My Vote Tomorrow: Barack Obama and Joe Biden

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biden obama.jpg
Despite the pleas of a number of my favorite (and even not so favorite) readers, I have kept quiet until now about who I planned to vote for.
My support for any candidate or party is something I tend to keep on hold until getting very close to voting. I don’t believe in unconditional support for anyone or any organized political institution.
There are also some issues I care about more than others, and my approach is subjective, dependent on ever changing postures and issues. I mull things over, reconsider, change course, and sometimes change back.
I have known and admired Senator John McCain since 1993. I have met Senator Barack Obama several times personally and have studied his record, habits, and words very closely. I have colleagues and friends who work at the highest levels in both organizations.
Despite my having applauded John McCain’s political career and often brave policy positions many times in the past, I can’t support him and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, tomorrow.
The reasons I can’t support John McCain are three. First, despite having a credible and impressive record in the United States Senate on a great number of policy issues, he chose to make military and national security issues the primary foundation of his campaign. Rather than recruiting Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Armitage, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Robert Zoellick and others to be the primary sculptors and advisers to his campaign, he neglected most of these and ignored others in favor of foreign policy hands that reflected militant neoconservatism and strident, pugnacious nationalism.
Rather than conveying that he was a national leader who understood war and peace and would be cautious with deployments of troops and American commitments, McCain telegraphed a “recklessness” when it came to U.S. foreign policy and key national security questions.
Secondly, amplifying this recklessness, John McCain failed to make competence and a clear understanding of what America’s history and great debates and challenges are an absolute requisite for anyone he would put in line for the presidency. He chose Sarah Palin who I doubt knows much about the very DNA of the nation. I have heard no evidence of her knowledge or awareness of the founding fathers, the Federalist Papers, the Civil War, womens’ suffrage, the civil rights battles of our near term history, or many other great debates and challenges in our past. I don’t get the sense that she is ready in any serious way to drive the ship of the United States of America. I think had McCain selected Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Joseph Lieberman, or even a Meg Whitman as his running mate — this race would be tighter. Picking Palin was a reckless move — amplifying significant doubts about John McCain’s judgment.
Thirdly, I am a fan of some leading members of John McCain’s team — including Rick Davis, Trevor Potter, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin. I have seen them all in better times managing better challenges and issues. Holtz-Eakin is one of the least partisan economic policy players in Washington and has provocative, constructive ideas on a wide range of domestic policy issues. McCain allowed Senator Phil Gramm to squelch Holtz-Eakin’s views and work early in the process and to make every answer to every problem the single refrain of “tax cuts.” McCain was largely unprepared and had not thought through what were obvious fragilities in the U.S. economy.
This was a failure of leadership and judgment.
The reasons why I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden are several.
I think Obama’s limited record and the fact that so many have affixed their expectations and aspirations on his campaign — despite the fact that these aspirations between different groups are in fundamental conflict with each other — have made supporting Obama a challenge for me.
I’m not someone moved by the questions of race and identity about his past. I know others are, but these qualities of leadership and “breakthrough” are not so high on my list when voting for national leadership.
I admire sharp-edged thinking, the establishment of clear priorities, a commitment to move the nation’s interests forward and the conceptualization of a broader global vision that may help to promote opportunity, stability and justice.
On the whole, Barack Obama has convinced me he is capable of seeing America’s challenges in these terms — though i think that there are a great many close advisers around him who want to continue the “third term” of the Clinton administration — or whose vision is defined by inertia and incrementalism — rather than the big leaps forward that Obama frequently flirts with.
This nation is at a pivot point in its history. We have to change and rethink things. We need to anticipate crises and tests of America’s power — exactly as Joe Biden suggested will happen. He is right.
America needs a new global social contract — and a domestic social contract that reshuffles the costs, opportunities and responsibilities between our stakeholders at home and abroad. Winner-takes-all capitalism and unilateralist foreign policy has to be shelved. We need a “smart globalization,” not manic neoliberalism.
America needs to re-engage, needs to end an idiotic, self-damaging Cold War against Cuba and its people; needs to put the Middle East Peace Business out of business and produce and impose if need be a two state solution that respects Israel’s needs and Palestine’s.
We need game changers with Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Iran to offer them compelling reasons to take Libya-like tracks out of the international doghouse. We need to understand what Russia’s and China’s highest national priorities are and see if we can help them achieve what they want in exchange for helping us on Iran, nuclear proliferation, climate change, the global economy, and other important global causes.
We need to reconnect with and re-marry Europe because that partnership is vital to momentum and to being taken seriously anywhere else around the world. We need to respect the Arab world, the Muslim world, need to stop making false choices between our relations with the Saudis and other Arab states on one hand and Israel on the other.
We need to buy the opium product of Afghanistan and redirect the production targets of farmers and warlords there, deal with the Taliban, and do what needs to be done to help pragmatic leadership in Pakistan seduce its tribal regions to support national goals with the U.S. not antagonizing an anti-Western nationalism there.
We need to see the checks and balances of our form of democracy restored and the usurpation of unprecedented and dangerous powers by the White House rolled back. We need to pursue accountability for the collapse of trust at home and abroad and reform the nation’s balloting process in order to make certain that citizen voices are heard restoring again a representative form of government.
I think that on the whole Barack Obama represents the kind of leader who knows that we need to find our own 21st century versions of John Maynard Keynes and Dean Acheson and have to regain global leverage as “systems designers” and “systems integrators”, collaborating with other globally responsible stakeholders to re-engineer the world and create a new equilibrium.
These are terms that I think Obama thinks in — and they are very much the kinds of benchmarks that inspire the work that Joe Biden and his team have done.
As I have written before, I am a great fan of Joe Biden’s work and approach to problems. He takes risks with ideas — and we need that.
Incrementalists are not jumping ahead and not taking the risks that tomorrow’s challenges require of us — and my hope is that Obama tempers himself and rejects the security blanket of taking too many personalities and too much thinking that will make his administration look like “Clinton III.”
We’ll see. I have concerns. I have hopes. But I want seriousness and a fresh run at getting America back on track to restoring health and solvency to its national security and economic portfolios.
To my regret, John McCain and Sarah Palin are not up to these challenges.
I believe that Barack Obama and Joe Biden may be — and I hope to work with them, in my think tank role and in a constant run of constructive counsel here on this blog — as they help move the nation out of the incredibly bad mess it is in.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

