Obama Touts His Having Lived Overseas as Experience

Obama on the campaign trail today, explaining why he is experienced to be President:

"Look, I've lived overseas," said Obama. "I have family overseas. I have served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

I can't let that one pass. When did he live overseas? From the ages of 6 to 10 in Indonesia.

As to his service on the Foreign Relations Committee, do we need to mention again that the subcommittee on European Affairs that he chaired didn't hold a single hearing last year on NATO and Afghanistan, because he was too busy running for President?

Update: As Big Tent wrote earlier, there's good news for Hillary from the latest Texas and Ohio polls completed yesterday (More...):

The Ohio surveys, which were all completed Sunday, indicate that Barack Obama is no longer closing the gap and that Clinton might have rebuilt a double-digit lead. For instance, a SurveyUSA survey of 873 likely voters gives her a 54 percent to 44 percent edge. Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling survey gives Clinton a 9-percentage-point lead.

The Texas polls, also finished Sunday, suggest that Clinton is catching Obama after he overtook her in recent weeks. The SurveyUSA survey of 840 likely voters gives Obama a 49 percent to 48 percent edge, well within the margin of error. The Public Policy Polling survey says Clinton now leads in Texas.

< Canada Apologizes To Obama | Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Hah! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ajain on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:38:15 PM EST
    This is truly hopeful. I too can be the president of America someday.

    Me, too! (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by scribe on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:41:04 PM EST
    And my living abroad was while I was an actual adult!  And I had a job!  And I had actual conversations in a furrin' language with the locals!

    And I speak a furrin' language, too!

    I lived overseas for about 10 years (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by desmoinesdem on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:26:56 PM EST
    but I wouldn't cite this as a qualification to be president.

    If the media hated Obama, his original comment about having lived overseas being important foreign-policy experience would have been treated like a bigger gaffe than when Dean said capturing Saddam Hussein hadn't made us any safer.


    You're not presidential material, maybe (none / 0) (#70)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:57:14 PM EST
    but I bet that sort of "experience" makes for good tour guides.

    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:22:44 PM EST
    I was born abroad...ooops!! darn..

    Overseas experience as foreign policy credentials (none / 0) (#130)
    by 0 politico on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:37:11 PM EST
    work if you are doing foreign policy work.

    As for me, I would not count my 3 years in Europe during my teen years as legit foreign policy experience.  Perhaps my deployment to the Far East, or my short time in Sicily (on duty supporting NATO).  But, it still helps to have foreign policy training and work.

    I have trouble accepting his argument.


    He spent several years in New York. (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:42:12 PM EST
    I often think that counts as "overseas" with respect to the rest of the United States.

    That's funny... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by reynwrap582 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:44:16 PM EST
    I always thought it was living in California that counted as living in a foreign country...at least thats what my Texas friends tell me.  Oh, I'm sorry, I meant "Kalifornia"...

    Obviously That's What He Meant (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:44:07 PM EST
    He lived on a small isle off the coast of America.

    to be fair (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:49:42 PM EST
    NY IS another country.
    I lived there for almost 20 years.  before Rudy.  when it really WAS another country.

    Yes (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:12:13 PM EST
    Me too, but it is getting more like Disneyland every day.

    Whaddya mean "getting" (none / 0) (#49)
    by scribe on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:26:23 PM EST
    New York is not nearly as interesting as it used to be.

    And that's Rudy's fault, too.


    Getting More (none / 0) (#90)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:24:44 PM EST
    And more. Giuliani started it and Bloomberg is finishing it.

    Downtown we had brief respite from the burgeoning SUV crowd after 9/11 but that only lasted about a year and a half.

    It feels more and more like a hotel every day.


    I had not been to NY for about 10 years (none / 0) (#101)
    by Florida Resident on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:43:43 PM EST
    then I went there in Nov and found someone had built a mall there.  There were more people in basement in Macys than in the whole Manhattan Mall.  I mean a Mall in NYC! Manhattan is an outdoor Mall.

    SoHo (none / 0) (#105)
    by squeaky on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:50:19 PM EST
    Has been a mall for years.

    Yes, and populated by mall rats (none / 0) (#136)
    by scribe on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:56:11 PM EST
    far more egregiously shallow than anything you'd find in Cali (or any other mall culture, I suppose - I avoid malls).

