Sunday, December 16, 2007

Boston Globe Endorses Barack

For the Democrats: Barack Obama

THE FIRST American president of the 21st century has not appreciated the intricate realities of our age. The next president must. The most sobering challenges that face this country - terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics - are global. America needs a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world, with all its perils and opportunities. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has this understanding at his core. The Globe endorses his candidacy in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary Jan. 8.

Many have remarked on Obama's extraordinary biography: that he is the biracial son of a father from Kenya and a mother who had him at 18; that he was raised in the dynamic, multi-ethnic cultures of Hawaii and Indonesia; that he went from being president of the Harvard Law Review to the gritty and often thankless work of community organizing in Chicago; that, at 46, he would be the first post-baby-boom president.

What is more extraordinary is how Obama seals each of these experiences to his politics. One of the lessons he took from organizing poor families in Chicago, he says, was "how much people felt locked out of their government," even at the local level. That experience anchors his commitment to transparency and accountability in Washington.

Similarly, his exposure to foreign lands as a child and his own complex racial identity have made him at ease with diversity - of point of view as well as race or religion. "I've had to negotiate through different cultures my whole life," he says. He speaks with clarity and directness, and he is also a listener, a lost art in our politics.

In what looks like prescience today, Obama was against the Iraq war from the start. But his is not the stereotypical 1960s antiwar reflex. "I don't oppose all wars," he said in the fall of 2002. "I'm opposed to rash wars."

When it comes to waging peace, Obama has the leadership skills to reset the country's reputation in the world. He notes, for example, that the United States would be in a stronger position with Iran if it took more seriously its own commitment to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. His bill, cosponsored with Senator Richard Lugar, to add conventional weapons to the nation's threat reduction initiative, became law this year.

On domestic issues, the major Democratic candidates are reduced to parsing slivers of difference. But Obama has been more forthright in declaring his slightly heterodox positions to traditional Democratic constituencies. His support for merit pay for teachers, or a cap on carbon emissions, suggests a healthy independence from the established order.

The first major bill to Obama's name in the Illinois Legislature was on campaign ethics reform. In Washington, he coauthored this year's sweeping congressional lobbying reform law. When he describes his approach to healthcare negotiations, he says, "The insurance and drug companies will get a seat at the table, but they won't get to buy every chair."

Obama's critics, and even many who want to support him, worry about his relative lack of experience. It is true that other Democratic contenders have more conventional resumes and have spent more time in Washington. But that exposure has tended to give them a sense of government's constraints. Obama is more animated by its possibilities.

In our view, the choice on the Democratic side is between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton has run a diligent, serious campaign, and her command of the issues is deep and reassuring. But her approach is needlessly defensive, a backward glance at the bruising political battles of the 1990s. Obama's candidacy looks forward.

Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father," is divided into three main sections. The first is a reflection on his youthful search for identity. The second recounts his days in Chicago, which include the first stirrings of a religious life. The third is a roots pilgrimage to Kenya, to better understand his often absent father. It is hard to read this book without longing for a president with this level of introspection, honesty, and maturity - and Obama published it when he was only 33.

"I genuinely believe that our security and prosperity are going to depend on how we manage our continued integration into the rest of the world," he says. Obama's story is the American story, a deeply affecting tale of possibility. People who vote for him vote their hopes. Even after seven desolating years, this country has not forgotten how to hope.

