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Barack Obama……Why is he so cool?……storytelling, the ability to move between his two parents worlds, and his skill as compromiser……

When you become President  the whole world wants to know who you are….

Being the first Black President is no different…..especially one who has written. …Dreams  From my Father’

Dreams From My Father

This book review of ‘The Bridge’ by David Remnick concentrates on what makes the nation’s 44th President tick…..

Remnick……deals with  the three things I headline above…..

Storytelling………

In his first race for Congress, against the former Black Panther Bobby Rush, Obama was branded “not black enough.” He was not the descendant of American slaves. He had not participated in the civil rights struggle. He was not a militant activist. Nonetheless, Obama spoke at Brown Chapel in 2007, the launch site of the Selma march. Hillary Clinton was slow to make arrangements and had to settle for the less iconic First Baptist Church. She spoke well enough. Remnick is unfair to her, saying she dropped her g’s and gave a northern Illinois version of Southspeak, “channeling her inner Blanche DuBois.” In fact, Clinton is a natural mimic who “does the voices” when she tells a story — I have heard her become a Southern judge and a black woman preacher when describing one of her law cases. This got her into trouble when she “channeled” Tammy Wynette. Obama has the same gift. When he reads the audio version of “Dreams From My Father,” he speaks, in turn, like his Kenyan relatives, his Kansas relatives and the street kids he met in New York.

The difference between the two speeches that day in Selma lay less in delivery than in Obama’s way of making the events of his life story meld with those of his audience. He was laying claim to the black struggle as his own…….

More……..

The ability to move between his two parents worlds……after melding them to fit his purposes….

He [ Obama ] said: “My grandfather was a cook to the British in Kenya. Grew up in a small village and all his life, that’s all he was — a cook and a houseboy. And that’s what they called him, even when he was 60 years old. They called him a houseboy. They wouldn’t call him by his last name. Call him by his first name. Sound familiar?” Actually, Remnick shows that Obama’s grandfather was a respected village elder and property owner, who left his native town for Nairobi to cook for British colonials, and then traveled with British troops to Burma, bringing back their Western clothes and ways to his village.

But Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, has many important additions and corrections to make to our reading of “Dreams From My Father.” Obama makes his mother sound naïve and rather simple in his book. Remnick shows that she was a smart and sophisticated scholar, whose studies for her doctorate were aided by her friend Alice Dewey, the granddaughter of John Dewey.

I love this…..

Remnick rightly sees that memoir as a bildungsroman in the specifically black form of a “slave narrative,” a story of the rise from dependency to mature self-possession. In order to place himself in that tradition, Obama darkens the early part of the story and lightens the concluding sections. He trims the facts to fit the genre, just as he trimmed the events in his Selma speech to fit the black sermon format. Obama was not literally a slave in his youth, but he was in thrall to false images of his father, fostered by his mother’s protective loyalty to her husband. Since Obama comes to a later recognition of his father’s flaws, the story is crafted to show him shedding false idealism to become a pragmatic realist. The narrative protects him from claims that he is an ideologue or peddler of false hopes. The art with which the book is constructed to serve his deepest personal needs shows how ludicrous is the charge of Rush Limbaugh and others that he did not write it. (The ineffable Limbaugh thinks Bill Ayers may have written it.)

And finally the great compromiser…in Chicago and as he was getting thru his teenage and college years…..

The development of these traits helped him in dealing with the Economic problems in the beginning of his tenure as President and the Healthcare Bill’s journey…..

Remnick presents Obama as a perpetual outsider who wins acceptance in whatever new company he joins — in Hawaii, at Occidental College, then Columbia, then Harvard, in Chicago streets and churches, at the University of Chicago Law School, in the Illinois legislature, in the United States Senate. To do this, he had to allay the natural suspicions of any newcomer. Remnick sees how this was accomplished: “Conciliation was his default mode, the dominant strain of his political personality.” In interview after interview, people’s initial reaction to him is that he is always winning, always disarming — “cool,” intelligent and charming. A perfect example is the way he won election as the editor in chief of The Harvard Law Review. In a company of voting editors heatedly divided between left and right, he positioned himself in the center and won support from conservative editors along with liberals. Once in the editor’s office, he banned a more militant black ally of his from the masthead to preserve peace on The Review. Later, when he taught at the University of Chicago Law School, he won the respect of conservative professors there, including Richard Posner — “especially,” as Posner tells Remnick, “after one of my clerks, who had worked with him at The Harvard Law Review, told me that he wasn’t even all that liberal.”

