Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why the War on Obama

By Robert Parry
February 26, 2008

While some cynics still view Barack Obama’s appeal for “change” as empty rhetoric, it’s starting to dawn on Washington insiders that his ability to raise vast sums of money from nearly one million mostly small donors could shake the grip that special-interest money has long held over the U.S. government.

This spreading realization that Obama’s political movement might represent a more revolutionary change than previously understood is sparking a deepening resistance among defenders of the status quo – and prompting harsher attacks on Obama.

Read on.


Eric Arthur Blair said...

There's lots of things that can be said here. One is that the openness of the internet (something the big communications companies would like to clamp down on) has breathed new life into grass-roots organizing, something that seemed all but dead, crushed underfoot by big money and special interests.

Another is that long, long ago in an America far, far away, the Democratic party tried to launch a program of grass-roots fundraising which painted the Republicans as the party of choice for big money donors; they called it "Skinny Cats For Democrats". However, back in the '70s, journalism meant something, and the media reported on large donations to both parties, and the Dems couldn't hold that image.

Those who intend to maintain their support for Obama will have to do so in the face of smear campaigns and dirty tricks unprecedented in history. Those who do hang in there will be ridiculed for their devotion - they'll just have to take a cue from the religious right and keep their faith. This is what the I Ching calls Hsiao Ch'u: The Taming Power of the Small.

Factchecker said...

According to Trudy Lieberman at the Columbia Journalism Review:

Last August The Boston Globe, in a piece by Scott Helman, took a hard look at Obama's contributions, noting that "behind Obama's campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth." That truth revealed that as a state legislator in Illinois, a U.S. senator, and as a presidential aspirant, Obama had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs. Helman quoted an Obama campaign spokeswoman saying that after he experienced firsthand the influence of Washington lobbyists, he was taking a different approach to fundraising than he had in the past, and that "his leadership position on this issue is an evolving process." If Obama's leadership on campaign financing is indeed evolving, more news outlets should be following the evolution.

Factchecker again said...

CJR Reports:

Contributions made by the various industry sectors tell the real story in a presidential race. And Opensecrets.org shows that Obama is picking up gobs of money put on the table by these special interests - including those involved in health care, which will surely have a lot riding on the outcome of the election and will expect to be heard after the election is over.

Consider the sector called lawyers and law firms. Clearly, lawyers and law firms lobby on behalf of their own interests - like fighting malpractice reform, which could again surface as a thorny issue for the new administration. Clinton and Obama have raised similar amounts from lawyers and law firms - $11.8 and $9.5 million. McCain and Huckabee have taken far less. The health sector has also given to Obama, Clinton, and McCain. In the pharmaceutical and health product industries, contributions to Clinton total $349,000 and $338,000 to Obama. Again, McCain trails in donations at about $98,000, an indication that the sector sees the real action on the Democratic side of the ballot. Health professionals, which include doctors, nurses, and dentists, have given Clinton some $2.3 million and Obama $1.7 million.

factchecker said...

Obama and his supporters cry foul every time there's a bit of factchecking reported on their activities.

Shedding light on dubious, or even previously unreported (even slightly unfavorable) FACTS to them is an attack.

They are so thin-skinned.

Anonymous said...

Jim says:

Obama just got an endorsement from his pal Louis. What a clever way of contributing without the restrictions of campaign finance laws by having the Black Muslim Nation contribute as individuals. Since you're such a mind-reader, Bob, can you guarantee us that this is NOT what accounts for a ton of his contributions? Why don't we find out or don't you think it matters as long as it's not Hillary?

Observer said...

Bob's guy, Obama, gets another endorsement!



Louis Farrakhan backs Obama for president at Nation of Islam convention in Chicago

Senator has criticized him, says support not sought

By Margaret Ramirez

Tribune reporter

February 25, 2008

Speaking to thousands of members of the Nation of Islam at their annual convention Sunday in Chicago, Minister Louis Farrakhan praised presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as the only hope for healing the nation's racial divisions.

Farrakhan, 74, the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam, said the war in Iraq, the nation's faltering economy and the increased number of natural disasters were signs of "a nation in peril." He said those problems provide the broader context for Obama's rise.

"We are witnessing the phenomenal rise of a man of color in a country that has persecuted us because of our color," Farrakhan told the crowd of nearly 20,000 gathered at McCormick Place.

"If you look at Barack Obama's [diverse] audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed from what they were," he said. "This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better."

