Friends and Family and Show-Me Progress ~
I wanted to share with you all some of the what I consider the most salient points to justify actively supporting Sen. Barack Obama in tomorrow’s Supa-Tuesday primary.
Also, below I will include some of the perspectives of some of our progressive colleagues, my dear friend Michael Jay (delegate to the Cal. Dem Party), Marcy Winograd (President, Progressive Democrats of LA), Jeff Smith (Missouri State Senator) and Jake Zimmerman (Missouri State Representative).
If you were an Edwards supporter, vote Obama.
If you were a Kucinich supporter, coalesce to Obama.
If you want to bust down barriers to change, pick Barack.
If you feel an over-hyped sense of militarism is hastening the decline of our nation, choose Obama.
If you have concerns about supporting what seems to be, at least in some ways, more of the same war-system supporting agendas, I would like you to consider some of what we do get with supporting and being a part of the Obama movement.
FOUR POINTS FOR PROGRESSIVES TO CONSIDER IN VOTING FOR OBAMA:
To list a few of Obama pledges:
* get people the health care they need
* rebuild our schools; our civic infrastructure
* get a sensible energy policy
* not forward a politics based on fear
* stop using torture as an instrument of policy
* obey the US Constitution
* shut down Guantanemo
* “bottom-up” movement vs. old guard “top-down”, an oft repeated mantra of Obama
* shutting down the 67,000 lobbyists (175 / Congress member) in DC from calling all the shots
* re-engage with international community with a completely new slate and agenda
* take on McCain on his support for Iraq, as someone who never supported it
* bring in people from all political stripes into Obama movement (think “Reagan Democrats” ie “Obama Republicans”)
* forward the idea of open-source government broadcasting policy debates on Health Care
* reassess the philosophy and mindset that got us into Iraq
* bring our troops home by the end of ’09 –
As opposed to Sen. John McCain, who wants us to stay in Iraq permanently (“100 years or more” – – clearly a nod to Empire…), make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, thinks our Health Care needs more competitive market forces… between these two choices, of course you can see the sense in supporting Barack as opposed to supporting McCain.
Having stated the obvious, consider Hillary’s case versus Obama.
She would be the first woman president-great.
She would be a pragmatic practical fighter in the White House-great.
She has a thick and rich resume-great.
She would be able to have the Billary factor come online in any way she would choose-great.
Especially, in the context of Bill Clinton acting as a special envoy to Iraq, extricating our troops out of Iraq and rallying the international community to back the plan possibly supplying Iraq with Muslim peace-keeping forces, maybe from Bangladesh… but would she?
IRAQ EXPOSES WHY WE NEED OBAMA
Would Hillary bring online some expansive foreign policy, and creatively pull us out of Iraq while at the same time protect Iraq from a genocidal civil-war explosion?
After she voted for the war?
It’s too risky to assume she would get us out, because it’s not a given.
She doesn’t ever want to “own” the mistaken vote, so in her head, somehow, I still see her feeling that it was the right choice at the time.
She seems to always be equivocating when defending her vote to authorize the war. We don’t need gamesmanship-we need leadership.
What this really points to, is that this acts as a preview to how Hillary would behave as President. She would equivocate and kibitz around when attempting to fulfill her pledge to end this war.
She most likely wouldn’t really end it, and at the same time, think she could get away with saying that she did-this is what she expects us to believe when she unbelievably says she was against the war in ’02-’03 (even though she voted for it), and that her vote to “authorize the use of force” was really an attempt to send inspectors back into Iraq, to let the inspectors do their job (as stated in the Kodak theatre debate).
Un-huh, right — she voted for inspectors.
You’d need a gyroscope installed in your head to prevent yourself from falling over from that dizzying spin.
We don’t need gamesmanship-we need leadership.
To reiterate Barack’s classy admonishment he made in the Kodak theatre: the bill Hillary voted YES on in 2002 was titled,
“Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002”
Another problem with automatically believing Hillary would end the war and fundamentally change the posturing of the US in the Middle East, is her possible overreaching conception of what being the Commander-in-Chief means. She may want to seem overly rigid as Commander-in-Chief, having her hands self-tied to needing to be perceived as “tough” and “strong”… remember she really didn’t commit completely to pulling us out of Iraq, until Nancy Pelosi took the opportunity to hold her hands to the fire by introducing her at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa, reminding her and the audience, that she had pledged to get us out as “President in January of 2009, I will end this war” … even when 70% of the American people were opposed to the War, she was still wanting her cake (saying the occupation has to go on and on) and eat it to (saying she’d end the war). She just can’t let go of her vote to authorize.
Now, the domestic policy contrast between Obama and Hillary may be largely similar, if not slightly different in some details.
