Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

Barack Obama’s Incredible Run and a Hope

January 1, 2009

Two years ago not many has heard of the freshman Senator Barack Obama. Now he is the incoming US President. When I first heard about his run I thought he was just an ambitious politician aiming to put his name on the map in the hope that it will help in a future run. After all, many politicians in the US used this ploy.

I did not think he would win the Democratic primaries. Many contenders quit after a few months when funds dry up and some even quit the campaign trail in debt. I also did not think he was capable of outlasting Senator Hillary Clinton who also happened to be the wife of a formidable and popular former President who was functioning as her quarterback and adviser.

When he became the Democratic party nominee he was already the llamado (odds-on favorite). He stumbled for a while but then he recovered quickly to beat the Republican candidate who was clobbered by the US economic crisis and who did not help himself by making the watched-for gaffes.

I hope Barack Obama’s incredible run continues into the Oval Office. The world certainly needs it because it is facing a crisis of historic proportions and it is in the US where it all started. The solutions need to be found in the US and not anywhere else.

I also hope that Barack Obama will become a US president that can connect with the outside world (unlike his predecessor who sneer at it). The unipolar world and bi-polar world has ceased long ago and it is time for the US to listen and pay attention to the opinion and concerns of other countries and not only look after its own strategic interests.

This plea is not about begging for pittance or pats in the back. The US should begin to realize that it makes a big portion of its profits outside their borders and this contributes to her prosperity. The US should disabuse itself that its investments abroad are the engines of the other nations’ prosperity. They invested for profit, no more, no less and all altruistic pretense should simply be dropped.

If the US will only understand that other nations contribute to their prosperity maybe they will become more graceful and engaging in their actions abroad. President-elect Obama has close foreign genes and he spent part of his youth abroad. I hope this will influence him and make him different from his predecessors.

Richard Lugar Praises Obama on Foreign Policy

October 15, 2008

Republican Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar and a prominent member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in his speech at the National Defense University that there are benefits to talking with enemies of the US, as against use of military force.

Generally, Lugar praised Barack Obama who John McCain called “naive” for saying that as US President he would talk with the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Isolation does not resolve contentious issues, Lugar added in agreement with Obama’s line. In campaign speeches in a presidential debate, Obama repeatedly says that, while he does not take military option off the table, not talking to an enemy regime as a form of punishment does not make sense. Lugar rebuked McCaine by saying that exclusive use of isolation or military force in dealing with enemies of America may not be desirable. “In some cases, refusing to talk can even be dangerous.”

McCain recently took a flack when he turned cold shoulder on the prospect of meeting the Prime Minister of Spain. Spain’s sin: it pulled out its troops from Iraq when the US-initiated invasion started to get messy and unpopular. Since that time, President Bush has snubbed Spain’s leaders, a cue apparently not lost to Senator McCain.

Noting recent diplomatic success in dealing with North Korea, Lugar suggested further diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iran. He suggested though that McCain may be right when the Republican nominee warned that “there are times when diplomatic approaches to rogue regimes have little efficacy.”

In July, one Obama campaign ad mentioned Lugar by name and Lugar says he is “pleased” to have worked with the Democratic nominee on nuclear proliferation issues.

We here in the Philippines remember then Congressman Richard Lugar as the head of a US conressional committee who attempted and failed to broker a deal betwen President Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino as the Marcos regime started to crumble in the aftermath of Ninoy Aquino assassination. At that time, Marcos was a SOB but “he is our SOB.” Incidentally, Obama promises not to have none of these SOBs.

Mr. Charisma clashes with Mr. Experience on economy & other key issues

October 8, 2008

On October 7, 2008 Tuesday, at Belmont University of Nashville, TN, the second debate between the charismatic Sen. Barack Obama and the more-experienced Sen. John McCain pushed through exposing their fundamental differences in the causations and remedies of the economic crisis. Tom Brokaw of NBC moderated the debate with a question-and-answer town hall format and covered issues on the economy, mortgage mess, war against terrorists, taxes, foreign policy, and healthcare which had been heard in the campaigns of both candidates.

