Tagged: John McCain

Satire: Obama as Batman, McCain as The Penguin

The McCain campaign recently ran a political ad asking “do you know Barack Obama?” and taking him to task for his “friendship” with Bill Ayers.

The McCain ad is here:

The whole Obama/Ayers guilt by association smear has been thoroughly debunked; look here for an example.

But leave it to the Internet to find an amusing rejoinder to the McCain ad, this time via a reference to the campy version of Batman from the 1960s:

The whole thing was taken to the extreme, witness this:

Thanks to the Blacksonville Community Network for the pic.

Black Partisanship Trends, Pre-Election

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies recently conducted a National Opinion Poll which surveyed 750 African American adults from across the country. The survey was conducted between September 16 and October 6, 2008. The survey covers a range of topics including the politics of the 2008 election and various issues, including education.

This is a breakdown of the partisan identification for those in the survey:

African American Political Party Identification – 2000, 2004, 2008

Source: The 2008 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies National Opinion Poll
Note: The table shows the percentage of survey respondents who consider themselves to be Democrat, Independent, or Republican. The numbers in the “Total” column reflect the count of persons who were surveyed.

Democratic identification among African Americans has grown from 63% in 2004 to 73% now. The percentage of blacks who identify themselves as Republican is down from 10% in 2004 to 4% now.

And what is the voter preference for president? From the Survey:

Suppose the 2008 Presidential election were being held today. Who would you like to see win, the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama or the Republican candidate, John McCain?
• Obama: 84%
• McCain: 6%
• Don’t Know: 10%

Republicans in Pennsylvania Warn Jewish Voters That Obama Will Lead to Another Holocaust

In order for John McCain to win the presidential election, he has to win in one or two key northern states. So the McCain campaign is pulling out all the stops to eke out a win in places like Pennsylvania, for example.

What does “pulling out all the stops” look like? How about this:

AP, PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.

“Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008,” the e-mail reads. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let’s not make a similar one this year!”

A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was “Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA – Victory 2008.”

The story from the Associated Press notes that the Pennsylvania Republican Party was for the mailing before they were against it:

Political consultant Bryan Rudnick, identified as the strategist who helped write the message, was reached Saturday night and confirmed he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters.

“I had authorization from party officials” to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. “I’m not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I’m not naming names right now,” he said.

This comes on the heels of the story of an attempted hoax by McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd in Pittsburgh. Todd, a 20-year-old college student , had claimed that she was mugged at an ATM by a large black man who, upon seeing a McCain sticker on her car, scratched the letter “B” — for “Barack” — on her face.

If that story sounds unreal, it’s because it was. Todd has since admitted it was all a hoax.

Questions remian, though, about the complicity of the Republican Party in publicizing the hoax to the press. As reported at the website Talking Points Memo (TPM):

John McCain’s Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established — and even told reporters outright that the “B” carved into the victim’s cheek stood for “Barack,” according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain’s Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson.”

Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the “B” stood for Barack. According to Verrilli, the spokesperson also told KDKA that Sarah Palin had called the victim of the alleged attack, who has since admitted the story was a hoax.

The McCain spokesperson’s claims… (are) significant because it reveals a McCain official pushing a version of the story that was far more explosive than the available or confirmed facts permitted at the time.

It seems that the communications staff for the Pennsylvania Republican Party has been very busy lately.

Fortunately, the hoax was revealed before the police went on a witch hunt to find a “big black guy” who might have been responsible for the fake assault.

It seems that the Republican Party has a history of using scare tactics in western Pennsylvania.

I’ve spoken with a lot of folks about this. Are these acts by the McCain campaign racist? No, not intentionally. But it does show that, in this time of desperation, some members of the McCain campaign have lost their moral compass, and will in fact say anything and do anything to get their candidate elected. I hope the voters are taking notice.

Brief Notes on McCain v Obama, Debate Three

Presidential Debate 3 is history. And once again, polling indicates Obama was the clear winner. Let me offer a few thoughts.

After seeing this debate, my main feeling is, “thank god they’re over.” This was the most heated debate, but I prefer discussions that are cool, calm, and substantive. Several times, I thought it was going to devolve into a “Crossfire” type verbal confrontation. It never came to that; but I bet the media was just salivating at the possibility.

And there was a reason this debate was heated: McCain and Obama actually talked to each other. In Debate 1, McCain wouldn’t even look at Obama. In Debate 2, the townhall format limited their interaction.

