The Audacity of Vague

How does Barak Obama do it? Simple. He is audaciously indefinable.

No politician in recent memory has been as enigmatic as the man who touts some indefinable "change" as the watchword of his campaign. In an August 25th Bloomberg article the extent to which the strategy of being a blank slate is practiced as the essence of virtue is revealed. The article notes, for example- "The soaring quality of his message of 'hope' and `change' propelled him to the nomination, its vagueness both a strength and weakness." Barak Obama, the man we know nothing of significance about, is proving to be a genius at exploiting the very human capacity to project on the unknown our deepest desires- and make of himself the unkown.

Even the vice presidential choice of Joe Biden was a move that emphasized obscurity, for, though Biden has been on the national stage for years as a senator, most people have paid little mind to the gabby liberal from tiny Delaware. He couldn't even garner any serious notice within his own party as a presidential candidate.

In the election season of 2000 the watchword was "gravitas". This election season the most exciting watchword would have to be cobbled together from Ss and Zs. Want to know who these guys are? Listen to your favorite CDs from the last six months- backwards. Obama bears the gravitas of the vacuum.

There you go. Barak Obama is different. Depending on your point of view that will either be enough or it won't. He will make change. Nice little jingle change makes. No matter who you are he will seek not to tell you what you do not wish to hear, giving us a campaign made positive by the absence of negativity. Yes, we can...

Can... what?

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at August 25, 2008 9:46 AM
Comments
Comment #259439

Congrats Lee,

You’ve captured national politics to a tea. Which candidate doesn’t practice this?

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 25, 2008 10:49 AM
Comment #259441

Can… what?

Perhaps a degree of respectability, responsibility, functionality and accountability can be returned to government. I know that is asking a lot but we have to start somewhere.

Posted by: RickIL at August 25, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #259442

Congrats on building and tearing down the strawman. Your momma must be so proud.

If you actually wanted details about Obama’s positions, I’m sure that you would be able to find them. But hey, knowing what you’re talking about is no where near as fun as parroting empty spin, is it?

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 25, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #259446

I’m just glad Lee got through his piece without suggesting that somehow Obama is not a real american. I still hold last night’s dinner.

Posted by: charles ross at August 25, 2008 11:26 AM
Comment #259449

Lee,
Obama wrote two books. Is it fair to suggest a candidate is a blank slate just because the American public does not read and is ill-informed? The trail exists. The record is out there. HIs method of dealing with people in the public sphere is well documented. He served as editor for the Harvard Law Review, perhaps the most desired and prestigious position in the country. He lectured on constitutional law. His positions and opinions are out there. Obama defeated a powerful competitor during the Democratic primaries in the closest, hotly contested race in memory.

So if he is “audaciously indefiniable,” is Obama the one to blame?

To some extent, all politicians leave themselves room to shift positions and negotiate as the need arises. Obama has already demonstrated that ability. But you seem to be going much further…

By the way, I just returned from abroad. Did you know the country of Turkey as universal health care? A 95% literacy rate? Free education through the university level? It is a country of 70 million with a large standing army.

Anyone who thinks the US is doing well is terribly ill informed. Surely we can rise to the level of Turkey.
We need change, and we need Obama!

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2008 12:00 PM
Comment #259450

Actually, I have been through Obama’s website. His people are brilliant at making it look like they have said something we will all agree with. Yay!

It is, of course, ridiculous to accuse Obama of being “unamerican”. He simply has calculated that it is best not to be concise about what he really believes at a time when it is clearly best, when dealing with a disaffected public, to let them believe whatever they want most to believe.

We are emerging into an era like that of the 1920s and ’30s when being ignorant was deemed an asset, a point of pride. The new “Know Nothings” bigotries, however, are built around the righteousness of being inoffensive. They don’t want to be bothered with the facts and Obama is determined to bother them less than the other guy (who, bless him, is being inoffensive enough as it is).

Will Obama save Social Security? Will he reign in the growth of unproductive government? Will he stand up to the tough old KGB guys who want to reinstitute the Russian Empire? Will he be bold enough to keep the U.S. strong enough to hedge the international explosion of supercorporations?

No. All of those things will be offensive to some of his key consituencies. He is setting himself up to be a weak, four-year, caretaker because he hasn’t girded his audience up for the fights which must, and will, come.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 12:01 PM
Comment #259451
We are emerging into an era like that of the 1920s and ’30s when being ignorant was deemed an asset, a point of pride.

Funny - you just described the Bush administration’s approach to science.

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 25, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #259452

phx8,

You posted as I was typing but your points should be answered. The books and past history are meant to build a constituency among the press. At this he has been brilliant. His communications and message to the general public, the content of the campaign, is what I address here. That clearly has been far more vague, and not unintentionally so.