Not far from what was unraveled in the previous debate, the presidential candidates clashed, but not with the spark that could clearly change the course of the race with Obama leading after last week’s economic meltdown. There were no knock-down questions that could bring out the character of the candidates and probe the answers for the allegations that cast doubt on credibility. Pollsters are busy tallying who won. The third and last debate is slated in Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on October 15, 2008 and will be moderated by Bob Sheiffer of CBS News..=0=

As an underdog, Gov. Sarah Palin scores beyond expectation

October 3, 2008

After the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin vice-presidential debate in Missouri on Friday October 2, 2008, the two parties had both claims on who won. As usual, the hardliners among the Democratic and Republican supporters had their respective clear winners heating up the presidential race towards its conclusion in November.

Millions of eager viewers were riveted on the young underdog Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and the more experienced Sen. Joe Biden (D) whose exchanges were moderated by Gwen Ifill, PBS anchorwoman. Ifill’s suitability to preside in the debate was at the late hour questioned because of an allegation of conflict of interest arising from her forthcoming book on Sen. Barack Obama. (see blog entitled “Media bias &/or conflict of interest,” October 2, 2008)

In my opinion, Palin performed far better than expected after being heavily criticized to a point of unfair ridicule by the media for her alleged inadequacy as a vice-presidential candidate. There were no outstanding gaffes that could embarrass any of the candidates. Both Biden and Palin performed very well. But Palin certainly won points that weren’t expected of her.

Facing Biden, a spirited debater who certainly displayed clear grasp and knowledge about politics in Washington, Palin was able to cut across her ideas with the public as an ordinary American who talked straight into the minds of the viewers. Presenting herself as a young governor of Alaska, she stood her ground on a wide range of issues which include the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and education. As a newcomer, Palin was less exhaustive (but definitely not lacking of substance) compared to Biden’s detailed exposition of facts. This is expected in a time-pressured contest which made the audience wonder if Biden was accurate in all that he said.

Palin has once again changed the dynamics of this campaign. With her down-to-earth relaxed talk which resonates in the American heartland, she clearly has given new life to Sen. John McCain’s (R) campaign which has suffered setbacks as a result the economic crisis rocking the nation. Because the biased liberal media tend to side with the Democrats, NBC News analyst Chuck Todd disparagingly says the debate doesn’t matter and will be forgotten easily. I don’t agree.

The absence of train wrecks led some pundits to wonder whether the contest, probably the most anticipated vice presidential debate in history, will quickly be forgotten.

“You’re not going to see this debate have much of an effect on this race. This probably won’t live much beyond a 24-hour period.”—NBC News analyst Chuck Todd. Yahoo.News/AP (010/3/08, Bauder,D.)

The score of the campaign will certainly show some correction in the next few days as the effects of the debate seep their way into the polls. Had the debate turned differently, Sen. Barack Obama (D) would be keeping a far bigger lead at this point of this extraordinary presidential race. (Photo Credits: Cordeman; Don Ermmert/Pool/Reuters; AP) =0=

Americans looking for solution(s) to the financial mess are better off to decide if they know who are accountable

October 1, 2008

When Pres. George Bush aired the dire warnings of US Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson and Chairman of the Federal Reserves Ben Shalom Bernanke that the $700 billion bailout plan must be carried out quickly because the financial crisis can ruin the economy of the nation, America was in panic. Many reflexively agreed to pass a fast legislation for an economic rescue, when the initial shock of the experts’ warning dissipated. The men in the main street started asking what would be the implications if government, at the expense of taxpayers’ money, bails out the ailing privately-run Wall Street. They worried about the future of their homes, savings, credit lines, investments, businesses, and retirement portfolios.

There is urgency in the passing the bail-out package. It looks like the Democrats who control the Congress saw this and Nancy Pelosi (D,) the majority speaker of the House of Representatives and her cohorts announced that a deal was about to be reached. Psyching the people, they made it appear that a bipartisan consensus was in the offing only to reveal later the legislation didn’t pass for lack of votes. This caused the sharp drop in the Dow Jones industrials and huge losses in the market reverberated all over the globe.

Pelosi (D,) was quick to blame politics. In a very nasty statement characteristic of partisan politics, she alleged the Republicans killed the legislation. But in truth a third of her party (95 Democrats) didn’t support the bill she wanted to pass. The new bill had to be rewritten for another vote probably on or earlier than Thursday, October 2, 2008.

