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Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

A couple weeks ago, McCain reached out to the Obama campaign and agreed to only use public financing for the general election in Fall 2008 if Obama kept his previous promise to also use public funds. For a while, it seemed like Obama was in a tough situation. Either he would break his previous promise to use only public funds, which would injure his credibility on ethics issues, or he would be forced to lose his massive fundraising advantage over McCain by accepting parity in funds.

The New York Times reports that Obama tried to avoid this double bind by adding conditions to an agreement to accept public financing that would include promises to limit other types of campaign spending (527 groups and DNC/RNC spending). I agree with the NY Times that this attempt was very disingenuous, as his comments last year about public financing made very clear that he thought candidates had an ethical demand to use public financing (which would preclude recent attempts that sound more like a child saying “if he doesn’t, why should I”). However, this response has appeared to limit much of the damage McCain had hoped to leverage against Obama in the press.

Today, Obama receives much better news on this front as the FEC announced that McCain will not be able to withdraw from the public financing system for the rest of the primary season. This not only will limit McCain to spending only 5 million for the next few months if the ruling holds, but also takes away the moral high ground from McCain, as he took out a loan with tricky stipulations that required public financing as a guarantee for the loan.

Personally I believe that Obama and McCain should both stop squabbling over this issue and happily eschew public funding. Right now campaign laws are still not rigorous enough to prevent corporate money from influencing the race even if candidates do take all public funds. If Obama or McCain wish to take the high road, they should privately fundraise at all stages of the election and be transparent in their efforts to not take corporate donations. For Obama especially, this would be the wisest choice, since he can likely raise much more than the 84 million provided by public funds through his expansive small donor base.

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LoLobama

I can haz unhelfy obsession.

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yeswecanhas128473472795695650.jpg

Kthxbai.

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So, Super Tuesday has come and gone. Republicans seem to have selected their candidate, but Democrats have no such closure. Clinton and Obama are basically neck-and-neck.

As you may have heard, Brooklyn went to Clinton and McCain. However, according to WNYC (I wasn’t able to confirm the data myself), there was one district in Brooklyn that went to Obama and McCain. And that is the district that holds me, Plainclothesman, Oneiroi, Mooseknuckle and Boomstick. Thus, these results can be attributed mainly to our respective endorsements. Right?

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In honor of Super Tuesday, we urge our fellow Brooklynites to learn as much as possible about all the options and then vote for the candidate that best represents your special, special desires for the country. So Brooklyn Skeptic endorses the act of voting, rather than any particular candidate.

Nevertheless, several Brooklyn Skeptics offer their reasons for supporting Barack Obama on Super Tuesday.

{Plainclothesman}

 I voted for John Kerry in 2004. I’m still a young man and the 2004 election was my introduction to the world of organized politics. As you are almost certainly aware, John Kerry is not a particularly exciting candidate for someone who has recently been given the right to elect the future leader of his or her country. It felt a little like showing up to Chuck E. Cheese on your birthday and seeing the guy in the mouse outfit in the parking lot smoking a cigarette with the mouse head in his hands. Then there were the data irregularities and voting issues which, in keeping with my Chuck E. Cheese theme, was like having the skee-ball machines be out of order.

Something has changed in the past four years, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with Barack Obama. I have seen Obama speak a few times now. One of those times we were put into a separate room because so many people showed up. Listening to him over a loudspeaker, people were still shouting and cheering as they were so riled they couldn’t contain themselves. Nothing had changed since he delivered the keynote in Boston in 2004. People had believed him then, and people still believed him now. As much as I can, I’d like to forget John Kerry and think of Barack Obama as my introduction to the world of organized politics.

{Oneiroi}

We’re slowly coming out of a time when Karl Rove style politics are on the wan. The crossfire standoffs in Congress are rampant, leading to little discussion and impasse. And now we have a new leader speaking about unity, working together, and even has the audacity to say that even Republicans have ideas (in a democratic primary no less).

It indeed makes me hopeful for a different style of politics. Already he has made proposals against lobbyist influences, promises of discussion rather than standoff, and the hope for a more transparent government. These ideas make me excited about politics as a purview for “the people” and less a stage for a soap opera.

I’m purposefully trying to leave out political stances (you can find them), of which Barack may be very similar to the other democratic candidate. I’m leaving out stances which some people with different political stances may disagree. Because what’s the most obama.jpgastounding to me would be the change in representative politics, not just the decay of the Bush agenda, but instead the actualization of a more positive way to go about politics and I believe that having a true leader can make this happen. Obama is that person.