    The thought of it makes me shudder.


    Hawai'i? (none / 0) (#115)
    by Fultron on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:07:57 PM EST
    Yes, we do need to mention again the fact that (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:42:38 PM EST
    BO has not held one hearing of his committee.  We need to keep saying it until everyone hears it and makes a judgment about it.  He has been given a free pass by the media so it is up to us to get the truth out there.

    Not just no hearing on Afghanistan (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:59:48 PM EST
    or no hearing on NATO or no hearing. Let's be clear: He, as chair, has not called a single meeting of his subcommittee. I've been on committees like that; they're called "easy resume-builders" -- done so that newbies needing to fulfill service requirements of their positions have something for the bragsheet at the end of the year. But not the sort of lines on a resume that merit promotion, much less the presidency.

    Sub Committee and Judgement (none / 0) (#128)
    by 0 politico on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:28:55 PM EST
    Perhaps that is wy he has all those retired flag officer standing by to support....

    Oh, wait, that is the other candidate, isn't it.


    well, there you have it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:44:56 PM EST
    and he answered, like, eight questions.
    what more do you want from the guy.

    He was in grade school at ... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:44:58 PM EST
    the time he lived overseas.  

    But I'm sure he got a lot of foreign policy experience solving disputes over soccer balls or toy trucks.

    On your update J (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:45:52 PM EST
    TalkLeft has it covered.

    Full court press in fact.

    Check below.

    Missed it so I just added (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:52:47 PM EST
    a link to it to the update, thanks!

    I think I am catching a whiff (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:47:34 PM EST
    of "desperation" coming from the Obama campaign.

    And is that flop sweat popping out on his forehead?

    I think the W.O.R.M. may be turning...

    sorry, for a more serious response (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:59:05 PM EST
    I would say the desperateness I have seen is not in the campaign but in the MSM.
    particualarly MSNBC.  they seem almost ready to cry in the last couple of days.
    particularly Mourning Joe.

    Please don't insult (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:53:36 PM EST
    the candidates personally.

    Sigh (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by spit on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:49:17 PM EST
    I guess my partner and I are both qualified for the presidency, in terms of foreign policy experience. She's bilingual, too, so I'll tell her to toss in for the next election.

    I hope he doesn't think this is a smart campaign tactic against McCain, who fairly or no is seen by many as strong on foreign policy (excepting Iraq).

    I lived in Oxford for a year and..... (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:53:32 PM EST
    ...I made a speech against going to war in Iraq in 2002...to my beagle who howled in agreement.

    Beagle's are very smart dogs ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:02:19 PM EST
    your had superior judgment choosing that species to inform about the dangers of going to war in Iraq.

    In fact, I believe anyone who owns a Beagle is qualified to be president.


    I bet they dont talk (none / 0) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:11:29 PM EST
    like my Huskie does

    Linked text


    snoopy would agree! (none / 0) (#117)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:09:34 PM EST
    I nominate Snoopy for Secretary of State! (none / 0) (#33)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:11:40 PM EST
    Time Served (none / 0) (#72)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:59:20 PM EST
    Well then you have the same foreign policy expeirience Bill Clinton had in 1992 (he cited his time at Oxford)

    Good point -- and I recall (none / 0) (#78)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:02:11 PM EST
    it was treated by the media as a howler.

    Clinton 92 (none / 0) (#86)
    by Athena on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:21:42 PM EST
    And the Bush campaign spread rumors about his time in Moscow...

    McCain (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Lou Grinzo on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:38:06 PM EST
    Speaking of McCain...  If the GE turns out to be Obama vs. McCain, do you think there's even the slightest chance we'll see endless ads featuring that ludicrous Obama statement?  If you want to make a candidate look like a naive fool in foreign affairs, that would be a really good place to begin.

    Honestly, I'm amazed at the skill nearly all politicians have for handing their opponents big sticks to beat them with.  I know, I know--elections are long and extremely tiring, and we all make mistakes, etc., but this one was pretty dumb.


    McCain (none / 0) (#56)
    by Nasarius on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:31:35 PM EST
    Next to McCain's six years as a POW, Obama's claim will certainly look like the joke it is. It's just more ammunition that Obama has foolishly given his opponents for the GE.

