Sunday, May 4, 2008


My old (and unfortunately rightwing) friend Jim left a comment on one of my recent posts asking if any Obama supporters who read my blog could list any accomplishments of Obama’s, who Jim is convinced has never accomplished anything, as opposed to McCain, who he is obviously convinced has.

Obama has co-sponsored many bills in Congress, and unlike Hilary has never offered a bill sponsored only by himself, and has had Republican co-sponsors for many he has put forth. You can go to the Congressional Record and get the details.

Same for the Illinois Senate, where he was known, and is still being supported, by many of the Republicans in state government as someone who not only reached across the aisle but worked consciously to secure as much bi-partisan support as possible for measures he backed.

And then there’s his record as a community organizer, which has been questioned even by some further to the left, but which is still clearly more than most people, and almost all politicians have ever done, get down on the street level and organize for improvements in the lives of people mostly forgotten by politicians and governments and the media.

But his greatest accomplishment is simply his run for the presidency and his doing so well at it, because he has inspired so many young and new voters, as well as independent and even Republican voters, to believe in his message of a better way of doing business in Washington.

Maybe if he’s elected he’ll turn out to be like all the rest, but his campaign hasn’t been like all the rest, which is partly why it’s been so successful despite the obvious bias in the media and in a minority of voters toward anyone who speaks so idealistically and often eloquently about not the usual deliberately distracting side issues like flag lapel pins and guilt by association, but instead talks about moving this country beyond the old arguments and straw men and into the future which will not just look more like him than Hilary or McCain, but which will need to rise from the wreckage of the past several decades of partisan feuding that has led to more destruction and dismay than to constructive solutions for our problems and hope that together we can make those solutions happen.

McCain meanwhile has been responsible for some of the most mind-boggling position switches outside of Mitt Romney’s. And as far as I’m concerned his biggest and most despicable accomplishment this year was helping to defeat a G. I. Bill that would have provided Iraqi War veterans with the financial and educational and health benefits given to WWII and Cold War vets (like me) and which they so rightly deserve.

Anyone who says McCain’s talking straight when he votes against bills to benefit his fellow veterans who don’t come from the wealth he does or marry into, as he has (and CNN had the nerve to run a chart showing which candidates were financially best off putting McCain BEHIND Obama because they only counted McCain’s Senate salary and personal income and not his wife’s 100 million dollar plus fortune!).

Obama is still our best hope for changing not just the way politics is practiced in campaigns and in government, but for finally getting us past the arguments of the 1960s (which my friend Jim replays constantly in his comments, intentionally or not, as do his inspirations Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, et. al.).

And speaking of accomplishments, Obama, as has been pointed out again and again though not in the mass media, has almost exactly the same record as Abraham Lincoln did when he ran for president the first time. Republicans should be falling over themselves to vote for him, if it weren’t for the dirty truth that they love to haul old Honest Abe out as a symbol for their not being as mean spirited as their actions prove they have been (from Nixon through Reagan to Junior) but if old Abe were running today, they’d probably vote for Hilary.


Anonymous said...

Obama's greatest accomplishment is himself.

Harryn Studios said...

yeah - that's pretty much what i thought - thanks for consolidating the facts - the truth, is they're all very distinguished, competent, and accomplished individuals - beyond that its vision and personality - and who is best suited to grapple with the issues that partisanship has helped to create ...
its the blind loyality and goose-stepping to party lines and quoting from faction-sanctioned propaganda that's alway made me nervous about american voters ...
i would have thought that the benefits of available information would have afforded us the opportunity for reasonable objective analysis of 'issues' rather than the frenzy of linch mob behavior that the media and ignorance stoops to ...

JIm said...

The only business Obama ran was his law practice, which was relatively modest, netting him only $50m a year and significant money problems. If he were to submit his resume to the legal profession or industry he would be a good candidate for a mid level position.
Last year he submitted 112 earmark requests totaling $330 million. A top lobby firm would value him as a rainmaker but probably not as chief executive.

In 1858 Abe Lincoln, a Republican, ran against Stephan Douglas, a Democrat for a Illinois senate seat. The Lincoln Douglas debates followed have become the gold standard of political discourse. They were seven debates that argued about slavery and especially its expansion into the territories. This as you will all remember was the great issue of the day. The debates were enormously popular and were reprinted in news papers across the land and was made into a book. Lincoln lost the senate race but was nominated for the presidency of the new Republican party because of his eloquent anti slavery advocacy. He had been a very successful and much sought after lawyer.

