Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Within hours of Barack Obama claiming the Democratic presidential nomination, the world's attention switched from a primary campaign that had riveted outsiders to a presidential contest that raises deep concerns about where and how the United States will lead the world.

Even though Hillary Rodham Clinton did not immediately concede defeat, Obama's claim shifted the focus to the looming battle between relative youth and relative age, between experience and renewal and, most of all, between the untested champion of the Democrats to the nominee of a Republican Party whose global image has been scarred by the war in Iraq and fear of neo-conservative adventures.

They are getting old now, but thousands of Black American men and women still alive today can easily remember the time when no Black American could cast a vote in a presidential election in some parts of the United States. If they tried to vote, or tried to register to do so, they risked insult, denial of civil rights and even physical harm. It is a measure of how far and how fast things have changed that within these people's adult lifetime there is today the extraordinary prospect of America electing a Black man as its head of state in November.

Senator Barack Obama may or may not be the next US president, but even his candidacy is itself historic. This is a milestone political moment in the long march from slavery towards racial justice in the United States. Americans are entitled to feel proud of their country today.

Mr Obama's victory in the gripping contest to be the Democratic party nominee means many things. One of them is proof that who dares wins. Mr Obama saw sooner and more clearly than almost anyone else in US politics that the 2008 election can be a break with the past. In part, because of his age and relative inexperience in Washington, he understood the degree to which George Bush's catastrophic eight-year tenure - and in particular the war in Iraq - has created a demand among many Americans for more than just an ordinary swing of the pendulum.

Mr Obama's candidacy and campaign have brilliantly articulated that hunger for change. Whether he can now ride that mood to victory in November and then fulfil the high expectations that he has raised are not yet certain. But his victory in Tuesday's Montana primary and the support of several undecided convention superdelegates mean that Mr Obama's audacity has been dazzlingly rewarded.

Americans will now look at Mr Obama as a potential president. That change of emphasis crackled through his speech on the Middle East yesterday. Suddenly, it was substance, not rhetoric, that mattered. Mr Obama said excellent things - the readiness to focus on the Middle East from the start of his presidency, the willingness to engage diplomatically with Iran, the strong reiteration of Iraq withdrawal. Other parts of his speech - on the indivisibility of Jerusalem, for example - were a reminder that an Obama presidency would not wave a magic wand over America or the world. But it would, thank goodness, be a new opportunity. At last, the real contest begins.

Putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket for vice president creates a ménage-à-trois. Bill Clinton will be the unexpected roommate. Even if a President Obama can discipline Hillary and get her to play second fiddle, there is not the remotest chance that he can get the former president to accept such rules. Even if Bill Clinton wanted to rein in his newly prolific public expressions of rage and frustration, there is doubt that he is any longer capable of doing so.

Hillary, who likely desperately wants to be tapped for vice president, is going about it in exactly the wrong way. She seems to be demanding a kind of coalition government between herself and Obama, a definition of the vice presidency not likely to appeal to the president.

But adding Hillary to the ticket brings, along with her, Bill.
The public Bill Clinton has morphed over the past few months from a statesman and philanthropist to a petulant, angry, cursing, spoiled narcissist, accusing everyone of being sleazy and biased and in so doing fashioning himself as a foil for Obama. This unattractive image is not the right one for the bottom of a ticket in a presidential race. And make no mistake, Bill comes along with Hillary.

But the more serious problem is the public record that Todd Purdum, an excellent journalist, laid out in his Vanity Fair piece. Bill’s relationships with billionaires, his pursuit of financial gain, his alliance with the emir of Dubai, and his acceptance of speaking fees and income from some of the least savory of types is not what you need to carry around with you in a presidential race. To put Hillary on the ticket is to confront nagging questions about donors to the Clinton Library and Bill’s refusal to release them. It would be to inherit a load of baggage that Obama does not need as he tries to position himself as the candidate of change, antithetical to the corrupt and corrupting ways of Washington.

