Barack Obama

Republican red meat in Rochester

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

ROCHESTER – Minnesota’s Republicans held a pep rally at the Mayo Civic Center Thursday night, a full-throated partisan crank-up for this weekend’s state convention.

Barack Obama (more than Hillary Clinton), Nancy Pelosi, Al Franken, liberalism and the “Democrat” Party were repeatedly, if predictably, bashed. “Look at what the Democrats
offer us – Barack Obama and Al Franken are the most radical extremists this country has ever seen,” said state GOP chairman Ron Carey, decrying their “left-wing values.”

Surveying the conventional wisdom writings of what he called “the pundits” who have predicted a “slaughter” of Republicans in November, Carey predicted that “the joke’s gonna be on these folks.”

The party trotted out a couple of its congressional candidates who are facing decidedly uphill battles in deeoly blue districts come November and gave them a few minutes in the spotlight.

Ed Matthews, who is trying to take down Rep.Betty McCollum in a district that has been held by Democrats for 60 years, mentioned “change” in Washington almost as incessantly as Obama has. He said his platform is grounded on God, the U.S. Constitution and the Republican Party’s platform.

Barbara Davis-White, who is trying to knock off first-term Rep. Keith Ellison in the deeply blue Fifth Congressional District, called him “a liberal.”

“BOOOOOOOOOO,” the crowd replied.

“We cannot let our country die under the influence of Democrats and socialism,” she said, adding that Ellison is “a man who’s threatening our national security.”

Sen. Norm Coleman, whose endorsement for a second term is expected to be the centerpiece of the convention, made a brief, surprise, appearance when he introduced Sen. Tom Colburn, who gave the keynote address of the night. “Six more years,” members of the crowd roared.

“You are what defends liberty,” Colburn told the Republicans, saying the party can “regain our footing” if the party keeps its focus on Islamic radical terrorism and the federal government’s deficit spending. “There’s a culture in Washington that kicks the can down the road,” Colburn said. “It’s time that stops.”

Officially, the convention kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday.

A great Obama moment you won’t see on the highlight reel

Monday, January 7th, 2008

tice.jpgBarack Obama is riding high, largely on a wave of enthusiasm for his charisma, eloquence, and youth and his startling defiance of the race barrier.

Obama embodies “change” — the longing of the season — whichobama2.jpg at its deepest is a yearning for the feeling of change.

When Hillary Clinton keeps emphasizing her superior proven effectiveness at making change, meaning policy change, she isn’t so much wrong as simply missing the point.

But to give Obama his due, he at times demonstrates a difference that goes beyond the atmospheric and inspirational. At times he demonstrates the kind of understanding and candor about complex issues that shouldn’t be as unusual as it is.

There was a instance of this higher sort of “change” in Saturday night’s New Hampshire debate. The exchange (excerpted from the New York Times’ full transcript) went like this:


Well, that was different

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Let’s toss it open for some post-debate debate. A couple questions to address:

The format Fun? Distracting from the candidates? Is that good or bad?

Edwards Passionate or straining? Anybody understand his position on gay marriage, or the role of religion in his thinking?

Clinton How impressive is her developing easy-going, unassuming style? Has she finessed her war position? Why the rejection of the liberal label? Is she playing the front-runner position well?

Obama Confident and articulate, but is he making the case that he’s the better choice than Clinton? Nuclear power?

The rest Anybody making a move?

Guestposter Bob von Sternberg: From Iowa, where else, dueling anti-war messages from Obama and Clinton

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

vonste.jpgJust when Iowans figured it was safe to venture out and not risk tripping over a presidential candidate, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama returned and almost tripped over each other.

Just days after Obama, Clinton and no fewer than six other presidential aspirants spent the July 4 holiday week furiously stumping across the state, the two leading Democrats were back in downtown Des Moines this morning, delivering what their campaigns called major policy speeches, barely a mile apart from each other.

Clinton’s address, titled her “Plan to End the War in Iraq ashillary_clinton.jpg President,” contained these declarations:

“Our message to the President is clear. It is time to begin ending this war – not next year, not next month – but today.”

“We have heard for years now that as the Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down. Every year, we hear about how next year they may start coming home. Now we are hearing a new version of that yet again from the President as he has more troops in Iraq than ever and the Iraqi government is more fractured and ineffective than ever.”

“Well, the right strategy before the surge and post-escalation is the same: start bringing home America’s troops now.”

obama.jpgObama’s speech, billed as the “Economic Impact of the Iraq War,” included these highlights:

“It will be enormously difficult to invest in jobs and opportunity until we stop spending $275 million a day on this war in Iraq.

“When I opposed this war before it began in 2002, I was about to run for the United States Senate and I knew it wasn’t the politically popular position. But I believed then and still do that being a leader means that you’d better do what’s right and leave the politics aside, because there are no do-overs on an issue as important as war.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the campaigns had been aware of the timing and location of the rival’s speech.

Bob von Sternberg

Obama’s $32 million take your breath away

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Barack Obama is a money raising wonder, havingobama.jpg brought in $32.5 million in the second quarter of the year.

He is making Hillary Clinton’s fearsome fundraising machine ($27 million) look a bit old fashioned and frail.

And John Edwards ($9 million)? The Republicans (not yet talking)? They can only hope that the electability issues waiting down the road for Obama and Clinton will ultimately matter more than the ability to amass a war chest.

Guestposter Bob von Sternberg on Obama’s stop in Minneapolis today and his army of small donors

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Good Friday morning. Political reporter von Sternberg, with some help from the Associated Press, finds that the Obama fundraising effort is specializing in $25-a-person rallies like the one in Minneapolis this evening:

vonste.jpgSen. Barack Obama brings his presidential campaign to Minneapolis today for a rally intended to sign up supporters and raise some dollars.

It’s his first trip to Minnesota as a presidential candidate and itobama.jpg comes at the tail end of the second-quarter campaign cash reporting deadline.

As of Thursday, tickets sold to the public rally raised as much as $50,000 for the campaign. A $1,000-a ticket private fundraiser will follow.

By any measure, Obama’s fundraising strategy has been stunningly successful. His campaign reported Thursday that it was closing in on its goal of raising money from 250,000 people in the first six months of the year.

Barack Obama coming to town

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

ebmug.jpgGood Tuesday morning Fellow Seekers,

obama.jpgSen. Barack Obama will be in the Twin Cities June 29 for a public rally and a fund-raiser at the Minneapolis home of noted DFL fund-raisers Sam and Sylvia Kaplan. It will be Obama’s first trip to Minnesota as a presidential candidate.

The Kaplans, whom I did not previously link to Obama in any of my who’sfor whom for prez posts, are both on Obama’s national finance committee. The fund-raiser will be $1,000 a head. the precise time and place of the public rally have not been determined yet.

This is a place where open-minded critical thinkers of all political persuasions encounter information and arguments that both support and challenge their preconceptions. The goal is not to eliminate differences but to narrow and clarify them. We begin with a bedrock agreement that the search for insight and clarity is important, serious - and fun.

We ask commenters to be civil and substantive and, if possible, good humored. We reserve the right to delete comments that disregard this request.

Follow The Big Question on Twitter Do you use Twitter? Follow The Big Question.