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28 September 2008


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Andy Klatt

"Ayers" not "Ayres"


Just out of curiosity...and before we get to the heart of the matter, perhaps someone would enligthten me on why Obama has to endlessly keep explaining about Ayers. And McCain does not have to explain about G.Gordon Liddy? He is a felon, convicted of crimes against the US. He attempted to subvert the political system through violent means. He has contributed to McCain's campaign. McCain retains a 'warm' relationship with him according to media reports. Now I think I have a hint why this is hypocrisy is allowed. But I would welcome any comments about it.


I can't imagine that anyone could fuss about Obama's "loyalty to the United States", and anyone that questions this (either overtly or "in code") are showing themselves to be un-serious. The notion that some sort of 'Manchurian candidate' can make it to the presidency is laughable.

Questions re character and judgment are a different kettle of fish, here folks can and do have differing opinions, but not loyalty...


Col. Lang:

Good. I was surprised when you didn't respond earlier. Glad that you've taken up the gauntlet.

I'm looking forward to seeing the meat the commenters put on the bones of the several interpretations we might have about Obama's biography.

Bill W, NH, USA

I don't doubt Obama's character and his loyalty to the United States but that doesn't mean I'd vote for him. He lost one vote last Friday night from my girlfriend who had intended to vote for him. Neither of us could detect much difference between him and McCain, mainly just a different choice of what country we should be bombing. We'll both be writing in Congressman Ron Paul.



Voter registration is a big issue here, too. Democrats have been hugely successful at turning the tarnishing of the GOP "brand" into enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. As a result, the Dems have a huge lead in new registrations, esp. in swing states. This matches changes in party affiliation seen in nationwide polls, with more people identifying themselves as Dems.

The subplot here is the Dem vs GOP argument of voter disenfranchisement vs voter fraud being the important issue, with Dems concerned about voter suppression, and Repubs convinced that the Dems must be committing fraud.

I think there is more evidence of suppression than of fraud. There have been convictions for bogus voter reg apps. True. But, if you actually follow some of the links and read the stories, it is clear that the problem is more likely that ACORN's paid volunteers get to eager about drumming up their numbers than with a concerted effort to allow voters to vote twice. After all, the biggest problem is duplicate applications, which cannot result in voters voting twice. Read the links. That said, paying people per registration is asking for trouble. That should go.

I think that the GOP feels it is crucial to combat the Dem registration advantage. They also need to establish the meme that voter fraud is a big issue and to taint the recent Dem successes in getting registrations. After all, if we end up with another Florida recount debacle, there will be all sorts of attempts to delegitimize the votes for the other guys.

As with most things so politicized, the argument is barely about facts, but more about spinning to one's electoral advantage. After all, one of the right-wing complaints about Obama is that he disenfranchised voters when he challenged petitions submitted by rivals back in Chicago (many signatures were invalid, as it turned out). What's good for goose is not always good for the gander when politics are in play. That is true for both sides.

Oh, and I agree 100% that the ACORN or "marxist" labeling of Obama is about giving cover to people to vote based on race. No doubt. A white man with the same history would not be subjected to this garbage.

By the way, note that ACORN has always sought to empower or help the poor and marginalized. When GOP interests try to help their constituencies, it is called 'lobbying.' And some of them are currently in jail or on trial for their efforts. However, I guess the fact that Jack Abramoff cannot be labeled a Marxist is a huge relief to some. I guess Duke Cunningham can be called a convicted war profiteer (he is), but at least he is no commie.

Bodo Reisling

Obama wore a flag pin to Friday's debate. McCain did not.


Dear Pat,
My own thoughts in a bit... but if this discussion takes off, having a link to wiki on ACORN (a group i'm embarrased to say i'd never heard of until i came across some rants about it yesterday) could be harmful, because on "hot" political topics, wiki is such a moving target. Minute to minute, that wiki page could change, and will often be changed by those with a political agenda (i just visited the site, and removed a reference to Senator Pelosi "backing a $140 billion congressional earmark for the group"). Would't surprise me if that falsehood is reinserted soon.


