Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama's Experience Issue

Did you find it odd that Barack Obama's reference to the subject of race in his speech was mostly about himself? He made a quick reference to MLK, as he stood on the set that was to remind everyone of the speech given 45 years ago in Washington, D.C. But the only real reference to race in the presidential race was, as usual, all about himself.

"I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington." Sounds like Sarah Palin to me.

So, if you don't vote for him, it is because he is the unlikely bi-racial candidate. It's not because he doesn't have the experience necessary, as he accuses Palin. It's not because he is not fit to be Commander-in-Chief, as he boosts of being anti-war in 2002. Of course, it was politically advantageous in his position as a state legislator, but he left that part out. Also odd that he referenced Roosevelt and Kennedy as examples of Democrat presidents who defended this country when it was necessary. I assume he meant FDR, and he was dragged kicking and screaming into WWII, with his Court of St. James diplomat, Daddy Joe Kennedy resigning as he was a Hitler sympathizer and refused to support our entry into WWII. And, then JFK, paved the way into the Vietnam war.

He didn't mention John Lewis who was a fellow fighter for civil rights right along side of MLK. He was beaten within an inch of his life as he marched. Lewis was afforded a speaking slot during the dinner hour last night. Not prime time. No mention in Obama's speech.

John McCain listed Lewis as one of three people he would turn to for advice in his administration.

There is a really interesting article written by Frances Rice of the National Black Republican Association. It is called Why Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. She carefully goes through the history in this country of the relationship of black Americans and the Democrat party and the Republican party. Martin Luther King, Jr. registered as a Republican in 1956.

"It should come as no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. In that era, almost all black Americans were Republicans. Why? From its founding in 1854 as the anti-slavery party until today, the Republican Party has championed freedom and civil rights for blacks. And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: Slavery, Secession, Segregation and now Socialism."

So, when Barack Obama was asked by Rev. Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church event, which Supreme Court justice would you have not nominated, Obama quickly named Justice Clarence Thomas. "I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he, I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretation of a lot of the Constitution."

So, back to the experience and judgement argument. As an article in The Wall Street Journal stated, "By the time he was nominated, Clarence Thomas had worked in the Missouri Attorney General's office, served as an Assistant Secretary of Education, run the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and sat for a year n the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation's second most prominent court. Since his 'elevation" to the High Court in 1991, he has also shown himself to be a principled and scholarly jurist."

As the Investor's Business Daily stated, "Even he knows that Clarence Thomas is eminently more qualified to sit on the Supreme Court than Obama is to sit in the Oval Office."

David Ignatius of the Washington Post wrote that Obama "gained a reputation for skipping tough votes." Interestingly, these included a key gun-control vote in December 1999 because he was vacationing in his home state of Hawaii." "The myth developed that when there was a tough vote, he was gone. Obama is the Illinois state senator who voted "present" some 135 times lest he be forced to take a position he would have to intellectually explain and defend."

I think you have to have judgement to make a decision, don't you?

And, does Obama really want to bring up the issue of experience as it pertains to a legal scholar? Obama was President of the Harvard Law Review with not one written publication to his name. Almost utterly unheard of. Recently one lone 'anonymous' comment was found and attributed to Obama by people at the School of Law. Anonymous. And, it was described as 'mediocre'.

With no major publications to his credit, he was hired to teach law at University of Chicago Law School. Interesting. Not the normal by far, too.

Obama's spokesperson, Bill Burton, issued a nasty, petty statement belittling Sarah Palin this morning before she even accepted the spot on the ticket at the rally in Dayton, Ohio. I guess he thought it would just be accepted. Then, by late afternoon, the candidate of change and his 6 term Senator running mate made it public that they had both called Palin and congratulated her and issued a joint statement. When questioned, Obama said, as though it was someone else's campaign and not one that is his responsibility, that sometimes these campaigns go off on headstrong ways. As though he didn't approve of the previous statement of his spokesman. Just something that happened, I tell you.

I'm sure it had nothing to do with the blowback the campaign received.

The campaign just keeps getting more interesting.


Jennifer said...

John Lewis spoke - emotionally and eloquently, and for himself - at Invesco Field prior to Obama taking the stage. There was a huge block of time given to celebrating MLK's life, work and the anniversary of his speech on the mall in Washington. The entire coda of Obama's speech was in tribute to MLK. And how does the line you quoted from the speech say, in any way, shape or form, that if you don't vote for him it's because he's the bi-racial candidate?

On another note, I imagine Todd and Track Palin will be changing their voter registrations pretty quickly, don't you?

Karen said...

I saw a bit of Lewis, too. He is quite a man, though not of my political thought.

Don't know if Todd and Track (who is deploying soon) will change registration. Meghan McCain did recently as she, too, was a registered Independent. Now she's a registered Republican to honor her father's journey, as she so elequently said on her terrific blog. And, my son? Registered Democrat this year.

Hey, maybe there is room for all thoughts in both parties. Even those uptight Republicans.

Jennifer said...

There is always room for all thoughts in every party. Perhaps it's because of my age and subsequent life experience gained awareness, but this has been the most amazing political season I've ever had the pleasure of participating in, top to bottom. It's going to be a good fight to the finish, which is closer than it appears.

However it turns out, I'm going to miss the 'getting there' part of this particular journey.

Karen said...

Not to sound like an old geezer, but I rememember the first campaign I felt as you do with your candidate. It's a great ride for political junkies. And, it's the only time you'll feel this way when it's over.

Life is like that. First experiences never measure up to subsequent events. Enjoy it.

Chuck said...

McCain really needs to make hay over Obama's 'present' votes, This shows a lack of character in my mind.

Jennifer said...

Oh please...this isn't the first time I've felt this way and it surely won't be the last. I've been working on political campaigns since the late 70's, before I even reached voting age. But it is the first that comes with the benefit of 45 years experience in the particular moment of history we find ourselves in today.