February 4, 2008  ·  Lessig

I wasn’t going to do this, but then someone ask me to do it, and someone else told me (to my horror — not that it would be insane for anyone, but insane for her) that she was for Clinton. So consider this my precinct captain duty for the lessig blog.

Watch or download the high-quality video here (torrent). Or read it here (thanks Chris!).

  • http://www.stefanhayden.com Stefan Hayden

    quick.. upload this to youtube! there is till time till super tuesday!

  • Nikhil Mulani

    Great job! By the way, you mentioned no real policy differences, but you might be interested in this article, which talks about how Obama’s domestic economic policies create an environment where people benefit themselves while also benefiting the common good, in contrast to other candidates.

  • http://astuasbalas.com Cesare

    Great. Unfortunately, I’m Scottish, and Scottish people cannot vote in this election. But your message was the most impressive I have listened about Obama. Thank you. I trust on you, U.S.

  • Kenan Farrell

    Thank you Professor Lessig for taking the time to put this together. I hope many people will take the time to view it.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Reasonably argued, but regrets, I don’t buy it.

    1) Obama’s no angel

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/harry_louise_again.html
    Harry & Louise Again?
    February 4, 2008
    Obama mailer on Clinton health care plan lacks context.
    Summary

    An Obama mailer stretches the differences between the candidates on health care”

    2): Running for President requires an ENORMOUS amount of money. It has to come from somewhere. And Obama gets plenty of fat-cat support (can’t give links or the spam-trap will eat this message).

    3) US foreign policy in the Middle East is majorly driven by the economics of oil and alliances thereof. What the “Arab street” is going to see is not “change” but a colonial adminstrator, of a type they know real well. You’re putting way more importance on symbols meaningful to US liberal intellectuals than make any real difference on the ground.

    Other stuff:

    4) Obama is a rookie. Going up against an experienced, mean, veteran in many senses. I don’t see he can handle it. Bleating “Change!” isn’t going to cut it.

    5) Moral courage is easy when there’s no cost to it. I view him as mostly having taken a gamble that paid off on opposing the Iraq War, rather than it being an issue of right vs. popular. Anyone who keeps doing right and not popular in politics loses power (to a first approximation).

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    reposted to see if I can get it through the spam-trap] [part 1]

    Reasonably argued, but regrets, I don’t buy it.

    1) Obama’s no angel

    From factcheck.org: Harry & Louise Again? February 4, 2008
    Obama mailer on Clinton health care plan lacks context.

    Summary: An Obama mailer stretches the differences between the candidates on health care”

    2): Running for President requires an ENORMOUS amount of money. It has to come from somewhere. And Obama gets plenty of fat-cat support (can’t give links or the spam-trap will eat this message).

    3) US foreign policy in the Middle East is majorly driven by the economics of oil and alliances thereof. What the “Arab street” is going to see is not “change” but a colonial administrator, of a type they know real well. You’re putting way more importance on symbols meaningful to US liberal intellectuals than make any real difference on the ground.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    [repost - part 2]

    Other stuff:

    4) Obama is a rookie. Going up against an experienced, mean, veteran in many senses. I don’t see he can handle it. Bleating “Change!” isn’t going to cut it.

    5) Moral courage is easy when there’s no cost to it. I view him as mostly having taken a gamble that paid off on opposing the Iraq War, rather than it being an issue of right vs. popular. Anyone who keeps doing right and not popular in politics loses power (to a first approximation).

  • mike charlton

    This is a first rate thoughtful piece. For what it’s worth and that’s probably not much, what persuaded me about Obama was that of the roughly 250 democrats who make a living from foreign policy, 90% supported him for president, primarily because they believed he had the best chance to restore America’s positive standing in the world. The other reason was a speech he gave on education and its importance to our future. Hopefully, we’ll see him in action.

  • http://blog.printf.net/ Chris

    Hi,

    I enjoyed watching this video — furthermore, I think it contains important ideas. Does anyone know if there is already a text transcript available? Perhaps it would be useful for me to help to create one?

    - Chris.

  • http://blog.printf.net/ Chris

    I’m working on transcribing this now, using a Gobby server at monad.printf.net to edit collaboratively. I’ll link to the transcript once we’re done.

    Thanks,

    - Chris.

  • Jerome

    Well made point – so much of what I’ve heard is that Clinton has more experience but I think Obama pointed out that so was Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. I have to say yo’veu sold me – though I admit I was leaning towards Obama since South Carolina. Thanks!

  • Adarrah

    Obama 08′

  • Gobama

    Very well done, Professor.

    Those intangible qualities of leadership; integrity, principle, vision, etc, Senator Obama has in abundance.
    Those are the qualities that cause ‘followers’ to feel extremely confident that they will be led to a better place.
    And these rapidly changing times, America will follow a better path or be left in the dust bin of history.

    The other Presidential candidates for the most part are just playing the same ole same ole politics of personal ambition alone, etc.

    There is nothing wrong with personal ambitions; but a good leader MUST also be about the people and about patriotism, about the common good.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Before I post a comment to the video…I found it funny that the two words I helped digitize were ‘shady’ and ‘judge.’

    As for the video, plenty of great points made. This man is the real deal, or off the charts as lessig says.

    A point not made in the video, that Seth may consider, is that Obama can beat McCain, which Hillary will have a hard time doing. McCain vs. Clinton would be a throwback to the split decisions we’ve seen in the past.

    Does this sound like a familiar Illinois politician? : “He went along with the… leaders in blaming the… administration for bringing on war…though he always voted for appropriations to sustain it. His opposition to the war was unpopular in his district, however.” (Encyclopedia Americana, Grolier)

    And Seth may be surprised to learn that this Illinois Congressman also lacked much experience in office with only 6years in the state house (same as Obama?) and a term in the U.S. house. But when the 1860′s America needed to be United, Lincoln stepped up. (the war he earlier opposed was with Mexico)

    Obama can take the veteran McCain, and all they throw at him.

    Best all, and Seth, nothing but love for another interested and intelligent citizen.

    Mark

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/sj sj

    Thanks for blogging this. Chris Ball, Mad Price and I are transcribing it — posting a link soon. –SJ

  • Mary

    Thank you Dr Lessig. You are an inspiration. I have appreciated you on so many levels. I have always valued your opinions, and even though I found Barack Obama without knowing you supported him, when I heard you did months ago, I was reassured.

    Sadly, I see that the RNC and the Rovian politicans weren’t discouraged from posting even here, even against you. FYI, I am one of those “fat cats” that donated to Barack Obama. I make about 50k a year and am a single mother of a disabled child. I don’t get child support, I don’t get any government handouts. I donated because this man IS THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS JOB. I donated to the maximum, just so you know. I’ve never donated to any political campaign before. I’ve’ never participated in the primary process before.

    But what you don’t know and clearly don’t realize is that I FULLY researched EVERY candidate in this race. This man is IT. And anyone who studies it and researches, as have so many Obama supporters (I even read the expose), knows it. So maybe you should go back to the drawing board!!

    Barack is from Chicago; do you really think that Clintons wouldn’t have ‘exposed’ whatever secrets, and do you really think he can’t defend himself, after watching him brush off the Clintons’ attacks??? C’mon. It’s because of people like you, who have no hope and nothing but hatred to spew that people don’t feel safe in trusting. What is it that keeps YOU from trusting? Sad….

    Thank you again, Dr Lessig. It seems we will all have a place in an Obama Administration!!

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Mark: Tell me why Obama can beat McCain. One reason I think Clinton is the better candidate is because both Bill and Hillary have been through everything the Republican smear-machine could throw at them, and they’re still standing. Every lie, every dirty trick, every smear, every blast from the Mighty Wurlitzer. Not petty little stuff like taking a speech off a website, but real wild conspiracy theories. That’s the sort of “experience” I think makes a difference. Where has Obama proven he can defend against that? I know, he makes great speeches. That’s not enough.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Seth: Yikes, my father actually built a Wurlitzer like contraption…he said the drum was for me, but I never got to play it. I’ve never heard the term used as you did. Cheers.

    Why can Obama win? Well, it’s late so I’ll try to slip this one by you…

    Clinton votes + Republicans that don’t like Clinton and don’t like McCain > Republicans who like McCain + Democrats that don’t like Obama

    Mark

  • http://blog.printf.net/ Chris

    Here is our transcription:

    http://blog.printf.net/articles/2008/02/05/transcript-of-lawrence-lessig-obama-video

    Prof. Lessig, you’re obviously welcome to incorporate it into this webpage or link to it somehow.

    Thanks!

    - Chris.

  • Andrew

    Nice video. One small error I noticed was that the video claims that when Obama made his anti-war speech in 2002, he was a candidate for the US Senate. According to Wiklipedia, Obama didn’t announce his candidacy for US Senate until 2003.

  • joe

    Did I miss something? How is a man who is focusing on corruption, implying that Hillary Clinton is not for campaign finance reform and hailing Obama as a beacon of hope? Hillary Clinton is a supporter of public financing (e.g. Canada), whereas Obama is apparently a supporter of people giving money but not lobbyists. Don’t ask me how Obama’s thing makes sense, or how Mr. Lessig can rail against people for being misleading while being misleading himself!?: Including that blurb about Hillary saying she won’t join Edwards and Obama in their election campaign gimmick but leaving out the public financing part. Also, I have never heard anyone argue that Obama has as deep an understanding of the issues as Hillary. It seems intelligence and experience would be the first defense against special interests’ misleading attacks. Sorry for the caustic letter, but Mr. Lessig’s endorsement is hypocritical and does not make sense based even on his own priorities. It also ignores deep differences in the candidates stances towards health care and other issues. Let’s face it, Mr. Lessig is endorsing Barack, like many Europeans, because he is black and charismatic. Not bad reasons, but not good enough. Almost as bad as my reasons for making improper use of a colon above.

  • Joe

    p.s. no one cares about Michael Bloomberg? Anyone be willing to reconsider if he ran? Just curious ’cause I kinda like the guy.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Thoughtful take on a key element:

    ANALYSIS: Who Was Telling Truth About Obama’s Iraq War Position — Clinton or Obama?

    “But Clinton’s general argument is not without some substance.

    While there is no doubt that Obama delivered a strong anti-war speech in late 2002 — just before the U.S. Congress voted to provide President Bush with authorization of force — there is certainly a question about emphasis of Obama’s anti-war stance based on the website’s front-page introduction to visitors.”

  • http://johnsmentaldetritus.blogspot.com/ John J.

    @Seth:

    1) Barack has attack Hillary Clinton, on her policy choices using accurate facts. The quote on the mailer you are referring to says “Hillary’s health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if they can’t afford it.” This is a fact that she has on her website, and has repeated everywhere. This is what her mandate means. Everyone will have to buy a health care plan or face as yet unnamed (although hinted at) consequences.

    2) Barack has raised an enormous amount of money, and yes, some of it is from wealth people, but he has also, in the month of January alone, gotten more than 250,000 DONORs (not dollars, donors).

    3) Actually, symbols have far more importance than you realize. When you compare the symbolism of an Obama presidency, a man who has spoken out against the war in Iraq; a man whose father was a native African Muslim; who has deep familial ties outside of the United States to a Clinton, or even a McCain presidency – two people who supported the war in Iraq, vociferously, Clinton who has deep ties to Israel (especially through her AIPAC lobbyist friends), McCain who has said he wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years if needed; both who say that even being seen in the same room with someone they are against would forever stain the prestige of the presidency – the Islamic world will see a significant difference in our foreign policy, even before any changes have been made.

    4) Obama has been faced with probably the most hardened, difficult to defeat political combination the Democrats have to offer. Noone would have ever expected a “rookie” to be able to stand up against one Clinton alone, much less both of them in a focused attack. But he did it and came out shining. You are right that Clinton is a stronger trench fighter, but the fact that Obama has been able to do as well as he has against her has shown that he can hold his own against whatever the Republicans throw at him.

    5) He has faced significant costs to do what is right. The Illinois Senatorial race would have been lost because he stood up for what is right were it not for his initial opponent so often doing what is wrong. He has repeated done what is right and not what is easy in fighting for lobbying reform, both in Illinois and in the Federal Congress (there is still work that needs to be done there though, which he acknowledges).

  • John J.

    @Joe: It is easy to support public financing of campaigns when it has no chance of touching what lobbyists can give a well situated candidate. Contrary to what you have said, Obama does support increased campaign finance reform, in fact going a step further than Clinton in asking for the media to give free air time to all political candidates. From his site:

    “Support Campaign Finance Reform: Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system.”

  • Brian Keare

    Bravo, Professor. Thank you for your superb contribution, as usual.

  • Robert

    Let me propose here for those who favor Clinton a second and say it’s it’s 1988 all over again and a bill comes up through the legislation that says America should become a nation run by two families for the next 30 years. Ask yourself if you would have supported such a piece of legislation. America was not created so that family dynasties could run this country for an extended period of time. That’s why there are 8 year terms, specially so that we did not turn into a monarch system after FDR served 4 terms, another president with a bloodline. While this isn’t an argument based on a factual premise, it’s an argument based on the wisdom of history. History proves that monarchical societies fail, over and over throughout history. While it didn’t fail with Teddy R. and FDR, it sure as heck failed with the Bushes. The British Royal Family still enjoys it’s title, at least they do not have any control (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists of the Rothschilds’ and the 13 families of power).

    But I digress, please Vote for Change!!!! Sì, se puede!
    -p.s. Brilliant Larry, Just Brilliant

  • Jason Goemaat

    Seth: 4) Obama is a rookie. Going up against an experienced, mean, veteran in many senses. I don’t see he can handle it. Bleating “Change!” isn’t going to cut it.

    Well, beating ‘Change’ got him to win Iowa, and all democrat AND republican candidates were beating ‘Change’ the next week. The Daily Show had a startling comparison of Romney praising Bush’s Iraq policy the week before and talking about needing change the week after. Listen to the video about ‘Change’ again, Clinton doesn’t mean it.

    Seth: 3) US foreign policy in the Middle East is majorly driven by the economics of oil and alliances thereof. What the “Arab street” is going to see is not “change” but a colonial administrator, of a type they know real well. You’re putting way more importance on symbols meaningful to US liberal intellectuals than make any real difference on the ground.

    Obama’s plan calls for us being out of Iraq 16 months after he takes office. Hilary doesn’t have a plan. Her plan is to get advice within the first 60 days she’s in office. Seeing a black man who had always opposed the war start bringing home our colonial troops the month after he takes office WILL make them see us differently.

  • Ben Jackson

    thanks, professor lessig!

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    @John J.

    1) See the factcheck.org analysis – “But the Obama mailer leaves out any information on cost-reduction measures and low-income help that Clinton’s plan offers, while it touts such measures found in his plan”.

    2) Every serious Presidential candidate has small donors. It doesn’t matter nearly as much as hyped.

    3) I see this point is going to get endless repetition of respondents saying that THEY like symbol :-(. I suspect people don’t even know what I’m talking about in terms of what he’s really going to symbolize.

    4) The stuff he’s been getting from the Clintons is nearly trivial compared to what the Republicans will do to him. I meant, he’s gotten basic Usenet flame-war level distortions, not the character-assassination that’ll come from the Rove-style smear-artists.

    5) After reading the link I gave above, I’m again less inclined to think of him as a beacon of moral purity than someone who took a calculated risk which paid off.

  • Miguel de Icaza

    Individual campaign contributions (at least to the Obama campaign) are capped at 2,600 dollars, so it does not matter if you are a millionaire or billionaire, your contribution cap is 2,600 dollars and there are a number of other conditions that you must satisfy (anyone who has donated on his site will be familiar with the limits and restrictions).

    As for Obama’s age, he is older today than JFK, Bill Clinton and Theodore Roosevelt were when they got into office.

    Obama’s age has only become an issue in the eyes of his opponents.

  • Miguel de Icaza

    Seth,

    The issue is not whether the Clinton campaign is worse than the republicans. The issue is that there is a line, that Larry calls Rovian politics, and to many of us that line must not be crossed.

    It does not matter if you are 10% Rovian and the Republicans are 100% Rovian. The issue is that they are using Rovian techniques to achieve their goals. And electing people that use these techniques over people that do not will only reward the people that continue using them. Minute 13 articulates this very well.

    Miguel.

  • http://www.bippr.com Greg Tallent

    From London to Commenters:

    It’s not the details on which candidate voted for what that is the point of the presentation.It’s the message that Obama sends out to the world that matters. From where I am it’s key to a shift in perception, to a more reasonable and safer world.

    Hope you guys get it right on Tuesday.

  • Michelle Berman

    Larry – that was great, but I think you didn’t focus upon easily the most important issue – electability. This is the number one issue for me Since Obama and Clinton aren’t far apart on policy issues, I want the Democratic nominee to be the one that has the best chance to win against the Republican candidate in the national election. Obama is clearly that candidate.

    The problem with Hilary Clinton is that she is — for whatever reason — a very polarizing figure to moderates and conservatives (and even some liberals). Her presence on the ballot would surely galvanize Republicans to the polls in November in a way that Obama’s presence certainly would not.

    This upcoming election is crucial. More than likely, the next president will appoint at least two Supreme Court justices (Stephens, Ginsburg), and many more lower court federal judges. Democrats cannot afford to screw this one up. We have a history of being blinded by our insularity, and selecting primary candidates that are utterly unpalatable to the population at large (Mondale, Dukakis, Humphrey). We live in our little blue enclaves of New York, Massachusetts, California, and D.C., not caring as to what appeals to the country at large. We can’t afford to do this here.

    While I think that Hilary would make a fine President, she simply will not win the national election. The combination of her polarizing image to the right, and her inability to attract independents (especially against a candidate like McCain).

    We have to be sensible, and put our differences aside, and select the most electable candidate. This is what the Republicans have done in focusing on McCain – by far the most electable of the Republicans. I’m sure that many would have liked to have seen President Huckabee, but taking electability concerns into account, cast their ballot for McCain. It amazes me how many Democrats are not taking electability into account – a naïve, simplistic, and ultimately, fatal flaw.

    I hate to say it, but Obama is electable, Clinton is not, and this is the issue that Democrats should be focused upon.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Miguel, I think the characterization of what Hillary Clinton did as Rovian is overwrought. Not that I’m defending it, but Rove is on another level entirely. There’s a lot of lying in politics.

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/obamas_creative_clippings_part_deux.html

    “The Obama campaign’s new ad uses an old trick and takes quotes from newspapers out of context. “

    After reading up on the website speech issue, I think Hillary Clinton had an underlying reasonable point and went too far with it. But I’m not going to put her on different moral plane for that.

    I understand the impulse to play up the candidate favored and play down the candidate disfavored. But I’m saying I find these arguments unconvincing.

  • http://booxter.blogspot.com booxter

    Though this film is for Americans it’s ideas and expectations belong to most of people all over the world. Not expecting moral courage from politician is a right way to get G.Bush / A.Lukašenka with the help of wrong vote. The lack of moral courage leads to lack of it for each citizen. That’s what I see in my country. That’s what other countries should avoid even if they need other’s oil…
    Belarus is with you.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    [second try]
    Miguel, I think the characterization of what Hillary Clinton did as Rovian is overwrought. I’m not defending it, but Rove is on another level entirely. There’s a lot of lying in politics.

    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/obamas_creative_clippings_part_deux.html
    “The Obama campaign’s new ad uses an old trick and takes quotes from newspapers out of context.”

