Posted tagged ‘Barack Obama’

My First Day In A Blue State

November 5, 2008

My brother-in-law, Paul was the first to call me this morning to give me the news that Indiana had gone for Obama. We went to bed after O’s bomb acceptance speech (cried like a baby) not knowing for sure. After I said goodbye to Paul I popped out of bed, put on the same Obama t-shirt I wore yesterday (I know, but I don’t care!) and marched myself right outside.

Now I’m having the most bizarre impulses. In the last hour I’ve had a strong urge to buy a bunch of iTunes, drink a triple Americano, and hug complete strangers. So far I’ve only given into the second one, which, given the randomness of this post, won’t likely come as a surprise to you.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about what’s next. Last night after insulting large folks by using that tired “the fat lady sang” line, Tavis Smiley threw out a phrase that struck me as interesting: engagement dividends. He wondered how Obama would spend the surplus of energy an engaged electorate brings to the table.

It’s a really great question, but maybe not one that Obama has to answer by himself. Those engagement dividends belong to the common good. Though I fully expect him to provide some ways for average citizens to take part in his administration, I see no need to limit my involvement that way.

As for me, I’m watching my part of town very closely. Right now, it is still a swirling cloud of friendly energy working to pull itself into ball of successful hotness. There are eleventy million ways for anyone who lives on the East Side of Indianapolis to take part. And if there is one thing working on this campaign taught me, once you are involved at all, you will care in more ways than you ever thought possible. This is doubly true if you are working in the area of your gifts.

So, think about it. Do you get a sense that there are engagement dividends in your neck of the woods? Is there a way to grow them? Because if there was ever a time to turn the common good into uncommon good, it is now.

(Update: I hugged a complete stranger at The Goose Market this afternoon!)

Squash the Funny Business at the Polls!

November 3, 2008

The following is a video put out by the Obama campaign on how to avoid voter intimidation shenanigans. The video shows examples of the kind of wacky stuff that has been happening already, including an attempt to disenfranchise Joe the Plumber because of a clerical error on his registration. Democrats ended up protecting his vote for McCain.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, and you live in Indiana here’s my main message to you. Do NOT get out of the voting line no matter what anyone tells you, asks you or accuses you of. As long as you get in line BEFORE 6:00 p.m., just stay in there until you either vote or have had a chance to call this phone number:


Tomorrow I will spend my day hanging out at designated polls watching for signs of voter intimidation as I cross every finger and toe I have.

Absentee Ballot Commitment: In Memory of Jerry

October 30, 2008

I sent this to Ben Smith over at Politico. He’s been asking for interesting voter stories. Then I thought I should share it with GrowingSense readers, too.

Hi Ben,

Wanted to share a powerful absentee voter story from Franklin, Indiana. A friend of mine from church, a beloved retired Methodist minister named Jerry Hyde died two weeks ago after a long bout with cancer. Two days before Jerry died he called the woman who would speak at his funeral to leave some final instructions and then added (on her voice mail): “don’t try to call me back because I’ll be on the phone all afternoon for Barack Obama.” Since he was homebound and recognized that he didn’t have long to live, he made sure he voted early.

Palin Wardrobe: $150,000, Obama in Ten Year Old Pants: Priceless

October 23, 2008

The fact that Palin can’t accurately say what a vice-president does is slightly (but actually only slightly) more important than the fact that her campaign has spent $150,000.00 of Republican donors’ money on her clothes (McCain/Palin, they’re just like us).

Still, fashion is fun. And Palin’s Niemans and Saks splurges make for a very nice study in contrast with Barack and Michelle Obama. The senator manages to look super fine in 10 year old pants and Michelle is setting a fine example in our tough economy by rocking $30.00 sun dresses from the Gap. I’m sure not all of their clothes are OTR, nor should they be, but at least they are modeling how to get through tough times with style.

Months before any of this price tag whoohaa or even our current economic mess, Access Hollywood interviewed all of the Obamas about their family’s fashion budget. The video is funny. You almost expect Malia to refer to her dad as “that one” when she talks about his scuffed up belt. This family is precious, and these kids are being raised right!

I Guess This and Joe the Plumber is All He’s Got

October 17, 2008

Sorry, for the two post Friday, but I just read about McCain campaign robocalls on Huffington Post . Since McLyin is once again trying to imply a link between Obama and William Ayers, I thought I should prepare people for the robocalls and put the truth out there, especially for my friend Flo who was asking about Ayers just today.

The McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee launched a massive robocall campaign on Thursday designed to alarm voters about Barack Obama’s past association with former radical Bill Ayers. The committee may be violating state law in the process.

The call begins: “Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC,” before telling recipients that they “need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.”

More remarkable than the message (coming after a presidential debate in which John McCain said he didn’t care about a “washed up terrorist”) is the reach of the campaign itself. The Huffington Post received dozens of emails from voters who had either received the call or gotten a voice mail with a recording. Reports came from Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, West Virginia, Maine and even Georgia.

If you are curious, you can click the link above and hear the audio of the robocall.

I HATE robocalls from anyone. If you want to talk to me, be a person. But here’s what I have to say about Ayers.

