Obama and the ‘bitter’ remark

Cindi got on my case this morning, accusing me of being "obsessive" because I warned her and Warren that I might not have my "Barack Like Me" column ready for Sunday because I’ve got another 150 pages to read in his book, and I don’t want to rush this one. (What that means is that I’ll probably write something else, something less complex, for Sunday.)

Cindi’s worried because there’s only two Sundays left before we have tentatively planned to do our presidential endorsement, and I had planned sort of similar columns on both Obama and McCain. My response: We don’t have to run them on Sundays. Yeah, it’s a lame comeback, but it’s all I had.

Both columns would be reflections on the candidates’ formative experiences. I also want to read McCain’s book about his background. But I don’t know if I need to read all of that one, mainly because what I know about McCain’s background is so familiar. Another Navy brat. I even met his father once at Pearl Harbor (he threw me off the tennis courts there near the O Club), during the time McCain was a POW. Maybe I’ll find out different when I start reading, but I doubt I’ll find many surprises.

But with Obama, I feel like there’s so much to learn, so much to figure out. And he and I are alike in that respect, because he was motivated to write about his struggles to figure himself out. And I keep thinking that if I don’t read the whole book, I’ll miss something that is key, and get the whole thing wrong. So I’m still reading, at my own snail’s pace.

Of course, there is so much in the book that I’ll never have room to reflect in one column, even a longer column than usual. So let me share one thing I’ve noticed: You know that comment Obama made about white working-class types being "bitter" and clinging to their guns and religion, the one that got him into so much trouble with voters in Pennsylvania? (OK, I went and looked it up for you: "So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.")

Well, the Deer-Hunter demographic need not have been so offended. Obama talks that way about everybody. I know I have a tendency to be insensitive because I try to analyze people and issues dispassionately, and don’t give nearly as much thought to how my words make people feel as I should. (Sorry about the "Deer-Hunter" thing; I meant it in a good way.) But Obama makes me look like Mr. Touchy-Feely. It’s that "professor" thing. And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; maybe it’s the key to his unflappability, which is important in a leader, and which has helped him get this far.

But sometimes, reading his book, I just have to go, "Whoa" as he coolly dissects another person or set of people. The cadences and concepts expressed are eerily like the "bitter" comment. For instance:

  • About his maternal grandparents, who raised him: "Their principal excitement now came from new drapes or a stand-alone freezer. It was as if they had bypassed the satisfactions that should come with the middle years, the convergence of maturity with time left, energy with means, a recognition of accomplishment that frees the spirit. At some point in my absence, they had decided to cut their losses and settle for hanging on. They saw no more destinations to hope for."
  • About black Americans in a white man’s world: "Following this maddening logic, the only thing you could choose as your own was withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage, until being black meant only the knowledge of your own powerlessness, of your own defeat."
  • About dwellers of poor, black parts of Chicago: "For a people already stripped of their history, a people often ill-equipped to retrieve that history in any form other than what fluttered across the television screen…"
  • About a waiter he encountered in Kenya: "He can’t escape the grip of his memories. And so he straddles two worlds, uncertain in each, always off balance, playing whichever game staves off the bottomless poverty, careful to let his anger vent itself only on those in the same condition."

He has an unnerving lack of inhibition about putting himself in other people’s heads and then presuming to explain them in uncompromising terms. And while there is a certain caring, something related to pity, in all such passages, it’s hard to imagine the objects of such analysis being happy to be thus characterized. Sort of like being taken up into the spaceship and probed — it’s not a process likely to enhance your dignity.

So, like I said, the Pennsylvanian bowlers and Yuengling drinkers shouldn’t feel special. Obama talks like that a lot.

Anyway, back to reading. Obama is in Kenya now…

57 thoughts on “Obama and the ‘bitter’ remark

  1. COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret]

    McCain-palin tactics and temperament.
    Dear concerned citizens of America and Mass Media of the U.S.A.
    As a concerned registered independent voter, forensic psychiatrist, disabled American I made my decision to vote after taking into consideration following joint tickets attributes and characteristics.
    1. Has the ticket shown adequate calmness, coolness, and connectedness’s under pressure to lead our nation [Presidential Temperament]?
    2. Has the ticket shown sustained sound “Judgment and Caliber”?
    3. Has the ticket shown adequate understanding of depth and degree to address the crucial challenges in their their purpose, policies, and positions [ Honesty, integrity and sincerity]?
    4. Has the ticket sufficient “understanding and knowledge” of inside Washington workings [Experience]”?
    5. Has the ticket reservoir resilience, wisdom, and vigor to address the present and future f our beloved “Great-grand Nation”?
    6. Has the ticket enough joint foreign policy experience and exposure based on ” Values, Virtues, Vastness, and ” [American moral soul]”?
    7. Has their campaign talk, slogans, ads, plans, and programs based on facts and are they free of fear, fiction, frivolous labels, unfair attacks, negativity, and impulsively? [No “imminent danger to national
    security and safety”].
    8. Has the ticket genuinely kept on message of country first and politics last and avoided copying [Message change”]?
    9.Has the ticket message stayed away from Culture divide and war[ Disaster prevention ]?
    10. Has the ticket resisted being surrounded, supported and surrogate’s by divisiveness, distortion’s, and destructive characters, [ Real patriotism VS shiftiness and shameless parrot-ism]?
    11. Has the ticket thoughtful, real non-partisan, & non-impulsive plans to address our current economic crisis or political tactics and temperamental statements.
    I have personally and professionally concluded that OBAMA-BIDEN ticket will lift and inspire our greatgrand nation back to its greatness within and restore our global standing with the use of maximum, firm
    international diplomacy and minimal force if and when indicated {” Peace thru Strenght “}.
    12. The era of responsibility has to replace irresponsibility and unaccountability will change to accountability and transparency. The Wall Street greed will change to Main Street need.
    13. Temperamental and Angry McCain is out to play and create a card mistrust and distress around Obama with the Vail of claim that he will bring bipartisanship in Washington DC. He is destroying him claim every by painting Obama naive. It is tragic, sad, and unfortunate that so called Maverick McCain has already generated a disdain and demeaning face off in the debates and bailout suggestion. Obama is real Presidential and he maintained a smile during the debate and while McCain had a constant grin and disdain towards Obama.
    Yours sincerely,
    COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] MD.
    Forensic psychiatrist, Disabled American Veteran and Iraq
    Freedom team. Grass roots California leader per Senator McCain’s
    PS: It is sad and unfortunate that Hon, Temperamental and angry Maverick McCain has changed into bitter rather than better man.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Did we just get spammed? Anyway, back to the subject at hand…

