Thursday, January 8, 2009

O-dministration, O-Kaying images, O-verview, O-ptimism - the Obama beginning

Many are the melancholy or indignant post-mortems emerging as Bush's days draw to a close. Oh, how glad are we all to see the back of Bush.
Obama, awaiting inauguration and setting up his administration, stands in stern contrast to the invocational charm of the campaign. Well may he be stern. He has much to put to rights and already the dissent and criticism festers from the Right. As Paul Krugman says in the NY Times, the GOP needs to stop whining and look at the mess it is in.

Meanwhile, we quietly shimmer in anticipation for the Obama takeover and to see a country with this impressive family in the White House. I gather it is called the White House simply because it is white, made of white marble. Somehow the name seems as inept as it is unimaginative now that it is to hold a black incumbent.

What we will have to understand is that the Obamas are going to be given not only the unprecedented physical protection that they require because of the disgrace of death threats they have been receiving from the racist underclass of America, but also they will be spin doctored and marketed with much greater care and caution than any of their White House predecessors. Michelle's caustic ad libs will have to go. She is a role model now who makes Oprah almost insignificant. The strategists are working out the balance between gravitas and glamour, puppies and politics, not to mention comparisons with Kennedys and Clintons.

Good luck to the lot of 'em. We and they are in for an interesting and, I hope, uplifting time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes we can!

If there is one thing I regret, it is not walking across that Nashua meeting room and shaking Barack Obama by the hand.
So near and yet so far.
I have my photos and my memory. There we were in that small room with Nashua's elderly. Barack was eight feet from us at most. It was very intimate and laid-back.

Barack Obama will never again be seen up close and personal like that - not now he is President-elect of the USA. He will evermore be flanked by Secret Service. He will evermore be mobbed.

I shook hands with candidates at almost every campaign event I attended. But, on this occasion we were in an awkward building, there was a throng around Barack and, frankly, I had been underwhelmed by his speech. Bruce had to get back to work. I simply gave it a miss.

I did not seek to hear him at other events. I threw myself in Hillary's direction where, I later found to my disdain, naive and zealous young campign workers considered it almost traitorous of me to have gone to an Obama event, let alone subscribed to the Obama email feeds or, as I did, buy his campaign buttons.

Barack Obama grew on that long campaign trail. His strategists and campaign staff were clearly powerful and wise - and he was receptive and progressive. That unstructured, casual speech I heard back in early 2007 was a far cry from the stump speeches he was delivering a year later. He had revved up the young from the outset - but there was some profound change in him which emerged through those last months, a star quality, an extraordinary calm within the storm. We all started to fall in love.

And now history has been made.

I shed a tear, there in the office which came to a standstill as Obama gave that splendid speech. I shed a tear for all the hopes now unleashed. I dared to hope that black Americans would start to feel good. That black rappers would call positive messages. That black kids would see a merit in education and ambition.
Other underclasses, too. Obama is the most powerful symbol of equality and hope ever. I mean ever.
"Yes we can," he says.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The breathless wait

The day is here.
I've had my breath held for weeks, amassing lists of all the things that can and will go wrong in the voting processes. There are happening out there, all over the USA - but they are not enough, it seems, to impede this great current.
Obama was not my first choice - but, along with Hillary, I have swung around to support him and to watch him growing in statesmanlike proportions.
He is an elegant and erudite man and my hopes for him are high.

How wonderous it is that he should surmount the frightening power of the great Republican lower class fundamentalist hate machine.
As noted by US analysts, the "Walmart" vote is now Republican since it no longer relates to wealth or class but to the adherence to conservatism and religion-based home education which ensures that dangerous, enlightened ideas never cross the minds of the little home-grown right wingers.
The educated classes are the Democrats these days. And the coffee drinkers. Starbucks came out for Obama and give free coffess to voters and volunteers. How 'bout dat! Only in America.

For the African Americans, an Obama win could lay the foundations for a mass attitudinal change, to give a sense of positivity and hope to that huge American underclass. What a powerful and beautiful country the US could be if its black population took to the books and reached for the stars.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Obama can't win

The polls show Obama in a significant lead.
The early voting is showing early voters are out in hordes - dominantly Democrat and Independent voters and many of them black.

I have no confidence that this will result in Obama getting what would seem to be a logical win. I have no confidence the voters will get their vote.