The bail-out package bill was killed partly due to apparent rush and lack of deliberation. Many legislators in both political parties needed clarification of the nature of the bail-out. There were lots of questions to be answered before a decision could be made. That was what the American people demanded for the bill they barely could understand.

Democrats and Republicans alike in the meantime called on to stop blaming those who were responsible for this financial meltdown. Speaking in the name of “patriotism” to focus on problem-solving, they were successful in keeping the angered public silent as they were warned of dire consequences if nothing was done quickly.

But as disgusted Americans pondered on their future, many demanded to know who were responsible for this mess. They realized knowing these people was as important as coming up with the solution and deciding whom to vote in the November presidential election. They asked why they, the taxpayers, had to answer for the indiscretion, greed, recklessness, and lack of oversight of Wall Street.

There have been talks that Sen. Barack Obama (D) is somehow involved in the fall of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which triggered the financial market crisis which doesn’t have easy solution to date. Few Democrat supporters including the liberal media are interested to talk about culpability lest they stymie the gains their candidate over McCain (R) in the campaign trail. On the other hand, the Republicans who were in the administration failed to prevent the financial catastrophe that they knew was coming.

The genesis of the money problem dates back longer than the Carter years, but majority of the biased media expediently pinned blame almost solely on Pres. Bush. Moreover, the media had been mum of past attempts of Pres. Bush and Sen. John McCain to make changes in the mortgage lending system, long before the meltdown, but their attempts were foiled by the Democrats, many of whom had been emboldened by interest groups which supported them as politicians. Some of them are the most vociferous in trying to bail-out a failed system that they helped create.

As the Americans try to put together the broken pieces, there is a picture that emerges. If they miss the correct interpretation, they may end up choosing the less qualified president who has to deal with the serious repercussions of this financial mess which is expected to persist. Whichever political party the public looks up to, there is just too much blame and accountability that must be bravely and honestly confronted. The time to do this is now. Isn’t this what the Democrats refer to as “multi-tasking,” the ability to do more than one thing at a time? (Photo Credits: SilveryLily; MacRonin47; Winnie0917) =0=

US Presidential Election: weighing in who won in the Mississippi debate

September 27, 2008

In the next few hours, analysts will dissect into the strength and weaknesses of the arguments of the two contending presidential candidates. Moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, in this first debate, the issues center on the economy and the foreign policy. Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain cross horns at the University of Mississippi on Friday September 26, 2007 to make their positions known and hopefully earn them votes to win the presidency.

There are arguments to be won for each side, but the final arbiter will be people’s decision on who is the better candidate to be the next US president. The second and third presidential debates are scheduled in Belmont University in Nashville, TN on October 7 followed by the last on Oct 15 in Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Before this first debate, Obama leads against McCain, a windfall from the shock waves caused by the financial meltdown of Wall Street that has brought uncertainty to the US banking system. The economic repercussions of the chaos and uncertainty which ensued have left the world guessing where the economic downturn will end.

If the proposed bail-out by the government on the ailing financial institutions works, the problem will die down without much damage to the public. If the problem lingers, a recession of a magnitude greater than the Great Depression can result in world instability and hardship. This causes tremendous unease in other countries, especially among the fragile ones which can suffer most in a global recession.

Whichever side one looks at the debate, a finer realignment of the electorate will happen. For the disengaged and uncommitted, the debate is a tie. At first glance, Obama has won in the economy part and McCain had an upper hand on the homeland security part.

What the public watches now is the recalibration that can change the outcome of the polls. The Democrats has learned that this election isn’t an easy win even if the Republicans have suffered the tumult brought by the economic downturn. It is the foremost worry of majority of Americans. At this time, an informal poll at AOL website shows McCain leading, but at Yahoo website Obama has an upper hand. (Photo Credits: Cookthinker; AP; Mike Cline) =0=

Refusing to take off from the campaign: a clue to Obama’s questionable decision making?

September 25, 2008

With Sen. Barack Obama gaining fresh lead over Sen. John McCain, the presidential candidate of the Democrats, in projecting that he can do multi-tasking if elected, repudiated McCain’s call to temporarily stop the campaign and postpone the political debate with Obama on Friday September 26, 2008 to help in solving the financial crisis that threatens collapse of the economy, the worst since the Great Depression.