The real dangers we face as a people, though, are not from discord in our public conversation, however much pain it may give us. They are from forces that erode privacy and hand power to the few, whether government or corporation benefits more. They are from foreign powers who can rebuild empires, benefitting from the intimidation purchased by nuclear assets and a stranglehold on energy sources. They are from failures of resolve at home, born of ignorance of the cost of liberty and failures to maintain competitive advantages as a result of abominable educational standards and pure bourgeois laziness.

Obama is a symptom of our disease, especially is he wins.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 12:17 PM
Comment #259453

LawnBoy,
Nobody has been good on science. They all favor the science that fits their ideology. Clinton’s NASA policies produced a bunch of “cheaper” probes that were test cases for how to engineer failure into robotics. Bush has simply been even more political in that arena. It is a clear area of failure for the Bush administration.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 12:24 PM
Comment #259454

Yes. Specifics! Just like McCain attacking Obama on being a celebrity!

But what does that mean? Every candidate’s a celebrity! McCain first announced his campaign on Letterman, for crying out loud. He’s even in a recent movie, for heaven sake.

It’s a strategy based on the McCain Campaign’s envy of Obama’s support and the enthusiasm of his support. He’s basically saying that Obama’s popular because he’s got good public relations.

Well, why’s McCain popular? If we take the Obama criticism seriously, because he’s got good Public Relations. You don’t call a bus “The Straight Talk Express” or announce on Letterman by accident. McCain’s problem with Obama’s celebrity is that he’s better than him at relating to the public. He’s got every skill McCain has, and more on top of it.

This is not a battle of substance, not yet. The trouble for McCain is that the substance he would go back to is unpopular, and the more Democrats emphasize that, the worse things get for the Republicans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 25, 2008 12:26 PM
Comment #259455
Clinton’s NASA policies produced a bunch of “cheaper” probes that were test cases for how to engineer failure into robotics.

You’re equating a budgetary choice to focus on a different approach to research with Bush’s repeated suppression of research results he doesn’t like?

Come on, that doesn’t pass any smell test.

You’re right that Bush failed here, but the tired “Clinton did it too” gambit fails worse than average here.

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 25, 2008 12:28 PM
Comment #259458

Lee Jamison-
Cassini-Huygens. Mars Global Surveyor. Mars Pathfinder. NEAR Shoemaker. Clinton had his share of successes, and nobody died during his adminstration.

But let me put things plainly: Democrats do play politics with science at times, as do any politicians, but the Republicans have made it their business to absolutely demolish people’s faith in any science that contradicts the interests of their contributors.

I remember this. It’s one of the reasons I broke with the Republican party. This “sound science” movement has been anything but. They grab onto anything and everything to push a partisan, industry-friendly cloud of doubt over any inconvenient evidence or scholarship. Whether it’s global warming, or cigarettes, Pollution or energy policy, the Republicans consistently side with industry flaks, consistently apologize for them.

The time has come to trade “sound science” in and return to good science, regardless of whether it’s inconvenient to some. Let’s get a president in charge who isn’t going to edit out the science of scientific article.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 25, 2008 12:50 PM
Comment #259464

‘O’ is no more guilty of being vague than any other politician at this point in time. It is the nature of the beast. Right up until all the primary and convention hullabalue is finished, any candidate worth his salt will be a vague as possible. He/She will try to become a celebrity and gain as much popularity as they can. McPain does it and ‘O’ does it. Without a constituency there is no hope of being elected.

That being said…do you really want to bring up what ‘O’ might do about Social Security? I would assume, as a fellow democrat, that he will not try to dismantle it as Cheney/Bush has done and McPain will likely do. Republicans do not like the idea of Social Security, and they never have.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 25, 2008 1:36 PM
Comment #259465
The real dangers we face as a people, though, are not from discord in our public conversation, however much pain it may give us. They are from forces that erode privacy and hand power to the few, whether government or corporation benefits more. They are from foreign powers who can rebuild empires, benefitting from the intimidation purchased by nuclear assets and a stranglehold on energy sources. They are from failures of resolve at home, born of ignorance of the cost of liberty and failures to maintain competitive advantages as a result of abominable educational standards and pure bourgeois laziness

Great summation of our last (nearly) 8 years !!

Posted by: janedoe at August 25, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #259468

Go! janedoe, Go!

Posted by: Marysdude at August 25, 2008 1:48 PM
Comment #259473


Lee good to see you posting again. It does me good to see you comparing the current state of the country with the USA of the 20’s and 30’s. Although it doesnt bode well for the Country at least the first step of recognizing the problem seems to be happening on the right.

“We are emerging into an era like that of the 1920s and ’30s when being ignorant was deemed an asset, a point of pride.”