I have repeated that clerks observation many a time here at the Dog……

Check out the piece if you can….


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April 11, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Education, Family, Government, Home, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , | 9 Comments

Quote of the Week from PoliticalWire……

From PoliticalWire….

Quote of the Day

“I guess we’ll be considered smart again for at least another four weeks.”

— President Obama, quoted by ABC News.

March 24, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, Political Satire, Politics, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Tavis Smiley soldiers on against Barack Obama….

Ever since Tavis Smiley came out Hillary Clinton during the last presidential campaign and stuck with her….he has been given a hard way to go by members of the black establishment……Smiley has made his bones…but he has not been shy about holding his president’s feet to the fire……

He held a forum tonight in Chicago asking…has Barack Obama been true to the black agenda since becoming the 44th Untied States President…….

Here’s the piece from the Washington Post…..

Should President Obama have a black agenda?

Popular talk show host and activist Tavis Smiley is planning to host a forum Saturday at the 6,000-seat Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center on the Chicago State University campus to explore the provocative question.

Smiley has invited a panel of black academics and leaders, including the heads of the NAACP and the National Urban League, to Obama’s home town to discuss whether the nation’s first African American president is doing enough to address the community’s concerns.

Smiley also invited White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, but neither she nor any Obama representatives plan to attend, a spokesman said.

Several years ago, Smiley compiled a nationally best-selling book, “The Covenant With Black America,” which laid out strategies for addressing black-white disparities, in health care, education, wealth creation and criminal justice.

Smiley also has caused ripples in African American leadership circles with his outspoken insistence that Obama — like any other president — be held accountable by black voters.

Many of the disparities cited in Smiley’s book have only grown amid the recession, and increasingly some black leaders are grumbling that Obama should be doing more about them.

Last week in an article in The Washington Post, some members of the Congressional Black Caucus complained that Obama is out of touch with them and difficult to reach on the issues that matter most to their constituents.

For his part, Obama has resisted suggestions that he craft policies directly aimed at the staggering economic and social challenges facing many black communities. Black unemployment stands at 15.8 percent, far above the national average of 9.7 percent, and African Americans are more likely than most Americans to lack access to health care and good schools. They also have been disproportionately affected by the home foreclosure crisis, and the rampant loss of wealth that has come with it.

More…….

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Education, Entertainment, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

Stare them in the eye and push ahead…Obama …like Bush…. learns to stand in there and fight for what you want….

One of the things that used to drive people crazy about George Bush was his ability to go to Presser’s…and listen to reporters question and doubt him…put dismiss the cracks and press on, regardless…..

Brack Obama is learning that this is the way it’s done….

On the Healthcare Bill Obama, is finally getting it…..his failure to engage with Democrats the GOP has allowed the Republicans to get ahead of him in public opionion…..but in the last week the White house taken over the debate and now questions get answered by Pelosi and Axelrod…..You all do notice that Senate Majority leader Reid has gone largely silent?

Like Bush Obama has learned recently that if you believe something is right for the country…for forge ahead….fighting with all your political skill…..

Americans may not be happy…us American look to our Presidents to be strong….

On Bush…..

Karl Rove in his new book, “Courage and Consequence,” mocks those Democrats who expected Bush to trim his sails in early 2001 just because he won a hotly disputed election. “It is important to remember that Bush had run and won on an agenda that included providing tax relief, reforming Social Security and education, strengthening our military, and modernizing Medicare,” Rove writes. “For the president-elect to cast aside his governing ideas to curry favor with the Democrats would have been wrong and foolish.” In Rove’s eyes, Bush deserves major historical credit for having the courage to be a “conviction politician” and to bravely face the consequences.

