article in Time magazine about Obama's mother is a fascinating and poignant read. What the article told me is that, deep down, Obama is someone scarred by losing a father early in his life, and having a loving, yet wandering and ultimately distant mother, who was lost to him at a couple of important times, and then lost forever in 1995 when she died of ovarian cancer. I also got a kick out of the fact that left oriented Congressman Neil Abercrombie
(D-HI) went to college with Obama's father and mother, and knew Obama as a baby.
This article potentially represents good news for those of us who want a president who truly empathizes with those who are vulnerable to life's challenges. His mixed racial background, his life in Indonesia, and the stability he appeared to ultimately find with his white grandparents, also help us understand why his speech on race was so wise in its ability to get beyond people's use of words that hurt, and to look deeper into people's complexities.
On the downside, last Sunday, a white fellow up in Los Angeles County told me that he would not want to vote for McCain, but would likely do so if Obama won the nomination. I asked him why and he said, "Well, you know that the first thing Obama is gonna do when he becomes president is put Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in his cabinet--and you can't have that happen!" I wish I had read that Time magazine article last weekend, but I still was able to tell this white retired union worker that Obama has no use for Jackson or Sharpton, and that's why they have been quiet, too. They know they are not wanted at his table, a table filled with mostly white, establishment advisers. In other words, I said to this man, "If, as you say, you are able to vote for Hillary over McCain, you can safely vote for Obama over McCain. They have the same nice bankers' and comptent bankers' outlook." And besides, I said to this man, I didn't think Sharpton and Jackson really liked each other, let alone Obama. See this
Village Voice article about Sharpton and Jackson being the "best of enemies..."
I then went into the litanies of what makes McCain so loathsome as a presidential candidate. And then the man said that the one thing that impressed him about Obama, and makes him also loathe McCain, is Obama's position about removing troops from Iraq sooner than later, and McCain's stupid stubbornness in wanting to stay in Iraq. The fellow said it's a "crime" what the Bush and Cheney people have done to the military and to our soldiers.
The sad part about the discussion is really, what would be so terrible about Jackson at least as an adviser? I have long been suspicious about Sharpton, a feeling that goes back to the 1980s and the Tawana Brawley
episode, and an article in the Village Voice during the 1980s that showed, quite convincingly to me at the time, that Sharpton was a confidence man. Also, just last year, in 2007, Sharpton was having his supporters go around attacking
Obama for being a phony on issues of community organizing and civil rights. If there is one thing that approaches an absolute certainty, it is that an Obama administration will not include the Rev. Al Sharpton in the Cabinet.
Overall, I found the Time magazine article made me hopeful about Obama, and should be required reading. However, my discussion with the white retired union man made me very nervous about the ability of Obama to defeat McCain, no matter what polls say. The information gap between activists and regular voters continues to grow, and events like those occuring this week, where Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous asked inane and degrading questions
in the Obama-Clinton debate ABC Television sponsored, add to that gap.
And if we really want to get depressed, here are the latest white establishment politicos who have endorsed Obama: Corporate war-mongering Democrat, Sam Nunn (former Senator from Georgia) and dull, go-along coprorate Democratic Party insider and former Senator from Oklahoma, David Boren. See here
. And in a fit of pique against the Clintons (a long time coming, though!), Robert Reich, one of the few decent Clinton Cabinet members, endorsed Obama
, but he seems to like being fooled by corporate Democrats. I wish Robert would take a listen to this
song before making decisions like this.
So I remain where I have been: Obama or Hillary over McCain. But pining for a divided Democratic convention and an Al Gore sprint to the White House...