{Mooseknuckle}

I endorse Obama because he is a once in a generation leader.  I think the Clintons vs. the Bushes has turned into a modern-day politcal Hatfields vs. McCoys…Hillary is spending just a little too much time talking about “going toe-to-toe with Republicans,” and even though I think having her in the White House will be a major step forward in many important ways, I think she will be as polarizing a figure as Bill Clinton and George Bush have been, maybe even more so, because for them and the people who support them, the right wing vs. the left wing is personal.
Barack, on the other hand, seems like a candidate prepared to not only put good policies in place, but to transcend the awful, ugly mudpit that is Washington…I think that kind of leader doesn’t come around too often, and I am legitimately excited to have the chance to support him.

{Recklesley}

To be perfectly honest, I believe that Clinton and Obama would make excellent presidents and I would vote for either of them if it came down to it in November. Both represent a shift where our resources will be used to make positive changes for Americans. It will be a great day when our political energies are no longer focused on destroying and undercutting – and either Clinton or Obama are well equipped to usher us into that era.

However, when it comes down to a choice between the two, and feeling that either will be a great step forward domestically, I must choose Obama because of his potential impact on the international stage.  It will be good for all of us when we have a competent, intelligent, articulate, patient, innovative, engaged grown up interacting with the rest of the world. This guy wouldn’t just invade a country. He wouldn’t appoint a jackass to the UN. He wouldn’t fucking torture people. I think everyone else in the world will gradually see this, too. And that will be as good a day as the one where we all have health insurance.

Like my compatriots here on the blog, it is very early into my political life. And I have been so bitterly disappointed with the pathetic state of our political leadership. And of course I am worried that come November, my heart will be broken again. But if Obama has taught me one thing so far, it’s that we can embrace our hopes. And according to him, “there has never been anything false about hope.”

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Skepticism is not an option when it comes to voting. You can ponder your own efficacy all you want, but here’s the bottom line: this is not about you. This is about all of us. So as a member of this country, you have an obligation to have thought about your ideal version of America, learned enough about which candidate most accurately represents that ideal, and then get off your ass and vote. It takes like five minutes.

That being said, Super Tuesday is on um, Tuesday and all Brooklyners who are registered to vote as either Democrat or Republican need to go to the polls to assist their parties’ leadership in selecting a presidential nominee.

And if you’re not certain of who you’re voting for, might I suggest this guy:

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Barack the Vote!

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be schlocking Barack Obama so hard. But really, the last two (and only two) presidential elections in which I have been involved have broken my heart so badly, that just the possibility of getting a political leader I don’t loathe with the depth and passion of Neptune’s watery kingdom, makes me positively jittery. I would be so happy if Barack Obama was president. I would love it if we could stop being an international laughingstock for like, five seconds.

So good luck tonight, Barry. We’re all counting on you.

And obvi…

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Awww smooshie wooshie! Yes he is! Yes he is!

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Obamarama

Congratulations, Barack Obama.

You told me to have hope. I did. You did not break my heart yet.

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He makes me all shivery.

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Like many great men before him, Barack Obama will descend upon Washington Square Park to spread his word to New Yorkers. And boy, is his word inspiring. Unlike the Brooklyn debacle I attended last month, this event will be free and outside. Probably, the speech will be exactly the same and you’ll leave the park in utter despair about the current state of electoral politics…but he’s so charming! If you have not yet heard what’s Obama’s been saying, I really recommend checking him out.

Barack Obama in NYC
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Washington Square Park, Manhattan
Gates open at 5:00 PM

Let’s just hope this doesn’t end up like the stonecutters’ rally of 1834. You all know what I’m saying.

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Celebrities have a lot of money. They also like getting political. These two things go together well. A list of celebrity donations was released and, I know, it’s a surprise: most money was given to Democratic candidates.

To start, Hillary made a killing. Everyone from Fran Drescher to Tom Hanks opened their wallet to Mrs. Clinton, dishing out thousands. Hell even Pauly Shore and George Takei donated a grand apiece. Tobey Maguire, with plenty of SpiderMan cash to throw around, gave the legal limit ($4600). Then, there’s Chris Dodd. Poor, poor Chris Dodd. You know your campaign isn’t going too well when all you’ve got is the guy from Third Rock from the Sun and someone named Christy Romano, who is listed as the “voice of Kim Possible.”

