Sunday, June 01, 2008

Foray into Politics

I'm going to take one more bite of this apple. In his Open Letter to Barack Obama, RMJ has hit on just the concerns I have about Senator Obama.

I assume you all know that, under extreme pressure from Faux News and all the right wing, Senator Obama has today renounced his membership in Trinity UCC. How very sad.

RMJ gives us this quote from one commentator:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity are community building blocks that the right wing has turned into bricks to be thrown at presidential candidate Obama from now until the general election ends in November—and perhaps beyond.

So in an attempt to turn manufactured right-wing ammo into blanks, Obama has completely separated himself from his minister and his church. What worries me is this: Can we expect a President Obama to cave in to the whims and will of the right on policies and issues he knows are important, if this nation is to move forward in a progressive and compassionate manner? Can we expect him to genuflect to negative reports by an uninformed, misinformed or ill-willed media? Is the candidate of change willing to go-along in a willy-nilly get-along fashion?
Exactly. The man was taking heat about his church membership. And he caved. He couldn't even defend his church membership.

So how will he respond, if he is elected President, when all the right-wing pundits attack him for even more serious positions and about issues that matter to all of us?

Cave on me once, shame on you. . . .

And that's why this young, untested man worries me.

It's all well and good to be attractive and articulate and inspiring. But what will he do when the heat is on? I hope this weekend's "fold" isn't a harbinger of his future.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, I don't know how old you are. I'm 45. I find an interesting divide between older feminists and those around my age and below in their views towards Hilary.

I don't regard Obama as any more "untested" than Hilary. He served in state legistlative office before going to the US senate. she had an easy election to get the NY senate seat. Their time in elected office isn't very different.

I'm in my mid forties. In my own little arm of the universe, I'm tired of taking orders from 60 year olds who really ahven't kept up and are using 20th century strategies and policies. It is a tired old generation fighting old battles and the world has moved on. I left my last position because there was no recognition of my leadership abilities. If Obama is as smart as he seems to be, he is smart enough to gather good people around him, and not be afraid by their abilities. that's leadership, not cronyism.

I don't count Hilary's time in the white house as executive experience, hard as she tries to make it so. She was not elected and she botched the one administrative thing she was given, the health care plan.

Obama is no younger than JFK or Bill Clinton. JFK had only a short time in Congress. Clinton was governor of a pretty small state--starting at 32, a pretty young and inexperienced age. I don't buy "inexperience" as a dismissal. At 45, i'm a lot mor experienced than you might give me credit for.

Yeah, Obama left his church. He disagrees with and disapproves of what they are saying there. You think he should stay despite all that? He clearly does not define himself with the nature of the commentary there. Regardless of its political expediency, are you arguing he should stay because of an equal cultural expediency?

But then I don't understand why my partner (the lesbian) remains Catholic and closeted at church either. I don't view that as something honorable. I view it as denial, much as I love my partner. And I think she knows as well as I that her church will be happy to toss her out on her rear the minute she is honest about who she is.

Hillary ran a bad campaign and I don't like her. She is not owed anything because of whom she was married to (and their air of entitlement has worn thin). I thought Bill was a good president. That doesn't mean his wife deserves to be president, or would be as good as he was. The 90s are over. we all have to move on.

IT

6/01/2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I don't understand the anger in your comment, I.T.

I already said I'll be voting for Senator Obama if he's the Democratic nominee.

But his lack of experience, his lack of specific policies does concern me. I find him void of substance. But the "substance" from McCain is truly terrifying.

And, yeah, I think his resignation from Trinity suggests something that worries me a lot. If he'll bail on his friends in this little thing, what do you think he will do when the "right" goes after him about "more substantive" things? That worries me. But I hope he will find courage.

Rant all you want about Hillary. That seems to have become a national pastime, but I'll have no part of it, any more than I will attack Senator Obama for not wearing a flag lapel pin. Our nation has majored in minors for much too long.

I've already said I'll be supporting the Democratic candidate this fall. So I don't know why you feel the need to rant and rave about Senator Clinton. She has lost. I have acknowledged that. Why do so many people feel the need to beat her to a bloody pulp? I truly do not understand that.

Oh! and if it matters, I'm 53 years old -- just a bit older than you. Though I'm not sure how/why that matters to you.

6/01/2008 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
I find the age thing intersting because as I said, I find older feminists more Hilary-positive than younger ones. You are a datum in my unscientific poll ;-)

I'm not sure I agree that Obama's church's missteps are such a little thing. The ministers keep saying things he disagrees with. Isn't that what represents a church? If your actual parish church preached fire-n-brimstone against gay folks, woudl you stay?