On her own, Hillary would be no bargain as vice president. She would never accept direction and never sublimate her ambition or agenda to Obama’s. But with Bill in tow, her candidacy becomes even more fraught with peril should Obama be inclined to bow to pressure and put her on the ticket.

Barack Obama should not pick Hillary Clinton as his vice-presidential nominee, former president Jimmy Carter has told the Guardian newspaper.
"I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made," Carter said, adding: "That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates."
The former president, who formally endorsed the Illinois senator late on Tuesday, cited opinion polls showing 50% of US voters with a negative view of Senator Clinton.
In terms that might discomfort the Obama camp, he said: "If you take that 50% who just don't want to vote for Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don't think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he's got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds."
Carter, who insisted he would have been equally against an Obama-Clinton pairing if she, not he, had won the nomination, makes the remarks in an interview with the Guardian's Weekend magazine, to be published on Saturday. The interview was conducted before the final round of voting on Tuesday 3 June night confirmed Obama as the party's presumptive nominee.

The intervention of the former president - regarded as the senior elder of the Democratic party by some, and as a walking reminder of electoral failure by others - comes as speculation of a joint Obama-Clinton ticket is building. Late last night a close Clinton adviser and friend, Lanny Davis, acting on his own initiative he said, launched a petition and website - and wrote directly to Obama - urging him to appoint his defeated rival.

Meanwhile, Bob Johnson, a close Clinton backer and founder of Black Entertainment Television, said that he hoped to persuade the Congressional Black Caucus - the umbrella group for African-American members of Congress - to lobby for an Obama-Clinton partnership.

Former President Jimmy Carter's remarks could slow that momentum, coming from the only living Democrat to have won more than 50% of the popular vote in a presidential election, even though the former president, who left office in 1981, insisted he was "on the outside" and no longer had any role in internal Democratic affairs.

His comments are also likely to be seized on by those Democrats who believe Obama needs to pick an experienced, white and probably southern man to "balance" the ticket.

The former president said: "What he needs more than a southerner is a person who can compensate for his obvious potential defects, his youthfulness and his lack of long experience in military and international affairs."

For that reason, Carter says, he favours Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate armed services committee, who hails from his own state of Georgia. "That would be my preference, but there are other senior Democrats who would have similar credentials to Sam Nunn."

In its final days, Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign has come to echo George Wallace's 1968 run.

Like Clinton, Wallace as a candidate stalked the Northeast exploiting white anger. Like her, he bypassed the nation's more educated and liberal parts to focus squarely on those who felt left behind, rallying animosity against elites.
But behind the mask of populism, it was race that fueled Wallace's campaign from the start. And it is race that has brought new life to Clinton's campaign in its final days.

Like Wallace, Clinton doesn't address racial prejudice squarely, but cloaks the appeal to our darker fears in seemingly neutral issues. He used opposition to school busing; she has played off Obama's alleged elitism and ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Clinton isn't a racist, but she's still using race to win elections. (So, by the way, did Bill Clinton in 1992, with his criticism of Sister Souljah and his much-publicized backing for capital punishment.)

Racism is as racism does. When a politician consciously exploits racial divisions, fears and animosity to win an election, he or she deserves condemnation.
But Hillary Clinton is neither a racist nor a populist; she's an opportunist. Discovering that the establishment consensus has left behind millions of disgruntled voters - the angry white men of yesteryear — she, like Wallace before her, is creating new fissures in the electorate in the hopes of upsetting a harmony that doesn't serve her ends.

Her advocates say that Clinton has found her voice. But this new voice is but an echo of a a discordant note in a discredited past.

In the coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia and the former factory towns of western Pennsylvania and central Ohio, the anger into which this voice taps remains alive, hot and glowing. But most of America has moved beyond prejudice, beyond diversity, beyond even tolerance, into a post-racial era.

It was a proud feature of our politics in 2008 that we seemed to have crested this wave of progress — until Clinton, embittered by frustrated ambition, blew on the smoldering embers of racial fear to stage a comeback for the nomination.
It wasn't her proudest moment.