    After reading up on the website speech issue, I think Hillary Clinton had an underlying reasonable point and went too far with it. But I’m not going to put her on different moral plane for that.

    I understand the impulse to play up the favored candidate and play down the disfavored candidate. But I’m saying I find these arguments unconvincing.

    Michelle Berman: – I don’t see the utter obviousness of Barack Obama’s electability, especially factoring in what he’ll look like after the 2008 Swift Boaters get through with him. In fact, I think Hillary Clinton’s argument that basically they can’t smear her any worse than they’ve done already is a pretty good, if sad, case for her candidacy.

  • http://blondechris.com Chris Cunningham

    I’m sorry to say this, but I think it’s a bit telling that a request from someone who believed that Obama was light on policy was reponded to with a speech which boils down to “hope, integrity, courage, Hillary’s unfit”. In fact, I think it adds to the problem; the request pointed out that the Obama campaign is essentially a series of catchphrases, and that’s what the response was.

    – Chris

  • http://www.conorschaefer.com/blog/ Conor

    I was actually extremely disappointed in this video. I expected a little discussion of Obama’s tech policy! It was just another “Obama is better than crazy old Clinton video.” Sure, I guess it helps to hear that message from your mouth, Lawrence, but I think you’re in a position to say a lot more on certain subjects. Please don’t squander that opportunity.

    Thanks for trying to get this out before Super Tuesday, though.

  • Anthony Damiani

    Once again, Professor, we owe you a debt for your impassioned advocacy.

  • thinkart

    Seth Finkelstein said: “Obama is a rookie.”
    After 8 yrs with another member of the Bush family, I’ll take a newb.

  • http://www.perkel.com Marc Perkel

    Serious factual problems with your video

    First – Obama wasn’t in the Senate at the time the vote to allow Bush to abuse his powers and start a war. Since that vote Obama has vored the same as Hillary on every issus regarding Iraq. He has not made a single principled vote since he took office.

    Second – it was Obama, not Clinton who introduced racism into the South Carolina and quite frankly I’m not going to support Obama unless he apologizes for distorting what clinton said painting Clinton as a racist. You are absolutely dead wrong on this issue. Obama has run a far dirtier campaign that Hillary.

    Third – when it comes to “moral strength”, look at the 1993 attempt Hillary made on health care reform. Hillary took a principled stand and failed to accomplish anything. One thing about experience is the ability to actually get things done, not just take a principled stand and accomplish nothing. Obama is all talk.

    Even though neither of us agree with everything the Clintons did in the 1990s, the have the strongest record of accomplishment of any president in my lifetime. The bottom line is that if Hillary is president you’re your going to see more of what accomplished. If we elect Obama we’re going to see someone who talks about the problems in a more inspirational manner.

    I respect you Larry, but you are totally dead wong on this one.

    Here’s something I sent out to my Church of Reality mailing list. I didn’t make an endorsement, but tried to lay out the issues as cleanly as I can.

  • http://www.electionlogs.com election

    thanks for the video; i will link it from
    http://www.electionlogs.com

  • Caitlin

    let’s get viral with this asap!!

    thank you so much professor Lessig!!

  • Iain Campbell

    Thank you, Professor, for this cogent presentation. I’m sending your guy success vibes from across the pond. Go, Obama!!!

  • joel

    this video/letter does not make me want to vote for Obama, first off, he has little experience. I don’t care if he’s black, red, green or white.

    EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

    The only real Presidential candidate is Ron Paul. Ron Paul is the only one that sounds Presidential and knows what he is talking about on all of the issues.

    I’m looking forward to seeing Obama debate Dr. Paul.

  • http://adamanthenes.blogspot.com W.E.B. Adamant

    While I’m at work and can’t watch your video with sound at the moment, I’ve already spread your video to those I know who are undecided or even decided. I hope you’ve followed the advice given above and uploaded this to YouTube. You could be instrumental in changing minds (along with the “Yes We Can” video).

    Thanks for the detailed response to the request. Obama will certainly fair better for it.

  • http://tulrich.com Thatcher Ulrich

    1. Anyone who thinks Obama is thin on policy is not sincerely looking. Start here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

    2. I think Hillary has lots of electability problems vs. John McCain. For one thing, the experience argument is completely reversed. More important is her ambiguous history of positions on the Iraq war. We had this problem with John Kerry, and he was a war hero. It wasn’t just Swift-boating — he was fundamentally compromised.

    3. Obama has a gift, like I have never seen in my lifetime. “Electability”, while I think it is relevant, is such a weak description of what Obama has. Obama is inspirational. Obama can campaign in the reddest of red states and change minds, help win seats, and create pressure on incumbents. Fixing healthcare, ending the war, and restoring balance to our economy are jobs that are too big for any President to accomplish, without the support of both the people and the Congress.

    4. I also take it very personally, that back on the eve of the Iraq war, when I was marching in the streets to protest the invasion along with millions of other people, my senator, Hillary Clinton, had effectively abandoned us. At the time I considered it to have been partly a political calculation, based on her need to appear tough, in order to someday run for President. It’s not completely unforgivable — other leaders made the same mistake at the time, including John Kerry, who I supported in 2004. But when you consider that Barack Obama, who was running for US Senate at the time, had both the correct judgment and the balls to say so, there is no comparison. That is the guy I want in the White House.

  • RonE

    I read the transcript, and I thank you for your well thought-out views. To the individual who posted the transcript, thank you as well!

    I’m registered as a Republican, yet I’ve always been closer to the conceptual middle ground. That said, on this important day (I’m voting in TN), I shall be casting my vote for Mr. Obama. I’ve been reading about the candidates for some time, but your words are what essentially decided things for me. Thank you for taking the time.

  • http://easterneuropetravel.us steve michael

    barack is my man as well, and http://www.opentopix.com is the largest site that is supporting him so far.

  • http://192.168.1.103 Rick Rushing

    The minutia of factual correctness is lost on me. We all know that this is the biggest game there is and it will get garbled and dirty. On the whole the Obama and Clinton platforms are quite similar so I turn to my sense of character, conviction and the direction the country might take.

    I have to give the nod to Obama on all three counts, with the last being the most important. We simply must curtail the power of the presidency. If indeed Obama lacks the experience that Clinton has in the White House and inside the beltway, that’s probably a good thing. There’s plenty of talent in the Democratic party to provide him with staff and departmental guidance and the Congress clearly needs to reassert it’s constitutional authority.
    It’s unlikely that the Clintons, especially the messianic Mr. Bill, would be willing to back off presidential authority one inch.

    Thanks for the video piece. Nicely done. Okay, maybe it’s not perfect but, hey, that’s politics ain’t it?

  • hlm

    4Obama? Policies r Strong?

    You expect to be taken seriously?

  • Colin

    Yet Obama didn’t have the integrity to vote against funding the war, nor of voting against the Patriot Act.

    Ron Paul has far more integrity and courage that Mr. Obama.

  • Gaspar

    Clinton’s idea of a technology plan is to “hire bloggers at government agencies”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/01/27/clinton-lets-put-blogge_n_83494.html
    http://gawker.com/349703/clinton-to-appoint-government-webloggers

    Obama, on the other hand, wants to:
    1. increase transparency of government
    2. limit the influence of corporate lobbyists
    3. Technology and Communications: safegaurd privacy, “net neutrality”, prevent consolidation of media, support open standards…

    Regarding items #1 and #2, Obama already has a solid accomplishment under his belt:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Funding_Accountability_and_Transparency_Act_of_2006

    These issues are not even on Hillary’s radar, I doubt she even understands them. (She didn’t run the right polls, I guess.)

    These are complicated set of inter-related “21st century” issues that every politician should be taking a stand on, because they affect: our economy, job creation, privacy, … as well the functioning of democracy, itself.

  • larratta

    Shame on you, professor!

    War is wrong???? War is pain, but war is American’s life! what happened if Iraq do have massive weapons? If you don’t go to the war, you will never prove the truth, now we can sleep well.

    Everyone should go to cnn to watch the last debate, he is too far away from Hillary clinton regarding intellgence, skills, judgement. He laugh mitt make bad investment, whild he made a good investment, even the host shocked, but Hillary make a beautuful strong answer!

    When Bush elected, all the Europe newspaper have the headline, ” are american stupid?”

    This time, American again?
    Another ” inspiring, hope” again, Change again? hope for what? He only bring all the loser into the office.

    American is just a Giant Giant boat, we need Hillray Clinton who have the ability to run, American just can’t afford to any wrong doings, Wish god do not let obama elected, who will sink the giatn boat. inspiring without solution that is sign of danger.

    Looks most of his big job is his repeated again and again in any debate,——a community organizer, he can run as a community organizer, but not USA!

    Our political system is great, but not perfect, like China now, a canidate start form 20s , after 30 years training, real job tested, real result approved person who become a final clear winner, this is the luck for China, But in USA, we still need inspiring, when we grown up? Looks even luck is not on the American’s side.

    Forget we are the richest, best good feeling, in the global 21st century, We need leader who have ability, not inpiring and luck!

  • BubbaJudge

    Great Piece, I passed this onto our Precinct Captain for tonight, thank you!

    as to Ron Paul, other than being a kook with a very iffy voting record and affiliations with some less than savory organizations, all you GOPers vote away for him, it is sweet irony that you get the Nader this time, lol

  • Anonymous

    The blip.tv link is broken.

  • http://noebie.net Noebie

    i voted for barack in illinois this morning

    video here

  • http://peteashdown.org Pete Ashdown

    Unfortunately, Hillary is the one Democrat who will unite the right and lose the general election. Only loons like Coulter claim they would cross-over and vote Hillary against McCain. Many moderate Republicans would vote for Obama or simply stay home. However, if Hillary is the nominee they’ll come out to the polls in droves and unite for another Democratic loss. Regardless of whether there was fraud in 2000 and 2004, Democrats still have a very narrow margin.

  • Kora Winer

    > Unfortunately, Hillary is the one Democrat who will unite the right and lose the general election.

    Pete Ashdown: You are *absolutely* right about this. This is the main issue – electability.

    Imagine if the Republicans selected Rush Limbaugh or David Duke a similar polarizing figure as their candidate. Democrats would stream out in droves to the polls simply to vote against him — regardless of who their own nominee was.

    You can imagine your visceral reaction to this idea — this is essentially the reaction of the core of the Republican party to the idea of HIlary Clinton as President. While she is electable in a blue state like New York, she is unelectable nation wide. It has nothing to do with her ability to weather “Swift Boat” attacks — that is totally irrelevant. She inspires the opposition to vote, and that alone means that she has no chance nationally.

    Obama, while certainly not a sure-fire winner, and not without problems, is immensely more electable that Clinton for the reason that he won’t passionately unite the GOP against him (the same way that McCain won’t passionately unite the Democrats against him the way a Limbaugh might).

  • http://siliconvalleymusings.com Steve Wilhelm

    You can also download an audio version of the presentation here, http://www.siliconvalleymusings.com/audio/LarryLessig4Barack.mp3

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdDzvmY1XPo Leandro
  • http://corvida.ilumine.net Corvida

    Thank you for making this! And yes, you did change my mind. Thank you!

  • avisitor from the Ireland

    Dynasties in power = not a Democratic model = not an example for US to show to a world in trouble and in which US influence is needed.

    The world is watching and the world needs example.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the USA could set an example…the USA as the first of the colonies to leave the British Empire with its amazing DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and what an example it showed for a new democratic model rather than an inherited privilege ?

    And then Civil rights movement in the 50′s and 60′s and what it inspired around the world ?

    And now this? We are in a changing time and we need innovative thinking

    IF the USA can reinvent itself and send a message by example to younger democracies and to democracies which have yet to be formed and to those in trouble, corrupted and failing.

    CHANGE……?

    YES YOU CAN USA……………I LOVE America for this, for this window of opportunity.

    Carpe diem

  • Jed

    An extraordinarily coherent and compelling argument.

    Thank you for raising the plank of political discourse.

  • ckrantz

    In others words wote for change, what ever that is. Of course this is the election of a candidate, not the president. After 8 years of Bush i’d rather stay in the realist based community than join a cult.

    Nice words from a former young Republican.

  • David

    On the Republican side, Paul mentioned, in Iowa, that he would donate the new Vatican-sized embassy in Iraq to an organization akin to the Red Cross/Crescent. The embassy itself was built with foreign laborers who were tricked into thinking they were going to be doing construction work in the Arab peninsula, but instead were essentially forced to work in Baghdad under inhumane working conditions in building the embassy.

    Would Barrack also be willing to do the same, or something similar to Paul’s proposal of giving the building to the Iraqi people?

  • http://www.tallent.us/blog/ Richard Tallent

    Great thoughts… trackbacks don’t seem to be showing up, so here’s my response:

    http://www.tallent.us/blog/?p=24

  • http://www.tallent.us/blog/?p=24 Richard Tallent

    Really having a hard time here getting past the filters… what’s the point of Captcha if the site is going to also have such aggressive comment filtering?

    On-topic: great thoughts, my response is on my blog (linked with my name since I apparently can’t directly link to it in the comment).

  • Nick

    Thank you for this video. Doing my best to get this out to as many people as possible. Any possibility to get this on youtube?

  • Rick

    @larrata

    Shame on you for pretending to have grammar similar to that of a Chinese person using English. Why do I know this? It’s because of your impeccably correct use punctuation.

  • Nora

    I’m a 23-year-old Stanford alumna with close family and friends throughout the Middle East. I’ve worked extensively with Iraqi refugees in Beirut. It’s safe to say I’ve spent a fair share of time listening to “the Arab street.” And contrary to what Mr. Finkelstein claims, the Arab world is eagerly anticipating the outcome of this election–in favor of Obama. Because of Senator Obama’s long-standing position against the war, and because of his own cultural background (African father, white mother, childhood in both Hawaii and Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country), his presidency could restore our standing in the Middle East and throughout the international community, a feat not to be undervalued. Lebanese cab drivers and Baghdadi doctors alike have expressed this sentiment, sharing the view that Obama would radically change the face of America. In the words of one Egyptian barista, “If Obama’s elected, it’s not just a change for America. It would be like the entire US extending a handshake. We’d be living in a different world.” After eight years of the Bush Administration–not to mention the sanctions carried against Iraq throughout the Clinton Administration, claiming the lives of nearly 800,000 children–an Obama presidency would signify to the Arab world that we, the American people, seek a change in policy. Their animosity toward the US would be, at least to some extent, defused. Mr. Goemaat has it right.

    Just as American youth have been inspired, more than ever before in our nation’s modern history, to reengage in political discourse, so too will the international community be inspired to reengage with the American people.

  • Richard Bohn

    Your heart felt presentation echoes my own beliefs and prayers for the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency and thereon guide the people of America towards a more humain, compassionate and productive future.

  • insider

    professor lessig, hopefully you can pause the bush-bashing long enough to acknowledge that President Buch has the same “moral courage” — he pursues what he thinks is right regardless of the political cost or poll data. bur somehow his critics find this to be a bad quality.

    also, i don’t understand the notion that we need to somehow restore the USA’s popularity or respect in the world. particularly in the arab/muslim world — the attacks on 9/11 did NOT come about because of bush policies! he was in office for less than 8 months when 9/11 occurred. simply electing obama will not magically umdue the c;ash-of-civilizations between the west and the islamic world, a struggle which has been hot and bloody for 1200 years and which contemporary difficulties over oil or the Shah or Israel/Palestine are symptoms, not the disease.

    any case, again, if we somehow magically “undo” the effects of the Bush administration, all we are left with is… the world which created 9/11

  • TekDrek

    Nice Powerpoint fluff but Lessig falls into the same political hairsplitting of which he accuses Clinton. Both candidates are using the same tactics and its not pretty. And its depressing to see Lessig see through one line (Clinton’s) and not the other line (Obama’s). From what I’ve seen, a vote for integrity went out the window when Kucinich dropped out. “The party of ideas” line was clearly Obama pandering to misbegotten republicans – and he should get called out for it. Yes, he didn’t say they were good ideas, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY – he didn’t say how egregiously bad they were.

  • http://www.tallent.us/blog/ Richard Tallent

    @insider: dogged obstinence is not the same thing as moral courage.
    It is not moral to invade countries based on faulty intelligence and suspicion.
    It is not moral to take away the civil rights of citizens in the name of security.
    It is not moral to bankrupt an economy as you leave office.
    It is not moral to make nuclear threats against a country that your own intelligence agencies tell you is no threat.
    It is not moral to torture prisoners of war and detainees.

    We don’t need another “decider,” we need someone with a much stronger moral compass.

    You make a good point about 9/11, but the reality is that those people hate us and attack us because of the last 50 years of us meddling in their affairs.

    So yes, the problem already existed, but Bush had just exacerbated it with his indiscriminate warmongering, playing into Bin Laden’s goals (which, stated recently, are to drain us financially just as we helped him drain the USSR in Afghanistan back in the 80′s).

  • Chris Parker

    I will probably vote for the Republican (economic policies) but I really hope that Barack wins the Democrat seat. He is brilliant, likable, and would probably beat John McCain.

  • Andrew Neely

    You’ve done more than anyone to persuade me that Obama is the right candidate for me. I hope I can vote for him in November.

    Thank you, Professor.

  • Nerea Otero

    It’s a great video – I really like it. Today I voted for Obama, but there is one thing that I would like Obama to change.

    I don’t like how Obama is supporting ‘clean’ coal – if we want to stop global warming there needs to be NO MORE COAL PERIOD! Clean coal doesn’t work – dirty coal is cheap coal, but ‘clean’ coal is expensive. Global Warming will cause 95% extinction of all life (not just species! All life!)

    Obama – please change your stance on coal.

  • Common Sense

    Are you serious? Are you off your damn rocker?? You’re favoring a MUSLIM, whose religion has an allegiance to Africa, (and that is NOT optional)!! Not to mention the fact that when the American Flag was raised and all were raising their hands to their hearts and singing praise to our beautiful country, Obama turned his back on OUR FLAG, and refused to put his hand over his heart, nor pledge his allegiance to the Flag of our country. …You know, that country he’s running for PRESIDENT of.

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS?! Open your eyes you morons!! He wants to pull our troops out, and you think that is a good idea?! Our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves for all they did to give us this nation, only to have an uprising of an evil generation come in and ruin it.

    Bush did the RIGHT thing sending troops into these countries. He caught a man who has been murdering his own, and putting fear into Americans for DECADES, and sent a clear message that we as Americans will not sit with our eyes closed and allow MUSLIMS to kills thousands of our people senslessly because A: they’re jealous of our freedoms, and B: because they’re so sick they think that murdering people will take them to heaven and they’ll have 40 virgins waiting for them. What!?!? Won’t they be surprised after they drove those planes into our buildings, leaving thousands of families without mothers, husbands, FATHERS, MOTHERS, sons, daughters…

    I could go on and on about how warped, ignorant, and stupid you all are, but quite frankly, you’re NOT worth the time.

    You’re all ignorant morons, and Obama would be doom for our country. Trust me, if he gets in office, he’s got something up his sleeve.

    I am 27 years old, I’ve followed politics since I was 11 years old, and I am STUNNED by the lack of intelligence, lack of any sense of devotion to this country and what it stands for, and lack of KNOWLEDGE, or IGNORANCE of … FACTS. Democrats wouldn’t know FACTS if their life depended on it. You’re all a disease to this WORLD.

  • http://datn.org D@n Shick

    Thanks, Professor Lessig.