On Obama…..

A powerful case can be made that Barack Obama also is a “conviction politician.” As Obama declared during his outdoor acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention, “Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American.” There were no hedge words in that campaign pledge, no hidden codicils insisting that health care reform had to be a bipartisan endeavor. Health care reform was one of Obama’s signature campaign issues — and not some minor position paper pledge like promising to limit agricultural subsidies to working farmers. Probably there was not a single American voter who woke up the morning after the 2008 election to announce over breakfast, “Now that Obama is elected, I am so glad that I will never have to hear about health care reform again. The issue is dead.”

The Dog has been acussed of unabashedly favoring Barack Obama in everything he does…..not so….for a long time here and at Politics 1 the Dog complined..sometimes bitterly about President Obama refusal to get involved in the Healthcare Bill debate….

No more…he has slowed his travel schedule and has campaigned for the bill…which was a signature issue… with which he campaigned for…..

Here’s the end of a PolitcsDaily picece that the Dog took the above from…..

Obama and the Democrats — let’s be honest here — may pay a huge political price for their health care hubris in the 2010 and maybe even the 2012 elections. But that is how the system works. As Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan, a rising star among House Republicans, said about the Democrats Tuesday on Fox News, “They have the courage of their convictions, clearly. The president and leaders in Congress, they really believe that this is the right thing to do. Whether the American people want this or not, they think it’s right to do this.”


March 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Prophetic…….Hillary got it right……The Conciliator-in-Chief……..Barack Obama……

This from Charles Lemos over @ MyDD.com…..it is right on the mark……

Barack Obama by his nature is not a knock down , drag out fighter…..he’s a ‘let’s talk this thing out’ person…..now the juries still out on his adminstration but the Dog agrees with Hillary’s campaign point that Obama seems like he might be having problems accepting the fact that in his job…you gotta be tough……

…….and by the way…Why did he mention the ‘Public Option ‘ a few days ago?…..Congress just ain’t doing it…didin’t he get the message?

PLEASE check the video link…….

“Now I could stand up here and say, let’s get everybody together, let’s get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing. And everyone will know we should do the right thing, and the world will be perfect. But I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and make the special interests disappear.” – Hillary Clinton in Providence, Rhode Island on February 24, 2008

The Dog may like the guy...but Hillary nailed it!

This from the Mydd.com piece……..

Thirteen months into the Obama Presidency, Clinton’s assessment is as valid as ever and of increasing concern. The President has spent a year courting the Republicans with precious little to show for his efforts. The Republicans, meanwhile, have largely achieved their aims of grinding government to a halt and seem poised to make substantial electoral gains come November’s mid-term elections. Obstructionism may make for ugly governance but it sure seems likely to pay handsome political dividends.

What compromise has been achieved in the halls of government has largely come at our expense, not theirs. The public option is off the table, while tort reform seems forever on it. It is not just healthcare reform, if it can be called that at this point, that is stalled; it is just about every major part of the Democratic agenda. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the American Clean Energy and Security Act and the US Postal Service Financial Relief Act – all passed by the House – languish in the Senate. In total, 290 bills sit gridlocked in the Senate’s docket stalled by the partisan tactics of Mitch McConnell and Company.

It is increasingly evident that the President’s style as the conciliator-in-chief is not working. The strategy is unlikely to peel away a single Republican vote even as it jettisons wholesale the progressive agenda. More tragically, the probability of the President modifying his consensual approach to governing is nil. He is who he is. In his soul, he remains the community organizer who just wants to bridge differences and forge compromises. But the back halls of Washington are a far cry from the streets of south side Chicago.

It is not that I bemoan the President’s good-heartedness, his level-headedness or his even-handedness but there comes a point when one has to ask where are the results of this reaching out to the other side? It is as if the cause of Obama’s Presidency is bipartisanship simply for the sake of bipartisanship. The policy be damned, but get me Olympia Snowe’s vote seems to be his mantra.