In a display of bipartisan leadership, McCain takes another smart move which if successful, will make Obama puny in governance and inexperienced in setting priorities. It’s from the backlash of the financial crisis on the Republicans that he earns a significant lead over McCain, a GOP member tied up by party affiliation with the Bush administration.

Obama wants to pursue votes instead of being with the legislators to tackle the $700 billion bail-out package proposed by the administration and objected to by the Democrats. But Obama,confident that he can do many tasks at the same time, agrees to meet with Pres.George W. Bush and McCain on this issue. The readiness of McCain to sacrifice losing an election to solve a high-profile economic issue is suggested by his decision. He halted his campaign including a stop on all his advertisements.

McCain comes along consistent with his campaign message of putting the country “first” above all other ambitions. But surely, the Democrats dismiss his decision as part of a McCain’s “photo op” with the congress. It remains to be seen whether the maverick in McCain will have windfall in his decision the same way he got in choosing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Certainly, the financial crisis is tops on the minds of Americans right now. Photo Credit: Mario Zucca; Afrael=0=

Obama takes a statistical lead on the 41st day before election; McCain suspends campaign and debate to address financial crisis

September 24, 2008

Presidential candidate Barack Obama gains 6 point lead over John McCain today September 24, 2008, 41 days before the November 4 election. Obama’s present advantage is probably a windfall from the blame the Republican party is getting from the financial meltdown bogging the market after Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, among others filed government protection from bankruptcy.

The genesis of the economic crisis is traced on long-standing corporate greed pervasive in Wall Street, the weak oversight by government regulators for many years, corruption, and the lack of accountability in the banking system, making both Democratic and Republican parties culpable.

In 2001, the Bush administration had pushed for a tightening of the mortagage lending, but Democrats like Cong. Barney Frank (D-MA) head of house financial services committee blocked the initiative.

Citing urgency of the matter, McCain,in a display of leadership, cancels a scheduled debate with Obama on Friday night, September 26, 2008, to focus in bringing a bipartisan solution to the crisis. A bail-out financial package is needed to be passed by the Congress to avert further damage in the economy.

At this time, Obama doesn’t want to stop his campaign. He thinks he can do the campaigning and helping fix the economic crisis at the same time. The impasse in the proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial institutions need to be addressed quickly to avert full-blown economic collapse. (Photo Credit: Mario Zucca)=0=

Bring Back Bill Clinton?

September 19, 2008

So it seems the Democratic Party made a mistake in choosing Barack Obama as its standard bearer. While he projects an image of change it seems the US electorate is leery of his credentials and lack of experience and suspecting he might not have the answers to the current problems of the US.

Some oldtimers say that is sometimes the result a party gets by using the primaries in selecting its standard bearer. They pine for the days when the Bosses dominated the Democratic Party. Bosses, they think, tend to select candidates who are winnable and has the characteristics needed to be successful in running the country. And they usually point out to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as their most successful candidate.

So it seems the Democrats are now paying the price of not choosing Hillary Clinton who certainly is more experienced and has greater stature than Barack Obama. The other half of the Clinton duo who successfully ruled the White House, she might probably been a better match against McCain and could have foiled the choice of Palin.

Palin undoubtedly energized the McCain candidacy, enabling McCain to draw level with Obama. But with her apparent shallowness and lack of experience one will doubt the capacity for discernment of the US electorate. Did the issues change because McCain chose a lightweight running mate? Or the elections all a matter of perception without reference to the “issues”? Will bringing in Palin make McCain a better problem-solver if he gets elected as president? And yet she gave the McCain campaign a boost. Incredible!

Many are not even sure if McCain has the right answers to the current problems of the US. What is sure is that the current woes of the US happened under a Republican watch led by a less-than-capable president who threw away his predecessors legacy. I do not know if this has been Osama bin Laden’s goal all the time but it’s sure he succeeded in throwing the US out of whack.

Bring back Bill Clinton! Nobody doubts he is a first-rate problem-solver and consensus-builder. If only the Republican party can show statesmanship of the highest order and show remorse for the miseries they have brought their country.

Third World citizens don’t assume they have the answers to the problems of the US. But one thing is sure. The US always thinks it has the solutions to Third World woes and the US will never by shy in pushing for these “solutions.” And recent history normally bears that out.

