Saturday, January 26, 2008

OBAMA RAMA - Obama Wins South Carolina

I could kiss South Carolina, everyone in it right now. Logistics aside, I have never seen a state or an electorate take the reins so firmly. By trouncing the Clinton trash and bash machine, across all age and ethnicity, they have resoundingly said, we really can take our country back. We, as voters, matter. We are not fodder for manipulation and smear.

I just listened to Barack Obama's victory speech. I have heard a zillion or so political speeches in my life; I've been actively involved in politics since college, and worked on many campaigns, my first one was for Jerry Brown in his first quest for California governor. We were a mostly young group, smart and arguably the first wave of baby boomers in action. We had hope, and lots of dreams.

Then it went still. I dunno, maybe we were raising the kids, chasing promotions, still inhaling, and sort of figured the world would come out the way we wanted it do. Basically, we fell asleep at the switch, as we did our yoga and recycled, ate our organic food and focused on a better us and raising free spirited and brilliant children.

We got through Reagan; after all he was so upbeat even though a bit suspicious with his governing policy. But oh well, Carter came along, and we'd brought the Civil Rights movement into focus. Change was still out there, chugging along, as our society integrated, if not exactly well at least forward. The government as a whole, worked. Or at least enough that we could get on with our lives.

Then we met George W. Bush. His father was a bit of a dud but he was soon out. The Clintons brought lots of promise, they looked and tasted just like us. Except while there was a lot to like, and it was an energetic time, at the end of the party, when everyone went home, you were left with an unease, that maybe the fun they brought, and the energy were not quite, well, nice. Sure, running a country isn't a church bazaar but still, we're the only superpower, can't we have some class about it?

While we were pondering this sense of discomfort, the Republicans went after them with such vitriol we were forced to defend him. Like your pesky younger sibling that you get to beat up on, but you'll beat the crap out of anyone else who tries. And here's the ultimate trick, and frankly it's a page out of al Qaeda or any other gang that wants to commit crimes - put the attention on some hot button issue while you're off somewhere else setting the real crime in motion. Obfuscation, diversion, simple and effective. The Republicans went after the Clintons with such ferocity that we didn't notice they were setting up shop in evangelical churches and priming the conservative pump for the next election. They had already cleaned up the ex-prez's drunk son, painting him with Christian creds and putting the entire party behind their anointed heir apparent: a brother in Florida had his marching orders to tinker with the democratic election lists, move polling places, promise the election commissioner riches to come if she played stupid. Didn't seem much of a stretch and off they went.

It worked. We got Bush fils. His father had class and decades of public service. You could disagree with him without raging against him. He had some common sense. But it all changed when he lost to the Clintons. War was declared on them. No wonder W found his own war, when he checked in more or less sober for probably the first time in his life, that's what he saw. A rich boy who had been bailed out all his life by daddy now had the most powerful post in the land. Oh my that must have felt good, stick it to the old man he could never best. As it happened, he too was in danger of having only one term due to his ennui and then planes went into New York skyscrapers. The military industrial complex had found a kindred spirit.

Republican hatred infiltrated the Clintons, for what was done to them. And so Hillary began to run. They spent a lot of time writing books, building the democratic machine. If they Repubs were nasty, they would be nastier. They would build a bigger and better machine, same song different verse.

Well, all I really want to say is, THANK YOU SOUTH CAROLINA, YA DONE GOOD! You did exactly what you were supposed to do and with a whole lot of class. We still don't know how Super Tuesday will play out, or the ultimate outcome, but for now we can all feel proud of being American.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And Away We Go.....

I've been voting a long time, every election since Bobby Kennedy. He was shot and killed that night. I was pregnant, my husband was out - later determined to be not a good thing - and I suppose it was the beginning of my adult reality check. Cheating husbands, and to my way of thinking a God that would let John and then Bobby be murdered. It was wrong, not just wrong in the legal and moral sense but in a world order sense.

I have waited a long time to feel something approaching optimism. Oh sure, I worked for McGovern, Muskie, Dean, even Perot caught my fancy, hoping that someone could make the system work. Instead we got Nixon and Reagan and - I can hardly say the word - Bush, not one but two. Someone once said we get the government we deserve. Hoo boy did we as a nation do bad things to get that bunch of greed-is-good and war-is-better gang. Well, of course greed isn't limited to government, apparently, we elected those who would satisfy our very own greed.

