Monday, February 4, 2008

Why I'm Voting For Obama

I make no bones about my support of Barack Obama for President. It's my blog, I dropped $8 a small fortune on registering the domain at, so I'm entitled to endorse whomever I want. But I guess I owe it to my readers to explain why I will pull that lever next Tuesday and why I won't do so for Hillary Clinton, for context, if nothing else.

Why I WILL Vote For Barack Obama.

Let's keep it all the way real: All Democrats more or less advocate the same stances on all major issues. Sure, there are slight nuances and minor differences in detail, but for real, for real, they're all more or less saying the exact same thing. Don't believe me? Peep this and tell me you can pick out a susbtantial enough difference between Obama and Clinton.

That said, since I won't be voting for any GOP candidates, I approach presidential politricks (not to be confused with local politricks, where I'm completely nonpartisan) as a contest of character more than anything else. Past results are no guarantee of future performance. Politricians will make every promise in the book while campaigning, but reality is, so many other factors (the economy; who controls the House and Senate) effect their ability to get things done in office. Seriously, Bush rode the coattails of evangelicals to two terms in office, but other than the Ted Haggard debacle, what do these folks really have to show for their support? Can you still get an abortion? Yes. Are same-sex marriages still allowed in some states? You betcha.

Promises, schmomises.

That said, I'm making my selection primarily based on the character of the politician, not necessarily their stances on issues, their track records in the Senate (nobody votes their conscience, these folks have to pay back the favors of those who helped them get in office, and many of their votes are "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" compromises with the oppposing party), or their relative levels of experience (7 years, 6 years, 3 years, what's really the difference?).

When Barack Obama burst on the scene at the Democratic National Convention a few years ago, there were immediate murmurs of this guy potentially running for President someday. Since I don't like having the MSM make such grand pronouncements without merit, I decided to do my own research. Obama had written an autobiography called Dreams of My Father many years ago while editor of the Harvard Law Review, long before he supposedly had any political ambitions. It took me months to get this book at my library (why pay for something twice? think about it.) since everyone suddenly wanted to know who this cat was, but I finally did. It was well written, but not an easy, fun, or entertaining read. Still, I soldiered through each and every one of its cough, cough, dry 400+ pages because I didn't want to have someone else form my opinion of this guy when he'd already done the footwork for me. Sorry, I just don't take what the MSM feeds me at face value. My Pops (RIP) always taught me to do my homework, to look deeper than what you're being given. Call this old fashioned or overly skeptical, but my conditioning makes it necessary.

From this book, I gleaned a greater understanding of Obama than any Washington Post or New York Times article could offer. While some parts of the book seemed a little embellished (how could one could recall such minute details of his preschool days?), it sold me. I saw the guy's dedication to his community, understood his somewhat non-traditional upbringing wasn't too far removed from my own, understood and related to his quest for self-identity, sympathized with his problems of trying to motivate others to better themselves. In short, I saw a bit of me.

I'm endorsing Obama because I feel his history of displaying character in the face of adversity makes him the most suitable (not to be confused with perfect) of the viable candidates to run our country.

Obama's first term as Illinois Senator hasn't been without it's problems. He's broken lockstep with the CBC when his voice was needed on critical issues a few times. He's been (correctly) accused of perhaps doing too much superstar grandstanding at the expense of his Day Job. He has maybe had his eyes too far down the road (Number One Spot) at the expense of today. But ambition and vision are hallmarks of any person going somewhere that others can't see. The CBC just needs to understand this, and so do his constituents in Illinois.

I was a little surprised when he decided to jump into the race earlier this year, mostly because I didn't think he had a chance vs Hillary Clinton. I'm not all the way on board with his Politricks of Hope™ approach to campaigning, but apparently enough of America is that he's deemed a serious candidate, which shows how much I know. I would like him to be far more aggressive in dealing with smears and attacks, because like it or not, some of that stuff does stick, and most people don't bother searching for clarity. Then again, his poll numbers seem to indicate that people are tired of that sort of campaigning, which again, shows just how little I know.

I got behind his campaign so much that I gave him his own tag here at (an honor only bestowed to Dr. King and Judge Joe Brown), and broke him off with the first ever campaign contribution (a whopping $5 $500) I've ever doled out in my 30 some years of life (don't I feel grown?). I'm also signed up to help with canvassing and other election day efforts in my area, just in case you were wondering.