Next up, John Edwards scored a good amount, most notably $500 from Oliver Stone, which seems a little strange. I would have guessed he’d give money to Gravel. In fact, the two seem so delightfully loony that one would think they were related. Mike Gravel however, got $700 from Mark Ruffalo, shaving a couple hundred off of the ninety bagillion dollars of debt he’s in. Obama kicked a little ass, even getting the Tom Skerritt donation. As we all know, Tom Skerritt has an incredible influence over the United States. As Skerritt votes, so does the nation. In the political world, this is called the “Skerritt Pull.”

Kucinich gets several actors, including Rosario from Will & Grace (Shelley Morrison), the woman no one liked on Baywatch (Alexandra Paul) , someone from Days of Our Lives (Deirdre Hall) and Hector Elizondo, the prostitute-friendly hotel owner from Pretty Woman. Bill Richardson scored big bucks, definitely getting the “old Hollywood” vote with people like Michael Douglas, Paul Newman, William Friedkin and James L. Brooks.

And finally, Pauly from Sopranos and Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie gave to Giuliani. Meanwhile, all Republican candidates other than Giuliani have not received a dime in donations from anyone, and are collectively breaking open their piggy banks and checking couch cushions for loose change.

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I have already expressed my ceaseless, violent anger at the terms “Daddy Party” and “Mommy Party,” but now political gendering has gone a step further. Salon.com posted an article last week called “Hillary is from Mars, Obama is from Venus,” which basically argued that Obama is a bigger girl than Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she has ovaries. Admittedly, Brooklyn Skeptic is guilty of regularly reinforcing gender stereotypes, but we’re just trying to be cute. The rest of the world is not cute.

Michael Scherer writes for Salon.com,

Throughout history, American presidents have been men’s men who puff their out chests against evil. Think Teddy Roosevelt on safari, Jack Kennedy in PT-109, Ronald Reagan on his horse, or George W. Bush with a chain saw clearing brush. If leaders show any slackening of testosterone, especially in wartime, they are quickly derided as wimps (George H.W. Bush), a Frenchman (John Kerry) or weaklings (Jimmy Carter). But on the Democratic campaign trail these days, where the first woman in U.S. history is making a serious run at the White House, gender roles are being swapped.

He cites Clinton’s tough-as-nails demeanor and Obama’s exultation to dream together as evidence of their misplaced genders.

I think we’re all just missing the boat here and being lazy with our lexicon. A person who believes he or she should rightfully be the president of the United States is going to have a particular set of personality traits that are not necessarily common in all people. These traits, I suppose, would be a dominant personality, with some delusions of grandeur, egoism, ambition and obstinance. One could also rightly suspect that the candidate would be uncommonly intelligent, personable, charismatic, and good looking. However, these second-ranked traits are not required to be president, and are easier to fake with the right staff.

As our political arena becomes ever-so-slightly more accessible to non-white-and-male Americans each year, we are beginning to see that these traits are exclusive neither to one gender nor to one racial background. Politicians, like members of every other profession that I can think of, can be basically anyone, assuming they have the above mentioned personality traits. So when Scherer talks about the flipped gender roles of the leading democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, he, too, is being lazy. Scherer quotes Clinton saying that she is “not running because [she is] a woman. [She is] running because [she thinks she is] the best qualified and experienced person to hit the ground running in January 2009.” While Scherer interprets this as another masculine move, downplaying her femininity and underscoring her ambition (so unladylike), I see this as just another example of the presidential power trait (patent pending, jerk). Clinton believes she knows a better way and she thinks she should lead the county there.

Scherer shows Obama

[Singing] an empowerment ballad on the stump that would make most lady folk singers proud. “The decision to go to war is not a sport,” he tells crowds, rejecting the male metaphor. “We can discover the better part of ourselves as a nation,” he says. “We can dream big dreams.”

Sadly, under all of this inflammatory gender comparison (singing vs. sports), what is ignored is the actual power behind his words. While he isn’t clearing brush or womanizing, he’s calling for revolution of our political system. I don’t know if that’s “feminine,” but it certainly betrays his presidential power trait. He also knows a better way. He thinks he should be the one to lead the U.S. out of this shitshow we’re in. There’s no way that any of this is masculine or feminine. This is nothing but total politician. We need a third gender when we’re talking about politicians. Maybe it’s the presence of two assholes instead of typical male or female genitals.

So what? So maybe we should start listening to the actual ideas and strategies and stop trying to put every fucking thing into these circumscribed categories of acceptable gender behavior. No Mommy Party and Daddy Party. No bitch. No man’s man. No brush clearing. No Indigo Girls.

**Update: Scherer responds to readers tearing him a new one…

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