  • http://www.teachpeace.com/movies2all.htm Marion Young

    Thank you, thank you, Dr. Lessig! I knew Obama was our person at the beginning of this race. But your video has given me something I can share with others to explain our position.

    Clinton does not have the solid values I teach my children. Obama does. This is why so many young people have come out in droves to vote for change. They are without hope with our current politicians who have run this country in the ground, raped our planet and have severely diminished our image. They need hope that only a leader with a clean spirit and solid values can give them. They need hope for tomorrow. We all do.

    I am SO READY for change. My money is on Obama!

  • http://gravelroadstudios.com Erik

    Man, that video is really, really hard to hear. I turned it up all the way only to turn it down for the embedded video clips!

  • http://thingsipointat.com Liam

    To the person who commented about Common Sense, I would just like to say how thankful I am that you are not able to run for office. Your idiocy up above is honestly one of the most frightening things I have ever read, it scares me that there are people as stupid and easily manipulated as you. You have been following politics since you were 11? After reading your unintelligible banter, I feel as though you yourself may very well be a religious zealot who views the Muslim religion as a threat, and that is not the case. There are religious extremists in every religion, and I get the sense you may be one yourself. Islam does not have an “allegiance” to Africa, it’s 72 virgins not 40, Obama is not very religious, and he NEVER turned his back on the American flag. I am a 29 year old Roman Catholic though not deeply religious, a veteran, and I wholeheartedly support Obama and what he is trying to do. If any of your idiotic insight were true, he would not have gotten as far as he has, so please do the world a favor and A) castrate yourself, ASAP, and B) stop trying to spread your unfounded, baseless accusations and actually open up a book and learn a thing or 2.

    Did you go to war? Did you see men & women hurt or killed? Did you sit in briefings for hours and leave with no clear concept of what your objectives were because there were none? Yeah, until you face the enemy, you have no right to determine who we should and shouldn’t focus on.

    Go OBAMA!!!

  • adam

    If we’re making assumptions anyway about what a young man sees in the Middle East waking up to the image of the next president of the US, let’s not underestimate Arab racism against black Africans (in Sudan, for example).

  • Greg Parton

    awsome video

  • Phillip

    Lessig,
    Right now I don’t know who you are or anything about you. I just came here from a link. But this piece was THE ABSOLUTE BOMB, and I have passed it along and will play it to anyone I can get to sit down. And I have saved it and will hold on to it for the rest of my life, because it’s not just about this election or the past 15 years, it’s practically another “letter from a birmingham jail”. And yes, I was alive when that letter was written.

  • http://www.lw.com Andrew Sullivan

    Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

  • http://aaronlogan.com Aaron

    Thanks, Professor Lessig, for this excellent analysis and commentary. Seeing the polling returns coming in for California (which, last time I checked, was supposed to be progressive, and hopefully not beholden to political dynasties), I only wish you had posted this several days ago, as it may have had more impact. (And, finally, thanks to @Liam for telling @Common Sense to suck it.)

  • http://peteashdown.org Pete Ashdown
  • Jack

    Lessig,
    Great video, but might I ask what font was used in said video? Thanks.

  • Jesse Molina

    Bravo for the fine evaluation and presentation of your opinion, Mr. Lessig.

    While I agree on your evaluation of Barack Obama and the act of supporting him for the office of presidency for this country, I would like to exploit my ability to provide feedback to mention one stance of Mr. Obama’s, of which I do not support or agree with. That is, individual firearm restrictions.

    I agree and support many of Obama’s position on issues. I especially appreciate his character as you so quantified for us. However, I support individual freedoms, which most definitely includes the inherent right for individuals to own weapons, such as modern firearms.

    I find some of Obama’s comments on firearms disconcerting, because of his support for laws which restrict such individual rights. Fortunately, I do get the impression that he has some respect for the issue. And, without a better choice, I must compromise where I must for the use of my vote.

    Again, thank you for the time and effort you put into your thoughtful message.

  • Joseph

    @Common Sense
    You do realize that Obama is not a Muslim, right? He is a Christian and has been his entire life. Don’t believe every e-mail you get or everything you hear from Rush Limbaugh.

  • else

    Thanks for writing this. I am an Australian and have no opportunity to vote in your elections, though I would dearly like to do so. I would vote for Barack Obama and I hope that he becomes your next president. The past 8 years has been one disaster after another, and I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is the one to improve your country and the world.

    Australia has done its part in electing Kevin Rudd to be prime minister. The US needs its own change for the better, and Barack Obama is it. Don’t let us down, America.

  • http://wannabeakp.wordpress.com Tiara

    The video was good…right until the end.

    Iran or Iraq would not likely look up to Obama and think “this is who I want for the US president”. For one entirely stupid reason, the same reason that is cited in some of the “sliming” emails: he should be a Muslim, but isn’t.

    My (moderate Muslim) mum’s been following the primaries here in Malaysia, and she’s an Obama admirer. This conversation happened this afternoon:

    Mum: *something about liking Obama’s style*
    Me: You know his dad’s a Muslim?
    Mum: Really? That means Obama’s Muslim too! Great!
    Me: Er, he isn’t actually.
    Mum: How is that possible? If his dad’s a Muslim, he should be Muslim too!

    Now, most Muslims wouldn’t care whether Obama’s Muslim or Atheist or what have you. However, the people who are able to stir up trouble – the people behind the teacher being arrested for naming a teddybear Muhammand, the people behind the fuss over the Danish cartoons – they will latch onto this and make Obama the “devil” because he is, according to them, an apostate (in Islam, the religion is patrilineal). And there are fewer people most hated by ultraconservative Muslims than apostates.

    These people would cling onto the fact that while Obama’s dad is Muslim, Obama himself isn’t, and twist that to stir up strife and discontent. It would get fluffed up into “Obama defected from Islam and hates Muslims.” They’d get the picture of Obama swearing on the Bible, they’d get the speeches where he talks about Christianity, and they’d use that to claim that Obama is just another player in the efforts of the US Government to shut down Islam.

    In a sense, it would be the opposite effect of the slime emails.

    In Malaysia, apostates get “rehabilitated” if they’re lucky. In very strict shariah law, they are charged with the death penalty. While Obama would likely have many supporters in the Muslim world (particularly more moderate/liberal countries) for his policies and general style, the rabble-rousers would be able to frighten those who don’t know better – the people in the rural areas, the really religious but under-educated poor people – and use this as an excuse to shut down America. I’ve already heard many people who claim that Bush is a Jew after 9/11 and the war on Afghanistan. Having Obama be a technical apostate

    As ashamed as I am of saying this, as this is the culture I grew up in and Islam in general is a peaceful religion – this is manna to the nutjobs. Obama’s existence is a threat to fundamentalist Muslims, and unfortunately for us (Muslims and non-Muslims) these fundies are often in a position of power. Where will we get peace in the Middle East with Obama, when he represents something a lot of them hate?

  • http://www.c4chaos.com ~C4Chaos

    thanks for posting this video, Mr. Lessig.

    i’m one of those who are still undecided but who would whole-heartedly vote for either Obama or Clinton whoever wins the Democratic primary. your arguments are very persuasive. no surprise there since you’re a kick-ass lawyer :) while watching the video i imagine myself as member of the jury watching you deliver your closing arguments in favor of Barack Obama. like i said, very persuasive.

    although i agree with your premise of character (i.e. less political baggage on the part of Obama), there are key differences in policies between Obama and Clinton and i think you’ve downplayed this differences in favor of the character argument. also, i’m still not totally convinced of the “peace” argument. as a case in point, here are a couple of insightful critiques of Obama’s post-partisan strategy.

    Obama stump speech strategy of conciliation considered harmful
    http://www.correntewire.com/obama_stump_speech_strategy_of_conciliation_considered_harmful

    Open Left: How Barack Obama Misreads History–And Why It Matters So Much
    http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3458

    that said, most likely i won’t have the time and opportunity to vote for this primary anyway since i’m out of the country and hadn’t prepared myself in anticipation for a uber-tight race. my bad. so i think i’d end up watching the Democratic primary from the sidelines, together with Economists who think that voting is a waste of freakin’ time :)

    ~C

    P.S. here’s my personal take: ignore the rhetorics and follow the money.

  • Davor

    The only one that can beat McCain is Obama, no doubt about that. They are scared of him as they can’t quite figure out what to make of him. The man is a movement, and negative politics only feed into his momentum. I honestly see absolutely no way he can be stopped at this point, and I think when he becomes the 44th president, we’ll see America as united as can only be dreamed, as wholesome as can only be imagined, and as real and morally correct as we like to think we are. The man is a natural leader, and is the only hope for not only the mentioned, but also for our economic prosperity and long term security. Bush has created generations of enemies – we got 5-6 year olds all across the Middle East growing up despising us, and, unless their hearts and mins are won the right way, and right now, they will become suicide bombers or worse a decade from now. Hillary is not concerned about common-sense reality, but about herself. McCain is a good man, but way too old, and psychologically disturbed from his ordeal in Vietnam, i.e. building permanet bases in Iraq?? He obviously never got closure on Vietnam..My opinons anyway.

  • Ric

    Why do you want to do this to us??
    http://www.ntu.org/images/2008pres_total.png

  • Emily

    I don’t understand why everyone claims that Obama and Clinton are so similar in policy issues. What about health care??? The little differences matter a great deal.

    I am very much inspired by Obama, but I will vote for Clinton because the little things add up for the little people.

  • katrina

    To the person who said they were disappointed by the lack of attention in this video to actual substantive policies: What I got from the video is that Obama’s and Clinton’s proposed policies are so similar that there is very little to discuss in terms of difference- thus, it is necessary to look at other characteristics of the candidates, to see a difference. I would also add that whatever policies and legislation the next President proposes will look very different once they get through the House and Senate and all the Committees. So it seems unproductive to scrutinize the minutiae. However, if you do care about the tiny policy details, Barack Obama has indeed thought those out as much or more as Clinton has. As someone has already said in these comments, look at http://www.barackobama.com/issues. There are very specific policy proposals for every issue imaginable. The thing is that he just doesn’t choose to make speeches that are totally based on the tiny policy details. They are there as part of his platform, and they have been very carefully thought out and drawn up, and anyone can look at them. But he seems to have made the decision that when he communicates with people in speeches, he wants to convey big ideas about how he envisions the country and the practice of governing, rather than the tiny details of policies. That is not a lack of substance, it’s simply a choice about campaign style. Hillary Clinton has a campaign style that is very tied to tiny details of policies — those are the kinds of speeches she gives. This is in fact a strategic choice- Mark Penn, one of her main advisors, is a big proponent of securing loyalty from small slices of the electorate by promising them specific narrow policies. This slices up the electorate into competing factions out for themselves, rather than talking about what we have in common. But again, all this indicates is a choice about campaign style. Obama’s campaign style is ‘broad vision” and Clinton’s is “specific details.” These are stylistic, strategic choices– the substance is there for both of them, if you are interested — they both have detailed, substantive platforms. Whenever I hear someone say that Obama has no substance, I’m sort of amused and exasperated at the same time, because this statement, while professing (often sincerely) a deep concern for substance, is actually a critique of campaign style. If you care about substance and not style, just look at their policy proposals on their web sites, and stop worrying about the styles of their speeches.

  • http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar Dean Giustini

    Extremely well-argued video, and powerfully presented.

    My only question is why don’t they work together? A Clinton-Obama ticket is a dream ticket, and a powerful message X 2 to the world that the United States has made a change. Hillary is not without her faults, but she has had to work within a male-dominated world rife with corruption, a husband who is emblematic of its excesses. Why should her abilities be constrained because she has had to find a way to operate within this world?

    Obama is an inspirational leader and would be a great vice-president. In eight years, he can run for the top job.
    Dean
    Vancouver CANADA

  • http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar/ Dean_Giustini_should_think_before_he_posts

    Great idea, Dean! Obama *could* run for president after eight years of a Clinton administration. After all, it worked for Al Gore… Oh. Wait.

  • Tom

    Excellent video, but as favorable to Barack as this is, it FAR understates Barack’s potential value as President.

    I realize that you were under certain constraints in making this video, and you used only a few examples to make each of your points, but you give far too much emphasis to the Iraq war, and what an Obama election would achieve in undoing the damage of this war. In doing so, you contribute to the insanity that got us into Iraq in the first place, by placing too much attention on the problem du jour, at the expense of so many other important issues.

    Barack’s full value as President relates to a huge range of issues from global warming, to energy independence, to education to income inequality. Its not that his STAND on these issues is that much different than Hillary’s, but, as you say with regard to peace, the difference is his potential to make a fundamental difference by his extraordinary powers of persuasion. His intelligence, integrity, passion and leadership qualities can make an enormous difference in solving any number of world problems.

    For any group of people to do the “right thing” requires both good intention and good understanding. Good intention is inherent. I believe most people have it. Good understanding is not inherent. It requires good learning. Most of us do not have good learning. We do not read enough nor think critically enough about what we read. There are plenty of brilliant people who can help us learn the truth, and Larry Lessig would be way on top of my list, but this video notwithstanding, most people don’t listen to Larry Lessig. Your opinions mostly get lost in the noise, sorry to say. The Internet amplifies your voice, but it also amplifies the noise.

    But there’s one person who has unparalleled ability to make themselves heard and understood above the noise, and that is the President of the United States. Not just in America, but worldwide.

    There has not been a President in my lifetime that has the potential to educate and lead America and the world to “do the right thing” than Barack Obama by taking advantage of the extraordinary bully pulpit of the presidency. Peace is just the start of what could be impacted by this potential.

    Whether Barack lives up to this potential is unknowable, but I am keeping all of my fingers and toes crossed that we get the chance to find out, soon.

  • Christopher Stratton

    Hi Larry:

    This is Chris Stratton – I used to live downstairs from you on Mansfield Street in New Haven. Have been pleased to hear of your successes along the way since. Best regards.

    I like both Senators in this fight, Sen. Clinton on whose staff I worked in 1992 on the Clinton-Gore campaign, and Sen. Obama, who is a singularly impressive individual. I think either would make an excellent president. I think Sen. Clinton is not without her shortcomings, as was her husband as president, and I think your criticisms of them are mostly fair and well taken.

    However, I think you elide and perhaps overlook certain valid criticisms they have made of Senator Obama and fail to note some especially troubling moves on his part and that of his campaign. In this rough and tumble – and all too Rovian – campaign season, Sen. Obama has done his share of ignoble deeds.

    Specifically, his surrogates, pursuant to a widely circulated memorandum prepared by his campaign – claimed, falsely, that President Clinton was belittling Sen. Obama’s manhood and his ethnicity when he called the Sen. Obama’s claims to purity on the Iraq War issue “the biggest fairy tale [he'd] ever heard.” This is patently false, Larry, and ridiculous on its face. Likewise Hillary Clinton’s awkward but innocent comment that dreams like Martin Luther King’s needed a sympathetic president, in LBJ, in office to push the Civil Rights Act through Congress and to sign it into law. Hillary worships the ground Martin Luther King walked on.

    Yet, in a thoroughly professional Rovian hit job, Sen. Obama’s surrogates fanned out across South Carolina – and I believe they were, and you are, well aware of the ethinic composition of the Democratic primary electorate in the Palmetto State – they fanned across the state claiming these were racial outrages. Sen. Obama went around and about the state himself speaking to largely African American audiences of how “they” want to “bamboozle you,” echoing the fiery rhetoric of Malcolm X (do you suppose that juxtaposition might come up this fall in a mailer or push poll or two?) and casting Bill Clinton (!) in the role of a latter day Lester Maddox or George Wallace.

    There is no fitting adjective for this short of asinine and scurrilous. And worthy of Karl Rove at the height of his powers. And, in my judgment, desperate in the wake of the loss in New Hampshire, which coupled with her subsequent win on actual votes cast in the Nevada caucus (as opposed to in the delegate count), began to restore Sen. Clinton’s sheen of inevitability. I think Sen. Obama and his campaign panicked after losing New Hampshire, knowing that if they lost South Carolina or did not score a sizeable victory given the electorate’s ethnic composition, that they would be road kill, run over by the Hillary steamroller. Not exactly a profile in courage and character at a moment that truly tested their mettle.

    More Rovian tactics – the Harry and Louise leaflet pushed by Sen. Obama’s campaign to countless voters in Super Tuesday states speaking of how Hillary Clinton would FORCE people who could not afford health insurance to take it even though they do not want it. I refer you to Paul Krugman for further examination of this range of issues – doubtless you are well acquainted with where Prof. Krugman stands on these matter. But you speak of taking a strength and trying to turn it into a weakness – one of Sen. Clinton’s greatest strengths is her admirably gutsy willingness, echoing Sen. Edwards, whom you single out for praise, to mandate and to enforce individual enrollment, as contrasted with Sen. Obama’s morally inconsisent (would you call it “cowering”?) refusal to mandate individual coverage even as he has enforceable mandates for children’s coverage (do I smell a focus group or two at work there?).

    Finally, as to the substance of the “fairy tale” remark. Sen. Obama undermined his *own* greatest strength here, in defending his party’s nominee, John Kerry, in 2004 after Mr. Kerry’s ill-considered and self-defeating “I supported the $87 billion before I opposed it” comment (please forgive if my quote is imprecise, though I believe I have it right, certainly in its substance). Senator Obama it was, who said that, had he been in the Senate in October 2002, he did not know how he would have voted on the Iraq War resolution. I was dumbfounded at the time that he had said this, though I would note that he, himself, was running at that time to represent Illinois in the Senate (again with character as opposed to expediency). It ain’t Swift Boating, Larry, to point that out. Add to that that his votes *have* been on par with Senator Clinton’s since he entered the US Senate, and yes, it does seriously and justifiably weaken his position as against Senator Clinton when it comes to the Iraq War.

    I would simply close by stating that, in spite of all this, I do sincerely, greatly admire both of these candidates, Sen. Clinton based on direct personal experience, and Sen. Obama on how he has inspired me, stirred my heart on many an occasion. I personally would love to see them form our Democratic ticket come this fall. It concerns me that those Obama advocates who would demonize the Clintons in order that their fine candidate might emerge on top are committing at least as grievous sins as have the Clintons in this campaign; likely moreso. Starting a race war on false pretenses – and against Bill and Hillary Clinton, no less, an instance of Swift Boating two of the Democrats best-beloved, with great justification, by the African American community among so many important components of our society – is enormously damaging. Anyone with a whit of functioning common sense can see that. And in service to what better cause? People need to get a grip here.

    Cheers,

    Chris Stratton, West Hartford, CT

  • http://www.c4chaos.com ~C4Chaos

    thanks for posting this video, Mr. Lessig.

    i’m one of those who are still undecided but who would
    whole-heartedly vote for either Obama or Clinton whoever wins the
    Democratic primary. your arguments are very persuasive. no surprise
    there since you’re a kick-ass lawyer :) while watching the video i
    imagine myself as member of the jury watching you deliver your closing
    arguments in favor of Barack Obama. like i said, very persuasive.

    although i agree with your premise of character (i.e. less political
    baggage on the part of Obama), there are key differences in policies
    between Obama and Clinton and i think you’ve downplayed this
    differences in favor of the character argument. also, i’m still not
    totally convinced of the “peace” argument. as a case in point, here are
    a couple of insightful critiques of Obama’s post-partisan strategy.