In The News

Key newspaper nods go to mccain, Obama, Clinton
Globe endorses mccain, Obama
Boston Globe
Des Moines Register endorses mccain, Clinton USA Today
Barack’s Blast From the Past New York Times, United States “Pot had helped, and booze,” he said of his days as an alienated adolescent. “Maybe a little blow when you could afford it.” ...... Obama has never been challenged in the incessant, sometimes-outrageous way a presidential nominee gets challenged. ...... the controversy had eclipsed even Mike Huckabee’s apology to Mitt Romney for suggesting that Mormons believe Jesus and the devil are brothers. (The Republicans are so deep into theological disputes that their Iowa race is beginning to sound like the Council of Trent.) ...... When they’re all bunched together, teetering between victory and disaster, they get sweaty and sloppy and borderline insane. (Hillary is probably regretting the day she called this the “fun part.”) ........ The whole point of the Iowa caucuses — if there is any point to the Iowa caucuses — is to see how everybody functions under stress. ...... If middle-aged men were disqualified from serious jobs because of recreational drug use as teenagers, there would be nobody left to run the stock exchange. ...... Romney, who has never tried coffee ..... Obama has a hard time with the cheesy side of political campaigns, and being required to dredge up emotions he doesn’t necessarily feel. ..... “The point was to inhale. That was the point,” he said, when someone asked the inevitable question.
The Huckabee Trap TIME John McCain famously called some Christian conservatives "agents of intolerance" during his 2000 presidential campaign. ...... He said same-sex marriage defies "the holy word of God." He called abortion a "holocaust." And then he came back to the question of roots. "I think it's important that the language of Zion is a mother tongue and not a recently acquired second language." .......... Asked to explain his rise in the polls, he invokes God's blessing. ...... In 1992 Huckabee argued for dealing with AIDS by quarantining those infected. ... They could end up instead handing the GOP to Giuliani--probably the last thing they want.
2 LSU Students Shot Dead Inside Campus Apartment
New York Times the police searched for three killers. ...... The victims, Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam, both Ph.D. students from India ....... Mr. Allam’s pregnant wife called 911 at 10:37 p.m. Thursday after finding the men dead ..... Mr. Komma, a biology student, had been visiting Mr. Allam ..... The men were each shot once in the head ..... Mr. Komma, 31, was bound with a computer cable, and Mr. Allam, 33, was found near the door. ..... The apartment building where the shootings occurred is designated for married and graduate students and is on the edge of the campus, close to one of Baton Rouge’s highest-crime areas. The complex has a tall fence separating it from the off-campus neighborhood, but it has no gates or surveillance cameras.
Obama hits his stride as Clinton stutters
AFP Barack Obama is hitting his stride, just as Hillary Clinton's Democratic juggernaut stutters, setting up a punch-for-punch 18-day run-in to the first White House nominating clash. ......... Most surveys show Obama rising, and the longtime frontrunner sliding, suggesting that the young senator's timing may be spot on. ....... An Obama spurt which began in Iowa, now appears to be spreading, raising doubts about the notion that Clinton can afford a loss in Iowa ......... an aide raised Obama's dabbling in drugs as a wayward teenager, in her campaign's latest clumsy attack on him. ...... Hours later, in the last pre-caucuses Democratic debate, Obama displayed a new confidence, and brushed aside Clinton, who's previous imperiousness was replaced scrappy new persona. ........ the rivals' exhausting treks through Iowa in the next 18 days. ...... The former first lady is putting on a brave face, despite the indignity of having to deny her campaign is disintegrating. ....... Most of the campaign's recent misteps, the drugs remarks, a much mocked email about Obama setting his sights on the White House in kindergarten, reflect the difficulty Clinton has had in attacking her rival. ......... Clinton strategist Mark Penn warns Democrats could squander a moment of political promise, by nominating a novice. ..... "If you go back and look at the great change presidents, they have been people that had the experience," he said, citing Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. ..... "They knew how to make change happen."
NH Puts Ties Clintons Built To the Test
Washington Post, United States Yet some Clinton supporters are anxious. One staunch Clinton backer, a former elected official in the state, felt alarm on visiting Obama's headquarters in Manchester to pick up tickets for a friend for Oprah Winfrey's appearance with Obama last weekend and seeing how much "buzz" there was there. "I'm nervous. Obama's campaign feels like Jack Kennedy's. They seem so excited," said the supporter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the campaign had not authorized the comments. "When I call Hillary's headquarters, there's no electricity. It's scary." ...... In his final days in office, he made a farewell trip to thank the state for launching him in 1992. He urged Gore to consider then-New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen as his running mate in 2000. ....... In Keene two weeks ago, he harkened back to a visit to the town in his 1992 campaign, when he showed up simply hoping to draw enough people to "avoid total humiliation" and instead found an over-capacity crowd of 400. It was "the first time I ever really thought I had a chance to win," he said. ....... he doesn't have a clear sense of what Sen. Clinton's vision for the party is. ....... "They are just two very different people. To me, they might as well not even be related."