    So does HRC (none / 0) (#76)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:00:43 PM EST
    Next to McCain's experience I'm not sure of a canidate shy of Eisenhower who wouldn't look like a joke, seriously Hillary's First Lady Duties, vs. McCain's time in the Hanoi Hilton, c'mon.

    She represented us in 82 countries (none / 0) (#82)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:04:13 PM EST
    in her 8 years in the White House alone. And those weren't tea party duties. Go look at the Irish Echo online and see how highly she is regarded for her help in negotiations in Northern Ireland. Go read Joe Wilson on her lone trip to Africa, when upon her return, she pushed the White House to step in there, to send more people there, to take action there. Etc., etc. Know of what you speak first.

    North Ireland (please elaborate) (none / 0) (#92)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:30:32 PM EST
    Which, is I would agree more extensive than I had known but the central point remains the same-- it would be framed as her getting photo ops compared to McCain heroically resisting torture and depravity to save his fellow countrymen, face it there is no positive way to attack that (unless we go 527 vile, and give pub to the wingnut memes that he sold out his fellow prisoners for preferential treatment, and then betrayed the remaining MIAs in the 1980s in order to normalize trade with the Vietnamese).

    Here goes; giving it a try (none / 0) (#111)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:00:41 PM EST
    "> and if it worked, I have learned to link.:-)

    Nope, okay -- (none / 0) (#112)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:01:15 PM EST
    here's the overlong URL that will be deleted: http://www.irishecho.com/newspaper/story.cfm?id=18626" a

    Here's a trick (none / 0) (#122)
    by katiebird on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:22:43 PM EST
    If the link button doesn't work for you, here's an easy way to do links:

    First COPY the URL that you want to link to.

    Then in the comment box type:
    <a href="">Some Words</a>

    That's your template for a URL

    Next, replace "Some Words" with the words you want to show in your comment.

    LAST, put the cursor between the 2 double-quotes AND past the URL.

    That's it.  But using the button with the LINK icon is easier.


    Thanks, Kbird -- I thought (none / 0) (#134)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:09:54 PM EST
    I'd kept these instructions. This time, I'll do better with my messy desk. :-)

    it worked! (none / 0) (#131)
    by Kathy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:57:34 PM EST
    just clicked on the ">"

    Oh, good -- and do read it (none / 0) (#133)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:09:11 PM EST
    -- a marvelous story of brave Irish women involved in the negotiations, thanks to Clinton, as well as men. May another of the lovely countries of my (multiple, mongrel:-) ancestry and its families find peace. It is what this country can and ought to do, a far different role than in the last seven years.

    Yes, I'm sure that McCain's years of (none / 0) (#85)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:12:54 PM EST
    torture make his especially well-qualified to conduct sensitive and delicate negotations, and to show proper judgment in the use of military force.

    Torture (none / 0) (#94)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:33:14 PM EST
    Frankly, Mark I would argue that they possibly disqualify him (due to his temper issues and pyschological baggage, from what I hear he snaps in congress all the time off-camera), but the American people don't agree with us on this issue and other than going nuclear (as I outlined above) I don't see an effective counter on this issue (if the surge succeeds Iraq is basically a loser of an issue anyway, maybe Obama could make the not worth the cost argument but I worry polls may have shifted).

    Well, I was being sarcastic. (none / 0) (#97)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:36:30 PM EST
    Sarcasm (none / 0) (#99)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:39:53 PM EST
    I realize that unfortunately you spoofed an actual mindset.

    Well, it's tragi-comic that (none / 0) (#100)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:42:06 PM EST
    torture could be considered as giving McCain the temperament and experience necessary to conduct foreign policy.
    Most likely he is damaged in ways that he cannot control, and for which I do not blame him, but which make me not trust him to be leader.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#120)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:18:04 PM EST
    The presidency is not a medal, I mean despite my (half-joking) suggestion that we swiftboat McCain's POW time, I don't think anyone disputes his heroism, I just don't see why its applicable (beyond the fact that it does speak to his character).

    this is gobsmacking (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Kathy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:55:08 PM EST
    and...am I making this up, that until recently, he didn't really have contact with that family living in Kenya?