Senator John McCain, a 72 year old man with melanoma cancer, has chosen Govenor Sarah Palin, a 44 year old mother of 5, with no national or internation foreign policy experience, to be his Vice Presidential running mate. On 29 August 2008 when he announced her selection, he had met her only one time. She had been mayor of a small town of only 7,ooo people near Anchorage, Alaska after winning a local beauty contest and blowing the whistle on a bunch of fat cat, corrupt politicians in Alaska.

I find it incredibly startling that Senator McCain would choose a person he hardly knows for a job as important as the Vice Presidency of the United States. It is so obvious that he is doing this as a political tactic that it makes me question his judgment.

Is that the way he will make decisions about our economy, our security, our well-being as a nation?

If, God forbid, Senator McCain dies during his presidency then he will entrust this nation with a person with zero foreign affairs experience, whom he hardly knows to be the Commander in Chief?

How irresponsible is that?
The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler John "Hundred Years War" McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah Palin, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah's spunky, relentlessly quirky "Northern Exposure" story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket.
John McCain is 72, and he's been operated on for malignant melanomas -- the most dangerous kind of skin cancer -- four times.
At this point in the campaign, it looks as though McCain has a 50/50 chance of becoming President. And while I wish him 120 birthdays, it is no great stretch to imagine Sarah Palin ending up in the Oval Office. This is the entirely possible outcome that the Republicans are putting on the table.
Maybe Americans won't want to take that risk. But McCain could well win. More Americans may vote to watch the real life movie about the moose-hunting Alaskan beauty queen who goes to Washington, than to see the one about the charismatic half-Black Hawaiian who ends up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
If John McCain wins, it is entirely conceivable that whatever scares you most in the world, and whatever you care most about doing at home, Sarah Palin will be in charge of it.

Oh, My God, judgement has fled to brutish beasts and men have loss their reason!..(



Blogger ichbinalj said...

Gerard Baker, the U.S. editor of The Times of London, wrote: "In 220 years a country that has steadily multiplied in diversity, where ethnic minorities and women have risen to the very highest positions in so many fields of human life, has chosen a succession of 42 white men as its leader."

"But last night, in a tumultuous break with this long history," Baker wrote, "the ultimate realization of the American dream moved a little closer, and a Black man became his party's nominee for the presidency."

12:23 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

China made no immediate official comment. But Obama's victory was on all the main Chinese news Web sites, including those of the official People's Daily and China Daily newspapers. The country's most popular web portal,, posted an Obama story on the front of its news page.

Sina also conducted a poll around the question: Do you think Obama will win the presidency - yes, no or hard to say? By mid-afternoon Wednesday, 20,000 people had responded. Of those, 55 percent predicted he would win, 32 percent predicted he would lose and 13 percent responded with "hard to say."

12:25 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

That generally favorable impression was echoed in Pakistan.

"It should bring a good change in relations with Pakistan" should Obama win the presidency, said Munaway Akhtar, a prominent lawyer specializing in international arbitration in the capital, Islamabad. "Pakistan has always been friendly to the United States, but the people have never benefited; the rulers have always benefited. Hopefully, that would change with Obama."

Wamiq Zuberi, editor of The Business Recorder, the country's leading business-oriented newspaper, said he believed Pakistanis were pleased. "Everyone is in fact impressed with the historical moment, that it is the first time an African-American has won the nomination of a party."

There was a prevailing sentiment, Zuberi said, that Obama would better serve Pakistan's interests. "If Obama would become president, there would be a push for democracy in Pakistan."

A former senior diplomat who was briefly ambassador to the United States, Tariq Fatemi, said that Obama's "idealism" struck a chord with Pakistanis.

"Barack Obama would do very well in improving the image of the United States," he said. "He would position the United States more as a force for moral values rather than for brute force."