In light of current economic news, there might be a need to rethink the use of "various efforts of a socialist flavor."

It is offensive to me that Obama has to demonstrate his "loyalty" to the United States. I've been voting since 1972, and I cannot recall any other presidential candidate being asked to do this. Sen. McCarthy would be so proud.

Sen. McCain wears his loyalty to America by using his military history as a campaign poster. We accept his loyalty, yet we know he has vociferously supported a foreign policy that has weakened America. In light of that, why does he skate on the loyalty test?

Obama's biography, both personal and professional, is completely transparent. His voting record in both the state legislature and the U.S. Senate is open to public review. He served on some kind board with William Ayers. If you want to do the guilt by association thing, have at it.

I have had people whom I know to be intelligent and well-educated tell me Obama is the anti-christ.

Perhaps you can tell something of a man's character by what he says about his mother. (As a mother I'd like to think so). This passage is from the foward of Obama's first book -Dreams from My Father:

"We saw each other frequently, our bond unbroken. During the writing of this book, she would read the drafts, correcting stories that I had misunderstood, careful not to comment on my characterizations of her but quick to explain or defend the less flattering aspects of my father's character. She managed her illness with grace and good humor, and she helped my sister and me push on with our lives despite our dread, our denials, our sudden constrictions of the heart.

"I think sometimes that had I know she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book - less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won't try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her."


If Obama is left wing or a Marxist it's odd that the evidence suggests otherwise. He has good friends and advisers who teach economics at the University of Chicago, a place not noted for its advocacy of socialism. He's reputed to be fairly knowledgable about issues in contemporary economics. His economic advisers include Warren Buffett, Larry Summers, Jamie Dimon (head of JP Morgan), and Robert Rubin.

Obama's actual positions on economic matters are moderate with a few sops to unions and some companies opposed to free trade. His program even contains market solutions for dealing with problems such as low savings rates that Chicago economists have propsed.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Fifty four years after the Army-McCarthy hearings, seventeen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and we're still using the stale label of "Commie."

Republicans, for crying out loud, find some new material.


The latest attacks on ACORN are coming from right-wing media hate transmitters who have focused on the part of the the Dodd/Frank counterproposal to the Paulson bailout plan that supposedly includes a $100 million in "funding for the left-wing housing entitlement thugs," as Michelle Malkin put it.

There is much more behind these latest attacks on ACORN, however.
There has been a co-ordinated GOP campaign against ACORN that has to do with ACORN's successful voter registration drive targeting young people and lower income minorities. Since young people and lower income minorities overwhelmingly vote Democratic, the GOP is continuing its 2000 and 2004 efforts to suppress the voter turnout among those groups again this November. Part of that same effort came to light during the U.S Attorney firings scandal -- the Justice Dept canned certain U.S. attorneys who refused to prosecute bogus voter fraud at the behest of GOP officials. Related GOP suppression efforts include enacting state voter-ID requirements, the wholesale purging of names from lists of registered voters (Google "Greg Palast, voter purge" for his slew of invaluable investigations into that) and by going after liberal get-out-the-vote drives by groups like ACORN (see this).
While the GOP efforts themselves seem more motivated by self-preservation than racism, racism is the catalyst used by media transmitters like Michelle Malkin and Newsmax to whip up GOP antagonism towards groups like ACORN. This is something that Obama himself would do well to steer clear of and let surrogates handle. He should not jump into the mud with this crew of hate-mongers.


Obama taught Constitutional law at the University of Chicago for twelve years after graduating from Harvard with honors.

Can you imagine the amount of money he sacrificed to focus on the essence of the Republic. If this doesn't show love of country I don't know what does.

Dan McIntosh

**I will not tolerate a lack of civility, but I invite a reasoned argument about Obama's character and his loyalty to the United States. Bring your evidence. Make your case. Do not try to post here what has been posted elsewhere. pl**

Interesting, isn't it, that we've seen so many comments and so far nobody has even tried to provide this argument or evidence? I'm still waiting to see it.


Have we forgotten those days when opposition to the agenda and methods of the neocons was declared to be a symptom of a deep-seated (in some cases, unconscious) antisemitism.

