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Archive for Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama’s high expectations

July 30, 2008

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There is a reason the psalmist warned, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3)

It wasn't that he was cynical about humanity. It appears the writer observed that the best efforts of humankind were unable to produce the satisfaction people sought in earthly leaders.

Which brings us to the expectations surrounding Barack Obama.

It is a truism in politics that you are supposed to lower expectations in order to boost your political stock should you exceed them. Sen. Obama has done precisely the opposite. He has raised expectations so high there is only one way he can exceed them following his nomination in Denver. That is to climb to the top of a mountain peak, there to be transfigured and ascend into Heaven. No wonder Jon Stewart lampooned his messianic persona on "The Daily Show," saying that while in Israel, Obama made a short visit to the manger in Bethlehem where he was born.

In his Berlin speech, Obama promised to tear down more walls than Joshua did at Jericho. He's going to destroy walls separating black from white; walls between Jews, Muslims and Christians; walls dividing rich from poor, and East from West. Prior to the advent of Obama, such powers were reserved for the Messiah, who, we are promised, will beat swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, make the lion lie down with the lamb and we will study war no more.

No politician can live up to such great expectations. That is because neither the problems nor the solutions emanate from Washington. Politicians in one party want us to believe that politicians in the other party caused our problems. Each party has had its turn in the White House and a congressional majority. If one party is better than the other, shouldn't one of them have solved the problems by now?

With expectations so high, if Obama is elected president and his party maintains, perhaps expands, its margins in the House and Senate, he will have to immediately solve at least some of the problems he has promised to solve, lest his opinion polls take a dive and cynicism makes a comeback.

Obama is to be commended for lecturing black men about their role as real fathers, not just sperm donors. But he is not the first to give that lecture. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and comedian Bill Cosby have also given it. Yet the targeted behavior has not changed. America's primary problems are not economic and political; they are moral and spiritual, and there government cannot go, with or without "faith-based initiatives."

In our self-obsessed, entitlement age, politicians send the message that if you're breathing you should expect a government check. Few want to hear a message about personal responsibility and accountability. The Obama disciples want to hear more about what government will do for them, not what they can do for themselves in a free country that offers opportunity to those who will seize it. They want to punish "the rich," who they used to want to emulate but now just envy. And so those few who are already paying more than half the taxes are told they aren't paying enough.

John McCain might mimic Ronald Reagan by saying that America is struggling, not because government is doing too little, but because it is doing too much; sapping the strength of the country, which is not found in Washington, but rather in "we the people." If McCain can lower expectations from Washington and raise them in individuals, showing them what tenacity and hard work can produce, he might win.

Should we expect such a message from him? We should, but will he deliver it? My own expectations aren't very high, which means he might exceed them.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

cato_the_elder 6 years, 4 months ago

Great line from Jon Stewart - hadn't heard it previously.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if Cal Thomas will ever stop obsessing about Obama and start writing columns that express his support, and why others should support, the 71 year old John McCain. Probably not. I'll bet Thomas ends up secretly voting for Obama because he likes to write about him so much. Senator Stevens of Alaska has more experience than McCain and Obama put together. I think the Republicans should have nominated him for President. His close ties to the oil industry are closer in line with Republican's core values than McCain. Maybe it can be a McCain/Stevens ticket! 155 years of experience there, and talk about your experience dealing with lobbyists! It is the perfect GOP ticket!Obama for President!

scott3460 6 years, 4 months ago

How much personal responsibility was Barack Hussein Obama demonstrating when he exposed his young girls to the racist and extremist rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright? Some would consider that a form of child abuse.Do you have evidence that his girls were ever subjected to any racist and extremist rhetoric from the Rev. Wright?

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice:I still think his age is of no concern. I don't discriminate based on disability unless there is evidence it will affect the performance of his duties. If FDR can be president and win a major war in a wheel chair, McCain can be a President at 72. You are the first person that has mentioned McCain's place of birth. Congrats on doing your research. I am very surprised it hasn't come up sooner on the LJWorld blog (actually I am not since the media rarely talks about McCain). However, if I remember correctly, it was determined he could still be President.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

No offense, bea, but you so often rail about people being racist on these strings and yet you consistently refer to McCain's age in a negative and/or facetious manner. Necessary?

