Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And now the really hard work begin

I just finished watching the most amazing political event of my life. An event that I have wished for, hoped for, almost prayed for all of the last year.

We have elected one of the most incredible and inspirational men of our time to the Presidency at a time of true need. More than any election in my memory, easily more than any election since 1932, and maybe more than any election since the civil war, our country is facing a range of challenges that will test not only our President but all of us.

We are fighting two wars, one is winding down, the other is not going well.
Our economy is in crisis. The banking system is bent if not broken. Our manufacturing base is severely eroded by our fading competitiveness. Our government is sooo deeply in debt as to be constrained in ways we will almost certainly regret. We as a people are also deeply in debt, to our detriment individually and as a nation. Our prestige around the world has not been this low since before WWII. We have sacrificed must of our moral authority, and with it much of our ability to lead the rest of the world. Our profligate waste of energy leads us to give Hundreds of Billions of Dollar every year to nations that don't like us, to nations that supress their own people, to nations that will do us ill if they can. Our profligate consumption of fossil fuels is helping to change the worlds climate in ways we cannot always predict but we are almost all to our detriment.

So it is fitting and proper that we have elected a man that ran a campaign of hope and optimism and inclusion. A man who made a point of always honoring his opponents. A man who never allowed his campaign to dip into personal attacks. Whose negative ads were criticisms of his opponents positions, not of his honor nor patriotism nor integrity. A man whose very candidacy exemplifies the truth of the greatness of America.

I have been voting for President since 1972. Never have I been as in thrall, almost in awe of my chosen candidate.

Now the test begins.

I trust and rely in President Elect Barack Obama to pull us together to meet the challenges ahead.

Its a great day to be an American.


Matty said...

Honestly, congratulations.

He is not my guy by a long shot but he has proved how far this country has come in a relatively short period.

The incurious media aside, I would be more comfortable with the election had there not be the ACORN stuff and his questionable online donation situation. That said, it doesn't seem to have been close enough for either of those to have changed the overall result.

I am a bit disappointed that we appear to have elected a persona as opposed to a candidate with an actual platform, but I know for you, seeing the election of the most liberal member of the US Senate must seem a dream come true.

As I mentioned on Facebook, I can only hope that we elected Obama the moderate candidate, not Obama the liberal senator. Only time will tell.

I can't say that I wish our new president good luck with some of his stated intentions but since he's the one we've got, I'm obligated as a patriot to hope and pray for the best for all of us.

Let's see what he can do with that worthless country club known as the US Congress....

Uncle Walt said...

I am fascinated and dissappointed that you talk about electing "a persona as opposed to a candidate with an actual platform"

Its like you haven't been paying attention

He has a very detailed platform on taxes (which John McCain attacked), Irag (which John McCain attacked), achieving Universal Health Care (which John McCain attacked), Energy Independence/addressing Global Warming (which John McCain attacked) and a whole raft of other issues.

He ran on his platform. His campaign was about describing his vision, in detail, for where he wanted to take this country.

I voted for Barack Obama because he is a leader, and because I agree with him on almost all issues. And our disagreements are small.

Its been funny to watch McCain's supporters try to make the flap over ACORN into something that is was not. And the entire issue of substansial fraud in his on-line donations is simply made up out of thin air.

Lets talk about the issues we agree on and disagree on, throwing gargabe at Obama like McCain did, hoping something would stick, denigrated Senator McCain and diminshed the race over all.

My hope for Senator McCain going forward is that he will be the Maverick he claimed to be, the maverick he used to be before he sold his soul to run for the Presidency, and work with the Obama administration to address those things they largely agree on (like global warming/energy independence). Or he could remain the angry partisan that wasted his campaign questioning Barack Obama's motives and patriotism.

We face huge challenges, climate change being the greatest of them. We need and must demand bold sweeping and dramatic action, both at home in internationally to address this problem that literally threatens teh lives of tens or hundreds of millions of people world wide.

We need to work together and that is something a President Obama will be far more able to do that a President McCain would have been.

Matty said...

