Archive for May, 2007

Rock with Barack refines its message!
May 16, 2007

As I began my usual morning activities of surfing the Obama website, watching the YouTube videos of speeches and promos for hours on end, losing track of time after having read blogs and new articles related to the Senator, and missed my afternoon classes as a result, a certain image kept coming back to my mind. It was of Barack Obama, standing in the middle of a crowded café, sleeves rolled up, collar loosened, and a bit of sweat on his brow. The people in the café are silently watching, gazing with an awe-struck look of inspiration, listening to every word as if it tasted like a sweet desert that they hated to come to the end of. The image was a still shot of a video where Barack is explaining his background, and at this moment, when the flash went off, Obama is telling the crowd about his efforts as a community organizer and a grassroots activist.

Barack Obama led efforts to register over 150,000 new voters in Chicago.

I was already inspired by the man, but at after working with the board of directors for Rock with Barack in an attempt to refine our message and goal, it became clear that we should model our efforts at the grassroots level after those of the man we so fervently support.

I want to tell you about an upcoming project that Rock with Barack is leading. We have decided to focus our volunteer efforts on voter registration in the state of South Carolina. By December 30 2007, we want to register 10,000 new primary voters in the state. Certainly it’s an ambitious goal, but we have a certain audacity of hope that leads us to believe that we can accomplish this.

South Carolina is so important to the primary elections. The voter registration procedures are more difficult than most states, meaning that the number of people registering themselves may be lower than in other areas. We can help them, and I hope you will join our efforts.

Right now, under the direction of Obama for America staff members and the South Carolina Election Commission, we are assembling what we call an “army of volunteers.” The idea is to get as many people on board, interested in helping in the Fall, signed up to sit at tables, go door-to-door, and whatever else we need to do to get this done. We want to work with surrounding states too, hoping to combine resources of other grassroots groups to create something substantial in the Fall. Once our “army” is in place and we are certain we have made a good deal of contacts that want to go out into the communities, things will begin to start. For now, we are recruiting, and like Uncle Sam, we want YOU.

I leave you with this charge: If you think you can help, please do. Let’s combine our ideas and efforts to help take the vision of Senator Obama to the White House. Senator Obama once said, “The best education I received was working with people in the community on a grassroots basis because what it taught me was that ordinary people, when they are working together, can do extraordinary things.”

I know we have the ability to do extraordinary things.

E-mail me if you are interested or have questions: Nathan@rockwithbarack.com

Nathan Lean
Director, Rock with Barack
http://www.rockwithbarack.com

Coulter’s mouth helps no one.
May 8, 2007

Submitted by Nathan Lean, Director of Rock with Barack

Ann Coulter, the Republican mouthpiece and media maggot has done it again. The conservative columnist recently said that Obama’s urging poll numbers are helping Al-Qaida, proving to people with brains that extremism is not a concept limited to terrorism.
“I think this is Newsweek doing more push polling for al-Qaida,” Coulter said in an interview recently.

I thought it would be appropriate to show our readers the types of comments Coulter has made in the past as to draw realization to fact that she is really Rush Limbaugh in a dress.

“I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”

“It is preposterous to assume every passenger is a potential crazed homicidal maniac. We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war”

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”

(speaking about the death of Princess Diana) “Her children knew she’s sleeping with all these men. That just seems to me, it’s the definition of ‘not a good mother.’ Is everyone just saying here that it’s okay to ostentatiously have premarital sex in front of your children? [Diana is] an ordinary and pathetic and confessional – I’ve never had bulimia! I’ve never had an affair! I’ve never had a divorce! So I don’t think she’s better than I am.”

The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.”

(speaking to a disabled Vietnam vet) “People like you caused us to lose that war.”

Perhaps Ann Coulter is afraid that her Republican buddies don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected in 2008 and therefore is doing all she can now to trash talk the man who she will soon refer to as Mr. President.

Personally, I am thankful Barack Obama is a man of hope and unity, not division and cynicism. I personally believe Coulter deserves the fate of Don Imus … forced extinction.

We’ll be praying for you Ann.

“Show Me the Funny!” The press, policy wonks, red meat and America’s need to be entertained
May 1, 2007

The first post of May comes from our contributing blogger, Linda Hansen

“Where’s the beef?” “All sizzle–no steak!”

