Archive for the ‘Democrat’ Category

Something to think about…
August 20, 2007


This video was recently posted on Daily Kos and I thought it would be interesting for our readers to see it for themselves here!

More from Columbia, SC
July 28, 2007

Yesterday was a very intense day in the political world. Barack Obama spoke to hundreds of College Democrats at the annual convention held here in South Carolina. Appealing to the common desire for change Obama said:

“Its time for a new generation in Washington… It’s time to get past the old debates that have divided us. Talks about the health care plan. If you graduate and you can’t get a job right away, you’re going to be able to stay on your plans insurance into your 25. I can’t problem that they’ll let you live at home until that age, but I can assure you you’ll have access to health insurance.”

“I want to ask you to return to your college campus and register 10, 15 new voters. Let’s show America that you do make a difference, that you’re vote counts. This our chance to show them wrong. Now in this election, it’s our turn. let’s right that next chapter, let’s turn that new page. Let’s change America.”

The State writer Brad Warthen wrote this.

Keep reading!

Live from Columbia, SC . . .
July 26, 2007

The heat outside can’t compete with the intensity inside the Russell House on the campus of the University of South Carolina. This weekend, USC’s campus will be the center of the political world as candidates come prepared to get their messages out to the students. Pulling into campus, I immediately noticed the massive Obama posters all over the place–and inside it gets even better. Students for Barack Obama and Obama for America have put together a first class presentation. I even ran into some folks from Rock with Barack and kept them pumped about our fall voter registration efforts! It looks like it’s going to be a good weekend.

I’ll keep you posted about the details and let you know how the Senators speech goes!

Until then…Rock with Barack!

When the Right Attacks…
June 28, 2007

contributed by Nathan Lean

I’m going to put myself out on a limb here–it happens from time to time when I feel a moral obligation to defend an injustice. When fear of controversy silences our desire to speak out, we have been robbed of our ability to create change.

The political world took a low blow Tuesday when Ann Coulter decided to open her savage right-wing mouth, yet again, wishing Sen. John Edwards “had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” Perhaps you may remember Coulter’s tirades earlier this year comparing Sen. Barack Obama to a terrorist or making crude comments about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s legs. Maybe it was the “ask me about my dead son” comment that brings back stirring memories of Coulter’s wicked ability to tap into a political dialogue with personal attacks about tragic family events. Whatever the case may be, it’s safe to say that Ann Coulter appears to be what many refer to as a “media prostitute –” an opportunist seeking to cash in on outlandish statements.

Perhaps this blog entry is giving the radical mouthpiece more attention that she deserves. But what will it take to silence this monster for good?

Further, has-been “independent conservative” and talking-head Pat Buchanan came to Coulter’s defense, claiming the garbage from her mouth was used to emphasize contradictions relating to haircuts, house size, and poverty. Let’s remember that Pat Buchanan was also the one who defended Don Imus’ outrageous comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Are these the people dominating our political debate?

What ever happened to policy? It seems as if the recent attacks on Democrats personal lives are an attempt to buy time while blood-thirsty conservatives search for arguments with substance related to policy and legislation. Newsflash: Similar to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there are none. Why can’t Coulter research Obama’s Health Care plan or Edwards’ poverty proposals?

Perhaps it’s fear of 2008 that drives this defensive, backed-into-a-corner style dialogue. Maybe 2006 was a prediction that people are ready for a “politics of hope” and will silence the Republican machine once and for all. Perhaps the substance of the Democratic party’s platforms can’t be matched.

God forbid, but if I were a Democratic or Republican candidate, I would be the first to denounce this style of trash-talk.

Contrary to popular opinion, we are indeed our brothers keepers. At leas in the minds of the voters.

For a politics of hope, free of trash-talk and low blow attacks, click here.

Youth, voting, and the Iraq war
June 19, 2007

by Nathan Lean

Harvard’s Institute of Politics recently reported that when it comes to the ever-chased “youth vote,” Sen. Barack Obama leads the field of Democrats along with Republican Presidential nominee Rudy Giuliani. As I read, and then re-read the report, I was struck with a strange sensation of fear and utter concern. The juxtaposition of these two candidates with particular regard to the youth vote may as well be compared to the juxtaposition of peanut butter and Italian salad dressing. Before you balk at my statement, hear me out.

Hungry for change and direct involvement with the hijacked political process, youth have begun to turn out to the polls more than ever in the last few years. Stats show that the 52% of 18-29 year olds that showed up to vote in 1992 is well within reach this election season. Not only is that number well within reach, the results of the 2006 midterm elections prove that youth are unsettled and untrusting of a war-hungry Republican administration. In nearly every crucial run-off, the pro-war Republicans lost their seats as the voices of the people rang loud and clear.