12:27 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Nina Gunnell said: "I don't think the question should be is America ready for a female or Black president. Is America ready for change? Because we sure do need it. I also think of all of the different countries we deal with, and the majority of them would not have an issue dealing with a Black man. So why should we? Now, dealing with women for them might be something different since many of them are at the bottom of the totem pole. I think that Americans just need to accept people for people and look deeper than color. The shade a person is does not dictate who they are on the inside. I had one child tell me that being a different color is just like wearing different shoes. I wish all of America had the same outlook."

12:41 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

London Times Critic on Obama:

The British can be masters at their own language when they wish to be. This is powerful. Are we as smart as the British to recognize the true gem we have? Too bad the rest of the planet can't vote in our elections for it would be a mandate. Time will tell.

There's astonishingly little of the actor about Barack Obama, and that's meant as a compliment. He doesn't soar or reach for rhetorical climaxes. He doesn't twist his audiences' heartstrings even when he's talking of matters close to his heart. When he speaks of his wife or his 'precious daughters', there's no throb in his voice. And does this make him bland or dull? Quite the opposite.

12:11 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE of the London Times said:
"Somehow Obama's serious and sober charisma leaves you feeling that, not only is he the man to heal the divisions left from America's very beginnings, but that he has the assurance, the intelligence, the stature to deal with such matters as terrorism, global warming, a faltering economy. As unactorly actor he gets five stars from me. As a president -- well, perhaps the world will see."


12:14 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The French have always cherished a class of people called "les bons Américains." These good Americans were those truest to a Gallic idea of what the United States should be.

In recent decades, good Americans have included John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie (whose elegance betrayed a European sensibility), Woody Allen (of European urbanity and wit), Michael Moore (of European vehemence on the Iraq war) and Al Gore (of European environmentalism).

But right now, in French eyes, there's a single good American: the Democratic Party nominee, Barack Obama. His book, "The Audacity of Hope," is on bestseller lists. His face is everywhere.

7:51 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Senator John McCain, a 72 year old man with melanoma cancer, has chosen Govenor Sarah Palin, a 44 year old mother of 5, with no national or internation foreign policy experience, to be his Vice Presidential running mate. He had met her only one time. She had been mayor of a small town of only 7,ooo people near Anchorage, Alaska after winning a local beauty contest and blowing the whistle on a bunch of fat cat, corrupt politicians in Alaska.

I find it incredibly startling that Senator McCain would choose a person he hardly knows for a job as important as the Vice Presidency of the United States. It is so obvious that he is doing this as a political tactic that it makes me question his judgment.

Is that the way he will make decisions about our economy, our security, our well-being as a nation?
If, God forbid, Senator McCain dies during his presidency then he will entrust this nation with a person with zero foreign affairs experience, whom he hardly knows to be the Commander in Chief?

How irresponsible is that?

Oh, My God, judgement has fled to brutish beasts and men have loss their reason!.....(

7:39 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Sarah Palin is a pitbull in panty hose.
The torch cannot be passed to this new GENDER of Americans without shame, devoid of modesty, raised in comfort, weened on sarcasm, ignorant of history, and ready to ridicule any good deed.

10:36 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

The vetting process is supposed to be taken seriously and requires both longitudinal and latitudinal scrutiny.
McCain’s version of the vetting process is a farce and reduces the process to the lowest possible denominator.
Selecting a person to be a hair’s breath away from becoming the President of the United States requires both extensive and intensive, in-depth research into a person’s history, both past and present
Maverick McCain meets with a person once after only a prior casual encounter with that person and thrusts her upon the American public. Not only is this another demonstration of the “Poor Judgment,” that the Senate Ethics Committee adjudged him as a result of the Keating 5 Scandal; but it evidences a total contempt for the intelligence of the American people. A woman who attended 6 colleges in 5 years before finally graduating with a B. S. degree in communications-journalism is no more qualified to become the leader of the free world and Commander in Chief than the average high school drop out. Just because such a woman, Sarah Palin, can stand before the world and deliver insult after insult by reading a prepared speech, does not reveal her knowledge and command of the grave issues facing this country and the world. What an insult! What blatant idiocy! His cavalier selection meant to capture the female vote and the 18,000,000 disenchanted Hillary Clinton voters borders on heresy and farce.