As his campaign has advanced, and weathered some pretty serious mudslinging, Obama has only solidified my reasons for why I'm behind him [||]. He's shown the ability to unify all Americans (at least at the ballot box) in a way few politicians, let alone black ones, have been able to do. He has maintained a sense of calm and composure that I feel is indicative of how he'll manage this country if elected. He's shown enough cultural awareness in his 46 years that I have no reason to believe he'd get in office and make decisions detrimental to his own race. He has shown me enough to trust him with my vote, and to some minor degree, the immediate future of my family.

Many say Barry 4 Prez will go a long way towards healing the long history of racial tension in this country. It will inspire millions of black chill'rens to aspire to something greater. It will remove the final frontier of the glass ceiling that keeps a brotha down. I don't know about all that, but would I feel a slight bit of pride in seeing a black(ish) man in charge of the free world? Sure. Is that solely reason enough to vote for him? Hell No! Vote for the man because he's qualified and because you've done enough homework to make your own decision to support his candidacy. I've done so and concluded that he's up to the task.

And that's why Barack Obama has my vote.

Why I Will NOT Vote For Hillary Clinton.

A few years ago, as George W. Bush was taking office, I lamented what the next 4-8 years would be like for black America, especially on the heels of a commander in chief whom many considered to be "The First Black President". I drank the Bill Clinton Kool-Aid hook, line, and sinker, believing his eight years in office were the best thing evar. Heck, he was the first President, or person period, that I ever voted for. At least I thought so, until I returned from my Negro College HBCU one Winter Break many years later and saw the absentee ballot my Dad was supposed to drop in the mail in the glove compartment of his Buick. He had just forgotten to put it in the mail, and out of embarassment, stashed it away after the fact. Talk about voter suppression. Where's Rebb'n Al when you really need him?

I did actually pull the lever [||] for Slick Willy in 96' though, and when he left office in 2000, my Roth IRA was somewhat on the downswing, but good nonetheless. My stock portfolio (largely dot coms. the mistakes of youth) was somewhat on the downswing, but good nonetheless. My opinion of Clinton was somewhat on the downswing, but good nonetheless.

Then, one day I was forwarded a USA Today Op-Ed piece that pretty much blew my mind. I haven't been able to relocate this thing, although I've Googled the heck out of it for years now, but it was an article by respected columnist Julianne Malveaux (once a BET News correspondent and cable network talking head, now the head of Bennett College) that shattered all my youthful notions about The Black President. If you know the article I'm speaking of, please fwd it along.

Bill Clinton, perhaps more than any white man this side of Marshall Mathers, knew how to pander to blacks. He knew how to be comfortable around us, to talk our language, to kiss black babies without hesitation, and sing We Shall Overcome on cue. He played the sax. He projected a level of "cool" that very, very, very, few white guys (Robin Thicke my ass) can successfully pull off without looking contrived.

He looked good to Black America.

But he wasn't that good for Black America.

He did nothing about mandatory minumum sentences, which tossed more black men in jail than any other 8 year period in history. The Prison Industrial Complex exploded under the Clinton Adminstration.

He didn't do anything about Rwandan genocide.

He gave a half assed "apology" for slavery, yet did nothing to address it's ongoing effects.

He threw publicly threw two black women (Sista Soulja and Lani Guinier) waaaaay under the bus for political gain.

He removed millions from the welfare rolls in a time of economic prosperity (not necessarily a bad move) without the foresight of what might happen should that prosperity come to a screeching halt (which it did).

I don't personally give two craps about him cheating on his wife (he ain't my Daddy), but his subsequent lying under oath about the whole thing greased the skids for the Christian Conservative backlash that screwed us with eight years of Bush.

And for all the talk about how the economy was so great, he presided over years of corporate corruption and misconduct (not to mention an unregulated dot com bubble) that eventually caused the house of cards to collapse near the end of his final term.
So, what exactly did he do for Black America?
He gave Arsenio some good ratings with his saxophone minstrel show. This didn't help Arsenio though, he was toast a few years later.

He gave some highly qualified and greatly deserving black folks high profile government gigs. Whoop de damn doo! Give that man a cookie.

He pardonded Kemba Smith as a goodwill gesture on his way out of office. Never mind the fact that he could have just as easily pardonded Smith years earlier, or that he could have done something to address the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that got her in jail in the first place. But hey, it's all about appearances, right?