45 comments on “My Vote Tomorrow: Barack Obama and Joe Biden

  1. ... says:

    rogue capitalism beholden to the private banking system in place would be a better description…

    Reply

  2. ... says:

    steve – good choice!!
    peter bryant –
    1. free trade – it is okay for the usa to sell military weapons anywhere it wants, but it is not okay for others to do same… that ain’t free trade.. it’s bullshit and further – there needs to be controls on what is traded for the sake of humanity, which might not be in the best interests of the military establishment working out of the usa at present..
    2. Taxes – as long as the usa is beholden to the private banking system – the federal reserve and etc, your ass is grass and you will be continually taxed for their benefit only.. guess where those 700 billion $’s comes from to bail out those banks????? taxes… guess who implemented it???? a republican gov’t with willing support from both leadership candidates.. until folks get beyond using words to push some buttons these words mean nothing without a closer examination, but i am going to point it out anyway.. too many knee jerk reactions to the word taxes, and your post plays on these same reactions without looking deeper..
    3 socialism – this is what you have when a country is bailing out it’s banks… it is socialism for the banking system, with those who aren’t a part of it – left out of the equation… corporate socialism.. the system is a pyramid scheme favouring those at the top at the expense of those at the bottom, with a gov’t supportive of it.. financial socialism.. to think you have something different is naive.
    4 foreign affairs – getting feedback is essential for objectivity… if you want to operate with your head up your ass, it doesn’t matter… presently the usa has been operating with it’s head up its ass for a long time… it may or may not matter what the rest of the world thinks about the usa actions, but it is one way of getting a more objective assessment of your actions… so far under the bush/cheney gov’t usa approval rating has moved towards rock bottom.. maybe you don’t think it matters!
    Democratic capitalism is not what you have… you have rampant capitalism that masquerades as democracy… democracy is something to aspire towards, but it isn’t something you folks have…

    Reply

  3. Bil says:

    Well-studied Steve ;>)

