Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Obama The Dems' Version of "The Guy We Want to Have a Beer With?"

Call me crazy, but I'm not quite ready to jump whole hog onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. Sure, he's young, smart, charasmatic, telegenic and has more momentum right now than the pre-Super Bowl Patriots, and he could very well be our next president and perhaps even a great one at that. But, that doesn't mean there aren't real issues with his candidacy. Issues that could very quickly derail a national campaign against Sen. John McCain.

Democrats fall in love easily. They have a tendency to over-intellectualize everything, and end up sticking their heads in the proverbial sand as a result. Not me. I'm a realist, and I worry. I worry that Sen. Obama might just be the Democrats' version of the guy we'd like to have a beer with. And we know where that voting strategy got America the last time. As Air America Radio host Lionel said Wednesday morning of the Illinois Senator's great oratory skills, "Obama is the bedside manner; Hillary is the experienced heart surgeon." Great point. And if Hillary's the heart surgeon, how will voters view McCain? Is he the Hospital's Chief Administrator?

A serious turning point for me, as I wrote Tuesday night, was something that occured in the Wisconsin post-primary coverage on MSNBC. Here's what I wrote:

...As an aside, the ever-entertaining and Hardball-throwing Chris Matthews of MSNBC did an interview Tuesday night with Texas state Sen. Kirk Watson, an outspoken Obama supporter. Matthews aggressively pressed Watson on three occasions to name one legislative accomplishment of Obama's while in the U.S. Senate. Three times. The poor shlemiel from Texas was rendered speechless. He kept falling back on the whole "inspirational" thing (which is starting to get real tired, by the way) and Matthews relentlessly pursued the answer to his question. Stammering, all Watson could muster was "I'm not gonna be able to do that tonight." Matthews replied, "Well that's a real problem, isn't it?" Yes it is, Chris, my thoughts exactly. Just wait until the Republican attack machine starts asking the very same question....

If I were leading McCain's team, I'd be preparing what would be the very first question I'd have my candidate lob at Obama at their first nationally-televised debate: "I was a U.S. representative from '82-86, and have been a Senator for the past 22 years. I've sponsored/authored and/or passed major legislation such as McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman, McCain Detainee Amendment, the 9-11 Commission...tell us, Sen. Obama, tell us just one legislative accomplishment of yours while in the U.S. Senate." And Obama better have an answer other than that he "inspires people"... or we're in for some serious trouble.

I struggle with Obama and the Obama phenomenon. I worry that, like the car that is at or below empty, he's running on fumes. I worry that, beyond inspirational rhetoric (Remember "bring honor and integrity back to the White House?" Remember "compassionate conservatism?") and sexy soundbytes, that there's not a lot of "there" there. And that's precisely why Hillary Clinton, despite a string of 10 losses, still runs a close race where total delegates are concerned...and there's still several major contests coming up like Texas and Ohio, where she could fare very well. The simple truth is, virtually 50% of Democrats are just not feeling the inspiration. And I for one don't want another empty suit like George Bush just because that suit is blue and not red. What I care about, what I obsess over, is winning in November. Democrats would be terribly remiss if they do not start to make these observations as well, and ask the same hard questions before they fall in love and end up heartbroken once again.

And here's one last thought on the issue of whether or not he played dirty Tuesday night by pre-empting Hillary's consession speech to start his victory speech: just because she may not have lost "gracefully," as the Obama camp claims, doesn't mean he has carte blanche not to win gracefully. Two wrongs don't make a right. It was bad judgement call on his part, and he should take the heat for it.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Andy, I agree with you.

Political campaigns are like down and dirty wars. Will naive Obama supporters yell racism when the Republicans start to attack him? Do Obama supporters have a clue as to just how dirty the campaign will get? They will attack his name, lack of record, background, religion and even his race in parts of the country. It will make the primaries look like a cake walk. I think Republicans are voting for him because they now know he can be beat. (Hillary is battle tested and would stand up better.)
I really don't think there is anything we can do to stop the Obama train, but I think the Republcians are going to beat him up big time. And I think we will be looking at a President McCain which means 4 more years of the Bush agenda.

Does anyone understand what is going on?

Anonymous said...

straw horse argument, andy

list of obama sponsored bills

lest we not forget...he became a senator when the repugs controlled everything

Anonymous said...

