved the same result if they can smear Obama enough to raise doubts about his authenticity.  Young people largely pick up the publications in question to get movie listings and find out which bands are playing where on a given week, but the feature Obama cover story may draw a few more into reading more than usual of the matter.  Still, any critical thinkers will quickly reailze there's little of substance to an article in a free weekly.  

    Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

    by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:12:53 PM PST

    •  These papers have a rep (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, Ericwmr, crankyinNYC
      that's rejected by the most engaged kids, the ones who are passionate and most likely to vote. Ok, I'm biased -- I work for the competition of our local NT/VV paper. I don't think this type of cynicsm can stop the tidal wave. Tonight we had our annual music awards and the campaign was on everyone's lips and no one wasn't planning to vote, almost all for Obama. The club, Cleveland's hippest nightclub, was adorned with Obama yasrd signs and the last band of the night, a careening girl-punk band, opened the show with the singer/frontwoman shouting "Vote March 4! Vote Obama!" There was so much energy in the music community last time, against Bush and for Kerry and that will only be multiplied this time by the genuine excitement about Obama, whereas last time a lot of it, I am sure, was driven by loathing of Bush.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:04:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  too bad, so sad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oklib77

    but get used to it folks.The shine is wearing off your candidate.

    sign the petition at http://www.impeachbush.org

    by DrKate on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:13:30 PM PST

    •  Thank you Captain Obvious (7+ / 0-)

      ....Contrary to the broad generalizations that some like to make, most of us knew it was only a matter of time before the honeymoon was over, or at least slowed down a little.  The shine's going to wear off of anyone sooner or later.  What really matters is how well they can aquitt themselves and counterpunch.  On those matters, Obama is swinging back as needed and connecting effectively.  Sorry to rain on your sour grapes parade, but this candidate has already made it clear he won't be swift-boated by either Hillary Clinton or the Republicans.

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:35:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong-O (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, Ericwmr
      He's just starting to glisten. Kids are chomping at the bit to get out there and get him elected. It's just starting to build.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

      by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:04:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow, Kate (0+ / 0-)

      For some of us, truth is actually a factor, too.

      At any rate, at this point in time, Obama is practically your candidate, too.  Unless you plan on supporting someone other than the Democratic nominee in the general?

  •  "Alternative" press, my ass. (13+ / 0-)

    I used to write for the Dallas Observer in the 80's.  The editor censored my research on tanning beds and skin cancer, because of those tasty ad revenues.

    Just more corporate, self-serving bs.

    It is a hit piece, but I didn't mind learning that Obama is both human and an effective politician.

    No one with any sense of realism believes the crap about singing Kumbaya.

    •  Worse now that it is owned by the Village Voice (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mayan, bleeding blue, spotDawa

      but it does have a certain street cred in Dallas mostly because of Schutze and because the Morning News is so thoroughly establishment.

      •  Dallas Morn News, establishment maybe.. (0+ / 0-)

        ....but, I also believe they were way ahead of the Texas pack by endorsing Obama back in January or so.  At the time, I kinda wondered if this was more about hating Hillary Clinton than supporting Obama, and I've heard in the time following endorsement that they've been very critical of him.  I could be wrong there though...Houston and Austin papers are the ones I'm more familiar with.

        Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

        by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:31:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Village Voice Media, Inc. seems to own all the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayan, geomoo

        "alternative" newspapers now. It's taken the once pround Seattle Weekly to the point that I won't even pick it up now that it's for free. Back in the day, I was a subscriber!

        •  Actually, I think the number is 16 (0+ / 0-)
          Far from "all" of the hundreds of such papers. They are actually down one since they merged their two Bay area papers. Their paper here, our competitor, is not looking as sharp as it once did. The writers seem to be working at half-capacity. I'm not sure what is going on. They used to write some really good stuff, especially cover stories. They had (still have) the luxury of an editorial staff twice the size of ours despite the papers being almost the same size (Actually, they have been smaller than us recently). This week's cover love letter to one of Dennis Kucinich's primary opponents and slam of Dennis is particularly slapdash, with a lot of elements that don't fit together and a ton of dead ends and unexplained assertions. (Hating Dennis Kucinich is probably their main political editorial position.)