    Reply

  4. Carroll says:

    I don’t know why I am sitting here, two hours away from voting, agonizing about my vote when my one vote will make no difference.
    I was totally hoping Hagel would run, then I was sort of for Hillary, then I was totally for Obama..but the ‘Obamaquity’ of his foreign policy has gotten to me. I have no idea what this man will do and I wonder if he has any ideas ‘of his own’ on what he will do.
    I was impressed with his plan to curb lobbying, the crux of our corruption in government. But looking at the names put out by his campaign on possible appoinments I don’t know if he is believable on the undue influence factor.
    As Steve said is begining to look a lot like Clinton III. And some of the people under consideration for very important offices give me the chills. The fact that their names would even be put out gives me chills.
    Below is the link to the list of people under consideration that Obama’s staff gave to Politico.
    A couple of things stand out….a lot of old Clinton people..a few good out of the box people like Hagel and some really scary people mentioned for very sensitive offices like Jane Harman, who was investigated by the FBI for some questionable contact with AIPAC and Israel for Director of National Intelligence. And William Bratton one of the boys from JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security for head of Homeland Security…the very same JINSA that Collin Powell said had taken control of Rumsfeld’s pentagon.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1008/15142_Page2.html
    Homeland Security secretary: Former Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.); William Bratton, Los Angeles police chief and former New York police commissioner; former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), a member of the 9/11 Commission; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.); Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
    CIA director: Former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
    Director of National Intelligence: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Jane Harmon and JINSA’s William Bratton are even being considered for National Security, the CIA and Homeland Security?
    I don’t think I can do it. I don’t know why their names would even be there except to appeal to the Jewish Lukid element. Maybe that’s the only reason and Obama is not really considering them. But whatever the Obama reasoning I just don’t feel like rewarding this pandering if that’s what is or voting for anyone who would put people like this with known ties and loyalties to a foreign country in the most sensitive US offices.
    So I have gone full circle all the way back to not voting for either the dem or the repubs. Obama will be elected and I hope he turns out to be Change..but I personally am not counting on it and not voting any more for anyone whose real intentions I can’t figure out…we deserve better than having to ‘guess’ at what we are voting for.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Lots of moose and joe sixpack references”
    Hmmm, well, I’d settle for those medical records she promised were forthcoming last week. Gee, ya think she’s got something to hide?

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “There is nothing in his comment that deserves the kind of comment you just made”
    If he chooses to call me “piss”, there is plenty in his comment that isn’t worthy of respect or civility. Like I said, he’s an asshole, and he’s proved it time and again. And you’re correct, it is his right to be one, just like its my right to recognize that he is one. Remember his claims that “Wooten is a wifebeater”, despite the fact that the only reason that spew was being sallied forth was because these lyin’ sacks of shit Limbaugh and Hannity were saying it, sans any evidence? That one pile of Tahoe spore tells us all we neeed to know about him.
    Frankly, Tahoe adds nothing that I haven’t already heard from these pieces of RW garbage I listen to on my commute, such as Hannity, Savage, or Limbaugh. For Tahoe’s message to register, you either have to be dumber than crushed rock, or rabidly partisan to a degree that you might as well be dumber than crushed rock.
    And if he chooses to preface his comments to me by calling me “piss”, than I certainly aren’t going to suffer any inhibitions in the way I respond.

    Reply

  7. elliot says:

    Gov Palin’s trip from Alaska to DC for the inauguration planned on travel planning site http://www.tripcart.com
    http://www.tripcart.com/MyTripCart.aspx?TripID=5840786
    Lots of moose and joe sixpack references

    Reply

  8. Bill R. says:

    Steve, thank you for this statement. Well constructed and thoughtful. I believe you are much too generous to John McCain. He is not the John McCain of 1993 or 2000. Persons can sell their soul and come off the rails. I also believe you are much too dismissive of the power of inspirational leadership. That said, I appreciate your endorsement and the thoughtful policy discussion that is offered on this forum.

    Reply

  9. DonS says:

    Dixville Notch, whoa! Now that’s transformational. Thanks, Dan. Guess
    even those staid folks are sick of Bush
    and his merry band.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    Thanks for the poem Wigwag. Whitman is inspiring, even if totally unrepresentative of what America has become. And I hope you are totally wrong about Clinton III who presaged Bush lite; its a measure of how bad Bush is that Clinton can actually seem ok.
    As for this election, I still don’t believe we’ll get the change of direction suffcient to the task (the BIG task). And I see no reason to be civil about the criminals who have gotten us here. Skewering the bastards doesn’t mean I think the alternative is going to make every thing better. If we are lucky, we can slow down the bleeding.

    Reply

  11. Dan Kervick says:

    Dixville Notch, New Hampshire:
    Obama 15
    McCain 6
    In the past 50 years, Dixville Notch has only voted for a Democrat one other time: 1968.

    Reply

  12. WigWag says:

    Happy Election Day everyone! And Godspeed Senator Obama!
    An exuberant and patriotic poem for Election Day from Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass 1860 edition)
    With firm and regular step they wend—they never stop,
    Successions of men, Americanos, a hundred millions,
    One generation playing its part and passing on,
    And another generation playing its part and passing on in its turn,
    With faces turned sideways or backward toward me
    to listen,
    With eyes retrospective toward me.
    Americanos! Masters!
    Marches humanitarian! Foremost!
    Century marches! Libertad! Masses!
    For you a programme of chants.
    Chants of the prairies,
    Chants of the long-running Mississippi,
    Chants of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota,
    Inland chants—chants of Kanzas,
    Chants away down to Mexico, and up north to
    Oregon—Kanadian chants,
    Chants of teeming and turbulent cities—chants of
    mechanics,
    Yankee chants—Pennsylvanian chants—chants of
    Kentucky and Tennessee,
    Chants of dim-lit mines—chants of mountain-tops,
    Chants of sailors—chants of the Eastern Sea and the Western Sea,
    Chants of the Mannahatta, the place of my dearest
    love, the place surrounded by hurried and
    sparkling currents,
    Health chants—joy chants—robust chants of young men,
    Chants inclusive—wide reverberating chants,
    Chants of the Many In One

    Reply

  13. chophouse says:

    Liz,
    I’d argue Obama’s choice of an Attorney General will be more important, and telling, for the signals it gives regarding accountability and respect for the Constitution. I don’t know about his administrative and political skills, but I’d love to see someone with the tenacity and judgment of Patrick Fitzgerald get that role.