    This is just incredible.  It reminds me of how I felt when Bush first started doing these things.  It's an alternate universe.  The Obamaverse.

    Sometimes I have to scratch my head (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by ivs814 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 03:57:56 PM EST
    and wonder if Obama thinks he's running for Junior High Student Council President.  His qualifications are so paper thin and yet "he" is the one.  But then no one is more juvenile that the MSM; no wonder they love him.

    Now wait a minute! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by kmblue on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:01:51 PM EST
    I thought watching L and O qualified me to practice law!  Don't tell me I was wrong!

    I've witnessed surgery on the learning channel. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:05:09 PM EST
    Please tell me I can operate on someone.

    sigh (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Kathy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:17:49 PM EST
    if only there was a hot sex channel.

    now theres a reason to move to canada (none / 0) (#44)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:22:12 PM EST
    Does this mean (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by cmugirl on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:02:56 PM EST
    that his kindergarten ambition to President comes back in as fair game?  ;)

    being a contrarian... (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by p lukasiak on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:06:13 PM EST
    I'd like to say that the experience of living in a foreign land and a different culture, even at a young age, could provide someone with an intrinsic understanding that the USA is not the center of the Universe.

    That being said, I see no evidence that Obama acquired any such understanding.  There is a level of tone-deafness when he talks about foreign affairs that is simply appalling.

    That young age was 35-40 years ago. Don't think (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:07:31 PM EST
    that is relevant to today's world.  Sorry.

    experience (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by NYMARJ on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:58:07 PM EST
    Travel and living abroad can give you live experience - teach you about other people and how they live.  It is not, however, foreign policy experience in terms of speaking to foreign leaders or dealing with international issues or world problems.  These are totally different  types of "experience" and should be obvious to the media, the voters and even to Obama

    I lived in a foreign country ... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:01:41 PM EST
    as a child, and I agree it broadens your view of the world.

    It is not, however, foreign policy experience as Obama as said more than once.  Back in November her referred to it as his "strongest experience" in foreign policy.


    Totally Agree (none / 0) (#74)
    by BDB on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:59:25 PM EST
    I think it could be a benefit and it's not an inherently silly argument, so long as it's not the sole basis for claiming any kind of foreign policy expertise.  Certainly, I'd argue that Bush's lack of travel or interest in the rest of the world has been a detriment.  But I don't see that benefit in anything Obama says or does and I'm puzzled by his lack of travel as an adult, especially as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

    I'll add that there are other ways to gain the kind of benefits Obama tries to claim from his time living abroad and that includes extensive travel as an adult.  In this regard, Hillary Clinton has travelled much more extensively as an adult and appears to enjoy getting out and seeing the world in a way that's refreshing after eight years of Bush.  And I think it shows in how she discusses foreign policy (even when I don't always agree with her on the particular policy).  

    In any event, I'd much prefer this line of argument from Obama, weak as I find it in his particular case, than listening to more of the crap about how "just his face" will change America's standing in the world.  


    And now his campaign is making an (none / 0) (#80)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:03:11 PM EST
    international affair of Naftagate.
    This is take-no-hostages meddling from Obama!

    I think it could be quite beneficial (none / 0) (#87)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:21:49 PM EST
    at that early age, no question. But, interestingly, studies show that we shape our "worldviews" between the ages of 10 and 14. (It can be an eye-opening thing to think back about what major events happened then for different leaders or for us -- the Pearl Harbor, JFK/RFK/MLK assassinations, Columbine, 9/11 sorts of events that can mark a generation.)

    i beieve that also extends to american (none / 0) (#118)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:12:35 PM EST
    affairs as well. please note the dissing of the 60s, 70s, and clinton's time in the wh. i truly wonder what could obama be thinking quite often.

    on the polling part of the post (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:07:01 PM EST
    may I just say, I think Hillary is going to win TX.
    maybe not by much.  but this is a prediction.
    based on nothing but my internal compass and conversations with a few friends on the ground in TX.

    I just had a post deleted (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:16:50 PM EST
    for what I thought was a sort of funny off the cuff remark.
    because it was insulting to Obama.
    thats fine with me.  it was probably uncalled for.
    you wont get your comments deleted on most blogs for insulting Hillary.
    sorry.  you just wont.

