S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The past few days with candidate Obama --

This post references the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama. It begins with a general overview of what went on recently with the senator. The Democrats are saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of the campaign.” The Obama campaign is vows to be more aggressive with push-back against John McCain. Two of the three biggest Democrats got together for lunch Thursday. Politico's John Harris speculates (9/12/08) about the advice Bill Clinton may have given Barack Obama. To summarize this excellent read:

1. Don’t make this about you. . . 2. Define yourself through policies—yours and theirs. . . 3. Have more fun. . . 4. Make the election about something big. . . 5. Spend more time speaking to your opponents. . . 6. Don’t take Hillary voters for granted. . . 7. Stop smoking whatever it is you are smoking. . . 8. And while you are it, give me an apology.

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice, we can look for more defining McCain through policies, rather than getting distracted by the Palin phenomenon. That is what many Democrats would also say to Obama. This from, on 9/5/08, opines that is, "Obama's Palin strategy: Sit and Wait." It is by Ben Smith and Carrie Budoff Brown. To quote:

The Obama campaign has no silver bullet to use against the Palin. Instead, Obama has decided to largely avoid directly engaging her and will instead keep his focus largely on John McCain and on linking the Republican ticket to President George W. Bush. The Obama campaign will leave Palin to navigate the same cycle of celebrity that Obama has weathered, and the same peril that her nascent image will be defined by questions and contradictions from her Alaska past.

Thursday, Obama and his senior aides cast Palin as little more than a surrogate for McCain and her party, leaving the more direct engagement to a newly prominent group of female surrogates. Chief campaign strategist David Axelrod called Palin a "skilled politician" who "had an assignment, and she went out and she discharged it."

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice to make this campaign about something big, we can look for more on national Security and the military, and I would add, civil liberties. "Intel Dump" is a blog by Phillip Carter at the Washington Post. Carter has gone on leave of absence to work with the Barack Obama Campaign as the National Veterans Director. Guest blogger experts will fill in for him in the interim. Back in April he wrote a very interesting post titled, "Whither the 4th Amendment." To quote:

A great deal was written this past week [early April] about the latest torture memo to surface. . . Buried within the memo, however, is an extremely interesting and potentially important footnote alluding to far-reaching uses of executive power within the United States.

[footnoted in original] What exactly does this mean?

It could refer to the National Security Agency's now-well-publicized surveillance program -- a program grounded in many of the same constitutional theories of presidential power that underlie the torture memoranda. It could also refer to deployment of federal military forces within the United States and action they could take against U.S. citizens, such as hypothetically searching someone's bag for suspected explosives at an airport. (It should be noted that most soldiers deployed for homeland security are state National Guard soldiers, who for complex reasons are subject to different legal rules than federal soldiers.) Or the footnote could refer to clandestine domestic military operations conducted by the Defense Department and its intelligence components -- things we can only guess at.

If Barack Obama uses President Clinton's advice, he stands a better chance of getting elected, in my opinion. The nation needs a genuine change in direction. Senator John McCain does not represent change. He and his Vice-President would be more of the same abuses of power, war as opposed to diplomacy, and erosion of civil liberties that went on in the Bush administration. The nation just cannot afford to stay on the Bush path any longer.

Handy Dandy References --

  • From Are You Registered to Vote? Are You Sure ?Republicans are working quietly to steal another election by disenfranchising Democratic voters, just as they did in 2000 and 2004. So please make sure you are registered to vote! Login to and click:

  • JIM VANDEHEI & HARRY SIEGEL (9/7/08), from, noted: "Doh!: Top eight gaffes of the campaign."

  • From regular contributor, Jon (9/1/08): from AlterNet -- All over the world, alternative approaches to capitalist greed are bubbling up from the grassroots. This post by Mark Engler, posted September 1, 2008, posits that There is an Alternative to Corporate Rule. Editor's Note: This article is adapted from Mark Engler's new book How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy (Nation Books, 2008).

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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