Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’


A Man, A Plan, A Canal: Jimmy Carter

carter obama 08What does it take to achieve greatness? Saving kittens from a burning building? Breaking the 4-minute mile time?

After the Nixon/Ford Combo, America was ready for competence. What it got was possibly the greatest president of all time, in any country, ever. Who is this Dark Horse of which I speak? Why, Jimmy Carter, of course; our 39th President.

Jimmy Carter rode into the office of President on a wave of “Don’t mess this up.” A lesser man would have been content to sign the bills, make the photo-ops, and slide into placeholder status between better-known presidents. An even lesser man than that would have gotten us into an unnecessary war, drove the debt to new heights, undercut education and the environment, and polarized a nation. Jimmy Carter was neither of those hypothetical men.

Jimmy Carter: born again Christian, environmentalist, human rights advocate, farmer, moral compass. He raised the fuel efficiency standards to levels not seen before or since. He mediated talks geared toward Mideast peace. He had a wonderful smile. His wife, June Carter Cash, hailed from a family of musicians and carried on that tradition.

Okay, so he wasn’t married to June. But his real wife Rosalynn, so I am told, was the model of tastefulness and tact.

In this age of doubt and fear, we need the man who turned our nation around at a time of crisis. We need Jimmy Carter to claim his untapped second term. And with trusty sidekick Barack Obama as VP, how can he miss?

My proposal, dear readers, is simple. Carter/Obama 08. The campaign will focus on leading American into 12 years of progressive politics. The slogan will be “JC 2: The Resurrection” (how’s that for catering to the religious right?) The theme song is still undecided, but I’m thinking Springsteen (not Born in the U.S.A. Two Hearts, maybe?).
Mr. Carter or Mr. Obama have not endorsed this message. Yet.


obama carter ’08

We live in a special time. The future is knocking on our door. The winds of change are a-blowin’. We cannot back down, we cannot turn away from our destiny.

And what is that destiny, you ask? I used to be in the Carter/Obama camp. Yet until today that was only a dream. It’s funny how sometimes you dream something, then you wake up and it comes true but in a way you never expected. For me, that means flipping those two names. Welcome to the Official Blog of Obama/Carter ’08.

Look, I even made a new logo for it.obama-carter-08
Welcome to the future, babies.


Meet Your Next President

OBAMA / CARTER ’08 brings you photos of the next President and his VP, both taken in Portland.
Top: Obama in 2008, bottom: Carter in 1976.obama-in-pdx jimmy-carter-portland


First Superstar President

Barack ObamaBarack Obama is set to become our first Superstar President. He is more than a mere politician. To many of us, he is the change that we want to see in the world.

Like most of us outside the state of Illinois, I was introduced to Obama by his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. In what turned out to be the highlight of that election cycle, he gave a speech so great that it outshone the nominee himself. What was that guy’s name?

I spent the next four years wondering why that dude who gave the speech wasn’t the one running our country. Certainly someone capable of introspection and abstract thought would be better than the current resident of the White House, a groundhog scurrying about in a man’s clothes. When Katrina and then Rita tore through Louisiana and Mississippi, our supposed leader holed up in his Texas ranch while Harry Connick Jr. demanded help for his fellow citizens. Why a singer became a better leader than our president remains a mystery. If you’re a person who believes things happen for a reason, maybe you’d think that it took two hurricanes to wake up half the nation from our national nightmare.

As the 2008 election year grew closer, it seemed that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic candidate for president. This filled me with sadness. Sad because it would really be wonderful to see a woman President – just not that woman. It would be like your parents giving you booger-flavored ice cream.

-Yay, ice cream!
-Wait, what is this? I’m not hungry anymore.

She has obviously been preparing her resume for years. Running for Congress in New York, joining the Senate Armed Services Committee. Yeah, she wants everyone to have healthcare. But booger-flavored ice cream with strawberries really doesn’t make it more appealing. (Let’s see how far I can take this metaphor, shall we?)

The great thing about Barack Obama is he hasn’t become part of the institution yet. He’s still young, smart, and has plenty of political mistakes to make. Sometimes he’ll say something that I’ll agree with wholeheartedly and get blasted by the media for saying it. I’m not sure when speaking your mind and stating the obvious became unwise for politicians. Maybe it’s always been that way. In any case, Obama has not yet become that stone wall where information cannot pass freely. What he says, he means, and what he says, he says eloquently and with passion.

