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Obama’s Portland visit

March 22, 2008

I’m usually disinclined to go to political rallies, especially for national races.  But when I heard that Barack Obama was coming to town on Friday, I immediately got a ticket.  It was my chance to see our future president, I thought.

Obama’s Portland visitThe event was at the Memorial Coliseum, with doors opening at 7:30am for a 9:30 presentation.  My partner and I hopped on the MAX, and arrived for the long lines right at 7:30, only to wait for well over an hour in the cold.  We finally made it in though, and by the looks of it, everybody else did too; nearly all the seats were filled by 9:30, but I didn’t think that anyone was turned away for lack of space.

If you’re an Obama follower, you’ve already read or heard about his speech and Bill Richardson’s endorsement.  I don’t think I have a great deal to add to that discussion.  Seeing Obama wasn’t a revelatory experience because his strong presence is consistent; we feel like we’ve gotten to know him in the last few months during the primary.  He maintained his stance of positive reaction in the face of Hillary Clinton’s whines and barbs, and he didn’t mention anything negative about her or her campaign against him.  In fact, both he and Bill Richardson made note of their respect for her.  Still, Obama is able to point out their differences in stark relief.  (See this post at Low on the Hog for a great example of this.)

I came away from Obama’s speech feeling as though I could listen to this man talk for the next four years.  It may sound marginal, but I think it matters a lot for people to feel as though they want to tune in, whether they support the president or not.  Many would say that being tuned in isn’t a choice – and that’s true.  But I don’t think any of us really want to listen to four years of Clinton or McCain.  We like hearing Obama, and hopefully we will support and encourage him in doing what he says he’ll do.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse permalink
    March 22, 2008 11:54 am

    can you tell me what he will do? realistically?

    for me, the best i can hope for is that he will only save us from clinton and mccain. i am not sure any fundamental changes will be made.
    economically he is unsound, and foreign policy will continue with only administrative differences. foreign relations will be improved upon to a degree, hopefully more than i am expecting.

  2. Jesse permalink
    March 22, 2008 12:21 pm

    i do understand that attitudes need to change, there is much to say about morale

    my concern is just about policy,
    we shall see

  3. vacman permalink
    March 22, 2008 3:45 pm

    Yes, I heard him speak in Salem and he is a wonderful speaker. I can not help but wonder however if my need to label him as a great speaker is somehow a uncouncious need on my part to project my own need for “greatness” into the context of an elected offical. My own need for leadership seems to be confused with my need for articulation of global and local issues. Can I vote for someone who still endorses a liberal democracy?

  4. Jesse permalink
    March 22, 2008 4:29 pm

    “Can I vote for someone who still endorses a liberal democracy?”
    you could…you don’t have much for choices though.
    personally i prefer the term consitutional republic because of my aversion to the word democracy. democratic processes are one thing when voluntary, but democracy is a dangerous thing

  5. vacman permalink
    March 22, 2008 4:35 pm

    Well put and point well taken. I take comfort in my lack of choices as it appears that the end game of choice is mediated by those who pose the questions already answered. “Voluntary” I think is the key here. Those who decide the parameters of this term appear to be the ones who cast the offical vote.

  6. March 22, 2008 6:00 pm

    I like this discussion. And I agree with Jesse about the term ‘constitutional republic’ – it certainly captures the situation realistically. At the moment democracy is an export package with no content.

    One thing I meant to add in my post is that one thing I imagine that Obama will accomplish is a great deal of good international communication. Are his speeches and style on the campaign trail an indicator of how he’ll deal with international conflict? I’d like to think so.

    I also think that Obama is more likely to immediately relinquish some of the executive powers that have been shored up under the Bush/Cheney administration – with Clinton I can’t help but think she’d approach it differently.

  7. Read the Book permalink
    March 25, 2008 6:46 pm

    chapter 14 page 293 he talks about setting in church and listing to write preach about “Hiroshima’ hm sounds familiar and also talks about how he agreed with the church creed page 284, I think he is still not being honest. I have the book and read it myself. Dreams from my father

    Obama lied read and compare to todays news..Speech on Race

    There’s a lot of folks in America right now who have heard that. And I want to ask you why you have been listening to this pastor and close to him for nearly 20 years?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, Anderson, you know, I strongly condemn the statements that have been shown on the tape.