    Reply

  14. Sarah Brennan says:

    Well done. A balanced, cogent analysis of the many issues at stake in this election, as well as the qualities that characterize thoughtful, successful leaders…written from the perspective of not just a U.S. citizen, but a global one. Bravo!

    Reply

  15. Liz says:

    One year ago, I didn’t think Barack Obama was ready for the Presidency, neither did Joe Biden. I am amazed at how much he has grown as a politician and as a person over the course of this campaign. I am more impressed with this young man, Barack Obama, with each passing week. I believe that his White House will not have the same level of disarray that plagued the Clinton White House during the first six months of his presidency.
    Barack Obama’s most important appointment in the days after his election will be his Chief of Staff. In order for him to reach his full potential as a transformational President, he will need a strong, loyal and politically savvy fighter with great people skills as his right hand person. I am keeping my fingers crossed that by a combination of luck, circumstance and wisdom he will pick the right person. The rest will follow if he can just get that one absolutely right.

    Reply

  16. Andrew says:

    You guys should read this:
    ornery.o rg/essays/warwatch/2008-10-26-1.h tml

    Reply

  17. varanassi says:

    great to see you, Tahoe!!!
    how do your words tatse?

    Reply

  18. Linda says:

    I think that race and identity are important in this election. An Obama victory today will be noted in our history books. It will fulfill the promise of what we tell children, i.e., that anyone can grow up to be President.
    Much of the world today sees the U.S. as bellicose, arrogant, and racist and want us to live up to the promise of our ideals, words, and values.
    I see and hear that expressed every day here in Atlanta so close to all those who worked, marched, were beaten, and gave their lives only 45 years years ago to ensure that African-Americans could vote.
    There will be plenty of time to see what policies, programs, etc. an Obama administration adopts and to be critical of those with which we disagree. But for now, I hope we all take a moment to reflect on how transformative and huge a step forward just electing Obama would be.

    Reply

  19. Steve Oriol says:

    Better late than never on the endorsement Steve !
    Thanks for all the lucid arguments and analysis that make Obama / Biden an obviously superior choice. The sheer magnitude of the challenges we face lend themselves to a very cool, level headed approach to domestic and global problem solving that I believe Obama can best deliver. As a pragmatic global progressive, we truly have an opportunity to turn the page in bold new ways.
    I am heartened, and yes hopeful.

    Reply

  20. Zathras says:

    Well, all right. Here we go.
    I’ve never expected this election to be close, so the question of my own vote has not been, to me, of great moment. My own judgement was that John McCain was simply too old to serve effectively for four years during such a difficult period, but McCain also ran this year under the crushing handicap of President Bush’s record. Despite that handicap, he chose to run as a Bush Republican, adopting almost all of Bush’s positions on major issues, many of Bush’s campaign tactics and much of Bush’s 2004 campaign staff.
    Having made this choice, which probably was necessary for him to secure the Republican nomination, McCain made two significant unforced errors, his reflex response to a financial crisis he did not understand well and his choice of a patently unqualified running mate. But it is difficult to see how any of the other Republicans who ran for the Presidency this year could have done better in this campaign than McCain has. After tommorrow there will be many in the Republican Party making the argument that John McCain’s shortcomings as a candidate were why the GOP did so badly. This argument is not even close to being true.
    McCain never chose to fight the battle I had at one time, years ago, hoped he would, to reclaim the Republican Party from George Bush. This has left the GOP George Bush’s party. It cannot be allowed to continue in power; moreover, of its officeholders down the ballot now threatened by the Democratic tide there is not one whose departure from Washington would be missed.
    I have too many reservations about Barack Obama to list here. Some, but by no means all of them derive from his being a liberal Democrat and my being a conservative Republican. But he has run an orderly and efficient campaign; I do not know whether that will translate into an orderly and efficient administration, but though Obama’s record is very thin it offers some grounds for hope.
    The American government and nation have suffered very significant damage during the last eight years. Some of what the nation is going through now would have happened if George Bush had never become President; a booming economy built on ever-increasing levels of debt was bound to crash eventually if a halt was not called in time, and no one wanted to call such a halt. The damage the government has suffered has much more to do with George W. Bush having been President for the last eight years. I do not know how much of that damage Barack Obama can repair if he is elected, but do know that John McCain has committed to repair none of it. That’s enough for me to vote for Obama this year.