    Obama stump speech strategy of conciliation considered harmful

    http://www.correntewire.com/obama_stump_speech_strategy_of_conciliation_considered_harmful

    Open Left: How Barack Obama Misreads History–And Why It Matters So Much

    http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3458

    that said, most likely i won’t have the time and opportunity to vote
    for this primary anyway since i’m out of the country and hadn’t
    prepared myself in anticipation for a uber-tight race. my bad. so i
    think i’d end up watching the Democratic primary from the sidelines,
    together with Economists who think that voting is a waste of freakin’ time :)

    ~C

    P.S. here’s my personal take: ignore the rhetorics and follow the money.

  • http://uspolitics.about.com/ Kathy

    Thanks to all for lively debate and to Prof. Lessig for stimulating the discussion. Special thanks to the prior Chris for a unique, important and insider (ex-staffer) perspective.

    I agree that a Clinton/McCain race would be the best chance the Rs have for keeping the White House. I agree that Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton seems a bad precedent (but it’s a contractual linkage, not blood, FWTW).

    I want to like Obama, given the above points, but he leaves me cool (not quite cold). I was struck by an Australian commentary that Americans are in love with Disneyland — and Obama represents the fantasy that a knight in shining armor can sweep in and make it all better.

    Let me remind everyone of the 1984 spoof ad as well … what kind of campaign environment existed that made staffers feel such a thing (anonymously! where are those ethics?) was right, fair, just?

    I admire Prof. Lessig’s idealism — I simply remain unconvinced that Obama can effect these changes. Also, I’d like to know more about the initial claim about the use of debate footage. Anyone?

    Finally, I am emotionally torn — being a woman of a certain age. I’m guessing that I understand Prof. Lessig’s friend — the one whose support for Clinton helped spur this video.

  • Nate Mezmer

    Seth Finklestein, that is truly an amazing name. And a perfect match it seems to play the roll of blogging nay-sayer, cocktail party devil’s advocate and lecture hall tested, intelectually superior realist.

  • http://anglictina-blog.kvalitne.cz anglictina

    The only one that can beat McCain is Obama, no doubt about that. They are scared of him as they can’t quite figure out what to make of him. The man is a movement, and negative politics only feed into his momentum. I honestly see absolutely no way he can be stopped at this point, and I think when he becomes the 44th president, we’ll see America as united as can only be dreamed, as wholesome as can only be imagined, and as real and morally correct as we like to think we are.

  • Gary

    I just want to say that, as an independent-leaning conservative with a long history of voting republican, I will vote for Obama over any of the current Republican candidates. I don’t think any of the republican candidates have distanced themselves enough from Bush’s ineptness. But I will vote for any republican over Clinton.

    Obama has my trust because he has demonstrated that he is not just a political windvane like the other major candidates on both sides. Clinton strikes me as a vote-whore who only wants the presidency for her own edification.

    If the Democrats put up a candidate I can support, I will cross the lines and vote for that person. And I won’t come alone.

  • adam

    Gary, how is he not a vote-whore? He is telling people what they want to hear, that he will bring change to Washington. Every candidate is necessarily a vote-whore by wanting to be elected.

  • http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/googlescholar Dean Giustini

    To the coward who wrote: Great idea, Dean! Obama *could* run for president after eight years of a Clinton administration. After all, it worked for Al Gore… Oh. Wait.

    Al Gore *did* win the election but it was stolen away from him.

  • http://www.theimperfectmom.com Jenn

    I’ll take inspiration, integrity and moral courage anytime over experience. The flipside of experience is the burden of legacy. For all the promises promised, it’s measuring up who will be have the higher likelihood to keep them is what counts here. Obama all the way.

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    @ Seth Finkelstein:

    “4) Obama is a rookie. Going up against an experienced, mean, veteran in many senses. I don’t see he can handle it. Bleating “Change!” isn’t going to cut it.”

    I suppose that you are counting Hillary’s time spent as First Lady in terms of her having so much more experience than Barack?

    That ‘mean’ veteran was brought to tears twice already in this race. I’d say she’s much softer than Obama.

    Regarding transparency and ethics, the following link provides a side-by-side comparison of Obama and Clinton

    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/barack-obama-vs-hillary-clinton-records-on-transparency-lobbyists-and-ethics/

  • http://www.kolbemarket.com BarbaraKB

    Thank you. I have sent this to everyone I possibly can. I hope even more do the same. Peace to your day.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/ Chris Hoofnagle

    Larry, this is a great presentation. But three realities have to be overcome:

    1) It’s great that Obama has activated younger voters. But you know what? They don’t vote. Obama Girl didn’t vote. Her excuse was akin to “the dog ate my homework.”

    2) Obama has exhibited some fragility that says to me that he won’t be able to weather being swift boated. His campaign people are already wining about Bill/Hillary’s attacks, but they were nothing compared to what the swift boaters will come up with.

    3) You can hope to change things all you want. That’s great, but naive. The other side doesn’t want change, they don’t want to come together. In fact, if those jackals from AEI/CEI/Cato/etc can just go into kill mode and stop legislation/regulation from happening in the next 8 years, that’s a win from their perspective.

    Inspiration won’t bring them to the table. One has to force them to the table with strategy. Who do you think is better prepared for that?

    Regards, Chris

  • Denmason

    Obama is a Muslim. Come on Americans, Wake up, the dream time is over.

  • http://wwwpolychom.blogspot.com Rob Anderson

    Dear Mr. Lessig,

    You have made an extraordinary case for Barack Obama. And yet, I cannot throw the full weight of my support behind him, though I did vote for him in the California primary. Obama said that Joseph Lieberman was “my political mentor.” That makes him very suspicious, as there have been few more duplicitous U.S. Senators than Lieberman.

    And yet I am compelled to agree with your points regarding Hillary Clinton. And not only those. I believe that a Hillary candicacy will so energize the Republican base that it could move in supernatural ways, so that dead Confederates might rise from their graves specifically to vote against her.

    All joking aside, and now that the real candidate for change – John Edwards – has left the field, it seems that we must have audacious hope that Barack Obama is what he says he is, and is not full of shit.

  • Matt Boehm

    The heck with getting this on youtube. Can we get the original data so I can start burning DVDs?!

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    Denmason is an Idiot. Come on Americans, Wake up, there are idiots among us.

  • http://www.messagingitmes.com Tom O’Leary

    @ Chris Hoofnagle

    It is a sad fact that many will talk the talk but not get out of bed to vote. I thought that there was no way that Bush would get a second term. There was so much hype and excitement about getting him out of office 4 years ago. What happened? Here we are.

    BUT, I think that Obama IS getting people out there. His appearances are gathering thousands of people in towns and cities across America. Whether they’ll get out (to the voting booths) when it counts is another story.

    I think that this year, change is desired by both Democrats and Republicans. The economy is weak, the war is exhausting in every way and the health care system needs a complete transfusion. Democrats, Republicans and Independents across America realize that a change is required.

    And I think that Obama, more than anyone, can inspire voters to implement that change, even if it means crossing party lines.

  • mharb

    Seth Finkelstein argues that Obama’s speech against authorizing war in Iraq didn’t show moral courage, but was merely a calculated political risk that paid off.

    Bill Clinton responded to these type of argument best when he said: “Shame on you! SHAME… ON…. YOU!”

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    I’m very concerned that there are people like “Common Sense” (commenter) in America (and everywhere else in the world). Years ago, I would have assumed that he was flaming the discussion by intentionally spouting nonsense. But after living for over 4 decades (and seeing Bush get re-elected 4 years ago), I realize that there are people, too many people, who are fueled by ignorance, ego and ethnocentrism. You don’t have to look too hard to find them. That’s scary.

  • http://www.dilvie.com/ Eric Hamilton

    Hi,

    Is this video available on Youtube? I’d love to embed it in a blog post! =)

  • Siddharth

    Larry,
    In the light of Obama’s “Rovian” mailer on Hillary’s health-care plan, would you consider revoking your support of his candidacy? I’ve supported Obama till now, but feel almost betrayed by his descending to such tactics.

  • Mary Irene Ekberg

    PLEASE someone put this on YouTube!

  • http://www.obamacult.com NotInTheCult

    Are you really a professor? This video looks like it was made by a high-school teeny bopper. Me+Obama = BFF.

  • http://www.messagingitmes.com Tom O’Leary

    @Not in the Cult

    I’d be really interested in seeing your video or even a sensible few words on the matter which might back up your sophomoric, critical assessment. You don’t have to look too far to see Prof. Lessig’s qualifications (links on this site). You might humor us and provide your own. That would be interesting. I have a vision of a t-shirt that says “I went to the University of Life”

  • http://www.barelypolitical.com/ BCC

    @Gary:

    I’ve lost count of how many Republican friends have said that (Obama > Repub > Clinton). Including- no exaggeration- my Rush Limbaugh-listening, born-again carpenter.

    I know “electability” is deceptively hard to judge- witness the fall and rise of McCain- but the difference in appeal between Obama and Clinton to the middle and even the right is rather striking.

    That said, the morally courageous thing to do is to stick by the candidate you like best, even if means President McCain in January ’09…

    BTW Now I know why many are complaining about the captcha thing- holy cow!

  • Tony

    Siddharth: I thought the Harry and Louise mailer was a bit low, but just look at that one tactic vs. Clinton’s entire campaign strategy.

    The health care mailer was based in fact. Clinton could defend it using logic and reason.

    Hillary’s attacks are based in lies, as we’ve just seen. Obama has to defend against them by re-quoting himself.

    I don’t think they’re comparable.

  • Tony

    Kathy says “I was struck by an Australian commentary that Americans are in love with Disneyland — and Obama represents the fantasy that a knight in shining armor can sweep in and make it all better.”

    Kathy, wouldn’t you rather watch something idealistic than these disgusting attacks not based in reality?

    If Obama were incompetent, I would agree with you. But the man is brilliant (have you read anything he’s written?), has a record of ethics to back up what he says, and has more experience as an elected official than his opponent.

  • http://www.teachpeace.com/movies2all.htm Marion Young

    Tiara,
    Yes, Obama is a Christian. The fact that Obama was raised by his mother as a Christian has more bearing than the fact that his father is a muslim who had nothing to do with his upbringing and seldom saw his son. This statement just doesn’t fly. Besides, Obama is trying to do what is best for his country first, rather than trying to please muslims and religious groups in general. Muslim leaders are much more educated and advanced than what you might think and would probably not find issue with this.
    http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/11/12/obama_has_never_been_a_muslim_1.php

    Ric,
    The NTU is a republican organization founded in 1969 by James Dale Davidson a big time investor involved with Agora Inc. In 2003, Agora was charged by the SEC in violation of securities laws. Although Davidson was not charged, his dealings with this and other associations is highly questionable. I wouldn’t trust anything the NTU says.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Taxpayers_Union
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dale_Davidson

    Rob,
    Yes, Obama supported Lieberman, but so did Hillary. When Lieberman lost, they both supported the democratic candidate. I have audacious hope too.

    Tom,
    You really can’t blame people for their ignorance. Many have to work and have little time to do the extensive homework on the candidates. Others simply don’t have the patience or know-how to get the facts. It is much easier to fly with the first thing read or heard rather than research or question that source. Just like the media, we need to understand the corporate owner and agenda because much of it is biased (Fox News) or misinformation. Americans for the most part lack the integrity to be completely honest, which is why we are vulnerable to deception. When a person lacks honesty themselves, they don’t know the truth when they hear it. In all our arrogance, many still believe America is #1 in the world. The fact is most countries know America’s economy is collapsing, we have an education level comparable to a number of 3rd world countries, 911 was an inside job, the Iraq War was illegal, and we hide behind religious hypocrisy. This is how someone like GWB2 came to be president under our noses – as a whole, we believe propaganda and and simply don’t think. Keep the faith…this too shall pass.

    As a former college instructor (business and technology), I found many of my students had graduated from high school, only to enter college unable to read and use critical thinking. Until our education system improves drastically, those with the wherewithall to research properly and analyze the data will have to use patience with the ignorant masses.

    Looking at the breakdown in the exit polls (my state of CA), it is clear that those at the postgraduate levels, as well as those less tied to religion voted a slight edge toward Obama. This is not to say Christians did not vote for Obama, because many did. It is to say more independent thinkers and those of other faiths leaned toward Obama.
    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/epolls/#CADEM

    Nationwide, Obama drew even with Clinton among white males (surprise!) and led with black, young and higher-income voters. White women rallied behind Clinton, who also got a boost from Hispanics, older people and those seeking an experienced candidate. This tells me those seeking the experienced candidate may be afraid of change, even when the known entity has proven she will continue many of Bush’s policies abroad.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/06/exit-poll-results-nationw_n_85238.html

    Unless commenters back up their claims with links to references to give credibility to their statements, it is not worth our time to reply. There are people and groups all over the internet giving their opinion, yet hiding behind another agenda. Anger, namecalling and direct put-downs in blogs ends the debate. For all we know, some of these people could be McCain supporters disguised as Clinton supporters to dilute the wonderful message of Dr. Lessig. (shrug) Those who back their claims and debate honestly will be recognized by those who see through the fog. It is always best to be straightforward and levelheaded. So, pick your arguments with a worthy debater. (smile)
    —-

    Hillary has good intentions and is capable. However, she has too many ties with the neocons to break the stranglehold they have over this country and the world. Hillary and Bill are friends with the Bush family and the elites. I don’t trust that she will stop the warring in the middle east altogether. Drastic change is needed fast.

    Obama has a more humane approach to uniting this country and seeking goodwill with other nations. Visit his site to learn what he is about rather than assume he is merely a suit.

    http://www.barackobama.com/learn/meet_barack.php

    One way to overcome the disunity is to drop the secrecy and barriers this administration uses, as have others. He plans to allow citizens to go online and see where every dollar is spent and root out corruption in Congress. He plans to take care of our vets and work on taking care of our people, the environment and infrastructure. While I disagree with how long he would keep us in Iraq, at least he wants to get us out sooner than later. Read his position on the issues. He doesn’t make a secret out of his plans:

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues

    Unless this country can get over its arrogance and racism, it will never be open to fresh, exciting and healing ways to mend this country and be the success it could be. If we keep acting and thinking as we have in the past, we will keep sliding further downward.

    We must start thinking less competitively and divisively. We must start thinking as a community with a more realistic and generous spirit. We all need and want the same things. Some just want too much of it to the detriment of others. We will all have to learn to scale down, compromise and adjust…starting from the top down. We will need to clear our hearts and learn to trust others again. There is a reason Oprah and the Kennedy’s are giving Obama their support, along with a thumb’s up from Jimmy Carter and many others. They know something we don’t…and we better learn what that is before it’s too late.

  • http://freegovinfo.info James Jacobs

    Thanks for these words LL! You should also consider uploading to YouBama a site built by two Stanford University students.

  • Edward Theobald

    Extremely uninformative. A wonderful micro-analysis or he-said / she-said.

    You said yourself that Hillary/Obama differ very little on policy. Why would that be? There were many candidates in the running with diverse policy. Yet we end up with the 2 with these very similar policies. I think we can probably agree that most citizens never even heard the views of the ‘fringe’ candidates as the press loves to call them. Headlines about these 2 bombard us daily – unrelenting.

    So we end up with hawkish warmongers on the GOP, and dovish warmongers on the DFL. I don’t think I’m speaking too strongly here either. Polls in Iraq and the US both show a majority want us out very soon. Neither Obama nor Clinton show any real sense of understanding the motivation of ‘terrorists’. (The reason in case micro-analyzing egg-heads don’t know is our 700 military bases in 130 countries around the globe).

    Have we completely forgotten the ‘Golden Rule’ ( or the ‘Ethic of Reciprocity’)? We would never allow a foreign presence on our soil, yet we force ourselves on countries throughout the globe.

    Obama speaks clearly to a continuation of the doctrines of both Bill Clinton and Bush: “protect US resources and interests” around the globe. This is an excerpt from Obamas essay in Foreign Affairs magazine – the continuity with doctrine of the last 2 decades is astounding:
    “We must use this moment both to rebuild our military and to prepare it for the missions of the future. We must retain the capacity to swiftly defeat any conventional threat to our country and our vital interests.”

    The Lancet (British medical journal) published a study on this (2006 I think). It was a scientific sampling of increased Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion. At that time the number stood at >600,000!!! Roughly 200x the U.S. fatalities.
    http://www.thelancet.com/webfiles/images/journals/lancet/s0140673606694919.pdf

    If you watch the documentary “No End In Sight” (which is a great documentary on how the war was run) you see that what we have incited is a war against people that are simply fighting against the occupation of their country – the resistance escalated dramatically when the local military realized they would not be part of the ‘solution’. Not unlike the action we all would probably take if the shoe were on the other foot. (There I go with that damned ‘Golden Rule’ again!).

    But the troubling aspects run deeper and farther back of course. Mike Gravel in his visit to Google last summer stated that during our murderous sanctions of the 90′s, more than 500,000 children died of disease or starvation as a result. I don’t think we have a good scientific number on this, but this number did float around widely in the late 1990′s:
    http://www.iraqwar.org/childunicef.htm

    According to the Geneva Convention, even during wartime, it is required to allow adequate food, water, and medicine to the civilian population of an enemy. Sanctions such as the ones imposed are not only an act of war, but are a violation of even wartime ethics.

    Largely ignoring what I have outlined above – and instead micro-analyzing the nuances that separate the 2 candidates makes your endorsement nothing more than worthless drivel.

    For what it’s worth, of all the ‘top tier’ candidates, I would take Obama hands down – as he is clearly the most dovish of all the imperialist war mongers.

    But for character, honesty, and candid talk about real issues – I would take any of these 3: Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul. The real question is this: When most Americans are opposed to the war, why don’t we have a single candidate that takes a strong stance against the war?

  • http://peeredit.us Joshua Pritikin

    Is there really that big a difference between Clinton and Obama? Did you see Gravel’s recent video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF-lMredbmQ

  • Ben

    I am a registered Democrat (age 36) and have been since I could legally vote. Something that puzzles me is how one person (like author of the above video) could make the claim that Hillary Clinton is possibly weak in terms of her own willingness to stick to principles, due to her having voted for the resolution that authorized Bush to use military force in Iraq. Clearly now, with hindsight, the Iraq war was built on false pretenses. But I remember a number of events that lead up to it that gave me reason to wonder if our government had a case for invading Iraq or not… the main one being the day Colin Powell was at the United Nations in New York holding up the viles of fake anthrax (or whatever he claimed Sadam might have). At that time, I was willing to believe that the President and some members of the Senate and Secretary of Defense might have known more about the possible threat in Iraq, and was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. So along those lines, I can very easily see why anyone would have voted for the resolution Hillary and other Democratic Senators did. My wife, also a registered Democrat felt something similar to Barack Obama’s position, which was not a good war even before we entered into it. Does having a different view of that sort of thing call into question either of our moral convictions or our principals as Democrats? I don’t think so.

  • stanford science grad student

    This is the most pretentious, short-sighted argument I have seen to date on the clinton-obama issue.

    1) The author does not realize that it is a easier to build up a ‘bad rep’ when you have been under public scrutiny over the last 20 or so years that Sen Clinton has been subject to as opposed to the 3- maybe 4 years that Obama has. I think its easier to be squeaky-clean looking if you have done NOTHING that has directly benifited Americans and made no serious efforts for real change. AND – ‘moral courage’ – hillary and healthcare? your kidding yourself if you dont think going up against all the powers that be in health services doesnt require moral courage that Obama has NEVER shown.