          We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14: http://www.oneill08.com/

          by anastasia p on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:11:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Afghanistan is my best talking point on "kumbaya" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      spotDawa, geomoo

      At least as foreign policy and war matters go, I've had a bit of success using Afghanistan as a talking points to sway Texas men in Obama's direction.  For all the "kumbaya" jokes out there, a few mentions about diplomatic talks coupled with emphasis on Afghanistan and the right to bomb Al Qaeda in Pakistan without Musharraf's rubber stamp gets sensible nods from those who wrongly fear he just wants to run away from Iraq and practice a policy of appeasement.

      As much as the R word is poison in some corners here, mentioning that Reagan and his predecessors talked to Gotrbachev and other Soviet leaders usually comes off as a net positive.

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:19:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not seeing the Rich Miller (0+ / 0-)

    rebut.  Please repost that link.  I may need it if this gets any traction as I live in Texas.  

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -=-H. L. Mencken

    by crazyshirley2100 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:16:28 PM PST

    •  Rich Miller (0+ / 0-)

      fixed, thanks

    •  Don't know much about the D-FW rag (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oklib77

      ...but if it's anything like the Houston Press, we're basically talking about the Austin Chronicle and other urban rags that are half articles, half topless bar and cinema ads.

      Personally, I'll skim these things with a cup of coffee if there's anything that looks like an interesting article, check out movie reviews and hit the concert list.  These publications may have street cred at on metro/regional issues, but I have to wonder how much of that remains intact once they start tackling national figures on a presidential stage.  

      It certainly never hurts to have a response/debunk ready, but I for one doubt this will have any noticable impact. Honestly, the worst thing to come out of this will be the Paultards proclaiming it as gospel for all still willing to politely entertain them.

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:27:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup thats the one, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ericwmr

        Article is in the Houston Press as well, don't know about Austin Chronicle but probably there two.

        Wouldn't be a big deal except the cover is a great graphic of Obama(see picture above). My wife grabbed a couple copies just for the cover. Could take the air out of Obama supporters that pick it up for the cover and read the article without really knowing the facts.

        E

        •  the graphic... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mayan

          Those are floating on the internet if you particularly like the graphic. Someone, perhaps the campaign, introduced that one with huge posters at the Hollywood debate. They've got ones that say things like "Hope," "Progress," and "Texas March 4th" across the bottom.  I've been using various ones on facebook and myspace recently.  

          As for deflation, the good news is that these papers, at least in Austin/Houston, tend to get brutally criticized by readers when they're inaccurate, vague, or obviously biased.  The bad news.....time, and the fact that people rarely read fine print retractions stuffed in some corner on the following week.  Truth squadding this thing is a good idea, just in case.

          Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

          by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:45:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know this is pretty much the campaign graphic (0+ / 0-)

            We cant get any printed campaign materials here in Texas. They are flat out. Even the few signs the campaign gets up are stolen within hours. I think its by supporters that just want a piece of the campaign and cant get it through the usual channels. Never seen anything like it.

            E

            •  that's an amazing statment.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...Kinda funny that one of the biggest problems with the campaign is that they can't supply signs and bumeper stickers fast enough. You may know that the campaign had a materials recycling/redistribution site started a few weeks ago, but even that isn't yielding much improvment as I understand it.  I'm in Texas as well, and it amazes me how materials are in short supply even for some of the official campaign offices.  What I have I picked up last Feb. when Obama came through austin and over the summer, but have since mostly given away.  I was going to order a few hunderd bumper stickers back in early Februrary, but it seemed unlikely they'd be here in time for election day.....Seems everything that wasn't printed in Chinese or Hebrew was on back order for several weeks.

              Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

              by Ericwmr on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:01:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Hey (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ericwmr

        News of the weird in Austin Chronicle is coffee companion must read.

        Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -=-H. L. Mencken

        by crazyshirley2100 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:33:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget Dan Savage. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ericwmr, crazyshirley2100

          Where else you gonna learn the etiquette for transexual threesomes?

        •  that and "Red Meat" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oklib77, crazyshirley2100

          ...Ah, how could I forget News of the Weird. I think I probably started paying a little less attention to that when I realized yahoo news has an ongoing feed of what they tend to draw from.  Still, that is a classic.

          Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

          by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:39:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chronicle (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mayan, Ericwmr

            has endorsed Obama.

            Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -=-H. L. Mencken

            by crazyshirley2100 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:41:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Travis County has endorsed Obama.... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mayan, Texanomaly, crazyshirley2100

              and by Travis Co, I mean the whole damn county it seems.

              I just moved out of the area over December and miss it...but curious, do the Paultards still have an unusually strong base in the area.  Never noticed them quite as much in Austin, but they were seemingly everywhere in San Marcos last fall.  Seemingly that whole town was divided into Obama and Ron Paul camps.

              Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

              by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:48:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe not in Texas, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ericwmr

                but in Wisconsin I spotted a strong late trend of Paul supporters to Obama, at least among those who'd been initially attracted to Paul for his opposition to the DrugWar.

                Time to change my sig.

                by ben masel on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:04:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  drug war...exactly.. (0+ / 0-)

                  I dealt with enough of these people, and they almost entirely reminded me of the most superficial, damn-the-man, pot-smoker types.

                  "Ron Paul wants to, like, get rid of the IRS and legalize it...groovy, dude..."

                  Fortunately, the ones who knew what "libertarianism" means started to cringe once they realized he was pro-life and perhaps a closet racist.

                  Last Repub poll I saw, Paul was still hovering around 10-12 percent in Texas.  That's down from the 20% range he was in last month, but it was interesiting to note that McCain's lead over Huckabee was barely outside the margin of error on the 24'th..... Then again, it was an ARG poll.

                  Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

                  by Ericwmr on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:19:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  yes, (0+ / 0-)

            those features are all great.  the east bay express has kept only red meet.

            i highly encourage all to watch the dan savage video on youtube re the 2006 PA senate race, espec his comments about the green party candidate.

            nader, anyone? savage is brill.

            beneath the paving stones, the beach!

            by oklib77 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:32:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  even worse, (0+ / 0-)

        the chronicle used to be great! politically & culturally.  

        i live in the bay area now, & now im witnessing the slow death of another great indie, the east bay express.

        i went to junior high w/ the observer film critic.  i liked him better in jr high.

        beneath the paving stones, the beach!

        by oklib77 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:27:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, a politician has a temper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    William S Martin, mayan

    Shocking, wonderful "investigative" journalism by somebody who probably wanted to work for the campaign, and didn't get a job. Wow.

    It reads like a woe-is-me tale. Nobody will care. I tuned it out after the, "I had Obama's cell phone numbers; they've since been disconnected; I had Axelrod's too."

    Obvious what this one is about. I wouldn't worry about it to much. Who cares? Most people will orobably just see the picture anyway. I doubt many people make it past the 6th paragraph of that article. It's too boring.  

  •  i just read this start to finish (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ericwmr, dpryan, Texanomaly

    I don't get it.  Not at all.  Ninety percent of the article is basically a memoir by some reporter talking about how poor he was, how he could barely get a job, and how he happens to have known somebody famous before he was really famous.

    It's just goofy.  I can't imagine this thing swaying any voter one way or the other.

    After all, I admired the guy—and still do.

    We shook hands and walked outside together. I asked some questions and snapped some pictures before a dark blue Chevrolet Suburban with tinted windows whisked him off to another congregation less than a mile away. I followed behind in my beat-up Oldsmobile.

    I mean, who cares?

    "In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill." - Churchill

    by William S Martin on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 10:54:55 PM PST

    •  insider gossip and sour grapes mostly... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ben masel, Texanomaly

      ...Not that all of the story was unflattering, but the bulk of those most critical parts seems to be grounded in the jealousy of less successful pols and the fact that he played Chicago politcs better than many Chicago politicans.  

      As for the reporter: he still admires Obama, but seems kinda miffed that he didn't get to come along for the ride once Obama became a household name.  As the guy alternates between praise and criticism, I personally don't see a reason to panic over this.  

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:19:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A mixed bag, this story.... (0+ / 0-)

    On one hand, there's a tremendous compliment hidden in the fact that Obama reportedly compiled most of his Illinois acomplishments in a single year.  If Republicans blocked his efforts for the first six years, he certainly seems effective for making up for lost time in year seven.