    Reading Obama can put you in a self-analytical mood. So it is that I offer you the chance to compare and contrast Obama’s presumptuousness with my own. Consider the way I analyzed that white, working class woman in Pennsylvania I wrote about:

    LATE ONE Monday morning several weeks ago in a small-town diner in central Pennsylvania, I looked up from my paper to see that I was the last customer at the counter. Just the one waitress, the coffee pot and me.
        Filling the silence, I asked for a refill. Then I asked for her thoughts on the upcoming titanic battle in which she and her fellow Pennsylvanians would get to choose the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
        She didn’t have any. Yeah, she knew there was something like that going on, and that some people were really excited, but she had made no effort to follow it. She wasn’t dismissive, and she was willing to hear me talk about it, but to her it was neither here nor there. Some customers want coffee. Others don’t. Some want to talk politics. Whatever.
        This was disconcerting. I looked around the way you do when you’re thinking, somebody back me up here. But it was just her and me. And there was something about the moment — she was so matter-of-fact — that made me feel like I was the one who had to explain himself.
        So I did, at some length. I even confessed that I actually made my living caring about elections and such, thinking and talking and writing about them, which as I said it sounded ludicrous. She just nodded. Some collect stamps; others watch birds. This guy’s into politics. Whatever.
        She even encouraged me, in a noncommittal way. She asked who was still in it. I explained that John McCain had sewn up the Republican nomination, and that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were locked in a tight battle on the Democratic side — one primary going to her, the next to him, back and forth, the suspense building. I told her how folks had come out in huge numbers in South Carolina to support Obama.
        So who will win? she asked, and I said the smart money at that point was on Obama, with more and more Democrats deciding they couldn’t support Hillary.
        She asked: “Why? Because she’s a woman?”
        The question wasn’t a challenge; there was no feminist defiance in it. She was just asking, the way you might ask, “Do you think it’s going to rain?”
        Certainly not, I told her, and tried to explain about the Obama Appeal, about Hope and Change (capitalizing the key words with my voice), and how Sen. Clinton tended to appeal to folks who actually relished the partisan fight between left and right, and that many Democrats, and independents who had voted in Democratic primaries where (unlike Pennsylvania) that was allowed, were tired of the Bad Old Politics, so Obama was really catching on.
        There were, however, certain demographic tendencies to be noted, I said. For instance, quite a few white women over the age of 30 (realizing that I had just described the woman in front of me, I started talking faster to put that part behind us) did seem to support her because she was a woman, but the men and minorities and young people and women who favored Obama were, if they were turned off by Clinton, reacting more to the sort of campaign she had run….
        She nodded, and when I paused to take a breath, told me that the woman who owned the diner, and another waitress who wasn’t on duty that morning, were both Hillary supporters. Apparently, I had described them pretty well. Deciding I should quit while I was ahead, I paid my check, making sure to tip at least 20 percent, and headed back out into the cold March wind.
        And I thought about that woman, and how very normal she had been. She was no silly, apathetic fool, the sort that the passionately committed declare that Democracy Is Wasted Upon. She was intelligent — at least average, if not more than. She was sensible, and perfectly willing to care about things that should be cared about. She was earning a living; she was doing what needed to be done, and not wasting energy on anything that didn’t.
        Since that day, she has come to represent The Pennsylvania Voter in my mind….

    It’s not quite the Obama style, but it’s as close as I get.

  3. Lee Muller

    Have you noticed how dispassionate Obama is?
    Even in the debates and before crowds, he is unemotional. He has to act like he is enthused.
    Have you noticed that none of his family come forward to endorse him? He has no close friends, just socialist and radical associates. No one remembers him from high school, Occidental College, Columbia University or Harvard Law School.
    Look at Obama’s book as an attempt to deal with abandonment by his father, and his search for identity, not just racial (he is as much Caucasian as he is African).
    Also look at it as an immature attempt to acquire blackness by copying the memoir format of Malcom X.