I agree wholeheartedly with you, in fact I believe it is safe to say we emerged about 6 years ago, and have been saying the same thing the past few years. However in what seems to be a typical right wing ploy you have stated this in a post about Barack Obama as if it is the fault of Barack Obama. Do you remember all these name calling repubs telling the people the dems were elites as if it was a bad thing? Do we wonder why we got stuck with a “regular silver spooner” in stead of an intelligent leader these past 7 years?

With the looming financial disaster ala ‘30’s America facing this country who can say where we will progeress in the next 4 years. With so much damage done in so little time by so few people who can determine a way out of the neocon nightmare we are living? Its hard to tell if those on the right have started waking up to the facts but they have staretd blaming Obama for all past problems and some future problems so maybe they have realized their mistakes.

“The real dangers we face as a people, though, are not from discord in our public conversation, however much pain it may give us. They are from forces that erode privacy and hand power to the few, whether government or corporation benefits more.

True but now that the unitary executive is out of the bag, do you really think more of the same McCain will try to stuff it back into the bag? Afterall isnt he just another Bush/Cheney follower? He has promised a continual state of war so do you really see any improvement on these issues coming from those that lead the way in creating these problems?


“They are from foreign powers who can rebuild empires, benefitting from the intimidation purchased by nuclear assets and a stranglehold on energy sources.”

Let ye without sin…
Putting missles in Poland sure doesnt help this situation does it? While we try to stand on the moral highground of diplomacy instead of invasion we find ourselves on rather slippery footing do we not?

“They are from failures of resolve at home, born of ignorance of the cost of liberty and failures to maintain competitive advantages as a result of abominable educational standards and pure bourgeois laziness.”

So where do we go from here? More of the same McCain doesnt seem to have any answers in fact he doesnt seem to realize there is a problem.

“Obama is a symptom of our disease, especially is he wins.”

Lee can you delve a little further in to this train of thought? Obama is a symptom of the problem in so far as he is a corportist and globalist? I’ve always heard he was the most liberal of liberals from those on the right, are you saying as a country we are moving away from the path of conservatism we have been on for years as a result of mangling of the federal government, foreign policy and domestic policy by the far right and Obama is a result of this abuse of power by the conservatives? To me that sounds positive as McSame McCain only promises more of the ‘20’s and 30’s for most Americans.

If I didnt know better Lee I would think you are blaming the past 30 years and the return to the 1920’s on liberals and liberalism and not on those that have held the power and the publics attention these past years. Say it isnt so Lee.


Posted by: j2t2 at August 25, 2008 2:38 PM
Comment #259477

j2t2,

Sadly I’m on a deadline so I can’t be deep in discussion. Let me say I’m in no mood to defend Republicans. In the back channels of this site I’ve complained to the Watchblog Manager that I am a conservative without a party.

What I fear is giving in to socialists while trying to throw the snakes out of the Republican bathwater. Obama is not unamerican but he is a protege of an avowed “Black Liberation theologian”, which is to say a devotee of a branch of “Liberation Theology”- a theological school of thought clearly associated with Marxists in the 1970s and ’80s. His grudging repudiation of Jeremiah Wright was clearly an act of political expediency, not a heartfelt revulsion.

What was worse, though, was the fact that Wright’s message was a surprise to the hoards among the press who clearly adore Obama and claim to have studied everything he has to say. It begs the question of how much of his story or, indeed, of his mind, they really know- and why would they not know more.

Beyond that he is internationally tone-deaf, taking the adulation of Germans to be a good sign in American politics and clearly thinking we in America would believe Russians were more sympathetic than the Georgians they held as virtual slaves for decades.

This is a crucial election. It could give the three branches of government to one party over the next two years. The lynchpin in the electoral process is a man who we don’t know very well at all- and that seems to be one of his qualifications.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 3:45 PM
Comment #259479

Though Biden has been on the national stage for years as a senator, most people have paid little mind to the gabby liberal from tiny Delaware.

Biden is extremely well known and respected. I admire Obama’s choosing Biden. He could have chosen someone from a large state with a bigger brand name to try and garner votes. He didn’t, and that’s an example (I think) of the kind of change he’s talking about.

Posted by: Max at August 25, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #259480

This articles thrust is that Obama has to be “Vague” simply because this is a Republican talking point and Lee Jamison is today’s spokesman for that talking point. (Although he now tries to assure us that he’s yet another Republican who doesn’t feel he is really a Republican.)

This “Vague” talking point isn’t based on the facts.
One look at
Obama’s website on the issues
will prove this. Just as one look at McCain’s website on the issues proves that Vague is actually something that applies to him. Alternately, Staying The Bush/Cheney Stupidity Course on so many of the issues applies.