Edwards cuts sharper edge in Iowa trail speeches
Chicago Tribune, United States
Hillary Clinton needs a 'miracle' to win Iowa, says Bubba
New York Daily News, NY
Obama Grilled on All Things Clinton
ABC News
The Road Warrior
Bill Clinton's Attack Reverberates
Yahoo! News The former president also tried to pivot from inevitablity to managing expectations. ...... The bottom line is that any candidate aiming for "inevitability" plans to win Iowa. ..... Clinton's attack is both revealing and ineffective. "This interview was remarkable and perhaps quite telling about the mood within the Clinton world at the moment. I'm not sure that Bill Clinton did anything in this interview to advance his wife's cause. He appeared quite tense and almost pissed off that Barack Obama is running for president."
Obama: Clintons' Jabs Because of Polls CBS News, NY voters are not interested in “politics as a bloodsport.” He vowed to fire any staff member who was involved in attacking another candidate’s integrity. ...... “The same old experience is irreverent, you can have the right kind of experience or the wrong kind of experience and mine is rooted in the real lives of real people and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change, and that was Bill Clinton in 1992.” ...... “If they’re suggesting that I, as this callow youth, somehow had a structural advantage in Iowa relative to the Clinton operation and the former president of the United States, that doesn’t strike me as a real plausible argument”
The new face of America Times Online, UK he is the only man who can halt the racial, religious and cultural civil war that is tearing America apart. ......... Last week was a horrible one for Hillary Clinton. Her husband had thrown a wrench into her campaign to become president of the United States by declaring that he’d been against the Iraq war from the beginning - a transparent fib that reminded many Democrats of the pathological lying of the 1990s. .......... Grassroots Democrats were appalled at the descent into nastiness. It suggested desperation in the Clinton camp. ...... Hillary burst into desperate laughter. “I’d love to hear him answer that,” she cackled. Obama paused, then fired: “Well, Hillary, I’m looking forward to having you advise me as well.” The audience erupted. In one moment, the Alpha Female ceded authority to the Alpha Male. ........ The Washington media are taken aback by Obama’s surge in the polls. ..... In South Carolina, black voters have begun to switch en masse to Obama. It’s still far from over - and no one should discount Hillary Clinton - but the momentum is suddenly his. ....... the core appeal and sustaining logic of the Obama candidacy. It transcends race; it runs deeper than the vagaries of daily campaigning; it represents a generational, cultural shift, and not just a political one. ....... a war about war - and culture and religion and race ...... First and foremost: his face. It could be an effective potential rebranding of the United States. ....... November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man - Barack Hussein Obama – is the new face of America. In one simple image America’s soft power has been ratcheted up exponentially. ...... “I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war ... I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” ......... I was too young for the formative period of the Sixties civil rights, sexual revolution, Vietnam war. Those all sort of passed me by.” ......... Obama’s mother was, in fact, born only five years earlier than Hillary Clinton. ....... among the first Democrats in a generation not to be afraid or ashamed of what they actually believe, which also gives them more freedom to move pragmatically to the right, if necessary. ......... also repellent because its Methodist genuineness demands that she not profess it so tackily. But she did. The polls told her to. ....... Dreams from My Father, is a candid, haunting and supple piece of writing that reveals Obama as someone whose “complex fate” ..... As humankind abandons the secular totalitarianisms of the last century and grapples with breakneck technological and scientific discoveries, the appeal of absolutist faith is powerful in both developing and developed countries. ......... a modern, intellectual Christianity. ....... “I didn’t have an epiphany,” he explained to me. “What I really did was to take a set of values and ideals that were first instilled in me from my mother; you know, belief in kindness and empathy and discipline, responsibility. And I found in the church a vessel or a repository for those values and a way to connect those values to a larger community and a belief in God and a belief in redemption and mercy and justice . . . I guess the point is, it continues to be both a spiritual, but also intellectual, journey for me, this issue of faith.” ............ in time I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life. .......... The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The sceptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works. ...... Obama has clearly attempted to wrestle a modern Christianity from the anachronisms of its past ........ His appeal to whites is palpable. I have felt it myself. ..... Obama is deeply aware of how he comes across to whites. ....... people were satisfied as long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. ...... And so you have Obama’s campaign for white America: courteous and smiling and with no sudden moves. ........ let’s not make the punishment for crack cocaine that much more severe than the punishment for powder cocaine when the real difference between the two is the skin colour of the people using them ....... had an almost eerily nonracial childhood ....... He broke up with a serious early girlfriend in part because she was white. He decided to abandon a postracial career among the upper-middle classes of the east coast in order to re-engage with the black experience of Chicago’s South Side. ....... a commitment to carving a unique personal identity out of the race, geography and class he inherited. It yields an identity born of displacement, not rootedness. ....... a complicated and mixed identity – not a simple and alienated one ......... this complexity may increasingly be the main thing all Americans have in common. ....... If you believe America’s current crisis is not a deep one, if you think pragmatism alone will be enough to navigate a world on the verge of even more religious warfare, and that what appears dark today is an illusion fostered by the lingering trauma of the Bush presidency, then the argument for Obama is not that strong. Clinton will do. ............ But if you sense, as I do, that greater danger lies ahead and that our divisions and recent history have combined to make the American polity and constitutional order increasingly vulnerable, then the calculus of risk changes. Sometimes, when the world is changing rapidly, the greater risk is caution. ......... Close up in this election campaign, Obama is unlikely. From a distance, he is necessary. At a time when America’s estrangement from the world risks tipping into dangerous imbalance, when a country at war with lethal enemies is also increasingly at war with itself, when humankind’s spiritual yearnings veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all, and when sectarian and racial divides seem as intractable as ever, a man who is a bridge between these worlds may be indispensable. We may in fact have finally found that bridge to the 21st century that Bill Clinton told us about. Its name is Barack Obama.
Reefer Madness in Iowa New York Times, United States With the Iowa campaign in wild flux — and in the case of Hillary, acid reflux .... If primary voters don’t care that he did “a little blow,” then my goodness, why should I?
Obama Says He's Ready for White House The Associated Press the former first lady's once-commanding lead in many state polls has vanished and that her campaign is scrambling to restore its footing. ......... Clinton said. "In theory, we could find someone who is a gifted television commentator and let them run." ....... his drug use had caused him to "waste a lot of time" during his high school years. ........ Asked about her comment, Obama said he was satisfied that his own past had been well-documented. "I've written two books. I've probably been more reported on than any political figure in the country over the last year," Obama said. "I hardly think I've been underexposed during the course of this race."
Bill Clinton clashes with Hillary's advisers, United Kingdom Bill Clinton has finally succumbed to temptation and intervened personally to salvage his wife's faltering bid for the White House, according to leaks from her secretive campaign team. ...... The exasperated former President has clashed with some of Hillary Clinton's closest advisors over strategy ...... He went on the offensive on her behalf this weekend with his strongest attack yet on Mr Obama's qualifications for office ........... particularly frustrated that her chief strategist and polling guru, Mark Penn, chose to portray the former First Lady as the "inevitable" and "invincible" nominee ........... he attempts to re-position her in voters' minds as a challenger, rather than running like an incumbent. ...... He's talking with her constantly and throwing out ideas about how to save this thing. He's still convinced she can win, but it's going to be tough. ............ The Clintons are understood to have discussed an overhaul of her top campaign personnel last week but they decided that would give off the feeling of panic. ...... the former president is behind the new mantra that Mrs Clinton is an "agent for change" as the campaign switches its emphasis away from previous efforts to portray an aura of invincibility and entitlement. ...... the danger that his greater involvement in his wife's campaign might draw attention to him rather than her.
Obama: Clinton's negative tone will backfire Newsday, NY Barack Obama, stung by a fresh Bill Clinton attack on him, predicted that the Clinton campaign's increasingly negative tone will backfire by reminding voters of the bad, old "blood sport" days of the 1990s. ....... Obama said he was less than impressed by Hillary Rodham Clinton's apology ...... A red-faced Bill Clinton sparked a new Bubba-vs.-Bama feud Friday night by telling Charlie Rose the Illinois senator was little more experienced than a TV "commentator" -- and quipping that reporters covering Obama were so starry-eyed they behaved like stenographers and didn't probe his history. ........ At one point, Rose said Clinton staffers were in the control booth trying to cut off the interview. ...... Obama pulled out a piece of paper and began reading aloud ........ Obama, buoyed by a new Quad City Times poll showing him ahead of Hillary Clinton by a best-ever 9 points
Hillary And Bill: A Mess Of Their Own Making Town Hall, DC By the end of the week, her campaign had sustained a key resignation, a key defection, and a growing chorus of commentators saying that her campaign was in trouble, and that Mrs. Clinton could end up losing all four early primary races...... Then when Mrs. Clinton faced criticism for being “petty,” she had her aides insist that the criticisms of Obama’s childhood were a “joke,” and express disbelief that anybody would take them seriously. ...... she was acting out of a sense of disbelief, and desperation, and it cost her a very public and embarrassing defection of an Iowa campaign worker who disapproved of her negativity and joined-up with the Obama campaign. ..... he “didn’t inhale.” Bill Clinton was unbelievable then, and remains so today ..... in light of last week’s events, it would seem that the Clintons became victims not of other people’s attacks, but of their own miscalculations and missteps.

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