  4. Ish Beverly

    The Obama supporters desperately need a reason to vote for him while he sits back looking cool with the news media running interferance for him. They are always comparing oranges to apples to better his image. They compare white collar crime to murder and put them both on the same level. All the Obama supporters should have a sanity examination. All found unable to know what they are doing, would be offered help. Those found sane enough to know what they are doing would be indicted for treason.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Lee makes a couple of interesting points. Yes, Obama is dispassionate. One can take that as coldness, or see it as reassuring, a good hand at the tiller in a crisis.
    Secondly — among the things that I discover from reading his book that Obama and I have in common is the fact that he and I both read Malcolm X while we were high school students in Hawaii (although of course in my case, that was a few years earlier).
    Both of us were impressed by the book that Alex Haley ghostwrote. But for me it was a fascinating tale, a window into aspects of life I had never suspected. And unlike other books I enjoyed during that period (Catch-22, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Godfather), it was true.
    For Obama, it seems for a time to have been a guide to life. His last two years at Punahou, he describes a descent into drugs and dissolution. I doubt that he descended as far as he lets on, considering that he DID graduate, and was able to get into the Ivy League. But I think there was a romantic attraction for him in trying — as part of his self-conscious exploration of what it meant to be an American black man, a role he chose out of other paths that might have been available to him — to walk a parallel path to Malcolm, mimicking the wild period before his conversion to Islam.
    For my part, I didn’t smoke dope. But among my friends, most of whom did, it was no big deal that I didn’t. There was none of the paranoia you might have found under such circumstances on the mainland. I’d pass the joint by when it came to me, and people would shrug as though to say, Oh yeah, he doesn’t chew gum…
    I did have some misadventures involving alcohol, however, such as the times we would pass a bottle around in the boys’ room at school. I guess I was just an old-fashioned sort of misbehaver.

  6. James D McCallister

    You’d have been better off taking the toke. IMO. Naturally occurring plant. Receptors in the brain, evolved that way, or else God put them there. An accident?
    Refute the logic. Please. Anyone.
    (insert sfx of crickets)

  7. Lenin Muller

    1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

  8. Mike Cakora

    The book is certainly Obama’s, but did he write it? Or did he have a ghostwriter?
    He’s certainly dispassionate in his manner of speaking, quite a contrast from the evocative, emotion-laden writing in his book. He had no literary track record of any sort, yet after the New York Times published a profile of Obama and his election to the office of president of the Harvard Law Review, Simon & Schuster gave Obama $125K advance to write a book on race relations within a year, making it due in 1991 or 1992. Despite moving to Bali for several months to get away from it all, he couldn’t get it done. When he missed his deadline, his agent got him another contract and a $40,000 advance from Times Books.
    Obama’s memoir was published in June 1995 and it’s good.

    “The book is so literary,” said Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who teaches autobiography and is the author of a recent biography of Ralph Ellison. “It is so full of clever tricks — inventions for literary effect — that I was taken aback, even astonished. But make no mistake, these are simply the tricks that art trades in, and out of these tricks is supposed to come our realization of truth.”

    (This is an excerpt from the previous link.) Take this sentence:

    “Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds.”

    It scores 54.8 (range is 0-121) on reading ease and a 12th grade reading level using the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES). (This is an excerpt from the last link.)
    Not bad for a lawyer, no? And a lot fancier — more evocative language and greater use of complex literary devices — that his later book, The Audacity of Hope.
    There’s nothing wrong with having a ghostwriter, although folks like McCain are more forthcoming in the credit they give to such writers than others are, and we don’t want to mention a former president’s wife who, until recently, was also running for president.
    There is one catch: it may matter who the ghostwriter is. While it will have no impact on the election and any Obama presidency, author, journalist, Ph.D. in American Studies, and investigator Jack Cashill today published an intriguing column on who he thinks the ghost writer is.
    In his analysis Cashill notes Obama’s lack of a writing record of any sort before his remarkable memoir was published. He then describes the analyses, both stylistic and quantitative, that he subjected the Obama book, his own book, and another book not chosen at random (NCAR) to. The NCAR book has this passage similar in style to the Obama one excerpted above:

    “I picture the street coming alive, awakening from the fury of winter, stirred from the chilly spring night by cold glimmers of sunlight angling through the city.”

    It scores a 54 on reading ease and a 12th grade reading level using FRES, identical to Obama’s.
    Doing a QSUM (I’m not embedding the link so that I don’t run afoul of Brad’s three-link max rule: http://members.aol.com/qsums/) of thirty-sentence sequences on the same topic from the Obama and the NCAR book yields 23.36 and 23.13 words per sentence. His own work yields 15 WPS and Obama’s later work yields 29 WPS with a 9th-grade reading level.
    Cashill acknowledges the limitations inherent in trying to prove authorship. But he goes on to highlight some interesting stylistic quirks evident in both Dreams and the NCAR book, and the use of the same words in the same context. The clincher for Cashill is this excerpt from Dreams:

    “A steady attack on the white race… served as the ballast that could prevent the ideas of personal and communal responsibility from tipping into an ocean of despair.”

