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How Does Obama Do It?

cross-posted to jack and jill politics and Daily Kos There are superdelegates and supervoters. I am one of the latter, having sacrificed money, time, creativity and my health to volunteer for this campaign. The fact is Obama is still winning and is still the likely nominee, but I don't feel so hot right now. Much of that has to do with the fact that I'm very sick with a horrible cough, fever and sore throat. I must have come into contact with a Hillary supporter in PA and gotten cooties from her negative campaigning and vile Deathmarch to Denver. She is poison, and I fear I've been temporarily infected. Some of it also has to do with frustration over her destructive tactics and the refusal or inability of the party and its voters to see it for what it is. Perhaps I lack patience, but it's clear to me that Hillary Clinton is trying to destroy Barack Obama, and she does not care what the impact of that is. I've written before about how her attacks have certainly served the valuable goal of testing and toughening him up. I think we crossed the threshold of the value of this strategy a few weeks ago, and I was worried that she would help destroy his appeal among independents and moderate Republicans by running a Republican campaign against him. Now, I'm more worried that not only has she sabotaged him among those voters but is working to do so among the very Democrats who he and we will need in November. On Brian Lehrer this morning, I listened to an Obama supporter say she would reluctantly vote for Clinton in the general if she manages to snatch this nomination. She wouldn't be happy, but she would do it. Then I listened, dumbfounded, as a Hillary supporter said she would not vote at all or would vote McCain. Excuse me, but what on Earth did Obama do to these people? Are they so offended by his positive message and talk of hope and massive restraint in the face of withering GOP attacks from a member of his own party? Does the fact that he has not stooped to her level cause that much rage? Really? What would these people say if he actually did attack her? Really, if this is how people react to calm, cool, collected Obama, I actually fear what an outburst from him would result in. Today, I am angry, but it is not the inspirational anger of being "fired up!" and "ready to go!" No, this is the short-term, despondent anger of "do whatever you want" because this country probably doesn't deserve Obama and clearly doesn't know what to do with him. Hillary Clinton ran fear-mongering ads with Osama bin Laden. No democrat has ever done that. She said we would "obliterate" Iran if they attacked Israel with a nuke. John McCain happily sings "Bomb, bomb Iran," and I struggle to see the difference between them. What's the point of electing a Democrat who talks and walks like a Republican? Haven't we already seen what happens when Democrats act like Republicans, especially over issues of "security?" We get an illegal war and warantless wiretapping. Why would Republicans vote for Hillary when McCain is the real deal? I'm also bothered by Clinton's message that "Obama can't close the deal" with rural, white, gun-toting voters. That was proven true yesterday when she won 62 percent of households where a gun owner resides. So in the primary, at least in PA, these are her voters. Her message that Obama can't win them, however, has a major silent assumption: that come November, she will do nothing to help win them to the democratic nominee! She's claiming these voters and plans to keep them, for what? The point of all of this is that I'm tired of blogging about Hillary Clinton and her deathmarch campaign. I'm tired of pulling clips of her back-stabbin, Kamikaze tactics. I'm tired of Obama showing insane amounts of restraint (because he's better than her) and being rewarded with more of the same bullshit, being told he can't close the deal because he won't show an ad implying he won't let bin Laden walk into the country and kill little white babies silently in the night. Hillary has to threaten Iran because she lacks the imagination and talent to envision another future. She has to stir up fears among gun-owners and religious people, because despite her priceless surname and early advantages, she's been reduced to Politicking 101: scare the shit out of the voter. So I'm taking a break from my intense blogging of this campaign. Everything that I could say has already been said. All the arguments are on the table. Hillary is willing to do anything, not just to win the nomination, but to destroy the nominee. My continuing down this path only hurts me and my health right now, and I simply cannot watch any more cable news. That's like turning to leeches and "bleeding" when society is in need of serious medical attention. Besides, there are other things going on in the world that deserve my and our attention, so I'll try to shift my focus to energy and food and other issues of interest to black folks and Americans that does not have to do with this silly, silly Democratic primary. My final thought is this: Having these feelings has also shown me just how strong both Barack and Michelle Obama are. They are full of more fight, more hope and more faith than I can muster right now, and I say more power to them. For those of you feeling down right now, take heart that our candidate has and continues to weather so much more.

Easy Question: Are PA Voters Actually Offended?

cross-posted to jack and jill politics It's a simple question. All these old, white millionaires on TV are saying Obama made a big mistake. That he chose poor words. That he offended small-town Pennsylvania. How do they know? They all live in Los Angeles and Manhattan. They eat sushi and drink mad lattes. They read the NY Times. None of these commentators owns a gun. I bet most don't go to church. I bet most don't know financial hardship because their town wasn't decimated by the end of the industrial era in this country. It's all bullshit. Almost everything you see on TV is just bullshit. These idiots have big ass microphones and cameras and soapboxes. They are in the top percentile of wage-earners. Yet somehow they know the hearts and minds of a rural voter? It's a complete farce. They waited all of 30 seconds to say his comments were wrong, but they didn't ask any of these allegedly-0ffended voters. They just made it up. They pulled political analysis right out of their buttholes. And yet, their uninformed opinions dominate the news and dominate the discussion. Just look how much time we've spent on this topic, and we're supposed to be new media. Granted, I think we serve a useful purpose in these distraction-debates when we call bullshit. When we counter with information. When we don't simply amplify or get baited (like Hillary) into a meaningless conversation. However, it's not easy. So do I have special insight? Not much, but I have family that's lived in rural PA and post-industrial Michigan. I also think I use my brain more than these TV people. And I still live in the real world. The dangerous part is that if PA voters were not offended before, they might be now because they don't hear the context of Obama's statement (a reaction to a question about what they might face as volunteers going to PA). They only hear "elite" and "out of touch" and "condescending." Thus Obama gets defined beyond his control. If it could happen to Max Cleland, of course it can happen to a half-black dude who grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and graduated from Columbia and Harvard. It's so frightening and certainly not isolated to this candidate or this event. So, can anyone point to actual -- and I know this is crazy -- evidence that rural or post-industrial small town voters would be offended by Obama's comments? If not, then just realize we're all being bamboozled and distracted. Meanwhile, there are food riots in the developing world due.
In the last year, the price of wheat has tripled, corn doubled, and rice almost doubled. As prices soared, food riots have broken out in about 20 poor countries including Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, and Mexico. In response some countries, such as India, Pakistan Egypt and Vietnam, are banning the export of grains and imposing food price controls. Are rising food prices the result of the economic dynamism of China and India, in which newly prosperous consumers are demanding more food—especially more meat? Perennial doomsters such as the Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown predicted more than a decade ago that China's growing food demand would destabilize global markets and signal a permanent increase in grain prices. But that thesis has so far not been borne out by the facts. China is a net grain exporter. India is also largely self-sufficient in grains. At some time in the future, these countries may become net grain importers, but they are not now and so cannot be blamed to for today's higher food prices. If surging demand is not the problem, what is? In three words: stupid energy policies.
I'll be writing more about energy and food policy later.

Combatting Ignorance: Report From Someone Actually At The Obama San Fran Event

cross-posted to jack and jill politics What would we do if all we had were cable news yappers and Clinton backstabbers to explain what was going on? Read the entire thing. Here's an excerpt:
Imagine my surprise to see an article in the Huffington Post by Mayhill Fowler describing his answer as "a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience." and his answer being like "explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County." I guess Ms. Fowler thought that, unlike herself, the other attendees had never gone outside the large house in Pacific Heights where the event was held. I grew up working class in Texas. I thought it ironic that Ms Fowler, was attempting to paint Obama as a condescending elitist, while at the same time she was stereotyping everybody at the event with her omniscient insight. In any case, her agenda was clear. Despite Ms. Fowler talking about the people at the fundraiser being middle class in an earlier post, the "rich man poor man" theme fit better with the "Obama as a judgmental elite, talking to judgmental elites" spin. This also seemed to fit with some of her earlier articles where she had described Obama as cocky, arrogant, and even "flirty". What a coincidence that she now writes an article putting another twist on Obama's personality. All she had to do was a sneak a recorder in an small event for Obama supporters and do a little bit of crafty writing and out of context editing. Now Fox News and Lou Dobbs are having a field day.
I say again, the people moderating our political discourse are dangerously unqualified and irresponsible. I'm amazed this country still functions at all with the amount of well-financed ignorance that passes for media coverage. Amazed.

Back On The Road: Off To Get Philly Fired Up For Obama

I've spent the past TWO weekends at home in NYC. That's a ridiculous streak for me, and it's over. In a moment, I board a train to Philadelphia to rejoin the campaign trail for Senator Obama. Tonight, I'm speaking at a Generation Obama event. Details here. The rest of the weekend I'll either be canvassing or working to recruit new volunteers. After time in NYC, DC, Virginia and Texas, I have a few stories to tell about the importance of being the change you want to see. Fired Up!

Dan Drinker Endorses Barack Obama

Dan Drinker is a Pennsylvania resident who has Down Syndrome. His brother, Will, is making a documentary about their lives and has been posting articles and videos to One of the recent videos was Dan's endorsement of Obama. It's pretty touching and direct. He's got some especially complimentary (and accurate) things to say about Michelle Obama as well.