As for my anger, yeah, I'm angry. I'm angry at the lies about popular vote, the flip-flops about the rules and to whom they would apply, the stupid mis-statements, the pandering. The unnecessary untruths about sniper fire and her own version of being for NAFTA before she was against it. And the relentless sense of entitlement. In terms of substance, their policies are nearly identical.

I would have voted for her had she won. But she didn't win.

IT

6/01/2008 11:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

So, IT, you're 45 and I'm 53, and that makes me a "datum in your research" about "older feminists"? OK. Whatever. Knock your socks off, sweetheart.

IT, he stayed in that church for 20 years. Twenty years. Something has spooked him in the last few weeks. Personally, I find that profoundly sad.

I'm angry too. This race should have been conducted on higher, nobler grounds. I'm not happy with everything Senator Clinton did. She did some really bone-headed stuff. (While Senator Obama did little, said little.) It seems to me that she was willing to take stands a lot more often than Senator Obama was. But I don't know anyone who could have withstood the onslaught from the right wing that despises her so viscerally. You wanna join them? Fine.

When I started this thread, I really didn't expect that the visceral, Hillary-hating type of reactions would come in here. Obviously, there's something about Senator Clinton that just gets folks going. That's too bad.

Bottom line: You're right. She didn't win. We're stuck with Senator Obama now. And I pray that he is our next President.

6/01/2008 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa,
on your final point, we agree 100%. Because our country can't afford McCain.

I'm not a vehement Hilary hater. I didn't go into the race with a VRWC (vast right....) point of view about her. I started the campaign rather fond of Richardson, frankly. And I certainly don't think Obama is perfect (Politicians are pretty sorry creatures regardless).

But in the course of this race, i have become really annoyed at HRC. Of course, from where I sit, you seem just as, well, unresasonable in your support, as i seem to you in my dislike. Can we agree to disagree here, as long as we agree on the Big Point (see above?).

(The problem with this medium is that it loses al nuance.)

As for my vague statistical observations, you are a datum. So'm I, so is my partner, so are all the women I know. I didn't say you defined a boundary. I haven't enough data to prove or disprove the hypothesis, and I'm curious to see whether I can. ;-)

Peace, sister.

IT

6/02/2008 12:29 AM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I was definitely too harsh last night, IT. I apologize for that. You're right about this medium.

And I agree Hilary's behavior/strategy -- especially in the last month or so -- is not inspiring. She needs to say "goodnight" -- and to do so graciously.

6/02/2008 7:25 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, IT, Rmj at Adventus has done an amazing series of posts on Wright, Obama, and Trinity UCC. I don't admire Obama's decision to sever his 20-year relationship with his pastor and his church, but I suppose that he had to do to survive politically. With the state of presidential politics in the US as it is, I don't think it's possible to advance without selling your soul - if you have a soul to begin with - which I believe both Obama and Clinton had at one time.

I see much to lament in the words and actions on both sides of the Democratic divide, but I must say that regarding the experience question, I don't view Clinton as ahead of Obama. Being the president's wife doesn't count as experience for me.

6/02/2008 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, Lisa, late night comments get a little "hot" for me too! ;-)

Perhaps HRC can learn from Ted Kennedy. Desipte scandals and presidential disappointments, he became a masterful senator who I think will be remembered for a long time for his advocacy of civil rights and social justice.

They are big shoes to fill, but a senator with a national reputation like HRC has the potential to be a similar senatorial conscience and to be a true leader of the legislative process. After all the president doesn't make laws, s/he just signs them.

If HRC can get over being a streetfighter and get back to being a statesman, she could be an enormously effective senator. A lot will rest on how graciously she moves on and throws her influence behind unifying the party. I hope she can do it because she has a lot still to offer.

IT

6/02/2008 12:42 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I am glad Barack Obama quit his church over the bashing of Hillary Clinton - someone needs to stand up to the overt sexism in this contest.

6/02/2008 5:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ann wrote: I am glad Barack Obama quit his church over the bashing of Hillary Clinton - someone needs to stand up to the overt sexism in this contest.

I would agree with you, Ann, if he had couched his departure in those terms. But he didn't. He said it was because they were espousing all sorts of views that didn't reflect his. He left me with the impression he was leaving because they beat up on him, not out of any sense that the ridicule of Senator Clinton was beyond the pale.