The GOP has been screaming voter fraud from the Dems - which is its pre-empt of voter frauds they have up their sleeve. They have done it before and they are about to do it again.
I seem to live amid people who believe that honesty and ethics will prevail and that the results of the election will relate to the figures on the opinion polls. I simply cannot be as Pollyanna. I expect the on-the-day votes to deliver a "surprise" victory to McCain.
I am so sure of this that my heart is heavy from the futility of it all.

Voters have already been reporting that they can't get the voting machines to accept their Democrat votes, that the machines keep bouncing their votes in the other direction.
The voting machines are made by GOP supporters.

The GOP is discrediting the votes being made by blacks through ACORN registrations. These will disappear. Black votes generally are doomed - again. I do admire black Americans for continuing to come and and stand up against this crap.
The special facilities being laid on to get votes from the armed forces overseas are, by contrast, a complete scam to glean what are expected to be predominately Republican votes. They can vote online.

Just watch a repeat of Florida.

Meanwhile, forget Jackie Kennedy and her extravagant clothes in the White House. If Sarah Palin requires $US150,000 of high fashion hockey mum grooming in a couple of months, god knows what four years of primping would cost.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't forget Ron Paul

If I had reservations about Michelle Obama, they are gone, blown away by the typhoon of Sarah Palin. Michelle Obama is an erudite woman and she would appear to do a good job of blending motherhood with politics. Not that she is running for anything. But she has been the subject of my criticism - as has Barack Obama.

I was underwhelmed by him when I sat in a Nashua, NH, room with him and listened to his platform. I could not find a "there" there.

That was over a year ago. Barack Obama has grown substantially while on the campaign trail. He also has aged - unlike McCain whose brow seems to have a weird Botoxy smoothness. But Obama has grown quite statesmanlike. He has kept his cool against the endless onslaughts of Fox and the GOP. He has stood tall. And he now has delivered substance to his platform. I am a hard sell, but I am won.

I've been avidly watching the evolving emotions on the campaign trails of the US and the desperate ploys of the Right to pre-empt voter fraud by going on and on about voter fraud. Bright red herrings are being dragged all over the media.

There is another man still standing.
I note that Fox, while taking Huckabee onto staff as a personality and political commentator, has not mentioned Ron Paul - despite the fact that it is scratching for substance in its endless campaign against the wicked left and, hence, filling its airtime with talking heads talking to talking heads.

Ron Paul is still on the ballot in some places.

Wouldn't it be funny if the voters got to the the polls and discovered this surprise libertarian third option - and went for it?
As his supporters told me the first time I heard of him back in Manchester, NH when they were asserting a strong presence at a John McCain rally, Ron Paul is "the real maverick".
And now he has a running mate. Michael Peroutka
He seems to have a nice face - and he thinks the Iraq war is "ungodly".

They are no real threat - but they could provide a voting wedge to offset that monster saboteur of the Democrats, Ralph Nader.

And that is no bad thing! Onya, Ron!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin is an experience

I'm not sure if it is better when the Republicans keep Sarah Palin out of the public spotlight for fear of having her embarrass them yet further with her ignorance or when they release her into it with mouthfuls of memorised gibberish.
She is obviously a quick swat - and seemed pretty adept with her cue cards. She had learned Ahmadinejad's name and said it over and over and over just to show us.
And she sure out-winked her hapless opponent, doggone it.

Reading and watching the fallout, I was surprised at how few commentators were prepared to give her the benefit of the low expectations. Only Fox, really. And Fox has made itself a farcical institution of flared nostril right wing excitement. Truly, it gets embarrassing watching the raw arousal of the anchors and commentators as they get on their Republican high horses. Move over Equus!

Elsewhere, however, there are responses of high anxiety at the cynical placement of Palin in this pivotal position. This good looking "down home" mom taps right into the comfort zone of the lowbrows. She ain't gonna answer nasty old questions from debate moderators. She's gonna talk right to the American people in her own special way.

I loved the way Fox defended her lack of experience by saying that she had had experiences. Sure. She has had experiences - shooting things, giving birth, entering beauty quests...

What a mockery this all makes of the very serious, nay dire, state of the world.
One can only be profoundly disappointed that America, once a loved and respected superpower, is taking its common denominators so very dangerously low.

Worth reading is Michelle Goldberg of the Guardian. The photo illustration - the Palin wink - is really telling.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is the lustre Palin?

The thick plottens, as they say in the classics.
Sarah Palin has been sequestered with the Bush spin team, carefully secluded from the dangerous questions of the wicked, bad, inquisitive media. They are letting her out now on carefully-supervised appearances - oh, so well managed.

