The Unpolitician

But that’s what I like about Barack Obama. He’s so authentic. He is not your typical politician, glad-handing and kissing babies and promising everybody everything. To the extent that he does some of that, it’s because David Axelrod makes him do it, because that is how you get elected in America.

Ed about the first debate.
Ed

By Ed McManus

I watched the debate last night. No, not the third debate. The first one. And I think President Obama won it. And no, I haven’t lost my mind. Let me explain:  On the evening of Oct. 3, I had a speaking engagement. I got home in time to hear all the TV commentary about how bad Obama was and how good Gov. Romney was, and of course we all have heard that ever since. So last night I decided to finally sit down and watch the debate–on YouTube.

Too honest
Too smart for a politician.

It is true that Romney was much more dynamic. He was cheerful, and he acted like he was excited to be there and excited about maybe becoming President. Obama looked tired–who wouldn’t be, leading the Free World and all?–and he came across as the university professor that he is. But that’s what I like about Barack Obama. He’s so authentic. He is not your typical politician, glad-handing and kissing babies and promising everybody everything. To the extent that he does some of that, it’s because David Axelrod makes him do it, because that is how you get elected in America.

But the real Obama came through in that debate–an honest man, not a phony.

I consistently defended the President when all my liberal friends were trashing him for not standing tough against the Republicans in Congress. Obama stubbornly clung to the notion of bipartisanship when it obviously was a lost cause, but I firmly believe he did it because it is the right thing to do, regardless of the political consequences. (Also, frankly, as the first black President, he knew he would be held to a higher than usual standard.)

Many people believe it is foolish for politicians to not be political, and I guess they are right in that the only realistic way to win an election is to compromise some of your principles. But isn’t that a sad commentary on America?

At least two other people in the nation think Obama won the first debate. My friend Sherry said, “If it were judged on honesty, knowledge of the debate subjects, and nuanced ways of dealing with the topics, he really won, but as many have said, it’s form over substance.” My friend Penny said Obama was trying to be polite. “He didn’t feel he could keep telling Romney, ‘You’re lying.’ Obama was trying to follow the rules of a debate.”

Obama’s associates say he hates doing things that he considers transparently political. Fortunately for us, he listened to his advisers and performed much, much better in the second and third debates. But the fact is that it is still a very close contest, primarily because of the public’s reaction to the first debate.

The Obama campaign needs money for this final push, and I’m proud to say I am playing a part in raising it. I’m no longer ringing doorbells; now I have become a small-time “bundler.” If you will go to the following link . . .

https://donate.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/2012/EdMcManus

. . . you will find my own personal “Donate” page with a picture of my smiling face! This is my answer to the big spenders who are trying to dominate American politics. The Obama campaign has recruited little guys like me to solicit small donations.

Please consider donating something today. All you have to do is enter your name and credit card and hit “Donate Now.” As you can see, the website is “donate.barackobama.com” so the money goes directly to them (not to me!). As of this writing I have raised $1,795, including three donations of $10 each and one for $500. I set a goal of $1,000 and eventually increased it to $2,000, and hopefully I can continue increasing it. If you have already given, consider giving again.

Many of us may wish that our candidate was a bit more aggressive and political. Me, I like the real Barack Obama. But I guess I have to admit that I enjoyed the second and third debates more than the first!

(Ed McManus is a Wilmette, Il, attorney and a former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter. Comments welcome: mcmanus06@comcast.net.)

The Makers Takers and Fakers

I am continually amazed at the hatred expressed towards President Obama by so many Americans. Before you get on my case, yes, I have frequently expressed my disappointment and frustration with this President, but frustration and disappointment just is not hate.

I am continually amazed at the hatred expressed towards President Obama by so many Americans.  Before you get on my case, yes, I have frequently expressed my disappointment and frustration with this President, but frustration and disappointment just is not hate.

You Damn Taker

Every week my Inbox contains nasty jokes, vulgar cartoons and ridiculous rumors claiming Obama is a traitor, a liar, or the Anti-Christ.  This is hate. What spurs this vitriol?

The cast of clowns masquerading as qualified politicians seeking the Republican Nomination agree on almost nothing, but they universally appear disrespectful when they mouth the word, “Obama.”  Seldom do they have the class to even refer to our elected leader as “President Obama.” And the crowds cheer the derision.