While the President did campaign on the necessity of changing the tone in Washington, the GOP remains tone-deaf. What is there to say when Minority Leader John Boehner rails that  the President “basically crippled the summit expected on Thursday by coming in with a rerun of the same failed bill that couldn’t pass the House or Senate.” For a President who is hailed as a being attentive, he tunes out the vitriol that emanates from the GOP to his own detriment. He simply refuses to take the GOP at their word. Furthermore the White House seems blind to the reality that their approach is alienating the fickle to start Democratic base. It is as if our support isn’t wanted. It’s a rare progressive who is going to get excited over mandated insurance that ensures the bloated profitability of the insurance industry.

and this……

Let me be brief and blunt: the President’s belief is predicated on the assumption that he is dealing with rational actors. His premise is that the GOP can be reasoned with yet the evidence for such a belief is scant. This is not the party of Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt or even Gerald Ford or Jacob Javits. This is the party of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, James DeMint and James Inhofe. For every Lindsey Graham, there are ten Joe Wilsons. For every Olympia Snowe, there are ten Virginia Foxxes.

The Dog said this during the campaign, and has said it for the last month….’the guy has  gotta get a back bone’…….really…..

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , | 15 Comments

From Talkandpolitcs……..Justice Obama and President Hillary ….

From Talkandpolitcs……

Finally – this scenario made good sense.

Obama is a perfect fit for the Supreme Court, with his cool temper and background. New seats are soon up for grabs, and he could easily be the greatest liberal justice of the 21st century. It makes perfect sense. And Prez Hillary makes the nomination.

More practicalities at WaPo’s.

Not a chance…….But Never say never.……

February 20, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, Polls, TalkandPolitcs, Women | , | 7 Comments

Obama isn't fooling anybody…..

I just came back from having a conversation with a few black gentlmen…I was in a local storage place where I have a stuff in storage….while I was making out my monthly check  ( the damn fee just went up $13! )….I overheard the guys in a spirited discussion…….the guys where complaining about Obama in general…and the Healthcare Bill specifically……

The points made where this……”Why hasn’t the President stood behind his promise for Heathcare?…..doesn’t he know he looks like s*#t just doing nothing?”…….’He made this big promise about this damn bill, and now he want’s to ask the Republican’s what to do??..Is he  for real?”…….I smiled and jumped in…….”What about the fact that he hasn’t campaigned for the Bill?”….the guys became animated again…….One guy asked…..” how are these Congressmen gonna go home without any cover?”….

We all shook our heads……..

The last thing I heard them say as I left was…..” the brother needs to toughen up ….it’s embarassing……..this ain’t gonna be his last fight……this s*#t’s for real”

The guys are right……..

Barack Obama needs to step up his game…….

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics | , , | 4 Comments

Obama isn’t fooling anybody…..

I just came back from having a conversation with a few black gentlmen…I was in a local storage place where I have a stuff in storage….while I was making out my monthly check  ( the damn fee just went up $13! )….I overheard the guys in a spirited discussion…….the guys where complaining about Obama in general…and the Healthcare Bill specifically……

The points made where this……”Why hasn’t the President stood behind his promise for Heathcare?…..doesn’t he know he looks like s*#t just doing nothing?”…….’He made this big promise about this damn bill, and now he want’s to ask the Republican’s what to do??..Is he  for real?”…….I smiled and jumped in…….”What about the fact that he hasn’t campaigned for the Bill?”….the guys became animated again…….One guy asked…..” how are these Congressmen gonna go home without any cover?”….

We all shook our heads……..

The last thing I heard them say as I left was…..” the brother needs to toughen up ….it’s embarassing……..this ain’t gonna be his last fight……this s*#t’s for real”

The guys are right……..

Barack Obama needs to step up his game…….

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics | , , | 4 Comments

Obama trys to court the GOP…..It won’t work…..But it’s good politics….

The Dog smiled when he saw a piece in the New York Times…..

Nothing could be closer to the truth…...