But looking at the facts isn’t the point of this article.

Mudslinging is the point.

If the GOP can keep reinforcing the idea that Obama is “Vague” by repeating it enough times, they hope voters won’t go find out for themselves, and will simply take them at their word.
If they can make Obama look “Vague” then McCain might look like a real Decider by comparison.

A Decider who would rather our soldiers die than to ever admit that Iraq was a mistake — even if that means we have to keep spending 10 billion a month indefinitely, and stay there for up to a hundred years.

A Decider who additionally promises us we’ll be having “More Wars.”

A Decider who thinks that his lobbyist friends make sage advisers.

A Decider who says that “economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should” and who has never earned a dime in the private sector during his entire seventy-two years on Earth.

A Decider who decided to leave his accident-victim wife and three small children for a young multimillionaire heiress, and who now can’t decide how many homes he owns as a result.

A Decider who decided he couldn’t win this election without lying about his POW experience, and without using completely dishonest character assassination on his opponent.

No, there is nothing “Vague” about John McCain. He is clearly not the kind of president this country needs after eight years of our current disastrous Decider.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 25, 2008 3:55 PM
Comment #259487

Lee Jamison-
What use is being independent of the Republican Party when you won’t let go of its talking points, or its policies? That’s part of how they screwed you over in the first place, by distracting you and feeding you PR.

Obama is not as unknown as some would have him. His life story has been told in more than one book.

What we really have here at work is fear of the unknown intentionally invoked, along with fear of the new and the foreign. Not to mention racial fears. After all, you are emphasizing that racial theology thing, and trying to tie him in as a protege, rather than a mere parishioner. He’s black and he’s scary. Oooooooh.

Why don’t we work, logically speaking, on what we do know? On the mess that we’ve gotten into over the last few years? If the Republicans have lost your trust, then why not let them be punished this election? You guys got your share of justices, during the course of the last few decades, and many federal judges.

Find your footing again. Get back in touch with the rest of America. Let the Republicans get punished.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 25, 2008 4:28 PM
Comment #259489

He simply has calculated that it is best not to be concise about what he really believes

Please Lee in all your wisdom explain to us just what it is that Obama really believes. And please let us know how it is that you happen to know what it is he really believes.

Posted by: RickIL at August 25, 2008 4:35 PM
Comment #259492

Stephen,

Damn, that link is funny…or is it???

Posted by: Marysdude at August 25, 2008 4:58 PM
Comment #259498
It could give the three branches of government to one party over the next two years.
This is somehow new to you? We haven’t had that for ….. um, how long now? Your party swung the pendulum so far it has no where to go but back the other way. And the better we will be for it. Perhaps it’s swing will lessen now. Posted by: womanmarine at August 25, 2008 5:46 PM
Comment #259500

Speaking of audacity…….

I hope someone, somewhere will have the audacity to ask both Senators what will be the dollar amount of their first proposed budget, and what will be the upper spending limit for any budget they will sign.

I hope both canidates will have the audacity to answer.

I hope that both party’s activists will encourage this debate.

I hope that the blogosphere and media will take up this line of thought and force the canidates to be specific about their budget plans and help put fiscal responsibility back in the spotlight.

I hope.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 25, 2008 5:48 PM
Comment #259501

“What I fear is giving in to socialists while trying to throw the snakes out of the Republican bathwater. Obama is not unamerican but he is a protege of an avowed “Black Liberation theologian”, which is to say a devotee of a branch of “Liberation Theology”- a theological school of thought clearly associated with Marxists in the 1970s and ’80s.”

So this ol church and state issue is putting the fear into ya Lee. Thats what us “socialist” have been been trying to say for years. That is why we have stood firm against the far right when they sought to theocracize the government based upon their extreme beliefs. If this is your biggest fear regarding Obama, Lee, I would say that you once again can count on us to battle the theocrats on the left and their extreme beliefs should they try to theocracize the government.
Most of us would just like to keep church and state seperated. Ya know when you think about it while not a republican ideal that can be considered old school conservative.

“This is a crucial election. It could give the three branches of government to one party over the next two years. The lynchpin in the electoral process is a man who we don’t know very well at all- and that seems to be one of his qualifications.:”

Lee I agree this election is crucial. Having seen what happens when the same party controls The Congress and the Senate as well as the White House just recently I can understand your fears at the thought of the opposition party having their turn. Myself I am voting 3rd party when the opportunity is there for any federal seats other than president.

That being said Lee after watching the dems in both the house and the senate, this past year or so, continually try to work with the minority party only to have the minority party stonewall almost ever bill presented I think it is time for the neo cons and conservatives to get off their ideological high horses and work to rebuild this country. Those conservative ideas when turned into actions by the repubs have left us bankrupt Lee. We truly need to go through this change, as Obama says, to turn this country around. We have some very rough sailing ahead and we dont need more of the same. That old “hair of the dog that bit ya” thing never did work and it wont start working now. Its time for the war hero to rest, he has earned it, his time has long since passed.

