barack obama, bill clinton

The Best of The Best — An Ultimate Stump Speech

Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Palin

OK there is no ULTIMATE stump speech. But Barack and Bill did something in Denver with words that deserves to be used by everyone in this campaign. One size does not fit all, but a consistent, positive message can win this. And with that in mind, I have taken the texts of Bill Clinton’s great Denver address and Barack Obama’s superb acceptance speech and tied them together as seamlessly as I could. The result below is a TEMPLATE for anyone who wants to speak for the Democrats this year. Modular elements that are fail safe.

They work. They resonate. I am not trying for a greatest hits list. I am trying for a useful document that can be virally circulated so anyone who needs something to say to voters. The grand kahuna, from the mouths of a former President and a President-to be. I have edited, elided and so forth. For the originals, simply check here for Bill Clinton and here for Barack.

Enjoy:

Bill Clinton said it in Denver

The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation … by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world.

Now the Republican nominee is a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

It’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

And look what happened.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families’ incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same.

Think about it: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy; more Band-Aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families, and increase the number of uninsured; more going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t believe Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I think he just doesn’t know. John McCain just doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

But we Democrats measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president — when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 as it has under George Bush.

John McCain doesn’t get it.

While Sen. McCain was promoting war with Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face.

When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

John McCain doesn’t get it.

John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And a while ago John McCain said he would not referee the attack ads that his campaign put out, and then he started approving attack ads himself.

But once again John McCain just doesn’t get it.

If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

Not this time. Not this year.

We have a program that will improve life for all Americans, not just the top five percent.

As President:

I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

As President:

I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

That’s what I will do when I am President of the United States of America.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

Finally, as President:

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

I will practice diplomacy first and and use military force only as a last resort.

On Barack for other speakers — surrogates:

Bill Clinton said it in Denver:

“Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

“Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.

“He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

“His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

“The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

“With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama ’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

“Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.”

+

Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Ouch! HT to firedoglake

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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

WILL MCCAIN ruin Palin? GO


ORDER: Evacuate New Orleans GO


POLICE STATE tactics in RNC land GO More in this with a VIDEO at Hullabaloo GO


OBAMA and Palin poll bounce info GO


CAFFERTY petrified that McCain Might Be Another Bush GO


BUILD your electoral scenario at CQPolitics GO


SUNDAY morning talk lineup. If Republicans bore you, sleep in GO


PALIN popular in AK — only problem is they do not think she is qualified to be VP GO


WHY MCCAIN did not choose Lieberman — his handlers said NIX GO


POLITICO — five questions for Palin GO


STRATEGY — advantage Obama GO


NO ONE knows if New Orleans is prepared for another Katrina GO

FRANK RICH — Obama Consistently Confounds a Blinded Media GO


GIORDANO High optimism, the pre-speech Invesco VIDEO and remarks on context GO


538 Obama holding steady GO


JUAN COLE — shaky days in Baghdad GO


SIROTA bridge building in Denver GO


JED Obama on Palin choice — text and VIDEO GO


ROTHENBERG Democrats in Denver were on the same page GO


BEN SMITH — Biden’s first video ad “Scranton” — VIDEO and text GO


RON PAUL hits Minnesota GO


POLITICO six things the Palin pick says about McCain GO


GOP may acknowledge global warming GO


WAPO — McCain was vetting Palin all along GO

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YESTERDAY: Key Talking Points from Blll Clinton’s Denver Speech For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

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TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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barack obama, bill clinton, joe biden

Key Talking Points from Bill Clinton’s Speech

Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Palin

As promised I have quarantined Sarah Palin to a single page since ignoring her is a reasonable policy when the person we are running against is named John McCain and ultimately we elect him or defeat him at the polls. My job since January has been to do all I can to elect Barack Obama, not because he is a messiah, but because he has always been discernable as reasonable, intelligent and passionate about his perspective which is one of unity and getting the best from folk.

With that in mind, this page will mine Bill Clinton’s apposite address to the Denver delegates for TALKING POINTS — positive points that can be used to attack and defeat Mr. McCain. My source is the Congressional Quarterly. Enjoy.

Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama .

(APPLAUSE)

That makes two of us.

(APPLAUSE)

Actually, that makes 18 million of us…

(APPLAUSE)

… because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.

Our — our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation…

(APPLAUSE)

… by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

(APPLAUSE)

Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world.

+

Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.

+

He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

(APPLAUSE)

The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

+

With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama ’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

And so, my fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.

+

As president, he will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which helped to share the cost of the world’s problems and to leverage the power of our influence.

He will put us back in the forefront of the world’s fight against global warming and the fight to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

+

He will continue and enhance our nation’s commendable global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved: the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, including — including — and this is very important — a renewal of the battle against HIV and AIDS here at home.

+

A President Obama will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort.

+

But, in a world troubled by terror, by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people, by human rights abuses of the most awful kind, by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.

+

Barack Obama also will not allow the world’s problems to obscure its opportunities.

+

Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hard- working people need good jobs, secure, affordable health care, food and energy, quality education for their children and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming.

These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create wonderful new jobs for our own people.

+

Most important of all, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home.

People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

+

Look at the example the Republicans have set.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more.

Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s.

+

American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage.

I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other serious conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn’t afford health care and couldn’t qualify their children for Medicaid unless they quit work and starved or got a divorce.

Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of?

+

What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by multiple, multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well-connected?

+

And what about Katrina and cronyism?

+

The choice is clear. The Republicans in a few days will nominate a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

+

It’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades actually were implemented. And look what happened.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families’ incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same.