    Well, I had my dachshund comment deleted and (none / 0) (#45)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:24:38 PM EST
    I can't figure out why.  

    it was chatter (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:07:09 PM EST
    and the point was already made. The thread is not going to devolve into one about dog characteristics.  Sorry.

    You get your comments deleted here (none / 0) (#54)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:30:13 PM EST
    for personal attacks on either candidate and any other commenter.

    Me too Me too (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by IndyRobin on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:27:45 PM EST
    I backpacked across Europe TWICE so I think I should be President TWICE

    I (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by AlladinsLamp on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:59:20 PM EST
    stayed at a Holiday Inn...

    Living overseas can be exceedingly important (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Sailorman on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:06:53 PM EST
    I personally believe that overseas experiences can be a very important attribute for a US President.  Look at the Presidents who have had non wartime living experiences and how they succeeded internationally during their presidencies.  The only two that readily come to my mind are Thomas Jefferson and William Clinton.  

    IMHO both were quite successful in foreign relations.

    What does foreign experiences impart to a person.  For the last seven years I have traveled out of the country about one-half of the time.  The different perspectives this brings is simply incredible.  (Don't get me started on what GWB has done to our standing in the world.  A lot of times   I do not fly the US flag because it is dangerous.)

    With all of that said, how can one credibly argue with a straight face that early grade school in a foreign country is relevant experience.  That is analagous to saying I was second grade class president and, therefore, I have all the necessary executive experiences I need to be the leader of world.

    well i have always thought it a real shame (none / 0) (#119)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:14:28 PM EST
    that bush two had so little foreign experience and furthermore didn't care. bad sign, that!

    thanks hellothere (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by NJDem on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:30:39 PM EST
    I was feeling like we owed Jeralyn an apology too--it's like we're all punch drunk!  But I think we all needed a little levity.   Just think how we'll be like 24 hours from now...

    aaahh...24 hours. I have prepared myself (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Teresa on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:59:05 PM EST
    for two weeks that it would be over the night of March 4. Now, with the close polls, I find myself getting my hopes ups. I'm nervous again and I hadn't been until today.

    Can't agree here (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by s5 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 07:22:47 PM EST
    Obama having formative experiences outside of America was actually the tipping point for me to switch my support from Hillary Clinton to Obama. (Believe it or not I was a huge Hillary supporter until January. Which is part of the reason why I'll be proud to vote for whoever wins the nomination in the GE.)

    I personally was born in Greece, and my family moved to the US pretty early on in my life. One of my parents is American, the other was Greek and immigrated to the US, eventually getting a green card. I grew up in a largely expat community, with Greeks and Russian Jews and even some Arabs who couldn't stay in their home countries. Today I'm married to a woman who was living in a different country when we met online, and I helped her immigrate the US. All of my in-laws live in different countries, and one half of my biological family lives in Greece.

    Even though I've lived in the US for almost my entire life, I feel pretty strongly that these experiences have shaped my outlook on America and America's place in the world. I find that a lot of born-and-bred Americans either look at other countries as exotic places they hope to visit someday, or as scenery in a first person shooter game. Thinking of America as just one country of many, with other countries being full of real people with real lives, and really and truly believing that as something more than an abstract idea, is an outlook that's largely absent in our culture.

    And of course, there are plenty of American progressives who are worldly and have a similar outlook on America's place in the world because of their own experiences, but I feel most certain that someone with Obama's family background will share my outlook.

    For me, that was a huge deal, and I'd like to see what kind of difference it would make to our policy. Considering how much of our foreign policy has been devoted to either crapping on or exploiting the rest of the world, then, assuming I'm right, the change Obama would bring would be far deeper and more fundamental than what we'd get by tweaking some policy here and there.

    I'm prepared to be wrong, but either way, we have two great Democrats who would make excellent presidents. So in making my calculus, I decided that most other things being equal, I would pick the candidate whose value system and outlook most closely resembled my own. And strangely, spending part of his childhood in Indonesia was an important piece of the puzzle in my decision making.

    & Hawai'i (none / 0) (#24)
    by marcellus on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:02:41 PM EST
    Only became a state in 1959, so he was only a couple of years away from being born "overseas"...