Ya know Lee from what I have gleened you also suffer from another conservative disease and that is thinking that everyone to the left of you politically is either socialist or marxist. Shrug off them exaggerations and such Lee,try working together for the good of the country. Check out Bob Barr, evidently he’s a recovering repub that might give you some insight and direction.


Posted by: j2t2 at August 25, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #259505

Lee, if Republicans reject what Obama says he is about and stands for, it is no wonder, Republicans have such difficulty defining him.

Additionally, Republicans have a losing game going due to the above simple piece of logic. If they reject what he says he is, they must invent stuff to criticize him on. And such inventions lack credibility and validation.

This latest tactic attempting to cast negatively Obama as a celebrity. Hilarious! Finally, John McCain speaks the truth about Obama. He is a celebrity. A celebrity earned by achievements as President of the Harvard Law Review, a meteoric rise in his Party and American politics, and one of the best political speakers before a live crowd that has hit the national political scene since Ronald Reagan.

Yes, a celebrity. A celebrity whose status continues to outshine that of the incredibly wealthy Sen. John McCain whose connection to the American middle class will wane right through November. I prefer a celebrity who earns the status by actions and deeds, not who buys it with family wealth.

But, that’s me. I am just a middle class David.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 25, 2008 6:06 PM
Comment #259516

Lee, yes we can fill in the blank. That’s the whole point of the blank slate candidacy. All you can criticize him for is never doing anything, which is better than doing things that people might disagree with and criticize based on something more substantive. Whatever happens, you can blame on David Axelrod, because he’s the idea man.

Biden’s connections are not as squeeky clean and bright as some would like them to be, Joseph Cari Jr. was supposed to be in charge of Biden’s effort in Illinois this year, but Cari was indicted for extortion and reached a plea agreement in 2006 for a case involving state officials, very similar to Rezko. I haven’t found a link that says if he ever went to jail yet.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 25, 2008 6:44 PM
Comment #259518

The thing about the old Liberation Theology was that it never was really about theology at all. It was a way for Marxists to sneak the destabilization of Latin American governments into the fabric of the church with a radicalized philosophy. I’m not a total neophyte in theological discussions and there are legitimate differences between liberal and conservative theological positions. I can readily point out flaws and strong points in the positions of both sides. A theology that says God is “against our opressors” and specifically identifies the “opressors” as a racial or income class, as Black Liberation Theology does is flat out not a legitimate Christian theology. Period.

David, the trouble with what Obama says he is for is that it seems not to be reflected well in the conduct of his life. Even the choice of Biden seems wormy, now that we know for whom his son has been lobbying. (By the way, I was wholeheartedly opposed to the bill that made it harder to seek bankruptcy protection, even though it was a Republican bill, and one for which Biden’s son lobbied and Biden himself voted ‘yes’. That was before Biden’s son made over a million dollars working for a hedge fund, you know, one of those organizations of speculators Obama tells us rigged the oil market…)

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 6:55 PM
Comment #259520

The end of my last comment was a cheap shot. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 25, 2008 6:58 PM
Comment #259547

Lee:

I’m so impressed that you are such an expert on Christian theology. Not. Perhaps you don’t realize how many and how different they all are. So, basically, you are saying Obama is not the “right kind” of Christian, based on what the pastor of his church believes and preaches? What a sorry argument.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 25, 2008 10:17 PM
Comment #259551

Stephen D

The daily kos link is hilarious and rings so true at the same time. I am laughing so hard my eyes are watering. Good stuff! Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: RickIL at August 25, 2008 11:14 PM
Comment #259553

Lee -

You’re looking for someone with the right kind of ‘Christian theology’, perhaps?

Here’s a little something to chew on - if you add up the numbers over history, no religion has killed more people in the name of God than the followers of trinitarian ‘Christianity’. The U.S. State Department estimates that over 700,000 were killed in a genocide Croatia during WWII. If you’ll do the research, you’ll find they were killed for…not being Catholic.

Are the protestants innocent? Hardly. Martin Luther - the ‘father’ of the Reformation that led to the establishment of most of protestantism - was a rabid anti-Semitic. He once said the only way he’d baptize a Jew is by tying one end of a rope to a rock, the other end to the neck of the Jew, and tossing rock and Jew into the river. Some of Luther’s writings were used by the Nazis to justify the genocide of the Jews (and remember, Hitler was _elected_ into office).

Yes, this is all quite offensive to you…but this is HISTORY. Jesus said that an evil tree cannot bear good fruit, and a good tree cannot bear evil fruit. Consider what Jesus said when you consider the above actions.