    Reply

  21. Franklin says:

    Peter Bryant,
    Interesting contrarian view.
    Some thoughts:
    1. Free trade.
    Obama position here has some nuance — e.g. he isn’t advocating new tariffs. He’s not an extreme protectionist. His economic team contains quite a few middle-of-the-road Clinton people, and a University of Chicago professor as his chief economic adviser (not exactly a hot-bed of protectionist economic theory).
    Obama’s talked about negotiating trade agreements that contain environmental and labor protections. To the extent that companies move out of the U.S. to circumvent labor and environmental protections, this has a negative impact on manufacturing wages at home (in what’s left of our manufacturing base). Those lost wages have other social and economic costs, so in some of these cases large companies are simply shifting their cost burden from consumers to tax-payers. Obama’s idea of providing tax incentives for companies that keep jobs here would seem to address these lost costs — it’s an indirect subsidy to domestic industries. I don’t know if it will necessarily work in the end — I’d be curious to see what the evidence is on the counter side.
    2. Taxes.
    The idea that countries that institute marginally higher tax rates do not thrive isn’t borne out by the evidence.
    During the long post-World War II economic expansion we had substantially higher tax rates. During the Clinton years we also had higher tax rates — and we also experienced the longest economic expansion in U.S. history during his administration combined with substantial increases in the median wage (effectively Obama is proposing a variation on the Clinton tax plan).
    There’s more to fostering economic growth than low tax rates — e.g. if we want to talk strictly in terms of income taxes — then the old Soviet Union with an effective 13 percent income tax rate for those involved in “government enterprise” would have been the ideal economic model. It obviously wasn’t.
    3. Socialism.
    People who are using this term in reference to Obama’s economic policy are applying it too liberally (that’s a generous way of putting it).
    Obama is not proposing a centralization of all private industry — nothing even remotely close to this idea.
    In terms of political arrangement, which is the most toxic part of communism/hard socialism — authoritarian regimes — Obama would likely resume a much healthier respect for the Constitutional traditions than the current administration.
    Effectively the Bush administration has ignored a couple hundred years of precedent and moved in a truly radical direction over the past 8 years.
    4. Foreign policy.
    Too simplistic. In reference to Chamberlain, he may have “appeased” Hitler, but one part that revisionists often ignore is that, as soon as Chamberlain returned to Britain he ramped up the construction of the U.K.’s military capacity (which was dismantled at the conclusion of WWI). The U.S. is respected when we demonstrate respect for the concerns of our allies — that’s the basis of any cooperative relationship — something that has been painfully absent during the Bush years.
    The rest is pretty much par for course . . .

    Reply

  22. pacos_gal says:

    POA is right and between his statement and your statements on why Obama is your choice, you have hit on the very reasons that I and probably many others are voting for him.
    I really think that America needs a new direction and a new way of looking at situations both internally and externally. I Hope that Obama will surround himself with staff and appointments who are open to a different way of doing business.
    I worry that Obama will be elected and people who have very high expectations will be disappointed if things don’t happen as quickly as they think they should. (the within the first 100 days scenerios)
    It took us many years of progressively bad decisions to get to the place where we are now, and it will take many years of wise decisions to move in a different one.
    Foreign policy is a major area of concern and McCain has shown by both his words and deeds that he not the person to be in charge of this country. That the status quo as it exists now, will continue as is and perhaps even further deteriorate under a McCain/Palin administration.

    Reply

  23. Darci T. says:

    Steve, thanks!

    Reply

  24. Franklin says:

    Well done!
    In reference to purchasing opium — why not instead subsidize the price of wheat and grain cultivation?
    In order to bring the price of wheat and grain up to market price we’d take a loss — as we would with opium purchases — but the subsidies might increase grain cultivation, which in turn would lower the price of food costs for ordinary Afghanis, which in turn would increase the available dollars for other goods and services for ordinary Afghans (who are spending less on food), which in turn would have positive benefits for the national economy.
    A secondary concern with the purchase of opium is that it could have a potentially corrupting influence on the purchasers (presumably NATO). Much of the drug stock would be destroyed, or could be converted to commercial use, however, the temptation might be strong for some allied forces to supplement their income through the black market.
    Perhaps there are other considerations at work here that I’m overlooking — and it may still be necessary to do the opium purchases for the current harvest season; there is also the risk that the Taliban would still shake down farmers for funds received for grain cultivation.
    However, even if this was the case, the domestic market still might see the secondary benefit from increased grain production or other foods.
    Some thoughts off the top of my head. No easy answers in reference to Afghanistan for the near or long-term.
    Once again thanks for a persuasive write-up.

    Reply

  25. anonymous says:

    POA,
    I like reading your stuff but seriously, cut the name calling out
    please. I don’t agree with Tahoe, but I LIKE reading him and
    what he posts. He works damn hard to post alternative stuff,
    and he has as much write to post his views as you do. his post
    is totally logical and very smart.
    You are wound up on the things you want and I like it when you
    are logical and make your case. Tahoe and you have this thing,
    but you need to respect altarnative views too.
    There is nothing in his comment that deserves the kind of
    comment you just made. I’m glad you both are here. Please
    respect each other, honestly. His quotes are useful to run
    through on Obama.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Piss….”
    Tahoe, go fuck yourself. There are very few assholes that post at this site, but you are definitely one of them.

    Reply

  27. SassySuzy says:

    Steve, THANK YOU!!! We have been hoping you would make this move. Misnet, you have NO IDEA how hard it is to get Steven Clemons to sign up to someone. I’m just so thrilled. I didn’t think you would do it because of your gosh darned admirable independence.
    Thank you for helping to move this country forward with your support, and thanks to BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN for their leadership and for working hard against McCain and Sarah Palin!

    Reply

  28. lurker says:

    Steve,
    I’ve been unable to be actively commenting on the blog recently, but thank you, thank you for this passionate, reasoned, sensible endorsement. It is so moving, so sensible, so Steve Clemons.
    Misnet, you have not read Steve Clemons closely if you think that this was all about positioning to be in the Obama administration. Steve has taken brave, often provocative stands against current trends on Obama. Even this endorsement is qualified.
    This reader is impressed, as are the many friends and family I send TWN to.
    Thanks for your leadership and helping us to think.

    Reply

  29. Tahoe Editor says:

    Cheers to you Steve — here’s to hoping your vote puts D.C. over the top for Obama.
    Piss, the “scripted horseshit” you’re describing is Obama’s “energy independence” plan.
    RE: “the establishment of clear priorities”
    Kentucky campaign ad: $200 million for the coal industry
    San Francisco fundraiser: “My plan will bankrupt anyone trying to operate a coal plant”
    “I am not a proponent of nuclear energy”
    “I favor nuclear power”
    “Iran is not a serious threat”
    “Iran is a grave threat”
    “I would meet Ahmadinejad without preconditions”
    “Nobody’s talking about that”
    “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided”
    “It’s a final-status issue”
    “We can send 30,000 more troops. Nobody believes that is going to make a difference.”
    “I said at the time I had no doubt that if we placed 30,000 more troops in there then we would see a reduction in the violence.”
    “The D.C. gun ban is constitutional.”
    “Scalia is right.”
    “I pledge to take public financing for the general election”
    “Send me your anonymous Internet donations from around the world”

    No one knows what we’ll get if we elect Obama — not even Obama.
    The new global social contract has been cemented: American elections can now be bought in the global marketplace. Are you saddened over the spectacle?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3LZNc_TP_o&eurl=http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/11/obamas_attack_ad_on_himself.asp

    Reply

  30. PeterG says:

    Peter Bryant sounds like a Bush/Cheney clone. After the disastrous policies of the current administration, Mr. Bryant lists exactly the same policies and philosophies that have destroyed the greatness of the United States in 8 short years. No wonder he supports John McCain. It’s unbelievable that so many, supposedly smart, individuals (and in this I include Shawn Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly) cannot see the train wreck that their great list of policies, as so succinctly itemized by Mr. Bryant, has caused in this country. It’s almost as if they have a suicidal complex…we have made things unbelievably bad, now lets finish the job and take this country to total destruction from within.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, Bryant, as you well know, “energy independence” is little more than a slogan, and is impossible to achieve. Its political hype, scripted horseshit, as is the rest of your blather.
    In truth, any candidate that claims we can achieve “energy independence” is just pandering to stupidity. We are too deeply committed to petroleum in ALL aspects of our lives. Plastics, rubbers, fabrics, paints, glues, epoxies, paper, glass, carpet, asphalt, trhe list is infinite, and almost exclusively petroleum based. That means EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR MATERIAL WORLD is petroleum based. Get it?
    So don’t give me this horseshit about “energy independence”. Our material world, globally, is so dependent on petroleum that no one country can possibly achieve and sustain energy independence.