Almost. She did slip up on "Bush doctrine" showing that even a know-it-all might have a bit to learn. I'd love it if she started with evolution.

She delivered a well-written speech which played skilfully on the public's current economic fears and promising that overpaid CEOs would not be grossly overpaid if she and McCain were in power. Hmm. Not many votes to lose in that economic solution - especially for one who is desperately trying to play to the working and lower middle class demographic. The idea is that she is one of them, a Down Home hick who comes from the sorta stock who never needed an educayshun to run their hard-working little businesses. Funny thing that. I thought her dad was a teacher.

The Palins love to kill things in their spare time. They eat a lot of moose and caribou. She loves killing wild animals, wolves especially. She does it from the air.

We keep reading that she is "resonating" among American women - a sort of Annie Oakley thing.

But one reads that she and her snowmobile vroom-vroom husband make four-figure incomes and that she has been claiming per diems while living at home. Tsk tsk.

I've not heard these things on Fox but I have heard Fox starting to snipe at Palin. The gushing love affair, the fawning she-can-do-no-wrong policy has lapsed and, perchance, the Republicans are just a wee bitty worried about this loose cannon killer hockeymum and anxious about what stories are yet to come out about her.

Perchance she is as clean as the blood-drenched Alaskan snow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Seals the Hillary vote for Obama

Comparisons between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton are not just odious, they are downright dumb.
The only common factor between those two is gender.

Palin is one of those right wing wackos who is all for killing - huntin', shootin', fishin' and killin' things - but believes that termination of unwanted or mutation pregnancies is murder.
She is all for children being taught creationism and, predictably, is against same sex marriage.
If she has a gift, it would seem to be her massive ego. Before she discovered the joys of running for office, she was competing in beauty quests.

This is a vain and shallow Republican poster girl.

The Fox Republicans are creaming themselves.

Whatever they say, however, there is no comparison with Hillary - the intellect, the erudition, the political savvy, the compassion etc etc - and I am sure that she will make zip, zilch and nil impression on the potential vote of Hillary supporters of any kind.
The very idea is madness.

In fact, if anything, she will cement them into support for Obama.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary - thoroughbred to the end

Hillary's speech to the Democratic Convention in Denver was so absolutely champion that I felt tearful and heavy-hearted.
There she was, giving a solid, sane, constructive, forward-thinking, genuine policy speech in the midst of all that Obama ephemera. Obama is a sophist. Hillary is a politician and presidential material.
If ever it was glaringly evident, it was as she gave that speech. Strong, brilliant woman.
I knew from the outset, I could feel in my waters, that she was the right one.
That feeling simply won't go away.

The way the cards have fallen, I just have to let go, as does and did Hillary Clinton.

But not before showing the world stage what a classy candidate she was.

Onwards, Obama.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sidin' with Biden

Now, I know Biden has been around for decades and is a respectable Democratic senator from, uh, that corporate tax haven state of Delaware. I was keen to hear him speak when I was in New Hampshire, but his dates and whereabouts never quite worked out for me. He was on a slimmer campaign budget than some and did not tour as extensively. Not like Clinton or Obama.

So, not hearing him in the flesh, I could only join his newslist and keep an eye on him. He did not fire me up. Not like Bill Richardson.

But he seemed civilized, seasoned, intelligent enough... There is a long tradition of good Catholic men in liberal politics. I have time for them.

The main thing that impressed me about Biden and impresses me now is the silver hair and Hollywood features - he looks like someone who has come direct from Central Casting.

Perchance this makes him just right for the role.
White man for the white vote. Restrained and conventional for the middle-of-the-roaders. Photogentic for the media.
He is a fine piece of political window dressing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama vividly ahead

A month back in the USA has allowed daily studying of the primary status quo as it is represented in the varied media. The first big impression has been the disappearance of Michelle Obama from the campaign spotlight. She is gone, gone, gone.
Barack Obama's profile, however, has been growing in a very positive manner. The man has groomed himself into the biggest star in this country of stars and celebrities. Obama seems to have found the zeitgeist.

He is definitely better recognised than his opponent, McCain, and he is surrounded by a buzz - that little buzz of those early appearances and parades has grown exponentially.

The media, even the rabid right, has found that it has to be rational when covering his activities. The fact that he is black gives him a certain degree of protection - for Americans crave political correctness at all times. So the media must tread lightly with Obama.