Lastly, I am very much a Christian, and I’ve been a deacon for nearly a decade.

Yes, this is

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 26, 2008 12:12 AM
Comment #259556

ohrealy and Lee, if association were a basis for guilt, Bush would have been hung on his Texas ranch years ago with Abramoff, Rumsfeld, and Gonazalez, who spit in the American peoples face by trashing the Constitution upon which the American people place their faith and hope for this country.

I have some family, neighbors, and friends who are Republicans. It is not an indictment or testament to who I am in any way, shape or form, other than to say that I don’t let politics divide me from my fellow Americans with whom I must live, work, and play with.

Know a person by their deeds, not by their associations. If associations were to be the measure by which men are judged, Jesus would not be a household name, today. Lepers, unwashed poor, dissidents, and revolutionaries, not to mention enemies of the Roman State.

Let go of your facility for indictment by association, it only serves to put your, and your indictments in a glass house from which stones have been thrown at others.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 26, 2008 12:48 AM
Comment #259557

submarinesforever, you know not what you ask. If you think either McCain or Obama is going to give a dollar amount, you will be waiting a very long time for a response.

First there is the matter of their not knowing all of what is required for a budget until they are in office. A good small chunk of our budget is hidden, cloaked by national security.

Second, as in the investment world, sometimes there are far greater gains to be had by borrowing today and reaping the rewards for the investment later, than to pinch today and forego investments with high returns tomorrow.

There are measures requiring spending in next year’s budget that are essential to lowering deficits and debt in the future. Investment in alternative energy sources for example.

Third, at the last reading of my Constitution, I observed that it is the Congress in control of spending allocations and taxes, not the White House. The White House suggests and parlays, but, it is the Congress that allocates and levies.

Hence, the only accurate and honest answer you could hope for from either candidate is that they will veto gross Congressional irresponsibility in spending or taxation. But, as for a dollar amount, what President would hamstring him/herself from negotiating room by answering your question while on the campaign trail? I certainly wouldn’t.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 26, 2008 1:00 AM
Comment #259568

womanmarine,

An expert in theology? Probably not. Also, though, not ignorant. Whatever the claims from various branches of Liberation Theology may be Jesus repeatedly, and in the face of considerable scorn, finds validity and faith in individual people who would be classed as “oppressors” by the community in which he lived. In doing so he is teaching both the oppressors (Romans, Parisees, Greeks, etc.) and the oppressed masses that they all have an individual, personal, responsibility to God not to accept the vulgar dictum of prejudice. Every human being is sacred and a Christian must strive for the open mindedness that will allow them to see through class prejudices. Any theology that glosses that over, whether it is White Supremacist, Latin American Liberation, or Black Liberation, allowing its practitioners to lump all the members of a class into one pre-judgement, is illegitimate as a Christian theology.

The principle call of a Christian theology is to self-examination, both as individuals and as communities. Jesus went to a distinctly oppressed community, Jews under the Roman thumb, and challenged them to examine themselves and their own society. He had hardly anything to say about Romans that is left to us (except to marvel at the faith of a Roman centurion, for example), but reams to say about the individual poor (oppressed) person’s relationship with God.

What I am objecting to is what I perceive to be a theology founded in the assumption that to lift up one’s oppression is to proclaim it a form of righteousness as one condems wealth as a form of evil. That, in my eyes, qualifies as a form of boasting on the street corner- “Lord, I am so glad I am not like other men…”

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 26, 2008 9:58 AM
Comment #259571

At this point it seems a good idea to illustrate a little of what I have heard about Black Liberation Theology.

The following, from the website of Wake Forest University seems a fairly sympathetic presentation of the views of Black Liberation Theology’s founder, James Cone.

“Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil.’ The white structure of this American society, personified in every racist, must be at least part of what the New Testament meant by demonic forces…Ironically, the man who enslaves another enslaves himself…To be free to do what I will in relation to another is to be in bondage to the law of least resistance. This is the bondage of racism. Racism is that bondage in which whites are free to beat, rape, or kill blacks. About thirty years ago it was acceptable to lynch a black man by hanging him from a tree; but today whites destroy him by crowding him into a ghetto and letting filth and despair put the final touches on death.”

These word are inherently taken out of context, but I would submit that context does not make them seem far less harsh, merely more inflammatory.

When Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for seventeen years, cites the source of his theology James Cone is the man he names.

David,
Jesus associated with drunks, tax collectors, and prostitutes, but he never called any of them his spiritual mentor.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 26, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #259585

Lee this is exactly why it is so important to keep church and state seperated. The right wings continued abuse of this important constitutional right seems to have come home to roost.