Obama’s speeches are one of his greatest strengths. Unlike the mole-man currently squatting in the White House, Obama can elicit change with his words. You’d think that a man giving speeches for at least eight years would get better at it. The current President proves that public speaking is a talent as well as a skill. After the 2004 Democratic Convention speech, my other favorite Obama speech was the one he gave soon after he was attacked for belonging to a church whose reverend was a weirdo. Known as the Race Speech, Obama answered many of the unasked questions of an African American running for President. More importantly, he addressed a wound that we as a country have yet to fully comprehend, let alone heal. As a white guy, it is hard to adequately discuss the deep divide we still have in this country. One of the best things I can do is listen. We must consider is the amazing diversity of this country: not just black and white but Latino and Asian and just about every other region in the world. Obama’s family background speaks to the way America really is. When Kennedy got elected as the first Roman Catholic president, it was a big deal. Forty years later, we need to keep making steps toward progress, toward understanding.

In the coming months a lot will be said and not much understood. The wrong details will be analyzed to death, words taken out of context and misinterpreted. A cloud of confusion will cover the nation. Keep your wits about you, dear readers. Try not to throw your shoe at the TV. On November 4th the cloud will lift.

We need to remember that we are electing a leader, a representative for us all. We are also electing, in my opinion, a person who we strive to be: the best of ourselves. Obama is just a man, with failings of his own, but he is more than a politician. He is heroic because of his humanity and because he has the capability to show us where we can go.

May our leaders make us leaders.

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The Batman

chicago-bridges A dark city cries for help.

Gotham needs Batman.
obama+in+chicago
Long before there was a Batman to protect us, a band of terrorist criminals kept the fair city of Gotham under a near-constant state of panic.These criminals include:
The Joker George W. Bush
One-Facecheney
The Riddlerrumsfeld
…and their hired thugs.

This band of terrorist criminals ravaged Gotham until there was nothing left to burn, blow up, or steal. Many wondered: can Gotham rise like a mighty Phoenix to become great again? Some of us threatened to “move to Metropolis,” where at least the sun comes out sometimes and the newspaper is better.

Alas, most do not have the luxury of pulling up their roots and restarting in a new city. Other citizens claimed that we would live to see Gotham as the urban utopia it once was. But how?chicago-hyde-parkEnter: The Dark Knight.

Batman seemed to rise from the darkness itself, striking back at those who had tarnished our once-beautiful Gotham. He is now doing what Gotham’s corrupt police and crooked politicians never dared try. He fights the good fight. He bleeds for our sins. Though many of us will never see the Batman in person, we must rally around his symbol of hope.

Fly, Batman, fly. Into the light of the dark black night.

This post sponsored by OBAMA/CARTER ’08


the dream is over?

carterobama08 As many of you have no doubt heard, Barack Obama chose his running mate over the weekend. Joe Biden, US Senator from Delaware. Joe Biden has voted on a number of bills since 1972, when he was first elected to the Senate. It’s amazing how many things you can vote on in 36 years.

I’m not going to mask my disappointment here. While Biden seems like a great guy, a good running mate, and has a beautiful smile, he is not the person I would have chosen for Obama.jimmycarter5
What about the Man from Plains? Ol’ number 39? Is a Nobel Peace Prize not good enough for you, Mr. Obama? How about bestselling author? Habitat for Humanity? Do none of these qualities strike you as fitting credentials?

I shouldn’t be too hard on the man. Maybe Obama asked Jimmy Carter and he refused. After all, Mr. Carter keeps a pretty busy schedule as it is. Being Vice President would cramp his style.

But a guy can dream. After all, the theme of Obama’s candidacy is “hope.” I “hope” Obama will read this blog one day and realize he’s made a huge mistake. In the meantime, do not let this minor burp sway your position on Barack Obama. He’s still a great candidate and worthy of your vote. I’ll do some research and find out if there are any similarities between Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter.

Does anyone know if you can write-in a vice presidential candidate on election day?

OBAMA/CARTER ’08.


obama’s good year

obama+head+shot_01It used to be that kings and queens were considered at least part deity. The Americans did one good thing right away by establishing that the President was fully human, acknowledging the fallibility inherent in each of us.

At times the President would become a part of our national mythology. Washington and the cherry tree, Lincoln holding the country together with nothing but his beard, Teddy Roosevelt punching Spain right in the face. These stories are part of who we are as Americans, but we never make the mistake of saying (as much as we wanted to) that George Washington had descended from Zeus.

Then Nixon came along and made it okay to view the President as someone out to get you, kind of like a Boogeyman. The President was not only fallible but potentially worse than the average citizen. This is a perception that successive Presidential candidates fail to alter every four years.

I’ve championed Barack Obama since before he even announced he was running for President. I saw in him some of that mythology that has been missing from the White House since, I don’t know, FDR. I was sick of the run of Presidents who, at best, could be called place-holders, and at worst gave us two wars, the worst financial disaster in 70 years, and ignored global warming and those pesky “anti-torture” agreements.