+

Think about it: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy; more Band-Aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families, and increase the number of uninsured; more going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

+

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

+

Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

+

In this case, the third time is not the charm.

+

My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.

Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.

(APPLAUSE)

Sound familiar?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

CLINTON: It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.

+

Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Aug 27, 2008


Source: CQ Transcriptions

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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

538: Women more skeptical of Palin than men. “Conservatives have a favorable impression of her by a 79-8 margin, but this falls to 43-35 among moderates and 26-46 among liberals. Likewise, by a 48-22 margin, conservatives think she’s ready to be President, but she loses this question 23-54 among moderates and 9-67 among liberals.” GO


MCCAIN’s “prickly” TIME interview with complete audio — marred by high plane background noise GO


REPORT: McCain may have sent reps to Alaska to investigate Palin “Troopergate” indicating that there may have been NO vetting of Palin GO


PALIN deposition could be imminent GO


UNDERESTIMATE Palin at your peril GO


3 YEARS after Katrina — toxic trailers and looming homelessness GO


LATEST CQ state-by-state election stats GO


ROVE’s faulty veep vision GO


OBAMA-BIDEN hit campaign trail 8 points up GO


OLBERMAN criticizes AP’s Babington GO


DOES Todd Palin have a John Edwards problem? GO

SATURDAY GALLUP maintains Barack’s 8 point lead a second day running GO


BARACK’s initial reaction to Palin GO


40 MILLION plus hear Obama acceptance and the reviews are uniformly good GO


GIORDANO — taking on Palin, what is smart and what is not GO


HOW RISKY is the Palin choice GO


HURRICANE hits GOP GO


FACT CHECK — Obama sticks to the facts — a few stretches GO


ANDREA Mitchell fudges threshold story GO


CIA veterans are scared of McCain GO


BUSH seeks to institutionalize and perpetuate his “War on Terror” GO


TIME August 14 phone interview with Sarah Palin GO


PERSONAL diplomacy requires good judgment GO

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Comment Policy: I have disabled comments as this is not meant to be a forum or debating venue. I am happy to receive suggestions and tips via email. Thanks.

YESTERDAY: Palin Choice Is A McCain Disaster — Breaking For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

Civil Rights | Disabilities | Economy } Education } Energy & Environment | Ethics | Faith | Family | Fiscal | Foreign Policy | Healthcare | Homeland Security | Immigration | Iraq | Poverty | Rural | Service | Seniors & Social Security | Technology | Urban Policy | Veterans | Women | Additional Issues | The Blueprint for Change

obama

TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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Full Text of Obama Acceptance — Specifics Bolded, Attacks Italicized

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The Dems have hit a grand slam. Next to Jason Giambi’s restoration of a bit of breath to the Yanks yesterday, what was done in Denver was a stepping up of such prodigious proportions that even the grousers at the New Republic should pause to take a real look at the genius of the Obama campaign. Maybe this is the day the MSM will begin talking about the Obama Playbook with a bit of respect.

Full Video of Speech (Hat Tip to JED)

Below I am posting the entire text of Obama’s acceptance speech — itself a refutation is virtually all the crap that has been slung by those who presumed to instruct him in how to fight McCain and close the polls. (Yesterday, Brokaw could not even acknowledge the six point boost that Barack had gotten in the Gallup Daily.)

The text below is a WORKING text. I have bolded the specific policy statements and italicized statements that take McCain and the Republicans to task.

Barack Obama: To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest — a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia — I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story — of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart — that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments — a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives — on health care and education and the economy — Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers — the man who wrote his economic plan — was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president — when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job — an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great — a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves — protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America — the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Sen. McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility — that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice — but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each others character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose — our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This, too, is part of America’s promise — the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what — it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us — that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it — because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit — that American promise — that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours — a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead — people of every creed and color, from every walk of life — is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Send a Personal Email to Stephen C. Rose

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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

GIORDANO from Denver — It’s Obama Time GO


GORE praises Obama VIDEO GO


TALKING HEADS report card on Obama speech — 4 As and a C GO


SOME media takes on Obama speech GO


HUFF Obama acceptance speech + VIDEO page GO


OF TANGENTAL INTEREST — A People’s Historian of Sport GO


ANDREW SULLIVAN’s post-acceptance speech epiphany — hat tip to TPM GO


ANATOMY of an anti-Obama attack ad GO


BILL CLINTON’s key contribution GO


OBAMA’s targeted home run GO


IT’S NOT just McCain, it’s the GOP GO


WONKETTE Friday links GO

POLITICO PLAYBOOK suggests Palin — McCain will announce at noon Eastern. Romney and Pawlenty are said to be out GO


ALTERNET: Obama’s progressive, populist agenda GO


CSM account of Invesco event with a great atmosphere VIDEO GO


ALL YOU may never have wanted to know about Cokie Roberts GO


MADDOW discusses building an Obama majority to implement specific agenda GO


AL GORE Invesco speech had some memorable phrases GO


EZRA KLEIN — clear analysis of Obama acceptance speech GO


DEMS slam McCain’s Western roots GO


IF YOU want to know just how the Repubs will attack Barack, feast your eyes on this WAPO column GO

Comment Policy: I have disabled comments as this is not meant to be a forum or debating venue. I am happy to receive suggestions and tips via email. Thanks.

