Obama the community organizer

If memory serves, in more than one podcast one or another of us have mentioned that Obama’s background as a community organizer influences the way he approaches legislative negotiations. A recent article in the New York Times discusses his approach.

Ever since his days as a young community organizer in Chicago, Mr. Obama has held fast to the belief that by listening carefully and appealing to reason he can bring people together to get results, an approach that in Washington has often come up short.

He is not showing any signs of changing his style. But he is facing perhaps the toughest test yet of his powers of persuasion: winning the votes he needs, in the face of unified Republican opposition and a deteriorating climate for Democrats, to push his health care measure through a skittish Congress.

Usually, he talks policy before politics, said Senator Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat who recently announced that he is retiring.“He always starts off with a policy argument, making the intellectual case for his point of view,” Mr. Bayh said. “Secondarily to that, there might be a discussion of some of the political ramifications, but he always starts off with, ‘Look, this is why I think this is right for the country, and I respect your point of view, I know where you are coming from, but here’s why I think we need to do it this way. Can you help me?’ ”



Podcast 18: Congressional Leadership

Remember Those Warrantless Wiretaps?

I thought some readers might find this article from Wired magazine interesting.  There was, rightly I believe, great concern from civil liberties groups regarding the use of warrantless wiretaps during the tenure of the previous administration.  You might remember that several telecommunications companies released information to the government and then Congress granted these same companies protection from being sued.  It might surprise some to know that the Obama administration is trying to block the release of emails that dealt with the drafting of the legislation to grant this protection to the telecom companies.  A change of administration does not always mean a change in legal positions.


Podcast 17: Obama’s Q&A w/ Republicans and Toyota Brakes

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Naturally, we all expected a certain amount of opposition to the president’s call to Congress to repeal don’t ask, don’t tell.

Even the fact that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has testified that repeal won’t harm the military won’t stave off criticism.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), an opponent of the repeal, explains that the issue is more complex than it appears. It’s not just gay soldiers that are a concern – it’s the hermaphrodites.

… the military is not civilian life. And I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.

HT: The Agitator


Another Fantastically Terrible Campaign Ad

Yesterday, Chip pointed our attention to a great attack ad from Dwight McKenna. I thought I would jump in and post another great attack ad, this time featuring a possessed sheep. Carly Fiorina has really outdone herself with this one.


Best attack ad. Ever.

HT: The Monkey Cage