Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Obama’s lastest on Tehran Protests Makes Sense

Barack Obama latest comments on Iran’s street protests make a lot of sense. Indeed he has taken a couple days, made sense of events and now that he is speaking out, his words seem to be charting the right course, on politics, and as rachel Maddow says, on basic strategery, and on understanding recent history.  Further, he has explained things today in several media interviews in a very accessible way :

Briefly, here’s why the president has not come out supporting the street protesters.  these are the points:

1) Obama does not want war with Iran.

2) Obama does not want to impose American beliefs upon Iranians.

3) Were the US government to publicly support the protesters, it would be the kiss of death to the protest movement. As Obama said, there is not better way to discredit the protesters than to give credence to the charge that they are dupes of the US government.

Here’s what I like about these comments. 1) They are smart and likewise treat the American people and iranian protesters as smart.  2) they recognize the history of US imperialism in Iran: 1953 coup, and elevation to power and support of the shah of iran; 3) they seek to avoid war and the hysteria that is beginning to accompany Republican cries for regime change in iran; 4) they are responsive to the implicit requests of Mousavi and Iranian human rights leaders.

(consider it ample evidence of what Obma thinks, that the State Department has asked Twitter not to go off line today so as to give street protesters a much relied upon tool for communication.)

But common sense never stopped the republican opposition to exploit extremely delicate international affairs for short term sound bites and political gain.  Thanks to Republicans: (“bomb, bomb, bomb iran” Mccain, Pence, Rorbacher, Lieberman, a chorus is building to overtly support the protesters, threaten the iranian government with regime change,” and impose America’s will on the Iranian people. 

Makes me extremely glad I voted last November.


Obama Silence on Tehran Protests

News reports of President Obama boarding his plane for Chicago this morning without saying word about the election protests in tehran say more about his mo than it does necessarily about policy. 

In a spring news conference ABC reporter jake tapper (I think) asked Obama why he hadn’t responded immediately to some crisis of the day to which the president responded, (paraphrase here) “I want to know what I am talking about before I open my mouth” 

It seems the Obama m.o. is at play here regarding the Iranian elections.  I don’t begrudge the president for wanting to speak with deliberation. But at the moment the world is experiencing a citizen revolution, the scale of which has not been seen since Tianamon Square 20 years ago.  Obam’s moral leadership as a world leader is also something that a US leader has not had in several decades.

It might be useful were the President to find a way to reconcile deliberation with responsiveness.

At some point during the next day or 2, the Iranian government is likely to move in even fuller force against the protests. Once they are quashed, and Ahmadinejad solidifies control again, it will be too late for Obama to do anything but “congratulate the winner.”  At that point, Obama’s words or his silence will amount to policy, and we all lose.

check out link of people power on streets of Tehran, which demands a response:

Tehran protests

Note to Campaigns: Can’t Compare Palin to Barack on Knowledge

I think that Sarah Palin is woefully inexperienced to be vice president or president. But as Jonathan Alter pointed out yesterday on NPR, that’s not good enough.  The experience card is also being used against Obama, less effectively I think, but the Repubs are still trying to legitimize Palin’s lack of experience by comparing it with Obama’s brief tenure in the senate and then dismissing his community organizer experience.  It’s bull, but in the days of the 30 second spot, it still kind of maneuvers Palin onto the Obama playing field. 

The better line of attack here against Palin, and there are plenty others, has to do with “knowledge base.”  This concept often accompanies experience, but need not. Here, there is no earthly comparison between Barack and Palin.  Even Bill O’Reilly marvels at Obama’s knowledge. Can’t say that about poor Sarah, as she showed everyone yesterday by erroneously suggesting the taxpayers have been bearing the burden of the freddy and fannie mortgage crisis. (Shouldn’t governors know this sort of stuff?)

Further, experience argument would have dismissed Lincoln and Kennedy as too green to be president. Not so when you assess them thru the lens of knowledge-base, and on this score, Barack holds his own against anyone, including these historical legends (and Palin doesn’t bear mentioning)

(Pre-Hillary) Post-Partisan Democratic Convention= McCain Presidency

Mark Warner reached out to small town rural voters in southern virginia and for this he deserves some credit. He also helped himself lock up a senate seat this november. He alluded to Republicans being the party of the past, and that is as far as he went to draw red meat distinctions between Obama and McCain.  Much of the speech emphasized blurring all partisan distinctions all together. Fine. It might help him in Virginia, but will assure Obama’s defeat.