YESTERDAY: John Kerry Hits A Home Run For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

Civil Rights | Disabilities | Economy } Education } Energy & Environment | Ethics | Faith | Family | Fiscal | Foreign Policy | Healthcare | Homeland Security | Immigration | Iraq | Poverty | Rural | Service | Seniors & Social Security | Technology | Urban Policy | Veterans | Women | Additional Issues | The Blueprint for Change

obama

Obama Blog

Kiva

Listen to my song “We Are All Americans”

TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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John Kerry Hits a Home Run

About | Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Way of Abba | Longevity

John Kerry’s speech in Denver should not fall through the cracks because it may be the best collection of statements that can, if used, win this thing this time around.

Kerry offers a precise description of Barack’s strengths and McCain’s weaknesses. He distinguishes tellingly between the old McCain and candidate McCain. He shows that candidate McCain is nothing but a mesmerized messenger dispensing the poison that is being distributed by his Rovian handlers.

Kerry’s speach touches all the bases and in a convention with many high moments, it should not be lost in the shuffle.

Give it a listen.

TPM calls it The Golden Speech

Mother Jones take

<a href=”http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/08/28/sen-kerry-blasts-mccain-lets-compare-senator-mccain-and-candidate-mccain/
” TARGET=”_blank”>Crooks and Liars take

Al Giordano’s take

AND:

Obama Blog
GLOBAL
ABC News
Al Giordano
Alternet
AmericaBlog
BBC
CBS News
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Common Dreams
CQPolitics
Crooks and Liars
FactCheck
FireDogLake
fivethirtyeight.com
Gallup
Huffington Post
Hullabaloo
Informed Comment
In These Times
Jed Report
Los Angeles Times
McClatchy
McClatchy Election Audio
MediaBistro
Media Matters
Mother Jones
MSNBC
New Republic
New York Times
NPR
Politico
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Rachel Maddow
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Talking Points Memo
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Time
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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

GALLUP convention bounce — Obama plus 6 GO And let it be noted that Tom Brokaw, with this information up, totally neglected to mention it, describing the race as tied — as per the previous DAILY. Maybe Keith has more reasons than we know for wanting Brokaw out. This is a monster gaffe for a major news organization. Here’s the direct Gallup link: GO


“YES WE CAN” by Will.i.am will be performed LIVE in Denver tonight VIDEO GO


BIDEN hails Barack, slams McCain text & VIDEO GO MORE from Huff GO


ROMNEY veep? The more voters see him, the less they like him. Bring him on! With VIDEEO GO


TUBBS JONES-Clinton backstory at Convention GO


JUAN COLE: Arctic ice half gone and Schweitzer in Denver with VIDEO GO


MORE on MSNBC meltdown (via Media Bistro) GO


JOHN LEWIS sees new era in Obama success GO


ROVE tried to kill a McCain Lieberman VP choice GO


MCCAIN victory could threaten health care and lead to a military draft GO


IT’S NOT just McCain, it’s the GOP GO


WONKETTE links GO

TOMORROW’s TIME profiles McCain as prickly and says he and his Rovian cohorts believe sincerely that Barack is a man who lacks honor. This makes McCain unwilling to admit to ANY criticism of his campaign thus far. TIME concludes that whoever wins, the country is moving leftward, to a more activist governance. GO


SURGING African American pride at Barack’s victory GO


BILL CLINTON endorses Barack big time VIDEO GO


BILL CLINTON talk transcript — filled with great talking points GO


FACT CHECK says McCain cherry picks Barack’s remarks to create a distorted Iran ad GO


WHY the South could go blue GO


JED: The Convention’s best hour — 8 VIDEOS GO


BROKAW misquoted and misrepresented Bill Clinton remark he described as “pretty provocative” GO


BIDEN: Anti-Cheney? Barack has sought Biden’s advice before GO


FWIW: A roundhouse sympathetic critique of the Obama campaign GO


NYTIMES profile of Obama as a self-made man GO


TIME/CNN poll sees Obama leading in swing states GO

Send a Personal Email to Stephen C. Rose

Comment Policy: I have disabled comments as this is not meant to be a forum or debating venue. I am happy to receive suggestions and tips via email. Thanks.

YESTERDAY: John McCain Is A Sidekick and a Swift-Boater For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

Civil Rights | Disabilities | Economy } Education } Energy & Environment | Ethics | Faith | Family | Fiscal | Foreign Policy | Healthcare | Homeland Security | Immigration | Iraq | Poverty | Rural | Service | Seniors & Social Security | Technology | Urban Policy | Veterans | Women | Additional Issues | The Blueprint for Change

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Kiva

Listen to my song “We Are All Americans”

TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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John McCain Is a Sidekick and a Swift Boater — Fight Back Now

Anyone who watched Brian Schweitzer frame the energy issue last night knows why we wanted him for Veep. Now we want him for Energy Czar, and maybe speech tutor for surrogates and candidates. Anyone who watched Hillary Clinton had a cathartic moment when we accepted her at her word and can for the first time in this calendar year accept also the unity of the party that almost got fractured by the primaries.

Anyone who feels the Obama campaign has been acting tentatively or unwisely is not understanding. Anyone who believes the Democrats cannot and will not win in November is in for a big surprise.

It is time to identify John McCain as a sidekick to Bush, NOT as A MAVERICK who bucks his party. It is time to tie him with a heavy rope to the Swift Boar strategy he has endorsed. John McCain just stopped having it both ways.

Here is your first assignment. All you do is click here to find and send the following letter to advertisers and read talking points regarding this nefarious McCain act.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Right now, your company is advertising on some of the same TV stations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia that are airing a false, discredited, and potentially illegal political attack ad against Barack Obama.

I hope you will do the right thing and pull your ads from these stations.

