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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 11:38 AM
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Why Obama's Life Story Matters
The Coffee House
Why Obama's Life Story Matters
By M.J. Rosenberg


Anyone who thinks that Billy Shaheen's Obama slur was a blunder, rather than a calculated piece of the politics of personal destruction, should note that Mark Penn repeated it hours after Sen. Clinton apologized.

Penn got this right out of the Rove play book. Just as Rove took John Kerry's greatest asset -- his military record -- and lied it into a negative, so Penn takes Obama's -- his biography -- and tries to do the same.

The difference is that the tactic won't work with Obama. The patrician Kerry did not know how to deal with guttersnipe attacks. He was so utterly unused to them.

All African-American men are used to them, especially one who made it to Harvard Law, the US Senate and a Presidential candidacy despite his race, his name, and his exotic heritage.

In politics, it is an advantage to come from nowhere and nothing. You learn how to push back. Hard.

But we shouldn't kid ourselves. They (the Republicans and the neocon Democrats) will try to use Obama's biography to destroy him precisely because it is his greatest asset, as today's Washington Post profile indicates.

All the major Democratic candidates are smart and competent. But Obama's story makes him special. Special not because his story is unique but because, in so many ways, his story is so common.

Most Americans do not have it easy. They struggle. Many, probably most, have difficult relations with their parents or their kids. Obama's abandonment by his father is also a common American story.

I cannot tell you how many young guys I've known over the course of my life whose ambition (or lack thereof) is a product of a bad or non-existent relationship with the old man.

And, of course, his race is a big part of his story. Non-racist Americans (most Americans) cannot help but feel that electing a young black guy as President will go a long way to revolutionizing America's image in the world and helping to end America's most enduring and deadly problem: racism.

more...

http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/coffeehouse/2007/dec/14/why...
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MNDemNY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 11:42 AM
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1. There is no "slur" jeezus!
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 11:53 AM
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2. Apparently a lot of people disagree with you. nt
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:07 PM
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3. Opponents use what they got.
Like the pro-Obama party chairman out west who just brought up Bill's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Not exactly Hillary's past, but close enough. After all, she didn't divorce him so she must have been okay with it.

Hillary is slimed with every nasty word usually used to describe ambitious, successful, driven women. And then she also gets Bill's slime for the crime of being a loyal wife.

Obama is a man so they can't use those words. They use the codes for the only thing about him that's a bit different: his race.

And if we had a Jewish candidate...a whole tried and true set of words for that, too.

These candidates are all competent and none of them are all that different. The slime makes the edge.



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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:09 PM
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4. The Wyoming guy isn't a part of Obama's campaign.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. And it was mild, AND he did not say Monica Lewinsky. He said
"locker room jokes". Amazing the way people project and spin.
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zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:13 PM
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5. K&R
Your point about how Clinton apologized to Obama and said it would never happen again...and it does with Penn on TV hours later using the same ruse is a clear indication that the wheels of coming off her campaign.

Obama's life story is indeed one of the reasons I support him. Anyone who has really given his life story a look could not be more than proud of who he is today. He's not perfect. He's just one of those candidates that I think comes around every 40 years or so and is a perfect fit for our times.

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. As good as some of our other candidates are, he gives
me hope! That's an intangible that I haven't felt in awhile.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:33 PM
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7. I don't agree with what he said about Kerry, though:
Penn got this right out of the Rove play book. Just as Rove took John Kerry's greatest asset -- his military record -- and lied it into a negative, so Penn takes Obama's -- his biography -- and tries to do the same.

The difference is that the tactic won't work with Obama. The patrician Kerry did not know how to deal with guttersnipe attacks. He was so utterly unused to them.

All African-American men are used to them, especially one who made it to Harvard Law, the US Senate and a Presidential candidacy despite his race, his name, and his exotic heritage.

In politics, it is an advantage to come from nowhere and nothing. You learn how to push back. Hard.


I guess this person never read about St. Paul, where Kerry was a very picked on minority: not super-rich, a Democrat, and a Catholic.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/06/opinion/main6...