Problem is, polls show McCain has gained 2 or so points in the polls since the Democratic Convention started. Gallup has McCain 2 points up on Obama.  The dems have an audience of 30-40 million per night this week. Next week, the Republicans will make full use of their audience share. They will torch Obama and Biden with lies and distortions; will frame McCain– successfully by the way– that McCain is ubber partisan, that is, that he transcends partisanship because McCain= Country.  Anything McCain is everything American.  And, as we have seen for the past 8 years and for the past 2 months, the Republicans may be bereft of ideas but that are experts in scorch, burn (the opposition) and sell (themselves). 

The dems. are blowing it right now.   As Eugene Robinson just pointed out,  no one has yet mentioned the words, torture, Cheney or Iraq.   Hey Dems. What gives?


nte: this was written before Hillary’s speech. She shifted the dynamic.

Biden Wastes No Time

What a relief.

Biden is talking to Springfield Illinois and he wasted few moments before going after Bush-McCain.  First he talks about his own kitchen table talking about financial worries and says John McCain first has to decide which of his 7 kitchen tables to sit at before a conversation. From energy policy, to war in Iraq and perhaps even more important his emphasis on the American Dream and leadership, Biden is hitting all the issues… out of the park. 

Some lines:

“The reckoning is NOW” 

“These times require more than a good soldier, they require a wise leader.”

On McCain:  “you can’t change america, when you say on the most important issue of the day, ‘I support George Bush.'”

On what he has seen in Obama: “learn about the strength of his mind and the quality of his heart.”  “the Steel in his Spine.”

warms the heart.

Thanks JOE. We are glad you are here.

It’s Delaware Joe Biden for Obama VP (almost official)

The Fix reports that ABC news just reported that secret service has just been dispatched to Joe Biden’s home in Delaware. With Evan Bayh is in DC and Tim Kaine in Denver, and their staff saying they have been notified they are not the choice, that leaves Biden, the 35 year veteran of Senate wars, expert in foreign policy and the person I would most like to see rip the hide off of McCain for not knowing he owns 8 houses.  

(update) Also worth noting, NBC just reported at 12:05 am, Biden who was supposed to teach a law class at nearby Widener University tomorrow just told the dean he may not be there.

Stay tuned, but a bit of relief should settle in among progressives because Biden is the best of the final 3.

Tomorrow should be a good day.

The Tao of Michael Phelps

Superman, unbeatable, the man from the future. This and much more has been said about Michael Phelps during the first week of these Olympic games. I never met Michael, but having lived in Baltimore for the past several years, and being a member of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club last summer, I have enjoyed taking some pride in his amazing accomplishments.  Hey, I’ve even eaten at Pete’s Grill, one of his faves.

So, I was especially taken by the Bob Costas interview with Phelps after his 8th gold.  Costas is an underrated journalist. He put Bush back on his heels last week, forcing the “backwards flag guy-in-chief” to respond seriously to questions about Georgia and Putin.  Anyway, I enjoy watching Costas. Always have.

Still, this interview was special, and here’s my dimestore version of why.

Costas got to the secret behind the Phelps magic. Growing up, Phelps was a target of school bullies.  Like Michael Jordan, Phelps takes slights or trash talking as motivation.  Unlike Jordan, Phelps shared the psychic scar that helped him develop this skill.  The superhero as victim.  His ears had been flicked and he had been otherwise taunted like so many kids are.  The key was in his response.   Phelps channeled the fear, anger and revenge fantasies to the pool.  Still does, So when Ian Thorpe said he couldn’t win 7, or when Cavics suggested it would be good for swimming if somebody beat Phelps, Michael used these words, internalizing them, to stoke the competitive fire.  He is so good at using his opponents attempt at mind games against them, that he invites the challenge, the insult. 

So Costas helped reveal that the Phelps tale is really the “Tao of Being Michael,” being able to reverse the force of the bullies’ taunts. He doesn’t turn the other cheek, doesn’t forget about it. Her uses it.  Perhaps he’ll take up ju-jitsu next. He has mastered the philosophy.