The great issues of our day are;
1- Are we engaged in a war with Islamofascism and ,if we are, is it worth fighting?
2- Should the government be expanded to solve all or many of our individual problems or should individuals address their own problems? If it is to be expanded, that obviously will bring us the higher taxes that Obama promises us whether we are in a recession or not.
3- Is the Constitution a living document that should be interpreted and changed by unelected judges.

To these great questions Obama offers us “Hope and Change” and tells us to mostly trust us on the details. He criticizes Middle America that, “ Clings to its religion and guns and fear of immigrants” He gives us insight into his character through the “Blame America comments of his wife, the bomb America actions of his friends Ayers and Dohrn and the hate America comments and actions of his pastor.

Actually after reviewing that last paragraph, maybe he is not qualified for a mid level position in an American company or legal practice. Maybe he should look overseas.

Harryn Studios said...

'then' maybe that is the problem jim - what the american company and legal practice has become and what the so called conservatives are manipulating it into becoming at the expense of so many others ...
there's a large part of the population that would simply like to have what is due to them after all the other deceitfull expenditures and policy making of the last eight years ...
a government that preserves and protects the unalienable rights of all its people regardless of politics, race, gender, religion, status, ...
if hope and change only signify a chance to escape from the oppression imposed by bush - almost anything is worth the price ...
it seems that your president's popularity and the views of the conservative cloak are diminishing ...

JIm said...

HarryN, Do you have any particular oppressions in mind. As to popularity, the only branch of govt. he is doing better than is the Democrat congress which is at 22% favorable rating, which is a historic low.

Lally said...

Jim, your rightwing perspective is just so totally tedious I can't believe I'm even bothering to respond. You have been reasonable at times, but on this you are either just brainwashed or a fool. This administration has been totally destructive to all the values I hold dear and that this country was founded on. It has been run for the profit of the oil companies and other enterprises the Bush family is connected to, and/or their cronies, starting with Dick Cheney. The gap between so-called middle-class incomes and the incomes of the wealthy has grown wider than at any time since the Gilded Age before Teddy Roosevelt helped bring about some reforms. Any progess made on the impact of pollutants on the environment, whether water land or air has been halted or reversed, the largest surplus in the history of our country has been turned into the largest deficit in the history of our country, the economy, for anyone other than the wealthiest few, has been either stagnant or in a decline, the attack on Iraq was a self-serving (for the oil interests and large defense contractors etc. that this administration has more ties to than any in history) enormous diversion from the fight with Islamist terrorists (and comparing them with "facism" is like comparing fire ants to the plague) and the leader of the 9/11 attack who was allowed to get away and is still allowed to hide out on the border with a supposed ally that sold nuclear secrets to our supposed enemies, etc. etc. The Bush ties with Saudi Arabia which is where the financiing for Al Queda originated are so totally documented you'd have to be dead not to know about them, and in fact the madrasas where the Islamist terrorist fundamentalist form of islam is taught are financed by not only Saudi Arabian money but originally by American money when they were being groomed as surrogate fighters against the Soviets in Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. I could go on forever, as I could about the good Barack Obama has done in his life (he was not only considered one of the finest students to ever graduate from Yale Law School, elected to head the Law Review, etc. but his law professorship etc. etc. etc. is so way beyond what you imply in your "big lie" tactics you obviously got from the rightwing propagandists who think if they say something enough times people will believe it, and unfortunetly it too often works, as the Nazis and Stalinists who first perfected it believed, and as the Nixon and Reagan camps perfected (especially under Lee Atwater who confessed and asked for forgiveness on his death bed for extending and developing these underhanded ways of using lies and misinformation to defeat the Democrats etc.), so I will not bother to respond to any more of your comments until they become more reasonable. Your depiction of Obama, as your rigthwing media friends' depiction, is distorted, misinformed and/or deliberately full of lies, and unexceptable. You have a right to your opinion son, but not to spreading lies, at least not on my site.

JIm said...

You produce a lot bluster and blather and accused me of lying. Please in one sentence describe one lie.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961

he graduated from Columbia University in 1983

1985, where he became a community organizer with a church-based group (Rev. Wright)

He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard in 1991

returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law

In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know

1996 - Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years.

Both Obama and Ayers were members of the board of an anti-poverty group, the Woods Fund of Chicago, between 1999 and 2002.

