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A few months back I wrote that Barack Obama would never step foot in the White House as President of the United States.  In “No Go for Barack Obama” the main idea I presented would be that if Obama was to win the Democratic nomination, he would be destroyed by the right wing and if that did not do the job, he would be assassinated near election day.  At the time, Obama was giving speeches on raised platforms and did not have the security detail he now has.  Although, I do not believe the Secret Service can keep him safe, I now believe it is time to give Obama a second look.

And so, I begin this new blog format “5grafs” with revisiting the Obama candidacy.

1
Can Obama win?
Barack Obama can definitely win the Democratic nomination.  He is on a roll of momentum and energy unseen in recent years.  The energy of his personality and the power of his words and ideals and his very campaign channels the energy, emotion, and power of the Kennedys.  Even Caroline Kennedy came out and voiced this.  After a hard fought campaign that may last until the convention, Obama will become the nominee of the Democratic Party.  And he can win the White House as well.  Despite recent polls suggesting McCain would be victorious in a national campaign, Obama will win.  He will win once all the efforts of the Democratic Party are focused on the general election.  McCain has negatives that will arise including his wrongheaded Iraq war policy, his ignorance about the economy, and his willingness to continue many of the disastrous policies of the Bush administration.

2
Will he survive?
This becomes the crucial question.  My heart pulls me to want to say yes.  My head cautions me against becoming too hopeful.  Obviously, this is a question that cannot be answered and time will tell.

3
Hope
Barack Obama’s candidacy and the success seen so far (he’s leading in delegates, popular votes, contests won, and is gaining in superdelegates each week) is about hope.  The thought of an intellectual black man winning the highest office in our nation and having that level of influence on the world is about hope.  Think of the respect our nation would gain in the world, the moment Obama takes the oath of office.  The message would be:  the oppressed can succeed.  What a change that would be from the Bush administration which has done so much to increase resentment and hatred of our nation.  Obama brings hope to the world and to this nation that we can be a better nation and that the hostilities and tensions in the world can be resolved.

4
Words
Despite Hillary Clinton’s comment about “change you can Xerox,” and Obama using his own words, words are powerful, in and of, themselves.  Words are how we communicate a message.  The words in the United States Declaration of Independence led to the birth of this nation.  The words in Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation led to the freeing of the slaves.  The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960’s inspired the actions that brought about the changes of the Civil Rights Movement.  Words are powerful.   Obama is a deep thinker and eloquent speaker.  His words are needed in these turbulent times.

5
Why Not Hillary?
I voted for Bill Clinton twice.  I believe he was a great president and accomplished many positive things in his time in office including balancing the budget and providing a budget surplus by 2000.  But Bill Clinton is not running for office.  I find Hillary an intriguing candidate, but at the same time, I believe the time of the Clintons has passed.  On a more practical level, her baggage and negatives would galvanize Republicans and bring them to the polls, even for the likes of John McCain.  I do not dislike Clinton in any tangible way, but she is not electable and the Democrats desperately need to take back the White House.  With Al Gore obviously not entering the race, Obama is the best chance for the Democrats.

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aisleofviewart.jpg In 2008, Al Gore will be elected the next president of the United States. He will win the popular vote with more votes than he took in 2000 and he will win the electoral vote as well including the states of Florida, Tennessee, and Ohio. That is, of course, if he chooses to run. Before discussing this further, let’s review Gore’s 2000 bid for the White House.

“While I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome,” were the words that ended Gore’s fight to be president in 2000. It also ended the hopes of millions that their votes would count. It was a dark day for the United States and the world. Gore had won the popular vote and very likely won the electoral vote as well. Had it not been for the Supreme Court’s intervention, he would have been president these past six years. Gore ran a tough and smart campaign and in the final analysis, in the moment of truth on election day, more people voted for him and he achieved his highest ambition at that time. Conceding to Bush was certainly heartbreaking and in “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore said: “Well that was a hard blow. But what do you do? You make the best of it.”

Gore did. He made the best of it. In his words: “It brought into clear focus, the mission that I had been pursuing for all these years and I started giving the slide show again.” The slide show, as he calls it, is his campaign to end global warming and his presentations about it. In the past few years, he has given the slide show thousands of times in countless cities across the United States and world. He has truly become a passionate spokesperson for the cause of recognizing that not only is climate change real, it is here.

Fast forward to 2007, Gore has had an incredible year so far. In February, he won the Academy Award for “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. In May, Gore’s book The Assault on Reason was released. In July, Gore was instrumental in the effort to produce the Live Earth concerts bringing together two billion people on all seven continents. What will the rest of the year bring?

