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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 74,987

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No clouds in my stones
Let it rain; I hydroplane into fame
Comin' down at the Dow Jones
When the clouds come, we gone
We Rocafella
We fly higher than weather
In G5's or better . . .

When the sun shines, we shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be your friend
Took an oath that I'm a stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella . . .

These fancy things will never come in between
You're part of my entity, here for infinity
When the world has took its part
When the world has dealt its cards
If the hand is hard, together we'll mend your heart . . .

It's raining, raining
Ooh, baby, it's raining, raining . . .

-- Rhianna's Umbrella

pics and vid from the Obama Diary

Running to Win the Agenda

Watching President Obama's campaign kickoff speech in Ohio, just one more time, I got a bit more of an idea of what he's angling to achieve in this campaign beyond his reelection. I'm looking at Barack Obama in the context of the history of our nations leadership --within and without government -- and I'm struck by the degree that this president has managed to inflect his political rhetoric with elements of a progressive agenda which have previously been the elements of activism and advocacy from outside of government; rhetoric not normally associated with a sitting president.

One of the very first thoughts expressed in his speech was a profound statement of our political party's purpose and identity:

"We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth," President Obama said. "If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids the chance to do even better -- no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is."

Right out of the gate, this president is embracing the struggle that the majority of Americans are facing in trying to earn a living and to provide for their families and their future.

"It was tough . . . It was tough all across the country," he said, "But the American people are tougher. All across America, people like you dug in. Folks like you fought back."

Most importantly, the President Obama defined where we came from in this economy, and in the other affairs which make up the state of our union, and declared that we are going forward -- not backward to the policies and politics which let us down in the first place.

'Forward' is more than just a motto; it's a defining stand against those who would have us reverse and take away the elements of progress that we've achieved so far. Forward is a declaration that we intend to build on the initiatives and actions which are already taking root for Americans around the nation.

an excerpt from the speech:

After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is right here, right here at home. So we’re going to use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down the deficit, and we will use the other half to repair our roads and our bridges and our airports and our wireless networks. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.

. . . I refuse to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut by eliminating medical research projects on things like cancer and Alzheimer’s. I refuse to pay for another tax cut by kicking children off of the Head Start program; or asking students to pay more for college; or eliminating health insurance for millions of poor, and elderly, and disabled Americans on Medicaid. We’re not going to do that.

As long as I’m President of the United States, I will never allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher that would end the program as we know it. We’re not going to go back to the days when our citizens spent their golden years at the mercy of private insurance companies. We will reform Medicare -- not by shifting the cost of care to seniors, but by reducing the spending that isn’t making people healthier. That’s the right way to do it. And that’s what’s at stake, Virginia. On issue after issue, we just can’t afford to spend the next four years going backwards.

America doesn’t need to refight the battles we just had over Wall Street reform and health care reform. And, by the way, on health care reform, here’s what I know: Allowing 2.5 million young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance -- that was the right thing to do. Cutting prescription drug costs for seniors -- that was the right thing to do. We’re not going back to the days when insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, or deny you coverage, or charge women differently than men. We’re not going back to that.

We certainly don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away access to affordable birth control. I want women to control their own health choices -- -- just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your son. We’re not turning back the clock.

We’re not returning to the days when you could be kicked out of the United States military just because of who you are and who you love. We’re not going back to that. That would be wrong for our national security. It would be a betrayal of our values. It’s not going to happen on my watch.

That's as progressive an appeal as we've ever had from a President. This one just happens to have remained focused in his first term on the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans. Moreover, there's a springboard effect to his promotion of these issues in this election which affect the vast majority of us.

In an earlier response to a thread of mine, DUer, grantcart, perfectly summed up President Obama's appeal in this election:

"He's not running to win the election," he said, "He's running to win the agenda. Rather than pivoting to the center he is trying to get the country to sign on to going forward on a progressive tact."

"We’ve got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules," President Obama said.

Exactly. Forward.

Remembering Barack in the Virginia Rain: "There's Nothing We Can't Do"

@BarackObama The President is fired up for the first rallies of this campaign—here’s a reminder of what those look like: http://t.co/ixZw0o63 #Obama2012

"Here's what I understand: That as long as all of us are together, as long as we are all committed, then there's nothing we can't do."—Barack Obama

'Cool' Means He's Communicating

A number of conservatives have gone public with their heightened (if not contrived) anxiety over President Obama's perceived or actual 'coolness.' They suggest that it's just another slick facade which masks the president's supposedly objectionable or vacuous agenda. Still, they're so concerned with that perception of theirs that they've completely validated the notion by expressing their own comfortableness in looking less 'cool' than our Democratic rock star.