    2) There is this ridiculous notion that Obama, as president, could do 1/10th of the things he says he wants to do. What has he done as a state senator? This is the type of rash extrapolation I have seen in the social sciences as opposed to the physical sciences – and it disgusts me. If you want to know someones future… look at them in the present. Its sad to see that educated people still make these types of quick judgments on the merits of character from a few speeches and a well-publicized campaign.

    3) We are sick and tired of theatrical speeches for ‘change’ in this country. THIS IS NOT NEW. Bush did it. Reagan did it. It didnt work. It made people poorer, sicker, and more bitter in the end. The only administration that has left people feeling good about the last 8 years was the first Clinton.

    4) One of the last lines you made was something to the effect of “Obama came up from nothing” implying that somehow, Obama was some kind of self-made man. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. He came from a family wealthier than Hillary’s. His father was a Harvard PhD. He went to a private high school that costs about 20k+ a year in Hawaii. GIVE ME A BREAK. He was rich and privileged from the get go.

    It looks to me like you are looking for a savior.

    Inspiration comes from within.

    We just need a candidate that will work like hell to support the people who want to make change rather than the talkers who join bandwagons.

    If Obama was president tomorrow – what would you do different in your everyday life? Get real.

    Hillary 08

  • Steve Ko

    Lessig’s strongest point is about Barack’s ability to inspire. I agree that Barack is “off the charts” in this regard. But I think Lessig’s arguments about character, integrity and what each candidate will do are overstated. To wit:

    Regarding character…

    • Comparing Hillary’s misleading statements about Barack to the John Kerry swift boat ads is just wrong. They are not in the same league. FWIW, Barack has made similarly misleading statements about Hillary (e.g. saying that she would force people to purchase health insurance that they cannot afford). It really is “just politics”. For the most part, though, this has been a remarkably clean campaign — nothing like what the Republicans will throw at us in the general election. Expect true “swift boating” then. You ain’t seen nothing yet!
    • I did some checking up on the whole “removing the speech from the website” thing, and while the deep URL to the speech did remain on the website (as Lessig demonstrated), the front page and policy pages removed references to his stance on Iraq. So I don’t think this was just some random fabrication of the Hillary campaign (as Lessig implies). It is based on some reality and then stretched. But as I mentioned before, Barack does this, too.

    Regarding integrity…

    • Lessig states that Barack was running for the U.S. Senate when he gave his speech opposing the Iraq war in October 2002, and that this was a particularly brave act because Illinois had a Republican governor. According to Wikipedia, Barack didn’t begin his Senate campaign until 2003. And even though Illinois had a Republican governor, it also voted strongly against George H.W. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. So it didn’t take as much political courage for Barack to take this position as Lessig implies. Since he’s been in the Senate, Barack has voted identically to Hillary on nearly every Iraq resolution.
    • Barack has certainly cultivated a high integrity image, but that’s easy to do when you haven’t really been tested. It’s unfair to compare a relatively fresh face to someone who has been in the national political spotlight (and the target of the Republican attack machine) for 16 years. This recent article in the NYT shows how Barack acted when his integrity was actually tested in the U.S. Senate. It doesn’t look good. One could certainly say of Barack that “It was expedience that led him to that result rather than standing and fighting on the basis of principle.”.

    Regarding do…

    • Lessig chose a particularly lame quote from Hillary about the change she would bring. I prefer this quote from Hillary (said in a recent debate):
    • Making change is not about what you believe. It’s not about a speech you make. It is about working hard….I helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program. There’s 2,700 National Guard and Reserve members (in NH) who have access to health care, because on a bipartisan basis, I pushed legislation through over the objection of the Pentagon, over the threat of a veto from President Bush.

      I want to make change, … I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change. I’m running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, taking on the oil companies.

      …what we need is somebody who can deliver change….The best way to know what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I’ve already made.

    • Lessig also made a big point about Barack’s refusal to take money from federal lobbyists. While technically true, Barack is being a little disingenuous when he says this. The implication is that by not accepting money from lobbyists he is immune to the influence of special interests. But the fact is that money from special interests still does flow to him through other channels (e.g. Barack does accept money from state PACs — just not federal ones), and, as the Exelon incident demonstrates, it does influence him. Hillary is no angel here either, but at least she is honest about the fact that she takes lobbyist money. (This is why I am all about public financing of federal elections.)
    • I think it is rather naive to think that the mere fact of Barack’s election will make the Middle East forgive us for what we’ve done. It makes for a nice, teary Hollywood ending, but unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work that way. The next president will actually have to do a bunch of work to fix the mess that we’re in, even if he has as humble and diverse a background as Barack’s.
  • http://www.atelierdonat.sk Lubo

    You Americans should have voted for Mr. Ron Paul. I’m not from USA, but that man was the best of them by far…

  • Bubba

    Very interesting presentation, but I have to say that it is incredibly naive. The Obama you present is the tooth fairy; he doesn’t exist. What you do not seem to get is that he will not be able to carry the ticket in the south and unless you carry some southern states you are not going to win. Simple as that. When was the last time a Democrat was elected without a southerner on the ticket? Roosevelt’s third term does not count. Call it racism or whatever you like, but the Republicans will use the race issue to turn whites against him. Remember SC and McCain? Of course, the same thing holds true for rural PA and other places in the north.

    I am sorry that the woman with homes in NY and Chicago thinks Clinton misrepresented his record on abortion, but what about the textile worker whose job is in jeopardy? That issue is so far off the radar screen with the average voter, it just boggles the mind that you bring it up. Iraq and the economy are the two issues, with the economy in the lead right now. Those are the issues that will win the election.

    On the issue of integrity, does the name Rezko ring a bell? It should, and you can bet that you will hear a lot more about it in the general election if he gets the nomination.

    Obama is trying to capture the JFK charisma legacy, but can you name one accomplishment of the Kennedy administration? I can think of one off the top of my head. Read Legacy of Ashes to see what inexperience in the White House can accomplish. We need someone with experience and cannot afford another trainee.

    Politics is compromise and there is a lot of moral ambiguity involved, but you have to look at the big picture. I am sure Obama is a nice person, but he needs a bit more seasoning. Now if you will excuse me, I have to do some chanting so it will stop raining. It worked at Woodstock, didn’t it?

  • Jason

    This is an incredibly naive presentation. I believe my points have already been made. I watched this entire presentation because I consider myself an open minded person and I’m really trying to figure out if there is any substance to Obama. I think this presentation might have lowered my opinion. You need to understand political reality. Look at what Bill Clinton accomplished during his presidency. In case you missed it, A LOT. God forbid we have a president like that. You wanted him to fight fight fight for gays in the military? What exactly would this have accomplished? If he sticks to his guns, he alienates the entire military he is supposed to lead, who oppose this. Not listening to your people is a bad move. Alienating our generals and compromising harmony within the command structure is NOT beneficial to our national security. Bill understands this and surely thought that it was more important than having gays in there and showing “moral courage”.

    Every politician needs to compromise, and as the New York Times has recently noted, so has Obama. Mr. Principled completely wilted on the nuclear issue. See “Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate” and note that Exelon is a major contributor. There’s more here as well. Someone also already said that Obama completely distorted Bill Clinton’s comments which you failed to mention. How is that not Rovean? How is that character? Hello?

    Here’s a fact for you: OBAMA IS A POLITICIAN.

    I have no disrespect for Obama, and I do respect people who support him, but the fact that people make him out to be some kind of savant is just ridiculous. I think Hillary is very inspirational, as I’ve heard her speak, and that a woman president is a HUGE change. Obviously much different than a Texas oilman or another white male republican like John McCain. I really truly want to see a woman president.

  • http://tulrich.com Thatcher Ulrich

    Hi Bubba,

    1. Your points about the South are not conclusive. Hillary is not from the South. Obama does not yet have a running mate. So far they have split southern states in the primaries.

    2. Re Rezko — the question of sleazy friends tilts heavily against the Clintons (Mark Rich et al). In fact the Clintons had a photo-op with Rezko himself. Since that surfaced, they seem to have gone silent on the issue.

    3. Kennedy accomplishments. I’m not much of a student of history, but off the top of my head: Apollo program, Cuban missile crisis (removing nukes from Cuba without triggering WW3), Peace Corps, keeping Nixon out of the White House in 1960, laying the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act.

    4. I think Obama has a much clearer vision of the big picture. He’s running a campaign designed to build broad popular and congressional support as he enters office. Meanwhile he is helping drain corporate influence out of the process (ethics & finance reform, increased disclosure, setting a very public example). These transcend any particular initiative, but are essential for lasting improvements to our society. It’s a big part of why I am excited about him.

    -T

  • http://www.FreemanNg.net Freeman Ng

    Yes, yes, he’s probably a fine fellow and is definitely inspiring to a lot of people, but the more important considerations are that his policies are reasonably good (about as good as Clinton’s) and that he is polling even better than Clinton against McCain right now.

    Policy and electibility.

    Ten years from now, after two terms of Obama or Clinton along with firm Democratic control of congress, when our disastrous military forays have been largely curtailed, and the economy is running a little more smoothly and equitably, and the crumbling of our domestic infrastructure somewhat decelerated, and it’s a lock that both the presidency and the congress will remain in Democratic control for another ten years, then we can have a stirring discussion of moral character.

  • Jason

    The polls about Obama doing better against McCain are completely meaningless. In the 2004 election Kerry at one point had a massive lead over Bush, I believe nearly 20 points. I assure you, that once Hillary Clinton actually debates John McCain, she will poll very well against him.

  • http://www.messagingtimes.com Tom O’Leary

    @Jason. Unfortunately for Hillary supporters, I don’t think that we’ll see Hillary debating McCain. Obama won all 3 States today massively and is set to take DC, Virginia and Maryland on Tuesday. The momentum has just begun. It’s not only about what Obama is going to do to change things in politics and government, it’s what the people supporting him are and will do to change it.

    I agree that polls are often wrong. Many polls a while back showed Hillary taking many of the States that she’s been losing. In fact, of the 28 States so far, Obama has taken 18 of them. Action speaks louder than polls.

    I think that a lot of Democrats are rethinking their Clinton support. Who wants an ex Wal*Mart board chair to lead this country. Talk about exporting jobs and putting personal profit above the greater good – destroying communities across the country while making shareholders richer.

    I suggest that you, and anyone else who doesn’t get it to listen to his speech in Virginia from today.

  • Kate

    Wow, there’s some really hysterically funny displays of ignorance in these comments (in between the legit stuff).

    First – if everything you know about Barack Obama comes from mainstream newsmedia soundbites, you don’t know what you’re talking about (and you have no excuse). Try finding out. This is a good place to start:

    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/barack-obama-101/

    You could also, oh, I dunno, read one of his books or look at his web site (try clicking on “issues”). If you think “there’s no substance” behind Obama, I’m afraid all that is telling us is that **YOU** HAVEN’T ACTUALLY DONE YOUR HOMEWORK.

    Also, before you comment on the blog of a person as famous as Professor Lawrence Lessig and – dude! – dis his, like, writing style, dude! – you should maybe find out a little more about him. Try the links on his own page or how about even Wikipedia? Or – anywhere. Because the man is famous, and so are his videos with their very individual style (yes, there are reasons for the style – why don’t you ask him what they are?).

    Really – way to paint “I just walked in and have no clue what I’m talkin’ about, man” right across your forehead, people!

    Oh, you want more about Obama’s experience?

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/29/us/politics/20070730_OBAMA_GRAPHIC.html
    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/video-john-kerry-on-barack-obama-having-more-legislative-experience-than-clinton-edwards/
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jfwiTMvbxKZec4z-ouww5y_5zfhgD8U753I80
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/the-natural.html
    http://jaydiatribe.blogspot.com/2007/03/barack-obamas-inexperience.html
    http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Paul+B.+Hertneky%3a+Let%27s+compare+the+public+accomplishments+of+Clinton+and+Obama&articleId=11dc4bb6-bc19-4f73-97a4-400fbd3dad27

    Or could just read this list very carefully:

    http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/why-support-barack-obama-not-hillary-clinton-comparison-compare-records/

    BTW, no, I’m not a young, non-voting kool-aid drinker. I’m over 30, have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university, I teach college, and I’ve voted in every election, local and national, primaries and general, since I was old enough to vote. I’m a professional woman and a feminist (I teach gender and intellectual history, in fact). I’m also, if you haven’t noticed, fairly literate and do my homework before I make major decisions like which candidate to support. This year marks the first time I’ve ever donated money to any kind of political entity, and I gave to Obama – three times so far.

    I wonder, where does this anti-Obama feeling come from? Of course, it’s nothing compared to the anti-Clinton feeling out there (I’m a proud former Clinton supporter, so nobody go there.) It’s so strong, yet based purely on ignorance or misapprehension – the quickest google search can shoot down every single anti-Obama assertion made in these comments, after all. Very interesting.

  • dontbother

    It is truly a wonderful video and an inspiring statement of why Americans should vote for Obama. I would if I thought it mattered much, but I don’t. And I think there are some problems with your message.

    The first problem is the notion of “peace”. Obama is going to be a symbol of how America has changed so that it can become acceptable in the eyes of the fanatical political Islamists all over the world? Dream on. Those nut-cases are no different from America’s most rabid social conservatives and born-again Christian theocrats. Yes, the Iraq War was a serious and major mistake, Bush lied to the American people and the rest of the world, and the US has to do something to redeem itself, but licking the boots of people who dance in the streets when Americans, Brits, other Europeans, and other non-Muslims are murdered isn’t the way to do it.

    Muslims don’t want peace. In every country in which there are both Muslims and non-Muslims, the Muslims want war because they desire a Muslim theocracy, they want segregated, autonomous societies for themselves because they are incapable of living with us Infidels. And the fanatics are getting stronger every year.

    The second problem is that there hasn’t been a fundamental change in the American government since the gradual abolition of the Jacksonian spoils system and the creation of a merit-based civil service by the Pendleton Act (1883). All that’s happened is that the government’s grown like a cancer thanks to both the Democrats and the Republicans. The Gordian Knot was easy to slice and dice. The US bureaucracy will not be.

    I agree that the Clintons have imitated Karl Rove, and they should be taken to task for that. I also agree that Hillary will probably polarize the nation for the next eight years if she is elected, but only because the GOP is filled with so many people who love to demonstrate their Christianity (Jesus loves you but I hate you if you’re not a Christian) by hating and lying and trying to force everyone to accept their personal gods and moral values. They’re no better than Muslims on that score.

    Let’s face it, American culture (such as it is) is seriously moribund, terribly shallow, highly insular, and probably on the verge of a religious war (I could be wrong about that, but I think that the religious nuts in the US are going to start shooting again really soon, especially if the new POTUS is pro-choice and a Democrat).

    Money is the only theme that resonates in the USA, not change. Money buys iPods and all the other paraphernalia of entertainment (only the shallow need to be entertained all the time), and The People’s Republic of China makes almost everything that Americans buy these days. I don’t see any overwhelming desire to change the low prices people pay for the things they want — most of which they don’t need. Americans are just as ready to sell out their country for a cheap consumer economy as the world’s multinational corporations are willing to sell out all countries to make their profits off the wretched and the deluded of the Earth. And governments and government officials are anxious to make sure they stay in power by giving the people what they want: more entertainment and lower prices on everything by sending what should be American factories to China and the rest of the third world.

    Real change means real pain. Americans won’t put up with it. They are too enthralled with the advertising directed at them by the media they love to hate. No different from the rest of the world, really. But Obama is really short on details about how he will change the American government. His rhetoric is good, but there’s no substance there. I doubt that the US will pass anything that approaches national health insurance and universal health care for its citizens. I think an amendment banning same-sex marriage is more likely to pass first. Hope doesn’t fill bellies or SUV gas tanks.

    And if anyone out there thinks that Obama’s election will spell the end of racism in America, the most racist nation in the world, they will have to think again. No way, Jose.

  • http://www.apulrang.com apulrang

    In answer to those who say that since Bill and Hillary Clinton have withstood the worst the Republican noise machine … “The Mighty Wurlitzer” … has to offer, Hillary is therefore the best able to withstand the inevitable Republican assault in the General Election …

    For completely unfair reasons, Hillary is a magnet for these attacks. Why test her survival skills yet again, when we can opt for a candidate who is in so many ways a wild card in Republican calculations? They will surely attack Obama with everything they’ve got, but to do so they’ll have to wade into a minefield they’ve never really been in before. The Clintons, themselves, have stepped on a few of those mines already, and they are brilliant Democratic tacticians. If it can happen to them, imagine how flummoxed the Republicans would be. Republicans are reliably tone-deaf on the meaning of race, ethnicity, generational politics, and in general any appeal to higher moral instincts. Their speciality is fear and resentment, the polar opposites of Obama’s outlook. The Republicans will get smacked so many times, unexpectedly, that they won’t know how to proceed. Either that, or McCain will enforce a hands-off Obama campaign, which would allow us to argue on the merits of Democratic policies.

    The Republicans know exactly how to get to Hillary. She might well withstand it one more time, but ask this one last question … do we really want to invite that kind of ugliness for another four to eight years?

  • eileen

    How could anyone be surprised, let alone horrified, that a woman would vote for Hillary Clinton. Perhaps you can not imagine what it would be like for you as a male to have lived in a country that has never in its history seen fit to elect someone of your sex to its highest office – try to imagine if you can having always, forever, female presidents and having a chance to elect somone of your own sex. Somehow I get the sense men just do not understand how phenomenal this is. So Obama runs in 4 or 8 more years OK, but Hillary’s time is now.
    We have an opportunity to elect a bright, compassionate, articulate, passionate, hard working, consensus building female to President of the United States. She has proven how capable she is, she has withstood innumerable attacks, and as was stated she supports policies we all believe in. We don’t need one more male president with similar ideas and little testing who speaks well. We need a stong woman for a change.

  • Mary

    In the interests of full disclosure, I am a 59 year old slightly pudgy aging female, usually carry around a cynical view of the world, rapidly being forced out of the middle class into the lower, and an Obama supporter. P.S. I loved Professor Lessig’s video.

    We can debate the issues on and on forever, but the fact is, Hillary is just not ELECTABLE. Alot of people on both sides of the aisle just don’t like her. Ok, Anne Coulter likes her, but Coulter might just be the meanest nastiest woman on the planet.

    We have to get a non-Republican elected this time around. Those people are killing us (literally and figuratively). This election, as Professor Lessig so succinctly put it, is extraordinarily important. It’s important for the U.S., the world and our planet. Obama seems to be the one who’ll be able to pull it off – you can analyze it to death, but he’s our only hope.

    If you’re worried about what Karl Rove is up to (gives me the creeps to think he’s out there right now, plotting), then just get out there and campaign your hearts out to overcome whatever garbage he throws at Obama. Go door to door. Take a hammer to peope like CommonSense (awww- you know I meant that figuratively). Let’s get this done.

  • Kate

    From Andrew Sullivan (who, for those who don’t know, is a rather unlikely person to be supporting Obama – look him up)

    “My wife and I are serving overseas in Yemen and I wanted to share a quick anecdote with you about Obama-buzz here in Sanaa. While getting my haircut several weeks ago, I was surprised when my barber Mohammed drifted from his usual aspersions about George Bush to suddenly inquire about Barack Obama. My Arabic is fairly limited, so it took me some time to understand that Mohammed and the other Yemeni patrons had seen Obama during an appearance with Oprah on Al-Jazeera. All of them agreed that of the people seeking to become President, Obama offered the only redemptive option for America.

    “After my haircut was nearing an end – a nearly 60 minute process – Mohammed said that “if a black man can become President, then maybe the story of America isn’t a lie after all.”

    “A few weeks later I was surprised at the end of a meeting with Yemeni government officials, when my hosts broke out into spontaneous praise for Obama and simultaneous incredulity that a man of color could win the American presidency. These two stories are just blips on the Yemeni consciousness, but it’s worth noting that the advent of satellite television enables even the poorest families in the Middle East’s poorest country to follow the US election. Those two stories stand out as the most dramatic to me, but they’re not the only ones. Obama’s mere candidacy has restored a fraction of the prestige and credibility we’ve lost – at least in Sanaa.”

    My own belief is a simple enough one – not enough for real progress, but a start:

    “It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.”

    from http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/

    Also, on the fundamental policy difference between Obama and Clinton, especially as it relates to healthcare:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/daniel_koffler/2008/01/substance_not_style.html

    Do your homework – then vote.

  • Damon

    @stanford science grad student & @jason

    You are missing something very important, and it may be because you are not old enough to remember… Bill Clinton ran his campaign based on change. On being able to inspire and work with people regardless of political affiliation to accomplish things that were good for America. His opponent, George Herbert Walker Bush had more experience (as did many of the Democratic nominees he defeated). He proved that the ability and willingness to put aside differences as well as the ability to get the people behind him could make a difference.

    Obama is at least as inspirational as Bill, has less baggage, no fidelity issues, and has the respect of people on both sides of the aisle. He has a clear vision and the character to navigate us through these troubled times. It is amusing that everything HRC is using to attempt to minimize and trivialize his campaign and his candidacy, speaks to reasons why her husband should never had been the nominee let alone elected to the office of POTUS.

  • http://www.swan.ac.uk/staff/academic/Arts/berryd/ David Berry

    A very interesting and genuine personal argument for supporting Obama. However, I am not sure that this is a message that transfers from the personal into the political.

    Firstly, I think that you cast Obama in a highly unrealistic light as a ‘change’ character. Clinton and Obama are politicians, and politics is about pragmatics and the balancing of competing visions, interests and the structural constraints that exist within the US political system. It is extremely unlikely that one man or woman will change all of that in one election. A political programme is based around the nitty-gritty detail of policy, compromise and horse-trading, not around polysemic catch-phrases like ‘change’. I certainly think that attacking Hillary through her husband’s record is a strange argument for a better politics (and rather patriarchal).

    Secondly, I worry about your collapse of the political into moral categories. Morality is concerned with good/evil distinctions and is the preserve of judgement and the ability to somehow ‘channel’ transcendental notions of these moral categories. Politics, in contrast, is concerned with the pragmatics of governing a complex, multi-dimensional and contradictory society in a position of incomplete information and unintended consequences. Moral categories can be disastrous in this situation as they tend to paint the world in heavy strokes of black and white. Unfortunately, the world is shades of grey.

    Lastly, you seem to call for less ‘Rovean’ politics, perhaps indicating a preference for a more rational campaign, based on ‘truth’ and ‘rational’ argument. Then you contradict this towards the end of the video, arguing that Obama offers ‘hope’ and ‘inspiration’. This is as woolly and ‘irrational’ an argument as you can possibly make. That’s not to say I think this is terrible – pure robotic rationality would drain the political passion out of politics – but you should at least be consistent, and if you want Obama judged as a politician that will institute real change, then the political programme, his surrounding team and his ability to deal with the complexities of negotiation and political impasse should be at the centre of your argument. Instead you offer an odd combination of a psychologistic politics of personality and claims to moral certainty, which I believe is an altogether unappealing recipe for a politician.

    It is certainly interesting in a purported time of participatory technologies, the Wealth of Networks and online citizenry that across the media we see the arguments for and against politicians collapse into simpler and simpler messages on narrower channels of branding, personal feeling and morality. However, in a (still) mass-media age, such as ours, this perhaps reflects the general decline in interest of a celebrity obsessed media who encourage us to judge politics on the basis of surface rather than depth. Perhaps the change that should be called for is for more detailed engagement in the media by citizens who should be using these new channels of communication to critically debate about these political proposals and outline their visions of a post-Bush America. Now that would be real change.

  • Michael

    As an Australian I don’t have the opportunity to vote for any candidate and so it’s so interesting to watch the theatrics evolve as Americans try and vote for a candidate that would be the next president. Having been in the US for around 8 years, I watched in amazement how Bush steered a country into a wrongful war, turning American sentiment after 911 from one of sympathy and understanding into disbelief, bewilderment and controversy. After experiencing the last election of Bush, where I felt at last there was some common sense being passed around to the American public, I watched in amazement that after 3 awful debates, a successful movie criticizing the government and a war finally exposed as being based on disputed facts, the American people once again voted for Bush. After that election, with Roves masterful manipulation of public opinion, I realized that the GOP is basically much smarter and more cunning that the democrats. It was pure genius that gun control, gay marriage and abortion brought so many religious, gun toting zealots out to vote and that the war president needed to continue the fight against terror. Swiftboat and flip flopping became the memorable words of the last election. I can’t imagine in any other place in the world, Bush getting re-elected after his disastrous first term. But it happened and it has only taken the American public 7 years to work out that Bush is an idiot with an agenda that only God could understand. He has taken an economy that was once the envy of many countries and destroyed it, leaving the next president with a huge deficit and an impending recession. But through all this, the GOP has remained in government and has another candidate winning the caucus and continuing the war mongering attitude of the current party. It still bewilders me how Americans can be persuaded to believe that there country can afford two wars and even consider entering a third. America with its current spending attitude will be bankrupt and you’ll looking for work in Mexico.

    Now as dire for GOP as it seems, it again amazes me that when the democrats seemingly have the next election in the bag, they again under estimate the GOP and completely over estimate the American public. Why would a party risk an election by introducing such controversy by nominating a black man or a female as a first time president. American’s are not the most forwarding thinking individuals on the planet and it seems that apart from the coasts, that the majority of Americans are conservative, close minded individuals who can’t even fathom a world where a woman has the right to decide, gays have some legal status and we don’t have guns. America is not perceived outside of America as a racially or sexually equal country. There seems to be an undercurrent of hostility towards the black minority depicting them as aggressive criminals. Woman haven’t even been able to break the male dominated political system holding on 16.1% of the seats in the congress and and 16% of the seats in the senate. My question is why couldn’t the democrats propose someone like Gore who apart from his overt concern for the environment, would be considered in today’s field as relatively uncontroversial?

    I predict that as the election draws closer, American’s will make the decision to elect a safe, white, all American, traditional person and decide not to deal openly with the undercurrents of racism or feminism.

  • Uncle Braddah

    The Video says “Every Senator running for president voted for the war, even Edwards”. What about Kucinich? Its also ridiculous when someone says (pertaing to Obama supporting to fund the war) “I dont support the war, but I do support the troops”. BS! Its not like your buying them cans of tuna. You are paying for guns and ammo and other weapontry to kill Iraqis. Thats what Obama supports!!!! Tools to kill Iraqis. face it! I think your blind to support Obama. This video really made me not want Obama.

  • Uncle Braddah

    Vote Obama and you get a Carteresque presidency. Vote Clinton and get a Clintonesque presidency.

  • MCM

    The political evangelical fervor about Brack Obama is the flip side of the thin coin that got George Bush and Ronald Reagan elected. Everyone wants a figurehead, which is not the same as wanting a leader.

    Leaders make people uncomfortable yet encourage them to follow. Obama isn’t making citizens uncomfortable, he’s making them feel good about wanting him, making them feel good about their own desires and beliefs. Crying “change!” without understanding how real change is made up of small , lasting increments is like choosing a rookie surgeon to do your heart/lung transplant because s/he’s the friendliest doctor you’ve seen.

    Hillary Clinton was right when she said that the Civil rights movement needed Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was vital to the success of black leaders. Johnson had the power to force white racists to abide by the law; Martin Luther King didn’t have that power; Stokley Carmichael didn’t have that power; Malcom X didn’t have that power.

    How can anyone judge something like moral courage until it’s been truly tested? While Illinois state senator, Obama conveniently voted “present” rather than “no” and challenge restrictive bills on women’s health and abortion. His voting record in he US Senate is considerably absentee. That speech (which is not quite as toothy on his website as on Mr. Lessig’s statement) was given before Obama entered the race for US Senate, so the statement about how brave it was is a little overstated.

    Lessig says that a person of “moral courage” does what’s right regardless of consequences. Right is rarely unmuddied by conflict, especially for the president of the US. What, I ask, is right to do about Iraq? Do we simply leave and allow great suffering as various factions, imbued by us – yes us, the entire United States, because no matter how we got there, we, the citizens, are the United States and we put Dubbya in power – as various factions fill their religious and political canons with the human fodder of women and children? We’ve made Iraq our Northern Ireland. Leaving Iraq might not be the best, most moral thing to do.

    Yet my criticsm of Mr. Lessig’s blog is not the same as saying Mr. Obama lacks moral courage, it’s to suggest that Obama might or might not be courageous, Ms. Clinton might or might not have the same quality, but Mr. Lessig is not the one to make that pronouncement.

    Lessig believes that “The presidency (sic) is a leader, a leader who inspires moral courage, who inspires us to be something different, to transform us, and inspires the world in how the world sees us.” Partly true, but inspiration doesn’t do much to pass legislation or persuade Congress to act in a particular way. We cannot, no one can force a neighbor, much less “the world” to see any particular way.

    Lessig is ignores this when he writes, “So I want you to shut your eyes and imagine what it will seem like to a young man in Iraq or in Iran, who wakes up on January 21st, 2009, and sees the picture of this man as the president of the United States,” The presumption that countries loaded with colored people, dark skinned people as opposed to light skinned people, will see the entire US differently because we have a dark skinned president presumes that every Arab, African, Dominican, South American, Caribbean country will suddenly give up their identities as warriors for whatever belief system gives them the feeling of power and control and divine connection simply because we have a black, male president.

    Implicit in that is the acceptable sexism that subscribes to the notion that those same people will not see the change of having a woman as president. That these countries’ sexism will inhibit the power of a Hillary Clinton presidency in the equal but opposite way a Barack Obama presidency will expand the power of the presidency. Baloney.

    Comparing Hillary to Bill Clinton, as if her accomplishments are dependent upon his failings, is fatuous. First ladies have a long history of using that position to become effective politicians. (By the way, why didn’t Obama think of FDR or Eisenhower as mentors of great change rather then Reagan?) The disinformation campaign, the real purpose of the Whitewater hearings, has worked on Mr. Lessig. Many of us are disappointed with BIll Clinton’s presidency, but to haul that out rather than recall the frustration and anger as what really was “a vast right-wing conspiracy” is fruitless and simply a way to backhand the wife for failing her philandering husband.

    Both Clinton and Obama deserve a better view of the requirements and duties of public service, of the presidency. We deserve a discussion that isn’t about abstractions, but about how best to reach for the ideals this country was founded upon. Even with the very serious mistakes, elisions and compromises this country has made, the US Constitution is still one of the most radical treatises on what it means to be a self governing society dependent upon individual rights. “We the people…” is us and we must be the ones who try to form a “more perfect union.”

  • dannyR

    Moral courage is a double-edged sword. There are those who argue that George W. Bush has conducted himself with ample moral courage. When do the morally courageous become the obstinant? Probably when their morals conflict with ours. That said, I would not want to be accused of swiftboating. I have a $5 bet with a co-worker that Hillary will win the Democratic nomination. It is a $5 bet I hope I lose.

  • Leslie Bary

    Good job. I was a Kucinich person, then an Edwards person, voted for Obama because he was my favorite of those left by the time our primary rolled around – realized at that point that, for reasons more or less aligned with what you outline here, he was the smart choice all along.

  • Thomas E.

    The idea of moral courage in politics, and the example of Bill Clinton’s retreat on the issue of gays in the military as a case of failing to exhibit this rather nebulous trait, are derived, it seems to me, from a common misconception that the President of the United States is a King with all-powerful authority.

    In fact, the President is not a unitary leader, in spite of the sickening efforts of George II. The President must work within the deeply entrenched power structures of Washington D.C. and often, as in the case of Bill Clinton, this includes working with a very hostile Congressional majority and/or Military/Industrial lobbying faction. Thus the retreat in the face of gays in the military must be put into the context of the well-organized and very “conservative”, probably better described as fascist, behavior on the part of the republicans and the military at the time.

    Examine another example from a past President who, like Bill Clinton, came into office with a narrow win but with some high-minded ideals that appealed to the youthful voter. JFK was against the Bay of Pigs invasion on principle but he was a young and relatively powerless Senator when he took office. In one of his first briefings he was basically TOLD by the CIA that the Bay of Pigs invasion, planned under Eisenhower, was going forward. He didn’t lack “moral courage” in letting it go forward to it’s humiliating end, he lacked the power to stop it. He did, to his everlasting credit, refuse to escalate it with overt military assistance when he was begged by the George Bissell and others in the CIA to do so. In that case, he was able to exercise his power as CinC to NOT order the military to come to the aid of the poor saps in the Bay. And this very likely cost him his life.

    So to say that Bill Clinton somehow sacrificed his morals and lacked courage when he may well have been told by people much more powerful than he was at the time that if he forced the military to openly accept gays, his presidency, and possibly his life, would be at great risk, seems rather like the armchair quarterback post-analyzing the game and saying how he would have run the ball up the middle rather than having thrown it out of bounds like that chicken quarterback on TV. Did you see the 275 pound linebacker waiting there just hoping to get the chance to crush the quarterback if he ran it up the middle? Didn’t think so.

    And as some have said here – how can we know that Obama will do anything differently? Of course if we assume that he will be King and have his every edict carried out by willing and obedient subjects in the congress and military, then I think we can delude ourselves into thinking that he will effect great and mighty changes. But more probably he will come up against a huge wall of very powerful, very racist, and very ugly people who will do everything they possibly can, including possibly killing him, to stop him from carrying out anything close to a progressive, sweeping-change, agenda. Remember: the racists and the fascists aren’t gone: they’re just being kind of quiet right now….

    The republicans and the military industrial complex do not play nice. They don’t even “play” – they prefer to just kill, either literally, or figuratively in the political arena. Dick Cheney is an apt poster child for the sort of people that we’re up against when we say “We want change! We want the US to be a nice nation!” Nice thoughts. Now go and try to convince people like Big Dick and Rick Santorum and Ralph Reed to let gays be in the military, or to get married, or to give up the billions of barrels of Iraqi oil that we just claimed for Shell and Exxon in perpetuity. Good luck to you.

    And good luck to Barack or Hillary – whoever goes into the hornet’s nest next will have a very hard time getting ANYTHING done as long as people like Cheney, Rove, and the invisible corporate power-elite they work for are still around. If and only if there is greater than a 2/3 democratic majority in the Senate will either one of them make much headway on any issue of importance.

    Sorry to be so cynical. But really, it’s better than being delusional.

  • David

    What a great video and argument. I wish the comments had more light and less heat (at least there seems to be less heat here than in other places). Since it’s clear – I’m a Obama supporter.

    People who say Obama is all style and no substance have not done their homework – thanks to several posters who have pointed out links. Anyone who says he has no substance hasn’t bother to find out what those policies are.

    The idea that experience is important in winning the presidential election has forgotten that Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter (when he ran for re-election), George W. Bush (when he ran for re-election), Al Gore, and John Kerry all lost to candidates with less experience than they had.

    Besides the other arguments for Obama, I would point out that his amazing job at running this campaign shows that he is ready to run this country. He started significantly down in the polls with no chance of winning the nomination. He has planned and strategized well. He has used his resources appropriately. And he is very close to becoming the nominee. When I hear Clinton spin her losses as “caucus states and states with a high African-American population” I just wonder if she’ll come up with a similar excuse when she is out organized by the republicans in the election or when she’s in the White House (oh, sorry, couldn’t win Pennsylvania because there were too many working americans there). She knew the rules going in, and had ample resources and strengths to win. She’s either hiring the wrong people, or doing a poor job herself with the campaign.

    Lastly, I would like to comment on the absurdity of the “Obama brought race into the election” idea. It wasn’t Obama’s spouse who pointed out that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice. Please. Obama has consistantly tried to make this an election about the people, not their skin color or gender.

    If Clinton wins the nomination fair and square (i.e. she finishes with more elected delegates before counting Michigan and Florida) I will probably hold my nose and vote for her simply to get a Democrat in the White House. But if she and Bill swipe the nomination, I will definitely not vote for her.

  • ckalyna

    OBAMA SUPPORTERS: Post this link on the McCain and Clinton blogs. I’ve already done; but I can imagine it doesn’t stay up for very long. Your effort may help…

  • Denise Oliver-Velez

    Thank you Professor Lessig for this insightful piece – I am passing it on to others.
    I have never been a supporter of establishment politics in America. In fact, as a 60 year old activist I have been fighting in the trenches of grass roots struggles for change in America since my teenage years. This is the first time in my life I have ever made a decision to send money to a presidential candidate, and I consider it well spent.

    I would like to share some reflections of my own here. I teach at a college upstate New York. My students are overwhelmingly white, with parents who are registered conservative Republicans. My students organized tirelessly for Barak Obama and continue to do so. They have said to me very honestly that his racial heritage has played no role in their decision. They have openly admitted that there are plenty of black candidates they would never have dreamed of supporting. They have chosen Obama because of his integrity and his stance against the war, his ideas about education and the fact that they can identify with him as an ordinary (though extraordinary) American who has struggled to get where he is today, not as part of a machine, and not allied with corporate interests or lobbies. These young people are now engaged in the political process and that is what offers hope to us all.

    I have also been an activist feminist since the beginning of the women’s movement. I voted for Hillary Clinton to become a NY senator. I had considered voting for Hillary in New York in the primary but changed my mind. I was appalled by the position taken by the NY NOW chapter. I am a feminist scholar and was reminded of a point in history when the women’s suffrage movement played the “race card” and distanced itself from voting rights for former enslaved black men to court white elite women from the South who wouldn’t sit in the same room with black women. So my “sheroe” became Lucy Stone, and not Susan B Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Hillary and her surrogates – Bill Clinton and now Ed Rendell in PA are using the same divisive tactics with women, and interjecting the race card. Barak Obama is a feminist and has consistently voted correctly on issues affecting women. I do not see the choice as a feminist as “vote for Hillary or lose your feminist ID card”. Were Lucy Stone alive today she would be voting for Obama.

    I do not support his candidacy simply because his father was from Africa. That would be as absurd as supporting him simply because his mother was from Kansas. What is important about Barak is his life experience, growing up with a mixed cultural heritage, a child of a broken family, his upward drive, his hope, his belief in the American dream, and his comfortableness in his own skin.

    Life experience is just as important as political experience and he has both (contrary to his critics opinions) since politics in America is not just a process for those who are elected officials. They are politicians yes – but we the people are the body politic.
    To paraphrase Martin Luther King, it is about “the content of his character”.

    As an anthropologist, who has lived in many places outside of the United States my assessment of Obama is that he is the only candidate who can offer the world a new vision of the United States. Our global image is sadly tarnished, but Obama offers hope of redemption and yes – as you so clearly stated it, peace.

    I am enthused and overwhelmed by the fact that I never believed during my years of struggle for civil rights, women’s rights and human rights that I would live to see this day dawn on my nation. I pray that American’s will make my dreams for the future a reality by making him our next President.