    “Ballast” has a precise technical meaning and would likely not occur to one who’s not a sailor, and Obama was not, despite his time in Hawaii. But the author of NCAR at one time aspired to travel the seas in the Merchant Marine.
    For more on why Cashill believes that Bill Ayers is the ghostwriter behind Dreams of My Father, read this.

  9. Karen McLeod

    Obama’s ability to be dispassionate is one of the things I like about him. If one cannot consider things dispassionately, then one can’t see what the issues really are, and therefore cannot effectively deal with them. That doesn’t mean that one cannot care passionately; it only means that one can disconnect one’s own concerns long enough to think rationally. It really works better.

  10. Mike Cakora

    Karen –
    And we’d all like evidence that Obama’s dispassionate airs indicate wisdom, as historian VDH opines:

    Nor does Brooks grasp that [Obama’s] recall of Niehbuhr apparently offers Obama little ethical protection from the close association with the virulently racist Wright or warns him not to talk after 2001 with the now boastful and proud ex-terrorist Ayers, and no judgement about the moral course in the earlier conduct of his disturbing Illinois campaigns, or principled consistency in his ideas about NAFTA, FISA, campaign financing reform, drilling, the surge, Iran, taxes, abortion, or capital punishment — or even the abilty to distinguish between maintenance of proper tire air pressure and the need to expand American oil production. Perhaps salmon fishing or moose-hunting might have been of value in reifying the more abstract wisdom found in Niebuhr.
    In the present financial meltdown, mostly caused by some of the brightest and most educated of our own on Wall Street and DC, it is not anti-intellectualism to wonder what the Harvard Law School educated Barney Frank was doing, when, as a key overseer of Fannie Mae in a now much viewed House Banking Committee session, he pompously waved off his moral responsibilities and gave the disingenuous Harvard Law School educated Franklin Raines a pass to continue to milk the venerable institution on its road to perdition.
    In regards to Bush, it is now the standard fare of the times to offer the appropriate put-down, and Brooks paints him with the usual yokel, anti-intellectualism brush. Yet those who once supported the decision to go to Iraq (many like Biden or Fukuyama dating back to the Clinton days), were among our most educated and brightest. But like a chorus of a Greek tragedy, almost all of them not merely abandoned their once zealous support, but (again, like Biden) at periodic intervals prepped their ongoing commentary on (always changing) perceptions about pulse of the battlefield. Bush, to his credit, went with Petraeus and thus Iraq was stabilized — but not by a President’s seeking out the convenient position of the hour, but by supporting the surge and its ancilliary tactics when few others in the Bush coterie did.
    In this regard, the eloquent, sensitive philosopher Obama, despite his current protestions about Iraq and an insistence on his principled and long-standing and unflinching opposition to the war, during that brief euphoria over its elections and in his eagerness not to seem out of sync with the then Democratic mainstream, in July 2004 gushed, ““There’s not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush’s position at this stage.”
    What then is real wisdom?

    Of all the wise guys VDH mentions, only Franklin Raines has paid the price, $4.9M!

  11. Harry Harris

    Brad: Your constant, subtle attempts at undermining support for Obama are dismaying even in light of your support and endorsement of both Bush/Cheney campaigns. If you have seen or read about the current shameful and desparate attempts by both Gov Palin and Sen McCain to win this election by attacking Obama on associations rather than issues, you need to either admit his campaign is unnecessarily destructive to the political atmosphere needed in this country or cough-up your pretense at “un-party” sentiment. They have used rhetoric and tactics that has whipped up the kind of fury and hatred at their campaign rallies that tears at the heart of what will be needed to lead us no matter who is elected. A number of Republican and conservative public and media figures have denounced the latest tactics to the point of expressing dismay over having to vote and refusing to answer if they will vote for McCain. Country first? Hardly.

  12. Lee Muller

    The Obama machine admits that Obama was BORN IN KENYA.
    … and that Obama is still a citizen of Kenya.
    FactCheck.org says Obama is a citizen of Kenya.
    Obama’s spin site tries to explain it away:
    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.
    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4, 1982.”
    **** But Kenya doesn’t permit dual citizenship.
    **** US law doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, because Americans are citizens of America only by being citizens of their states first.

  13. Lee Muller

    Barack Obama cannot produce a manuscript of his book in his own handwriting.
    Obama cannot produce any evidence of his work at Columbia U. or Harvard Law.
    Obama refuses to explain how he paid for Columbia or Harvard. He says he had scholarships, but Columbia has no record of any scholarships or student loans. Harvard gives no student aid for Law School. Obama was secured a place at Harvard by a wealthy Muslim donor, who also paid his entire way.
    Obama lied about his place of birth being in Hawaii. That is why he could produce no birth certificate.
    His high school and Columbia records list him as a citizen of Indonesia, through adoption by his Muslim stepfather.

  14. a. mcewen

    oh yeah lee muller. obama is secretly a “terrorist.”
    your mentality is the reason that the country is in as bad a shape as it is now. If you don’t support Obama, let it be for policy issues not silly conspiracy theories..
    Here is a man who worked his way up from poverty and he is being attacked for it? Here is a man who seems to be criticized for not being passionate enough?
    I’m sorry but I have always believed that calmness and poise is a hallmark of leadership.