The American Issues Project ad is full of baseless lies and re-hashed false assertions. It is designed to play into the worst biases and fears, contributing nothing of value to the public discourse.

This is not the kind of controversial and destructive ad any responsible company should want to be associated with.

There is no room on the public airwaves for these kind of lies that violate the most basic standards of political discourse. CNN and Fox News have each refused to run such an ad filled with lies, and I hope you will do the right thing by pulling your ads from stations that air it.

Thank you.

Ask advertisers in these markets to help fight this ad, using the following talking points.

* This ad has no place on the public airwaves. CNN and even Fox News have refused to run this attack ad because it violates basic standards of political discourse.

* The ad is based on lies. This attack ad is full of baseless lies and re-hashed false assertions.

* The ad may be illegal. Under federal law, the American Issues Project should be reporting and complying with the other rules for political organizations trying to influence an election. But the Project is violating the law.

* The same people that swift-boated John Kerry in 2004 are behind this ad. The primary funder of the ads, Harold Simmons, is one of the main culprits behind the Swift Boating of John Kerry and a top bundler for John McCain. The spokesman for the group, Christian Pinkston, also has ties to the Kerry Swift Boat attacks.

The material below is from this blog and other sources. The quoted material above is from the Obama Campaign.

Here is Mayor Daley’s statement on Bill Ayers:

The mayor released the following statement:

There are a lot of reasons that Americans are angry about Washington politics. And one more example is the way Senator Obama’s opponents are playing guilt-by-association, tarring him because he happens to know Bill Ayers.

I also know Bill Ayers. He worked with me in shaping our now nationally-renowned school reform program. He is a nationally-recognized distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois/Chicago and a valued member of the Chicago community.

I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago but I remember that period well. It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep re-fighting 40 year old battles.

Here is Bill Ayers refuting the context-warp in the ad which implies he had wished to do more bombing:

I’m often quoted saying that I have “no regrets.” This is not true. For anyone paying attention—and I try to stay wide-awake to the world around me all/ways—life brings misgivings, doubts, uncertainty, loss, regret. I’m sometimes asked if I regret anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and I say “no, I don’t regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government.” Sometimes I add, “I don’t think I did enough.” This is then elided: he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings.

The illegal, murderous, imperial war against Viet Nam was a catastrophe for the Vietnamese, a disaster for Americans, and a world tragedy. Many of us understood this, and many tried to stop the war. Those of us who tried recognize that our efforts were inadequate: the war dragged on for a decade, thousands were slaughtered every week, and we couldn’t stop it. In the end the U.S. military was defeated and the war ended, but we surely didn’t do enough.

Why do I contend that McCain is both a sidekick (to Bush) and a swift-boater. Though the answer is implied above, let me add:

McCain cannot run from his record.

It has been 90 percent Bush since he began campaigning for the Presidency this time around. His maverick record — defined as independently bucking his party — refers to occasional efforts, widely publicized by McCain’s media chorus, years ago. His maverick status is only valid if we consider George Bush a Maverick NeoCon who manipulates the country into war with lies and fear politics and say McCain is the same, which he is.

McCain is definitely a Swift-Boater:

Months ago McCain signaled his withdrawal from civility by saying he would not be a referee regarding tasteless, lying and invidious ads put out by his supporters. This was in fact a compelling reason for Barack Obama to reject public financing. Time has shown that the Republicans have developed barely legal means of funding the McCain effort (by using contributions to state contests as a basis for upping minimum contributions) and have explicitly encouraged and accepted 527 Swift Boat advertising, which is probably illegal, as par for the course, rife with lies and distortions, a continuation of an unacceptable shame.

Not this time, John McCain. Last night was just the first salvo. By the close of Barack Obama’s speech Thursday you will begin to hear a rumble in your deepest sleep. It is the rumble of justice and decency taunting you for having given up the shreds of same to which you might have laid claim in the past. You have made a contract with the very jaws of hell and this is our Armageddon. Down you go John.

UPDATE: From The New York Times: Obama Campaign Wages Fight Against Conservative Group’s Ads

In its fight against the American Issues Project, Mr. Obama’s campaign is essentially arguing that the group should fall under more strict election laws because its sole purpose seems to be to defeat Mr. Obama at the polls; issue groups are allowed to run some political advertising so long as affecting an election is not their primary purpose. Under election laws, Mr. Simmons would not be able to exceed a donation of $42,000 to the group and others like it. In a second letter about the group sent to the Justice Department in the past week, Robert F. Bauer, Mr. Obama’s election lawyer, accused the group of flouting “all legal obligations attendant upon political committee status.”

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Breaking News on Denver "Assassination" Arrests

About | Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Way of Abba | Longevity

It is at once reassuring and alarming to know that arrests have been made and that at least a strong suspicion of foul play has been suggested. This page will build the news and amend any facts as they become available.

Current Update: Thursday –10:51 AM EASTERN — As of this morning, having gove through all the links below, this story is OFF THE RADAR as predicted. I regard this as the inevitable result of the few media who covered this having accepted the word of a Republican State Attorney in CO that the threat was not credible. My question remains: On what basis? Is there a term for media negligence?

No Conspiracy Charge, Understood, But What Now and Going Forward?

Most recent 1:40 PM EASTERN Wednesday

Sorry but would take the word of a Republican US Attorney after the ravaging and politicization of our Justice Department. Predictably Troy Eid is a Republican who has contributed to Republican campaigns in Colorado. This biographical snippet suggests to me that he is reasonably new to his job and that he survived the intensely partisan vetting of the Bush justice operation. Here is a bit of the just released Washington Post article which essentially repeats other accounts below.