    & Hawaii (none / 0) (#31)
    by cmugirl on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:08:54 PM EST
    Minor point, but I think he was born in Kansas.  

    Somehow. . . (none / 0) (#35)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:13:29 PM EST
    I don't think he's in Kansas anymore. . .

    (sorry. . .)


    He was born in Honolulu (none / 0) (#46)
    by marcellus on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:24:46 PM EST
    and raised mainly in Hawai'i (grandparents and mom from Kansas), except for 4 years in Indonesia.  This is why I don't understand the "secretly not a liberal" concerns on this site.  It seems highly unlikely to me that someone who was raised in Hawaii by a mother who was an anthropologist, lived in Indonesia from 6-10, went to college in LA, NY, and Boston, has his closest sibling who's part Indonesian, his brother-in-law Chinese-Canadian, and his other side of the family Kenyan...

    To me, this life story points to flaming, bleeding heart liberal.


    Mom was (none / 0) (#58)
    by ineedalife on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:34:49 PM EST
    His mom was born in Kansas. The family moved to Seattle area when she was 13. Then they moved to Hawaii when she graduated high school. He was born there when she was a sophomore in college.

    He tries to portray his mom as a product of the heartland saying she grew up in Kansas and finished high school in WA. The last bit is technically true, but she also started high school there too. Just another twisted fact in Obamanation.


    If memory serves... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Oje on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:14:30 PM EST
    I think the press has been ridiculing Clinton's campaign as having a "glass-jaw" strategy built around the idea of inevitability. I wonder if they will now ridicule Obama's campaign as the "crystal-jaw" strategy built around the idea of Obama's authenticity?

    The basis for electing Obama is his experience (before taking office), his judgement (before taking office), his policy positions (before taking office), his 2004 rhetoric (before taking office), etc., etc. At some point, the very nature of political power, compromise, and elections had to smack Obama's crystal jaw.

    It's just a bit of fun. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:16:23 PM EST
    Can we never have a lighthearted moment? I laughed when SNL portray Hillary as the one candidate annoying enough to get the special interests to cave in. It was, you know, funny.

    I deleted the comment (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:19:24 PM EST
    attacking this site and its commenters. The writer is free to visit other blogs if he doesn't like this one. But the main reason it was deleted was because it also disparaged another blog by name.

    Bloggers have opinions, that's why we blog. Readers with opposing views are free to visit them if it's kindred spirits they are looking for.


    another blog by name (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:24:54 PM EST
    I liked that part.  it gives me another place to surf that I was not aware of.

    Uh oh (none / 0) (#55)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:30:55 PM EST
    Well check out my last post.

    I think it is not insulting. But let me know.


    It got a chuckle (none / 0) (#43)
    by tree on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:21:00 PM EST
    out of me, too.

    This man is running for president (none / 0) (#41)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:19:02 PM EST
    How do you think this "experience" is going to fly on right wing talk radio?  Can you hear the laughter already?

    OMG, I think this goes to his electability, don't you, that he would make such an unbelievably ridiculous statement.

    (and pertaining to the beagle discussion above, I have TWO YELLOW DOGS.  I am definitely a yellow dog liberal.)

    Have you listened to right wing talk radio? (none / 0) (#53)
    by marcellus on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:28:59 PM EST
    Their schtick is and will be that he is "not American enough".  No concerns about electability from foreign policy angle.

    But the ridiculous statement (none / 0) (#57)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:32:05 PM EST
    is just more fuel.

    You think it is a ridiculous statement (none / 0) (#69)
    by marcellus on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:51:04 PM EST
    But social scientists don't.  It's actually not a ridiculous as it first sounds.  Sociologists have a name for it.  I've actually lived it personally, being raised in 3 countries, and I know it to be true.  It's the reason that he comes across as aloof, arrogant, and not fitting in to you.

    I envy you, I'm so provincial -- (none / 0) (#91)
    by Cream City on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:27:09 PM EST
    and I wonder if you think this might be a cause for Obama's interesting speech pattern, the pauses that have been noted here in discussions about debates. And perhaps a reason why he clearly has worked so hard at being an extraordinary orator (that baritone he was born with sure helps), when he has a much more flowing speech pattern. I have relatives who grew up around the world in their young years, and I've noticed with some a similar sort of different speech pattern in the timing of pauses, not where there would be commas in English -- because they grew up with languages with different patterns. It bothers some, I've read, but not me -- maybe because of hearing it already in others.