In this debate, they did go eye to eye, and neither guy blinked… almost.

It’s unfortunate for McCain that he just doesn’t project well on TV. I watched some of the debate on C-SPAN, which did a split-screen display of the two candidates. Obama seemed cool, serious and unperturbed. By contrast, McCain seemed to have a nervous, self-conscious smile during much of the debate, and several times, his facial gestures seemed contorted and bothered by ticks or blinks.



I literally feel bad for him. It’s unfair that his lack of a good game face hurts him in this visual medium. But as McCain himself has said, life can be unfair.

Having said that, this was his best performance by far. Again, MacCain’s willingness to engage in discussion with Obama, instead of just looking past him, made a difference. But it now seems like a case of too much, too little, too late… if only he had done that starting in the first debate.

The reference to “Joe the Plumber” is a clever ruse by the Republican Party. The idea is to paint JTP as an average American who’d be harmed by Obama’s tax policy.

But in fact, JTP is no average Joe. His complaint is that he’ll pay more taxes if his business income exceeds $250,000. That’s not an income typical of Joe Six Pack; in fact, only the top 5% of Americans earn that much.

Comparing the experiences of JTP with J6P is an apples to oranges comparison: JTP is rich; J6P is struggling and would certainly benefit more from the Obama tax plan than the McCain tax plan.

I don’t know if people got that. But I suspect that this will get figured out in the next few days or so. And JTP, enjoy your few moments of fame, such as they are.

The worst part of the night for me was the discussion, no, the bickering, over negative campaigning and unfair attacks. No real issues were addresseed, no profound insights were made, no hidden truths were uncovered. Just two guys arguing over who was worse than the other.

I did find it interesting that McCain, perhaps out of a moment of anger, said of Bill Ayers “I don’t care about that washed-up terrorist”…yet he immediately followed that by saying, “I want to know the full truth abut their relationship.”

But John, if you don’t care about Ayers, then why do you care to know more about his “relationship” with Obama?

Message to the McCain campign: polls show the vast majority of Americans people don’t care about Ayers. Find another line of attack… if you can.

I can’t understand why several members of the press/GOP thought that McCain’s “I’m not George Bush” statement was such a big deal. Maybe it seemed like that because McCain said it so forcefully.

But look. Of course people know McCain isn’t Bush. But most people also know or perceive by now that McCain has voted with Bush over 95% of the time the past few years. A major problem for McCain is that, despite saying he’s a maverick, he hasn’t shown where he’s different from Bush in any area that matters (or at least, that matters to people who aren’t Republicans or conservatives). For example, he’s still all in with the Republican belief that Roe v. Wade must be overturned.

It’s not enough for McCain to say he’s not George Bush. He needs to show how he’s different from George Bush. I don’t believe he made that case. But I’m glad the pundidts liked the compelling way he made his losing argument.

Let me say it again: Obama is unflappable.

I couldn’t identify a single game changer for McCain tonight. Once again, Obama showed he was knowledgeable, articulate, bright, and presidential… hardly the empty suit, wide-eyed radical, or “foreigner” that the Republicans have tried to portray him as.

McCain had promised a Republican crowd that he was going to kick Obama’s “you know what.” But after the deabte was over, his supporters were no doubt wondering, “what is the what that John McCain was talking about?”

That was then: John McCain says John Lewis “can teach us all a lot.”

This past August, John McCain and Barack Obama attended a forum hosted by pastor Rick Warren. Warren asked McCain to name three wise who would be relied upon in his administration. This is part of McCain’s response:

WARREN: This first set of questions deals with leadership and the personal life of leadership. The first question, who are the three wisest people that you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration?

MCCAIN: First one, I think, would be General David Petraeus, one of the great military leaders in American history, who took us from defeat to victory in Iraq, one of the great leaders…

I think John Lewis. John Lewis was at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, had his skull fractured, continued to serve, continues to have the most optimistic outlook about America. He can teach us all a lot about the meaning of courage and commitment to causes greater than our self- interest.

It seems that the McCain campaign hasn’t taken too well to Lewis’ latest advice.

UPDATE: As noted in the above link, the McCain campaign was angered by John Lewis’s statement that “the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign” is “sowing the seeds of hatred and division,” and was reminiscent of the harsh rhetoric of former Alabama governor, and arch-segregationist, George Wallace.