I think it fitting that Obama was at first called a "rock star" and that was then the extent of his campaign Young girls were and I think still are fainting over the "thrill of him". Then the blacks decided they'd better increase their power and get one of their own in the highest office in the land. Next the white racist males decided "anybody but Hillary", so they started voting for him along with the misogynists who said "anybody" but a woman." Finally the Repubicans decided McCain was going to be their nominee and the one easier to beat is Obama so they started voting for him. Those who support him have personal investments in him but not the concern of the country or if he is qualified to be a good president. Now, the quesiton is, can he even win against McCain when the racist males, the males who fear strong women, the young girls, the Republicans and Independents, and then the rest of the country scared by the Repubican attacks against him, all vote for McCain?

We Democrats will all be crying in our beer and we won't care who is having a beer with us.

Anonymous said...

Where I live white males will not vote for Obama. They do not want to give up the power to a black man. Others say we have moved way beyond race. I say that is very naive.

It's too late. The Obama train has left the station with too many naive folks who are just thinking of themselves and are clueless to how the political game is played.

We are looking at a President McCain with years more of war, no national health insurance plan, no money needed for education, no global warning agenda and no other domestic programs folks hold dear.

I can't believe we are here. I can't believe we let this time pass and have handed it to the Republcians again!

In case anyone wonders what the role of the superdelegates is, it is to save us from ourselves. Too bad progressive talk radio hosts don't understand this. All they do is complain about the way the system works without giving the historical reason behind it. (Think McGovern)

Anonymous said...


I hear your concern over the "guy you want to have a beer with" argument, but it's a thin one. I was watching when Matthews asked Kirk Watson to list Obama's accomplishments, and smacked my forehead! But don't confuse this idiot's inability to list any accomplishments, with the fact that he has them. It's a big list, so for those interested, check this out:

Though your argument draws parallels between Obama and Bush as guys you'd like to have a beer with, I know you know they're nothing alike. I love that email going around of Bush's resume - all the failures in his career pre/post presidency. Obviously, Obama is nothing like that and his sheer brain power blows Bush off the map. Also, let's not belittle the whole "inspirational" argument. Change really comes from the people. The numbers that are turning out to vote are staggering. It doesn't happen often (or ever?), but it's happening now. And it's happening because of Barack Obama - quite an accomplishment! It takes intelligence to lead, and he certainly has that. (Incidentally, I wonder if people could have listed any accomplishments of Bill in 92'? Or Kennedy? Again, this doesn't mean that he, or they, doesn't have them.) Lastly, experience. I truly believe in the world of politics experience is overrated. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if sometimes it can be a hindrance (too many personal relationships, perhaps a calloused belief that certain things "can't be done," fatigue, etc.) Sports and politics are two different things, but what was Bill Belichick's experience at being a head coach before he took over the Patriots? What about Terry Francona before he took over the Red Sox (or Theo Epstein as GM, for that matter - he's a kid!?) Now, look at a guy like Marty Schottenheimer. A conservative coach, was in the league for ever, and didn't win a playoff game in decades. I know this sounds ridiculous, and in many ways it is, but the point I'm making is that youth, inspiration, and a new way of looking at things is often just what we need. I suspect people that wanted to have a beer with Bush wanted to because he seemed like them. But, I also suspect that people who'd like to have a beer with Obama would do so to learn a thing or two. And to finally, after so many years of not, feel inspired.

Anonymous said...

But can he win or are we in for a world of hurt?

Anonymous said...

I really think he can win.

Anonymous said...

Who ever wins the nomination will face a trial by fire running against John McCain. Hillary has her fair share of skeletons in her closet. And the right is very well versed in Clinton bashing, it was a national pass time for half of America in the 90's. I still think it's about the war. If Hillary had opposed it from the start and stuck to her guns, she'd already have the nomination.

Anonymous said...


You are missing the point.

The whole issue is -

Obama is running a flawless national campaign, Clinton was running on name recognition.

Obama has won 25 of 36 states. Also, he has a campaign administration of 700 + paid staffers - and eleventeen volunteers.

He has demonstrated hi ability to get things done.

Enuf said.

Now stop your worrying and get on the Obama train already - next stop 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Love Ya,

Anonymous said...

I say stay off the Obama train. It is going to be seriously derailed should he win the nomination. He is unvetted and will be Swiftboated out of town.

It is a well-known fact that Republicans are crossing over to vote Democrat in the primaries and caucuses and will then switch back and vote as they normally would - for a Republican - in November.

This is a strategy and a fact not a theory or a myth. Just ask those on the ground at some of these caucuses who have heard particularly White Male Republicans openly discussing their plan to do just that. The idea has always been to knock Hillary out and make Obama the nominee. He has always been the weakest of all of the Democratic candidates running yet he is the frontrunner. You'd have to ask yourself, why?

All we need now is for McCain to select Jeb Bush as a VP running mate and this whole thing is over.