  15. jimmy - cheraw

    With all due respect to the Col…
    “As a concerned registered independent voter, forensic psychiatrist, disabled American”…..a disabled psychiatrist?? does that mean he’s lost his mind?, apparently so from the rest of his written diatribe!

  16. Lee Muller

    Obama did not “work his way up from poverty”.
    Obama went to Columbia U without any student loans or scholarships. He roomed with a Pakistani smuggler. Who paid for his education?
    Obama made $15,000 a year working for socialist group engaged in massive voter fraud and mortgage fraud.
    Obama was gotten into Harvard by Percy Sutton (Malcolm X’s lawyer) and Khalid Monsour (former Black Panther Donald Warden), who is the political connection to American Black Muslims for Saudi Prince Alweed.
    Prince Alweed and Monsour paid Obama’s way through Harvard.
    After Harvard, Obama could get no job, contrary to the claims that “he turned down jobs on Wall Street”. Obama and Michelle, combined, earned less than $50,000 a year, according to their FEC filings.
    Then, Obama was suddenly put on the payroll of the Daley machine at $8,000 a month. He went to work with the Nation of Islam and Tony Rezko to get federal grant money to fix up slums. Rezko and the Muslims opened over 40 pizza franchises, using these tax monies.
    Rezko helped buy a $2,000,000 mansion for Obama.
    Rezko was recently convicted of fraud for the real estate deals on which Obama worked.
    Obama has received over $1,000,000 in “donations” from AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, FNMA and FMAC for protecting them from regulation and investigation.
    Michele Obama was given a $327,000 job on the board of a hospital in Chicago, which received millions in earmarks from Obama.

  17. bud

    Here’s a story from citizensforethics.org that has curiously been downplayed by the MSM. It has to do with McCain’s apparent gambling addiction. Given his eradic behavior and bizarre choice for VP it’s becoming more and more clear that Obama is the safer choice on November 4.
    Peter Bjork
    9 Oct 2008 // Washington, DC –
    Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate whether Senator John McCain (R-AZ) violated federal law and Senate rules by failing to disclose gambling winnings on his Senate financial disclosure reports.
    According to a recent article in The New York Times , Sen. McCain is an avid gambler, who frequents casinos as often as once a month. The article states that in the winter of 2000, at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, “[Sen. McCain] and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.” Sen. McCain also reportedly spent a weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2007, playing craps while there.

  18. bud

    I was channel surfing last night trying to get both the liberal and conservative perspectives on the campaign. Of course we had the usual nonsense out of Fox with Sean Hannity and Anne Coulter living denial by claiming the polls are essentially even. Keith Olberman was likewise his good old partisan self. But what struck me was the astounding difference in the crowds between the 2 campaigns. That startling difference came through clearly regardless of the network. The Obama and Biden rallies were very upbeat with crowds cheering their champions on like a college football game. Even when Biden pointed out McCain’s cowardly attacks on Obama’s character in rallies while not looking him in the eye during the debate, the crowd cheered. I thought that strange. But it showed how positive the Obama supporters are.
    Conversely, at the McCain/Palin rallies the crowds booed every mention of Obama. They started saying stuff like “he’s a terrorist” or “kill him”. This is really scary stuff. The shameful McCain campaign is bordering on inciting a riot at this point. It’s probably within the realm of free speech to continue with their assaults but it’s certainly crossing a line even beyond the usual negative politicking of the right. McCain needs to reign in his and especially his little girl VP before this gets completely out of hand. If he wants to attack Obama he needs to do so like a man, at the debate, rather than letting a girl do his dirty work.
    Obama for his part is showing himself to be a truly presidential statesman. His intelligence and calm are so reasuring during these difficult times. I hope the American people see this election for what it is: A calm, confident, intelligent leader vs. an old, eradic, out of touch, dangerous has-been.

  19. Lee Muller

    You Obama Deniers know it’s all true. You don’t care that Obama is a crook, because he’s your crook.
    I already posted links to stories in major news chains, books and web sites for every one of Obama’s sleazy pals. I don’t have to post them every time for people too lazy to read.

  20. Michelle

    Mr. Muller, before repeating lies you got in some chain email perhaps you’d like to go to Snopes.Com, a non-partisan site which refutes urban legends and learn the truth: that Obama (and Michelle Obama) both have extensively referenced their history of having to use student loans and grants to finance their education. And they have been very open about the fact that they were unable to pay these loans off until the sales of Obama’s books helped them to become more financially secure. There go those “he’s funded by terrorist” talking points.
    Darn the truth.
    I would like to ask however, how Mr. Muller feels about Palin’s husband’s involvement with the Alaska seperatist movement?
    Or why is it that no one remembers PALIN from her college years–of course that might be because she attended FIVE colleges in SIX years to obtain a single Bachelor’s degree (in journalism–we know what that’s worth don’t we?). Don’t believe me? How about this AP article: “She began college at Hawaii Pacific University, a private, nonsectarian school in Honolulu. She attended only as a freshman during the fall of 1982, school spokeswoman Crystale Lopez said. Then known as Sarah Louise Heath, she was in the business administration program as a full-time student, Lopez said. “We’re trying to track down someone who knew her,” Lopez added.” “We were not able to track down club affiliations or anything,” Hudson said. “The school identified one of her professors but he did not remember her, Hudson said.” From Hawaii Pacific, Palin transferred to North Idaho College, a two-year school in Coeur d’Alene, about 30 miles east of Spokane. She attended the college as a general studies major for two semesters, in spring 1983 and fall 1983, spokeswoman Stacy Hudson said.
    From North Idaho College, Palin transferred 70 miles south to the University of Idaho, the state’s flagship institution. She majored in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast news. She attended Idaho, whose mascot is the Vandals, from fall 1984 to spring 1985. She then returned to Alaska to attend Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer in fall 1985. Then she returned to Idaho, for spring 1986, fall 1986 and spring 1987, when she graduated. Despite her journalism degree, she does not appear to have worked for the college newspaper or campus television station, school officials said.
    Who funded Ms. Palin’s “education”, such as it was? Why does no one remember HER at her first couple of colleges?
    Really Mr. Muller—learn to use the Google.