I sense your fear of change, but to think that Obama has intentions of a black liberation theology as the new american religion seems to me to be an exxageration. In fact should Obama prevail in his bid for the presidency, his election due in part to white voters, would seem to repute many of Reverend Wrights claims of racism in this country. Perhaps the best thing for those that feel compelled to use a persons religion against them would be to show Rev. Wright the errors of his ways by voting for Obama.

Lee during the civil rights turmoil of the ‘60’s was when James Cove work was begun. At that time blacks were excluded from the same level of participation in the American system as white Americans. That kind of exclusionary attitude is what allows Marxism and other extreme beliefs to gain a foothold. Yet the far right wants to fight these beliefs and ideologies by excluding those that expouse these beliefs. I dont see the logic in that Lee. We as Americans need the Marxist and their ideas as much as we need the extremist views of a Hagee and others on the far right to be included in the national dialogue not excluded. It works out fine, if history is an indicator, when our representative democracy is working as it was intended. Perhaps it also points out flaws in our democracy when it is not working as it should, but should we fear and exclude the ideas that point out the flaws or the flaws themselves?

Let me leave you with the words from our nations greatest statesman of the last century ” We have noting to fear…”


BTW does Bidens faith cause you the same level of fear as Obama’s? Seems McCains supporter Reverend John Hagee would think so. Thats why its important to keep religion and politics seperated.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 26, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #259595

j2t2,

Although I am a Methodist my closest friends are Catholic, and not just a little bit, either. It stings a little to be classed as a part of the right-wing fringe when, as a Christian existentialist, I could go point by point down a list of theological issues on which I diagree with my evangelical bretheren. What does that matter, though? Is the point to be right? If so we all fail.

When I worshipped and led music in Baptist churches I observed that their beliefs, if followed as they proclaimed them, left Baptists no room to oppress their neighbors, whatever their color. Some of them had grown up immersed in racism and could not see the contradiction no matter how it was presented to them. That two plus two could never add up to four for them. I came to realize there are areas in all of our perceptions where we may be equally unable to see. For myself I have sought to root out those painful blindnesses. I accept that I am flawed

Just because it is possible to understand how a group came to believe as it does, if that belief is also flawed, does not mean we should accept new flaws as compensation for the old. I understand the evolutionary foundations for racial sensitivity and cultural bigotry. That does not make mine or anybody else’s right.

As Pontius Pilate mused “What is truth?”. That means we all should be saying what we think truth is. Especially those who would lead us. That means you CAN’T fully separate religion and government. Religion is, at its heart, precisely what we perceive truth to be. Obama should be called on to explain what he believes and McCain should as well.

As to the matter of vice presidents and whether the callings of their hearts matter, just ask Alexander Hamilton.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 26, 2008 1:56 PM
Comment #259619

DRRemer, “Bush would have been hung on his Texas ranch years ago with Abramoff, Rumsfeld, and Gonazalez, who spit in the American peoples face by trashing the Constitution upon which the American people place their faith and hope for this country.” And then cut down alive, disemboweled, and drawn and quartered, in accordance with the way that he would like our justice system run, like the victims of Titus Oates, the precursor of Whitaker Chambers, the very model of a modern Rpblcn.

I will be really disappointed if they don’t get Bush in front of a war crimes tribunal, and he is subject to the death penalty for those crimes under our own law, but they can just keep him in a jump suit forever as far as I’m concerned. I suggested before that the old Joliet Penitentiary here could be turned into a prison for the criminal members of the Bush administration, and if they ever do any more episodes of Prison Break, they could have bit parts, as long as they aren’t paid union scale, because we know what they think of unions.

On Jesus, I’m not as fond of him as of his predecessor Siddhartha, or his succesor St. Francis, but the biggest problem was because of the method by which Christianity became something more than an obscure cult, which was when a replacement was needed for Jupiter for the new capitol. The original images of Jesus were representations of Constantine, and then later emperors. It eventually became compulsory, and people who had other ideas were usually roasted over slow fires as a public entertainment, as though there motto was What Would Nero Do.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 26, 2008 6:01 PM
Comment #259621

David:

I know exactly of what I am asking. Both canidates have voted on federal budgets. Both should have a basic understanding of the total federal budget. If either of them do not, I submit that they are not qualified to be President.

“First there is the matter of their not knowing all of what is required for a budget until they are in office. A good small chunk of our budget is hidden, cloaked by national security.” The Senate votes on these bills, they should know at least the totals.

“Second, as in the investment world, sometimes there are far greater gains to be had by borrowing today and reaping the rewards for the investment later, than to pinch today and forego investments with high returns tomorrow. There are measures requiring spending in next year’s budget that are essential to lowering deficits and debt in the future. Investment in alternative energy sources for example.” I have no problem with immediate deficit spending, as I stated before.

