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Barack Obama has hit the country like a “tidal wave,” according to one pundit. Yes, indeed. But there’s no reason to call this phenomenon Obamamania. It is not a mania. Barack Obama is telling us that though we disagree on some things, we can form a community to achieve the common good. I call what’s happening Obamacom.

In 2004 I wrote a book called We Don't Agree, But..., How to Live in an Age of Terrorism. Essentially my thesis was that antagonisms were due mainly to our religion of competition. Each of us goes around telling everyone essentially:

I'm smarter than you, I'm more educated than you, I'm richer than you, I'm more important than you. I'm right and you are wrong, I'm good and you are bad. I'm a winner and you are a loser.

In this environment, politics is the art of tearing your opponent apart. In business, we "kill" the competition. In foreign affairs we let other countries know that we're the boss, the "sole superpower." This competitive attitude is everywhere on Earth. It has a lot to do with the rise of terrorism. We must introduce more cooperation and community to calm hatreds here and to reduce terrorism abroad.

I discovered that my message faced an uphill battle. I was told that you can't change human nature, that I was naive to try, and that competition and conflict are natural and actually good for us.

I was beginning to think the same way when Barack Obama shot onto the scene. All of a sudden, we have a leader that agrees with me. He says that merely because we have two different parties does not mean that election is a war. All of us have much more in common than our political, and even religous, differences. We need to form a community where each of us cooperates to achieve common goals.

To fight terrorism we as a nation need to be united, not divided. To fight terrorism we are much more likely to win if we get most of the 195 nations on our side. To fight terrorism all law abiding nations need to form a community for achieving this common goal.

The movement that is blowing like wildfire across the nation is not Obamamania but Obamacom.

Posted by Paul Siegel at February 14, 2008 3:43 PM
Comment #245340

Paul, you make a substantial argument for pushing Obama for UN Secretary. When he can accomplish all this loving and cooperation then he will be ready to lead the US. In the meantime, John McCain will keep our nation strong and safe from our enemies. When the Obama administration (should there be one) is finished we will have a nice little socialist country with a large population all at peace, poor, and toothless. Does anyone else see another McGovern or Carter in Obama.

Posted by: Jim M at February 14, 2008 5:38 PM
Comment #245350

It sounds a lot like It Takes A Village, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted by: ohrealy at February 14, 2008 7:19 PM
Comment #245367

Jim M,
Carter and McGovern both appeared during times when the the country was in desperate straights. Another fair comparison would be with FDR. There are a lot of highly unpleasant similarities between today and the early 1970’s as well as between today and 1928-32.

Posted by: phx8 at February 14, 2008 10:17 PM
Comment #245377

Barack Obama is a man of no integrity. He promises to unite us and everyone gets free balloons and lollipops and John Lennon’s “Imagine” comes true and we all get into one big global circle jerk, but he is already breaking his promise to be financed publicly.

Last year, Obama indicated he would accept public funds if his Republican opponent did as well. On Thursday, however, his spokesman hedged, and campaign finance watchdog groups are ready to pounce.
Based on past statements, Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain have indicated that if each was nominated, a spending and fundraising armistice was possible.
“If Senator Obama is the nominee, he will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said last March. Obama affirmed the position in a questionnaire last November.
Similarly, then McCain campaign manager Terry Nelson said at the time: “Should John McCain win the Republican nomination, we will agree to accept public financing in the general election if the Democratic nominee agrees to do the same.”
Those conditional commitments came after Obama asked the Federal Election Commission whether he could raise general election money during 2007 but return it if he chose to accept the public funds.
The issue resurfaced this month when McCain emerged as the likely Republican nominee and as Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton jostled for the lead in the Democratic contest.
McCain advisers have said in recent days that he would abide by his proposal.
But on Thursday, Burton said any speculation about what Obama will do is premature.
“This is a question we will focus on directly if he is the nominee,” he said. “It was something that we pursued with the FEC and it was an option that we wanted on the table and is on the table.”
Asked if the campaign’s earlier position amounted to a pledge, Burton said: “No, there is no pledge.”
McCain said he thought he and Obama had agreed on the issue.
“We had an agreement, as I recall, months ago that if he were the candidate and I were the candidate we would both accept public funding for the general election. That still holds,” McCain told reporters on his campaign plane. “I didn’t know of any resistance.”
Fred Wertheimer, president of the advocacy group Democracy 21, said he and others who want to curtail the role of money in politics intend to step up their pressure on Obama to accept public money if he is the Democratic nominee.
“We expect Senator Obama to meet the public commitment he made and to agree to use public financing in the general election if he is nominated and his major party opponent agrees to do the same,” Wertheimer said.
In response to a questionnaire in November from the Midwest Democracy Network, a group of nonpartisan government oversight groups, Obama said: “Senator John McCain has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
Candidates who accept public funds would be eligible for about $85 million in public money. The funds come from a presidential financing program paid for with a $3 checkoff on tax returns.
While presidential candidates have rejected public financing in primaries, no major party candidate has bypassed the system in the general election since the program was created in the wake of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.
This time, however, McCain, Obama and Clinton have raised money for the general election. Clinton has raised the most, $19.5 million, and has made no commitment to take public financing.
Obama has raised $6.1 million and McCain has raised $2.2 million for the general. If they take public funds, they would have to return the money they raised.
If McCain and Obama agree to take the federal money and forgo fundraising, McCain would be a clear beneficiary since Obama has proven himself as a multimillion-dollar fundraiser. His campaign raised a whopping $32 million for the primary in January alone.
Still, the national parties and outside groups are also gearing up to play a role in the fall campaign.
Associated Press Writer Liz Sidoti contributed to this report. an nominee and as Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton jostled for the lead in the Democratic contest.
McCain advisers have said in recent days that he would abide by his proposal.

