Friday, June 20, 2008

Moving On, Stories of the Week

After a week of all Tim Russert and the sadness that 17people feels for the loss of the legend, there is still an election and a whole heap of issues that exist that need some perspective only found here at the 17people blog.

Here are some issues worth discussing.


The flooding across the Mississippi seems to be getting far less coverage than it deserves. I mean 20+ levees have been breached and the effects while not as ratings worthy as what happened in the 9th ward may have even greater effects.

The corn fields and farms of the Midwest feed a lot of our country and the world. 1000's of acres of farm land has been lost and we are already experiencing rising food prices.

Not trying to be an alarmist, but think that the repercussions of this nations 40+ year failure to invest in infrastructure (ie, roads, bridges, levees, etc) needs to become a major issue in this campaign and NOW.


This story took hold the past couple days and the editorial boards of liberal newspapers all across the country as well as TV pundits have all jumped on this decision as a factor for the upcoming election.

Here are some things to consider. 1st, this is what is considered a 'process' story. The kind of story that is about the mechanics of a campaign and not about a serious issue.

I am a proponent of public financing of campaigns and have been for many years. One of the things that I have most admired John McCain for over the years has been his commitment to limit the impact of fundraising in politics.

If only he pushed that issue at all while he ran this campaign then I may feel he was the 'Maverick' I used to like so much. But instead he was in front of a microphone yesterday acting as though Obama had broken a solemn pledge which means he will be an untrustworthy President. It's a smart move, but the truth is, there is not a law that requires Obama to accept public financing.

He is not breaking a law, and is still playing within the rules. In so doing he is also giving up $84million that he would not have had to raise.

John McCain knows what special interests attacks can do to a campaign as he was accused of fathering 'black children' by right wing slime groups in 2000 against then Governor George W. Bush. He saw John Kerry destroyed by the asswipe "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", yet McCain has not publicly stated that he would denounce all third party attacks against Obama.

If the McCain people were smart they would have backed Obama into a corner, condemned 527 (read special interest group) ads and said they would sign a pledge with Obama that they would both denounce these ads before he opted out.

Had they done this Obama would have been forced to stay within the public financing and if he backed out would have looked very bad. Now, attempts to slime Obama will be responded to with a barrage of 'setting the story straight' ads.

When this happens, and it will, people will understand his decision.

I have been railing that it is time to focus on real issues this entire campaign and while the liberal elites will say how 'disappointed' they are in Obama for this decision this issue doesn't crack my top 20 right now and don't think families that are trying to manage their personal budgets really care that much either. Others have said he will 'fix the broken system' when he is President.

There are bigger issues I would hope an Obama Presidency would focus their attention on.

One last point, while many who have been sweating Obama (ie New York Times, Washington Post, Chris Matthews) were ripping him yesterday he actually has more justification than most who have had to make this decision.

Obama has sworn of lobbyist money, an act I don't agree with as not all lobbyists are sinister, and did so not only to himself, but the DNC as well. In addition Obama raises money the way we all wish our candidates would. Not just with $2,000 checks collected by CEO's and those seeking influence, but by individuals who give what they can.

I remember in 2000 when I was pulling for John McCain that he said, "if a million people contributed $57 each to my campaign I'd have $57 million and would be able to run a full campaign."

McCain has never been able to excite that kind or number of people to give to him. Obama on the other hand has. His average donation is less than a $100 I believe and the reason he thinks he can raise upwards of $500 million is not because of the CEO's on Wall Street or the Studio Heads in Hollywood, but rather the people whom have helped him raise over $250 million so far.

Even George W. Bush accepted public funds and no one raised money like he did. Obama is running as a 'different kind of candidate'. In this case he is different, testing unchartered waters as no candidate has ever done before with this decision.


To be perfectly honest I have not followed this story as closely for various reasons, but something just doesn't feel right about it.

First, in situations like this I never blame candidates because they have very little to do with the details of a 20,000 person event. As someone who has prepared dais and backdrops for events, who you put on a stage is very strategic. You want community leaders and you also want to show diversity at big public events.

There have been times I kept people off the dais because the person was getting killed in the news or in one case in particular, because two Unions who didn't like each other wouldn't let the AFL-CIO President on the stage.

This is an easy story to rail against Obama who has often been wrongfully accused of being Muslim. Having worked that region on a Congressional campaign I learned a great deal about the Muslim community and thus have a perspective and experience I never had before.

The reality is this, in Michigan, this is an issue because the Arab community may be the margin of victory one way or the other in a state that will be very close. I still think Obama will win this vote and the fact he personally called and apologized to these women should help settle the issue in the Muslim community.

As far as national stories go this is bad for him because it brings the bullshit issue of him being Muslim front and center and in this country we have issues with 'Islamophobia'. Yet, for the most ardent Arab haters, hearing a story he banned some people may actually help him in the long run.

Again, for the 3rd time in today's blog, this is not the kind of issue that we should be covering or care about. This is just a smokescreen to raise 'character doubts' because the issues are so daunting in this country right now, neither party really wants to tell the Public the truth about what it needs to do, to get us back on track.

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