Many, many words were defined as "code for Jew."

Anti-whatevers do exist and they vote their prejudices. Stigmatizing opposition to a candidate, a policy, or a party as a moral failing is Rove-Gingrich axis specialty. We have seen where it leads, we are at least dimly aware of where it can end. Let's not go there.


In the hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy, the universe was ruled by the person who least wanted to rule and did not believe he ruled. Instead he treated all decisions as hypothetical.

Yet if anyone wanting to be president should be disqualified because they are likely to live the motto "L'Estate c'est moi" -What is good for me (and my _____ fill in the blank) is good for the country. So how to find a leader? Here, it often is based on character, for which I have mixed feelings.

Obama's character? He is measured, cool, and controlled. Personally I mentally urged him to speak strongly and passionately on issues he says he believes in which worry me: Protect the constitution, there should be a level playing field for the pursuit of happiness, etc.

Yet, after the last 8 years, IMHO what is needed is a measured leader who can rise above extreme partisanship (my party always right; yours always wrong, works for sports but who is the umpire?) for the good of the country. And we need a president who listens to other countries viewpoints with respect (and polite diplomatic disagreement where necessary) because we need their help (who will loan us trillions (!) for the financial crisis and what will they demand in return?) and repair the burnt bridges (within and without) that desperately need repair.

For Obama to quote Kissinger, for Obama to on many occasions clearly state McCain was right (and McCain is right on many things) shows that character. McCain had an opportunity to demonstrate similar character (he has been gracious in the past), but CHOSE not to (his choice). It was his choice, and that reflects on his character, too.

Last item, I was probably one of the few who listened rather than watching the debate (a mistake) and McCain sounded tired. Really tired. And condescending (perhaps too tired). And I have no confidence in graciousness from the pitbull with lipstick.

Michael Singer

Dear Pat, your blog gets more interesting everyday. I just have one observation to contribute.The great hue and cry about Obama was/is that people 'just don't know him or feel comfortable with him.' I think most white folks know many/any black folks, don't interact with most black folks very much for whatever reason and that maybe why he seems to unknowable. I just hope the campaiging humanizes him to all the strangers in a strange land.
Michael Singer


Colonel et. a.l,

The GOP - most specifically the Neocons - realize that this election might be he only thing that lies between them and, at least, a painful future of explaining their actions over the last two decades, and at most, a stretch in the pokey. Therefore, they will not hesitate to pull out all of the stops to delay what - according to most electoral vote projections - seems inevitable. An Obama/Biden administration.

If President Obama were to issue an executive order overturning President Bush's executive order 13233 of November 2001, then much of the secret history of the past two decades plus would come to light, and names would be named.

I believe this might be part of the reason that despite what most reliable electoral vote predictions show - based on solid statistical modeling - there are still portions of the media that paint this race as a neck and neck race.

The point of this being to create the necessary cover story in the event that the election has to be stolen a la 2000.

Michael Singer

Dear Pat,
I have known Acorn org.s and members. They spend most of their time in non election years fighting injustices in our system--yes, there are a few-- which hit the most vulnerable people in our society, on issues like health care, medical services, the homeless. I'd hardly call that work any different than the work Obama was doing in Chicago. It didn't make him a Marxist.
Michael Singer


“…a reasoned argument about Obama’s character and his loyalty to the United States.”

As a long-time lurker here, I think the question of Obama’s loyalty has a great deal to do with one’s idea of what the US is and what we represent. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was a common enemy. Some saw it as an enemy of capitalism, the right to accumulate and keep vast sums of money. Others saw it as an enemy of personal freedom. The end of the Cold War saw the end of this alliance.

Republicans have become the party of capitalism. I have come to believe that they represent a grave threat to our country. Their goal is to produce a one-party system of government. I believe they are very effectively organized to do that and if they fail now they will continue to try. Their methods are fairly straight-forward: concentrating wealth in the hands of a few individuals, controlling the media, selective prosecutions as well as judicial decisions, and undermining the US government by eliminating its ability to perform any worthwhile functions other than policing and rewarding loyal followers. Their goal has a great deal to do with small town values, a society where everyone knows their place, where loyalty is rewarded and “otherness” ostracized or beaten down.