    A temper, ambition and others being skeptical of him are the worst of the broader strokes I took from the article...much of this sounds like jealousy on the part of less successful black politicans and words typed by a reporter with an axe to grind after losing unconditional access.  

    Especially in light of the title, the whole thing sounds much like it was written by someone torn between respect and tinges of personal animosity. Given the prominence of the issue though, I'm surpised to find absolutely no mention of Tony Rezko.  If this guy was writing a pure hit piece, that would have to factor in there somehow...Not all of this is flattering, but not all of the article is a hatchet job either IMHO.  

    I read trying to figure out what needed to be debunked or responded to, but the difficulty in this case is a lack of insider status among Chicago political and journalism circles...Overall though, this hardly seems like a hit job on par with the madrassa and antichirst bits floating around.

    Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

    by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:15:14 PM PST

    •  Key charge is that Obama didn't real move laws (3+ / 0-)

      This is a lot more damaging than the Madrassa story because it feeds the meme that Obama isn't ready to be President. Generally the article is a mixed bag, badly written, personalized in weird ways. But the core is that Obama didn't really do anything on his own, Emil Jones just put Obama's name on a bunch of other folks' legislation in 2003 so he could get elected to the US Senate. Since the article provides a bunch of personal and legislative detail it has a sort of insider feel that many people haven't seen with Obama.

      Folks who have read the excellent Tribune series or the Chicago Reader profiles shouldn't have much patience for this sort of stuff, but I am sure there are lots of kids around Dallas who are vulnerable to the suggestion that Obama is less than authentic.

  •  forewarned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ericwmr

    is forearmed.  this will be a huge gop meme all year long:  obama hasnt been in politics v long, & he's been asleep when he was.

    its like the fox news crap aboot how kerry should resign from the senate while running for president.  it's absolute twaddle, but theyll use it.

    beneath the paving stones, the beach!

    by oklib77 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:18:10 PM PST

    •  Resignation from the Senate... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oklib77

      Given his age and tendency to campaign at a surprisingly hard pace, I won't be at all surprised if McCain resigns from the Senate.  In that case, the attention then turns toward whether or not Obama would do the same.  Personally, I think he'd do himself more harm by not resigning...especially if McCain does.  Even if the worst were to happen in November, it isn't as though Obama would have a difficult time taking the seat back in 2010 if he didn't decide to run for Ill. Governor.  At this point, Obama's 46-47 years old and with all the job security of Ted Kennedy - be that in the Senate or elsewhere.  

      Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

      by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:27:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't think they need to resign (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ericwmr

        Obama should end this next Tuesday. Doesn't need to travel to fund raise, and might want to put some markers down for the GE from the Senate floor. Nothing is gonna get done in Washington after the conventions anyway, so no loss there. Not like any of these folks have been around doing there jobs for the last 6 months anyway.

        •  good counterpoint there.. (0+ / 0-)

          ...Obama does have the advantage of a Democratic majority leader with Durbin waiting in the wings.  I completely agree that Obama shouldn't even consider stepping down unless McCain goes first and starts pushing for him to do the same.  Even in that case though, Obama could stay in and suggest McCain was stepping down to avoid politically inconvenient votes.

          Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

          by Ericwmr on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:40:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  i see yor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ericwmr

        point.  but my gut doesnt agree.

        i know obama can do anything he wants politically, even if he loses in nov.

        but:  dont give up that seat, no matter what mccain does.

        let's be on the right side of some votes all year long.    

        beneath the paving stones, the beach!

        by oklib77 on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:43:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hardly a hit job (0+ / 0-)

    just a story.

    Time to change my sig.

    by ben masel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:37:28 PM PST

    •  Nothing wrong with the memoir (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ericwmr, Texanomaly

      Its the inside politics stuff that is flat out wrong that makes it ugly.

      The claim that Obama didn't actually write and sponsor the legislation he claims as his accomplishments in the Illinois Senate, but was dressed up by Emil Jones. All the personal stuff around it is window dressing, but attempts to convey that Spivak had some insider access and is dishing some heretofore unknown dirt about his "friend" whom he really respects and admires.

      Anyway if most folks don't see the dirt for all the pizza boxes, then it probably ain't worth worrying about.

      •  Not "flat wrong," (0+ / 0-)

        just shaded.