The craziness in the US presidential campaign

September 18, 2008

Truly, there is craziness going on in the US presidential race that baffles the mind. Forty-seven days (47) days before the election, the presidential race is still a tie. A contest which is expected to be handily won by the Democrats who punch on the current administration has become a fierce battle giving the Republicans a good chance to win. Let me offer clues as to why Americans appear to have “short memories” like the Filipinos. I will let you decide.

1. The frustration of the Americans over politics crosses beyond party lines. Both the Republicans and Democrats have made errors in their decisions. They have blame to share The undecided voters can’t easily align in any of them. Many criticize Pres. George Bush, but the public also complains against the “do-nothing” Congress (dominated by Democrats) whose public approval rating is less than half of poor satisfaction rating of Pres. George W. Bush hyped by the media.

2. There are Democrats who believe they committed a strategic mistake in choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. With a strong political base, Hillary, much more experienced than Obama is thought to be a better and wiser choice. The inexperienced, but articulate Obama has little to offer other than the promises voters have heard since the start. Rejecting Hillary who has good counsel from Pres. Bill Clinton, Obama raises questions on his capacity to decide at “3 o’clock AM” once he becomes president. If Obama chose Hillary as his running mate, his chance of winning is better. Hillary carries a wide gender vote which can counter-balance the popularity of Sarah Palin.

3. The issues at stake in the presidential election are many. Topping the list are the economy, healthcare, social security, taxation, education, illegal immigration, religion, abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, war against terrorism, homeland security. These issues confuse a lot of voters. There are those who decide on a candidate based on one or two of these (not all.) A large number rely on their gut feeling in choosing their candidate.

4. The public is aware of biased information spread around by the media. Newspapers, TV, cable, radio, internet and other media are dominated by left-leaning, secular, anti-Bush, anti-Republican and anti-American personalities. Fighting against conservatism, these partisan liberals are more interested to advance their beliefs rather than be fair and balanced.

5. The liberals and secular progressive have substantial support from movie stars, comedians and teachers in the academe. It is mainly from them that the world forms its perceptions about America. Harboring anti-American sentiments, the outside world can easily get the mindset of those in the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and CBS just as the Arab world gets the mindset of Al Jazeera. Manipulation of information to suite an agenda is evident.

6. The conservatives and religious right who generally identify with the Republicans pose a “traditional” way of looking at things that many Americans can’t easily brush aside. Liberal Democrats have a hard time convincing a large portion of America to embrace socialism (vs. capitalism,) abortion, gay marriage, illegal migration, a welfare state, and cynicism against religion.

7. The longer Obama and McCain stay on the campaign trail, the stronger the public doubts Obama. This has been suggested by the polls which show a neck-and-neck competition up to this point. If Americans believe Obama is truly fit to be president, by this time, he could have a huge headway over McCain. With a wide support from the media, he should win hands down. Yet, it hasn’tt happened. Obama can have the financial crisis on his side, but he has to convince the public that he can solve it. The doubt on his leadership remains an obstacle he must overcome.

8. Personal attacks between candidates have been hurled on both sides. But the irrationality, intensity, and number of venomous blows by Democrats against Sarah Palin make her more popular. This worries a lot of Democrats. Earlier in the campaign they are very confident winning over the Republicans, not until Palin enters the race. According to a recent poll, the negative advertisement of the Obama campaign is far more than in the McCain’s.

9. A clearer understanding of platforms is emerging. Obama’s plan looks very good at first glance, but as Americans get closer, a different picture emerges. The public isn’t quite ready to elect a government that is too liberal without a counterbalance from moderates and conservatives. ( See the comparison of Obama-McCain platforms I posted earlier in the blog)

10. Americans compare reality with what both parties tell them. There are exaggerations that do not escape the attention of the electorate. Some issues ascribed against a candidate may not necessarily his own doing. He can only be guilty by association, but not of fact. While USA admits to heavy problems to tackle, it isn’t as bad as Zimbabwe or Somalia as some politicians make them look. The race divide, poverty, conflict between social classes, joblessness, pessimism, and despair in America aren’t that dire. Yes, the problems are bad, but that’s so easy to understand if one comes from a Third World country. =0=