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice:Opinion polls suggest this election is more about whether people are comfortable with Obama, more than it is about McCain. People generally know what they will get with McCain. Most people know little about Obama other than he is articulate. People want to know if there is any substance behind rhetoric, which is sufficient reason to critique him, especially if you believe it is a foregone conclusion he will be the next President. Or do you demand stricter scrutiny of a Republican President than a Democrat President?Stevens is innocent until proven guilty, and many Democrat senators expressed sorrow about what has transpired. Not surprising that any negative news affecting Republicans is promulgated throughout the main stream media, but did you hear about former Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards being caught in a hotel with his mistress? Probably not.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

The O'dude hasn't gotten nominated yet. Slip, cup, lip.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

scott3460...I think the last VP candidate from a major party who was trying to be the Dem nominee this year, and publically supports Obama is relevant. Maybe you think Stevens indictment is MORE relevant, but that doesn't meant Edwards news is irrelevant. I didn't find this story out on any of the main stream news outlets. I first heard it on Jay Leno, an entertainer. This just goes to show entertainers like Leno, Rush, Hannity, and O'Reilly often do a better job of reporting the news than the main stream media who fails to report any negative news about Dems, but is all over the news when it is negative coverage of a Republican.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

merrill...It is humorous to see all the reports about government failure, but the naivity for liberals to believe government is still the solution to all their problems. A different person in the Executive branch is not going to solve all of the inherent problems of government, it is wasteful and inefficient.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

sati, age is not a disability, it is an inevitability. There is a difference.parkay, you just posted a long quote from the actor Jon Voight on his feelings about Obama? Who gives a gnat's fart what Jon Voight has to say? What next, quotes from Bo Derrick, or Pauly Shore? Talk about grasping at straws.

Daytrader23 6 years, 4 months ago

If one party is better than the other, shouldn't one of them have solved the problems by now?Well said.The Obama disciples want to hear more about what government will do for them, not what they can do for themselves in a free country that offers opportunity to those who will seize it.I am a Obama supporter not a disciple. Disciples are wingnuts that wear blinders. Also most Obama supporters love his personal responsibility speeches. Thats why he is so popular. So that quote was not well said. Not at all.And now on to the wingnut show...........

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

Scott3460:Your quote does not refute the argument that Obama's children listened to Rev. Wright's hate speech. Since politicians, and Obama in particular, are so good at using rhetoric, why don't we look at what he actually said rather than paraphrasing his statement to conclude it means "Obama has denied that he ever witnessed the objectionable behavior from the Rev. while he and his family were attending the church"The only relevant part of the Obama quote: "The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation." Obama was referring to the specific comments that were under fire at the time, "that are the cause of this controversy." He was not referring to any and all objectionable behavior, racist, or anti-American comments ever made by Rev. Wright. If that were the case he would have definitely said it. But he knows he could not make such a statement because it would be false.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

beatrice..."sati, age is not a disability, it is an inevitability. There is a difference"However, your concern about McCain's age is based on the effects of aging, not the aging itself. That is discrimination. Or, I could rephrase my statement and you can tell me if you agree or not."I don't discriminate based on disability (or old age) unless there is evidence it will (significantly) affect the performance of his duties."If you agree, then maybe you should rethink whether mentioning McCain's age is relevant. If you disagree perhaps you could state why.

BuffyloGal 6 years, 4 months ago

Bea are you dissussing the same Senator Stevens of Alaska who is under investigation for said connections? Interesting choice!

scott3460 6 years, 4 months ago

Satirical:Obama's words on the matter:"Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church."