  21. Lee Muller

    McCain has no excuse for cheating on his first wife, and has admitted it was a mistake.
    Obama’s cheating in this election is a far more serious matter. He is still running around with Marxists, racists, Muslims and swindlers, while his minions register millions of fake voters to steal the election.
    Democrats know Obama is a lying crook, but he is their crook.

  22. Tim C

    I doubt seriously if John McCain even knows who Malcolm X is much less read his autobiography. McCain only has time for those things that benefit him personally. His mantra of your either with me or against me leaves him lacking in understanding of the world around him. He sees our country and world as it was in the 1970’s. Our problems today aren’t yesterday’s. You don’t graduate eight from the bottom because you are stupid (those don’t graduate). It happens because you are lazy, disinterested and self absorbed. Brad, you may know John McCain but you still should read his book. It is a stark contrast from Obama’s and a view into the man and how he sees this world. A lack of understanding of the cultures, religions and perspectives of today leads to misunderstanding, hate and discourse. A strong leader finds common ground leading through commonality while simultaneously respecting differences. McCain and his supporters lash out in irrational anger at all those that disagree with their viewpoint. We’ve seen what this style leadership has done to our country over the last eight years.

  23. p.m.

    Thanks, Michelle, for the information about Palin’s college career.
    I’m thinking Brad should write a “Palin Like Me” column, too.

  24. Harry Harris

    If the voters in this state and country fall for this sideshow atempt to win an election by demonizing the opponent rather than discussing and debating substantive issues, we will be stuck with an administration incapable of leading us and beholden to the same political operatives who gave us Bush/Cheney (twice). If that attempt is rejected, at least we will have the opportunity to be led, despite the kind of hate-speech some posters here are prone toward, by a leader who has run a disciplined campaign and has focussed on the issues that matter to most of us.

  25. Michelle

    I for one would appreciate the truth being told about the McCain-Palin team here on this blog or in The State but I think we both know that’s probably not a likely scenario. I encourage everyone to read this article from Time magazine on the true economy of Alaska: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1839724-1,00.html
    Pesky facts presented include this: “Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 2 1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double.” And then there is this: “Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.”
    And people are worried about “socialism” and “marxism” and higher taxes from Obama-Biden? And about the patriotism that McCain and Palin cling so fiercely to? I give you this, from best-selling author, NY Times columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/opinion/08friedman.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin A sample:
    “Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic. I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.”
    can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.”
    Friedman is equally mystified, as I am, how conservatives believe this woman is qualified to be one heartbeat away from the presidency, the same people who complain about Obama’s lack of experience.
    “We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.”
    And Mr. Muller (and Brad) are concerned about some ex-60’s radical and how many times Obama met with him?
    Friedman also does a very nice job of debunking Palin (and McCain’s claim) that Palin is some sort of energy expert. “She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people. At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. Palin. …. is prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.”
    And yet, McCain and Palin keep demanding “answers” to questions they know have been answered while telling us precious little about their own plans, or more correctly, there lack thereof. That’s not a campaign, it’s a smear campaign but sadly, in the case of some here, that’s all they need.
    I believe that this line of reasoning got us where we are today: bogged down into two never-ending wars, an economy that has succeeded only in crashing the worldwide markets, and half a dozen other equally similar horrible things we probably don’t even know about yet. Country first? Whose country? Saudia Arabia’s? China? Iraq? Because it’s sure not America where those two, and their enablers, with their lies, smears, and half-truths are concerned.

  26. Brad Warthen

    That would be an awfully short column. My wife and I have five kids, and I could point to other parallels in our personal lives, but I wouldn’t invade my family’s privacy to that degree.
    We agree about abortion; I suppose there’s that.
    But now I’m done. Short column, huh?

  27. Brad Warthen

    Oh, and where did you read that Friedman column? Lots of people read it in The State this morning.
    You know how to get me to turn away and not pay any attention to what you have to say? All you have to do is say “You’ll never read the truth about this in The State…” What that always means is that you don’t see your own prejudices reflected in the newspaper at the expense of other people’s prejudices. This is a LONG-time favorite thing to say for the right wing; they’ve been saying it at least since Spiro Agnew egged them on. For instance, in recent years, they have passed on stories about something positive happening in Iraq, with the preface, “You’ll never read THIS in the newspaper…”
    In recent years, the left has adopted the same obnoxious habit. I trace it to the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998; that was the moment when Democratic anger toward the press finally reached that of Republicans, in terms of what I experienced directly. But perhaps it started earlier.
    Anyway, what it always says to me is, “Move on to someone else; this person has already decided that you and anything you say is illegitimate, so what’s the use?” Because the most insulting, alienating thing you can say to a journalist is, “You won’t tell the truth.” I suspect you know that, which is why you say it. But why should I engage someone who comes to me that way?