U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid said the three men, who were arrested in suburban Denver on Sunday, had been more “aspirational than operational” in their threats and therefore did not warrant being charged for those actions.

“There is insufficient evidence at this time to indicate a true threat, plot or conspiracy against Senator Obama. The reported threats, hateful and bigoted though they were, involved a group of meth heads, methamphetamine abusers, all of whom were impaired at the time,” Eid said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

This is the third among many news sources looked at today to deal with this story.

Earlier update 11:56 Wednesday AM EASTERN TIME.

I am frankly amazed. I mine the links to the left below daily for the most salient information and post links to it. I could only find TWO references to this topic, one of them the NYTimes link posted below. Today’s links are posted at http://stephencrosehome.blogspot.com.

The only possible explanation is the spin that an official put on it — “no credible threat”.

If people talk about attacking you with guns and have the means and the apparent motive, do we simply rely on the judgment of the investigators?

Apparently the Southern Poverty Law Center is acting as a shield for this interpretation since it says it can find no links between those arrested and such organizations.

So what?

The fact that the media is now micro-covering inessential things in Denver and closing their eyes to this story is a damning indication of a head-in-the-sand attitude that will only be revealed if negligence now has terrible consequences later. Neither the press nor the investigators are offering anything like reassurance.

And, to be perfectly clear, the blogs and opinion sites I rely on for alternative accesses appear to be MUTE — as of this update.

Plot is confirmed, persons charged, in what now seems to be a thwarted attempt

Federal prosecutors in Colorado have charged three men, one of whom reportedly has strong ties to a white supremacist gang, with weapons and drug charges stemming from an investigation into an alleged plot to use a rifle to kill Sen. Barack Obama, according to court documents.

Law enforcement sources said the men planned to seek a high vantage point overlooking Invesco Field and open fire with .22 and .270 scope-equipped rifles, though federal authorities have emphasized that there was no immediate, credible threat to the Illinois senator.

Obama, who will travel to Denver this week, is set to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and speak at the stadium Thursday.

A traffic stop launched the investigation and authorities arrested Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, Nathan Johnson, 32, and Shawn Robert Adolph, 33, as part of the inquiry. All three men had tattoos of white supremacist imagery, authorities told ABC News.

Latest from the NYTimes

DENVER — An apparently half-baked plot by three Denver-area men to assassinate Senator Barack Obama on the basis of his race has highlighted the question of exactly what and whom to fear as Mr. Obama prepares to become the first black nominee for president from a major party.

This report is post-press conference. Several of the main media sources have not really covered this at all. Huff published a very early version of this page.

An Interview With one of Those Arrested

7:34 PM Eastern — No word yet of a press conference but this reasonably full account creates a tension between the statement that there is no credible indication of danger and the seeming liklihood that the three arrested were up to no good and, in one case, admitted designs on Barack.


Link To Arrested Men and Photos

Items are newest first.

In Context

TIME Threat Not Credible

AP

“It’s premature to say that it was a valid threat or that these folks have the ability to carry it out,” said a U.S. government official familiar with the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

This modifies the FOX report below.


NY Times Account

The police said they had found two rifles, one with a scope, in the car, along with walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest and licenses in the names of other people. One of the rifles was listed as stolen from Kansas.

The investigation included the Secret Service, the F.B.I. and a joint terrorism task force, officials said.

FOX: Questions Raised

Federal officials said verbal threats against Obama were made, but were not considered credible.

“This is a methamphetamine and firearms case that arose from a traffic stop made by an Aurora Police officer,” said Paul Bresson, an FBI national spokesman assigned to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. “Firearms and methamphetamine were seized and a number of individuals are in state custody. The matter continues to be under investigation. We’ll provide more information as it becomes available.”

Police Investigate Possible Plot To Kill Obama

DENVER (CBS) ― CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver has learned at least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges.

KCNC-TV Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”

Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

The story began emerging Sunday morning when Aurora, Colo. police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell. He was driving a rented pickup truck in an erratic manner according to sources.

Sources told KCNC-TV police found two high-powered, scoped rifles in the car along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

Subsequently authorities went to the Cherry Creek Hotel to contact an associate of Gartrell’s. But that man, who was wanted on numerous warrants, jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window. Law enforcement sources say the man broke an ankle in the fall and was captured moments later. Sources say he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and is thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.

A third man — an associate of Gartrell and the hotel jumper was also arrested. He told authorities that the two men “planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech.”

That man, along with a woman, are also under arrest.

The Secret Service, FBI, ATF and the joint terrorism task force are all investigating the alleged plot.

The U.S. Attorney in Denver has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon.


A Police Video Describing Arrest

From TheTimesOnline UK

US police are investigating whether they have foiled an assassination plot against Barack Obama after four people were arrested near the Democratic convention in Denver in the possession of high powered rifles.

One of the suspects told police they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards,” Denver television station CDS4 is reporting. Police have told the television station that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

The suspects were arrested on Sunday when local police arrested a man , identified by the television station as Tharin Gartrell, 28, who was driving a rented pickup truck erratically. CDS4 is reprrting that in his truck police found two high powered rifles with telescopic sites, as well as camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a high powered spotting scope, licences in the names of various people, and the drug methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

When police accompanied Mr Gartrell to his hotel in Denver a second man, who was wanted on a number of arrest warrants, jumped from a window and was injured in a six-story fall. He broke his ankle and was arrested shortly afterwards. Sources told the television station that he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and was thought to have ties to white supremacist organisations.

