One rainy night I drove to the store, and heard someone giving a speech on the radio. His voice was straight from America's heartland, and he was holding a live crowd spellbound, making them laugh, sigh, and cry. I thought, "Man, this guy is great. He's making policy sense like I've never heard. Must be a writer or a professor, gotta find out who. Too bad politicians can't talk like this."
Arriving at the store, I stayed in the car, turned up the volume knob, and waited to learn the speaker's name. His name was Barak Hussein Obama; amongst other gifts, as a politician he holds the qualities of control, elegance, and command which comes along but once in a century , and never comes the same way twice. Obama sticks out from the field of Presidential aspirants because he's not electro-plated tin like the rest, but made of solid precious metal; it's like seeing an actual human being navigating through a field of flesh-eating zombies. He talks his own talk, writes his own books, and he thinks so well on his feet that he could talk the panties right off...panties off...what the heck, the panties right off of Hillary Clinton. His father was from Kenya, his mother was from Kansas. Wichita, Kansas. He is a faithful member of the United Church of Christ, and early in his career worked with churches to organize job programs on Chicago's South Side. He then went to Harvard Law School on smarts, where he was elected President of the Harvard Law Review. He returned to the South Side to work at a civil rights law firm and teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago until he was elected an Illinois Senator in 2004, winning 70% of the vote in a year of heavy Republican gains.
There's not a better candidate for President in these United States. He kicks ass, is squeaky clean, is more spiritually and constitutionally fluent than anyone else on or close to the trail, and no one can beat him straight-up. He poses major problems for both the Republican and Democrat wings of the Property Party (establishment elites) Here's a snippet from one of his speeches in June, 2006:
"We can talk to the press, and we can discuss the religious call to address poverty and environmental stewardship all we want, but it won't have an impact unless we tackle head-on the mutual suspicion that sometimes exists between religious America and secular America.If you can find another politician currently holding national office who is capable of uttering those sentences above, off the cuff and in front of a crowd, please tell me who it is, and I will work in my small way to get them to run for President. Obama understands the times and the tides, can eloquently speak for us and to us, has come out and called Iraq a dumb war, can craft wise policies and can run rings around every other candidate. However, he suffers from not one, but three crippling problems for a prospective late-Empire President:
I want to give you an example that I think illustrates this fact. As some of you know, during the 2004 U.S. Senate General Election I ran against a gentleman named Alan Keyes. Mr. Keyes is well-versed in the Jerry Falwell-Pat Robertson style of rhetoric that often labels progressives as both immoral and godless.
Indeed, Mr. Keyes announced towards the end of the campaign that, "Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama. Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has behaved in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved."
Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama.
Now, I was urged by some of my liberal supporters not to take this statement seriously, to essentially ignore it. To them, Mr. Keyes was an extremist, and his arguments not worth entertaining. And since at the time, I was up 40 points in the polls, it probably wasn't a bad piece of strategic advice.
But what they didn't understand, however, was that I had to take Mr. Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths.
'Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, he was saying, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.
Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.'
And so what would my supporters have me say? How should I respond? Should I say that a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? Should I say that Mr. Keyes, who is a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?
Unwilling to go there, I answered with what has come to be the typically liberal response in such debates - namely, I said that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my own religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois.
But Mr. Keyes's implicit accusation that I was not a true Christian nagged at me, and I was also aware that my answer did not adequately address the role my faith has in guiding my own values and my own beliefs.
Now, my dilemma was by no means unique. In a way, it reflected the broader debate we've been having in this country for the last thirty years over the role of religion in politics.
For some time now, there has been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide in this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. Indeed, the single biggest "gap" in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called Red States and those who reside in Blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't.
Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.
Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that - regardless of our personal beliefs - constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith.
Now, such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives when our opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives -- in the lives of the American people -- and I think it's time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.
And if we're going to do that then we first need to understand that Americans are a religious people. 90 percent of us believe in God, 70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38 percent call themselves committed Christians, and substantially more people in America believe in angels than they do in evolution.
This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that - a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause."
1) he's color blind;
2) he's a Commonist;
3) no one owns him.
The current Dimocrat plan is to get him to run as Veep to Hillary. In the unlikely event she should she win, this would neatly alleviate the threat to Hill's presidential life, as a third of the country oils up its ought-sixes and dials in its scopes; the succession picture would then pose bleak prospects, and Obama would be a Bizarro-World Veep: a progressive-populist, highly competent mirror image of Dan Quayle. Triangulation without tribulation.
While he may not be immune to the Clintonista play, I think Obama is really holding out for the People and abhors the whoring Hillary's engaged in. (Get the Pepto Bismol and the Immodium AD ready for her quotes of John 3:13 and her long-observed Christian faith. Cuz you know it's coming, and you'll need them both. A-a-aagghh. Blerrrgghh. Rinse. Whoosh.) It's going to take a lot of conniving for the Clintons or BushCo to plant a metaphorical knife deeply enough into his back on the campaign trail to betray him, and he may well be too quick and hard to fix for them this election cycle.
The normal chinks in the politician's armor are noticeably lacking in Obama's, simply because his motivation is different. He is a child of Martin Luther King and the Chicago Democratic political machine, and he really could take the Democratic nomination; he will talk so much sense to the country, most people may look past the inconvenient fact that he's black. I'm not kidding. In which case, his life would truly be in peril while a candidate because of the hate-based prejudices and protectionism of 10-20% of US citizens, and because his threat to the corporate power structure which controls the country cannot be disguised. Corporations wouldn't try to co-opt him for long; as they already recognize, his whole life is on a low-intensity trajectory against them. Maybe he can hoodwink them into thinking he'll do their bidding, but I'd almost rather see B.H.O. drop out and come back stronger in 2010, when the country and its corporations are broken and ready to face their better selves. We may be at that point as early as next year, of course, but I'm hoping the party can get strung out a little longer before the landlords call the cops.
The full transcript of the speech quoted above is here, and the link to the recording is there as well. Download the .mp3 and listen to what may be the greatest speech by an American politician in over two generations.