        Time to change my sig.

        by ben masel on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 11:59:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pretty much flat wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Texanomaly

          The article claims that Obama couldn't get anything out of committee until 2003 when the Dems took over the Senate. But the stuff he is always talking about - at least earned income tax credit, ethics reform passed years earlier.

          And it claims that Obama had nothing to do with actually passing the legislation except allowing Jones to stick his name on it and accepting the glory. That ain't right either. Obama wrote and sponsored tons of legislation, throughout his tenure in the IL Senate, and passed a fair number of meaningful bills prior to 2003, despite the fact the the Republicans controlled the chamber.

          And these aren't even he said/ he said sorts of stories. Spivak presents this view as historical fact and then selects quotes to support it. No response from Obama. That is a hit job.

          E

      •  The other side of "bill moving" (0+ / 0-)

        Just to play Devil's advocate with this, the flip side of the "bill mover" charge is that it can be spun to underscore how Barack Obama is the man who can get things done.  He's gone on record himself emphasizing the idea that it will take more than himself to get things done.  Maybe he didn't originally lay these eggs, but he was the one who made sure they hatched.  If I were trying to spin this, and I am..LOL, I'd say there's a net positive having the Illinois Majority leader on record saying that Obama was needed to get the majority on board. The idea that Jones was going to "make himself a Senator" sounds like a politican trying to position himself for a slice of credit/favors.  As for the pork/steak matter, the article also says Jones represented a So. Chicago district near Obama's....probably not the wealthiest place in the world.  Robert Byrd and Trent Lott have often been deemed very good at bringing home the bacon, but what's lost in this too often is that the places they represent are among the poorest states in the nation. Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I'd go out on a limb to guess that Jones' South Chicago district isn't exactly the most affluent part of Illinois.

        Remember the Alamo? Sen. Obama, tear down this (fire)wall.

        by Ericwmr on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:10:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see any issues here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tropical Depression

    I am a Clinton supporter but I don't see anything in this article other than the fact: 1) Obama is very ambitious; 2) he is talented and this talent was recognized and received a push from people able to grease his path; 3) he may not have been the "man of the community" he portrays himself as.

    However, many of the people quoted as criticizing Obama are now enthusiastic supporters.

    As far as I am concerned, this article humanizes Obama.  Then again, I never followed the white light and climbed aboard the spaceship of Obamamania.  I always have considered him a traditional politician who happened to also have extraordinary communication skills.

    •  I would add... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      ...that unlike the other Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, Obama is no empty suit.  If he got a push from people, it was a push well deserved.  He is an extraordinary talent and extremely intelligent.

      Where I fall off the Obama wagon and continue to support Hillary is the impression I have that his rise has been TOO meteoric, TOO facilitated by helpful coincidences like the scandals that made his US Senate run a cakewalk.  I do NOT believe Obama has either been "vetted" or "tested" by adversity.  I would like to vote for him for President in 8-10 years, after he has a chance to demonstrate he in fact will stick his neck out on principle and that he is building more than a political machine based on his personae.

      Hillary, with all her warts, is what we need to navigate the incredibly treacherous series of war and peace challenges facing us.  I think she has a much better chance of beating McCain. Her negatives are out there already; Obama's remain to be seen.

      The main danger from this story is the extent to which it portends a series of images that vary from the shining knight image of Obamamania.

      This was always what I felt was the tremendous weakness and danger of Obamamania.  It was placing him on such a pedestal, creating such a set of exaggerated expectations, that no human could meet them.  It was basically setting him up for a fall.  People's stories about Obama had a "George Washington never told a lie" quality to them - mythological and unbelievable to an unsettling degree.

      Those who promote Obamamania, or fall victim to its blandishments, did not do a favor for Obama and the Democrats.  To the extent Obama himself has cultivated the mania, he himself is to blame for pride goeth before the fall.

      •  Those who support Clinton (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Texanomaly, paintitblue

        do her no favor by painting Obama's supporters as naive, irrational, or waiting for Prince Charming.  Some of us are strongly anti-war, or strongly pro-civil liberties, or believers in net neutrality and transparency in government.

        Your argument boils down to the one that Clinton has already been damaged by having the kitchen sink thrown at her and Obama might be.  Hardly a reason to vote for her.

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