And FYI, in case any of you have not seen them, there have been three items posted recently that speak to the blatant misogyny of this campaign. Ann gave me the first two, and Cranmer49 gave me the last. Take a look:

"Misogyny I Won't Miss," by Marie Cocco in the May 15 Washington Post

"Devil in a pantsuit or the demonization of Hillary Clinton," by Julia Keller in the May 18 Chicago Tribune

And this video montage in which TV/cable people say things about Hillary/women that would have them off the airwaves if they said such things about African Americans.

6/02/2008 7:18 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Let me start by thanking all of you for a good discussion. And I give special thanks to IT for such generosity. (IT, I love your comments on the many blogs we both frequent, and I'm glad we backed off from a fight here … since I really don't think we're in significant disagreement.)

I don't want to be an apologist or even an advocate (at this late date) for Senator Clinton, and I don't mean to bash Senator Obama. Though I supported Senator Clinton in the primary here, I never donated a dime to her campaign. I did send money in her first NY senatorial election. But then she voted for this darn war in Iraq. When I continued getting fund-raising letters from her campaign since 2002, I've responded to every one of those letters by replying (via the prepaid envelope) that I could not wholeheartedly support her (or send money) until I heard a clear apology for her vote.

I express reservations about Senator Obama's experience. Hear this clearly: I have equally deep reservations about Senator Clinton's judgment. If she could be swept up and carried away in the warmongering frenzy in 2002, what does that tell me about her "judgment in the heat of the moment"? It suggests things that trouble me. In exactly the same way that Senator Obama's caving to Faux News re: Trinity UCC troubles me.

Fortunately, I never "drank the kool-aid" for Senator Clinton. I've intentionally kept myself just a little detached from this whole campaign to this point. Partly out of the sense Mimi expressed, that probably all the candidates have already sold their souls to get to this point.

Come the fall, I'll do my part to support the Democratic candidate.

6/02/2008 7:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Mimi said: I must say that regarding the experience question, I don't view Clinton as ahead of Obama. Being the president's wife doesn't count as experience for me.

In a sense, I agree with you. Let me explain where I differ.

Hillary spent 8 years at Bill's side. Admittedly, she wasn't in the office where "the buck stops." She didn't have to send a budget to Congress, didn't have to decide whether to sign or veto a bill, didn't have to decide what diplomacy to initiate. On the other hand, I assume she was at his side and privy to the conversations about all this stuff – whether in meetings, over the dinner table, or in "pillow talk."

A person who has been that close to the presidency must have a fairly clear idea of what the job entails.

Here's an analogy: For several years, I was partnered with a technical services librarian. Does that mean I have experience running a cataloging or acquisitions department? By no means! But it does put me a little further down the road to understanding the issues involved in a job like that. I don't know what career Grandpère was in, Mimi; but I bet you have a fairly good idea of what's involved in his career. That's all I meant to say.

Of course, I could be wrong. But that's why I felt a little more comfortable with Senator Clinton's experience than with Senator Obama's.

6/02/2008 7:24 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

IT, thanks for your generous understanding.

I agree with you about what Senator Clinton needs to do now. She could establish herself as a powerful legislator who speaks for the people. I would love to see her step into the shoes of Shirley Jackson, Bella Abzug, or Anne Richards. (Hoping for a reincarnation of blessed Molly Ivins' voice would surely be hoping for too much! :-) She could establish a reputation and record that could make her a strong candidate eight years from now. Heck! She's still pretty young. It's up to her.

6/02/2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, we were both librarians, and we both worked in several different positions in libraries, so yes, I did have a pretty good idea of what his career was like. I know that he complained about his job a lot more that I did, and I listened. I knew my place. ;o)

6/02/2008 7:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ah ...! You simply confirm my belief that all the hottest babes are librarians!

6/02/2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Damn right, Lisa, and thanks.

6/02/2008 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lisa, and ditto.

Unfortunately, the endgame of the campaign is not as smooth as it could be. (Hilary Rosen had some acrid remarks in the HuffPost, and her a HRC supporter...) I think HRC has some lousy advisors, I really do.

I hope they all come to their senses and unite against the real opponent: McCain!

But what's with all the librarians?

IT

6/05/2008 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barack Obama's church may in reality have been Michelle Obama's choice. She may have family there, and he may have thought that she should have the choice of church. After all, sitting through occasional outbursts from a normally fairly sensible preacher is a small price to pay for having the kids in the same church as extended family (assuming Michelle is from Chicago). The situation has changed. If Barack isn't heavily invested in the specific congregation, Michelle is, and they would be leaving that church and moving to DC, why shouldn't he choose an interim church until the move? I think he is making the only possible political move. It isn't pretty, but then politics isn't pretty.


NancyP

6/05/2008 9:11 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Good point, NancyP. I never considered that.

6/05/2008 10:22 PM  

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