Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama Makes the Right Call

After an article in the Telegraph reported that Bill Clinton said Obama had to come to him to ask for support in the general election (as well as a less euphemistic way of putting it) things didn't look promising for a Bill Clinton-Barack Obama rapprochement.

However, as usual, Barack Obama has the right instincts and political know-how. He made a call to Bill today after landing in Missouri for a campaign stop. During the 20-minute conversation, which both sides reported was cordial, Obama asked Clinton to campaign both with him and on his own. A spokesman for Clinton confirmed that Clinton renewed his offer to do whatever he could to make sure Obama wins the election.

This was an important step in unifying the Democrats and a wise move on Obama's part. After this bitter primary battle, some Obama supporters have felt that he can do without Bill Clinton's support - "who needs him anyway?" - but Obama knows better. He knows he needs Bill Clinton.

From what I've seen so far, Obama has learned from the mistakes that were made in the past by previous Democratic contenders and seems determined not to repeat them. To this day many people wonder whether Al Gore would have won the election in 2000 (decisively enough so the Supreme Court decision would have been unnecessary) if he had had Bill Clinton campaign for him. But he spurned his help and this may have contributed to his loss. Obama won't make that same mistake.

Another thing he has learned - probably from Kerry's campaign - is not to allow rumors or smears to stick. Today he made sure to refute the rumors that he is not patriotic, at an event in Independence, Missouri.

"...Mr. Obama traveled Monday to Independence, Mo., to proclaim his patriotism in an appearance linked to the Fourth of July holiday. He defended Americans’ right to differ with the majority, in a speech that traced a history of dissent going back to Jefferson. And he tried yet again to beat back persistent rumors, kept alive by conservative blogs and the rumor mill, that he is less than a true patriot.

'The question of who is or is not a patriot all too often poisons our political debates, in ways that divide us rather than bring us together,' Mr. Obama said. “We can no longer afford these kinds of divisions.'"

I think Barack Obama knows how to win this election. I just hope he will stick to his principles while he does it, and afterward.

Given some of his recent positions, such as his response to the issue of the death penalty for child rapists, there is reason for concern.

However, his tough stance on the death penalty for child rapists may just be another lesson he learned from another Democratic presidential campaign that failed. Remember when Michael Dukakis was asked in a debate how he would stand on the death penalty if someone raped and murdered his wife Kitty? Obama is no fool; he learned his lessons well.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I missed the two positions you mention (FISA, death penalty). There is so much to keep track of. I guess I'll have to look those up.

But even if I disagree with him on some things, he has a long way to go to be as two-faced and flip-floppy as McCain. (Or should we call him McBush?)

P.S. Thanks for taking my gun rant so well. I worried about it later.

Mauigirl said...

Hi Ruth, you are quick! I was still editing it! ;-)

Yes, he supported the FISA bill, because he said it did at least provide more oversight, and did say that after he's elected he would make sure to review how it was working, etc., and change it if it was being abused.

And of course he would be 100% better than McCain in every way.

No problem at all about the guns - I am totally in agreement.

two crows said...

every time Obama faces a smear head-on and doesn't give it time to take hold, I'm reminded of Kerry's reluctance to do that during the swift-boat campaign and how dearly that decision cost him.

I'm glad Obama is learning from his predecessors -- unlike BushCo who can't even learn from THEIR OWN mistakes.

Mauigirl said...

Two Crows, you are so right. He really seems to know the right responses to these things. It's ironic that one of the criticisms some have made of him is that he is "naive." Hardly!!!

James Higham said...

He's on the way to the Presidency.

Fran said...

I just worry that Obama ends up doing the so-called "right" things so that the McCain campaign can't derail him and loses his soul in the process.

I am not always sure that his responses are appropriate, but truly that has more to do with our f**ked up culture and society than just him.

Believe me, I am voting for him, but I worry about what this campaign will do to him.

Mauigirl said...

Lord James, I truly hope so! Let's hope McCain can't get his act together well enough by November to be a strong contender.

Fran, that is my worry exactly. But every time a Democrat contender tries to do the right thing (and not the political thing) they get screwed by the GOP. And even if McCain doesn't do it himself (since I think he actually may want to run a decent campaign), nothing is stopping the 527s from getting into the act and doing the dirty work. Obama isn't taking chances on this. And I guess we have to realize, he has to win first before he can make changes. But it is still a concern and I know he will be watched closely by all of us as he goes along.

Randal Graves said...

I'm sort of in the same boat as fran. Obama could do and/or say nothing the rest of the way, and he'll still get my vote, but all this crap proves that America is royally screwed up.

Sure, by running for president, you're basically saying you're nuts, but all this garbage is ridiculous.

"Death penalty? Hell no. Death penalty while the guy pulling the lever is draped in a flag!"

America is dumb.

Larry said...

Now they will be attacking Obama for defending himself.

D.K. Raed said...

Boy oh Boy do I remember that Dukakis moment -- it was the sudden sinking feeling that he just tossed out his (and our) chance to oust GHWBush.

Obama may not always respond exactly as I would wish, but I am glad he is responding quickly. When they start coming fast & furious (as they soon will), I even support a little preemptive attacking.

On another topic, stop by and pick up your Arte y Pico award. You don't really have to do anything with it unless you want to!

Travelingman Rick said...

Hey Mauigirl,

Thanks for the great blog you have here. It is nice to read some pretty well reasoned thoughts you have. Visit my blog sometime. We are in the general and typicaly the left moves to the center and the right stays to the right, historically the only two dems who have been elected in the last 30 years talked about their faith a great deal and that would be Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. In the end Obama will do the right thing when he is president, but no one who gets elected president will ever be really to the left. I accept this, sigh....


Mauigirl said...

Randal, I think you summed it up: Basically, a large part of America IS dumb, and unfortunately that is why we get the presidential election issues that we get.

Larry, sometimes ya just can't win. If Obama hadn't said what he said, say, about the death penalty, the GOPers would be showing an ad saying "Obama supports child rapists' being kept alive at taxpayers' expense." Ditto on FISA: "Obama said NO on the FISA bill; he can't be trusted to defend you from the Terrorists." But when he does something politically necessary his supporters rise up in horror. It is a very thin line. I have my concerns but am waiting to see how it goes!

D.K., between that and the tank ad, Dukakis was just too good a target for the GOP. And remember Willie Horton?

Thanks so much for the award! I'll be happy to pass it on!

Travelingman, welcome! I'll be sure to come visit your blog as well! And yes, unfortunately you are right; if we had a candidate who truly was to the left, unfortunately, they would be demonized by the right and not be elected. I'm just hoping Obama will be able to walk the line of getting elected but not selling out.

Travelingman Rick said...


Thanks for droping by my blog. I look forward to stoping by again here in the future. Thanks for the comments too, sometimes I feel like no one reads my ranting and raving so good to see the comments.


Tom Harper said...

Like everyone here is saying, Obama needs to respond quickly and firmly to false accusations and personal attacks (unlike Kerry).

Also unlike Kerry and Gore, he needs to minimize his flipflops (endorsing and then disavowing Jeremiah Wright, changing his mind about public financing of his campaign). Gore did more flipflopping in 2000 than any ten candidates ever did, and I think that's what sunk him, along with his wooden personality.

Obama has a much better delivery than Kerry, Gore or Dukakis. If he can stick to his guns and counter all the upcoming Swiftboat attacks, I think he'll be our next president. Knock wood.