I couldn’t say I was proud of any President who served in my lifetime* until now.

President Obama is doing exactly what I elected him to do. Hope? Change? Yes, on both counts. In March he signed wide-ranging conservation legislation called the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, adding new national parks, increasing the size of existing parks, and increasing protection of wilderness areas around the country. In May, he nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic justice and the third woman to serve on that court. Oh, and let’s not forget the nation’s first national health care package, which Obama is currently pushing through Congress.

Besides those accomplishments, Obama spends his time putting out the fires from the bad old days of his predecessor. Acknowledging that global warming is not some liberal fever dream, he’s actually putting money into programs that will help us curb our greenhouse emissions. Funding stem cell research that may one day allow us to cure some of those “incurable” diseases. Appointing people to his cabinet that don’t actively hate this country.

It is the combination of big and small acts that has made Barack Obama’s administration a success. Not yet a year into his Presidency, Obama is proving that he will be there for us like Bruce Springsteen is there for Mary.

Before I go, I want to comment on the unfortunate news that President Obama will be sending more troops to Afghanistan. I’m never for war. There have only been three wars in our country’s history that have been completely necessary.** But if it’s between leaving Afghanistan to the warlords and the triumphant return of the Taliban, or finishing what we started lo those years ago, I say we stay and try to clean up some of the mess we made.

“Cleaning up the mess we made” probably should have been Obama’s campaign motto, because that’s what he’s doing and what he will continue to do for the next seven years. In spite of this handicap, Obama has been quietly bringing about the positive change he promised, moving us forward while rectifying past errors. And if that’s not totally awesome, I don’t know what “totally awesome” means.

 

*Except Jimmy Carter, who was in office for three months after I was born.
**The War of 1812, The Spanish-American War, and the War on Drugs. Duh.


obama beats the airlines

I only wish “beat” meant pistol-whipping them.

Almost as good: our Benevolent President, in his Infinite Wisdom, has ordered airlines to allow passengers to disembark from planes that have been stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.

This is taken from the above-linked article, but I think it bears repeating here:


Airlines will be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and to maintain operable lavatories. They must also provide passengers with medical attention when necessary. […]

“Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

In terms of the airlines, I’m all for more regulation. Regulate them to within an inch of their lives. Why? Because that’s exactly what they do to us, from the moment we step inside an airport until our bedraggled living corpse is carried by our family out the other end. I have luckily never lived in a totalitarian state, but I imagine that is what America would look like if it were run by the airlines.

The heads of the airlines should have been made to accept this new regulation on bent knee. They should have been forced to thank the President for forcing them to treat their paying customers decently.

I recently saw Ray LaHood on The Daily Show, and he mentioned the promise of high-speed rail. If this does indeed come to fruition, and I hope that it does, a byproduct may be that airlines see that comfort in long-distance travel is possible.

America is supposedly a capitalist society. Why, then, does it require our government to step in to correct huge, long-term mistakes made by gigantic corporations? From the banks on Wall Street to the Big 3 auto makers to the airlines, when a corporation gets big enough it stops listening to the market because it believes it cannot possibly fail. I think the Greeks had a word for that. The market supposedly makes the best possible choices, but with big business there is no alternative to the one crappy choice we have.

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state of the blog 2010

40 years ago this month, President Nixon gave his first State of the Union address. The 1970’s were, while not exactly a fiasco, a decade remembered more for its failures than its positive accomplishments.

10 years ago this month, I stood in the Capitol building as President Clinton gave his final State of the Union address. It marked the end of a successful decade; the 1990’s saw prosperity and the end of a short war in the Middle East.
Today President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address. I’d mark my enthusiasm level somewhere between Joe Biden and a fan of the Boston Red Sox in September. President Obama spoke not only to the issues he campaigned for a year ago, but for a logical extension. He has a plan, and he’s taking steps to move to the next step. Like he stressed, these things cannot happen on their own. A health care bill needs to be passed. More help needs to be given to people without jobs, people with crappy jobs that do not pay the rent, and to people who want to go to college. As I typed the preceding sentences, it struck me how obvious that all sounds, but in Washington there needs to be someone to point these things out frequently and without obfuscation. I’m also happy he pointed his Presidential finger at the Supreme Court, 5 of whom decided corporations and special interests are more important than millions of working Americans. (Emphasis on “working.”)
I’ll end this highly biased, flag-waving post with my first State of the Blog. It is shorter than the President’s. Ladies and gentlemen:
Pirates.
Zombies.
Dinosaurs.
Thank you internet readers, and thank you fellow bloggers.

el presidente

Guess who’s coming to town to wish me a happy birthday?
officialportrait
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