  • http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000167/votes/ Rhonda Carlson

    Dear Professor and fellow bloggers, I’m surprised to see no mention of Barack Obama’s voting record, found here: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000167/votes/. Here’s another good link that allows you to compare voting records between two candidates. http://selectsmart.com/president/2008/comparethem.html.

    If Barack Obama won’t take a position on the issues, he’s not representing his constituents. His inaction, demonstrated by his poor voting record, is a serious concern that shouldn’t be overlooked. Barack has some exceptional qualities, but charisma alone isn’t enough for me. Sorry, but actions speak louder than words.

  • ab

    Good healthcare starts with no smoke(ing) in the white house.

  • Shannon Robert

    Thanks for sharing your insight. I have never been so invested in a candidate. I hope that the DNC does the right thing for the country. I like your site and look forward to reading more of your work.

  • ti-jay in NY

    This is a worthy piece and I encourage all citizens to read it and consequently make a choice between Obama and Billary.This is what is called straight talk. Lessig, I do agree with you totally. But I am still at a lost why many good citizens (both democrats and republicans) can’t see this awakening in our nation. Its something that will probably never happen again and I am thankful that folks like you can sense it with your sixth sense. Obama is like the Jordan, Pele, Grestky, and Ali in today’s political arena. There would never be another like him (if i am not exaggerating). Change wasn’t Hillarys message. It can never be. Obama is Change. Hope is not Hillary’s message and it can never be but the man’s embodies HOPE. He cannot stop talking about it- listen fellow citizens, this election is not about red or blue states, rich or poor, black or white. This is about the USA. After he becomes president, the division into blue states and red states will become history, history, history. He will be the first president of the United States of America and the president of the world. Mark my words

    Yes We Can

  • Mat

    FACT: Oprah is financing Obama. She has influenced and paid off major media with millions of dollars to endorse him. Unfortunately, a talk show host in this country does have that power. The media does not care about the future of our country. They are concerned about a news story that is controversial. So, Obama is their story. Obama is NOT what we need. The man has little experience at anything. However, weak minded people that believe talking heads, like the one you just listened to, will still vote for the wrong choice. Clinton or McCain are much better leaders for our country. THINK and research before you vote. Don’t be persuaded by hyped up media promotions and the Oprah Winfrey machine.

  • Andri Sigurðsson

    I’m not from the States or “Ameríku” as we call it over here. I do hope Obama wins simply because he has some hint of integrity where as Hillary does not. Simple as that. Hopefully people will see that in time.

  • clark

    at Michael: you have got to be kidding!
    hardly deserves a response — but, my god. jaw dropping.

  • Brett

    Given the exceptional level of self-proclaimed enlightenment (AKA progressivism) resident on this blog, I’m shocked – shocked – to see the high levels of racial and gender-consciousness evident here. True, most references are in the framework of disparaging the “ugly 98%”, the troglodytic masses that lie below +2 s.d. IQ. But still, this obsessiveness speaks to an inability to evaluate situations and draw conclusions uncolored by unexamined and unchallenged premises.

    Strangely, when you repeatedly need to justify what you would consider “irrational” choices by the “ugly 98%” with a reference to the same accusation of an immoral motive of the masses, and they generally evidence a far lower level of preoccupation with race and gender, I would think that would lead you to reevaluate whether you really understand what is best for the “ugly 98%” and whether your premise is correct. But hey, huge government bureaucracies were created, defended and propagated based on this paternalistic mindset – so, who am I to argue with success!

  • Jogger

    Well said.

    The most inspirational aspect of Obama’s candidacy is his challenge to create change from the bottom up.
    Obama not only challenges Washington D.C., but the nation as a whole to step up, get involved, and work together to make this country the great democracy it professes to be.

    This is the excitement around Obama. This is the world Hillary and Bill know nothing of, Hillary and Bill who have spent too much time figuring out how to win, and not enough time figuring out how to lead.

    Obama 08!

  • William Gregory

    Watch out Mr Obama, those rotten bastards are gonna try and kill you, like they did with the Kennedy Bros and Lennon. They will stop at nothing.

    MAY THE GOD OF ALL MANKIND WATCH OVER OBAMA!

    I am not a US citizen. But after the ravage the last 8 years of US foreign policy has done to the World and the Environment, I feel that this US election is by far the most important election in the last 55 years. Think of the implications.
    So by this, I support Senator Barack Obama on his way to the Presidency. He is the first true American candidate worthy and capable of the 21st Century.

    Thank you for reading and God bless Obama!

  • http://www.myspace.com/tomandbarbwebber Tom Webber

    Thank you so very much for this thoughtful and inspiring video! I am going to spread the word about it!

  • http://www.p2-planningforpeace.com John Fair

    I too am for change. As an agent of change myself, I have learned that when people say they are for change what they often mean is change that goes “my way” and when change comes they discover that it was not change they wanted after all because change comes to them saying that “I must change too …” I have discovered that when I bring real change into a system, the ones who applauded it are the first to abandon me. I believe I am speaking the truth here and the first step in peacemaking is to speak the truth and that truth is that each and all of us need to confess that this is who we are (that we seem to want the change that is only good for us).

    Change demands transformation at the deepest level. Look at a tree and what do you see? A tall beautiful expanse all leafed out — but what is not visible is the hard work mirrored below ground in the soil that nurtures the tree. This is where the change takes hold. We are not much different. It is true, form precedes function and what people are drawn to is form. I guess what I am really wanting to say is this: The face (form) on our next president is not the measure of change. It will be revealed in they way that that face functions. And, lastly, change is the hard spiritual work of change that takes place in the roots that hold us all together …. it is measured in how we live together …

  • Michael Bosworth

    lawrence,
    please lead the “Change Congress” charge whether or not you
    choose to run for congress

  • Sara Cole

    Lovely we get to choose between Obama, Clinton, or McCain. No matter what anyone says about him Obama would be the worst president if he were elected. Look at JFK, Carter, Reagan, Bush.

    All inexperienced and all of them damaged our country. JFK gave us the Bay of PIgs, the Cuban Missle Crisis, just to name two. If he hadn’t been killed he never would have been reelected. If the country hadn’t felt to bad about his death Johnson never would have gotten the Civil Rights bill of 1964 through Congress. Those of you that didn’t live through JFK we had nuclear fallout drills at school every week where we would have to hide under our desks or out in the hall with our arms over our heads. We were building fallout shelters in our backyards. Thanks to JFK getting his brother Bobby as Attorney General nobody invesitgated the election fraud in Illinois. Read the book “The Dark Side of Camelot” by SEYmour Hersh.

    What the public saw in JFK was an attractive, glamorous, hardworking President devoted to country, wife and family. Four former secret service men who were assigned the Kennedy presidential detail were interviewed for The Dark Side of Camelot. They reported they saw a president obsessed with sex, willing to take enormous risks to gratify that obsession, a president who came late many times to the Oval Office and who was not readily available for hours during the day.

    President Kennedy once told a friend, “You know, I get a migraine headache if I don’t get a strange piece of ass every day.” Apparently he didn’t have many headaches. His affairs were legion. He even slept with one of his long time lovers in the Georgetown home he shared with his wife and two children the night before his inauguration. He and this woman began their affair when she was a 19 year old Radcliffe College student and he was a 42 year old Senator running for president. Their four year affair lasted through the election and into his presidency during which time she was a member of the White House staff.

    President Kennedy did not have affairs in the White House when his wife was also staying there, but she spent most of her time with their children at a family retreat in Virginia. When returning to the White House earlier than expected, she would typically call ahead, presumably to enable the coast to be cleared before her arrival. It seems “plausible deniability” was important to the first lady as well as her husband.

    Then there is Jimmy Carter. This hillbilly who led our country into double-digit inflation, gas lines and shortages, high interest rates, high unemployment, the Iran debacle, Soviet Union invading Afghanistan The man who humilated our country when he admitted he had committed “adultery in his heart”. THIS is the man that filed a UFO sighting in 1969.

    The country suffered from the weak economy that was dominated by OPEC-influenced double-digit inflation. Americans, directly affected by the economy, were concerned about the federal government’s response to the economic situation. Three days after the speech, Carter asked for the resignations of all of his Cabinet officers, and ultimately accepted five. Carter later admitted in his memoirs that he should simply have asked only those five members for their resignations. By asking the entire Cabinet, it gave the appearance that the White House was falling apart.

    For those who think that Reagan was the sign of the second coming. This man who invented tricledown economics or voodoo economics. He brought us the savings and loan crisis, the stock market crash of 1987, increased the national debt to $3 trillion, 241 Marines killed in the Beirut barracks bombing (with no retaliation),the Iran-Contra Affair, in addtion to his suffering from Alzheimers during his second term which resulted in our country being governed by an unelected committee.

    I don’t have to tell anyone about how much our country has suffered with Bush over the past 7 years. And all four of these men campaigned on “CHANGE”. Yes they sure “changed” our country but not for the better. All of you need to ask yourselves honestly can we truly afford another president that doesn’t know what he is doing?

  • http://www.piquemind.com/ Marion

    Sara,

    Your argument doesn’t hold weight and sounds like you and Reagan have something in common…

    Yes We Can!

    http://www.piquemind.com/

  • michela

    WOW sara how do you really feel. That’s a lot of anger to be holding on to for 40+ years! Experienced politicians can “damage our country” too. I’m sorry that you feel so helpless in our current political system that you feel this way… I hope it gets better.

  • Patricia Henisse

    This represents the naive presentation of Carter and Nader followers. What you say is “Moral Courage,” is, most likely, the naive ramblings of the blind left. Ideas are not change. Obama has no record of effective change or, for that matter, acting on his rhetoric. Charisma does not equal results. Clinton has a record of results and experience in working within the system. For those of us who were around during the Kennedy administration, and not basing our opinions on the glow of martyrdom, we realize that charisma is fleeting. John Kennedy was not popular at the time of his death. The country was ready to vote him out of office. He accomplished little. JBJ was the one who got things done in the wake of public mourning. Yes, Obama, I am sure, is a good man with fine intentions. Intentions do not get the job done. Jimmy Carter was, in my opinion, the best person to ever hold the job of President of the US. He was almost totally ineffective.

    I am afraid that we will have the opportunity to see how much change Mr. Obama can really effect. The job is president, not dictator. He will have to work within a hostile system to make any difference at all. We have NO idea if he can work within the system or not.

    As democrats, this is our Achilles heel. Like lemmings, we follow the dreamers off the cliff. The we whine and moan and groan when we are voted out of office and replaced by republicans who can at least get something done. When will we learn? God help us. We can’t seem to help ourselves.

  • Donald Davis

    Lessig for Congress!!! Thank you for your wisdom, integrity, and inspiration. March 1 decision?

  • Marion

    I wouldn’t call driving our country in the ground getting “something done”. It is truly sad when older democrats become so jaded they are afraid of their own judgment. Lest you are still sitting on the fence with Hillary and Obama, here’s some reminders of the Clinton record:

    The dark side of the Clintons

    Hillary’s Skeleton Closet

    In 2006, Bill supports right wing, pro-war Lieberman

    I really don’t want anyone as president who voted for the war in Iraq, supported invading Iran, is friendly with Bush and Lieberman, is heavily involved with lobbyists, and has done next to nothing to stop the bleeding of our planet. The scandals and rumors are enough to see the Clinton’s are enticed by money, which does not bode well for our country. Hillary has aided and abetted the current corrupt government through inaction and faulty judgment. If her idea of experience is to go along with the status quo in order to avoid conflict, that’s exactly the kind of politician we don’t need running our country especially at a time like now.

  • Marion

    This just in…

    Sen. Hillary Clinton has declined to return $170,000 in campaign contributions from individuals at a company accused of widespread sexual harassment, and whose CEO is a disbarred lawyer with a criminal record, federal campaign records show.

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/29/718538.aspx

  • Stephen Ewen

    Nailed it – excellent video.

  • http://www.micros-si.com Antonio

    Patricia, “Moral Courage” is not a political point of view. It’s an ethical point of view. I you think that lacking moral integrity is bad for a leader, that he should connive and sell his convictions for fear, power or money then you are talking about moral degradation. Moral degradation is what sunk the Argentinian economy or many other rich and powerful nations in the past. Lets hope that whoever wins has sufficient moral courage to withstand the difficult times lying ahead.

  • Merle Mceldowney

    I am requesting you make another video. This one was so touching for me as an Obama supporter. Like so many other women of my generation, baby boomers and even a bit older, there are splits in our friendships. How can we be supporting Obama when it is our chance to have woman president and Hillary is so wonderful? I cannot foreword this to them because of what it says about Hillary. If only the video only talked about Obama I could foreword it.

    I have rarely been able to mention to people that one of my reasons for supporting Obama was because I felt we needed to present to the world this man as our president at this time. You say it so well that it makes it respectable.

  • Dana Lee

    Excellent commentary. Very thoughtful and insightful. Thank you for sharing the basis of your support for Barrack Obama.. For leaders like Barrack come along so infrequently, that when they do, we often struggle to find the words to describe what it is their messge that resonates so deeply and profoundly in our spirits.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/letballstyle Ball

    It is the duty of leaders to inspire its people

    Obama has moved the American people in ways that we haven’t seen since the 60s – A time of great change

    http://www.youtube.com/user/letballstyle

  • cat

    WHY DID BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMAS WIFE SAY THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SHES EVER BEEN PROUD OF THE UNITED STATES? HMMM…Sound a little racist to you? AND DID ANYONE WATCH THE “BLACK STATE OF THE UNION” ON C-SPAN? It was extremely racist against whites! Dick Gregory, an outspoken black supremist spokesman, was on there accusing “the white man” of spraying manganese in the black ghettos at night! Tavis Smiley, the host of the show, said even if OBAMA wins the presidential election, the black community should not be satisfied and should still hold WHITE AMERICA responsible for what it’s done to “them”(BLACK AMERICA)! HEELLLOOO….With all this crap on and on about how RACIST white people are, I think its BS. Flip the script. Black people are the ones holding on to all this hatred and discrimination. WHY IS IT OK THAT THERE IS A UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND BUT NOT A UNITED CAUCASION COLLEGE FUND? So if there’s a black kid who gets bad grades, and a white kid who may be living in JUST AS MUCH POVERTY but getting GOOD grades, the black kid would be the one that gets the chance at a college education because the color of his skin? THAT IS RACIST, MY FRIENDS. White people are not allowed to be discriminatory towards anyone. ESPECIALLY not black people. BUT it IS a double standard and THEY are allowed to do it to us- with black history month, black entertainment tv, negro college funds, and black award shows etc etc and STILL complain that the scales are tipped against THEM… Anyways, Most people can’t even name ONE good thing OBAMA has done for this country. LOOK IN HIS PAST- Most everything he’s done and laws he’s passed is for BLACKS- His wife seems racist as heck, as well as his church and spiritual leaders (Who are Black Supremists and think the white man is less than human)… But ULTIMATELY, the decision is yours to make… Do you RESEACH the individual you are putting in our white house- Or just go with the majority trend?

  • http://www.massxpert.org Filippo Rusconi

    That’s a remarkable opinion. Thank you for sharing it. We, in Europe, are not very well informed about the misbehaviours of the Clintons. I was appalled at what I discovered within this opinion. I am all for B. Obama, since the beginning (his origins, his way of being sure of this opinions, what you call his courage).

    I really hope he’s going to be elected. I think this is really what is needed if USA really want to be back in the international concert of nations as a Great Nation and not a bunch of horrible politicians only serving themselves and their friend huge multinational companies on the back of the developing world (think oil companies, construction companies, pharmaceutical companies, seed companies as Monsanto, software companies that are lobbying like crazy to patent ideas and mathematics so as to lock the world in their business Microsoft, IBM, anybody ?).

    Oh, and I forgot, this election, if it happens, will hopefully put at rest the foolish politicians that in the USA are willing to go in Iran put another dose of fire in Middle East…

    All the best, Filippo

  • Dave

    The Democrats should nominate both Clinton and Obama and let them both run in the general election. That will help “stimulate debate,” which is the reason the Democrats gave for saying Ross Perot’s run in ’92 was a good idea.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ustheband1 Clarita Zarate

    Thank you for putting breath to something most of us feel and have difficulty expressing. It is so true that we are rewarding their bad behavior without even realizing it. I am so proud of Americans who stand up for integrity and decency. I am also proud of (some) of our leaders who we never thought would openly choose to support what is right. Obama has gotten where he is by using the truth as his strength. By using love to unite people. By practicing what he preaches. He said he believed that what went on in the government should be an open book. When he was faced with character attacks he told the truth with dignity and honor. He treats his listeners as intelligent people and connects with them on a human level.

  • olandug

    We should judge a person by their actions and not their words. The fact that Obama choose Mr. Wright as his spiritual teacher for 20 years and included Mr. Wright in his election staff speaks well for Mr. Obama’s thinking and actions. Words are easy to manipulate and it is unlikely that Obama’s recent speech was written by Mr. Obama anyway. Mr. Obama has a powerful and power hungry staff including his wife that will do anything to get him elected to power. But clearly this man Mr. Obama is not to be trusted with the future of our great country. And regardless that he is ‘fashionably black’ and that many of you have some desire to prove to yourself or to others that you are not prejudice and that you like ‘black people’ with an attitude of ‘See, I like black people, I voted for a black person.’ And whether you are black or white, such an attitude of voting for a person because of their race is the definition of prejudice.

  • Connie

    Thank you for putting all my own thoughts so succinctly. I think this has played out even more true in the weeks since you have created it. Barack did the difficult but right thing in his speech on race – to call us all forth on the truth of this issue, and also to reflect the complexity of it, even within not just Obama’s church, but all religious institutions. He has stood fast when it would have been more politicially expedient to simply dump Rev. Wright and move on. His political campaign continues to fight for truth and transparency in government and in campaigning – rather than attack HRC’s character, he is calling her out on what he feels are the facts of her record and behavior. He has courage, character, and integrity that continue to shine through.

  • nonya

    cool video but it was not what i expected

  • Larry

    Thanks for laying all this out in clear terms, I agree with all if it except your belief the Bill Clinton did an extraordinary job as president. I realize you didn’t explain why you believe that, but whenever I ask someone who thinks Clinton was a great president why they think that, invariably they tell me about things that were good while he was president. They can never tell me what Bill Clinton’s role in making them good was, it’s just a post hoc argument: he was there when good happened.

    He gets especially high praise for being good for the economy based on this post hoc argument. The economy grew under Bill Clinton, but I don’t think he was particularly responsible for that growth. In fact, some of that growth was the result of unhealthy, unsustainable changes in the economy, such as the conversion of money that had historically gone into saving into money spent in the economy. When Clinton came to office, our savings rate was around 7%. By May 2001 it had dropped to 1%. If you save less and spend more, that will stimulate the economy, but it’s clearly not something you can do indefinitely, and it leaves people will less savings for emergencies and big purchases. It leaves financial institutions with less money to lend unless they find other sources such as foreign investors. It may stimulate the economy, but at what cost down the road? What did Clinton do to address this issue? Nothing. What did he do to address the dot-com bubble? Nothing. Why would he? Both of them made him look good and the next president would be stuck with the consequences, as Bush was when the dot-com bubble collapsed about 3-6 weeks after he took office.

    What did he do to address illegal immigration? The growth of national debt (which slowed under him because the economy was growing so rapidly, but it still grew by $1.6 trillion under Clinton)?