Suffice it to say, McCain and Palin are nothing like George Wallace. I think it’s a mistake to use Wallace’s name in the same breath as the two Republican candidates for President and Vice-President. That kind of talk makes McCain look like the victim.

But at the same time, I have no doubt that Lewis’ comments were heartfelt. I’ve noticed that many, many, many black folks over the age of 60 (such as my mother) have a very real fear that Barack Obama will be assassinated. These are the folks who remember the killings of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and the four little girls in a Birmingham church.

The virulent anti-Obama frenzy that’s being whipped-up lately is making a lot of people scared. I don’t know if the McCain camp gets that.

McCain Tries To Put the Genie Back In the Bottle… But the Haters Keep Hating

God don’t like ugly.

And he’s not the only one.

On Friday, John McCain had to come to grips with the hate that hate produced. After several days of full frontal negative assaults on Barack Obama’s character, and the resulting bitterness and belligerence they instilled in his supporters, McCain said at a townhall meeting that Barack Obama was, after all, a decent man. What did that get for McCain? Boos.

This was a great piece of political theater for news junkies. But it leaves a big, unanswered question: where does McCain go from here?

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Brief Notes on the Second Presidential Debate: Obama Goes to Town

As noted at DailyKos and the Huffington Post, Obama was the winner among all the post-debate polls/surveys/focus groups.

I thought McCain did better than the last debate, and he definitely did better on questions about the economy.

But Obama showed he could do well in the town hall meeting, a debate style which many said would favor McCain. McCain has been chomping at the bit over the idea of engaging Obama in this type of format… as they say, be careful what you wish for.

I thought Obama was much less professorial than he has been/could be. On an early question about the bailout, he explained with brevity that unless actions were taken, businesses wouldn’t be able to get loans; and if businesses couldn’t get loans, they might not be able to make their payroll. It was simple and to the point; people could get it (even if they don’t like it).

McCain didn’t wear a flag pin, Obama did. Does that means McCain isn’t patri… oh, forget about it.

I think Obama greatly benefits from the “expectation game.” Many whites don’t know what to make of a black candidate. And he was skewered early on by the McCain campaign as being nothing but a pop tart, comparable to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. But on stage, he is bright, articulate, knowledgeable, and easily a match for the POW/maverick. Obama’s very appearance and demeanor have laid to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of negative ads from the McCain camp.

Obama mentioned healthcare. That issue is a winner with the American people. But I don’t think there’s any way America can afford an expansive healthcare system. This will be a campaign promise he doesn’t keep.

McCain NEEDED to win this debate, among those outside his base. That didn’t happen. This guarantees that the negative campaigning will go through the roof. McCain’s only hope is to paint Obama as the worst person in the world, or to benefit from some international affairs/military crisis type October surprise. We’ll see.


Let’s not forget what a huge advantage McCain had going into this debate:

How Obama Won the First Debate: What Americans Saw That the Pundits Didn’t

The early polls for the presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama are in, and the results are clear. Obama won the debate over McCain:
• CNN: Round 1 in debates goes to Obama, poll say: 51% of those polled thought Obama did the better job in Friday night’s debate, while 38% said John McCain did better.
• CBS Poll: Obama Boosted Most By Debate: In a survey of almost 500 uncommitted voters, 40% say Obama won; 38% says it was a tie; 22% say McCain won.
• Frank Luntz (Fox/RNC Pollster) Debate Focus Group Favors…Obama! The focus group consisted of undecided voters, half of whom voted for either Bush or Kerry in 2004. The majority said that Obama won.
• A Time magazine focus group of undecided voters thought Obama won the debate. 38% said Obama won, 27% said McCain won, and 36% said it was a tie.

Yet, many of the pundits felt than McCain was victor. Even on the progressive/pro-Democrat DailyKos.com site, a lot of folks felt that Obama did not do well.

What did the American public see that the pundits and even the liberal die-hards did not? I think it’s a combination of the following.

It’s the economy, stupid.

First, understand this: going into the debate, a CBS poll of registered voters indicated that almost half of Americans believed Obama wanted to raise their taxes, while only one-third of them believed that McCain would do so. But in fact, the Obama plan would cut or freeze taxes for 95% of American families. So if Obama could simply educate people about the facts of his tax plan, that would be a big win for him.

