Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Please, No More Red and Blue America, Just the United States of America - Vote Barack Obama in NY State Democratic Presidential Primary

I'm not a political expert. Just a small, local neighborhood blogger writing about Roosevelt Island and trying to do it with a sense of humor. On rare occasions there are important national issues which impact all Americans including Roosevelt Islanders and residents of other New York City neighborhoods. The New York State Presidential Primary is one of those issues. Below are my thoughts. I would encourage other NYC neighborhood bloggers to do the same regardless of who they support.
According to 1/28 NY Sun article:

Although a statewide win in New York appears unlikely for Senator Obama, he could score a symbolic victory in the February 5 presidential primary by carrying New York City, where recent polls show him to be competitive.
The New York State Presidential Primary is scheduled for February 5, the same day as the election to nominate candidates to be appointed to the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors. As I wrote in earlier post, I have always been a registered Independent but since NY State prohibits Independents from voting in party primaries I had intended to switch my party affiliation to the Democratic Party in order to cast a vote for Senator Barack Obama in the NY State Democratic Primary. Unfortunately for me and and other registered voters wishing to switch their party affiliation, we are not permitted to vote in the upcoming primary because as reported in the NY Times:
Under New York’s somewhat complicated election law, anyone who wants to switch party affiliation must wait for a general election to take place before voting in the new party’s primary. In other words, Republicans who became Democrats or vice versa had to switch party affiliation by Oct. 12, 2007, to vote in the coming primary.
For those of you who can vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary, I urge you to consider Senator Obama. Watch the You Tube video above of his address to the Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on the day before the Martin Luther King Day Holiday and try to imagine Hillary Clinton saying anything close to it and more importantly, if she could, would you believe her. I certainly couldn't.

This excerpt from South Carolina's The State via Andrew Sullivan expresses clearly the reasons for my preference for Senator Obama:
Sen. Obama’s campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. In a time of great partisanship, he is careful to talk about winning over independents and even Republicans. He is harsh on the failures of the current administration - and most of that critique well-deserved. But he doesn’t use his considerable rhetorical gifts to demonize Republicans. He’s not neglecting his core values; he defends his progressive vision with vigorous integrity. But for him, American unity - transcending party - is a core value in itself.

Can such unity be restored, in this poisonous political culture? Not unless that is a nominee’s goal from the outset. It will be a difficult challenge for any candidate; but we wait in the hope that someone really will try. There is no other hope for rescuing our republic from the mire.

Sen. Obama would also have the best chance to repair the damage to America’s global reputation. A leader with his biography - including his roots in Africa and his years spent growing up overseas - could transform the world’s view of America. He would seize that opportunity.

About Senator Clinton The State correctly observes:
... we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary’s fault - but it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons’ joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication.
NY Times has endorsed Hillary here.
It is unfair, especially after seven years of Mr. Bush’s inept leadership, but any Democrat will face tougher questioning about his or her fitness to be commander in chief. Mrs. Clinton has more than cleared that bar, using her years in the Senate well to immerse herself in national security issues, and has won the respect of world leaders and many in the American military. She would be a strong commander in chief.

Domestically, Mrs. Clinton has tackled complex policy issues, sometimes failing. She has shown a willingness to learn and change. Her current proposals on health insurance reflect a clear shift from her first, famously disastrous foray into the issue. She has learned that powerful interests cannot simply be left out of the meetings. She understands that all Americans must be covered — but must be allowed to choose their coverage, including keeping their current plans. Mr. Obama may also be capable of tackling such issues, but we have not yet seen it. Voters have to judge candidates not just on the promise they hold, but also on the here and now.
The NY Times is merely regurgitating the tired and worn out experience argument. Senator Clinton, based upon her 8 years in the Senate and 8 years as First Spouse to Bill Clinton, is more able to deal with the complex issues and personalities that will face a newly elected President in January, 2009 than is Senator Obama, a newbie Senator according to this line of thought.

In it's endorsement of Senator Obama, the Harvard Crimson counters the purported greater experience reason for voting for Senator Clinton with this:
Various critics have voiced concerns that Obama is too ambitious and inexperienced to be the next president of the United States. We disagree. Obama’s candidacy reflects a lack of political maneuvering and instead is based on a desire to see dramatic change in the political system. And what Sen. Obama might lack in political experience, he makes up with sound judgment, intelligence, charisma, and a personable and bipartisan demeanor. Furthermore, in office he will surround himself with some of the smartest and most experienced advisors in the world.

Obama represents an opportunity for a Democratic nominee who represents the value of service, intelligence, and judgment, and, most of all, an opportunity for real change, unburdened by favors owed and ideals lost. He deserves your vote.
After the last 16 years, I think America needs a President who we are not ashamed of because of personal behavior or embarrassed by sheer incompetence. Hillary Clinton will not embarrass us like her husband has nor is she incompetent like the current President. But, if she wants to take credit for experience gained during some of the successes of the Bill Clinton administration, she also cannot escape the taint and divisiveness of all that went wrong with her husband's administration. Neither is she capable of bringing America back together again and end the politics of personal destruction which has so corrupted our political system that it makes solving the difficult issues confronting our country impossible.

In a 1/27 NY Times Op-ed piece, Caroline Kennedy summarizes the reason for voting for Senator Obama:
I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
For me, I think Barack Obama evokes more of Senator Robert Kennedy than President John Kennedy. Here is an excerpt of 1966 Day of Affirmation speech made by Robert Kennedy in South Africa and tell me who it reminds you of.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Here is audio of speech. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton or any other contemporary American politician saying such things and being believed.

Here is You Tube video and text of his South Carolina victory speech. Simply amazing. As Andrew Sullivan wrote:
He was able to frame the attacks on him as a reason to vote for him. He was able to frame his foes as the status quo - beyond the Clintons or the Bushes, Democrats or Republicans. He was able to cast his candidacy as a rebuke to the Balkanization of the American public, a response to the abuse of religion for political purposes, a repudiation of the cynicism that makes all political commentary a function of horse-races and spin. It was an appeal to Democrats, Republicans and Independents to say goodbye to all that. It was a burial of Rove and Morris

We can do better. We can have a President not of Red or Blue America but of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton IS the Red and Blue State divide. Barack Obama is the United States of America. Vote Barack Obama in the NY State Democratic Presidential Primary on February 5.


(Note that the introductory paragraph was written an hour after post was originally published)


Anonymous said...

I'm a casual reader, and today I was presently surprised to see your endorsement of Obama. This is a great post and reflects a sentiment that a lot of us feel. Let's hope for the best next Tuesday. Yes We Can!

Anonymous said...

uh, I meant, pleasantly...No I Can't (spell)


Thanks for the kind words. maybe we can get a spell checker for the comments section - i know i would need it as well.
I hope you upgrade from casual to regular reader and continue to comment. That's what the blog is all about.
About Obama, tell your friends and neighbors to get out and vote next tuesday. Spread the word!

Anonymous said...

well, obama is a rainbow girl and a unicorn chaser, and he has a bad habit of repeating republican talking points as if they are TRUE (save soc sec, his health care plans, etc)...

oh, and the repugs are gonna give him hug time for about zero minutes - they are gonna bombard with attacks as soon as he's president. those people don't believe in 'coming together;' they believe in eating the brains of their opponents, and then pooping in the skull.

having said that, i still hope he wins and puts an end to this pathetic house of york / house of lancaster crap.