Can all of these activities be leading to something? Can they be precursors to a presidential bid in 2008? Gore has been questioned time and time again in the past six months about running for president and he continues to say: “I don’t have any plans or intentions to be a candidate again.” Even when it has been put to him in terms of the powerful impact being president would have on addressing global warming, Gore has stuck to his guns that he has no intention to run. He has even said, “I’ve kinda fallen out of love with politics.”

Were he to run, it would not only be possible that he would win, it would be probable. No one else in the running has his experience in politics. No one else has his credibility to move our nation and our world forward toward solving the climate crisis. No one else has the experience of having run a successful campaign and winning the office as he did in 2000.

Al Gore speaks of the “uncommon moral courage” necessary to rise up and solve the climate crisis. Were he to find that courage within himself and throw his hat in the ring in 2008, he would definitely be victorious.

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I’m So Confused

aisleofviewart.jpgI thought the electorate in 2006 voted for change. At least, I thought I did and many millions with me. We could not vote for a change in the presidency, so we did the next best thing, changed both houses of Congress. The issues of the 2006 midterm election focused on the war in Iraq and the need for accountability; a return to the checks and balances this country is founded upon.

Prior to the midterm election, Congress had a confidence rating of 19% as measured by Gallop. This month, August 2007, the new Democratic led Congress has a confidence rating of 14%.

What happened?

Instead of accountability and checks and balances, Congress is writing the Executive blank checks:

  • President’s surge plan, passed.
  • $459.6 billion military budget, passed.
  • Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act including provisions for warrantless wiretapping, passed.
  • Conduct of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, check.

Oh, and on balance, this Congress sought to improve their balance sheets by passing a pay raise.

This is the not the return to checks and balances we had in mind. These are not the changes we voted for. These actions seem like more of the same. Is it time for a new party?

What gives? What’s going on? I’m so confused.

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aisleofviewart.jpgBarack Obama will never step foot in the White House as President of the United States.

Barack Obama may have the qualities to be a great president. As president, he could bring a unique perspective to the White House. He may even inspire change in the political process and increase involvement in it. It is hard to resist the energy his presence brings to the process. However, I do not believe that, even if he wins the Democratic nomination, he will ever step foot in the White House as President of the United States.

Why would I, an unabashed liberal and life-long democrat argue against an Obama candidacy? Consider. . .

If Obama were to win the Democratic nomination, he would either be discredited or destroyed by the right wing machine that will pound on his weaknesses (no foreign policy experience, no executive experience, only a Senator for less than four years, etc.) with sound bite after sound bite. Or, as with John Kerry, the Republican machine would play on voter fears about how Democrats cannot keep us safe from terrorism or whatever other national security threats our nation faces.

Obama is smart, well reasoned, and articulate. These may sound like positives at first blush, but consider how the electoral college has treated candidates with such traits in the last election. Electoral college voters in solid red states plus Ohio and Florida have too often (of late) rejected the smart, well reasoned, and articulate candidates, favoring the more folksy, idiotic, knee-jerk, staunch, fear mongering, and inarticulate persons. Don’t misunderestimate red state electoral college voters.

If these tactics are not having the desired effect, i.e., if Obama were to be leading in the electoral college by gaining New Mexico or Florida and Ohio as well as traditional blue states, Obama will be assassinated. There will be a horrible accident, probably a plane crash or some other event, untraceable to the culprits.

I was excited about Obama at first. But now, I do not see him as a viable candidate for the above reasons. I truly wish it was otherwise.

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aisleofviewgraphic.jpg

The time has come for the electoral college to go. The will of the majority should be served in a majority-rule system. Though, in most elections, the electoral college chooses the candidate with the most votes, as we saw in 2000, this is not always the case. And in this day and age, if the system is to have any validity, itballot.jpg must be.

The main argument for needing the electoral college is the protection of small states which would otherwise be ignored in a national campaign. This argument carried more weight in years past than it does today. Now, the electoral college does not protect small states. It protects swing states. There are solid blue states and solid red states, and then there are a number of swing states that have been the deciding factor in the last several elections.

Ironically, the elimination of the electoral college may protect the smaller states in that candidates from either party would not write off red or blue states and would spend more time in those states because there are voters there. In each state, regardless of how it generally leans (red or blue), there are undecided voters, independent voters, and intermittent voters.

Scrapping the electoral college would allow candidates to share a more broad, national vision or message. Candidates would not have to pander (as much) to local or state interests and could carry their vision all across the nation.

The deepest ideals of this country are rooted in opportunity and that anyone can grow up and become president, not as Al Gore said at the 2004 Democratic Convention: “…I know from my own experience that America is a land of opportunity where every little boy or girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote.”

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