But finally, I believe we have figured out that we went too far. The rich get richer and the middle class get screwed while the poor at least have little to lose. So this election has finally given me the optimism I seek; that finally voters have become actual voters, studying the issues, listening to the candidates, really trying to figure out which one of them can lead us into something approaching decency. Sure, we need strength, there really are bad guys out there trying to harm us. We need lots of attention to economics without bailing out every corporate crook out there. Here's a concept: stop them before they suck out the marrow. The housing crisis was preventable, and a credit crunch followed and now a debt overload looms. Bush's answer to 9-11 was BUY. Show those terrorists we won't be cowed, buy and buy and buy some more. Hey, it's easier than diplomacy.

The pendulum has swung. Finally, voters are actually grabbing the reins. The fact there is no clear front runner yet and all the attention is on an election almost a year away is both an offshoot of too many news shows - even if most are closer to entertainment - but even so, it's about who will lead our country. Yes, the media has to manufacture controversy, like Senator Clinton's remark about LBJ and MLK, but even that gets a discussion going.

I am optimistic if for no other reason than every single candidate running - including those who have dropped out - are solid candidates. They have experience and intelligence and a desire to make us better. I would prefer McCain not be such a hawk especially considering his past but it's maybe because of it, I don't know. But I know he's sincere. Romney appears plastic but I think he's competent. I love Obama, such style and class and an ability to soar above the venal. Clinton I'm tired of but I believe she will be a great president. Huckabee is a charmer. I know Edwards deserves more attention than he's getting but the fire just isn't lit - but he's truly the best about America. Whomever becomes president will I believe set us on coarse to be the country we really do deserve to be.

It's about time.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Backwards They Went

New Hampshire folded like a poker player with a pair of deuces. Iowa surged forward, full of possibilities, and the polls in New Hampshire said they would, too, that they were were an ornery bunch. But in the end they voted for McCain - last century's candidate - and Clinton, last century's president, er, first lady.

When it came time to stand tall New Hampshire stuck to the known. This might not be so bad except they have this reputation as Independents, their history goes way back to the beginning of a new country. They've lost their roots, they've lost their way.

Not that I don't think McCain and Clinton are fine candidates and supposedly fine people. They've certainly been through the fires; both have been trashed by Republicans, those nasty do-anything-to-win kind of Republicans. But they are last century's politicians and if we don't get out of the quagmire that Bush and pals put us in we will be set back decades.

The time to get rid of Bush was four years ago, the damage since then is huge. But the voters then, like nervous children, peed their pants and voted Kerry the Democratic nominee, the establishment candidate. Then John Kerry kept silent while supporters of a draft dodger trashed his honorable and heroic war record. The guilt of the Viet Nam war followed us still. Look at your stock portfolio and the dollar dropping, all a reaction to our huge debt that's out there to keep this war going.

Iowa showed us the way, New Hampshire ran like hell. The two winning candidates are still fighting George Bush's incomprehensible war. Where oh where has New Hampshire gone?

Friday, January 04, 2008

IOWA RULES!

I know it's been a while since I've added to my blog but as an avid reader I found that most of my thoughts were already out there, that I no longer felt alone in my distrust and fear of Bush and a wwar waged under false purpose: maybe to save an airless admin, maybe to enrich his friends, maybe sheer incompetence. 9-11 blew off our center and everyone scrambled to feel safe again. We look to our leaders and if they sound strong we tell ourselves they are strong. We don't want to think they could be wrong and more interested in the spin than the facts, that's almost as scary as terrorists attacking us again. Instead we let our own government attack us - secret eavesdropping, torture, lies, stonewalling, all with a swagger that belies anyone to believe it's anything other than a thick-brained bully. Some people wanted that bully, because some mistake bullying for strength.

And then Iowa on 01-03 reminded us what we're really all about. They showed us the absolute definition of democracy and citizen involvement. They trudged through snow and long speeches and downloaded position papers, thinking, talking, carrying the discourse everywhere they went. They agonized and read and made phone calls and in the end they did it exactly right. They chose a new beginning and the end of an old war. Clinton lost as much because they are tired of same old same old as for siding with the hawks that the surge is working. Iowans know better. Edwards can't match Obama's star power but he had a clear new message. Coming in second may ultimately eliminate him, but it also sent a clear message about what voters want.

Obama's resounding win in the first real test of the 2008 presidential election gives this nation a new way of looking at everything. There will soon be blazing attacks against him, many racist and a lot of lies covered by innuendo covered by mud. That's part of our country, too, people who can't see past their own hatred.

But for now, from Iowa, the best of who we are stood up and said we're going to do the right thing.