Why do they hate this man? What the hell has he done or threatened to do to them?  Please note:  The US Chamber of Commerce,  Koch Industries , Health Insurance CEO’s, the Walton Family, billionaire hedge fund manipulators, and some CEO’s may have some reason to hate Barack. He is a threat to their unbridled power and greed.  But why does the real Joe the Plumber hate the man?

Some of my closest friends answer, with one word,” race.” While I concur that the melanin content of Barack’s skin may serve to inflame and exacerbate the malevolence of Obama haters, it is not the whole truth. It is just another spice to add to the hate soup.

I believe the answer lies in two words, “makers” and” takers.”  And more importantly how fakers  used these concepts to spread fear to the naïve of this nation.   Google that couplet and see what pops up.  I’ll make it easier for you.  The following popped up from the conservative American Spectator:

Occupy Piracy
The Teixeira/Halpin/Obama/Democrat strategy of organizing the takers against the makers is reflected in the Occupy Wall Street movement as well. That movement reflects a pirate mentality, as they feel perfectly free to help themselves to the earnings, savings, and property produced by others. Wake up America, this is what Americanized Marxist revolutionaries look like. But their creepy French Revolution play acting with its implied threat of runaway violence is not in the American tradition, and consequently won’t work with the American people. But it is in the tradition of Barack Obama, whose previous career was precisely as a Marxist street agitator. www.spectator.org/archives/2011/12/07/organizing-the-takers-against

Americans living a relatively good life are scared; they are insecure; they are terrified. They have been taught that they have a good life because they deserved it, they are makers.   But, lying out there is Obama and his henchmen, conspiring to grab that hard earned wealth, that right to own a weapon of choice, that right to hate, even the right to pray. Worse, Obama plans to redistribute their wealth to the dirty scum, the TAKERS.

The United States Chamber of Commerce and its subsidiary, the Republican Party aren’t worried about redistributing the wealth of the little guy.  They are only worried about the distribution of THEIR WEALTH.  And so these fakers spread the fable that there are two kinds of people in this world:  the makers and the takers.  If you have a home, a job, an education, a few bucks in the bank you are one of the people, the real people, a good American. Americans are makers..

Lurking out there are the takers: the evil ones on welfare, gangbangers, drug pushers, disgusting beggars, people living under viaducts, the unemployed riff-raff.  Those lazy people, some named Juan and Jose’,  who are washing dishes, picking fruit and mowing Romney’s lawn are the ones to be afraid of.   These people want your stuff.  While you are terrified, add to that list of low life, those lazy good-for-nothing government employees. They contribute zilch, but make life miserable, make us pay taxes, and regulate stuff. (I kind of think that the US Chamber is worried about their tax breaks and  regulation of their right to treat workers, customers, and the environment any way they damn well please)  And to top it off, those government workers still get ridiculous perks like health insurance and pensions.

The makers our GOP leaders never talk about are those who make billions.  Never mentioned is how these  billion dollar makers make hidden contributions to political campaigns in order to make politicians behave in ways to make them even richer. Never discussed are the corporate makers who, left to their own devices will make this world a cesspool, will make fair wages and good benefits things of the past. Heaven help people who stand in the way of the real makers, they are powerful and they are relentless.. Perhaps Obama is starting to make their lives a bit miserable.

Ready for the Onslaught

I have been unfairly, shamelessly ruthlessly attacked, criticized and slandered by my Obamapologist friends. I have been mislabeled as “disloyal”, “hypercritical” and “treasonous.” As a result of pointing out President Obama’s blatant weaknesses, I have been accused of placing our nation at risk. Apparently telling it like it is increases the odds of Grand Obstructionist Party regaining power in 2012.

Okay, it’s time to respond.  I have been unfairly, shamelessly ruthlessly attacked, criticized and slandered by my Obamapologist friends. I have been mislabeled as “disloyal”, “hypercritical” and “treasonous.” As a result of pointing out President Obama’s blatant weaknesses, I have been accused of placing our nation at risk.   Apparently telling it like it is increases the odds of Grand Obstructionist Party regaining power in 2012.  However, truth be told, being thick-skinned and enamored with my own brilliance and insight, I have easily weathered this weak and pitiful onslaught.

Regeneration

To those of you who have had the audacity to disagree with me, let it be known that I am ready for the next onslaught. President Obama’s spine is miraculously regenerating, and he appears to be deviating from his mission-impossible mission to seek rational cooperation from those whose penultimate desire, regardless of consequence to our economy and our people’s welfare, is to insure his nonelection in 2012.  I am fully prepped to face the “I told you so.” I am wired to hear how clever Barak is; he just waited for right moment to stand up to the party for the “haves.” I gleefully await the accolades of political brilliance soon to be accorded our President.  I can hardly wait to witness the bestowal of kudos for his bravery and courage.