A third man, associated with Mr Gartrell, was also arrested and told police that Mr Gartrell and the second man arrested “planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech.”

A woman has also been arrested.

Denver police refused to comment on reports that they might have foiled an assassination plot, but have scheduled a press conference for today.

Mr Obama, who will accept the Democratic presidential nomination in Denver on Thursday, has been under Secret Service protection for over a year after receiving credible death threats.


Michelle’s Speech

Another UK dispatch from Denver

AND:

Obama Blog
GLOBAL
ABC News
Al Giordano
Alternet
AmericaBlog
BBC
CBS News
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Common Dreams
CQPolitics
Crooks and Liars
FactCheck
FireDogLake
fivethirtyeight.com
Gallup
Huffington Post
Hullabaloo
Informed Comment
In These Times
Jed Report
Los Angeles Times
McClatchy
McClatchy Election Audio
Media Matters
Mother Jones
MSNBC
New Republic
New York Times
NPR
Politico
Pro Publica
Rachel Maddow
Raw Story
Rothenberg Report
Talking Points Memo
Tapped
The Stump
Time
Truthdig
UPI
US News & World Report
Washington Independent
Washington Post
Wonkette
YouTube

YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

KARL ROVE, consistently wielding a knife, disses Michelle GO


10 Ways Obama Should Not Imitate the John Kerry Campaign GO


RNC CONVENTION SCHEDULE LEAKED (HUMOR) GO


DISSENT in Denver GO


FACT CHECK parses Obama’s “born alive” votes GO


MCCAIN plays POW card (again) on Leno GO


538’s Monday night live blog from Denver GO


SALIENT on scene media commentary from Digby GO


PROGRESSIVE activists meet in Denver GO


JUAN WILLIAMS earns his FOX pay with unsubstantiated rap on Michelle GO


EVEN poll suggests no Biden bump GO


MCCAIN makes age jokes on Leno GO


TPM today — Monday night VIDEOS GO


DDAY on Digby from Denver with a McCain PUMA video GO

PPP: Dole is down GO, McCain up GO by narrow margins in NC


MARK WARNER profile GO


TEDDY rallies Dems with fiery speech GO


MCCAIN at RNC (HUMOR) GO


LOBBYIST watch maintained in Denver GO


PELOSI experience rap VIDEO 35 years of experience led us into Iraq GO


ANDREW SULLIVAN Michelle Did It — hat tip to JED GO


CLINTON speech writer cites Michelle’s proud populism GO


ROTHENBERG scant buyer’s remorse in Denver GO


CLINTON all over but the shouting GO


OHIO may have 80 percent turnout and mammoth problems GO


ROVE continues dirty tricks from his FOX base GO


OBAMA kids are winners in Denver GO

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TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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Barack Obama: Progressive? Or Master of Hype?

Mother Jones has published an interesting symposium called The Audacity of Hype.

Is Barack Obama exaggerating when he compares his campaign to the great progressive moments in US history? We asked Pat Buchanan, Naomi Klein, and 18 other thinkers that question.

Specifically Mother Jones asked for comments on an Obama passage about hope that includes the following statement:

That moment when we shed our fears and our doubts. When we don’t settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept. Because cynicism is a sorry sort of wisdom. When we instead join arm in arm and decide we are going to remake this country, block by block, precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state. That’s what hope is.

Here is an edited version of the responses with a few rejoinders of my own.

Jabari Asim
Editor of The Crisis magazine

… Obama continues to walk that fine line with the skill and diplomacy that has defined his political career thus far and, in reasonably describing his campaign as a logical extension of the civil rights movement, continues to maintain admirable balance. It’s hard to imagine a perspective that doesn’t regard his pursuit of the presidency as the fruitful harvest of seeds sown in those marches, sit-ins, legal challenges, and strategic campaigns of not so long ago.

As a veteran of those marches, who essentially lost a career because of a radical commitment which was impolitic, I feel now that what we are seeing is the fruit of the affirmative action drive which in itself was a back-handed acknowledgement of the earlier movement. I see Barack as building on nuts and bolts governance initiatives while invoking the spirit of the civil rights effort.

Jennifer Baumgardner
Author, Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics

… He is relentlessly calibrating complicated positions about even more complex issues and balancing as carefully as possible on messages of change that aren’t, in fact, too changey. I don’t find this realpolitik disturbing, but I find the message of “hope” he conveys empty and even besides the point, especially as he proves in the general election to have exactly Hillary Clinton’s positions. Fortunately, having Clinton’s positions isn’t a bad thing for the country. It may not be a movement, but Obama’s campaign is at the very least movement—toward a commitment to the middle class, better health care options, and an incredibly reasonable and thoughtful man in the White House.

My guess is that unless Barack can condense his complex agenda into five or ten words — a chicken in every pot — he will be tabbed with a negative version of the above and relegated to the ranks of intellectual dreamers. Baumbardner has nailed the problem, not necessarily the analysis. For there is more Obama than policy-wonkishness.

Pat Buchanan
Columnist

… This whole exercise testifies to what Lenin called “an infantile disorder” of the American left. Give it a rest.

This begs the question. The American left is a trifle infantile but how many are there who could be called “the American left”? What we have is an amorphous mass without the sort of identities the pundits like to play with. By appealing to hope and civility, Barack is reaching out to anyone out there, not the American left, whatever that is. When his intellect fails, Pat flees to code word hyperbole.