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

Sati, age may not diminish one's mental facilities. However, acting as judge is a far, far cry from the demands of President. Think of the duress Justice Stevens, at 88, would go through if he was asked to dress in a flight suit and land on an aircraft carrier to declare "Mission Accomplished." It would likely be too much.Okay, that was a cheap shot. But I do think the time and logistic demands placed on the President are far more demanding than on the Justices who meet only on occassion. Of course, should a President take as many vacations as Bush ...If this were John McCain of 8 years ago, his age would not be a concern to me. Now, it is. I'm being honest and it would bother me if he were a D -- likely not enough to sway my vote, but a concern. It is certainly a greater concern than worrying about his middle name or the fact that McCain wasn't even born in the U.S. And please -- not Edwards. Obama would still get my vote, but I'm not a big Edwards fan. Biden would be nice, or better still would be Richardson.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

Meet the end result of the republican keep your mouth shut policy for republicans. This Reagan/Bush/Gingrich policy of republicans stick together no matter is irresponsible and foolish. Republicans never wrong policy has been hard on the USA workers who have no jobs,jobs that pay substantially less or now NEED to work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet(not healthy for families.Admin to Leave Behind Record DeficitHere in the United States, the Bush administration has admitted it will leave behind a record budget deficit of around $490 billion. The figure is more than $80 billion over President Bush's forecast earlier this year. The projection is likely too small because the White House hasn't requested war funding for the entire year.EPA Imposes Gag on EmployeesThe Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office has told employees to direct any outside inquiries to a small group of officials rather than answer the questions themselves. According to the Washington Post, an EPA memo cites any contact from reporters, congressional investigators and the EPA's inspector general.The memo says: "Please do not respond to questions or make any statements." Critics say the move will further endanger employees who speak out against political interference with their work. A recent survey found more than half of EPA officials have encountered political interference in the past five years.Blackwater Awarded Millions in Small Business ContractsA government audit has found the private military company Blackwater has obtained dozens of contracts meant for small businesses. The Inspector General of the Small Business Administration says Blackwater was awarded $110 million in small business contracts despite uncertainty over whether it qualifies as a "small business." From 2005 to 2007, Blackwater was awarded thirty contracts intended for companies with revenues under $6.5 million. Blackwater's revenues exceeded $200 million for each of those years.Audit: Millions Wasted on Unfinished Iraqi Prisons, Courts Meanwhile, another government audit has found tens of millions of dollars have been wasted on a Pentagon contract to build security facilities in Iraq. Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector General for Iraq, says contractor Parsons Delaware completed just one-third of a $900 million project.2 More Banks Close as Crisis Widens In banking news, federal regulators have shut down two banks in California and Nevada. First National Bank of Nevada and the Californian First Heritage Bank were both folded for lacking sufficient capital. The closures come two weeks after the collapse of the California bank IndyMac.

christie 6 years, 4 months ago

Change is coming.McSame doesn't have a chance.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

Scott3460:I think it is naÃive to assume the rhetoric and antics displayed on several occasions of Rev. Wright never occurred at any time during the 20 + years Obama attended the church. In fact I don't remember a statement by Obama denying he ever witnessed the objectionable behavior, as you claim he made.I think it is reasonable to assume that the objectionable behavior which was reported several times also occurred (maybe not every Sunday but occasionally) during the last 20 years, and also likely it occurred when he took his children to church since in an interview when he was an Illinois State Legislature he said he went to church "every Sunday."

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

Satirical, if you don't care whether an R or a D is next to a person's name, why did you write "Vote Republican" just this morning on another post? I think somebody's pants are on fire.jay: "No offense, bea, but you so often rail about people being racist on these strings and yet you consistently refer to McCain's age in a negative and/or facetious manner. Necessary?"The reason I do this is in response to others constantly using Obama's middle name to scare their fellow White folks from voting for that guy with "that" name. Pathetic. Further, his age does concern me somewhat. He may well be too old for the rigors of the job. It may be ageist, but if so, it is the same ageist practices we find in the armed forces that have mandatory retirement ages. Why do you think our military has a mandatory retirement age?And my point on Stevens is that having years and years of experience as a Washington insider isn't necessarily a good thing. I agree that he is innocent until proven guilty, but it sure doesn't look good for him. Charges like those against him to not come lightly. As far as knowing what you get with McCain, would this be the McCain who argued against Bush's tax policies that favor the wealthiest of the wealthy, or the current McCain who now supports the tax cuts for the rich while we are at war and have a growing out of control national debt? Is this the McCain who sided with lobbyists and was a member of the Keating Five? For the social conservatives, is this the McCain who cheats on his wife with younger women? Is it the McCain who voted against and argued against support for the MLK holiday, or the one that now supports it? You see, sometimes experience doesn't paint a clear picture of what one might anticipate. And if anybody thinks a Senator being indicted is only in the news because he is a Republican really must wear tin-foil hats. That IS news.