I have been paying attention. It is an unassailable fact that Obama was a liberal as a legislator and then proceeded to campaign as a moderate (tax cuts? staying in Iraq almost as long as Bush planned? attackinging Iran and/or Pakistan?). If he says one thing and it's contradicted by his actions as a government offical (at least the times he bothered to vote one way or the other on the hard issues) then what are people voting for? Is it his platform (post primary) or his record? I truly believe he was elected based on his image.

I am a bit perplexed that you are offended that McCain attacked Obama on his platform. Am I missing something or isn't that what a campaign is all about? If his opponent can't attack his record and his platform, what are they supposed to be debating? You seem upset mostly that someone impugned the messiah.

About ACORN... By making it something it's not, do you mean an organization registering heavily in Democratic areas and turning in fraudulent registrations equaling 1/3 of their total haul of over a million new voters? I'm not saying that Obama orchestrated this and I don't think 400K instances of fraud would have changed the outcome, but it's a troubling development - espeically combined with the Dems fervent attempts to stop Justice from cleaning up voter roles.

The online donations thing is a bit more troubling to me. If you gave less than $200 to Obama online, your name is not checked against the CC #. That's a fact. Thus there is no way of ensuring that people don't give more the law allows.

It would be one thing if this was a default measure but the Obama camp actually PAYS MORE per transaction for the honor of being more susceptible to fraud. It puts those massive donation numbers into perspective. If a person gives 20 times at $200 a pop, now you have not only more cash but an inflated number of donors. More money, more donors... that sounds about right. This wasn't the difference-maker in the election anyway.

If Obama can effect climate change, then he truly is the messiah... Maybe we should just wait until this period if intense sun activity is over instead of bankrupting the coal industry (Obama platform).

My original comment was just an honest expression of my lingering issues while trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not knowing how he will react to this new position, I am willing to extend my hand in bipartisanship so long as he does the same. No candidate is squeaky clean so my concerns above will not stop me from at least attempting to give him a fair shake.

Whatever disagreements I do end up having with him, it's definitely a cool time in the history of our country. I heard today that Shelby Steel pointed out that this is the first time in the history of the world that a largely white nation has elected a black head of state. Despite my vote to the contrary, that is something we can all be proud of, right?

Uncle Walt said...

If you have been paying attention then what did this mean? "I am a bit disappointed that we appear to have elected a persona as opposed to a candidate with an actual platform." I don't understand the need to attempt to diminish Senator Obama by denying the substance in his campaign. He is inspirational, I think that is a very good thing. But that inspiration isn't why I voted for him. I voted for him because I agree with him on policies. I am not offended that McCain attacks Barack Obama's positions, I am annoyed that you pretend that our President Elect didn't have positions.

You add apples to chop sticks and pretend that it’s a conspiracy. Everything reported about the fraudulent registrations submitted by ACORN comes down to this. Some of the minimum wage workers hired by ACRON to do voter registration elected to defraud their employer and submit fraudulent registration forms instead of doing the job they were paid to do. In most of the cases, ACORN identified the forms as probably fraudulent before submitting them for process by the county Registrars. They are required by law to submit all the forms they receive, and they did. So ACORN, for the most part, self reported the fraudulent registrations.
There is no evidence, none anyplace, of any conspiracy by ACORN to actually find a way for Mickey Mouse or Jimmie Johns or any of the other fraudulent names to actually vote. Democrats have opposed many of the projects to “clean up” voter rolls because many of those project have had the effect of illegally and illegitimately disenfranchising literally thousands of voters. In Florida in 2000, more than 8000 registered voters were illegally removed from the roles. Most of those removed were African Americans. Who mostly vote Democrat. These efforts to clean up voter roles have often have the effect of disenfranchising minorities disproportionately. And this clean up effort is designed to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Without the supposed cleanups, there is no evidence that widespread voter fraud has impacted any recent election.
So yes, there is no evidence anywhere that ACORN engaged in any sort of organized or disorganized conspiracy to commit VOTER fraud on any scale. There is really nothing there.
And the whisper campaign about fraudulent donations is even more empty. Is it possible that with 4 million individual donors that some of them are fraudulent, it certainly is. I would be surprised if there wasn’t some fraud. If you have 4 million people doing anything, some of them are going to find a way to break the law doing it. But, with no evidence of any wrongdoing, you take the possibility of fraud and somehow make it into some sort of conspiracy. I donated 7 times. And I didn’t exceed my donation limits. And my donations were just about the average size for Baracks donors. $100.