Do you think there is a correlation between the youth vote and the ’06 results?

This brings me back to Obama and Giuliani. Sure—I recognize that term youth has no underlying connection to progressivism or the Democratic Party for that matter, but doesn’t it seem odd that Giuliani, who so fervently sides with the Bush administration on Iraq war policy, is leading among youth? If people are tired of the Bush administration’s failed policies, why support a protégé of the President. Perhaps it’s time to point out the major difference in the two—that which I just mentioned: the war. “The worst thing to do is show them weakness,” “I’m afraid that Democrats haven’t learned that,” Giuliani said. In my mind, weakness is not admitting your faults, and continuing down the same path, getting the same results without fail. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck –why in the world should we call it a chicken? We have accomplished nothing in Iraq.

The war was what the Democrats won 2006 on and it will still be fresh on their minds in 2008.

I hope the youth today realize that Barack Obama—though a fledgling politician at the time, had more foresight than any other candidate on the platform today. It’s as if he looked into the future, saw the mess we are in today, and said no—absolutely not.

If there is one good thing about Giuliani having the backing of Republican youth, it’s an indicator that the vote will be more “left” in 2008. I simply hope that youth recognize the failed policy of our current Presidential administration and heed that notion when they cast their vote.

I also invite those undecided voters to consider the following statement: “ We must understand that the might of our military must be matched by the strength of our diplomacy.” –Barack Obama.

War Games: the pre-emptive punch and fair play
June 4, 2007

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This blog was contributed by guest blogger Linda Hansen

We have it on very good authority (George W. himself) that, in this post-9/11 world, it is imperative to strike the first blow when we have the slightest notion someone–anyone–out there means to hurt us. Hit first and hit hard. Any perceived enemy is fair game. No hard evidence of imminent danger necessary. His job, he declares, is to protect us fom harm. What a fair and sensitive guy he is. Or not. Insiders say he has a petty mean streak a mile wide. And he smirks when he punches below the belt.

The sitting president plays host, every election cycle, to newly elected legislators. Everyone’s invited to the White House to meet and greet the Commander Guy. They all make nice–even though they’ve said some pretty awful things about each other during campaign season. The 2006 shindig was a doozey.

Senator-elect Jim Webb (D-VA) was there. He’s the ex-marine who beat Bush buddy/wannabe George “Macaca” Allen in a tight race. Senator Webb was no supporter of Dubyah’s Iraq War and, unlike the Prez, Webb actually had a son serving his country in Iraq. He chose to avoid Bush during the White House reception. Not a bad idea when you’re no fan. It beats hissing at him.

But old Dubyah was having none of that. He made a beeline for Jim Webb. Here’s how it went:

Bush (smirking): “How’s your boy?”

Webb (not smirking): “We want them to come home, Mr. President.”

Bush (maybe not smirking): “I didn’t ask you that. I asked how he’s doing.”

Webb (definitely not smirking): “That’s between me and my boy.”

Conservative columnist George Will was appalled. He said Senator-elect Webb was rude to the President of the United States. He said Bush was only “being sensitive” and Webb was a “boor.”

Well, big whoop! How many parents of servicemen and -women are feeling all warm and fuzzy toward a president who misled their kids into a disaster in the Middle East and is determined to keep them there? Seems to me every family member of everyone serving multiple, extended tours of duty in Iraq has earned the right to say whatever he or she likes about the war. They’ve earned the right–the hard way–to state their own opinions. No matter who it is they’re talking to. Jim Webb should have been praised for his self-control. He could have balled up one powerful fist and made a pre-emptive strike of his own; to defend himself against both Dubyah’s invading his space and his “Commander Guy sensitivity.”

War Games. That’s what it’s all about. It’s just fine to play the War Game when the “pieces”–the toy soldiers–belong to somebody else. When the same group of military families bears all the burden of The Game while the rest of America shops and complains about the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

There’s an answer for that. Look to games to define the rules of fair play for games. We need a draft again. Not the old one. Nothing like it. The old Selective Service was just that: selective. There were easy deferments for those who could afford to stay in college. Lots of Vietnam era privileged guys got a sudden yen for graduate degrees. And you could avoid the draft altogether–like Dubyah, like Dan Quayle–if your daddy had money, power, influence. He just saw to it you got bumped ahead of every other guy on the National Guard waiting list or got you into graduate school, even when your academic record put you mighty low on the list of applicants. Nope. Can’t have that again. We’re going to play fair this time, no matter whose keester winds up in the sling.

