J Walking

J Walking


The “ctrl-alt-del” candidate

posted by David Kuo

Even though I’m a Mac guy, here’s a Windows take on Barack Obama.
He is the ‘ctrl-alt-del’ candidate.
He is the guy people are looking to restart, reboot, Washington DC and all that it has come to symbolize.
It is ultimately something that he cannot really accomplish and unless those expectations are lowered – or he sets out clear milestones for success – he may well win in November but then find himself unable to make much headway.
After all, George W. Bush came into office on the heels of the Clinton scandals, pledging to to do for Washington what he had done in Austin – bring Democrats and Republican together. Recall his speech the night the Florida vote was finally decided by the Supremes:

Tonight I chose to speak from the chamber of the Texas House of Representatives because it has been a home to bipartisan cooperation. Here in a place where Democrats have the majority, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to do what is right for the people we represent.
We’ve had spirited disagreements. And in the end, we found constructive consensus. It is an experience I will always carry with me, an example I will always follow.
I want to thank my friend, House Speaker Pete Laney, a Democrat, who introduced me today. I want to thank the legislators from both political parties with whom I’ve worked.
Across the hall in our Texas capitol is the state Senate. And I cannot help but think of our mutual friend, the former Democrat lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock. His love for Texas and his ability to work in a bipartisan way continue to be a model for all of us.
The spirit of cooperation I have seen in this hall is what is needed in Washington, D.C. It is the challenge of our moment. After a difficult election, we must put politics behind us and work together to make the promise of America available for every one of our citizens.
I am optimistic that we can change the tone in Washington, D.C.

The tone, obviously, wasn’t changed – it actually changed for the worse. While it is easy to blame that all on Bush, to do so would be to miss the reality that Washington was invested in his failure to change the tone. For to change the tone would have meant changing the way that Washington does business – how speeches are given and lobbying is done, how careers are advanced and TV news shows are spun, how debates take place and lives are lived. That is massive change. For better or for worse, Barack Obama is seen as the who can change all of that. Ahh, the audacity of expectations.



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Brian Horan

posted June 10, 2008 at 3:12 pm


David,
Glad you’re back on. I agree that people are almost deifying Mr. Obama.
And this comes from a guy that put his heart & soul into the caucus process in Colorado.
Two election cycles ago I campaigned for Green Party nominee, Ralph Nader. Nader’s biggest issue for me was public financing for public elections. I agree with him that equating free speech with campaign contributions is corroding our democracy and drowning out the average person.
I assume that our republic was founded in part on the ideas of Plato’s Republic. It seemed like Plato was passionate that the philosopher kings would not be corrupted by lower societal influences.
Sadly, on both sides, it seems that big business’s profit motivations totally outweigh the common good our leaders are supposed to uphold. As Nader would put it: “Everything is for sale!”
I don’t think that Mr. Obama is completely free of lobbyist’s influence. Maybe it’s not as bad as McCain getting strategies from folks who lobbied on behalf of the brutal Burma regime.
Whoever wins, citizens are gonna have to be ready to raise hell if they want to count for anything.
I’ve lived abroad and I think it’s important for folks to know the USA isn’t #1 in many things that make for high standards of living.
I thought I had cancer and I can tell everyone that South Korea’s health care is light years ahead of our own in delivery and cost. The quality matches our own upon light speed delivery. Funny thing is that we pay more per capita than any other country in the world.
I honestly think that some Asians and Western Europeans now come to our country and are dismayed by the state of our civil society. It’s like what gringos think of Mexican civil society when they go vacation in Cancun.
The ‘revolution’ probably doesn’t start with Obama or McCain, but with us.



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Thinker

posted June 10, 2008 at 3:43 pm


Agree that no one can meet the expectations that so many have for this one man. However, go to You-Tube and watch his speech to his staff last week. The one thing he does is ask us to do the work, sacrifice for the good, and trust in our own goodness. Perhaps such an attitude is catching. We must change and – as Gandhi said – ‘be the change we want to see’. I see many young people prepared for such a world. My own generation is curmudgeonly at best. The last 8 years have been the greatest disaster since the Civil War – we must come back together and be about the greater good. I do think Obama has the capability of verbalizing that and leading that. But it is going to be rough.



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aquaman

posted June 10, 2008 at 3:54 pm


Welcome back, David. We missed you.
Ah, the use of “Washington, D.C.” as an epithet, as if it were some wholly-other, alien thing.
Why have we done nothing about climate change? Because most of us, deep down, aren’t willing to change the way we live. Why don’t we do more to alleviate extreme poverty? Because most of us are content with our (disproportionate) share of the world’s resources, and aren’t willing to countenance anything that might cut into our share. Why don’t we have peace? Because even after 9/11, we believe the fear-mongers who teach us that American hegemony is the surest way to keep us safe.
I can play devil’s advocate and make the same points about conservative priorities. Why is abortion still legal? Because most pro-lifers want safe, legal abortion to be an option if the woman in crisis is their loved one. Why are the airwaves filled with smut? Because when quality, family-friendly programming is offered (e.g., on PBS and some of the brainier cable channels), few of us watch it.
How long until we stop blaming Republicans and Democrats, and start blaming ourselves?
Peace.



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Doug

posted June 10, 2008 at 5:59 pm


I actually think either candidate might make a surprising impact in Washington culture. Not to the extent that those bone-crushingly dull and corrupt perpetrators will become honest and wise philosopher kings but I do think confusion of party with principle enables more of itself. George W. Bush fairly invited Democratic partisanship which the Democrats were only to eager to provide. One independent-minded candidate and a thoughtful one have the potential to make partisanship look as graceless and disgraceful as it always has been. I’m hopeful that that, in and of itself, should change the tone in which the various crimes and negligences of government are excused. That’s not nothing.



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Rob

posted June 11, 2008 at 1:00 am


I actually think that places like these comments on David’s blog (glad to see you are back, by the way) are where we can make a surprising impact on Washington culture, by our civility and common sense. For 20 years or so the grassroots have mostly been crabgrass, but a new attitude can take hold.



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Larry Parker

posted June 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm


David:
You’ve established the inexorable fact that there is a mass of human quicksand in Washington — the bureaucracy, the punditocracy, the think tank-ocracy.
What you didn’t answer was why it is INEVITABLE that anyone coming to Washington from the outside has to sink in the human quicksand? Why can’t they step around it — or at least, in Bill Clinton’s argot, build a bridge over it?



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Thinker

posted June 12, 2008 at 2:56 pm


Aquaman – I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said it a million times – ok maybe a couple hundred – that “if I am willing to serenely bear the burden of being displeasing to myself, I will be a pleasant place of shelter for Jesus.” We are a people unwilling to be “displeasing to ourselves”. It is so much easier to find the ‘other’ the odd one, the thinking one, the broken one and like the goat in Leviticus 16 – pile on that person – all the sins of the people. It seems that Jesus took that role and it simply stopped working very well. He arose from actions of the mob and needed nothing in return – he needed no vengeance, no pay back – just asks us to love one another and love God. It’s been a slow lesson. When we give up the need for a punishing God – we change. I keep working on me – and believe me – it’s hard work. We’ve all been taught to look for the scapegoat, the one to blame and to reject responsibility for our own messes. I think we’re at a turning point here – hope we all make the turn toward civility, empathy, compassion, and love. It’s so much harder than blaming the other.



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Doug

posted June 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm


Don’t look at me Thinker! I’m innocent of scapegoating!



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Doug

posted June 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm


And, anyway, Canucklehead started it!



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canucklehead

posted June 13, 2008 at 6:44 pm


Sheesh, I go away for a few days and my name is abused and I’m accused…
of what, I ask ye?



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Brian Horan

posted June 15, 2008 at 12:43 am


I would title this post: “HOW LOW CAN THE MONEYCHANGERS GO?”
I think a focus on this would be fair, being that Rev. Wright got so much media attention.
One of McCain’s fundraisers has said some interesting things about women. I’ve tried posting it on some of the more obnoxious blogs here on Beliefnet. I’ll tone it down a bit.
First here’s the web address to get to the Associated Press article on YAHOO:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080614/ap_on_el_pr/mccain_fundraiser
Here’s some actual parts of the article:
“Questions from the media prompted Republican John McCain to cancel a fundraiser at the home of a Texas oilman (who has already raised 300K for McCain) who once joked that women should give in while being raped.
The Texan, Republican Clayton “Claytie” Williams, made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would “head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt.”
Williams’ comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain’s campaign said it hadn’t known about the remarks.”
Is our media really liberal? I guess we’ll see how much they cover this in comparison to Rev. Wright.
Like I said before, I don’t think Obama’s perfect. But, I really wonder why the hell Republicans have somebody like this raising money.
McCain’s also had folks working on his campaign that have lobbied for the brutal Burma regime.
I’ve heard that a big guy had to resign from Obama’s campaign. I say good. I’m tired of creeps getting so near, or actually occupying the top positions.



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Quetzal

posted June 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm


David,
Let’s give Obama a little more credit. The involvement of younger voters in the voting process continues to rise, and we should admit that Obama is at least partially responsible for this increase. OK, so Obama’s no Ralph Nader, but at least Obama’s calling for *some* change, one small step at a time…



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aquaman

posted June 17, 2008 at 11:23 am


Brian,
If Clayton Williams were an angry black man, you bet the 24-hour news channels would be playing his comments 24/7. Alas, he is not, and white Texans with neanderthal views on women’s issues just don’t drive ratings like angry black men do.
Where are Hillary’s supporters on this issue? They have accused Barack Obama of being sexist, without offering a shred of evidence (unless you think Obama is responsible for what Chris Matthews and other media blowhards say), yet they have been strangely silent on this story, and others like it.
What’s going on?
Peace.



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Brian Horan

posted June 17, 2008 at 10:43 pm


Quetzal,
Obama may be going at it incrementally like you suggest. He won my heart after I discovered that he opposed the Iraq war while he was running for Senate. And I don’t think it was just a speech.
At the time of Obama’s senate campaign, Bush’s pre-Iraq approval ratings were 60%+.
I’ve taught in the Denver Metro area (which is quite tame in comparison with some urban areas) and I believe that every leader should have done work with folks on the lower rungs like Obama.
As much as Republicans have been beating war drums and as much as McCain has gone along, I don’t think McCain learned much from being a POW. He’s even flip-flopped on torture.
Truly, I think McCain and the war machine (Haliburton, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, etc.) will take us to war in Iran. The folks whose business is war and oil don’t care how long we’re in the Middle East as long as tax payer funded government contracts keep coming.
McCain will call for the draft claiming that because he was a POW he has the moral authority to do so.
If we’ve learned anything in the last 7 years – it’s that when Republicans say they want war; you better believe it!
Maybe Obama’s doing the best he can. I don’t know. If somebody wants to pay me to do analysis, then maybe I’ll make a better call.
I do think it’s incredible how he brings Blacks, Latinos, Whites, and all the other beautiful ethnic groups together. I witnessed it working on the caucuses here in Colorado.
aquaman,
You raise great questions! I think the MSM is corporate, not liberal.
I think Hillary campaigned like a Republican. How else do you explain, “We can obliterate Iran.” and “I’m the candidate of WHITE, hard working WHITE people.”?
Maybe she and McCain are nice people in person. Maybe they’re not. Like I said above, I don’t know.



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