Say Amen

Gene Lyons writes a thumping good column on Obama in the Arkansas Democrat. On the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan:

Democrats were outraged that, due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bush vs. Gore, not all of Florida’s presidential votes counted. In 2008, advanced thinkers supporting Sen. Barack Obama have persuaded themselves that fairness dictates that none of them should count. Nor Michigan’s, either. Better that the voters of two critical swing states comprising close to 10 percent of the electorate be disenfranchised than that Obama’s inevitable nomination be delayed.

On media and Obama:

In Time, Mark Halperin provides a list of “Painful Things Hillary Clinton Knows–Or Should Know.” No. 7: “The Rev. Wright story notwithstanding, the media still wants Obama to be the nominee–and that has an impact every day.” We’ve come full circle. So confident have the Beltway media courtiers grown in their social and political status that what once was furiously denied is now boasted about. Politicians may come and go, but Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman, Tim Russert and Maureen Dowd preside over a permanent House of Lords.

On race and the election:

Meanwhile, TV pundits like CNN’s Jack Cafferty warn us that should Obama’s supporters be disappointed in their hopes, “you wouldn’t want to live in this country.” A more concise way of turning the November contest into a racial referendum can’t be imagined. Who will win that one ? Then what ?

On Obama’s race speech:

Wright peddles DVDs of his inflammatory sermons on the church Web site. Could Obama possibly imagine they’d help build that coalition that King dreamed of ? Second, what do the Obamas, Harvard Law graduates, tell their two little girls about Wright’s downright delusional contention that the United States government created the AIDS virus to exterminate African Americans ? Anybody named Clinton or Gore who sat still for something like that would be derided as an inauthentic phony patronizing black folks for political gain–a faker, a con man. Cosseted and protected all his life, Obama’s speech shows that he understands that the Rev. Wrights of this world do as much to keep blacks down as white racism does. All this selfpitying obsessing over the sorrows of history leads nowhere.

  • JennyD

    Jeff, how can you agree that Michigan’s votes should count when the candidates weren’t even on the ballot? And voters were told their votes wouldn’t count? People stayed home because of that. Or chose to vote GOP.

    I don’t know about Florida, but Michigan did not hold a primary. Period. If all the candidates had been on the ballot, I would agree that the delegates should be seated. But not when the primary only had one name on the ballot. (Oh, except for Gravel…)

  • It took me a while to find a picture of this Gene Lyons’ guy, but when I did, it confirmed what I already suspected — he’s an old white guy:

    Jeff, Gene Lyons doesn’t get the prophetic black church tradition, which is what Obama defended — while at the same time making it clear that he disagreed with his former pastor on very many things. That’s not hypocrisy. That’s nuance. You of all people should be able to appreciate that.

    And I’ll say it again: I don’t care who you think “The Media” (as if it were monolithic, BTW) is for or against. They aren’t deciding for me who I’m going to vote for. I, and millions of independent thinkers, have chosen to support Barack Obama. Please stop acting like we’re all a herd of mindless sheep being led astray by “The Media.” That’s bullshit, and you know it.

    Finally, Michigan and Florida broke the rules, therefor they disqualified THEMSELVES. To whine and complain and act “disenfranchised” now is disingenuous and wrong. Obama wasn’t even ON the ballot in Michigan! How “fair” is that?! This Michigan/Florida stuff is utter crap. They had their primaries — and they are meaningless. If those delegates are seated and it swings the nomination to Clinton, you can count on millions of people like me being “disenfranchised” and staying home in November. Don’t f*(& with a good thing, Jeff. Obama is the ticket to the White House. Hillary is a one-way ticket to nowhere.

  • Eric Jaffa

    Gene Lyons asks how Obama could sit in that church.

    Obama’s March 18 speech answers:

    “The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy…”

  • Jenny,
    I want Michigan voters to count. Figure out how but right now they are disenfranchised and that is bother undemocratic and unDemocratic and tactically stupid.

    The voters did not break the rules. The voters were disenfranchised. At least admit that.

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  • Tom B.

    Jeff, do your readers a favor, stick to the newspaper stuff and the new media analysis. The Clinton promoting/Obama wreching is getting stale.

    We know you don’t like Barack and you like Hillary. The vast majority of us come here, IMHO, not for your politics, but your perspective on new media.