10:19 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

McCain’s choice and the superficial, supercilious manner in which he made his selection proves him unworthy of leading our Nation. He, like so many others served our country, too many of whom never had the opportunity to come home to brag and moan about their suffering and sacrificing for our country. Many of those who returned to their loved ones in body bags, heroes, too, did not return home to toot their own horns and constantly remind us of how great they were and how they were tortured before being murdered. McCain exploits and exaggerates his war hero story. There are some who served with him who recount a slightly different story than the one he tells, especially the story of Christmas and the cross which is suspiciously similar to a story told by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

10:20 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

McCain managed his campaign poorly, running out of funds and having some of his staff jump ship. Like Rudy Guilianni, who also ran his campaign poorly, exploits 9/11 and makes it his sole glorious accomplishment, McCain exploits his POW status as if he alone were the only heroic POW.
To lead, one first must think, not just react.
To lead, one must embody sound judgment and the wisdom to differentiate.
To lead, one must be morally and ethically strong.
None of these traits describe McCain. When asked what his greatest sin at the Saddleback Church, he replied, something about the end of his first marriage. No, that is not his greatest sin. Your greatest sin is that he is a petti-fogger, and since his prankster days at the Naval Academy, has not changed much. He takes a cynical view of the world, and he does not really care what happens to the American people.

10:25 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

20 Oct 2008. Former Secretary of State Collin Powell's endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President was as much a rejection of the Republican Party and Senator John McCain's campaign as an embrace of the Democratic presidential nominee.

10:11 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

General Colin Powell said:
“It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain as I have this morning, but we need a president who will not just continue the policies of the last few years. We need a transformational figure. We need generational change.”

Colin Powell’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama proves that when the general chose not to run for office himself, America may have lost an expert politician. His endorsement followed his war doctrine, swift and overwhelming. Just how many nuances can you squeeze into a short interview?

In a matter of about a dozen well chosen sentences he debunked the notion that African Americans are making a decision based only on race, called McCain old, unstable and wrong on the economy, pronounced Governor Sarah Palin unqualified and called for his party to get back to its reasonable center. It was an amazing thing to see.

11:10 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Concerning Governor Sarah Palin's qualifications and readiness to assume high office, an issue that a few conservative commentators have taken on but Democrats refuse to touch, as if it were radioactive:

"I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made."

12:41 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

George Will said:
John McCain has a history of reducing controversies to cartoons. Some polls show that Sarah Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than his association with George W. Bush. She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes.
Did McCain think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency? Apparently so. Oh, John, say it isn't so!

5:39 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Terry Glover said:
Call me irrationally exuberant, but, six days before the general election, I'd like to take this moment to make an objective assessment of Sarah Palin, and by association, the McCain campaign. As national polls have Obama leading by considerable digits, the sense of doom is palpable aboard the Straight Talk Express, and blame is being assigned with astounding swiftness.
Republican aides, both id'd and anonymous, have taken to lobbing grenades, not at the chaos that is the McCain campaign, but directly at Palin's designer Kevlar. Over the course of the last seven days, sample headlines using actual quotes reveal the internal dysfunction: "Palin Called 'A Diva'"; "Palin 'Going Rogue'" ; "Palin Alone Aboard Bus"; "Top McCain Aides: Palin Simply Knew Nothing About National and International Issues" ; and, my personal favorite, "Palin is a 'Wack Job'." Seven days is a lifetime in the course of a campaign. Seven days can be an eternity when the wheels have fallen off. The honeymoon -- started the first week in September -- is over as the jolt the campaign received from Palin's presence is beginning to feel more like being tasered.

5:40 PM  

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