He moved his post-Presidential office to Harlem, futher cementing his "Black Prez" status with black America. Never mind that Harlem was his second choice after his desired destination (Manhattan) was nixed for it's exhorbitant ($800/yr) annual lease. Also, never mind that his move to Harlem was considered by many as the impetus of an explosive wave of early 2000's gentrification that has displaced thousands. Bill is right down the block from Sylvia's and The Apollo. What else matters?
I'm clearly running short of good things. Add more you know where if you feel so inclined.

So, out of the ashes of this wreck comes Slick Willy's longsuffering wife. She rides Bill's momentum and The Clinton Machine™ into a vacated NY Senate seat. Now, in 2008, she wants your vote, but what has she really done to deserve it?

She wants to run on her own merit, but her record as NY Senator isn't anything to brag about. Let's not forget, that despite how many times she blames it on fauly intelligence, she still authorized use of military action in Iraq.

But as I noted, I'm not talking about prior record or current stances, I'm basing my vote on character. Again, I don't care about this woman's husband cheating on her (she ain't my Mama). I care about the sort of campaign she runs and what it says about the kind of decisions she will make when in office.

I placed Hillary, Edwards, and Obama on a level playing field when all three declared, and have watched for character cues in the subsequent months. Hillary has displayed an approach to politricks that I both respect (because she wants to win so badly and wants you to know this) and abhor (because she wants to win too damn badly and will be anything and everything to do so) at the same time. Her mudslinging is sophomoric and shows little regard for anything but winning. To hell with decorum, sensibility, or truth. She will talk greasy and spin it as self-defense. She uses her husband's legacy to her advantage, yet wants to you convieniently disregard his mistakes when inconvenient. She will toss aside her Midwest accent and trade it in for a southern one when advantageous. She will pour calculated tears of slipping entitlement at the drop of a dime, and call it "vulnerability". Sympathetic white women will immediately come to the rescue. She will launch thinly veiled racist remarks via her proxies, yet decry opposition as reverse racism.

Peep just a few of her swear tactics of late, courtesy of

1) In addition to Hillary sophomorically attacking Obama (on campaign letterhead) for an essay he wrote in Kindergarten, Bill Clinton calling Obama a "kid".

(2) Hillary Clinton dismissing Martin Luther King Jr.

(3) Clinton Surrogate Francine Torge, comparing Obama to John F. Kennedy who "was assassinated", and doing it in front of Hillary Clinton, whose "expression did not change noticeably when Ms. Torge made the comment".

(4) Clinton friend and supporter Bill Shaheen (who is husband of New Hampshire Govenor Jeanne Shaheen) floated the notion of Obama being a drug dealer and pusher: (and this).

(5) Bob Kerry trying to smear Obama by repeatedly mentioning Obama's middle name.

(6) Two high-level Clinton volunteers were vilified in the press for attacking Barack Obama with an "Obama is a radical muslim terrorist" e-mail smear campaign that has been both disproven and discredited, and a third volunteer knew about the e-mail - she didn't forward it, but she didn't alert the campaign about the smear e-mail either.

Quite simply, she is running a campaign the old fashioned way: win at all costs. And that script usually results in a victory, but it doesn't mean it needs to this year.

It's politricks as usual, and that's why I'm so effin' tired of it.

That's why Hilary Clinton wouldn't get my vote if she were running against Satan*. If this chick wins the Democratic nomination, I'll be writing in myself on the Ballot come November 4th.

Don't laugh, I've done it before. 4 Prez.

Why The G.O.P. Does NOT Have My Vote.

We don't have enough bandwith on this server for me to start. So I won't.

Post Mortem/Epilogue/Conclusion and Whatnot

Like I said earlier, I'm pretty clear about whom I'm supporting, and the last thing I should be doing is trying to tell others whom and how to vote. But I'd be wrong if I used my 15 minutes here to not inform my readers of what I know and allow them to parse through that info to make their own decisions.

We now return to our regularly scheduled coonin' and clownin' blog, already in progress.

Question: Who are you voting for, and why?

[Editor's Note: I'll now proceed to completely undermine my own endorsement with this incredibly sappy, and cringe inducing C-List celebrity "video endorsement". Geez Louise this is awful. At least the Obama campaign didn't approve it. Well, on second thought, they kinda did.]

* Uhhhm, don't take that one too seriously.

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