Let me say from the outset that, in comparison to most politicians of any stripe or position, Barack Obama is a very dynamic and compelling figure.

Fact is, his persona, character, and interests reflect more of America than any president in my lifetime. Much is made about Bill Clinton playing sax on Arsenio as candidate, but this president has displayed contemporary cool in office with his embrace of electronic and social media; his public embrace of contemporary music and musicians; as well as his interest in sports from the major leagues to his frequent games of one-on-one b-ball.

More importantly, though, President Obama has embraced many of the progressive issues of our time and presented their resolution or disposition as imperatives for the immediate future. That's a marked difference from the traditional caution of our political establishment. To be certain, many politicians are now challenged to come forth with positions and action on issues they thought they could slow-walk through the political process until they were dead or forgotten.

Even in the midst of our present financial disaster/recovery-- maybe even because of it all -- this president is pressing for action and accomplishment to counter the typical, deliberate cynicism many in our national legislature have worked to engender in our expectations of the government we've made them responsible for.

'Cool' for this president isn't just an attitude; it's a persona derived from his sincerity and commitment to those things which Americans feel characterize the best of what we are and what we aspire to become. Folks recognize that commitment to our national, social, and political advancement and want to identify with that sentiment and effort. Barack Obama inspires Americans on a real level; on a plane where Americans actually live and exist.

That brings us to conservatives' objections. It certainly may be that republicans want to be seen as 'cool,' as well. Curious though, that they would be arguing that Obama's cool doesn't cut it.

Conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post, argues that republican candidate Romney's best chance of defeating the president is 'being proudly nerdy.'

The GOP is obviously mindful of the coolness gap and has issued a video ad in response to Obama’s late-night foray titled “A Tale of Two Leaders.” The ad juxtaposes Obama’s slow jam with Romney’s general election kickoff speech that is both earnest and heartfelt. It does not hurt that Romney’s voice at times could be mistaken for Ronald Reagan’s. Implicit in the message (and the voice): Take your pick. Grown-up or cool dude?

The answer should be obvious except for the fact that many consider the president grown up enough. His play-alongs are just for fun, after all, though overplaying one’s cool hand is risky as the very adult business of economic survival looms ever-more ominously.

All of that ridicule of President Obama's messaging suggests that conservatives like Parker believe it's having some success in promoting his agenda. Even Parker admits that 'slow-jamming' his college loan agenda on Jimmy Fallon's show wasn't necessarily an ineffective strategy. After all, effectively communicating that agenda is the president's primary challenge and responsibility.

What conservatives seem to actually be lamenting is that the relative lameness of their appeal to the American public has gone stale; perhaps from the inherent flaws in its acceptability. What they seem to long for is a return to the distance they've enjoyed between their legislative offices and the people they purport to represent. They're 'up here' and their constituents are 'down there' and couldn't possibly understand their supreme rationale in blocking initiatives and actions which are intended to sustain us with their petty and opportunistic obstructions.

What conservatives are anxious to do (since the beginning of this democratic presidency) is to define this president as outside the American mainstream. What they've actually succeeded in doing, so far, however, is to highlight their own institutional and aspirational uncool.

Conservatism is uncool. That's a message I'm certain they'll proudly carry into the election and beyond.

If there is to be much of a campaign, it'll be pure invention

. . . on the part of the media to portray Romney anywhere near the level of competence, class, and commitment of President Obama,

I'm not saying that there won't be a contest. There clearly are enough ambitious folks in the industry and in the political establishment willing to 'equalize' these two candidates in the public eye to make it look like there's something redeeming or virtuous about whatever convenient retread republican policies and pronouncements Romney is able to throw in the air. Hell, they'll even give him a few, just to make it look like a horse race.

When all the bull is stripped away, though (that's the challenge), Romney won't have a thing to stand on or behind. He won't have the (mythical) reputation of a 'maverick', for instance, that McCain failed to sell in his own regressive, backbiting campaign, All he has is his reputation as a flip-flopper -- and he's living up to that in his campaign, so far.

Fact is, Barack Obama is just the better man -- and it shows. He's the closest President I've seen in my lifetime to the people he intends to represent. He's the real deal, and folks he interacts with out in the nation identify and respond to that sincerity and attentiveness to their concerns.

His superlative image and character is on display and there isn't anyone in the republican party who can better him in that. That's why there's such a desperate effort to tear him down; to drag him down to their lowly level. I think Barack Obama relishes in proving the cynical and the apathetic wrong. He relishes in organizing folks around accomplishment and success. He revels in enlisting like-minded Americans to contribute their expertise and experiences to advancing solutions to our complex needs and interests.

It's going to be hard for even those cynics and provokers to keep from cheering him on in the end.

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