This election is about very serious issues and some very large differences between the candidates on how they would address these issues. We can disagree without trying to diminish or demonize our opponents.

One of the starkest differences that I saw between the two campaigns was the difference in respect afforded by one candidate to the other. Senator Obama was always respectful of Senator McCain. He never questioned his patriotism or his Americanism. He always praised his service and his honor. He would question Senator McCain’s positions. On occasion he distorted Senator McCain’s positions. Fact Check.Org exposed those. But his campaign was always respectful of John McCain. You cannot say the same thing about Senator McCain’s campaign. Saying that Senator Obama is inexperienced is a valid criticism. Having a debate about judgement is valid in a campaign. But questioning Senator Obama’s patriotism by saying that he would rather lose a war than lose a campaign. Instead of talking about Senator Obama’s policies, just accuse him of being a Socialist or even a Communist. Have Governor Palin say that the parts of Virginia that were liable to vote for McCain were the Pro-American parts of the state. Your statement that his campaign was without substance. I don’t understand this need to denigrate, to dismiss.

I will save the climate change discussion for a separate post, suffice it to thread that if you believe that Senator Obama said he wants to bankrupt the coal industry, then again you weren’t paying attention. Again you are only listening to the excerpt that the O’Reilly’s of the world want you to hear. Listen to his entire statement.

These are momentous times and the election of an African American as President less than 50 years removed from the days of Jim Crow is certainly something we can all be proud of.

It’s a great day to be an American.

Matty said...

My point was that generally a candidate runs on a platform of what they've said and done. When those 2 categories don't jive, the logical explanation for that candidate winning is that people simply believe in the person's persona. They simply believe whatever they want to hear. It wasn't so much a criticism as an observation about his lack of consistency between his career as a legislator and his campaign. I'm only diminishing his campaign's substance insomuch as it is only words compared to his legislative history. I honestly hope that he will head more towards his words of this year than his actions in the Senate.

You say that you agree with his policies... are those his pre '08 policies or this year's?

I understand that ACORN is required to turn in their registrations but don't you think they would have picked up on their flawed system before the number of fraudulent registrations reached 6 figures? They knew there were problems and continued despite a 30% failure rate... and those are the just ones that were obviously false. I would not be shocked if the actual numbers are closer to 50%. That's why their largest donor has now refused to deal with them anymore.

The issue with the online donations is not that a given number will be falsified. The problem is that Obama's camp opted to pay a higher transaction fee (that's how credit card companies deal with lessened security measures) in exchange for not requiring smaller donors to provide a name that matches the CC#. The only logical answer is that they expected for some reason to receive more income by not checking to insure names matched numbers.

This means a person can contribute many times (in excess of the federal limit) on one CC# with multiple names.

Do you not find that troubling?

As an aside, the only reason it was a "whisper campaign" was because mainstream news outlets refused to cover it. We obviously disagree why that is.

I honestly don't care about it so much as I think limiting individual donations is a limitation to political free speech, but I'd rather candidates play by the same rules.

I have always said that I wasn't a huge fan of the campaign the McCain ran and he wasn't my first choice in the first place. I think there were areas in which it could have been honestly asked if his associates had some anti-American sentiments but I don't think it was fair to transpose those on him.

As to the coal debate, did he not say that he would like to tax coal power so that, to paraphrase, someone could open a plant but it would bankrupt them? My last statement was an off the cuff summary but it isn't so far off his view regarding using our most plentiful resource to increase our energy output to keep up with demand.

I like that you assume that I'm a O'Reilly type... I actually don't watch TV news much at all (a habit from the time in Ukraine). I do get some percentage of my news/analysis from talk radio but with the reemergence of the fairness doctrine, I'm sure I won't have that for much longer.

I am proud to be an American today and glad to have a Black president... he just wasn't the Black president I would have preferred.