Let’s do a shiny new draft. And lets’ do it like, say, the NBA. Like basketball. First round draft picks, second round, third round and so on. No deferments. None. Here’s how it goes:

First round: The kids, nieces, nephews and grandchildren of every member of the Executive Branch of government. The president and vice-president are the first to see their families’ kids off to war.

Second round? Kids from Legislative Branch families.

Third? Department of Defense and war-mongering think tank policy makers’ kids.

Fourth? Hit up big business. Defense contractors, oil company execs…take your pick.

If you love the notion of a war, if you stand to make a profit from it, your kids are gone.

It’ll work. I’m sure of it. There won’t be another Vietnam or Iraq in our future–not with the sons and daughters of the powerful at risk first. You can bet we’ll see some serious talking going on; a veritable renaissance of diplomacy and intelligent, compassionate discourse in solving problems worldwide. No more dishonest, for-profit, pre-emptive rush-to-war. Ever again.

The cost of such a war, our leaders will tell us then, is just too high.

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.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects–But Were Araid to Ask
April 12, 2007

Thoughts on sects by contributing blogger Linda Hansen

Surge or no surge, Baghdad is burning. And there’s a reason. Sects in the city. Sunnis and Shi’ites are killing each other just for being, well, Sunnis and Shi’ites–and both sides in this civil war are killing Americans.

If Dubyah had been a student of history, he’d have seen it coming. If he’d had the intellectual curiosity or the competence necessary to lead this nation, he’d have taken the time to learn a little something about the culture, the people of Iraq, before he invaded. Maybe if he’d done his job, been a little smarter, thousands of Iraqis and Americans would have been spared. And maybe our troops wouldn’t be caught in the middle of a religious civil war today.

The Sunnis and the Shia have been at each others’ throats for nearly 1400 years. It all started in 632 A.D. when their Prophet, Muhammad, died. They couldn’t agree on a successor.

Shia Muslims believed that, since Muhammad was the Chosen of God, his bloodline was holy. True divinity–by sacred sanction–ran in the family. It’s understandable. For centuries Europeans held similar beliefs about their leaders. The Divine Right of Kings, they called it. You didn’t mess around with inherent righteousness. Seems God was never too busy to pump up the red cell octane in the veins of royalty everywhere. Shi’ites had double indemnity in making their case for succession-by-blood: Muhammad’s daughter married Muhammad’s cousin, Ali. They would produce an infallible line of Imams for Muslims. It was a done deal.

But Sunni Muslims had other ideas. They liked the notion of choosing a successor from among their most trusted religious leaders. No matter whose blood ran in his veins.

Where was the divinity in that? Some irate fundamentalist Shi’ite probably said something like “The only way to heaven is through the Son of the Prophet. Or through the daughter and cousin, in this case.” To which some equally strident Sunni hollered “Who died and left you the sole authority on who gets into heaven?” And the war was on.

Clearly George W. didn’t know all this. His worldview is amazingly narrow–a “Don’t mess with Texas!” sort of thing. If someone on his staff told him the facts, Dubyah must have believed he could Shock and Awe ’em into getting along. We bombed and invaded. Surely we meant well. After all the fires went out, after the bodies were buried and the rubble was swept into a tidy pile, after the Victory Parade where millions of happy Iraqis threw flowers at our feet, we’d get rid of all those nasty WMD. Then we’d give ’em our version of democracy and convert ’em all to Christianity. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the system of government and the religious faith that brought them all that peace, prosperity and freedom? Presto change-o! Everyone would be friends. We’d have permanent military bases in the Middle East and control of Iraqi oil! Hooray for our side! Hooray for Halliburton and Exxon-Mobile! Other nations in the region would be so impressed they’d fall in line like so many born-again dominoes. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. We didn’t learn a thing from Vietnam, where a total failure to grasp the complexities of the culture doomed us to lose the war–even if it had been a just one. History repeats through ignorance. Ignorance breeds haste and hubris. Ignorance tainted U.S. foreign policy in Iraq from day one. And the 1400 year long holy war between Iraqis rages on.

Bush and his rubberstamp Congress lacked the foresight to look before they leaped. We need a president who won’t make that kind of mistake. We need a man who recognized, from the start, that this war was unwinnable; that we’d find ourselves impossibly mired in a debacle with no positve way out.

In 2002 Barack Obama made his position crystal clear: This war was a bad idea. He was against it. He knew the difference between “a necessary war and a dumb war.”

Enough said.