Anonymous said...

Obama hasn't got a chance of winning. Kerry was a bona fide hero and the Swiftboaters destroyed the truth until Americans thought Kerry was a fraud. The press and Republicans nagged at Gore -- his clothes; his sighs; his "lies" (which he didn't make); his kissing his wife; etc., and when that didn't work they ruined the FL election so the Conservative Surprme Court gave it to BUsh. GORE HAD THE POPULAR VOTE> Obama is far more vulnerable than those two. He will be accused of being a Muslim; of belonging to a church that hates whites and they'll even spread lies about where and how he got more money than any candidate in history. At least Tucker Carlson said he'd collected more money than anyone ever has. From ten dollar donations online? John Edwards should have been our candidate. We have lost.

At this very moment Chris Mathtews is establishing that Obama has done nothing of significance in the Senate.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anonymous at 7:05 p.m. - first and foremost that John Edwards should have been the nominee. But Corporate America saw to it that he wouldn't be.

Right now, Obama is the darling of the Corporate Media - who by the way are generally speaking - of the Republican ilk. So again, one has to ask, why? Why would Republicans be pushing Obama on us? Why would they switch over and vote for him? It is because he will be the easiest to beat in a general election.

While so many in our party have been floating on the inspirational messages of Obama, you can bet Karl Rove and the Republican machine have been working hard behind the scenes to get Obama to be the nominee so they can knock him out.

No one in the press has dared to raise questions about Obama - even when he lied in the debate in South Carolina saying his only involvement with Rezko was through his law office in which he billed about 5 hours' work for Rezko.

That is a flatout lie - in fact, it is well known that Obama's relationship with Rezko and the Rezko family dates back nearly 20 years. I imagine the Right Wing politicos are licking their collective chops as they plan to run ads replaying Obama's comment at the debate - using his very own words against him.

And it will be the same people - like Chris Matthews and anyone on CNN, MSNBC and the like - who are now giving Obama a free pass - that will then turn around and tear him apart.

If this party does not wake up and realize that we are being Swiftboated right now - and should McCain select someone like Jeb Bush as a running mate - I fear that the White House will be lost to the Republicans for at least another generation.

Anonymous said...

Swiftboating did not lose the election in 2004. I don't believe it changed one Democrat's mind. It was just red meat for the base and baseless TV posturing to avoid real issues.
I seem to remember a lot of voter disenfranchisement in the so called swing states. Remember Ohio? I do, the last precinct reporting in 2004 that put Bush over the top held a "closed" ballot counting. I do believe there were people who were convicted of crimes last year for some of the shenanigans that went on in Ohio(finally). Believe it or not, quite a bit has been done with respect to election integrity, although more can be done.
If you have been paying attention to the sheer numbers of Democrats showing up for both the caucuses and primaries, you will note record turnout nearly everywhere. Independents like myself showing up for the Democratic caucuses and primaries. Couple that with half as many Republicans turning out, an incoherently scattered McCain looking very insincere; I believe Republicans are demoralized. Just look at Bush's 19% approval ratings. Even the Reagan Republicans I know have been inspired by Obama.
Yes, the racists and bigots will have their day and swiftboat away, looking more and more desperate, more and more crass; Republicans will stay home. (I know my 86 year old conservative dad will, he has said so, he's depressed watching much of what he worked his life for be pissed away). In the end the sheer number of people fed up and looking for hope will be the ones who show up at the polls come November. If the Republicans run on fear and status quo, they will lose.

Anonymous said...

teknikal Who are all of these people fed up and looking for hope? Surely not Democrats. We've waited for this day and we're sure we can put in a Democrat as we changed Congress with our votes. But the truth is some of us are seeing our hope wane at the prospect of Obama being our candidate. He cannot be elected. We will be doomed for another four to eight years. Obama is not inspiring the hope that that won't happen. And,
I do not agree with you that any Republican, even Reagan Republicans will vote for a candidate who wants government sponsored healthcare for all; who wants to bring the troops home at once; who wants to negotiate with the enemy; who want to restore unions; who wants to curtail or stop outsourcing jobs; who wants to raise taxes; who wants to preserve social security; who wants to make the pharmeceutical companies bid for Medicare contracts; who is against vouchers and No Child Left Behind; who wants to create fair housing rates; who wants to stop the welfare to corporations; who wants gun control; who believes in a woman's right to control her own body; who wants to teach sex education in schools; who wants to allow the illegal immigrants to become citizens -- the list goes on There is not a Republican alive who will vote for a Democrat unless, as has been suggested, they are voting for Obama now so he is the candidate against McCain. They know they can scare Americans with their lies about Obama's Muslim connections.