Posted by: Duane-o at February 15, 2008 5:32 AM
Comment #245378

Iam ugandan so obsolete a country but managed to follow the US election to the smallest detail.
I believe the super delegates have the power to make or break the democratic party.So the only way forward in case of an eventuality say.A candidate falls short of the nomination delegate number but leads the other in such situations, the people’s vote should be upheld and all super delagates shore up winning candidate votes for nomination.

Posted by: Richard mawanda at February 15, 2008 7:45 AM
Comment #245385

Hey Paul, guess what! I’m actually going to respond to your post instead of going off on tangents! How neat, huh? :-)

Amusingly enough, the obsessive competition you mention above is something I have written on myself (though not published…yet). I call it’s root cause the Scarcity Myth, the idea that there is not enough money or fame or love or anything in the world, and as such we have to compete for everything. The reason this mindset exists is because we humans have evolved culturally and technologically far faster and far more than we have biologically. We may have spacecraft and nuclear power and devices we can carry in our pocket that allow us to talk instantly to anyone else in the world who has one, but from a biological point of view, we are still tribal hunter-gatherers, and still react instinctively as such. We still instinctively believe that, in order to survive we must horde and compete, and anyone different from us is a threat, coming to take away our mammoth pelts and smoked meats and women.

The core difference between the Right and the Left, and the reason I will always stay a Liberal, is that conservatives embrace the Scarcity Myth and liberals fight against it. The Left reaches out to those who need, who are different, who are unfortunate. The Right basically says that if you can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you don’t deserve to be part of our tribe. You are Outcast, outsider. The Left embraces personal freedoms, the right to be different. The Right wants conformity, for everyone to toe the line and pray to the same gods and the same creeds and the same tribe. The Left says “give me your poor, your downtrodden, your huddled masses yearning to be free”, and the Right says build fences, build walls, give everyone an ID in their pocket and a barcode on their arm and a chip in their head so we can keep out the undesirables, the unwashed, the Other, who is probably here to steal our mastodon pelts and our dried meat and our women.

This is why I am a Lefty, a Progressive, a (dare I say it) Liberal.


Posted by: leatherankh at February 15, 2008 9:38 AM
Comment #245390

Here’s a guy that vote’s “PRESENT” on issue’s of
everything he has ever voted on,instead of “YES”
or “NO”. Who is this guy,where is all this so called “EXPERIENCE” he claim’s he has to be the
next “PRESIDENT”? Senator: “OBAMA’S” campaign is
based all on “HOPE”. At least “HILLARY CLINTON”
vote’s “yes” or “no” before she vote’s the opposite of the the way she “VOTED” the 1st time,
known as “Flip-Flop” on important issue’s. Voting
“Present” & “Flip-Flopping” on thing’s that are important,and of substance.

Posted by: j.i.m at February 15, 2008 11:29 AM
Comment #245403

Leather, if you believe that crap you wrote, then yes, you are the typical liberal who believes as they are told to believe.

I prefer to think for myself, that is why I am NOT a liberal and why I am (dare I say it?) an American.

Obama isn’t doing so well because he is the best candidate, he is doing so well because he isn’t a clinton.

Posted by: kctim at February 15, 2008 2:13 PM
Comment #245411


Nice to see we are on the same waavelength!

Posted by: Paul Siegel at February 15, 2008 3:39 PM
Comment #245438

On the Obama Carter McGovern nexus, I am seeing the upcoming election as more like Stevenson vs Eisenhower, with respect to the types of individuals and their probable bases of support. The main difference between those times and today is that anyone who wants to vote can vote.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 15, 2008 7:17 PM
Comment #245446

That’s why I will always be a conservative.

I believe not in the theory of scarcity (as you accuse) but the theory of abundance. I believe there is wealth and health and life and love out there for everyone, and plenty of it, but the difference between you and I comes in the getting.