Obama guaranteed himself of no less than a tie by talking up his tax plan right out of the box. In answer to the second debate question, he said that McCain’s plan will provide for $300 billion of tax cuts for the rich or businesses. And he further stated that his plan would provide provide a tax cut or freeze for people making under $250,000.

People got it: Obama is out to help the middle class; McCain is out to give tax breaks to the rich (including, by inference, wealthy Wall Street executives). That probably didn’t resonate with the punditrocacy, who either knew the true details of the Obama tax plan or didn’t care about those details. But for “ordinary” Americans, it made all the difference in the world.

People Get It About Iraq.

I myself don’t think Obama did a god job of countering McCain’s filibuster about the surge. I think that for every second that McCain talked about the surge, Obama should have talked twice as long about how the Iraq War was the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history, a $500 billion blunder that is bleeding our country dry.

But at the Lutz focus group, the strongest reaction the entire night came when Obama said McCain was wrong on the war, WMD, etc, etc. View this video clip to see for yourself.

Again: the people get it. They recognize that the Iraq War was a huge mistake. And all of McCain’s verbal gobbledygook on the surge is not going to erase that from people’s minds.

Obama Agreed Too Much? SO WHAT!?!

This is the clearest case of the pundits getting it all wrong. Chris Matthews of MSNBC threw a hissy fit that Obama “agreed so much with McCain.”

Can there be a sillier “issue” than this? Think about this people: if Obama agrees with McCain on certain things, then that also means McCain agrees with Obama on the same things… how is that a problem for Obama?

Americans don’t care about where the candidates agree; they care about where they disagree. Obama did the viewers a service: by not wasting time on false or petty disagreements, it was easier for viewers to see what the actual issues are between the candidates.

And even more, it may have helped Obama in an unanticipated way. Many people who saw the debate observed that McCain was condescending and sarcastic. That feeling was no doubt heightened by Obama’s willingness to voice agreement when it was appropriate to do so.

In other words: Obama showed gravitas; McCain showed hubris. As noted by Time in its write-up on their debate focus group of undecideds,

The audience did not like it when McCain went after Obama for being “naïve” or used his oft-repeated “what Senator Obama doesn’t understand” line. When the two clashed directly in the second half of the debate, with Obama repeatedly protesting McCain’s characterization of his statements or positions, the voter dials went down. Voters appear to have judged McCain too negative in those encounters and Obama more favorably.

That’s why I have to laugh at this post-debate McCain campaign commercial that says “McCain is Right” because Obama agreed with him several times during the debate. I guarantee, that will not resonate as much as this ad from Obama, titled the “Zero” ad, which observed that during the 90 minute debate, McCain never once used the words “middle class.”

These ads show the ongoing strategy of the two campaigns. The McCain campaign is trying to make this an election about personality and character; the Obama campaign is making this a campaign about issues, particularly the economy.

To the McCain folks, I say: good luck with that. Their problem is, McCain is accumulating a lot of baggage concering his own character:
• The press is taking the McCain campaign to task for its false and misleading campaign ads.
• In the Luntz/Fox focus group that was mentioned earlier, almost all felt that McCain’s faux campaign suspension earlier in the week was a political stunt and not a principled stand.
• Most voters think McCain chose Palin as his running mate to help him win in November, not because she is well-qualified for the job.

A theme is emerging: McCain is a “bad character” who will say or do anything to get elected. McCain’s dismissive and condescending attitude in the first debate certainly didn’t do much to make people feel better about him. Isn’t it ironic? In his attempt to win based on personality, McCain is making himself disreputable to the voters.

SO: was the debate a big win for Obama? No. But Obama had the lead in the polls before the debate, so even a so-so performance is good for him. Perhaps the McCain campaign can take solace in the fact that the pundits gave him a thumbs-up for his debate performance. But I think the Obama campaign is more than happy to get a similar gesture from the American public.


Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski seem to have it figured out:

(Off Topic) CBS Gets Punked by the McCain Campaign. Are They Acting Like Punks Now?

In the brouhaha over the lipstick faux controversy, an even bigger issue was overlooked by the media: the McCain campaign’s false and misleading use of the words and images of CBS news anchor Katie Couric in the original version of the lipstick ad.

In the initial version of the ad that was posted on YouTube, footage of Couric complaining about sexism (specifically, the way that Hillary Clinton was treated by the media) was added at the end. The way the editing was done, it appeared that Couric was criticizing Obama for sexism; the ad was clearly constructed to have that effect.

The ad was pulled from Youtube after CBS asked it be removed. A CBS News spokesperson stated that “CBS News does not endorse any candidate in the presidential race. Any use of CBS personnel in political advertising that suggests the contrary is misleading.”

And that’s all well and good. But shouldn’t CBS be saying more than that?

This is a case where the image of a major figure on a major network was misappropriated and misused for political purposes. Where is the outrage?

I would have expected, at the least, an on-air statement that “Katie Couric’s image was used in a fraudulent manner by the McCain campaign. Many of you don’t know this. We want the viewers to know.”

And they could have taken that further by saying “We want the McCain campaign to issue an apology.” And even further: “We want an assurance that it won’t happen again.”

If something like that happened to NBC, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann would have made a 15 minute special comment to decry the egregious behavior of the McCain campaign. (Heck, Olbermann probably wishes this had happened to NBC.)

But CBS did none of that. I hate to be cruel and crude, but I have to say it: the dispassionate statement by CBS amounts to, in street terms, a punk’s response. It’s tone and tenor was nowhere near proportionate to the level of the offense. I’ve seen slaps on the wrist that are harsher.

Let me make it clear: this is not about McCain or the GOP or Palin. This is about a news network taking a stand for its integrity and respect. If CBS can’t stand up for themselves, how can they stand up for their viewers, who are expecting CBS to be a strong and independent voice for the reporting of the news?

Perhaps, after being burned by the controversies involving Dan Rather, CBS is fearful of another charge of liberal bias from the Republican Party. I can sympathize with those concerns.

But the news business is not a place for the weak of heart. If CBS is going to be so reticent that it can’t properly respond to such a blatantly fraudulent use of their top newscaster, then they might as well sell the network to somebody who has the spine to do so.

(Satire) Lipstick Sublimina

Is there a subliminal message in the McCain lipstick ad that claimed Barack Obama was smearing Sarah Palin?

Probably not. But just think of the impact on the unconscious mind of the images conjured by these words:

• black male
• white female
• lipstick
• smear

Now, I’m not saying there was something “intentional” about the way the ad was devised. Nobody could be that cynical and calculating… right? But I had to laugh when I thought about it. I wonder if anybody else gets the joke.

Where are social comics like Richard Pryor and George Carlin when we need them?

Ambulance Chasing Politics: McCain Heads to the Gulf Coast

Leave it to the Republicans to turn human tragedy into a photo op.

The Huffington Post is reporting that portions of the Republican National Convention are being cut short so McCain can go to the Gulf Coast:

John McCain tore up the script for his Republican National Convention on Sunday, ordering the cancellation of all but essential opening-day activities as Hurricane Gustav churned toward New Orleans.

“This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans,” he said as fellow Republicans converged on their convention city to nominate him for the White House.

On the eve of his convention, McCain positioned himself as an above-politics, concerned potential president determined to avoid the errors made by President Bush three years ago. “I have every expectation that we will not see the mistakes of Katrina repeated,” he said.

Bush and Vice President Cheney scrapped plans to address the convention on Monday, and McCain’s aides chartered a jet to fly delegates back to their hurricane-threatened states along the Gulf Coast. Campaign manager Rick Davis said the first-night program was being cut from seven hours to two and one half.

As Klingon Commander Worf would say, the Republicans have no honor. This trip, in fact, is ALL about politics.

There’s not a thing that John McCain, as a US Senator, can do to help; all he can do is watch… and be watched by the media.

If I was Obama, I would have this conversation with the press:

Press: What do you think of McCain’s trip to the Gulf Coast?

Obama: If he wants to go, that’s his prerogative. I spoke about that with my folks. We believe that if we were to go there, it might be perceived as ambulance chasing. We don’t want people to have that perception of us.

Press: So you’re saying McCain is ambulance chasing?

Obama: No, I’m saying I wouldn’t do it, for the reason I stated… Look, McCain and George Bush have a credibility problem. While Katrina was devastating the Gulf Coast, Bush and McCain were celebrating with a huge birthday cake. So I understand that they want to counter that image.

But I don’t see what he offers tactically to the relief effort. I believe that the politicians should get out of the way and let the public safety people do their jobs. But then again, perhaps he feels he needs to help George Bush in some way.

