Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama mania

I usually don't discuss politics here, but the more I read and hear the more I realize that maybe it's time I did say something. Avoid if you're not interested or you don't want to be exposed to free speech.

I have serious doubts about a candidate that can't keep his statements straight or understand the meaning of the words his wife and he are using. There has been a lot of talk about where Obama got the money to run for congress, pay off his college debts, buy a $1.6M house and run for president. According to his wife, Michelle, he used to wear ratty sweaters and was the very essence of the down-at-the-heels college professor still paying off his and his wife's college loans. His first book, Dreams of my Father, was published in 1995 but it wasn't until after his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that an editor from Crown Publishing decided to buy the rights and publish the book in paperback, except Crown already owned the rights, which says that until Obama was recognized on the national political stage his book wasn't important enough to be noticed for nearly ten years. Celebrity has its privileges and those privileges netted Obama a publishing contract with a three book deal and a $1.9M advance. I won't go into the publishing nuances and workings to explain that an advance isn't paid all at once and that Obama's agent got at least 15% off the top or that the advance wasn't paid all at once, but I will point out that Michelle and Obama have both stated that the royalties from the publication of his book paid off their college loans and bought their house and that an advance is not the same as royalties, or that you don't start collecting royalties until the advance is paid off or that none of this happened until well after 2005.

Does it sound like I'm splitting hairs? Need I remind you of the lawyer who once told the American people, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."? Talk about splitting hairs.

Obama ran for Congress and after one year of service as a senator he was stumping for president. I have to wonder if this isn't a case of the which comes first, the chicken or the egg or, in Obama's case, wanting to serve his state as senator or use it as a springboard to running for President. He certainly has done very little work as senator and a lot of work running for president, including disassociating himself with long time friends, confidantes and spiritual leaders, nearly all of whom have publicly stated they knew they'd have to bow out of the picture in order not to hurt Obama's chances. I don't know about you, but that sounds a lot like premeditated planning of the first order. It isn't as though most of the people who have run for president haven't put it on their schedule: get degree, run for Congress, pick up shirts at the dry cleaners, run for president. Most of them did. It's a calculated move not a movie where a law professor or temp agency worker gets picked up, dusted off and put in the Oval Office. That doesn't happen in real life -- or does it? But most of those who followed the accepted route to the White House at least serve out their first term or two before hitting the campaign trail or finish out their contracts before setting their sights on the next rung on the ladder.

Why is it that Americans lose their minds and follow blindly behind any candidate just because he's young -- or at least relatively young? Are we so enamored of youth we forget that with age and experience comes (hopefully) wisdom? And it isn't just youth that draws the voters (and the political heat) but being different, like being a woman or a black man. Are we so anxious for any kind of novelty that we jump on the bandwagon without checking to see whether it has a sturdy bottom or wheels or is actually going somewhere we want to go?

Clinton preyed on our watercolor memories of JFK and the Camelot years, that were more like Camelot after Mordred than before (think Cuban Missile Crisis, among other debacles), and mobilized the vast resources of the Hollywood glitterati to put him in office. He appealed to our desire for flash over substance and that's what we got -- a lot of flash, side-stepping, double talk and scandal, reminiscent of JFK's well known and documented appetites and indiscretions that were very indiscreet. Then came Hillary, although she didn't quite make the grade, and now Obama, a young bi-racial man who is a very charismatic speaker as long as he has a script or teleprompter in front of him.

Obama took the Democratic National Convention by summer shower with Hillary fighting and kicking the whole way, but was it his charisma, his youth or the fact that he is bi-racial that won the day? A combination of all three? Is he the flavor of the month because he's different or because he has the goods or just talks a good game? It's the big pink polka dot purple elephant in the middle of the room that no one wants to talk about. Are people voting for him because he's not white, because he's bi-racial, because he's black? Is it all about political correctness or about him being the best candidate for the job?

We're on the verge of electing a man to office to defend the Constitution (it's in the oath of office) who suspends the freedom of speech whenever it might make him look bad or someone dissents. He's a lawyer, a former law professor running for the highest office in the land and he has no more respect for the Constitution than that? Isn't he supposed to uphold the law, fight for the law, fight for the rights that govern this country and all public offices? Isn't he supposed to be able to take a few body blows from people who don't like him and don't agree with him? Or is he above the rights and freedoms that have made America and Americans unique for over 200 years?

Personally, I don't trust him. There are too many unanswered questions and too much double talk and hemming and hawing for my taste. Even if I could get over my doubts, I cannot get over the fact that this is a man who has publicly said that his supporters should get in the opposition's face and shout them down. This is a man who wants to jail and fine people who don't agree with him. This is a man who leaves his friends by the wayside whenever they conflict with his primary objective -- becoming President. I have no doubt that he will pick up his friends again if he becomes president and will flaunt them in the faces of everyone who believed him when he said he didn't know his pastor and spiritual advisor hated America and all white Americans or that his ties to felons and monied Muslims are none of our business or that he is willing to rush through a bailout of Wall Street without looking into the details of what that bailout will mean to the taxpayers who are counting on him to see to their needs just so he can get back on the campaign trail. Even in a court of law, doubts like these are enough to set a defendant free, but evidently they are not enough to slow down the Obama-mania.

Even Clinton, although his motives are far from pure, has all but publicly thrown his support to John McCain. He'd pretty much do anything to get back to the White House and the Secret Service that keep his revolving door revolving for his sexual liaisons and so he can stop listening to Hillary whine that she put him in the White House and now it's her turn. And then there's Joe Biden who would have gone with McCain if McCain had asked him first, like any good political whore.

The difference between a whore and a prostitute is that the prostitute asks for the money up front before screwing you.

If none of that gave me pause, what a friend told me when she met Obama on her front porch when he was in her neighborhood did. She said he had a limp and moist handshake like holding onto a dead, wet and slimy fish. Obama asked her how long she had lived in her house. She told me that was enough to convince her he wasn't the man for the job of President. He was more interested in making small talk for the cameras and reporters following him around than asking her what would have give him her vote. He didn't ask her how long she thought she could afford to live in her house under the present economy. Sound bytes instead of sound thinking.

Obama is great when you give him a script and, as one fellow journaler often says, a gaffe machine when he ad libs. It is unfortunate he can't script the four years of his presidency should he be elected and he certainly can't script that 3 a.m. call on the red phone, although that my not be an issue since the Muslims in Iran and all through the Arab world are so enamored of The Obama.

And let's not forget that Michelle Obama, the potential First Lady, is the same person who said that she was ashamed to be an American, the same person who got an education and preferential treatment because of the Civil Rights that so many people, black and white, fought for in a country where she can freely and publicly speak her mind even to be negative and ashamed, a country where she got a first class education, is the the beneficiary of her husband's advance and royalties and has held some very lucrative and powerful positions. As First Lady, she is ambassador to the world and a shining example of what it is to be an American, even if she is ashamed to be an American.

If the only reason you're voting for Obama is because of the hype, the youth, his charisma and the fact that he's bi-racial, it's time to step back and take another look. Or maybe you should just shake his hand while standing on your porch as he makes small talk for the press. After all, being personable and charismatic is so much more important than experience and ethics and standing behind the Constitution you've been elected to defend. It's all about change, not a change of politics or business as usual, just a change of face.

That is all. Disperse.

No comments: