Sunday, October 19, 2008

Diane Fanning, North Carolina's Example Of Racism Toward Obama

How many examples of racist people do we have to see between now and the November 4th election? I bring you the latest one, Diane Fanning of North Carolina, who's ugly self was on display and recorded by The LA Times:

12:33 p.m. Sen. Barack Obama entered the barbecue joint where an older and majority white clientele of dozens was eating lunch after church services. At the other end of the restaurant, Diane Fanning, 54, who works at a discount club, began yelling: “Socialist, socialist, socialist -– get out of here!”

There was a lot of noise and excitement and positive reception as well and it was unclear whether Obama heard her.

The gentleman next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, flashed an angry look at her. “Be civil, be courteous,” he admonished her. Another woman, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning (per Reuters), “At least he’s not a warmonger!”

Mr. Bramble told Reuters’ pool reporter that he wasn’t voting for Obama because he didn’t think he had enough experience. Bramble’s wife, Kit, 75, said after meeting Obama, “He was very nice” but added she’d been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s era and she wouldn’t vote for Obama.

Fanning said (after considerable public Colin Powell discussion) that she’d heard Powell had endorsed Obama but...

...that “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only. This is my one day off,” she muttered.

Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her to shake it and asked, “How are you, ma’am?” but she declined to shake.

He spoke at length with many of the other parishioners at the long banquet table, however, and got a much friendlier reception as he spoke about healthcare, taxes and Social Security. Fanning told the pool reporter, “Some of them are just nicer than I am. I know how some of them think.”

But several of her fellow churchgoers said their support was genuine. Betty Waylett, 76, told him, “You’re doing a great job.” She told the pool reporter she is a Republican but will vote for Obama because she likes the way he speaks and his manner.

Waylett, who is white, said Obama’s race was not a factor. “I never thought about it one way or the other.”

Waylett, there's a lot of folks just like you.

Sarah Palin Rap Performed By Amy Pohler on SNL

This Amy Pohler's much-talked about performance of "Sarah Palin Rap" on Saturday Night Live, in which they trotted out every Palin stereotype for full hilarious view.

What will Colin Powell's Obama endorsement mean "down-ticket"

"Obama's a muslim who consorts with terrorists. He'll raise your taxes."

We've all heard rhetoric of that sort, and attacks suggesting Obama will turn the IRS into, “a giant welfare agency,” during the current campaign.General Colin Powell, (Ret.) On Meet the Press this morning (19 Oct 2008) General Colin Powell (Ret.) cited that sort of old-school attack among the reasons that a life-long Republican who served both the Bush presidencies has decided to vote for Senator Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election.

Will Powell's public announcement be the tipping point in the decisions made by some of the as-yet-undecided voters? Will he lead a shift of centrist Republicans who find their party no longer epitomizes their values to vote for Obama and re-consider their political affiliation(s)?

Powell was clear in his admiration and respect for Senator McCain, and stated unambiguously that, "We are still the leader of the world that wants to be free. We are still the inspiration..." With his own attention turning to Education as a priority, Powell asserted that the candidates had faced a "Final Exam" in dealing with the financial crisis that the sub-prime mortgage lending mismanagement has created in the banking industry.

How will it play in down-ticket?

Consider Minnesota: In the 3rd Congressional District a former Marine Corps Captain who served in Iraq, Ashwin Madia, is running as a Democrat. Powell's support of Obama will lend credence to the thinking that not all who support our troops align with the current values of the Republican party. That has to work in Madia's favor - and it likely helps Steve Sarvi, too.

In the lesser observed 2nd MN CD race another Iraq vet, Sargent Sarvi, is running as a Democratic challenger, too. Sarvi, who had already served in Kosovo, resigned his duties as a Minnesota Mayor to serve in Iraq. Powell's public stand isn't so much taking the lead as it is a reflection of the reality that even within the armed forces there's a sense that the country needs a new direction. The Republicans clearly no longer own "patriotism" exclusively as part of their brand.

The only incumbent Republican Representative in Minnesota not being challenged by an Iraq War vet is Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, running for re-election in the 6th Congressional District, and she's driving people away from the party (as Zennie mentioned here earlier) with recent extremist statements widely reported in the national press. The result is nearly unprecedented levels of donation to Elwyn "El" Tinklenberg's campaign. Tinklenberg is enjoying Bachmann's discomfiture, though she's trying hard to walk back her comments that remind older voters of the worst of the Joe McCarthy era.

Powell's expressed distaste for the old-school, divisive approach of those controlling the Republican party and making statements such as Congresswoman Bachmann's mirrors a significant rejection of those tactics by voters throughout the country. The memo to ease up on inflammatory, over-the-top rhetoric evidently reached her a little late. She used precisely the sort of smear which Powell this morning characterized as demagoguery, and it's changed the entire nature of her race.
It will be ironic, indeed, if revealing her thoughts in one appearance on TV ends up turning the entire MN Congressional delegation Democratic. Michelle Bachmann's sudden notoriety may improve Obama's party-majority. It has certainly kept the attention on Minnesota, already thought to be a battleground in November.

To round out the Republican problems in Minnesota:

Poll numbers have even caused incumbent Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) to withdraw his negative TV ads against his challenger, Democrat Al Franken (though it should be noted he seems to have left them running against the third party candidate, oddly enough.) Coleman's tried to use that reversal to his advantage, but the excessively distorted negative ads had been such a hallmark one doubts even Coleman is safe in the current climate.

Had McCain's earlier promises to run an honest, respectful campaign guided the actions of his staff, had he exercised more of his own style in determining policies and the choice of a running mate, perhaps his weakness on the economy wouldn't have so utterly undermined his standing in the minds of the voters. Perhaps his leadership would have changed the tone of Coleman ads, or Bachmann's rhetoric, too. While Powell faults the leadership of the party as distinct from McCain, I find that the party's nominee must, in fact, bear some of the onus since he is during the campaign the de facto leader.

The Powell Doctrine

General Colin Powell, the man who has defined U.S. military strategic doctrine, who stands by his actions urging the invasion of Iraq based on the belief intelligence showed there were weapons of mass destruction, summarized his endorsement - his decision to vote for Barack Obama based on the merits of Obama's intellectual rigor and the choices of Republican leaders despite his obvious affection and admiration for John McCain - by saying, "I strongly believe at this point... we need a transformational figure." He's found the leadership of the Republican party lacking lately, and he's ready for change. I agree.


On CNN IReport

Colin Powell's Obama endorsement: Will military votes move?

General Colin Powell has decided to vote for Obama based on the merits of the man despite obvious affection and respect for McCain. You saw (or read about) Meet the Press, consider how it may play out in battleground states: In MN it's possible there'll be an ALL-Democratic congressional delegation. Powell: Republican party leadership's a problem

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Today, just less than an hour ago, a legendary figure in American politics and military history, Colin Powell, endorsed U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D) Illinois for President of The United States.

Powell is a giant in American Culture, as a decorated Army general, being a National Security Advisor to President Reagan, then the first Jamaican-American Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff and having sucessfully guided American forces in the "Desert Storm" effort of the Persian Gulf War, Powell.  Then Powell became the 65th Secretary of State under George W. Bush.  Because of his history, his association and registration with the Republican Party, and mostly his steady and calm demenor, Powell's name has been regularly surfaced as a presidential or vice-presidential candidate.

But few expected Powell to break from his party and endorse Obama and some also noted his friendship with Obama's challenger, U.S. Senator John McCain.  But Powell, motivated by McCain's increasingly nasty style of campaigning and the racist direction it was taking, decided to make the move to back Obama, annoucing his decision on Meet The Press, this morning.

Thousands march in Baghdad against U.S. pact

Thousands of followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against a pact that would allow U.S. forces to stay in Iraq for three more years.

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The Palin Plunge: Voters Sour On McCain VP Pick

The more voters learn about Sarah Palin, the more wary they become. Once the focus of post-convention Republican euphoria, the Alaska Governor is now viewed as a serious liability to the McCain campaign.Her favorable to unfavorable ratings have switched from a positive 40-30, to a negative 32-41.

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