Although Farrakhan's praise for Obama may generate increased support from the black community, the Obama campaign's response was cool.

"Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan's past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister's support," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Farrakhan's two-hour speech, titled "The Gods At War -- The Future is All About Y.O.U.th," closed the Nation of Islam's annual Saviours' Day Convention, which commemorates the birth of the movement's founder, Wallace D. Fard Muhammad.

In his opening remarks, Farrakhan commented on his unexpected return to the public stage. Last February, the controversial leader said his Saviours' Day speech in Detroit would likely be his last public address.

Speculation also arose about a potential successor to Farrakhan after he handed leadership of the Nation of Islam over to an executive board and underwent surgery for complications due to his treatment for prostate cancer.

On Sunday, Farrakhan said he was thankful that God had granted him another year. He said he had spent most of the last year working internally within the Nation of Islam to put the movement on "the best road possible" to the future.

"I'm still here. I'm alive. My mind is very sharp," he said.

In the past, Farrakhan has sparked outrage for his controversial comments, which include anti-Semitic statements. But in recent years, most significantly after his battle with prostate cancer in the 1990s, he has tried to strike a more conciliatory tone. His popularity among young black Americans grew significantly after the 1995 Million Man March.

Farrakhan said he refused to be a stumbling block to Obama's success.

"Why do you hate him so that you want to make me a stumbling block?" Farrakhan asked. "I want to see that brother successful and I don't want them to use me or that Nation of Islam."

After Farrakhan's speech, some Nation of Islam members such as Jabari Muhammad, said Farrakhan's comments had changed their opinions of Obama.

Muhammad, who traveled from New Orleans for the convention, said he had become disenchanted with politics, until he heard Farrakhan's message.

"I was never political because I felt like nothing changes," he said. "But, after all that Minister Farrakhan said, I'm going to look at Obama a little closer and see what he's about."



factchecker said...

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed NOI as a hate group.

Morris Dees, co-founder of SPLC, is a respected civil rights lawyer and activist.

Dallas112263 said...

Hey Robert,

Where did you get this audience? Most of these guys sound like pros, not lurkers or even Freepers...

I was board monitor for the 2000 Gore campaign, a volunteer, it was my job to monitor several newspaper Internet sites and respond to unfair comments and attacks... Later we did the same thing for Howard, we had his back and were the rapid response team.

So this sort of thing is not new...

As for Barack, I feel about him the way I do the 49ers... I love the 49ers, the best days of football had Joe Montana up there makin' us proud... But every time I get too close they start to lose... I watch a game, much less attend one, and they lose...

Possibly due to my progressive outlook, the same thing happens to my choices for President, they lose or worse...

So for the moment I'm giving to the DNC, the DFA and sending my regular monthly to the local Demos... Don't want to get too close...

Part of me is glad that Al didn't make a run, at least he has a better chance of seeing 70... For the underlying power structure of this nation has amply demonstrated its capacity to rid itself of threats like Abraham, Martin and John... And Bobby and Malcolm...

Obama's campaign, as Al Gore's would have been, is a movement not a mere candidacy and thus it is far more dangerous to the status quo than is Ms. Clinton's potential Presidency.

She is a remarkable person, even though I did not vote for her I take no pleasure in watching her go down, none. But for her sex and our societal flaws in that regard, this nation might have had a First Gentleman 16 years ago, and I bet Bill would've had a heap more fun...

I have never seen the crystal ball this cloudy, and in confusion there is peril, as well as opportunity.


rikyrah said...

Don't know how I found this post, but glad that I did. You gave me a lot to think about. I didn't think on the level of how much Obama's money raising capability is a threat. I will think more on it. I understand the depth of the attacks now.

Anonymous said...

If Hillary gets the Democratic nomination without having more popular votes nor more pledged delegates... we will witness the birth of a legitimate third party with tons of grass root support that will finish the job of putting Barack Obama in the White House. Government by the people for the people is Coming BACK. We will not be denied. Democratic Party, lead, follow, or get out of the way.

R. A. Seaborn said...

Wake up America, money and greed have shaped not only our politics but big business and that means the media too. It is amazing what doesn't get reported. We get told stupid stuff about Britney F***ing Spears and nothing about what is happening in the two wars we are fumbling around in. We have been BUSHWHACKED.. a book by Molly Irvins. God rest her soul. Miss you Molly.