And the fact is that he looks good and sounds good and he has good organisation behind him. The media acknowledges this and, to some extent, applauds it.

I have been wishing I could have gone back to New Hampshire to get into some of the action which continues to be most politially vigorous up there. Town Hall meetings and assorted intimate appearances. McCain is there just now.

But I have been in McCain's own state - staying in the town where he and Cindy and based - Sedona, Arizona. He is not as well known as one may have imagined, though. I was chatting with a couple of Starbucks workers from Phoenix and they had no idea that he was the Republican candidate for president. Their conclusion, when this Australian told them so, was: "Well, if he is from Arizona, I guess it's "go McCain'."

The New Hampshire polls show Obama ahead.
The media mood shows Obama ahead.

And, as for the streets of San Francisco - he is shown as a head of a different sort. A psychedelic head!

Here are the buttons on sale on the streets.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Unification in Unity - a top PR job

Oh to have been back in New Hampshire for the extraordinary Unity unification of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I would have been there like a dart of shimmering lightning - to read the mood, the faces, the nuances of this alliance. Unity turns out to be not too far from Nashua - just up the road to Hanover, out of Concord...well placed, albeit a small place. But a canny choice. The Primary State with a primary move in the Primary. A perfect piece of PR play.

My respect for Hillary soared as I watched her there on TV, gracious, generous-spirited and positive beside Obama. Accepting defeat and standing up for the larger benefit of the country is what courage and integrity are all about.

Obama also has been gracious. Well, if the words "she rocks" are really a political plaudit.
Michelle has been conspicuous by her absence - certainly on the footage being shown here in Australia on Fox. She has not been sighted on that dais. I try to imagine her state of mind but can't seem to move past my feeling that her streak of racist bitterness is too powerful for her to be happy about this turn of events. Vindication might be nearest to her response.

The Fox commentators are going to town on what a drawback Hillary brings to the Obama campaign in the form of Bill Clinton. I am just over this American hatred for Bill. I am over the whole anti-Clinton agenda which is just so full of sureness. In fact it is old fashioned poppy-lopping.

No one is going to find the perfect politician. Everyone is flawed. No president has a perfect record. It's a tough business. We seek the best thinking-on-the-feet, best informed, best-advised person for the job. It may well have been Bill Richardson.

I think Hillary's failure lies somewhere in the realm of her strategists - and a blinkered sort of limiting paranoia I observed in NH. As much as I enjoyed my foray into the campaign, I did not like the fact that some of those Hillary team workers thought that my venturing into rival meetings was in some way disloyal - when, in fact it was plain intelligent research. What the hell is wrong with people who want to be blind to their opposition?
Then there were some Hillary workers, I was told, who thought I was dangerous to have around because I am a journalist. Yeah, a journalist offering services to them! For free! A highly experienced journalist and a political animal with a lot of knowledge to share. Not all of them, I hasten to add, were so Just a thread of them who never even bothered to speak to me. Those ambitious and territorial young people looked a gift horse in the mouth. Even when I subbed their amateurish writing on the Hillary website, they were unprepared to accept professional help - and preferring to leave their errors in place.
There is a risk in having passionate, youthful devotees with closed minds throwing their weight around behind the scenes. That worried me from the outset.

I am heading back to the US tomorrow and will be keen to immerse myself in the feelings of the people. I'll be in the Southern states - a far cry from my beloved New Hampshire.
Then again, who could not love the South, eh?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

And now we move our support..

And down she goes.
With elegance, eloquence and grace.

Behind her fine speech comes an unleashing of extraordinary anti-Clinton spite in the excited masses of online feedback. I have just been reading it on site after site after site. The non-Clinton supporters have no inch to give, no grace in their spirit and, as I have always maintained, they are more a product of the right wing marketing machine than they will ever know. But they are happy. For the moment. They are milking their venom glands and feeling some relief.

My heart goes out to Hillary and my concern goes out for the US and the world - for the race is just begun and, even though McCain ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer, he will prove formidable against Obama.

A chunk of me has long wished that, somehow, Bill Richardson could have stayed in the race.
Albeit he was Latino, he did not attract the media favour or the gushing cult enthusiasm of the handsome young Obama - but he was the more solid, talented, wise and able by a long shot. He was prime presidential material. He could have stood his ground against McCain.