Swiftboating alone did not defeat Kerry but it was the final "nail". Of course the election in Ohio was crooked and that will probably happen again along with swiftboating.

And even now with the news tonight about McCain's affair with a lobbyist, he will still be voted into office by Republicans, racists and idealistic young first-time voters, if they show up to vote.

Anonymous said...

bacci40 said:

>list of obama sponsored bills


bacci40, did you check out this link? I did and it looks like he's had a total of 3 bills that have passed (not 0 as I had incorrectly assumed).

Passed Senate
Jun 26, 2007 S.Con.Res. 25: A concurrent resolution condemning the recent violent actions of the Government of Zimbabwe against peaceful opposition party activists and members of civil society.

Passed Senate
Jul 13, 2007 S.Res. 268: A resolution designating July 12, 2007, as "National Summer Learning Day".

Passed Senate
Mar 28, 2007 S.Res. 133: A resolution celebrating the life of Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson

All votes were passed 100 to 0. Now do you believe Obama is a heavyweight who can convince people? 100 to 0 ain't to shabby.

Anonymous said...

Not to shabby?

You think its an accomplishment to get backing on:
- condeming violence
- celebrating learning
- and honoring someone's life

Just wait to see how convincing he is when he needs to pass a resolution that matters.

Anonymous said...

All I ask is that Obama supporters quit being groupies like he is some Rock Star. The Republicans are not going to lay down and die. We must get ready for the fight of our lives. Do you honestly think that the powers that be want someone like Obama to came in and change everything? They are going to fight like hell to hang on to what they have. Power is the name of the game. Obama groupies need to get a grip. We will need them big time if we expect to win.

Anonymous said...

I think all three candidates are preposterous choices for President. Let's see, do you want the straight talk express (that swerves all over the place), or The Triangulator, or a noun, a verb and change?

This is arguably the single most important election in the history of this country and look at how pathetic our choices are. In that context, I guess charisma is as good a reason to choose a president as anything. But if we are going to go that route, I propose that we appoint the winner of American Idol as president.

Anonymous said...

Ah come on Workshop, it's not that bad. How can you think our choices are wose than the current clown in the White House?

Anonymous said...

anaon at 11:50PM
You mis characterized my statements and Obama's stances and record. I will not spoon feed you the correct info as I do believe you are an adult. Obama is definitely a centrist and almost an unpalatable one to me. I am still deciding if I will vote Dem, as none of the 'Republicats' are really about honest change. My opinion is that the system is so far gone that any true innovator would be unable to really change anything. It really may be another four more years of the current policy of looting the treasury and cronyism for the country to hit bottom... I guess that is a sort of Shock Doctrine... for any real candidate for change.
As I said I am an independent, little "i", sorry this was not clear. You are correct that Reagan Republicans are actually DiNO's, yet in my upstate rural NY communities, that is what we have, along with lots of Republicans. The Republicans tend to be more libertarian but swallow the Republican line of smaller government when actually Repubs are expanding it and selling off gov services to their friends and other private entities. As far as the Dems waiting for this day, I guess you were so full of hope while they wasted their majority since 2006 continuing to cave to the will of the King. I guess you were hoping your powder wasn't wet or you could stay off the table or some such nonsense. Leadership in Congress has continued with the status quo.

DVSDen said...

I cannot believe that intelligent progressives cannot yet recognize that this Obama campaign is a phenomenon. Do you think that the turnout numbers would be so high if it were Hillary vs. Edwards? Edwards brought nothing to the table in '04, so why in the world should he be the best nominee now? Listening to Hillary give a stump speech is like attending a PTA meeting. We get it Hillary; you have been around forever. How many fences have you straddled with your index finger in the air in the last 35 years?
Obama is challenging the next generation to care and do something - we haven't seen this on the DEM side since Clinton in '92 or RFK in '68.

As far as the paranoia goes that this is all part of some GOP plot, get real people. The DEMS are outfundraising the GOP. They are outvoting them by 50-100% in most primary states, even when when the GOP was divided three ways. And the far right fundies are still supporting Huckleberry. What the hell is the GOP attack machine going to do? "Obama rhymes with Osama". Oohhh, scaaarrry!!
All you have to do is put a picture of McCain next to Bush and say "Do you want 4 more years of this? Do you want troops in Iraq for 100 years?" GAME SET MATCH.

Anonymous said...

I had the same concern.

Obama has a few legislative accomplishments, as befits a junior senator.

And he worked hard in Illinois, including some good work establishing a consensus among police, prosecutors and civil rights advocates in support of his legislation video monitoring of criminal investigations.