I think part of the difference in our views of this man come from the fact that while some see that Obama is the bringer of the change that opens opportunities for African-Americans, I believe that he is the recipient of a a change that's already happened. Either way it's a proud day.

Uncle Walt said...


So what is that Barack has said and done that is soo different than his policies.

He finished college and moved to Chicago to help people. He had many other options, could have made lots of money, but he chose a different path.

Then he decided that he could be even more effective as a lawyer and legislator. As a legislator he pursued policies that were designed to help people.

Then as a candidate he said that he wanted to raise taxes on the wealthy, move towards universal health care, end the war in Iraq, talk to our enemies, address climate change using conservation and alternative energy

And somehow you find that to be inconsistent. Somehow you find pandering in that.

What policies are you saying he has changed?? Not conflicts between what he has said and what other democrats ahve said. Not distortions of his or Senator Biden's statments, what policies has he changed?

Could Acorn ahve run their business better, sure. I don't know how that connects to Barack Obama. Neither he nor his campaign was paying for ACORN's registration effort. The fact that they are generally aligned with Democratic policies and politicians doesn't make their failures Barack Obama's problem.

The issue of the donations is stil nothing more than a whisper campaign. I am confident that if there was really anything there then any one of President Bush's US Attorney's would be more than willing to take this on. That silence says alot about how much there there is.

And on a point of agreeement, I agree that Senator Obama became President Elect Barack Obama standing on the shoulders of those who came before. But he was able to recognize and capitalize on a moment and craft a message that made all their work before pay off.

Matty said...

I clearly stated that the difference I saw was between his legislative career and his general campaign. I'm neither impressed or offended by his life as an activist. Lots of people do it for lots of different causes.


He was an "out of Iraq now" type of guy from the start and when it was going badly but now that violence is at an all-time low and he's trying to appeal to the center, he's basically on the Bush plan with leaving by the end of 2010 (about the time the Iraqis would prefer).

He voted against FISA repeatedly in the Senate until he became the nominee and now he supports it (which is reasonable).

He wasn't for any tax cuts until he needed to run to the center for the election. I understand that he's generally more interested in limiting tax cuts for the rich than extending them to the rest of citizenry, but he certainly didn't emphasize tax cuts in the Senate or during the primary process.

I don't feel like looking it up, but has he always been opposed to same-sex marriage?

From his website regarding health-care:

Barack Obama will make health insurance affordable and accessible to all:
The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing healthcare system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan.

Obama will lower health care costs:
The Obama plan will lower health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family by investing in health information technology, prevention and care coordination.

Promote public health:
Obama and Biden will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and will increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

None of this is a drastic liberal change. He is running as a moderate.

My point is that he was the most liberal Senator and yet he ran his general campaign on tax cuts, aggressive international posture (Iran and Pakistan), and traditional family values (no s-s marriage) while not mentioning much his apparent long-term goals of universal health-care (his plan appears to be "more affordable," not universal).

I was simply trying to point out that I am hoping that his administration governs in the more moderate vein of his general campaign than his more liberal record of his senatorial days. Not an attack, just a hope.

I also specifically said that I didn't think Obama orchestrated the ACORN abuses. I haven't seen any evidence that he had any intention of soliciting voter fraud via ACORN. The only connection I made was that their voter registration drive was clearly designed to help Obama and their methods were very questionable. No guilt by association, just a coincidental benefit.

I suspect that the reason that there hasn't been any movement on investigating the Obama web fund raising is that there's no way to verify. They can't ask for the CC numbers of donors to check that against the names provided and that's assuming that they used the same card. It's a virtually untraceable crime and though not perpetrated by the Obama camp, it was surely aided by their purposeful and expensive lack of security.

I suppose you can respond to all this if you want but I think I might be done. The more I explain my reservations about the Messiah, the more it seems like sour grapes. I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt but I'm not optimistic that he'll come through - and since we hold different beliefs, he has no obligation to.

As a final thought, I have never been so proud to be a conservative. The civility of the discussion involving Obama's victory by those on the center-right should be a lesson for those who savaged Bush after an equally impressive victory in 2004.

Politics aside, it's great to be able to engage with you and have so much more communication that we did before you started your blog. Love you!