We will have an interesting time watching how the GOP now changes its media slant on Obama. We will have an interesting time watching the ingenuous new political breed cope with it all. We will hope that, somewhere behind the sophistry, Obama has the true grit.
He certainly writes a nice book, albiet that he writes a great deal about the issue of being black. And, if he becomes president, the important factor will be that he is a black president. That fulfils his promise of "change". And, has he has just said, if perchance he wants to do something about health care, Hillary Clinton had a good policy and may be worth listening to.

As for Michelle Obama, I have yet to find hope. I can only see the most divisive woman yet to arrive in politics - protected by the racist card. The racist card says that blacks are rightful to have a hate agenda against whites but that whites are racist if they criticise blacks.
Interesting to see a book by Shelby Steele A Bound Man: Why We're Excited About Barack Obama and Why He Can't Win, rushed through to cover this issue. Noel Pearson reviewed it for Online Monthly. This is really worth a read, dealing as it does with the phenomenon of white guilt and the moral high ground African Americans perceive therein.

We have the white hate church and the white hate preacher - who has refused to step down. The Obamas say, at the 11th hour, under immense pressure, that they have left that church and its militant ideology. Huh? Who is looking at the politics of that change of, um, policy? Um, is this consistent, loyal, honest...? Didn't Obama say that Reverend Jeremiah Wright was his "mentor"?
Oh, we won't look at it now. It is not an issue in the campaign. Let it flow through to the keeper. It was always more important to dislodge Hillary.

Nonetheless, they are raving ranting religious zealots from a hate church.

My reservations about Obama are not going to go away easily. He will have a lot of proving to do for me. Michelle Obama more so.

He was the one and only Democratic candidate with whom I did not make the effort to shake hands. He was the one and only Democratic candidate from whose appearance I chose going for a coffee over staying around afterwards. I left plain disappointed with him. Hence the consistency of my stance here in the blog.

I was there in the room with him. I listened. I watched. I arrived full of hope.
At that time I had not committed to Hillary. I could just as easily have been on his team - until I sat there and listened and felt the emptiness of his rhetoric.

Now, of course, I will now do the right Democratic thing - I will support him utterly against McCain.
And pray that all my misgivings are misplaced.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A sad note

With good grace. I have dreaded the good grace.
If it were not for my reservations. If it were not for the fact that Michelle Obama's anti-white agenda worries me terribly, my good grace may be good. How ironic is it that the public has swallowed the Right's propaganda about Hillary being "divisive" and "ambitious". The Obamas are not?

The public is so malleable - which the Right knows.
It has some dirt up its sleeve about Michelle Obama. Or so the rumour mill goes.
But it needs Hillary out of the way before it destabilises the Obama camp with scuttlebut. If it came out with the dirt early, then it would throw favour back in Hillary's direction.

I don't like the Right, but I never underestimate their canny strategising. They are unpleasant but not stupid.
They have pushed Obama because, even without the dirt, he is an advantage for their McCain campaign.
And so it is all going to come to pass.

Ah, yet again, an interesting, if not cheering, time in history.

Meanwhile, my admiration for Hillary remains. She has true grit and true talent.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Shy McCain

It is a bit offputting to read that John McCain's fundraising events are closed to the press.
Why, I wonder?
What don't they want us to know?

The big thing I wish the media would "out" McCain for is his dependence on teleprompters.
I was scandalised when I saw him speak in Manchester, NH, straight from a teleprompter which had been hauled out and set up in the middle of a public park for him. Gobsmacked is probably not an understatement for my shock. I was under the impression that, especially when it came to their own stump speeches, politicians knew the script.
Hillary certainly did. Obama did. Giuliani did. Bill Richardson did...
But there was old McCain, "Mr Experience", showing that he was not au fait with his own lines.
And, I gather, not a lot has changed.
I have watched the eye movement in the crowds as he gives his addresses and, yes, they seem to be moving from specific focal points...
No spontaneity.
Indeed, spontaneity seems to be his downfall.
The YouTube clips which are the big hit of the moment prove that to be so. He does, he does not know about the economy. He does not know what he knows, it seems.
Which is why he has to read it all nicely written down.

Oh, deary me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Michelle Obama in cottonwool

Michelle Obama should be "off limits"?
There should be no comment about her comments? That tough, outspoken, high-agenda woman out on the campaign trail beside him should attract no comment?
The fact that only once has she ever felt proud of her country should not be mentioned?

Come on Barack Obama.

You are running for the position of president of the United States.
You are playing in the big school.
Nothing is "off limits".

Unless it be puerile demands that the wife is off limits.