Now, I could refute all this clamor by simply postulating that Obama’s miraculous transformation and hopefully, his not-too-late response is due to the Progressive base (me) demanding  he stand up to the bastards, or his transformation is the result of abysmal polling numbers indicating that he might become  the thirteenth one-term President in our history.  However, I will not take this opportunity to say, “It’s about time!” Instead, I state the following:

I wish my President success in standing up to the people who put my country in jeopardy. Your stand against ignorance and selfishness makes me feel good and proud that I worked and voted for you.

HIT Reply

When I see you act like the progressive and courageous President you promised to be, when I see you repeal those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when I see you go after those Wall Street crooks, when I see you keep your word about off shore oil drilling and you enforce tough environmental standards, then, and only then, will I send in the bucks and personally work to help in your campaign. (If you are in the third category… the list of wants may be a lot longer)

President Obama had an incredibly efficient and productive email fund-raising campaign for his 2008 election. As a contributor and supporter of Barak Obama in that election, I am now on the campaign’s 2012 email lists. I receive almost daily requests for dollars, requests to host or attend campaign events in my neighborhood. I imagine a sizeable proportion of my readership gets similar emails. I suggest that if you get an email solicitation, you do one of the following:

If you believe President Obama is doing a grand job, hit “Reply” and enter “I am delighted to support your campaign. You are the President I hoped for. You are the pragmatist and conciliator that you promised to be. I know you haven’t accomplished all you and I would have liked, but those Republicans are real obstructionists, and I know you are a good person and working hard.

 

 If you believe President Obama is partially doing what you expected, Hit “reply” and say something like, “Mr. Obama,” I am sending in 50% (or whatever) of my normal pledge as I feel you are doing 50% of the job I expected you to do. You have raised our international image, tried to reach across the aisle, kept the auto industry in business, but continue an unending war in Afghanistan, fail to prosecute torturers and continue to maintain Guantanamo, and won’t strongly support same-sex marriage. I’ll contribute the balance when I see some more gumption and leadership on your part.

If you believe the man you supported in 2007 has truly let you down, hit “Reply ” and type something like, “President Obama I wish I could support you in your campaign for President, but until you have the courage to fulfill the promises you made that encouraged me to support your campaign for your first term, I cannot in good conscience send you any funds, host any events, or work for your campaign. When I see you act like the progressive and courageous President you promised to be, when I see you repeal those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, when I see you go after those Wall Street crooks, when I see you keep your word about off shore oil drilling and you enforce tough environmental standards,  then, and only then, will I send in the bucks and personally work to help in your campaign. (If you are in the third category… the list of wants may be a lot longer)

As for me, I will let my readers guess what I type, when I hit, “Reply.”

The President

We are all well aware of the President’s shortcomings. We are disappointed that he has not stood up much more forcefully to the Republicans (although my personal view is that this may prove to be a shrewd political strategy). But we need to remind ourselves of the positives as well as the negatives.

This is a list of achievements of President Obama that a friend emailed to me last December.  (And of course there have been more in the past several months.)  I have decided to share it with Democracy in Action in the interest of having a balanced blog.

We are all well aware of the President’s shortcomings.  We are disappointed that he has not stood up much more forcefully to the Republicans (although my personal view is that this may prove to be a shrewd political strategy).  But we need to remind ourselves of the positives as well as the negatives. Continue reading “The President”

Benedict Arnold Responds

I might even be responsible for causing our country to elect a Rick Perry, or a Michelle Bachmann, people who don’t believe evolution occured (in their case, this actually may be true) . Rick and Michelle proudly reject climate change as an intellectual anti-business hoax. Wouldn’t if be fun to set them adrift on a shrinking ice flow?

I have had it!  My liberal friends accuse me of  being a turncoat.  I am passionately warned that if I continue to criticize this President, I could  put his re-election in jeopardy. Hell, I  might even be responsible for causing our country to elect  a Rick Perry, or a Michelle Bachmann, people  who don’t believe evolution occured  (in their case, this actually may be true) .  Rick and Michelle proudly reject climate change as an intellectual anti-business hoax.   Wouldn’t if be fun  to set them  adrift on a shrinking ice flow? Continue reading “Benedict Arnold Responds”

Fool me once

It is almost inconceivable that I would suggest President Obama look at archival footage of Geedubya for sagacious advice, but Mr. President, I suggest you visit the following site. This is no longer something to laugh at.