Eleanor Clift
Author, Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment

Better left to others to make the comparison, but I think it’s valid. We have to ask ourselves how reform is made. It takes acts of courage by countless unsung people to collectively create the conditions for a leader to take hold. Cultural change of this magnitude doesn’t occur until millions of people come to a consensus that it is needed, and it’s not about race or ethnicity. The excesses of the last eight years have brought us to the point where the voters have had enough. …

The most sensible response so far.

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Author, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

Folding on FISA certainly doesn’t put you in a great progressive tradition. But pushing efforts to ameliorate the wealth gap might. It’s really up to Obama to determine whether or not he’s exaggerating. He is a politician, and thus prone to political rhetoric. I say that as one of his supporters, and charges of Kool-Aid imbibing aside, I think most of us know that too. If Obama goes forth and really reorients the country away from anti-intellectualism, fake patriotism, and craven powermongering toward a path of honest debate, muscular patriotism, and simple common sense, then he will be right in claiming the best of the progressive tradition. If not then it’ll just be rhetoric. It’s really up to him.

Equally sensible.

Robert Dallek
Author, Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

I find the question impossible to answer. How can we possibly know at this point what Obama’s campaign means? Is it the equivalent of some of the great progressive events of the past you cite? To answer would be to get way ahead of ourselves. First he has to win, and then we will see what he accomplishes. I certainly hope he is successful, but I don’t want to predict what his achievements will be.

Three in a row.

Debra Dickerson
Author, The End of Blackness

… His nearness to the presidency is an amazing, wondrous thing, but America won’t be much different afterward, blasphemous as that sounds.

Methinks Debra is right, but I hope she is wrong. Oddly the issue will not be Barack, but the rest of the election. If this really is a Democratic landslide year, then Barack gets what David Wilhelm has correctly called a 65 percent presidency. He could then do what he says he wants to do and that would amount to a definitive change in the direction of the country.

Harold Evans
Author, The American Century

… Obama has rhetoric to match Bryan’s, but while the statements are gratifying, even glorious, they are not all well-enough defined yet to constitute anything comparable to the great progressive movements that gave us our present.

I hesitate to wonder whether Mr. Evans has read Barack Obama’s positions. He does in fact have a totality of position papers which, taken together, do amount to a progressive agenda, one that compares well with the Progressive Platform of 1912.

John Judis
Journalist

I think Obama has run a brilliant campaign, but not necessarily a “great progressive” one. Purely in policy terms, he is running a center-left campaign similar, say, to Jimmy Carter in 1976 and far less bold than, say, Bill Clinton in 1992. …

This is ironical because if the results of Obama’s campaign are like those of the Carter and Clinton campaigns, then we will truly be at the end of history. In other words all that is left is tinkering with a structure that is bigger than all of us. I do not believe we are at the end of history and I fo sense that Barack does not want and will not bring a micro presidency of the Carter sort or a cave-to-Wall Street presidency like that of Clinton, the results of which can be seen in today’s financial collapse. We never know what any President will do, I give Barack the chance for greatness, a term I have not seen in these comments.

Michael Kazin
Author, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

… Obama’s current attempt to shed his image as a gun-controlling opponent of capital punishment is just the latest demonstration that even the most admirable politicians are captives of the majorities they need to win. They move when movements move them.

And when their specifics move the movement. It goes both ways. The Obama Blog is a remarkable indication of ebb and flow.

Michael Kinsley
Columnist

… We are struggling to figure out our role in a world where we matter less and less. The bill is coming due for a generation of staggering fiscal irresponsibility——mostly attributable to Republican public officials, but the American people have been their enablers. The second industrial revolution, which has brought us computers and miracle drugs, has also apparently ended the era when “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That delinking of prosperity and equality will make us a different kind of country, and we have no idea what, if anything, to do about that. And meanwhile yet another bill is finally coming due for the first industrial revolution, in the form of global warming, the energy shortage, and so on, —even as that revolution spreads to new parts of the world.

As a “world man,” who has excited and inspired people all over the globe without actually doing anything yet, Obama has the potential to weave these issues together and prepare people for the “change” they think they want—much of which they won’t like when they see it close-up. The test of a leader is whether he or she can lead people somewhere they don’t want to go. Whether Obama can do that, or even wants to, remains unclear. In short, whether this is an important historical moment or just another election is up to Barack Obama.

Most salient so far.

Naomi Klein
Author, The Shock Doctrine

The campaign’s most radical demand, even if unstated, is the idea of electing Obama himself. It is Obama—and not his plans for the presidency—that is the ultimate expression of the “movement.”

We have forgotten the kind of risk and work it takes to build transformative mass movements, and so settle for iconography instead. That said, he’d better win.

My own recollection of the civil rights movement is that we did not much consider risk or work. We just did it. I smile at the degree of risk that was involved because, at the time, it seemed mild compared to the realities we knew existed — simple things like being together, knowing we were right, believing we would overcome.

Michael Lind
Fellow, New American Foundation

… The next reform era is more likely to emphasize common concerns, public efforts, and the national good, like the progressive era and the New Deal era, than individual emancipation … While his campaign did not create the next-era wave, Sen. Obama has proven his skills in besting his rival surfers on the Democratic team. Whether or not Obama rides the wave to victory in November, the tsunami will proceed, and the reactionary right will be no more able to reverse its course than King Canute was able to command the tide to retreat.

This is, along with Kinsley’s, a comment worth considering. There is in Obama an element of group goal-orientation. And I have not seen this distinction developed.

Glenn Loury
Professor of economics, Brown University

Is Barack Hussein Obama a transformative American leader on questions of race? Not when compared to Lyndon Baines Johnson.