    He was an okay president, but an extraordinary president would be proactive in addressing issues like these, and Clinton was not.

  • http://terrylevine.com terry levine

    Thanks for this. Fantastic.

  • JoeG

    If I were comptemplating voting for Obama, I would want to know a few things which qualify him for Commander in Chief.

    Does he have any military experience? No
    We can see by the current administration what can happen when someone in office doesn’t.

    Does he have any experience at all in international diplomacy? None that I can find.

    Does he have an extensive background in economics? None that I can find and none listed on his website.

    Does he have any bipartisan efforts in the senate? No bills that I can find and I have searched.

    Does he have any major accomlishments? CEO of any corporations, Governor of a State, Captain of a Volley Ball team, anything other than being a senator who replaced the expelled diplomat before him? None that I can find.

    And what exactly does CHANGE and YES WE CAN refer to? He certainly has not elaborated anything past a Hillary style health care plan which miserably failed in the 1980s when she tried it during her husbands term. He alsl fails to explain how he is going to pay for such a plan except by raising taxes.

    Is he a uniter? Judging by the voting results of Kentucky, West Virginia and half the States in America, I would have to say no.

    If I were conducting an interview with him for the position, I think I would have to pass

  • JoeG

    By the way, the economy grew under Bill Clinton because both the house and the senate were controlled by republicans. Not one dime can be spent by a president. All appropriations are made by the house and senate. Do you not recall them shutting down the Goverment twice because they wouldnt let Bill spend? Come on folks, use your head.

  • ReaderX

    I support Obama.

    But you got a little sanctimonious and creepy at the end, Hoss. A little too weepy Christy. You made some interesting observations along the way, to be sure. Just thought you might could’ve tightened up the end a bit stronger and upbeat.

  • David B. Haun

    Enumerate why you Barack Obama over John McCain for the General Election having defeated Clinton in the Primary Elections.

  • Donna

    Think you know who this man is?

    This possible President of the United States ?? Read Below and

    ask yourselves, is this REALLY someone we can see as the

    President of our great nation!!!!

    Below are a few lines from Obama’s books; In his words!

    From Dreams of My Father:
    ‘I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.’
    From Dreams of My Father : ‘I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.’

    From Dreams of My Father: ‘There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.’

    From Dreams of My Father: ‘It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.’

    From Dreams of My Father: ‘I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa , that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself , the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.’

    And FINALLY the Most Damming one of ALL of them!!!

    From Audacity of Hope: ‘I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’

    We CANNOT have someone with this type of mentality running our GREAT nation!!

    I don’t care whether you a Democrat or a Conservative.
    We CANNOT turn ourselves over to this type of character in a President.
    PLEASE help spread the word!

  • Marion

    Donna…the problem with the right is they tend to twist the truth until it is wrong. Your statements are lies, half truths and leave out important information for comprehensive understanding of what Obama means. You also lack insight into race and sociology, and therefore should not talk on what you do not understand. What we cannot have are lies and propaganda spread to manipulate Americans from the truth. This is immoral and anti-American. I certainly hope you don’t call yourself a patriot. Shame on you!

    I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.

    This statement comes from the introduction to Dreams from My Father (p. xv), as part of a passage in which Barack Obama spoke of the difficulties of growing up as the child of mixed-race parents. The statement is actually a portion of a parenthetical remark Obama used to explain that people who did not know him well were often surprised to find that he himself was the child of mixed-raced parents (because he looked black, and he no longer made a point of gratuitously mentioning that his mother was white).

    I can relate personally to this statement as I am half-black. Obama was being nice about his situation. If it was anything like mine, I was beaten up, ridiculed by classmates, teachers and neighbors, threatened and my brother had his nose broken off with a chain because of the racism we endured from whites in our neighborhood. It was around junior high school that my brothers and I stopped classmates from seeing our mother. This was in the late 50s through the 60s.

    There was a curiosity from others to know about my racial back. Sometimes a perverse curiosity coming from teachers and strangers who were bold enough to ask a child personal questions about family life and our household that should not have been asked. Apparently the ignorance and insensitivity still exists today.

    From Audacity of Hope: ‘I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’

    The actual quote from the book is from page 261 and is as follows: “Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

    Obama was saying he would stand with “American” muslims living in America who fear retaliation when they’ve done nothing wrong. These people have a right to be concerned. Look what the US did to Japanese and Chinese Americans who had proved to be loyal to this country yet were interned during, I think, WWII.

    I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.’

    No such sentence (nor anything close to it) appears anywhere in either Dreams from My Father or The Audacity of Hope. This statement was taken from a March 2007 article about Barack Obama; they are not Obama’s own words, but rather those of the article’s author (recast in the first person).

    There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.

    This statement comes from page 142 of Dreams of My Father, as part of a passage in which Barack Obama was being interviewed by a man named Marty Kaufman for a position as a community organizer in Chicago. Kaufman was specifically looking for a black man to work with him, because he was white and needed someone to help him appeal to both sides in a racially polarized city. The statement reproduced above creates a false impression by eliding the ending to the final sentence: Obama makes reference (in his expression of misgivings) to Kaufman’s whiteness being a problem, because Kaufman himself had said it was a problem

    It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.

    This sentence appears on page 101 of Dreams of My Father, as part of a long passage in which Barack Obama talked about his time at Occidental College in Los Angeles. It was another expression of a theme touched on in many other sections of the book — the difficulties of being expected to associate oneself with a particular racial heritage, especially for those who came from multiracial backgrounds — prompted by the example of a girl named Joyce, one of Obama’s classmates. [I can thoroughly relate to this issue]

    I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.

    This statement is a rewording (two separate sentences have been conflated into one, further changing an intended meaning already obscured by the lack of context) of material from page 220 of Dreams of My Father. The material appears as part of a passage in which Barack Obama describes his profound disappointment in learning (from information provided by his half-sister, Auma) that the lofty image he had held all his life of his role model, his biological father (a man he barely knew, because Barack’s father had left him and his mother when Barack was just two years old, and Barack had only seen his father once since then), was a flawed, idealized one. [you can read the remainder of the explanation at the link below.]

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/ownwords.asp

  • amd

    Your video makes 4 main points – I believe all are highly debatable and therefore your conclusion that Obama is the better candidate is weak. (Disclosure: as will probably become clear, I am/was a Clinton supporter.)

    Obviously, my response now is days late and dollars short, but I will continue in case any are interested.

    Debatable point #1: No good reason to differentiate between Obama and Clinton on the basis of policy.

    Some would say that the inclusion of an individual mandate in a health care plan, or failure to include such a mandate, is a very important policy difference. I happen to believe, also, that this decision relates to the question of character and moral courage.

    Debatable point #2: Obama has demonstrated stronger character than Clinton.

    Clinton backed an individual mandate in her health care plan, a position that will draw a great deal of incoming fire, a la “government run health care”, etc. Paul Krugman opined on this subject often enough, and well enough, during the primary for me not to have to expound further. I share his view that her decision to stick to her guns on this point speaks in her favor, whereas Obama’s equivocation over the merits of a mandate and a single-payer plan and his decision to take the path of least resistance (a health care plan that tweaks the status quo without a mandate) speaks ill of his character.

    Hillary’s vote on Iraq is consistent with her foreign policy stances before and since 2002 – her approach has been one that appreciates the role of “coercive diplomacy”, diplomacy that includes the real threat of force in the mix of policies calculated to achieve US interests. She watched her husband wield coercive diplomacy in the Balkans and in Iraq with considerable, though not unadulterated, success.

    Obama’s 2002 speech in opposition to the Iraq war was delivered in one of the most liberal corners of Illinois in advance of a difficult Democratic primary contest – his staking out of a leftist position on the Iraq war constituted smart politics for him at the time. To cast his speech as a decision taken contrary to expediency is highly debatable.

    Furthermore, I would add that the simple fact that Hillary Clinton is still in public life fighting for causes she has championed over her career, in spite of the near-unprecedented vitriol aimed at her from even mainstream sources, is a major testament to her character.

    Of course, in recent months we have seen Obama tack to the right and assume more politically expedient positions on a range of issues – from supporting the FISA bill (after pledging to filibuster against it), to most recently saying he would vote to permit off-shore oil drilling as part of a larger compromise (after a long record of adamant opposition to off-shore drilling).

    Debatable point #3: Obama is preferable to Clinton on the question of integrity.

    Your narrow focus on “Rovian” tactics as the sole measure of integrity, and your lack of any consideration of Obama’s integrity, pro or con, should leave one circumspect at the start. To continue dissecting this point, one could quibble with the degree to which various Clinton campaign tactics were disingenuous or not, however the main trouble with this point of yours is that it can be easily argued that Obama has demonstrated a lack of integrity in a number of ways, equally as troubling as Clinton, or more so.

    His tactics of using inaccurate and unfair innuendo (for example, implying constantly in his stump speeches that Clinton has had a life-long ambition and plan to become president), while simultaneously decrying that tactic strikes me as being particularly troubling, in terms of his integrity. His oft-repeated statement that Clinton is willing to do “literally anything” to win the campaign is a serious slur against her character that plays on the public impression of Clinton that has been created by years of the worst kinds of attacks by the Roves of the right. These are but two examples of Obama exercising hypocritical political attacks – two examples that he and his campaign employed for months on end, not just once or twice in isolated instances.

    Furthermore, we actually know very little about Obama – most of what we do know about his life and experience has been given to us by Obama himself in his books. Because he has not spent long in the public eye or been forced to deal with important issues at high levels we actually know very little about how he responds to adversity, etc. I think it can be argued that there are much greater question marks about Obama in this regard than there are about Clinton.

    Debatable point #4: Obama will do better things as president than would Clinton.

    Your arguments in this point fall into two categories, both are suspect/debatable. One category regards the degree of change each will bring to Washington and the other category entails the bringing of Peace.

    Let’s begin with the first: While Obama undoubtedly has made addressing lobbyist influence a centerpiece of his campaign rhetoric, that does not mean that his being elected will lead to different consequences in this regard than were Clinton to be elected. In either case, the Oil and Gas lobby would no longer dictate presidential policy on the environment, the Pharmaceutical lobby would no longer dictate the president’s position on Medicare prescription drug policy, etc. The prophecies of “changing the game in Washington” are, unfortunately, hallucinatory, I believe. The entrenched power structure is too strong. The best that will be achieved will be the ignoring or lessening of influence of those special interests that run counter to the national interest – and that’s great, but is not a differentiating factor between Obama and Clinton.

    Now, bringing leadership for peace: You are undoubtedly correct that the symbolism of a President Barack Obama pays handsome dividends for the rehabilitation of America’s image around the world. However, you fail to take into account (1) that there may be countervailing factors of an Obama presidency and (2) that there may be positive, powerful symbolism to Clinton’s election, too.

    (1) While a Pres. Obama certainly puts a more favorable face on U.S. foreign policy, he also will put a weaker face on it – one of a president less ready and willing to use force on the world stage. Perceived unreadiness or discomfort with the use of force may lead nations like Iran to be more amenable to reconciliation, or it may run a significant risk of encouraging further defiance. By contrast, Clinton would bring a change away from Bush’s unilateralism and war-mongering, but is also seen as strong, forceful, and more experienced.

    (2) A Clinton presidency would symbolize a return toward 1990s US foreign policy – one that was marked by multilateralism and the building of international institutions, and the higher popularity of the US abroad.

    So, while Clinton could bring a less revolutionary symbolism into the White House, she would also bring an image of strength and experience that may discourage destructive behavior.

    As can be seen above, I find that all of your arguments for choosing Obama over Clinton are highly debatable. Furthermore, in this case (the election of the most important leader in the world), I think it prudent to be risk averse. Clinton provides a more sure bet, to my mind, for the implementation of better, more constructive policies, at home and abroad.

    Best regards,

    AMD

  • http://Public.Information@turner.com Alexander

    Hallo!
    Ich wundere mich immernoch, daß es Leute gibt, die noch an das politische System glauben.
    Wenn man einen König einsetzen würde statt einem Präsidenten hätte man genausoviel oder
    wenig unter Ihm zu leiden. Der Einfluß den der normale Bürger auf die politischen Entscheidungen hat ist auch nicht größer. Die Demokratie ist eine bewußte Täusung. Sie dient dazu die Leute davon abzuhalten sich ernsthaft um ihre Belange zu kümmern. Statt dessen geben sie bei der Wahl Ihre Stimme ab und können sich erst bei der nächsten Wahl wieder zu Wort melden. Im Wahlkampf werden sie dann wieder belogen. Doch stimme ich der Entscheidung des
    Autors zu auch wenn es keinen großen Unterschied macht.
    Gruß
    Alex

  • Grant No more Taxes

    Subject: Obama & McCain on taxes

    Here is why Obama is bad news and why he has no idea how to lead

    A few points to remember and consider:
    You can verify the tax information at
    > http://money.cnn.com/news/specials/election/2008/index..html,
    > if you’d like.
    >
    > (INTERESTING DATA JUST RECEIVED ON TAXES
    > & PROPOSED CHANGES IN TAXES AFTER 2008 GENERAL
    > ELECTION.)
    > Time to consider your pocketbook:
    >
    > CAPITAL GAINS TAX
    >
    > MCCAIN:
    > 0% on home sales up to $500,000 per home
    > (couples). McCain does not propose any change in existing
    > home sales income tax.
    >
    > OBAMA:
    > 28% on profit from ALL home sales
    >
    > How does this affect you?
    > If you sell your home and make a profit, you
    > will pay 28% of your gain on taxes. If you are heading
    > toward retirement and would like to down-size your home or
    > move into a retirement community, 28% of the money you make
    > from your home will go to taxes. This proposal will
    > adversely affect the elderly who are counting on the income
    > from their homes as part of their retirement income.
    >
    > DIVIDEND TAX
    > MCCAIN : 15% (no change)
    >
    > OBAMA : 39.6%
    >
    > How will this affect you?
    > If you have any money invested in stock
    > market, IRA, mutual funds, college funds, life insurance,
    > retirement accounts, or anything that pays or reinvests
    > dividends, you will now be paying nearly 40% of the money
    > earned on taxes if Obama becomes president. The experts
    > predict that ‘Higher tax rates on dividends and capital
    > gains would crash the stock market, yet do absolutely
    > nothing to cut the deficit.’
    >
    > INCOME TAX (find your bracket)
    > MCCAIN (no changes)
    >
    > Single making 30K – tax $4,500
    > Single making 50K – tax $12,500
    > Single making 75K – tax $18,750
    > Married making 60K- tax $9,000
    > Married making 75K – tax $18,750
    > Married making 125K – tax $31,250
    >
    > OBAMA (reverse all tax cuts)
    >
    > Single making 30K – tax $8,400
    > Single making 50K – tax $14,000
    > Single making 75K – tax $23,250
    > Married making 60K – tax $16,800
    > Married making 75K – tax $21,000
    > Married making 125K – tax $38,750
    >
    > Under Obama, your taxes will more than
    > double!
    >
    > How does this affect you? No explanation
    > needed. This is pretty straight
    > forward.
    >
    > INHERITANCE TAX
    >
    > MCCAIN 0% (No change, Bush repealed
    > this tax)
    >
    > OBAMA Restore the inheritance
    > tax
    >
    > How does this affect you?
    >
    > Many families have lost businesses, farms,
    > ranches, and homes that have been in their families for
    > generations because they could not afford the inheritance
    > tax. Those willing their assets to loved ones will only lose
    > them to these taxes.
    >
    > NEW TAXES BEING PROPOSED BY OBAMA
    >
    > New government taxes proposed on homes that
    > are more than 2400 square feet.
    >
    > New gasoline taxes (as if gas weren’t
    > high enough already)
    >
    > New taxes on natural resources consumption
    > (heating gas, water, electricity)
    >
    > New taxes on retirement accounts, and last
    > but not least….
    >
    > New taxes to pay for socialized medicine so
    > we can receive the same level of medical care as other
    > third-world countries!!!
    >
    > THE FOREGOING IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BE
    > AWARE OF. . . IT SHOULD MAKE YOU THINK BEFORE YOU CAST YOUR
    > VOTE IN NOVEMBER.
    >
    > Please spread the word. This will catch
    > a lot of families off guard.
    >
    >
    >
    > In God we trust!

  • whlie

    http://www.audacityofhypocrisy.com/2008/10/09/barack-obamas-involvement-with-acorn-unearthed-missing-articles-recovered/

    ““Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5,000 of them).

    Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for STate Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.“

  • Hannah Fahd

    As i’ve been following your blog for quite some time, I wanted to tell you about a few friends of mine who’s been following the presidential election with great interest during the last few months.

    The guys that I know are ambitious, hardworking economy-students in Stockholm University, Sweden. They have taken a break from their studies to be able to work with their jewelry company and their new designs expressing their political views and great support for Barack Obama. This idea expresses a political standpoint in an alternative way, which is the reason why I am contacting you (as well as liking your blog a lot!).

    They have manufactured Election 2008 Memorial Pendants to show their full support to maintain the memory of the election and victory of demokrat Barack Obama in the United States, 4/11 2008. There are three different designs made in stainless steel with illustrations printed with laser. One with a picture of Barack Obama waving his hand, another with part of the American flag and a third which is a quatation of Obama Barracks speeches. See them all on http://www.obamamemorialpendant.com/.

    Well, why do I put such an importance in thesel memorial pendants? This election memorial pendant will preserve a historical event that will be the beginning of a change, and can be kept for your children, grand children and generation through generation. It will for ever represent that we can live as one people, in one country, no matter of rase or sexual orientation. This is a new beginning of a man pushing the United States of America in the right direction, which is also a wake up call for the rest of the world. It is here and now the world WILL change.

    So, my intension with this post is to recomend http://www.obamamemorialpendant.com/ as commercial on your blog, and this because of one major fact: The 44th and first African American president in the United States of America has been elected, a moment that has caused tears and happiness and duggen deep into peoples hearts. This will have great historical importance, and this moment can not be forgotten.

    These election memorial pendants exist to bring people together instead of pulling them in different directions, to accomplish a crowd and solidarity. I want to point out that we can maintain our happinness, pride and joy from generation to generation and show our support to the democrats, and above all Barack Obama himself, by remembering this date and honor of when the United state of America got its new president Barack Obama, 4/11 2008.

    Kind Regards

    Hannah Fahd, Sweden

  • http://personalmoneystore.com/ Lisa P

    The step-by-step process of selecting the president is done. There are many issues discussed and all the candidates has proven themselves to everybody. The Election Day has come and passed also, and America has chosen Barack Obama and the prospect of change in the USA. The real purpose for the country will start very soon. It is obvious that change is going to come, but the question is going to be whether or not that change is for good or ill. America believes that he will bring a good change to this country. The people are hoping for a better leader that will lead them to a progressive country. Obama has promised many things, such as lower taxes on the middle class, a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, and a “line by line” trim of the federal budget. What many people do not know is that Obama is for the eradication of the payday loan industry. It may possibly cut some hopes of those in need. He believes that eliminating the industry will be a protective measure for low-income families and minorities, by protecting them from predatory lenders, which would only really be protecting America from freedom of choice in our finances. A Democrat leader should always consult the majority! There should be freedom in all aspects of his planned new policies. Obama may be bringing change, but hopefully not change from the freedom of payday loans as an alternative with dealing with the banks and credit card companies that got us into the mess we got into in the first place.

    Click to read more on Payday Loans

    http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2008/11/06/obama-to-bring-change-how-will-payday-loans-change/

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