That’s what we’re hearing. We get it from right-wing media, from mainstream media hankering for the story they want, when they want it. Barack Obama, they say, may be trying to parlay personal qualities, outsider creds and sentiment into an easy glide to the Oval Office. He looks good, sounds good, they say, but where’s the substance? Where are the vaunted position papers, the policy-speak in loquacious detail, every answer to every possible issue facing a troubled nation? We cannot afford, they tell us, another president like George W.; a neophyte who needs on-the-job training.

Give me a break.

If the mainstream media had been half as invested in knowing the facts–the “beef”–about the policy, strategy and purpose behind the Bush Doctrine in Iraq and the ensuing rush to war, we wouldn’t be bogged down in an endless, disastrous war today. If the press had done its job, we’d have known the difference between the truth and the lies, the whole story and the cherry-picked version offered up by the White House. But they did no serious digging, failed to demand answers to hard questions. For the most part, the media served as overpaid stenographers for the Bush administration, slavishly copying down what they were told and running it as fact.

Now some of them are carping about the Obama campaign. They want policy spelled out and they want it with all due speed. How do we respond?

Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. He didn’t muddle his way through college, scraping by academically, partying hearty. Barack Obama finished Columbia University and Harvard Law School without the safety net of wealth. He had to perform. And he performed well enough to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review; the first African American to hold that office. His peers, who elected him, called him “an impressive student, a natural leader.”

He worked with the poor, the disenfranchised in Chicago. He practiced civil rights law. He served as Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He served in the Illinois State Legislature. He’s no lightweight.

Barack Obama can pronounce the word “nuclear.” He knows the difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim. He’s an intellectual, a gifted communicator, a candidate whose commitment to economic parity, to social justice, is firmly rooted in his life experience. Real time in the street with real people. He gets it.

Here’s the truth, you latecomer media hardliners: You want a policy wonk? Really? We gave you a serious policy wonk in 2000. Al Gore gave you policy–up front and in detail. What did you do? You ridiculed him. He was, you snickered, like the smartest guy in the classroom–the one who always knew the right answers, the nerd who wore a pocket protector and thick glasses. Nobody likes a know-it-all, you said, but everybody likes the guy they’re comfortable with, the one who makes them feel good. Everyone likes the “regular guy” they can hang out with, have a cold one with, the one who doesn’t bore them to death with information. Like, say, happy-go-lucky George W. What an endorsement.

We offered you another policy wonk in 2004. It didn’t work then, either.

Americans don’t jump on the position paper bandwagon. Hard news goes the way of the dinosaur while Britney (with or without underwear), Paris and Anna Nicole grab the headlines and the imagination of a public that prizes entertainment over information. We like our sex and scandal served straight-up. The politics-of-the-gutter, smears, fears, half-truths, outright lies–all of it sells better than real news. Or real policy.

We’re offering you another policy wonk for 2008. But this time we’re offering one smart enough to know he must first capture the imagination and the hearts of American voters. Barack Obama will deliver the “steak” when the time is right. He’s smart enough to know there is no easy, black and white, simplistic answer to every problem we face as a nation. He’s smart enough to take the time necessary to offer sound solutions. He’s unlike George W., who sees everything in Public Policy With Dick and Jane’s Pet Goat terms and fails to consider nuance–or any dissenting opinion. Obama is a thoughtful, intelligent candidate who will draw on the best minds available, think things through, imagine the possible unintended consequences of policy actions. Position papers will come soon enough.

Note to mainstream complainers, Fox News, et al: The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, told us he’d pay down the debt, balance the budget, increase military spending (to keep us safe) and lower taxes–all painlessly done–within his first term. Bush 41 promised NO NEW TAXES. Dubyah pledged to “Restore honor and dignity to the White House.” He would rectify, he said, a U.S. military stretched too thin worldwide and put an end to a ruinous policy of “nation-building.” Not one of them kept their word. There’s your “steak.” So much for “positions.”

You won’t push us, you won’t scare us and you won’t dictate the terms of a relevant candidacy. We’ve had quite enough of politics-as-usual according to your rules. We can do better. And, with Barack Obama, we will.