A shocking degree of historical amnesia/ignorance has been revealed in the gushing press commentary on Obama’s “race” speech. It seems to me that people are confusing something that is akin to a cult of personality with an actual political movement that is informed by a comprehensive ideological vision and that is capable of making lasting institutional reforms. …

Loury’s is the longest of the Mother Jones comments but these initial remarks are what caught my eye. This joins the debate we will need to have at some point. The question of LBJ’s stewardship and whether we can see his implementation of key legislation as a great advance or not. We have, since LBJ, become a prison society with post-Kerner Report division that is largely unimproved. We shall see if, and whether, an Obama stewardship can be as significant as that of a Johnson. Loury’s of the cult word is not a promising sign of objective analysis.

Clarence Page
Columnist

So far Obama has not spelled out a progressive platform that compares to the earth-moving ideologies of great progressive movement. Lately he’s been backpedaling away from the left and back toward the wobbly middle to expand his support among independent swing voters. Nevertheless, as an African American old enough to have drunk from “colored” water fountains in the South, I am convinced that the election of a progressively minded black—or, if you prefer, biracial—president will mark the capstone of what the civil rights movement was all about. Whether Obama wins or not, he already has changed our national mindset about racial possibilities, revitalized the image and energy of liberal politics, and improved our nation’s image around the world. That’s not small potatoes.

Agree.

Chris Rabb
Blogger, Afro-Netizen

Obama’s candidacy is not a movement, no matter how historic and unique it may be. It is a fascinating and noteworthy social phenomenon, which is not the same as a movement….

Oddly, no one has mentioned what may be the most important factor in this crazy election. The Obama ground operation. This is indeed a conscious effort to build a movement, on a scale that might bring envy to a Joe Hill or Saul Alinsky. If the election goes for Obama and there emerge hundreds of thousands of organizers who can transform their energies into building constituencies for specific legislative achievements, then I think much of the above will need substantial modification. Cyber-revolution with no drama might emerge as a catch phrase.

Rick Shenkman
Editor of History News Network and author, Just How Stupid Are We?

In time-honored fashion, I’ll answer this question with a question. My question is: What was the lesson of the civil rights movement? Was it that you can appeal to the conscience of America? That you have to mobilize activists by high-minded appeals to a cause? That you have to fight like hell for your rights because people in power do not make concessions just because you ask for them politely? That a leader can inspire people to action? Or that it helps immensely to have an archenemy, like Bull Connor?

My answer is: All of the above. Barack Obama comes across like a civil rights movement leader. His rhetoric inspires people the way Dr. King did. But he seems to be selective in his reading of the movement’s lessons. He seems to believe that appeals to reason are ALL that is necessary. The civil rights movement demonstrated that change also requires a good old-fashioned enemy who can be easily ridiculed, hardball tactics, and the willingness to exert pressure on the weak points of the people in power who are blocking change. Politics is not a tea party.

I get the point, but there is one thing that is more important than all the above. A LAW that is defective. The Civil Rights Movement was essentially a movement to rectify an illegality. Without that, enemies or no, it would have blustered and failed.

Roger Wilkins
Professor of history, George Mason University

… a superb black president could significantly lessen even more the hold the past has on us, and that presidency would forever be regarded as one of the brightest lights in our national life.

Indeed.

Patricia Williams
Professor of law, Columbia University

I don’t think it is at all an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama’s campaign is rooted in and furthers that kind of embracing progressive American story. The Bush administration has brought us to a very dangerous precipice: The world has been divided into good guys and bad guys, the due process promised in the Bill of Rights has been all but suspended by executive whimsy, and the use of torture has gained a stature in American discourse that it has not had since the good old days of public lynchings. Yet for a dangerous few years, public opposition was nonexistent in the face of manipulations like “you’re with us or against us.” Color-coded fearmongering silenced some of us; cynicism and a feeling of helplessness paralyzed others.

Barack Obama has done more to cut through the Orwellian garble of that frozen moment than any other public figure. He has given eloquent voice to the widespread unease at the course our government has pursued; he has done so with grace, without anger. And he has brought enough reasoned good sense back to the discussion that “diplomacy” is no longer a curse word.

If we are to pull back from the cliff’s edge to which George W. Bush has shepherded us, I think it will be because the most redemptive moments in American history have always been rooted in the deepest promise of the First Amendment. I mean not merely the reductive right of frat boys to yell epithets, but the profound commitment to the propagation of ideas about how we constitute ourselves as a nation; the profound power of imagined political possibility; the profound freedom to exchange thoughts without fear of punishment. From the Puritan jeremiads to the Gettysburg address, from Harriet Tubman to FDR’s fireside chats, from Abigail Adams to “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” our most interesting social transformations have always been given life by our most intelligent rhetoricians. Within that tradition, Barack Obama could be our Nelson Mandela—not a magician, but the page-turner to a more encompassing future for all.

This rivals Kinsley’s as the most salient comment and is certainly the best evocation of the positive impact of Obama. This could be a template for a very good stump speech.

Garry Wills
Author, What the Gospels Meant

It is true that Obama is facing a task of historic scale and difficulty, but he has not sufficiently identified it. The task is to restore a Constitution shredded by secrecy, illegal detention, and torture. The real question is whether he can convince the American people that these atrocities must be wiped out—and he has not begun to do that.

Well, according to Professor Williams, he has begun. That he can go farther and sharpen his message is obvious.

All told, this is really a wait and see reality, with too many imponderables to enable easy predictions or hasty verdicts.

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