    I have to confess that those are not statements that I ever heard when I was sitting in the pews at this church. This is a church that I have been a member of for 20 years. This is a well-established, typical, historically African-American church in the South Side of Chicago, with a wonderful set of ministries.

    OBAMA: And, as I said, Anderson, if I had heard any of those statements, I probably would have walked up, and I probably would have told Reverend Wright that they were wrong.

    But they were not statements that I heard when I was in church.

    COOPER: So, no one in the church ever said to you, man, last week, you missed this sermon; Reverend Wright said this; or…

    OBAMA: No.

    COOPER: I mean, I think I read in your books that you listened to tapes of Reverend Wright when you were at Harvard Law School.

    OBAMA: I did.

    COOPER: So, you had no idea?

    OBAMA: I understand.

    I did not. Well, I want to be clear that, when I ran for president, some of these statements started surfacing.

    COOPER: I mean, you may not have been there, but have you — you must have heard that he had said these things.

    OBAMA: You know, I confess that I did not hear about this until — until I started running for president.

    And then there was a story that was issued in which I strongly objected to these statements and condemned them. But what I also understood that was — was Reverend Wright was on the verge of retirement and that a new pastor was coming in. The church family was one that was very important to me. It’s where my wife and I got married. It’s where our children were baptized. And, so, my belief was that this was something out of the ordinary. Obviously, some of these statements indicate that this was happening more frequently.

    But I also want to say this, Anderson. This is somebody who was a former U.S. Marine, who is a biblical scholar, who’s preached and taught at theological seminaries all across the country, and has had a reputation as a preeminent preacher in the country.

    And, so, I have to strongly condemn the statements that were made. They do not reflect my views or Michelle’s views, or probably the views of many people in the church.

    On the other hand, you know, Reverend Wright is somebody who is like an uncle or a family member who you may strongly object to what they have to say, but, as he’s about to retire, I have no intention of leaving the church itself.

  8. March 31, 2008 12:42 pm

    You left out all the big and powerful union bosses that have endorsed their puppet for president.

  9. vacman permalink
    April 1, 2008 6:44 pm

    What specific union bosses are in question here? How is the term “puppet” usefull to a discourse on this topic? I hope for a more inclusive view of our elected officials; it is hard work to think this way yet might lead us to a place of action based on the inate humanity that is in all of us. Reducing the “big other” to a noun or pronoun in this case does nothing to reveal the humanity (and therefore complexity) of those involved.

  10. Annie permalink
    April 10, 2008 3:36 pm

    It’s a matter of comparison and, by comparison, the choice is easy (for me at least). Obama is FAR LESS beholden to special interests/lobbyists than either Clinton or McCain. And he is far more honest than Clinton who changes her stance as a matter of convenience (NAFTA, Iraq, and, one might say, Colombia). Oh, and on the topic of honesty again, one more word: Bosnia.

    Obama’s and Clinton’s plans are similar, but I think his bi-partisan approach will accomplish more than her “fighter” stance. He showed that he could accomplish important work using a bi-partisan approach as a state Senator in Illinois when he overcame stiff opposition to a bill that required police officers to tape interrogations and confessions. The bill passed unanimously. The same could be said of the ethics reform bill he chamioned there.

    As for foreign policy concerns, Obama is head and shoulders above Clinton (who voted for the war in Iraq) and still better than McCain (who still supports the war in Iraq but gets points for his service). Obama is the only one who was actually right on the major foreign policy question of our time. For many of us who were always against the war, Clinton’s excuses don’t pass muster. We all saw the same intelligence, but some of us exercised more of it than others. (By the way, I am convinced that Obama is the most intelligent of all the candidates because he has been right on the most important issues, was editor of the Harvard Law Review, and he has given the two most important speeches in recent American history.)

    Some other important and often overlooked information. Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act. Hillary Clinton would only “roll back” parts of it while Barack Obama would repeal the whole thing. Hence the growing number of gay people defecting from the Clinton camp to the Obama camp.

    On race issues, John McCain once referred to Asians as “gooks.” He later excused himself explaining that he was only referring to his torturers. This is like a white person using the N word generally and then saying that she was only referring to a man who raped her. Note to McCain: don’t use racist slurs period otherwise people will (like me) take you to be a racist.

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