John Kerry, Teen Outcast

...

According to most newspaper profiles, Kerry is the ultimate establishmentarian. "Mr. Kerry fit right in with the Northeastern elite," John Tierney wrote last month in The New York Times. On paper, this is certainly true. Kerry's middle name is Forbes, as in the Forbes shipping fortune. Winthrop blood ties him to the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. And, at every stage in life, the establishment has seemingly renewed his membership ...

But, for all these patrician trappings, Kerry has never been fully accepted into the blue-blood world. In fact, during his time at St. Paul's, a cradle of the old WASP aristocracy, Kerry was an outsider: an unwelcome Catholic among high-church Episcopalians; the son of a Foreign Service officer and, thus, a relative poor boy; an earnest liberal among rock-ribbed Republicans. "He felt like he didn't fit," says Kerry's best boarding-school friend, Daniel Barbiero. In response to his estrangement, Kerry followed the pattern set by generations of immigrants. He became an ambitious, hard-working striver -- the opposite of the ideal of effortlessly achieving aristocracy. Douglas Brinkley writes in his biography of Kerry, Tour of Duty, "Given class-consciousness of St. Paul's School, Kerry felt especially compelled to prove himself."

...

Under most circumstances, and in most U.S. settings, Kerry's shabby gentility would not have disadvantaged him. But St. Paul's was an extremely status-conscious place. As Brinkley writes in his biography, "At St. Paul's, unless you had a lot of money and wore the right clothes and had parents who belonged to the right clubs, you could be made to feel inadequate, born on the wrong side of the tracks." Fitting in -- to be a "reg," or regular guy, as the St. Paul's kids said -- meant having the right pair of loafers, the right Brooks Brothers suit, and the right ring belt. Kerry certainly dressed the preppy part. But there were obvious ways in which he could not keep up. While his classmates summered in Europe (or even took private jets to the Continent for long weekends), Kerry spent his breaks working as a Teamster in Somerville, Massachusetts, for the First National Stores, loading food onto trucks. He frequently borrowed money from friends. And, if his relative poverty weren't apparent enough, Kerry always had richer classmates issuing reminders of their bigger bank accounts. Barbiero recounted to me a symbolic incident. One of Kerry's poorer classmates had carefully compiled a record collection that was his proudest possession -- and everyone in the school knew it. But a rich classmate couldn't stomach the satisfaction felt by Kerry's friend, so he ventured into Concord and bought out the record store. According to Barbiero, Kerry empathized with the collector. "John was upset about this and thought it was a nasty thing to do."

Kerry's lack of wealth wasn't all that separated him from his classmates. As a child, Kerry had been deeply Catholic, serving as an altar boy and toying with joining the priesthood. At St. Paul's, it wasn't easy for Kerry to keep his faith. On Sunday mornings, he would take a taxi into Concord for Mass -- and then have to return to attend two mandatory Episcopal services at school. In other words, every week, he was forced to remind his classmates of his religious affiliation. And, given his classmates' attitudes toward Catholicism, Kerry would probably have preferred to keep his faith to himself. When Bobby Kennedy attended St. Paul's in 1939, his mother, Rose, pulled him from the school after only a month because she couldn't stomach its anti-Catholic ethos. While that attitude atrophied somewhat, it hadn't entirely disappeared by the late '50s. Barbiero told me, "There were jokes about Catholics. I had more than one classmate tell me that 'those people' had their own clubs and own societies, and they weren't part of our society."


Not that I mean to hijack this thread on Obama, but it is frustrating how little people still know about our last nominee. All the info was out there, yet people still cling to what they THINK is the truth, instead of the actual truth. And no, being a Catholic minority is not as bad as going through life as an African American, but in the microcosm of the situation, that didn't make it any less painful.

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thank you, beachmom.
You know how I feel about Senator Kerry; I'm glad you clarified.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm glad you posted the article, as it is an interesting one. What he
said about Obama is compelling.

And, yeah, I know how you feel about Sen. Kerry. :)
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