  28. Lee Muller

    Tom Friedman is such a putz. He knows next to nothing about every subject, but he has forgotten that he was only a second-rate reporter, who now thinks he is an expert on world affairs. He thinks the most popular governor in American history, who just turned around and cleaned up Alaska in 18 months is a dummy. What has Tom Friedman ever done?

  29. Randy E

    From the endorsement of Christopher Buckley, conservative son of WFB: McCain once said “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic.
    Meanwhile, Brad continues to write with obsession about his man-crush on McCain.

  30. Michelle

    For the record, I read Friedman’s column in the State, duh. I was trying to point out the utter irony of the State running Friedman’s column and Brad’s continued defense of McCain and Palin and obsession with a 60’s era radical as if those were important issues as our economy–and the world’s economy tanks. There is no disputing that the State selectively edits. I subscribe to three newspapers a day and read at least that many more online and it’s always fascinating to me to contrast and compare what one paper will run (as in the full text of an AP article) while the State chops, dices or otherwise ignores. I suppose now Brad will blaim it all on the State’s declining revenues and the high cost of paper/ink, etc. Whatever. I find your denials highly amusing. I also notice you haven’t bothered to refute a single fact I’ve presented. Probably too busy breathing a sigh of relief that most of SC has no idea about any of it thanks to the State’s selective editing. Example? This morning. Today’s State. The AP today released a rather lengthy article about an incident yesterday at a McCain rally where some ill-informed woman stood up and told McCain about how she had “read about him (Obama) and he was an Arab”. McCain shook his head and told this woman that was not true, that Obama was a fine, decent man, a citizen (presumably he meant of this country, not Kenya) and that the American public did not have to be afraid of him as president. The State somehow edited the part out the woman’s comments (must be a relative of Lee’s) re Obama being an alleged “Arab” and instead had a very brief little slug about McCain’s statement, buried 3 or 4 news items down in their political briefs section. Can’t really have folks reading that front and center in the morning now can we? Fortunately, the story is being widely carried on cable news networks and in other papers, the entire AP article has run, unedited and not buried.
    It must really suck right now being a McCain-Palin defender. After more than a week of stoking hatred and bigotry, McCain does an about face and tells the truth about Obama. How refreshing. But wow–do we really need another perfect example of how truly erratic McCain and his mismanaged campaign truly are?

  31. Matt

    Mr. Muller,
    Let me get this straight- Obama is a Harvard fraud liar secretly born in Kenya who didn’t really write his own autobiography. He has no close friends but is friends with Marxists, racists and other “sleazy pals”?
    Meanwhile, Tom Friedman is a second-rate reporter and a putz (you know) and Palin is the most popular governor in American history (what about Reagan?)
    As an Obama supporter, union member, Yankee transplant, and Roman Catholic I beg you to please keep up the comments. You’re undoubtedly turning people away from McCain and towards Obama with your hate-filled, bizarre rants. The Democrats need you to keep telling the people the “truth.” Wide-eyed and shrill. Thanks!

  32. Mike Cakora

    An interesting quirk of British law (The British Nationality Act of 1948) made Obama a Kenyan citizen at birth. From Obama’s website:

    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

    This in and of itself of course has no bearing on Obama’s qualifications for the office of US president.

  33. Lee Muller

    Palin is a more popular governor than Reagan was. Radical Democrats, socialists and communists kept up a campaign of paranoia about Reagan, but California is home to lots of such nuts.
    Barack Obama’s grandmother said he was born in Kenya.
    Obama’s sister says that Barack was proud of his Muslim faith, and chanted prayers every day.
    Maybe that’s another reason you don’t see Obama’s family, or any close friends, being shown to the public.

  34. Lee Muller

    Bill Ayers is not a “60s era radical”.
    He is a 2008 radical communist, and a close associate and mentor of Barack Obama.
    And Bill Ayers is only one of dozens of communists, socialists, Muslims and racists who comprise ALL of Obama’s close associates.

  35. Randy E

    Michelle, the Palin supporters are also having a grand time explaining the “unlawful abuse of her power” as concluded by a BI-partisan committee in Alaska.
    Or they are enjoying the scathing articles by CONSERVATIVE writers like Christopher Buckley (conservative son of WFB), David Brooks (student of WFB), and George Will who write that Palin is wholely unqualified to be VP (Brooks called her a “cancer for the GOP”).
    I look forward to seeing her run an ultra-conservative campaign for president in 2011 and further fracturing the GOP. The Hate Talk Express 2.0 will make an Obama re-election a cake walk.

  36. Mike Cakora

    Randy E. –
    I usually make an effort to embed links to what I comment on here so that those able to read and click can view the source. Had you done so, you would have gone to Obama’s site, seen the quote I extracted, and then been able to read the following at FactCheck,Org:

    When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.’s children:

    British Nationality Act of 1948 (Part II, Section 5): Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth.