Fool Me Once

It is almost inconceivable that I would suggest President Obama look at archival footage of Geedubya for sagacious advice, but Mr. President,  I suggest you  visit the following site. This is no longer something to laugh  at:

:http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/bushvideos/youtube/bushfoolme.htm

 

A Realist for Obama

For this reason, I give Obama a lot of slack. He needs the independents to vote for him next year, and looking at it politically, he needs to act less liberal than he would be inclined to, and he needs to compromise more than he would rather, or he could lose many independents.

I am writing this because one of my best friends has been haranguing me for many months about what a bad president Barack Obama is, and how sorry he is for working so hard to elect him. I have more or less patiently listened to these rants, BUT I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! And since I know there are many other liberal/progressive Democrats who feel the way he does, this is addressed to all of you.

The theme is always the same: We were so inspired by Obama. He promised us change. We were so excited. But now, time after time, he has let us down. Yes, he has done a few good things, but two and half years after he took office, look how much he has utterly failed to do. Even worse, he is bending over backwards to compromise with those damn Republicans. This is not what I trudged through Wisconsin for him to do. This is not what I opened my pocketbook for him to do. You won’t see me ringing any doorbells or donating any money to this guy in 2012.

And why don’t you add: It will be so great to see Mitt Romney (or whomever) running the country for the next four years?

I apologize if it sounds condescending, but did you really believe all that campaign rhetoric??? Haven’t you been around long enough to be aware of the difference between politicking and governing?

Yes, we were all impressed by the things Obama said in 2008. It would have been nice to elect the first woman president, but Obama clearly matched our values much better than Hillary. So we all supported Barack, and we were so proud to have played a part in electing not only the first black president but someone who thought like us in so many ways.

Then he took office and he started doing some really good things. I have a list that a friend gave me of all those good things, but you know what they are and I’m not going to bother to clutter this piece with the list. I know that you have a list of all the bad things–of all the promises unkept and all the allegedly unnecessary compromises. And it may be as long as my list. Do I wish, in a perfect world, that he had kept all those promises in his first term in office? Yes. Do I wish somehow he had felt comfortable in standing up to the Republicans more and refusing to compromise? Sure. Has he made mistakes? Of course.

But we live in an imperfect world.

Let me make it clear that I applaud you for criticizing President Obama, for reminding him of his promises, for urging him to try his best to stand tall. I have done the same thing in letters to the White House urging the President to take the stands I believe in, and I hope he gets a whole lot of letters from people like us, and maybe it will encourage him to do some of those things. But in those same letters I have expressed my support and confidence in him, and my willingness to work hard to re-elect him.

The thing that most troubles me about the tenor of your public criticism of the President is how it can seriously harm his re-election chances. If people like you announce publicly your bitterness and your determination to sit on your hands in 2012, we will have a President Romney or worse.

I want to clarify that it is every citizen’s private right to decide who to vote for and who to work for and support. If you don’t feel in your heart that you can do in 2012 what you did in 2008, I can respect that. And if you want to express to the President your profound disappointment in his performance so far, that is certainly your right. What disturbs me is that so many of you are announcing publicly that you will sit it out–thereby encouraging others who may look up to you for advice and guidance to do the same.

So far I have not brought up the race issue, but I think it is central to the situation. The reality is that racism is alive and well in America. Obama is the most liberal president in a very long time, and even if he were white, the Right would be mighty upset with him. But the fact that he is both liberal and black has enabled the Right to attract every bigot in the country, and we saw the results in the congressional elections of 2010.

For this reason, I give Obama a lot of slack. He needs the independents to vote for him next year, and looking at it politically, he needs to act less liberal than he would be inclined to, and he needs to compromise more than he would rather, or he could lose many independents.

I have been involved in Democratic politics for 51 years, and although I was initially an idealist, I soon came to realize that the bottom line in politics is to get yourself re-elected. Obama could have been real liberal and he could have refused to compromise (although even that would have been very difficult because he had to rely on the not very reliable Democrats in Congress), but he would have been a one-term president.

In summary, the idealist in me agrees with you folks, but the realist in me wins out. I am proud to have Barack Obama in the White House. And I look for him to be terrific in his second term.