You assert that the public deserves all our luxurious standards of living without effort and hard work. Free Cell phones, Medical Care, Food, Money, Cars, Subsudized Homes Etc - are all American Socialist welfare program concepts.

I assert that the public deserves the right to go out and get it if they want it, but freeloading off of the hard work of the few is unacceptable.

A classical difference, and if you actually asked a conservative person, you would see how blatabtly incorrect your assumptions about conservatives are, hilariously so.

You are right about our biological evolution but you miss a glaringly obvious connection, and that is: as the cavemen you assert we all fundamentally are, when you give us everything under the sun for free, why WOULD we get off our asses and contribute to society?

Your ability to assert and exert the robin hood influence exists SOLELY on the abundance created by people who are willing to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and get to work.

We conservaties are the Morlok, and the socialist progressives are the wanna-be Eloi. We toil all day and fill the govenment coffers, so that lazy asses can suckle the government teat amidst fits of depression and self-loathing.

Everyone DOES NOT deserve the right to MOOCH.

Everyone DOES deserve the right to work where they want to work, do what they want to do, contribute to society in wherever their passions lie, and get paid a fair wage to do it.

That is why I am a Righty, an ass-busting hard worker, and I dare say, a Conservative.

P.S. Please spare me any retorts about the wage compensation plans of some corporate businesses as representing conservative values. That’s hogwash.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at February 16, 2008 12:58 AM
Comment #245453


Sure, let’s just call a post we disagree with “crap” and then pat ourselves on the back for scoring such a great point against our opponents. If you disagree with me, golden, but how about actually discussing the topic (the source of our competitive culture) instead of dismissing what I said out of hand and implying that I am just unpatriotic.

Paul, right back atcha.


Posted by: leatherankh at February 16, 2008 1:23 AM
Comment #245467

I perhaps have a different perspective than some as I am an American living overseas, who daily sees what the rest of the world thinks of us, and ofttimes its not pretty.

The Iraq war is more unpopular here than in the US, and Bush is seen as more of a warmonger than a statesman (which hardly befits the President of the United States). Senator Obama is seen here as a glimmer of hope that perhaps there is some decency and common sense in American politics, an opinion that I wholeheartedly agee with.

I see in Senator McCain a seasoned senator and a war hero, but I do not seen him as the leader that the US needs. Opinions here seem to trend along the lines of “professional warmonger”.

IMO its not about left or right, liberal or conservative, but about who is able to lead our nation in such a way that we can find our way out of the financial morass we are in and can polish the image of America around the world.

Senator Obama may not be the perfect candidate, but IMO he is the best of the lot we have to choose from.

Posted by: MELN at February 16, 2008 7:09 AM
Comment #245626

Our competetive culture leads people to create lies to justify their beliefs and that is crap.

Bush was disliked over there because he has less in common with them than they want.
Obama is seen as a “glimmer of hope” over there because he shares their views. They know Obama will steer the US in a direction to be more like them and less like us.

Senator Obama is not the perfect candidate for the US, but he is the perfect candidate for any European nation.

Posted by: kctim at February 18, 2008 2:44 PM
Comment #247093

Obama is a fraud who is fooling the country. My jaw dropped to the floor when I just herd him say “Si Se Puede!” This phrase was created for the farm workers by UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta. She has only allowed Hillary Clinton to use her slogan. Unfortunately there is no copywrite . Come on be original and “Make a Change” you big phony….

Posted by: Jim Foster at March 5, 2008 12:18 AM
Comment #259352

McCain has joined the Carl Rove swift boat campaign. We must fight fire with fire and can go back to Lincoln savings bank, cheating on former wife while she was in hospital, mentor was John Tower. He was a patriot and prisoner of war not a war hero.

Not a flip-flopper but spinning top. Bush’s tax cuts, offshore oil, radical right. Doesn’t have an energy plan but his reversals are like a wind mill.

My friends McCain is not your friend unless you support tax cuts for the rich, Bush support 95% of the time, bellicosity, 100 years of Iraq, run a clean campaign.

Really a new not improved Mcsame but a Migraine. Over the hill. Can paraphase Joe Biden’s description of Guiliani “noun, verb and Surge”

McCain says he knows how to win wars. Can balance budget in 4 years. Lobbyists in his campaign although he complains about lobbyists. His economic advisor was Phil Graham, He said he would run a clean campaign.

Hypocrisy, uour name is McCain.

Posted by: dalinka at August 24, 2008 10:51 AM
Comment #269494

what do you think of illegal immagrants?

Posted by: kevin pen at November 5, 2008 8:15 AM
Comment #270122

kctim it obvious to me that you do not have much experience outside the US, there is a real world out there you know.

The reason that people in Asia like Obama is NOT that he will steer to US to be more like Asia but because they see in Obama a US political figure who may actually understand this part of the world and thus may embark on an intelligent course in this area.

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