From this perspective, Obama is indeed disloyal to the US. Effective representation represents a threat to the accumulation of vast sums of money and power. The inequality of wealth in this country cannot be maintained in a truly representative government, particularly if we experience a major economic downturn. Republicans cannot afford to allow the less fortunate to be enfranchised and feel empowered.

For me, obviously, Obama is loyal to my vision of this country. I admire the fact that he does not use cheap slogans or populist rhetoric, and appears very pragmatic. This makes him harder to label and perhaps to identify with, but he also avoids being boxed into a corner and beholden to certain groups. I’m too old and cynical to believe he can turn this country around, but I hope he can hold off the authoritarians in our midst long enough for my children and grandchildren to enjoy some of what I have.


Obama has been running for president for over a year. Hillary Clinton’s people (including Bill himself) tried to tar and feather Obama with negative black themes. If anyone has been vetted, it has to be Obama, and he has gone out of his way to distance himself from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

Don’t we all know someone who shows moral turpitude and unsavory track records? Obama does not live in a bubble.

The McCain camp is desperate so they will try anything that might stick with the base and some of the independent voters. From Palin through the “campaign suspension” and alleged bailout heroics, and perhaps the ACORN stuff, everything turned out by McCain’s camp has a foul odor. Racism is a strong suit of the McCain campaign.

McCain was once seen as an American hero, albeit one with flaws. Hooking up with Davis has made him a laughing stock. It becomes a sad story because he may be ill. IMHO, because of the Palin nomination, disclosure of his medical records is more paramount than any noise about ACORN. Why is the media (and Biden) silent about this?

Many complain that Obama was too polite in the debate because he did not walk across the stage and kick McCain in the balls. I believe his conduct is that of a gentleman and it may reflect a better understanding of how government is supposed to work in the United States. Maybe he’s telegraphing his presidential style: a legitimate constitutional president (one of three parts of government) and not a fire-breathing king/emperor that the office has become. Wouldn’t that be nice?

For those who think he has Marxist leanings: do you buy at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's or any big-box store? If yes, then YOU are supporting Marxism because everything sold there is made in China. On top of than, Bush has played in the sandbox thanks to the largess of the Marxists in China.


This is the most pointless post I have ever read on SST.

The two candidates agreed on three fundamental issues that every reader of this blog should be appalled at:

1. The transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to Wall Street criminals should occur.

2. That the national security policy of the US requires perpetual war in the Middle East.

3. That Russia was the instigator of aggression in Georgia.

Everything else is just part of the circus to distract you, and you have taken the bait.

Shame on you.

Margaret Steinfels

As a mild-mannered friend opined at the end of Friday's debate (where we thought Obama had the edge), "well, if Obama doesn't win, it's racism." And as a guest at this morning's breakfast said, "if McCain wins, there are a lot of people who tolerate old cranky, white men!" Could it be the same crowd?

frank durkee

let me, as a former community organizer, support the observations about ACORN and other community focused groups. While there may be serious anger at the actions of an existing local, state or national administration, these ae people working with the very poorest, who are seeking to better the reality of our present system.
these rumours etc are beyond the pale of acceptable behavior on any terms.

William R. Cumming

It is very important that people decide for themselves the character of the candidates. It does appear that both candidates have well formed characters at this point in their lives and are unlikely to deviate from their past outstanding contributions to our country. The whole system of personnel security clearances in the national security arena is based on past experience and associations. Clearly both men deserve the highest trust and can hold positions of great responsibility and do. US Senators both. Both have clearances based on their Senate positions. Accordingly, it should flatly be stated that uncorroborated adverse information unless proved should be completely discounted. Thus, my answer to this post is simple, prove any allegations about either man and then some may listen as to whether relevant today and in November to the position of the Presidency. If race is still a litmus test in 2008, then there is no doubt in my mind that our country has truly failed in its glorious heritage. To those who question either candidates character I propose the Joesph Welch question in the McCarthy hearings to Senator McCarthy, specifically "Have you NO decency?"

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