In March of 2000, Obama, then an Illinois state General Assembly member, made his first run for Congress — and lost.

In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate

Connections? Yes. Experience? No

Lally said...

Pretty much all of it Jim. I'm not going to go back and forth with this crap brother. Your facts are off, but even more insidious is the misrepresentation of facts, as in "he criticizes middle America for 'clinging to their guns and religion" etc. when a look at the transcript of that speech makes it clear he wasn't criticisizing "middle America" (a term that ahs no basis in any thing factual, do you mean the Midwest, or the so-called "middle class" or what exactly?) because that isn't what Obama was talking about and you know either know that and are deliberately twisting his words or you don't know it and are ignorant in ways I hadn't realized. Obama was talking about how your people, the Republicans, twist language and substitue phony issues for real ones in order to get voters to vote against theitr economic interest. And the facts are that working people, people who work for hourly wages or for salaries, who aren't on the CEO level or the silver spoon Bush Junior inheritance level have done spectaluarly worse under this administration than under the Clinton administration by every measure, under Junior real wages have either remained stagnant or gone down, prices of essentials have gone up, etc. etc. It's endless with you Jim, you are not ever interested in any facts I bring up but only in scoring points against Democrats. It's boring. My so-called "liberal" friends discuss the issues, try to learn about the candidates real records beyond the media hype or distortions, and are willing to address the flaws of candidates closer to our ideals as well as the strengths of those further right, like McCain etc. When Lyndon Johnson escalated a pointless war that wasted lives and money liberals turned against the greatest liberal of our times, as did those Republicans who are intelligent and experienced and clear thinking, like Chuck Hagel et. al, who turned against Bush's misguided invasion of Iraq and sustaining of that catstrophic blunder with more death and deastruction. But you can't even cop to that. You are blinded by some instinct to defend your choices to the point of insane denial. God bless you, but don't bore me with any more of this give me the facts crap. The facts have been laid out from before Junior was handed the election by a Supreme Court dominated by Rightwing justices who are against anything that will interefere with states rights unless it means letting the voters of the U. S. have the man they voted for become president, in which case states rights go out the window. That is typical rightwing behavior, always has been and I'm betting always will be.

JIm said...

Middle America is usually considered between the Delaware and the Cascades often in small towns ( not university towns). A lot of them believe in second amendment rights and go to church on Sunday (80% of Americans say they believe in God). Real records of a politician are usually easy to understand. You look at their voting record. Obama is the most liberal in the senate.

There is a new book out that describes voting coalitions in America. The “Leave us Alone Coalition “ is made up of people who invest, home school, believe second amendment rights are important, resent high taxation, want an economic environment that is friendly to business because they own stock in their 401ks, resent judges making up law and legislating from the bench, people who value national security and put their life on the line to protect us, like military, police, firemen. Many vote against, what you describe as their interests because they realize, that and their investments will prosper if America maintains and improves the business environment. Many believe America’s security is too important to be entrusted to politicians that do not believe that America is exceptional. The strength of their commitment to the coalition is the passion that they hold for one or more of the issues.

There is another coalition called the “Takings Coalition” who want the government to enforce, what they believe is proper behavior that will right past wrongs like slavery, to take assets from one group and give to another, to favor one group over another in college admissions, advancement over another in economic opportunity because of the group that they belong to etc. Natural members of this group can include union members, government employees (other than those who protect us), welfare recipients, some African Americans (but not Jews or Asians).

Members of the “Takings Coalition” or the “Leave us Alone Coalition” can come from either Republicans, Democrats or Independents. I would suggest that both Hillary and Obama are part of the “Takings Coalition”. John McCain and Chuck Hagel are in both camps.

Lally said...

Woops, I meant Obama went to Harvard Law School and it was the Harvard Law Review he was chosen to head, the first African American to do so, an even more prestigious achievement than I my mistakenly writing "Yale" for "Harvard" earlier.
And as for Anonymous's selective listing of the "facts" that I assume he somehow finds relevant, I could do the same for Junior, I'd have to look up the dates, but it would include the following:

Arrested for drunk driving.

Arrested for drunk driving.

Set up in business by father and father's friends, bsuiness fails, everyone loses money and jobs except for Junior.