“Third, at the last reading of my Constitution, I observed that it is the Congress in control of spending allocations and taxes, not the White House. The White House suggests and parlays, but, it is the Congress that allocates and levies.” If you would have continued reading that document, you would have came to the point that the President also has the right to veto, and therefore Congress does not have total control. I know that our current President has found very little spending that he has been willing to veto, I just hope the next one can find the will.

“Hence, the only accurate and honest answer you could hope for from either candidate is that they will veto gross Congressional irresponsibility in spending or taxation. But, as for a dollar amount, what President would hamstring him/herself from negotiating room by answering your question while on the campaign trail? I certainly wouldn’t.” And I guess they would only under extreme duress. This is my point. How can we expect to get the fiscal policies under control when we are not willing to put the issue on the forefront and demand accountability.

I personally could care less about a politician’s wiggle room. Whether or not the monies are being spent on war or social programs, I would like to see plans laid out on how much money we will raise and spend.

Posted by: submarinesforever at August 26, 2008 6:16 PM
Comment #259691

ohrealy,

The problem with all great ideas is what the followers of those ideas do once the originators are dead. Chinese Taoism bears no resemblance whatsoever to the philosophy of Lao Tsu (which is brilliant, by the way). Would it not be difficult to reconcile the Catholicism of Leo X with that of John Paul II? Religions are human things, products of society sometimes steered by the light of their founders.

I am biased about it, but it at least seems reasonable to argue Christianity manages to keep some semblance of its founding ideas in mind.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 27, 2008 9:52 AM
Comment #259767

Lee, I could argue that St Francis was the last good christian, or that he was the only real christian ever, but there have been a few others who came close, St. Vincent dePaul and Dietrich Bonhoeffer come to mind. The problem that christianity has always had is being an established religion, relying on the government to enforce it’s rules. This is what irks people when issues like school prayer come up, an attempt by the majority to make any minority realize that they are less significant than what has been authorized.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 27, 2008 4:17 PM
Comment #259974

ohrealy,

To make such a statement as you do puts the lie to its own logic. Think of it. You suggest that the failure to accept the individual nature of faith is a failing of Christianity, yet you have an object in mind against which you are, or suggest you are, sure all Christians fall short.

In an earlier answer to j2t2 I said I am a “Christian existentialist”. On the face of it that alone is a pretty odd idea. One of the things I believe as a result of long decades pondering my relationship with God is that even people who don’t have a clue they are Christians can be good Christians. An atheist can be a good Christian by the manner in which they love and cherish their fellow human beings. Even among Methodists that is a pretty radical idea.

The most unChristian thing in the world is to seek to gut another human being’s benign world-view without due regard for its meaning and sources of value. Angry athiests are not good Christians and neither are overbearing Christians. The second most unChristian thing, though, is to patiently accept in others the world-view that parasitizes people for the sake of self-aggrandizement.

There is a balancing act there, and people who know they are Christians must be mindful of how difficult it is to walk the narrow path between the two sides.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at August 29, 2008 10:31 AM
Comment #260289

Lee, an atheist is not any kind of Christian, by very definition. Why isn’t he being a good Buddhist instead? Do you know that Buddhists sent out missionaries to the Mediterranean in the biblical period? That JC was familiar with the Greek philosophy school at Gadara, as in Gadarene swine? St Francis was the very image of a good Christian, but he would have made a very good Buddhist. I grew up on existentialism, and at one point hoped to be a successor to Samuel Beckett, but it was going out of fashion.

Remember the Missouri Synod Lutheran bigwig, who said that their minister who participated in the 9/11 memorial services should be excommunicated for consorting with heathens? Not a good Christian, but go tell him that. They always act like they are the government, becuase that’s the way that their churches are run.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 29, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #261657

John McCain Is A Known Quantity
You know John McCain. You know you can trust John McCain.
What do you really know about Barack Obama? Do you really know if you can trust him?

Posted by: let the balarakas ring at September 5, 2008 7:55 AM
Comment #261658

John McCain Is A Known Quantity
You know John McCain. You know you can trust John McCain.
What do you really know about Barack Obama? Do you really know if you can trust him?

Posted by: let the balarakas ring at September 5, 2008 7:57 AM
Comment #263349

But he was a community organizer, voted present dozens of times as IL Senator and has been running for President for most of his US Senate Career, surely that makes us all feel sure of his abilities to handle Osama, Terrorism, The economy, Putin, A Mortgage Crisis, The ENvironment etc.
The fact that the Dems put him in this spot and he could accidentally get voted in due to their own hubris is embarrasing and frightening to the extreme.

Posted by: Community Organizer at September 18, 2008 12:45 PM
Post a comment