independent_rebel 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm of the opinion that we the people have, for several presidential elections, been subject to choosing between underqualified or incompetent candidates.No, I'm not a Ron Paul voter. Or a Ross Perot. Or a Ralph Nader. I have a "party" or at least am registered with a party, but that party and I have little in common because it has been taken over by the extremists on both sides who care little about the middle class. People like Cal Thomas and Ellen Goodman.I don't see either McCain nor Obama as worthy of the Presidency, but only time will tell if the one elected will prove me wrong. If one takes an honest look at it, Obama clearly has no business being elected President. He certainly has no proven ability to do anything other than hang out with anti-USA radicals and be an incredible speaker that speaks little on specifics but is wonderul with imagery.I believe he will be elected baring any major goof-up or national event, because the urban centers/big cities will vote for Obama, and the rest will go for McCain. The map of the USA that colors the Republican counties red and the Democrat counties blue will be almost entirely red, with the exception of most university counties and urban counties.Not saying it is right or wrong...at least for now. Just a fact.I just can't believe that, once again, people such as Obama and McCain are the best this country can do.

scott3460 6 years, 4 months ago

Restore:Of course I am aware of the Rev. Wright "controversy" and the events earlier this year. Here is what I know to be fact:Obama has denied that he ever witnessed the objectionable behavior from the Rev. while he and his family were attending the churchYou have concluded that Obama exposed his two minor children to the Rev. objectionable behavior and alleged he was abusive in doing so.I assumed that you have concrete proof that the two girls were present when the Rev. engaged in objectionable antics. I am not aware of any such evidence. I was simply asking you to support your assertion. Apparently you cannot, so you ridicule me instead. I don't think I have done anything worthy of such treatment. Please supply something to support your claim, or label it what I suspect it is, mere wishful thinking on your part.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice:First, I said "I vote not based on whether an (R) or a (D) is beside the person's name." Not that I don't advocate others voting a certain way.Second, I later clarified my statement on that forum for people to vote for conservatives not Republicans (the terms are not synonymous). "Why do you think our military has a mandatory retirement age?" - beaBecause being in the military and being President or on the Supreme Court has different requirements. Or maybe you want also think Justices Steven (88), Kennedy (72),Souter (68), Ginsburg (75) and Breyer (69) are too and mentally deficient to perform their jobs?"And if anybody thinks a Senator being indicted is only in the news because he is a Republican really must wear tin-foil hats. That IS news." - beaI never said it is only in the new because he is a Republican; of course it is newsworthy. But I think the degree of coverage, timing of the indictment, and neglect of John Edwards news is raises some eyebrows.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

A libertarian socialist is an oxymoron. Maybe only the second part of both statements are correct: socialist, moron.

canyon_wren 6 years, 4 months ago

independent--you said it so well! My sentiments exactly.merrill, you may have said something useful, but quite a while ago, I quit reading your stuff because it is too long and has too many links. It would be interesting to know if you could actually say something valuable in fewer words and without attaching sources??

scott3460 6 years, 4 months ago

Restore:Re: liberal media bias, Yes, we all know that a former VP candidate, and the wives and mothers in law of Representatives are FAR more newsworthy than the indictment of a sitting US Senator (first since the 1970, I believe.)

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

independent_rebel..."I just can't believe that, once again, people such as Obama and McCain are the best this country can do."Well written post. I agree, I think Obama lacks the experience, and judgment to be the next Commander-in-Chief and President of the United States. I also disagree with McCain on a myriad of issues. But unfortunately the parties don't nominate the candidate who would be best for the job, they choose the candidate who is the best at playing the game of politics. People get duped by style and don't look at the substance.

Satirical 6 years, 4 months ago

BeaticeIf Edwards was good enough to be the VP nominee in 2004, maybe Obama will choose him again in 2008. Obama/Edward for President?Unlike you I don't impute the good deeds or bad deeds of an entire party onto an individual. I vote not based on whether an (R) or a (D) is beside the person's name. I vote on whether I think that individual has the experience, judgment and leadership.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

"and our country will be weakened in every way. " Jon VoightSatirical, spot on? Really? It usually takes a Super Bowl pregame show to find that kind of hyperbole. It is just another example of somebody ranting about how the sky will fall if their candidate isn't elected. Nothing more. It has absolutely no real meaning.madmike, please point out the many many times I've quoted Michael Moore (someone who's films I and many millions of others do admire), or Susan Surandon, or Shawn Penn, or any of the other very long list of known liberal Hollywood types. Just because someone famous says it, doesn't make it important. I think you were just excited to find someone from Hollywood other than Ben Stein taking a conservative stance.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

Satirical: "I don't discriminate based on disability (or old age) unless there is evidence it will (significantly) affect the performance of his duties."We won't know until it is too late -- then what? That is why our military has mandatory retirement ages. Maybe his age has already had an effect on the performance of his duties. Perhaps his age is the reason he has flip-flopped on tax breaks for the wealthiest of the wealthy. Maybe his advanced years could explain why he can't hold back from expressing in "jokes" his desire to bomb and kill Iranians, or why he doesn't know that al-qaeda isn't in Iran. Perhaps his many years experience have made his questioning of bad policies too difficult, which could explain his recent embrace of Bush's policies. It might even get worse as time goes by. Or not. He could just be Bush-like in his views. Can you prove to me his advanced years as a Washington insider are any less detrimental than Obama's lack of experience of being a Washington insider? I can, on the other hand, recognize that Obama's middle name will have no bearing on his abilities.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

Jon Voight is an actor who played the bi-sexual hustler in "Midnight Cowboy," Jane Fonda's love interest in the anti-Vietnam movie "Coming Home," and he played his part in being the biological father to Angelina Jolie, although he divorced her mother three years later and has long been estranged and out of his daughter's life.Sounds like a poster child for the Republicans to me. Heck, with that kind of background the guy should have his own radio show.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

bea, the moxargon folks shoot wide of the mark a lot, but they also hit the bullseye occasionally.Cheap yucks.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

"...My first question is for Barack Obama, how do you think your recent world tour went.Barack Obama: Probably not as good as I hoped, even with my campaign inflating the numbers in Berlin. Now that I think about it, should Americans really trust the taste Germans have in charismatic leaders?"Read the rest at: http://moxargongroup.blogspot.com/2008/07/moment-of-truth-roundtable-1.html

scott3460 6 years, 4 months ago

"Why has Obama at least twice voluntarily, without provocation, inserted the ":.because I look different:." crack in speeches, but earlier on during the primaries, made the very stern proclamation that he would not make race an issue?"Because McCain is down in the gutter slinging the same sort of racist slime that you can usually expect from a losing rethuglican - ads with images of a black man & then a couple of slutty bimbosBecause McCain argues Barak is "presumptuous" (i.e uppity) because he tried to look too Presidential in his tour of the Middle East and Europe. Even though its McCain who's pontificated to reporters what the country will be like after his first term in office, Because McCain has clearly decided that he cannot run on anything positive about himself, so all he does is lie and spread fear and hate about Obama. McCain is such a sad pathetic dude.

beatrice 6 years, 4 months ago

snap, I didn't go to the link, but "Now that I think about it, should Americans really trust the taste Germans have in charismatic leaders?" is just downright funny. True? No. Funny? Very. beo, I forgot about that neck massage. It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

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