    Reply

  32. Josh Meah says:

    Dare I add that each of those objectives requires a broader grasp of U.S. Grand Strategy, one that closely links the values of interconnectedness with full and meaningful global integration. It is time for the U.S. to be a part of the world again, and it seems only Obama grasps that.
    I don’t think everyday people realize how much policy matters. Hundreds of thousands if not well over a million innocent people died because of the Bush administration’s failures.
    And this is our democracy: so who’s responsible?
    But I want to take a moment to make another endorsement.
    As a 20 year old with a biracial background, a litany of economic class conflict in my personal history, and a first-hand feel for what a healthcare crisis really means, hope for the future was waning. That Cheney’s 1 percent doctrine applied to terrorism and not to global warming, genocide, extreme poverty, or financial ruin made me wonder if these times were the worst of times or even the end of times. I recently had the honor of meeting with innocent Iraqis that lost limbs as a result of our nation’s bloodbath of a blunder in Iraq.
    And then it is in those particular conditions that I applied to intern with the Steve’s American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. After spending 4 months in the Middle East, I was desperate to find policy that connected with real problems of real people.
    Such values are found in abundance within the policy prescriptions of the New America Foundation. Policy ideas at New America are developed by winning hearts and minds with big ideas that can make a real difference.
    The “Grand Bargain” with Iran put out by the Leveretts is real, meaningful, and if implemented could save tens of thousands of lives from the damage of our oft-misguided sanctions and military strikes that since 1991 have killed around 2.5 million Iraqis and displaced 5 million more.
    The infrastructure redevelopment innitiatives are about connecting big business to real American investments, again giving Americans from the mid-West to everywhere else a hard, real, and productive stake in our economy and country.
    The Global Asset Project is about instilling financial literacy and real opportunity in the most impoverished areas worldwide, from ages 1 on up.
    I could rave on about other policy innitiatives, but I’ll take a breath to acknowledge what I believe to be best part about the New America Foundation: Heart. This blog has regularly highlighted and called out American xenophobic and even outright racist attitudes toward Arab-Americans. And most recently, the courage and levelheadedness to call out the danger to the Middle East peace process posed by Israeli settler extremists is admirable.
    I’ve had the pleasure to intern with the New America Foundation for only a few months, but in that time, I’ve learned a lot about what it means for real leaders to also be good people.
    As a junior in undergrad, I’ve got just another month or so before another intern takes my spot, and I become replaced and forgotten. I’m fine with that, but before I go, I want to thank Steve Clemons and the New America Foundation for everything and note that if I could, I’d be voting for NAF tomorrow.
    Sincerely,
    Josh

    Reply

  33. mlsnet says:

    Steve,
    Anyone with half a brain would figure out who for whom you are voting, based upon only a cursory review of your blog posts over the past four months.
    I assume you are trying to position yourself for a job in the Obama Administration.

    Reply

  34. WigWag says:

    “On the whole, Barack Obama has convinced me he is capable of seeing America’s challenges in these terms — though i think that there are a great many close advisers around him who want to continue the “third term” of the Clinton administration.”
    “Incrementalists are not jumping ahead and not taking the risks that tomorrow’s challenges require of us — and my hope is that Obama tempers himself and rejects the security blanket of taking too many personalities and too much thinking that will make his administration look like “Clinton III.”
    Steve Clemons is exactly right! Everything Obama has said since winning the nomination and everyone he has surrounded himself with, makes it highly likely that an Obama Administration will look just like Clinton III. I loved watching Obama and Bill Clinton together campaigning in Florida. Especially the part where Clinton said that when the financial crisis hit, the first thing Obama did was contact Clinton and his team. Obama sat on his stool next to Clinton nodding in agreement.
    I’m convinced that Obama I = Clinton III. That’s why I’m voting for Obama with some enthusiasm.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    Reply

  35. peter bryant says:

    Why not Obama – a contrary view
    A few random thoughts on key issues that highlight why Obama will be a disaster for the USA
    1. free trade , he is against free trade
    He is more interested in hoisting on foreign countries organized labor principals espoused by the unions. He refutes a free trade agreement with Colombia, he wants to renegotiate NAFTA….. The very unilateral action for which he beats up Bush.
    Show me a country that has thrived under protectionism!!!
    2. Tax – countries that raise taxes do not thrive
    Countries that raise taxes do not thrive, those that lower taxes at all levels do thrive. It is a simple rule, in fact one of the recognized great mistakes in dealing with the Great Depression was to raise taxes to balance the budget! Obama would have us believe that we can thrive when he raises taxes on income, capital gains etc, his eloquence is persuasive but he is plain wrong! lowering taxes at all levels is what works and this has been proven over and over again.
    you simply cannot produce such a list of countries that have raised taxes and thrived.
    3 socialism – not what makes the USA great
    The USA are masters of not calling something for what it really is, all due to the political correctness lobby. The redistribution of wealth, put bluntly is a major tenet of socialism, and dare I say it….. Communism.
    This is a country built on immigration, no one immigrated here for wealth redistribution they came here because they have the opportunity to do well and build wealth and move up.
    Redistribution undermines that ideal!
    4 foreign affairs – the who likes us policy!
    A policy based upon how much other countries like us vs. doing what is right and in our best interests is a policy devoid of common sense. Was Reagan popular when he accelerated arms deployment in Europe to bring the Soviet system to its knees – no, he was vastly unpopular. Making sure everyone likes us adds up to appeasement.
    I remember a chap called Chamberlain who sat without preconditions with another chap Hitler …. Chamberlain gave up the Sutendland for peace with Hitler, well Hitler took that as a sign of weakness and before you could say ABC we had WWII
    5 energy –
    Aspirational goals are great but Obama’s promise of independence in just a few years is not feasible unless you do nuclear, figure out how to use coal with CO2 capture, and produce oil from shale that does not use a lot of water or energy. Obama’s path which excludes all these, is a fools errand and the media gives him free pass on this without one challenge to his logic.
    Our energy path must balance the needs of security, the environment, economic competiveness and growth, and water usage – to only focus on some is a disaster in the making, corn based ethanol is such an example
    6. His friends
    there is a saying that you are defined by the company you keep. Well, other then when he has been running for President, Obama has been associated with an interesting list of people – he casually dismisses each association. However there is a pattern, for at least 2 decades he has hung with a set of very radical people from Pastors, priests, Professors, Palestinian activists, Chicago money men etc. This should tell us something about what really drives this man, again the media has not done one in depth analysis on how all these associations, and the ones we do not know about, have really shaped his thinking. His very disciplined speeches do not show the real Obama, non scripted comments to folk like Joe the Plumber show us more about how he thinks then a 100 speeches!
    6. Government spending
    Show me a country where there is a big, growing and intrusive government that creates sustainable wealth and opportunity for all!!
    Yes you may find a few in Europe ( but that list is shrinking), so I suggest you walk on down to their embassy and fill out the immigration forms…………..
    Democratic capitalism may have its flaws and bad moments but so far it is the best system we have
    A concerned citizen.

    Reply

  36. Steve Clemons says:

    POA – You are exactly right about what you have suggested. I had to run out before fully reviewing this and do a BBC interview on the race. Typing from BBC now. I will add the themes you suggest as they are not new to me but points I regularly have raised as you know and just neglected.
    So thanks…I’ll add them and suggest you review your assesssment of the irrelevance of the endorsement. best, steve

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see in your list of “We needs…” that you see no need to pursue accountability, reverse Bush’s policies that have given the Executive Branch unprecedented and dangerous powers, and reform our balloting process into a secure manner of making our voices heard in what was once a representative form of government.
    Steve, if we don’t have a voice, and one set of laws that apply to ALL of us, then we don’t have anything. And your list of “We needs..” is rendered irrelevant.

    Reply

  38. carol says:

    Sen Obama and Joe Biden will get this country working again…they are both decent family men who really care for the working class.
    McCain and Palin can talk and talk…usually a load of rubbish when they aren’t stirring up trouble with their rabble rousing rallies.
    This country can do better and deserves better than McCain….this man can have no pride in the campaign he has run…he will leave with no dignity.
    Lets elect Sen Obama tomorrow for President, the only decent choice.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    Reply

  39. Altan Ozcandarli says:

    Thank you Steve for the very thoughtful
    presentation of your thoughts. I am a middle-aged
    engineer, and I fully agree with all that I can
    understand and verify. I suggest to add one thing,
    even though it is not easily justified or
    verified: I think Barack Obama has a goodness of
    heart not often found combined with his level of
    intelligence and knowledge and leadership gifts.
    He is the least cynical politician of significance
    I have so far observed in this country.

    Reply

  40. b4uno says:

    This radio show is about what is truly at stake in this election, and what we are TRULY voting for. This election can change the mindset of the entire country and could have an effect for years to come. Most people don’t think of it in this way. It’s very surprising. And either way you decide, you will at least be aware and understand the unspoken implications. If you like what you hear, please pass the link on to others who you may think might like it.
    http://tinyurl.com/5znubc

    Reply

  41. MNPundit says:

    Nice. The vileness, lies and fear the McCain campaign has used for months doesn’t bother you one bit does it? Thanks for reminding me just how much of a “realist” you are.

    Reply

  42. DonS says:

    Good words about new “social contract”, home and abroad.
    Excellent words on no third Clinton term.
    Exactly correct words on putting the “Middle East Peace Business” out of business.
    And fine word on Biden who has been given a bad rap in the MSM for “gaffes” and who has been campaigning his heart out.

    Reply

  43. Spunkmeyer says:

    We’re screwed in many ways, which will take years to repair,
    regardless of who is elected tomorrow… but Obama/Biden seems
    the best suited to address the challenges. Thanks for putting it
    out there in print on your web site.

    Reply

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