    In other words, at the time of his birth, Barack Obama Jr. was both a U.S. citizen (by virtue of being born in Hawaii) and a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (or the UKC) by virtue of being born to a father who was a citizen of the UKC.
    Obama’s British citizenship was short-lived. On Dec. 12, 1963, Kenya formally gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Chapter VI, Section 87 of the Kenyan Constitution specifies that:

    1. Every person who, having been born in Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or a British protected person shall become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December, 1963…
    2. Every person who, having been born outside Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or a British protected person shall, if his father becomes, or would but for his death have become, a citizen of Kenya by virtue of subsection (1), become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December, 1963.

    As a citizen of the UKC who was born in Kenya, Obama’s father automatically received Kenyan citizenship via subsection (1). So given that Obama qualified for citizen of the UKC status at birth and given that Obama’s father became a Kenyan citizen via subsection (1), it follows that Obama did in fact have Kenyan citizenship after 1963. So The Rocky Mountain News was at least partially correct.
    But the paper failed to note that the Kenyan Constitution prohibits dual citizenship for adults. Kenya recognizes dual citizenship for children, but Kenya’s Constitution specifies that at age 21, Kenyan citizens who possesses citizenship in more than one country automatically lose their Kenyan citizenship unless they formally renounce any non-Kenyan citizenship and swear an oath of allegiance to Kenya.
    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.

    My comments are longer than most and I do tend to extract more than most because I realize that a lot of folks don’t follow the links, possibly because they don’t right-click to open a new tab or window and on and on and on.
    As a regular at Brad’s blog, I recommend that you follow the links before you ask a question that you don’t need to because the answer was accessible from the provided link.
    Heck, pretty soon all the servers will be full of all the same crapola because we’re not linking or following links.
    I guess I should add that as far as I know all of the above is true, unless, of course, this is, in which case Bill Ayers will lead the revolution.

  37. Randy E

    Cak, once I realized you stopped citing references that were your own entries on your blog I take time to click your links and simply missed the fine print at the bottom.
    With that in mind, you can save your snippy comments for your conspiracy buddies like Lee. Your infatuation with Ayers makes your posts barely readable as it is.

  38. Lee Muller

    So much information, it makes poor Randy’s head hurt.
    Besides, all he cares about is Obama’s promise of a massive welfare program, giving $10,000 to at least 10,000,000 people who now pay no income taxes, and calling it a “tax credit”.
    That Obama is just like Mussolini, in more ways than one.

  39. Randy E

    Why didn’t Sarah Palin didn’t use her Alaskan connections to warn us about Russia’s missle test today?

  40. just saying

    I thought the republicans were the ones whose chosen one in the white house looked into Putin’s eyes and saw someone to share vodka with?

  41. Lee Muller

    No, Gore lost the election. He’s the one who was pals with Chernomyrdin and Putin, through his dad working for Occidental Petroleum, which handled the Soviet oil sales.
    GW Bush is president now.
    McCain is the one who says Putin is the KGB.
    Obama is the Marxist who is supported by Putin.
    Can you keep that all straight?

  42. Bill

    I realize being over 60 probably makes me an old guy out of touch with the current time but I still feel I have some logical views about our present day election and the candidates.
    It seems to me that both parties have done their best to give us the worst they have to offer. Neither candidate seems worthy of the postion they are in.
    The repub’s have given us a war hero who seems lost as to where he will lead us. Nothing new seems to come from him and that doesn’t excite me at all.
    The dem’s have given us a candidate that we seem to know very little about and are critized by both the media and liberals every time we question the candidate about his past associates. This man reminds me of Jimmy Carter who seemingly just showed up one day.
    My mother raised me to love my country and to be careful of whom I associated with. I can still hear her saying you are defined by the people you call friends. I believe that to be true myself. This leads me to wonder about Barry or Barrack a great deal
    He is a very intelligent man but seemingly has associated himself with very questionable people. Taking twenty some years to discover that his pastor is a flaming racial and American hater doesn’t make me feel confident in his abilty to lead us. Maybe he just used his pastor to forward his own career as a leader and then discarded him when he became a liability.
    Likewise, I can’t say much for McCain. He seems lost and unable to be consistent. A War hero and certainly a brave man but he seems out of his element right now.
    Call me stupid but I think we need better choices for our leader. These two are not it.
    Shame on both parties. What a mess they have put us in as a nation. Just look at the current financial mess we are in. Both parties are at fault no matter what each says. It really scares me to find such “fools” in charge. Surely there are better and more qualtified men and women out there to lead us.
    We just need leadership and it is not there.

  43. Brad Warthen

    Sarah couldn’t warn us of the Russian test because, according to Randy’s link, it was in the EQUATORIAL part of the Pacific. That made it officially the job of Obama’s friends in Hawaii to tell us about it. Duh.
    And Mike — Obama could not possibly have been a British citizen at birth. A British SUBJECT maybe, but not a “citizen.”
    And you call yourself Anglospheric …

  44. Lee Muller

    Actually, Englishmen and some Britons are citizens, as well as subjects of the crown. It was for the rights of citizenship as Englishmen when the 14 colonies originally seceded from England. Restoration of more equal treatment as English citizens was the proposal of reconciliationi by Lord North. Only Nova Scotia received it in time (before Lexington and Concord) and accepted a return to status as an English Colony.

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