He's also trained as a constitutional lawyer, which is (a) an accomplishment in itself and (b) a great relief after seven years, one month, and one day of Bush-43.

Anonymous said...

ok, so if Barack Hussein Obama is a constitutional lawyer, then he should know that Affirmative Action, Universal Healthcare, and McCain-Feingold are all unconstitutional.

What's he going to do about it ?

Anonymous said...

I don't know where you are getting your information. Obama is NOT the man I would choose to have a beer with. If you want specifics about his programs, they are not hard to find unless you don't want to see them. You seem to have this absurd idea that only the very young and black are supporting Obama. That just isn't true. Clinton, and I am a woman who would love to see a woman president of the U.S., simply has done nothing that has been of value. Look at HER record, especially on the cluster bombs and the Kyl-Lieberman bill. Geez, do we want another war hawk in there? I say, NO! Hell no!

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Put a muslim in charge instead, that seems to work in other countries.

Anonymous said...

As usual we will find a way to lose what could have so easily been in hand. Obama won't win a general election. Those who think a majority will vote for a black man are just fooling themselves.

Welcome to the white house preznit McCain who will wind up as a shill.

Anonymous said...

McCain is a better pick for the country than either Hillary or Barack Hussein Obama

Hillary doesn't live in reality and Barack Hussein Obama has never accomplished anything.

Anonymous said...

Hillary won the debate last night and she is ahead in the polls about 7 points in Ohio and Tx. Yet, MSNBC and CNN now say "The race is tightening." When Obama was ahead, they said "Obama has the lead and Hillary doesn't have a chance." I'm not so sure that a woman does have a chance to be elected either. She would have a better chance than Obama because there are more women than men, but the young women supporting him haven't any idea what they'llface when they start their careers. . Even the professional women on the networks have written Hillary off -- maybe their jobs depend on it. So, we'll get McCain who has flip-flopped, lied, cheated, pandered, and traded government favors for sex. Aside from all of that, he'll be another Bush.

So women, Afro Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, poor children, teachers, the middle class, the poor, the sick, the environment, the economy and everything else will continue to suffer and decline.

Thank you Ted Kennedy, Kerry, Daschle, and rich Democrats, Afro American Democrats, and the young foolish ones.

DVSDen said...

The people who are fooling themselves are the Hillaryites who think that a person despised by 50% of the public will win a general election against John mcCain. For those of you who don't think Americans can't vote for a biracial man, stop reading Bartcop and look at the election results from IA, WI, MT, and the other non-southern white states where Obama cruised to victory

Anonymous said...

Honestly Andy, are you another closet racist or does it just look that way? As far as your readers have alot of twisted repugs polluting the waters here. Barack wouldn't even want to have a beer with you. What makes you think he's anything like the low-life prez anyway. Gimme a break. You know Barack will be the next President of the United States and alot of you racist types are freakin-out. Oh well, welcome to the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

10:30 You missed Andy's point. He didn't say Obama was like Bush or that he, Andy, wanted a beer with Obama. Andy said that the criterion for choosing Obama is that he would be the guy those voting for him would like to have a beer with. That there is no substance, just personality and persona.

We'll never know if Obama loses the presidency because of racists or more likely those who believe the smear campagin already being launched. This week THE GLOBE printed an article and named the source, a man, who said Obama got him cocaine and had some himself before they had sex. Then, today in the Times Kristol wrote an unflattering (and unnecessary) piece about Obama's people in Kenya. As usual the Republicans will stop at nothing to win the election. Now they have the help of Nadar who will take votes mostly away from Obama.

I was for Hillary but I'm becoming angry at what they've already started against Obama and feel sorry for him. He is a fine man. Then Hillary is a fine woman and today in the Times Rich and Dowd both bashed her. THis is the second week they've done that. Dowd, though, has never written a kind word about another strong woman and I guess Rich is just another misognynist. What can we do??? And of course Christ Matthews said Hillary looked like a school bus in her yellow suit and that she'd never would have been a candidate if it weren't for Monica. I gues I'm feeling sorry for the Democrats which includes me; we're going to have another four to eight years of a Bush-like reign.

Anonymous said...

Obama is slimy and full of hot air.. What is the difference if he gets the DNC nod? Four years of his weasel tactics and republican-lite mentality or four years of McCain's delusional meanderings are the choices.

What train to hell has America decided to board with the possibility of those two?

One likes to bomb people and one has a theme song!!

Wow - what a great choice...

Anonymous said...

One of the world's biggest racist supports Barack Hussein Obama: