July 3rd

Baruch Obama came from nowhere to win the nomination — and he seems to be headed back to nowhere, fast.

Where’s the vibrant speech on universal health insurance as the bedrock of a new New Deal? Last year, eighty percent of Americans said they thought it was more important to provide universal access to health insurance than to extend the Bush tax cuts, and sixty percent — including 62 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans — said they’d personally be willing to pay higher taxes to achieve universal health insurance coverage in the U.S. (New York Times). So why is Baruch spending his time talking about faith-based instead of government-based services, and Kansas cornfields instead of Kansas City hospitals?

And where’s his exposé of those Bush’s tax cuts? Letting them expire would restore about $140 billion per year to the federal treasury, according to Paul Krugman’s wonderful book, The Conscience of a Liberal. That’s enough to pay the toll on universal health care. Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi making speeches every day, all summer, on this subject?

Am I being impatient here? Forgive me, but I don’t want to move to Canada. While I stand fully prepared to be disappointed by an Obama administration and to be reminded of the fact that the Democrats are no friends of working people, what I can’t tolerate is to see him defeated through underestimation of the enthusiasm of the American people for an effective government, and through a misbegotten strategy of pandering to the right/center.

Baruch, have you read Krugman’s book? Are you not convinced that the rightwingers who utterly control the Republican party have nothing to say, as Krugman puts it, but to “compete over who sounds the most like Ronald Reagan, and who is most enthusiastic about torture”? “To the extent that the Democratic Party represents the progressive movement,” writes Krugman, “the Democrats have become the party of ideas.”

Nu, let’s hear the ideas! Wear the flag pin, go ahead, but let's hear the ideas!

Tomorrow is July 4th. Can we see some fireworks, please?


Blogger Naikan said...

And now add to his backtracking, revisiting his position on Iraq!
So discouraging, all of this pandering to the center, wherever that is! Yuch. I'm not ready to send another penny.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Reb Yudel said...

Barak Obama. Let's examine the matter. What does it mean?

Reb Yudel said: "Barak" means lightning. "Bama" means altar. "O" is the disjunctive conjunction. This teaches that the candidate can be lightning -- striking surely, bravely, knocking over the oldest trees -- or he can pay obeisance at the altars of conventional wisdom and Conservative dogma. At a time of crisis, a leader must choose between the lightning and the altar, as it said: "The people said: Barack Obama"

Reb Larry said: Don't read "O Bama," or an altar, but rather, "u-beh-mah", "And with what?" As it is written, "Can there be lightning without thunder?" So too, the leadership of requires of us "what". "What"? This refers to what the prophet said: "'What' does the Lord require of you, but to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly before him." If we do this, then the lightning will thunder.....

Ben Yehuda said: Come and see: Barack Obama: "ba" means "in." The meaning is: In "rack" and "obama". The gamatria of "rack" 301 and the gematria of "bama" is 53. "rack obama" is 354. This refers to the 354 days of the lunar calendar. From this we learn that redemption will come in "rack obama," that is, through working every day of the year.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this is the time for legitimate kvetching about our hero Barak Obama to begin -- when the candidate can still be pushed further to the left, or at least discouraged from dancing the political dance (with smoke and mirrors and certainly veils if necessary) that leaves the performer in the middle of the ballroom, dizzy, and perhaps feeling a little sick. Support of faith-based "progressive" action groups by state funds might look good on paper; but we all know that money is fungible. Which dollar will be used to feed that poor soul, and which to convert it? Yes, a potential problem, says, Obama (forever the educated professional), but we will have strict monitoring to maintain the separation between church and state. Strict monitoring like the SEC, the EPA, Homeland Security, FEMA? The system to reinforce public funding of presidential elections is broken, but to give up on that entirely, too, is to throw out the proverbial cleaned-up baby with the resulting dirty bathwater, and is a blow to future campaign-finance reform no matter how you look at it. Barack the contender breathed fire about health care, not as universal a plan as Hillary's, but a big step in what we hope is the right directon. Yet, no more speeches and proposals on this now that Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee? And yet, still talking about biofuels such as ethyanol, as if the promotion of this new magic ingredient weren't just a big sham to maintain the support of corn country, and an indirect cause of the rising costs of food all over the world.
I'm also no longer hearing much about how bad the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy have been for the rest of us and will continue to be. For the progressive social programs Barak Obama has promised, in what now seems like a distant past, to become reality, takes not only political will from our leadership, but also the broad-based reognition that there will have to be short term (at least) sacrifices by everyone. We are in this together, remember? Taxes will have to be raised for MOST Americans, progressively and proportionately, and fairly. There, I said it. The sacrfice, of course, has to be spread so that it falls not only on the least capable of bearing it, but mostly on those who have benefited from our open system, even those not in that top 1 or 2%, but in that big fat middle thirty or forty percent. That means you dear reader... and me. We accept this, or ought to, not because we are so moral, and not only because we see it as the right thing to do, but because social justice and economic progress are achieved as community, and not by atoms whose individual "purposes " and actions are somehow, miraculously, harmonized for the public good. All we've been hearing from the Republican party for all too long now, is that there is no such thing as the "the public interest," or if there is one that can be defined, "let it be damned."
For people like us and for most people in this country and world (whether they think so right now or not) will be better off choosing Barack Hussein Obama, he of three Muslim names, than John McCain, which rhymes with John Wayne. It is diffioult to believe there is still an argument about this. BUT -- all this new talk -- from the man who dared to hope, and to get us to as well, who dared to inscribe the word change in the stone of Washington immobility, is disconcerting. Let's hear a little less about refining just how we will remove our troops from Iraq, and more on the essentiality of removal, less on how religion belongs in the public square (it does, but not in the way Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson ever meant), which is not the same as that it belongs in our treasuries or in any "institutional" or doctrinal way, in our legislative processes. Let's hear less about the panacea of corn and more about other much more efficient and less damaging sources of energy beyond fossil-fuels. I've made several donations to the Obama campaign, bought T-shirts and hats, but I hesitated just yesterday when I was about to post an Obama sign on my front lawn. I still know who I am voting for come November; I just hope I can do it with the same enthusiasm I had 5 weeks ago.
Gerald Sorin

5:07 AM  
Blogger mk said...

Larry - Do you intentionally use "Baruch" instead of "Barack" in your identification of Obama?
Obama and most of the other former Democratic candidates were too scared to back a "socialistic" Universal Health Insurance plan.
For faith-based initiatives, from the Sojourners viewpoint see the blog by Jim Wallis at

6:54 AM  
Blogger Judith Levine said...


Yes, Barack needs some bigger ideas. But he also has to "pander" to the center. He can't win the election with only liberals and the left. Where else is the left going to go? They won't vote for McCain. But many in the center will. Obama is doing what you have to do to win an election in the U.S.


8:28 AM  
Blogger Israel Seen said...

Did you really expect anything different. He wants to be president more then he wants change. When Shaun(sp?)Penn was recently asked about Obama at the Cannes Film Festival he quickly said that Obama was not about change. The real tragedy will be the great disappointment to the new young voters. Does he know something that we are just finding out. The Wall Street Journal suggests that an Obama presidency will look like a third term Bush administration with brains.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you intend to give more, take a look at the Obama Progressive Escrow Fund set up by democrats.com http://www.democrats.com/obama-escrow-fund . You make a non-binding pledge of any amount to the fund (they are trying to raise $1,000,000 in pledges). When Obama takes a progressive stand that moves you to contribute you can redeem your pledge directly to Obama via Act Blue's 0bama Progressive Leadership Fund page so he knows where it is coming from.

10:24 AM  
Blogger yosaif August said...


Right on!!!

I'm very active in Barack's campaign and we need to
keep the feet to the fire.

Besides my gut feelings of support for hime, I continue to base my trust on his life experiences (see "Dreams of My Father) and my sense of his character.

Stay tuned!


10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As of yesterday, I've stopped wearing my Obama button. I think I've been suckered. (Again.) But I'm surprised he didn't wait until after the convention to start pimping (the honest and modern word) for the right.

Now what? I don't dare vote for a 3rd party candidate or write in Hilary's name or Alfred E. Newman's, since that's like a vote for McCain. Can I hope that once he's actually nominated he'll become a baal tshuva? I'm not holding my breath.

1:41 PM  

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