    There are no undecideds out there in the Dem primary anymore, there are rabid fans of Clinton, of Obama’s teams, those who like Obama but are afraid to cross Clinton and those that hate Obama. There are no undecideds left for you to convince.

    The math and the money are pretty clear. He’s going to win the nomination, so just get over it please.

  • Welcome to blogging. It’s free. It’s mine. I will say what I want to. Scrolling is easy. Get over it.

  • Adam


    You talk about the voters in MI and FL being disenfranchised. I do not disagree with that. But what about the rest of us?

    I live in Oregon. We have not yet held our primary. I never had a chance to vote for the candidate of my choice. He is already out of the game.

    Another problem – a candidate could win a good majority of the popular vote and still not win the party nomination. It happened in 2000 with the presidential election, and it may happen again this year in the Democratic party.

    Can someone tell me why we do not have one national primary day when everyone votes? New Hampshire and Iowa’s primary/ caucus results mean nothing to me – and why should they? It is amazing and dismaying how public opinion is influenced by each states’ primary results.

    Sorry for being off topic.

    P.S. – The Dem party is going to be in pieces by the end of this. Is it worth it?

  • MD

    I find this news distressing. Polls showing that Hillary supporters are going to jump ship and vote for McCain because they can’t stand Obama who for the most part favors almost everything that Hillary does policy-wise. Can the Hillary supporters chime in with their opinion of this news? What do you think Jarvis?

  • JennyD

    Jeff, I want to vote in the Dem primary. I didn’t in January because the DNC said my vote wouldn’t count. So I voted GOP instead, which is perfectly OK in Michigan.

    There was a plan to revote. The Clinton camp said I wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the revote because I didn’t participate in the first Dem vote. The Obama camp said I could. That’s where they got stuck.

    So…what should Michigan do? Let me vote, or not?

  • I must say, as a McCain supporter (not a strong one, but I am right of center and agree with most of his platform) this is great. The tone in general on the left is becoming ever more entrenched in its divisiveness. And it has even bled onto the web and here onto Buzzmachine. I can sense strong anger coming from the links and excerpts you have posted. And it’s not just you; it’s all over in the media and the respective campaigns. All this nastiness is helping McCain and the Republicans. The old saw is that Republicans fall in line and Democrats fall in love. Unfortunately, it seems the Democrats have two candidates that they love– and we all know that the line between love and hate is thin.

  • MD

    It helps when I include the link … (see post above) Also relates to Horst’s post above.

  • tjproudamerican

    Dear Jeff

    I respectfully disagree with you and Mr. Lyons on this issue. Obama is a complex and real man running for president. Wright just shows that Obama is like you and I: he has rough edges and he doesn’t do everything with an eye towards his resume.

    I was not an Obama supporter and am probably a lukewarm Obama Supporter now. If anyone wonders how a person could lose their ability to defend The Clinton’s, just look at their behavior in this election. Hillary looked and sounded crazy last night on Greta Van Sustern’s show. Hilary’s desperation is so severe. I do not blame her, because politics does drive people crazy, and Hillary has two personalities at least, the warm friend who everyone who knows her loves and that Valedictorian Smug Better Than Everyone Public Hillary that keeps breaking through and spoiling Hillary’s smile. Hillary has dozens of enemies, but she is her own worst enemy. I wonder what she would have been had she actually lived a life instead of signing on to Bill’s.

    I bring this up because what Lyons misses and what I think many people like about Obama with Wright is that Obama is showing he is a complex and contradictory person just like those of us who are not running for office. Obama is loyal to a contradictory man. We Americans can accept that. Obama is a human and The Clinton’s are a machine that looks human.

    Hillary and Bill can never be wrong. If Wright was their pastor, and they were caught defending his sermons, Bill would teach us about parsing, “It depends upon the meaning of what is, is” while he attacked everyone. The Clinton;s are built for self promotion, attacking, and telling lies.

    They would have to prove to us that our pastors were worse, but really, The Clinton’s have very little in their lives that strike any of us as real. No passion, all compulsion. Neither Bill nor Hillary would allow us to think s/he has lived the rich contradictory private life Obama has granted himself and lived in the first place.Remember, in the world of The Clinton’s up is down. With sniper fire ringing in her her ears, Hillary seconded Bill’s denunciation of Monica THAT WOMAN!!! he did not have sex with by attributing the story to the “vast right wing conspiracy.” That conspiracy does exists and thanks to The Clinton’s scorched earth defense of Bill’s remarkably untreated, long-standing sex addiction, the conspiracy made those of us who defended The Clinton’s look foolish.