Runs for Congress. Loses

Best friends with Ken Lay, who heads Enron when it collapses because of falsified records and lying to stockholders and credit rating services causing the loss of even more jobs and stockholders money, for which Ken Lay, Junior's best friend was found guilty and convicted etc.

Wins election for governor of Texas, under his administration pollution in Texas becomes worst in nation, incomes go down, etc. etc.

Runs for president, his campaign spreads false rumors about McCain in South Carolina, in debates with Gore promises to have a humble foreign policy and not get involved in any nation building, promises to lower government spending and cut government size, after being awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court, breaks those promises, among many others.

(I don't have the time or energy to list every failure of this presidency but here's one example: When Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans, ignores calls for help and refuses offers of help from other countries (interesing that right now after the cyclone that hit Mynmar his wife, Laura is condemning the Mnymar military dictatorship for not accepting offers of help and ignoring warnings about the cyclone etc.) and when finally offers help, promises much delivers little and interestingly leaves a once mostly African-American city without any reconstruction in the African-American neighborhoods that were destroyed thus insuring that New Orleans is no longer a predominantly African-American city.


JIm said...

Bush is not running for president. You should be doing opposition research on McCain.

Anonymous said...

Still a total lack of understanding of the failures in the Katrina aftermath.

Louisianna - sovereign state's constitution does not allow federal troops to enter the state without express permission since Reconstruction (1890's)

Sovereign nations do not allow any intrusion into their domestic affairs without invitation.

Why should we offer help to any foreign nation if they do noy want or ask for our aid?

No matter who was president during Katrina, they would have been limited by Louisianna's states' sovereignty. Without the governor's or legislature's suspension of habeas corpus, federal intervention was limited to direct and specific requests for aid.

This election is another bloodless revolution removing the standing president. No matter what we may feel about the performance of the present president, we have before us the candidates that we must scrutinize in order to elect so that the electoral college may select our future president.

Unknown said...

Both Democratic Candidates have voted to send hundreds of billions of dollars to Bush's war in Iraq. It doesn't surprise me to find that right wingers like Jim don't see this as an accomplishment, and have no gratitude for this unprecedented amount of support.

JIm said...

John M. Lally,
I must appoligize if I unitentionally conveyed disapproval of Gerge W. Bush's war on Islamic terror, including the war against Sadaam. I believe it was courageous to carry out the policy of William Clinton and the congress as stated in the 1998 law to remove the Baathist party. I also believe it would be idiocy to leave in a Saigon style, like so many Democrats argue. I love it when the parties get along and a president of one party sees fit to enforce the wise policies of another. If in the unhappy event that Obama wins, maybe some wisdom will soak into his head, so that, we do not have a helicopter on the roof of the US embassy evacuating Iraqi's, that prefer a democracy.
PS. So John, are you a son or a nephew of the South Orange's poet laureate?

Unknown said...


I'm not related to Michael Lally as far as I know. I've read his poetry and I stumbled upon his blog by Googling my own name. I like his point of view. It's amazing that I usually agree with what he says, and yet his point of view is so different from mine. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but that's the way it is.

JIm said...

John M. Lally,
Count your blessings that your not related. Just kidding. He is not a bad guy except for his left wing socialist SDS phylosophy. Hell, no one is perfect. And you can't be all bad. At least you have a good Irish name.
Jim McKenna

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim. And I have to say that conservatism isn't all bad. Many good Irish families would never have come to America had it not been for laissez faire economics in Ireland during the potato famine.

JIm said...

Cute John.
We have come a long way since strict Laissez faire. The Fed, SBA loans, enterprise zones when Democrats allow them are just a few new efforts.

JIm said...

Lincoln Dougalas Style Debates: Yea, Hurrah!!!!!

It looks like we will get a series of Lincoln Douglas stye debates over the Summer, Fall seasons. Democoracy is the winner, and my estimation of Obama and McCain has gone up enoromously even though I agree with Obama 0% of the time and with McCain 60-70% of the tine. We are in incredably monentous times, that could point the direction of this 283 year Democratic Republic, that we call the the United State of America, to renewed ascendency or to the dustbin of history. It is all together fitting that we make this national decision as we made one of the first, most important, most momentous decision, of our than relatively young republic. America will be the winner and America's example will be an example for the world's younger democracies to follow in our footsteps even in the most contentious of times.

PS It is good to keep in mind that the US is the oldest functioning democracy under the original founding documents, by at least 150years. I don't think we have to take lessons in goverence from any earthly non US institution.