Barack Obama got a little too far out on limb in the last six months…..and the limb cracked…but Obama has moved back to safety……

Following the Clinton model he has become a ‘born again’ populist….Attacking the bankers…freezing the budget…..and preaching that…’ he feels your pain’……

The Dog expressed his opinion that the President needed the Republican’s (at least the moderate ones…if any are left…he, he, he) to come along with him on Healthcare….his failure to do so started this riff that he got into with the “Scott Brown effect”……Let me make it clear..’going it alone ‘ is a dangerous policy.…and has gotten Obama’s tail sniped at…..if he can’t get the Republicans to join….then they to be defined as the bad guys …period…..this is what got Bill Clinton thru the impeachment hearings…and will get Obama a second term…….

Here’s some from the piece…which links here……

Emboldened by the response to President Obama’s face-off with House Republicans last week, the White House is intensifying its push to engage Congressional Republicans in policy negotiations as a way to share the burden of governing and put more scrutiny on Republican initiatives.

The president has invited members of Congress from both parties for a meeting at the White House next Tuesday, the first of the bipartisan brainstorming sessions that Mr. Obama proposed during the State of the Union address. Republicans will also be invited to the White House this weekend to watch the Super Bowl, as well as to Camp David and other venues for social visits.

The outreach represents a marked shift in both strategy and substance by Mr. Obama and his allies at a time when Democrats are adapting to the loss of their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and the president has been losing support among independent voters.

The White House’s goal is to show voters that Mr. Obama is willing to engage Republicans rather than govern in a partisan manner while forcing Republicans to make substantive compromises or be portrayed as obstructionist given their renewed power to block almost all legislation in the Senate.

While the strategy addresses some of Mr. Obama’s short-term political problems, it is not clear that it will help him with the more fundamental issue facing him as the leader of the party in power, which is showing voters results before Election Day, especially with unemployment in double digits and the health bill stalled.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Education, Government, Healthcare, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Polls, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Obama trys to court the GOP…..It won't work…..But it's good politics….

The Dog smiled when he saw a piece in the New York Times…..

Nothing could be closer to the truth…...

Barack Obama got a little too far out on limb in the last six months…..and the limb cracked…but Obama has moved back to safety……

Following the Clinton model he has become a ‘born again’ populist….Attacking the bankers…freezing the budget…..and preaching that…’ he feels your pain’……

The Dog expressed his opinion that the President needed the Republican’s (at least the moderate ones…if any are left…he, he, he) to come along with him on Healthcare….his failure to do so started this riff that he got into with the “Scott Brown effect”……Let me make it clear..’going it alone ‘ is a dangerous policy.…and has gotten Obama’s tail sniped at…..if he can’t get the Republicans to join….then they to be defined as the bad guys …period…..this is what got Bill Clinton thru the impeachment hearings…and will get Obama a second term…….

Here’s some from the piece…which links here……

Emboldened by the response to President Obama’s face-off with House Republicans last week, the White House is intensifying its push to engage Congressional Republicans in policy negotiations as a way to share the burden of governing and put more scrutiny on Republican initiatives.

The president has invited members of Congress from both parties for a meeting at the White House next Tuesday, the first of the bipartisan brainstorming sessions that Mr. Obama proposed during the State of the Union address. Republicans will also be invited to the White House this weekend to watch the Super Bowl, as well as to Camp David and other venues for social visits.

The outreach represents a marked shift in both strategy and substance by Mr. Obama and his allies at a time when Democrats are adapting to the loss of their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and the president has been losing support among independent voters.

The White House’s goal is to show voters that Mr. Obama is willing to engage Republicans rather than govern in a partisan manner while forcing Republicans to make substantive compromises or be portrayed as obstructionist given their renewed power to block almost all legislation in the Senate.

While the strategy addresses some of Mr. Obama’s short-term political problems, it is not clear that it will help him with the more fundamental issue facing him as the leader of the party in power, which is showing voters results before Election Day, especially with unemployment in double digits and the health bill stalled.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Education, Government, Healthcare, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Polls, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , | Leave a comment