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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My (YMMV) Take On Obama's Speech

I am stunned, but not surprised, by the orgasmic reaction of Obamans to the Senator's speech yesterday. Do they really think it helped?

I have read the text of the speech, and I actually do think that a lot of it needed to be said. But why did he not say it before now?

For example, he stated:

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.
Like so many of Obama's statements, this one floored me. How many times over the course of this campaign have I heard the words "Obama," "transcend" and "race" in the same sentence? Let's do a Google Search, shall we?

110,000 results.

No one transcends race, Senator. And you know it. You knew it when, all the while pretending that race had no part in your campaign, your operatives plotted to smear Hillary and Bill as racists, despite their years of service to the black community at home and abroad. (I recently was pointed to this incredible speech given by Bill Clinton in 1995 on the occasion of the Million Man March, which reminded me why he was called the "first black President.") The only way past racism, especially when it is institutionalized as it is in America, is through action and education: a fact which President Bill Clinton was not afraid to address and to act upon during and after his Presidency.

Where has your courage been during this race, Barack Obama?

The Senator's speech was troubling for other reasons. It shows that he believes that Americans are too dumb or distracted to remember how many times he has flip-flopped on the subject of his church.

Obama had never heard Reverend Wright say those words and didn't know he harbored those thoughts.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.
But once the statements were "brought to Obama's attention," he decided they were the beginning of his presidential campaign.

When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.
Despite thinking of leaving the church because of the pastor's sentiments which he had just noticed after 20 years, he still claimed on the campaign trail that his church wasn't controversial.

Then, in his speech yesterday, he admitted he had indeed heard Reverend Wright preach in this manner.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.
Come now, Senator, who are you trying to bamboozle here?

I know that my reaction to this speech, and many of my thoughts about Obama in general, could be viewed as trying to smear the Senator from Illinois. I've made it pretty clear that I don't like a lot of what he does, and that he is my least favorite candidate for President. I am very upset that he has made it this far by running one of the most market-driven and savvy, but soulless and disingenuous, campaigns of all time.

I am not saying these things to try to destroy Obama. But we must remind ourselves that if we do not acknowledge the flaws in our candidates, then we will be ambushed by the Republics once we pick a nominee. The Obamans seem to be so focused on the Senator's sanctity and "obvious" moral superiority to Hillary that they are ignoring the reality of what he will face in the General Election.

I do have problems with Hillary. When she voted for Kyl-Lieberman, she was Dead To Me. That was why I had first wanted Gore, then eventually had chosen Edwards as my candidate. Hillary's hawkishness in general is a turnoff for me.

Unfortunately, I do not Obama as superior to Hillary on that level. (Truth be told, Edwards wasn't either, but I preferred his focus on domestic issues.) If you look at legislation to help end the war, Obama is actually WORSE than Hillary is. She was the one who prevented Bush from pursuing his "Iraq 4-EVAH" plan. She was the one (with Robert Byrd) who wanted to sunset the AUMF in October of 2007. She was the one who took on Robert Gates and demanded that he provide her with an exit strategy for Iraq. And as for Iraq policy after the Presidency, Samantha Power, Obama's most senior foreign policy advisor, may have been not "resigned" from the campaign not for the "monster" remarks, but because she stated that Obama's promises of Iraq withdrawal were a "best-case scenario." Hillary's plan has been to gather experts on safe withdrawal methods and to begin bringing troops home in 60 days. No wonder the man who gave the Dems their backbone on Iraq, Representative Jack Murtha, has just endorsed Hillary for President.

I do plan on voting for any Democrat in November, as I have said repeatedly. However, the choice has not been made yet, and I want to add my voice to those who believe that Hillary would be a much better choice than Obama against McCaca.

Let's see what happens in Pennsylvania. If the margin of Hillary's victory is as high as I think it will be, I don't see how Obama can counter her "I win all the important states" argument. And I don't see how the superdelegates can avoid the conclusion that she is the best hope for the Democrats in November.

Of course, I've been wrong before, so...YMMV.

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