    As a political issue, what your pastor says is a powerful issue; as a real issue, unless the pastor is your VP or some other thing, you have your life and your pastor has his or hers. Hillary should run against Pastor Wright. But with her negatives and Bill’s endless recklessness, I think Hillary is capable of losing to Wright also.

    Other comments here have mentioned the Prophetic Black Church, so I will second that and remind you and your readers that Christianity often takes a form where the Pastor denounces the way we live in America. The Jesus Christ of the Gospels tended to be anti-American in his opposition to materialism and competition and sinning, so, as Lyons notes, even good White Pastors occassionally stray from pro-America Talking Points. (I think the Pastors all will have some explaining to do when we discover that God is actually a combination of Donald Trump and Paris Hilton and Sean Hannity: a real American.

    my apologies for this long letter, especially since noone will read it, but I just two months ago decided “that is it. I am not defending The Clinton’s anymore.” And I have an ex-smoker’s zealotry trying to explain how we always cover for The Clinton’s by attacking other people.

    Tom Joyce

  • Jeff,
    The media will deny their bias tomorrow. These people are most dishonest when discussing their ideology.

  • Harrison

    99% sure it’s a joke, but worth sharing:

  • Jimmy

    You know I get so sick about this idea that Michigan and Florida are being disenfranchised. First let me say this: Obama supporter, and happy to be one. I several family members living in Florida, Democrats all, and none of them feel since of being disenfranchised. They don’t Clinton or Obama screwed them over. Here’s the cold, hard fact that you seem to gloss over: Florida and Michigan knew, KNEW, they were breaking the rules set by the party leadership, yet they went ahead with expensive, worthless elections anyway. One can debate the asinine system election dates, but to say that any of candidates are allowing two states voters to be disenfranchise is simply ludicrous, but as you say: your blog.

    It’s time to move on. As Democrats we need to end all this bullshit and start preparing to kick John McCain’s ass. For the first time in a long time people want Democrats in office, but all this in-fighting and these boring op-eds are turning them off and we can’t afford to turn off what has been a record-breaking turnout. Do we really want four more years of Bush, because we all know that’s what a McCain presidency will be.

  • Jeremy C.

    WOW Jeff, this is definitely YOUR blog but your shilling is reaching Andrew Sullivan levels of delusion! Only difference is yours looks more nuts because of how sad your choice of worship is. At least he has a crush on a WINNER.

    If anybody in those states TRULY feels like they were done wrong, try telling them to vote out the useless Dem leadership of their respective states and be done with it.

  • PDH

    Just read Gene’s column in it’s entirety. Can’t help but ask: What did the Democratic National Committee say would happen if Michigan and Florida violated the primary time schedule?

    I help with the answer:

    “Their primary essentially won’t count, ” Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said of Florida. “Anybody who campaigns in Florida is ineligible for delegates.”

    When did Mr. Dean say this? More than 6 months prior to Florida holding their vote.

    What about Michigan? Democratic leaders voted [Dec. 1] to strip Michigan of all its delegates to the national convention next year as punishment for scheduling an early presidential primary in violation of party rules. Michigan was told long in advance of that vote as to the consequences of advancing the date of that particular primary.

    What’s more all of the candidates agreed not to campaign in Michigan and all of the major candidates, with the exception of Hilary Clinton had their names removed from the ballot.

    Who disenfranchised the voters of those two states? Quite clearly it appears to be their respective state Democratic committees. What is the proper remedy? Quite obviously not to simply allow the flawed votes in those two states to be accepted as they stand.

    This has nothing to do with Obama. He wasn’t the front-runner when these states were notified of the DNC expectations and likely punishments if they did not go along. Hilary Clinton was leading in the mind of most prognosticators at that point in time (more to the point, not a single vote had been cast when the punishments were acted on).

    To tell the story as you and Mr. Lyons would like it told relies either on the ignorant credulity of readers or their pre-agreement with the case being made. And BTW, what does Jeremiah Wright have to do with those two primaries? If you are going to go down that road, why not bring up Obama Bin Laden’s secret Muslim past as well?

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