Obama is not his pal! If you don’t believe me, take it from–

The Chicago-Sun Times:

Obama’s campaign really was launched when he got the backing of then state Sen. Alice Palmer (D-Chicago), who wanted him to replace her as she was planning a run for Congress. Palmer’s backing gave him entrée into local influential political circles…Obama’s formal kick-off to announce his run for state senate was at the Hyde Park Ramada Inn on Sept. 19, 1995. Obama was introduced by Palmer in a room filled with supporters at the Ramada, fronting Lake Michigan on South Lake Shore Drive, a stroll from the Museum of Science and Industry.


McCain says in an Internet ad that the two “ran a radical ‘education’ foundation” in Chicago. But the supposedly “radical” group was supported by a Republican governor and included on its board prominent local civic leaders, including one former Nixon administration official who has given $1,500 to McCain’s campaign this year. Education Week says the group’s work “reflected mainstream thinking” among school reformers. The group was the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, started by a $49 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation, which was established by the publisher Walter Annenberg, a prominent Republican whose widow, Leonore, is a contributor to the McCain campaign.

Or the Associated Press:

Her [Palin] reference to Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were “pals” or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.

The political event referred to in the AP article is also referred to in the Sun-Times article above. Standard procedure for newbie Illlinois politicians is to run a gauntlet of coffees around the University of Illinois campus. One of which was at Ayers.

One of the event hosts doesn’t even remember the coffee being for Obama, but for Obama’s predecessor in the Illinois senate who wanted Obama to be her replacement:

Sam Ackerman told me Tuesday when we exchanged e-mails that “as I recall, the event at Bill Ayers’ house (prior to ours) was a fund-raiser for Alice’s congressional campaign at which she also introduced Barack as the successor she would like to see elected.”

If Ackerman’s recollection is correct–that the event at Ayers home was really for Palmer and Obama just piggy backed on it–then any argument that the Obama’s political career was launched in the Ayers home is moot.

Sick of hearing about Ayers? I am. If you’re not, feel free to read through a whole slough of other mainstream media disputes of McCain’s weak accusations. If you care, they are at Fight the Smears, which is the Obama campaign’s attempt to keep up with the sewage being slung out of the McCain camp. It’s a full time job for someone, I’m sure.

Oops! Before I even finished editing this post, another report of McCain robocalls, these accusing Obama of supporting infanticide, popped up. Whatever.

Arkansas and Indiana, In The Pink

October 17, 2008

Don’t go looking at THIS link unless you want to get addicted to poll numbers and statistics in less than five seconds, but I noticed for the first time Arkansas is moving from being a solid red state for McCain to a pink state.

Indiana is back from being light blue to pink.

What on earth are these two campaigns going to do for the next three weeks? Can’t we just vote already? Oh, yeah. In Indiana we can right now. Early voting in Arkansas begins October 20. Why wait?

Wow! Republican Dick Lugar Endorses Obama’s Foreign Policy!

October 15, 2008

Those of you who live in Indiana will appreciate what a big deal this is.

The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee parted ways with his party’s presidential nominee Wednesday by endorsing Democrat Barack Obama ’s approach to diplomacy.

In a lengthy speech at the National Defense University, Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar weighed the benefits of talking to foreign leaders, including U.S. enemies, against other actions, such as military force. The issue marks one of the sharpest divides between Obama and John McCain , who has called the Democratic nominee naive for suggesting that he would sit down with leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I’m still in Arkansas so haven’t had much chance to blog, but had to drop this in.

Sermon On The Campaign Trail

October 10, 2008

Last night I was watching my church’s dress rehearsal of Godspell, which premieres tonight and runs through Sunday (see it). Listening to the Sermon on the Mount through the lens of our current election cycle was startling.

I was struck by how tough Jesus’s command to “bless those who curse you and say all manner of evil things about you” is for me these days. How do you turn the other cheek when you believe the future of your country is at stake? Some campaign speeches seem written to make enemies of our fellow citizens, with words like “domestic terrorist” bandied about and answered by “treason” and “kill him” as if these were cheers at a football game. How should I love these people? I made a commitment to my faith long ago that tells me I must, but how do I do it?

Sunday a group of friends from church came by the house for lunch so we could talk politics. One of the questions I wanted help with was thinking about the Christian response to negative campaigning.

By negative campaigning, I mean non-policy related jabs. I don’t have a problem with candidates putting one another in a negative light as it relates to their policies and performance, since one would reasonably assume negative outcomes for policies we disagree with.

But lies about character and questioning someone’s patriotism? That and unsubstantiated whispers of a candidate being “not like us” send me over the edge (as you no doubt know if you read this blog much).

So as we enter the last 25 days of the campaign:

Does anyone have any ideas for ways to love those who spread lies about character?

What is the correct response when in 2004 we saw what effect NOT fighting back against lies has?

What does winning mean?

Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Endorses Barack Obama

October 9, 2008

As a bluegrass fan, this makes me smile. Ralph Stanley is to bluegrass fans what Julia Child was to cooking. It is a very powerful endorsement, especially in southwest Virginia.

McCain’s Post-Debate “Handshake”

October 8, 2008

McCain is not very presidential. And what is Cindy’s deal? Is it me or does she seem opposed to shaking voters’ hands? She won’t even go near them. Is she just trying to make it easier for people to photograph them or what?

BTW, Obama won. If you want to talk more wonkish policy stuff, feel free to e-mail me, but there wasn’t a lot of new information. Will people even watch the final debate?