Dustin Kight

People Are Paying Attention (to Barack Obama)

Filed By Dustin Kight | May 19, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democrat primaries, Democrats, election 2008, Oregon, presidential primaries

Some call it idol worship. obama-oregon533.2.jpgI call it a rare opportunity in American politics to engage the disengaged in making their world a better place:

Via the New York Times: 75,000 people gather for Obama rally in Oregon -- more than twice Obama's previous record in Philadelphia.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 19, 2008 10:06 AM


Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 19, 2008 10:09 AM


I wonder what people would have said 50 years ago if they knew an African-American politician that supported states' rights would one day attract a crowd of 75,000 supporters in the north west.

Do any of those people see through the nuance of his wording to believe (as some say) that Obama supports the rights of states to deny equal protections to same-sex couples only because it would be too damaging politically, not because he really believes it is acceptable?

...or do they think it is acceptable to discriminate BECAUSE he (of all candidates) is looking the other way?

Patrick, if Obama supports states' rights to regulate marital laws, it is because he knows that there are many states in which same-sex marriage is going to be a matter of decades. States like Kentucky that have entrenched DOMA in their state constitutions aren't realistically going to gain marital rights for many years - probably a generation, maybe two. If California survives the attempt to constitutionalize DOMA there, I might gain more hope. As for Obama's position, he cannot help us if he cannot win, and he intends to win in states like Alabama and Tennessee and Georgia just as much as he intends to win California and Massachusetts - and to win in the Midwest and South, leaving marital rights to the states (if the subject is raised at all) is necessary.

Also, keep in mind that "leaving marital rights to the states" is tantamount to "repealing Federal DOMA". I think all of us want to see that happen, don't we?

When Obama was suffereing through his 'he wasn't Black enough' period of his campaign and not garnering the huge support among African-Americans he is now, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. among other leaders in the African-American community pointed out that we only made up a strategically placed 13% of the population. If we demanded Black ideological purity from him he'd 'scurr' whites and not gain any traction in his campaign.

One of our failings as progressives is demanding ideological purity from our candidates. The point of a primary is to not only win it, but to run it in such a way that you don't create any issues for the other side to beat up your candidate with in the fall election campaign.

Until Hillary started the 'kitchen sink race baiting', the GOP was holding closed door meetings trying to come up with issues to throw at Sen. Obama because they know (and fear) he will bring huge numbers of new voters to the November party in a election tsunami that will swamp GOP candidates and sweep GOP incumbents out of office.

He is a once in a generation type of candidate along the lines of a Robert Kennedy that we Dems have a knack for producing. But having said that, in order for him to deliver on his potential and promises he has to get ELECTED first.

And that's going to be harder than the primary campaign was.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 19, 2008 5:27 PM

Obama can still lose if gets caught in too Kerry-like vacillations, such as his escapades pandering to bigots and to us, and by the unknown factor of racism. The Clintons first introduced racism into the campaign against Obama but it's fast becoming a big part of Republican strategy. They’re so heartily disliked that they really have no choice, and they’re much better at than Hillary and Bill. It's going to be Willie Horton redux. We‘ll know by November 5th how the Bradley effect will play out but for now ALL the signs point to a repeat of LBJ’s 1964 landslide defeat of the Republicans.

Like Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ and Clinton, Obama is promising peace but will lead us (deeper) into war. Like Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes, McCain is beating the war drum and will lead us into war.

Obama’s 'peace' pledge is based on the lie used by LBJ and the Democrats when they invaded and occupied Vietnam. It's a propaganda ploy called 'phased withdrawal’. That’s Vietnam era code for "we’ll leave when we damn well feel like it and we won’t leave without the oil." The imperial genocide of LBJ and the Democrats was defeated on the ground in Nam. The next administration will be forced to end the genocide there and get out of Iraq. In both cases the cause was/is obstinate insurgents and the efforts of civilian and GI antiwar activism.

Disillusionment with Obama (or McCain) will be compounded by their continued assaults on our standard of living, union busting, the lack of socialized medicine and sham efforts (like Barney Franks gutted version of ENDA) against bigotry.

The bigger they are the harder they fall. Obama idolatry all too soon turn into anger. And that will be the signal for the GLBT movement and our allies in the antiwar and other movements to begin cleaning up the mess created by those who vote for Democrats.

No matter - I can't think of any other time 75,000 people showed up to hear a politician give a stump speech. That's impressive.

Republicans have had the last half of the 20th century and the first 8 years of the 21st (save the 8 years of the Clinton administration) to prove that conservatism is superior to liberalism.

They have failed miserably because conservatism at its basic level is just like communism. It's anti-worker, anti-civil rights, militaristic, benefits only the adherents to it and requires an 'enemy' and massive doses of shrill propaganda (Faux News) to deflect attention from its failures.

Conservatisms biggest mistake was latching on to the Dixiecrats, radical fundamentalist zealots and anti government radicals like Grover Norquist

Sure, you gained the South and some temporary electoral victories which gave you enough power to start wrecking the New Deal and the Civil rights advances of the 60's, but it made the country more racist, nore mean spirited, more arrogant on the world stage and more selfish in the process.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 20, 2008 12:17 AM

I don’t know, Bil.

When I was a kid I was in NYC for a Young Socialists meeting and was dragged down to a huge LBJ street rally in NY by liberal friends. They wore buttons that said “Part of the way with LBJ” and “Even Johnson is better than Goldwater.”

All the building entrances were blocked so we couldn’t see it from about but it seemed to be a good deal larger than the 1963 March on Washington which drew 100,000.

I wonder how many Democrats believed that Jim Crow laws were bad, but it was never the right time to take action against them because....well...there is an election coming up and...and...when "we" win then it will be better...

after decade...

You can believe in Obama all you want, but that doesn't mean YOU aren't responsible for enabling him to be just as wrong as all the people that allowed Jim Crow to continue.

I was at that rally yesterday, about 20 feet from the stage and it was an amazing experience. I can also say that the vast majority of people that I have talked with don't worship Obama, nor do they expect miracles. Many people do, most don't. What they do know is that they are engaged for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, and that is what excites me.

The man isn't even in OFFICE yet and you're ASSuming (along with other Hillary lovers) that he's going to be just like the 43 previous white occupants of the Oval Office.

And you can be bitter all you want that Hillary isn't going to be the nominee of the Democratic party for president.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | May 20, 2008 7:42 AM

This is absolutely amazing.

As organizer that has worked for years to engage people in political and social issues, it fills me with joy to see so many people show up to hear a presidential candidate.

As an African-American, seeing so many people of all races, ethnicities and colors supporting Barack gives me some hope that one day we will be able to judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Sorry Monica. I wouldn't want to say anything out loud that might embarrass your candidate.

I'll just slink back into my closet so I don't make him uncomfortable.

You are right: we should make sure he is elected first, then we can begin regretting the fact that we didn't demand he take a logical and historically sound position on equality.

Sorry, Bill P - I wasn't around for LBJ's rallies. :) That's one President before my time. *grins*