But the real boon to Obama over Hillary is seen in building a new paradigm of leadership, engaging the people to realize a bottom-up transformative vision of the United States, domestically and abroad.
Barack has engaged millions — especially the youth of America — into the political process that have never been involved before.
He has inspired people through hope into action.
In the very apathetic and disinterested political environment we find ourselves in, here in the US – this in itself is a GREAT service to America.
His continuing ability to inspire and recruit folks into getting engaged is not something to balk at, and should be considered a great restorative tool for our nation.
As Jake Zimmerman and Jeff Smith have proclaimed, the international community, so very dissatisfied and upset with Bush’s leadership, in their heads are just about ready to push the eject button on the US. With the re-birth brought by the Obama Presidency they will not write-off America so quickly. If Barack succeeds to the presidency, it will massively show the wide breadth of possibility within our nation.
A part of politics is not just the nitty-gritty details, but a part of politics is also actually just the face of things, how they look and how something is positioned. The message-the vehicle. To go from the war-mongering attitudes of the Bush administration towards a President whose grandfather was a Muslim from Kenya, and whose other grandfather fought with Gen. Patton in WWII, shows in a very real sense how America actually fields a very broad political landscape; a diverse melting pot.
I truly feel his presidency would be welcomed by the international community as a breath of fresh air — a respite on any imminent death knell, pausing the broad perception now carried that our representative democracy has gone by the way side and has been left behind in the swath of an unbridled corporate takeover.
Folks–this may be the case–but an Obama presidency keeps our window of opportunity open to make the argument that this emperor (selling our nation’s commons out to special interests) has no clothes. In my upcoming campaign for Congress in Miss
ouri’s 2nd Congressional District, I will be making this argument.
One can get a sense of a politician’s priorities by what they focus on and work on a lot – especially in the beginning of their career.
Barack worked on getting children health care, on helping people laid off from factories in Chicago, on passing the first anti-profiling law in the nation.
He’s coming from the right place in his heart. A progressive.
In sum, I know there are problems in the gut on our two-party system, hypocrisies. I often still say, even as a Democrat, that many times it is not the trivial issues of debate that separate the two parties, but rather what they hold in common that represents the greatest threat to our democracy–because the people can’t vote on them… you know, what I’m talking about.
But, I feel Obama represents something new and different, a different story for our country, and I see some of the parsing and placation to the status quo troubling–but I also see the great value in the pledges and commitments he is making.
I see the great potential in his ability to craft a new brand of inspired leadership for our country, bringing in folks that have never voted before, resurrecting our nation from being completely written off by those around the world.
With the excitement brewing, the energy escalating, it truly seems as if the Obama era has begun.
Help this era to begin.
Thank you for your time and consideration…
In your service,
Congressional Campaign in Missouri’s 2nd District
FROM MICHAEL JAY Delegate to the CDP:
Why we need to choose:
Many of you know that I spent much of the last year working (well, volunteering) for John Edwards. This included much of my recent work with PDA national, for whom I coordinated the efforts of those members who supported Edwards. After John’s disappointing showings in Nevada and South Carolina, we continued to advocate for him, counting on whatever delegates he might win as leverage for him and as a voice for our Progressive priorities. (BTW, I’ve seen the Party up close enough to know how little credence they give to those outside of the Machine orthodoxy. If the wishes of our majority were reality, we’d have de-funded Iraq, passed Single Payer, and impeached.)
When I made calls in support of Edwards, I sometimes ran into Kucinich supporters who were still supporting Dennis after he had left the race, and I would (gently) question the futility of that strategy (see undemocratic policies of the Party leadership, above.) I now find myself, likewise, orphaned. It would be one thing to continue to support such candidates–if they were still in it. They’re not. I originally wanted Russ Feingold, but he bowed out before the race began; should I write in his name? Why don’t we just write in JFK?
It is now a fact that we have only two active campaigns. For those of you who find both remaining candidates too objectionable to support, but who claim that you’ll support our nominee in the general election, I ask you to consider this: if neither of them are good enough for you to vote for now, how can you rationalize voting for either of them in November? They’ll still be the same person. We have to decide NOW.
And for those of you who call on us to ignore these living, breathing candidates, and instead vote for our progressive “Agenda,” I ask you to show me where “Agenda” is printed on the ballot; all I see on my sample ballot are names of candidates, and only two of those are active.
I know and applaud the many of you who gave so much for those candidates who have left the race. But they’ve left. I now ask you to consider the words of a great president: “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves…”
It is now a fact that we have only two active campaigns. We must all disenthrall ourselves of the wishes of last month, face the reality of our current situation, think anew and make a decision.
So, why did those core members of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles choose to support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton–100% to zero? PDLA’s leader, Marcy Winograd, was one of those endorsers. Previously a supporter of Dennis Kucinich, and no shrinking violet (she single-handedly took on Jane “B-2” Harman, the leadership of the Party and much of California’s military-industrial complex,) Marcy blogged her reasons for choosing Obama over Clinton; here are excerpts (emphasis mine):
“On the subject of Iraq, Obama says the US must first let the Iraqi government and the world know we are on a schedule to leave, that we plan to remove two brigades a month. In addition to this, Obama says he will immediately set out to convene a conference of all the Muslim leaders of the world. The point of the meeting would be to signal to the Muslim world a new approach, a new policy, and to finally listen. From there he would begin negotiations with leaders in the region – Iran, Syria, Turkey, Jordan – without preconditions, to try to bring about stability.
Clearly, Obama would remind these leaders that he opposed the Iraq War Authorization from the start. True, he wasn’t in the US Senate at the time, but he was serving in the Illinois legislature and in the public spotlight when he delivered his powerful anti-war speech. “The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable,” Obama told a Chicago rally in 2002.
Clinton, on the other hand, failed to even read the National Intelligence Estimate, a document prepared by US intelligence officials charged with examining the justification for a US invasion.
During my challenge to Harman, one of the key questions I raised was — What good is experience and expertise if you fail to scrutinize the justification for war, if you ignore millions of people marching in the street to stop a horrific invasion that half the world knows is based on lies?
Had Clinton read the NIE document, she would have noted the boxed and highlighted objections made by intelligence analysts who challenged the Bush administration’s accusations that Iraq had WMD’s. Not only did Clinton irresponsibly vote for the Iraq War Authorization, she also voted against the Levin Amendment, which would have required Bush to seek UN approval for an attack on Iraq.
Despite this, Clinton went on Keith Olbermann’s show to say she opposed the war from the start. I couldn’t believe it when I heard her — and was equally shocked the normally-courageous Olbermann let her get away with such revisionist history.
More recently, Clinton, unlike Obama, voted for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, legislation declaring a wing of the Iranian military a terrorist organization. Surely, Clinton knew a vote for this amendment would afford Bush an excuse for expanding the Iraq war to Iran.
Clinton also voted against a ban on cluster bombs, munitions that blind children attracted to the thousands of tiny bomblets that litter places like southern Lebanon.
Obama, on the other hand, voted to ban the bomb that targets children.
I’d like to see a woman at the top who uses her experience and wisdom to say NO to imperialist wars, thus inspiring young girls worldwide to become peace makers and critical thinkers, not warriors and panderers to false patriotism.
Obama as President would catapult a man of African heritage, a man who spent his childhood among Muslims, to the center of the world stage, presenting a new face for America – and possibly a new US relationship to the rest of the world.”
I wish I could write this without saying that Hillary is the worse choice, but I can’t find a way around that. If you want a particularly cold splash of water about just how deceptive and duplicitous Hillary is, read all of this NY Times article, which was featured as the cover story of their Sunday Magazine last year. It shows not only her ma
chinations in voting for war and against diplomacy (!) but her efforts to portray her record otherwise, and her lies to cover these embarrassing and inexplicable contradictions. I thought long and hard about not giving this article more publicity, worrying that this will be more fodder for the Right if Hillary is the nominee. But that’s another problem, isn’t it: They’ve spent 16 years demonizing her like no one else. No Democrat is America outside of Bill is more recognized or more hated. There’s nothing we can throw in the mix now that could make her negatives any higher–the highest of any nominee in the history of polling.
The most consistent and impassioned criticisms I’ve heard about Obama regard his cozy relationships with business in health care and nuclear power. Fine, let’s get a line to him and lobby like crazy. I believe we could eventually have a receptive ear there. He may not be perfect, but I do hope and feel that we can lobby him, educate him and move him. I do not feel we will ever get an inch with Hillary, and I know many who play this game at a national level who feel the same. Think you don’t know Obama? (He has more of a record than Bill Clinton did when he became President.) We know what we’ll be getting with Hillary, and it won’t be pretty.
What’s both energizing and unnerving is to see that the youth of the country seems to sense this instinctively: they know who’s let them down on the war and the Constitution and free trade (that would be virtually the entire Dem. Congress, the Party leadership and specifically, the DLC and the Clintons) and who represents–to whatever degree–something other than business as usual. I, likewise, am willing to go with the candidate who was organizing his district while Hillary was on the board of WalMart, who will talk with Iran rather than declare their military to be terrorists, and who was speaking out against a war that went unopposed by Clinton. We have to choose, and I choose Obama.
– Michael Jay