Press: Do you think you would visit the Gulf Coast?

Obama: That’s certainly possible. But I don’t want to visit, and have people think I’m there to do a photo op. After our courageous men and women have done their job, we’ll see. I will add this: when bills supporting the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast came to the floor of the Senate, I voted for them, and John McCain did not. I have a record of supporting those hurt by Katrina. Maybe, after seeing what a hurricane can do, McCain will become a champion of the area’s recovery too.
***

Of course, all of this serves to hide the real reason for McCain’s trip down South: the Republican Party knows that their Convention has the look of a ratings nightmare. Given that Convention Day 1 was about Bush/Cheney, whose negative ratings are through the roof, they were no doubt happy for ANY reason to cancel.

By going to the Gulf Coast, McCain feels he can win the news cycle by yapping it up with the press, and intermixing McCain/Palin pix with rescue images… images that McCain will have had nothing to do with. As an added benefit, it gives the McCain staff more time to prep Palin for the campaign, while “hiding” her from the press in plain sight (“We’re sorry, it would be inappropriate for the media to talk to Mrs Palin during this time of emergency… but feel free to take a picture of her looking out the window and showing her concern”).

When Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family was praying for rain, I think this is what they were hoping for. It’s too bad the people of the Gulf Coast must suffer for their sins.

James Fallows: Palin “is exactly like… Clarence Thomas”

James Fallows, who writes for Atlantic magazine, made the following comment about McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for VP:

The Palin pick is not like the choice of Dan Quayle. But it is exactly like the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. That is, an unbelievably obvious but potentially effective attempt to jiu-jitsu the standard identity politics of the moment in a way that flummoxes the Democrats. I would spell out the logic but I think it’s obvious and am at a computer for only sixty seconds.

…the comparison should be with Clarence Thomas — with this one interesting difference. Thomas was a shrewd choice not simply because his race made it more complicated for Democrats to oppose him but also because, once confirmed, all evidence suggested to conservatives that he’d be the kind of Justice they were looking for. In Palin’s case, this seems to be a choice that looks forward to Election Day, and not one day beyond that.

I couldn’t have said it better. I would add the following comments.

The Palin pick strikes me as a moderate reward, high risk decision by McCain.

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Obama: I Wouldn’t Have Nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court

Barack Obama is being interviewed at the values forum of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Rick Warren, the Church’s pastor, asked Obama which current Supreme Court Justice he would not have nominated.

Obama’s response: “I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas.” Obama said Thomas was not a “strong legal thinker.” Wow. It’s almost like Obama was implying that Thomas was the affirmative action appointee to the Court!

Interestingly enough, the audience applauded Obama’s comment.

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I Feel His Pain: Hurting Vicariously for Obama

I’m trying not to take it personally. But…

But when an ad appears on the TV screen, and a picture of Barack Obama is juxtaposed with images of two blonde bimbos (sorry for the disrespect Britney and Paris), it makes my eyes see red.

I know my reaction isn’t reasonable. After all, It’s not like Obama is my brother, and so “if you start a fight with him, you’d better be ready to fight all of us.” An attack on Obama is not an attack on my family’s honor. I know this.

But darn it, I am pissed off at the McCain campaign’s personal and scurrilous attacks on Obama.

Because it feels like an attack on me. I’m trying to get over that, but it’s been hard.

I’m living vicariously through Obama in the worst kind of way.

Here’s the funny thing about it. I don’t feel that Obama’s success is my success. I don’t believe that an Obama presidency will somehow “make things better” for black people, as some folks think/hope. I don’t think it will necessarily uplift or inspire the downtrodden portions of the black community that could use it most. In fact, just the opposite could happen. There is a real possibility that black Americans will go through a period of despair and even anger when they see the reality that there is very little that Obama can or will do to help the lives of the average person on the street.

And it’s not like I see myself in Obama. His atypical African American experience-raised by a white family from Kansas in the “exotic” state of Hawaii-doesn’t resonate with me at a personal level.

It’s not like the prospect of Obama being elected is moving the needle on my Black Pride Meter.

So no, I’m not “feeling” Obama, to use a recent slang term.

But I am feeling his pain. A lot.

But pain, after all, is a part of the black experience, a universal part of the black experience: whether you live in a mansion in Baldwin Hills or a shack outside of Indianola, Mississippi, you will cringe at the sight of a lynching photo. We can all “relate” to that.

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