    Eriposte at theleftcoaster (none / 0) (#48)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:25:18 PM EST
    said that Obama will be ridiculed for this in particular, if he is the nominee.
    I think this comment of Obama's could turn the election against him. It's infinitely ridiculable.
    Remember, Kerry got killed by one sentence.. and Obama keeps on repeating this nonsense.
    Perhaps Hillary has failed to come back with the appropriate comeback, but one will be found, for sure.

    Bingo (none / 0) (#67)
    by Lou Grinzo on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:46:58 PM EST
    "Infinitely ridiculable" is perfect for this situation.  (And I say that not just because it also describes about 80% of my college years with equal precision.)

    I don't mean to flog a deceased equine, but this statement of Obama's really gave me that awful sinking feeling we all know, when we see or hear something (possibly of our own doing) that we just know will come back to bite us repeatedly.  If Obama is the nominee, I sincerely hope I'm wrong.


    Any comeback and she will be called racist. (none / 0) (#96)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:35:14 PM EST
    Those are the Obama rules, ya' know?

    And McCain? (none / 0) (#103)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:46:03 PM EST
    McCain gets a free pass, too, so he can say (none / 0) (#106)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:52:58 PM EST
    anything and not be held accountable.

    What I mean is that McCain can (none / 0) (#107)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:53:48 PM EST
    easily and effectively ridicule Obama.

    I agree, and not be held accountable for anything (none / 0) (#109)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:59:25 PM EST
    he says, whether or not it is accurate, etc.  But if Hillary says anything negative against BO then it is racist.  Double standard here.  She basically can't say anything without being attacked.  And what BO said is pretty silly when you get right down to it.  It is ripe for ridicule.  

    and what will irritate me no end will (none / 0) (#121)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:19:37 PM EST
    be the media in ge laughing and yuking it up with the right wing as they attack obama on the very thing they gave him a pass on now.

    of course, they'll give that smirk and actually act like this is new negative material don't you know.


    I honestly believe the repeated (none / 0) (#124)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:23:41 PM EST
    insistence that he has foreign policy experience because he lived in a foreign country when he was a little kiddie could be bad enough, by itself, to sink him in the GE.

    I think reminding low information voters (none / 0) (#125)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:25:42 PM EST
    he lived in Indonesia just reminds them of the misinformation about the madrassa.  Bad idea.

    tell you truth i could sit and think of (none / 0) (#126)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:26:01 PM EST
    several things that could and would hurt a lot in the ge. things that hillary could never hope to get a pass on in this campaign.

    i don't look for the media to continue to be as kind to obama as they have been.


    and of course the press will blame (none / 0) (#127)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:28:53 PM EST
    the Democrats---both voters and elite---for choosing such an inept, poorly vetted candidate.

    well naturally! we wouldn't expect them (none / 0) (#137)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 08:33:01 PM EST
    to ever take responsibility now would we. that would spoil all their fun.

    The Biter's Bit (none / 0) (#52)
    by Paladin on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:28:45 PM EST
    His main line of argument is that judgement trumps experience, so he really opens himself up to ridicule with statements like these.  Plus, in the same article, he admirably admits to making a mistake in the Rezko matter (implying poor judgement).

    It appears that his judgement may be under a bit more scrutiny of late.

    is he going off script? (none / 0) (#102)
    by Kathy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:44:45 PM EST
    Is that what we are seeing?  Because he was so much better handled than this a few weeks ago.  I wonder what is happening?  Have their been some power plays behind the scenes?

    I think that's the greater issue--the guy who doesn't make mistakes is suddenly making some really big mistakes.  The media is just in a better place right now to notice them.


    I had a EuroRail pass once. (none / 0) (#59)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:37:23 PM EST
    Can I be Commerce Secretary?

    Oops, I meant Transportation sec. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:38:25 PM EST

    I think you just answered your own question (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by BDB on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:03:21 PM EST
    You may not be commerce or transportation secretary.

    But you probably have a shot at Education, at least in the current administration. ;-)


    Brilliant (none / 0) (#108)
    by MMW on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:54:48 PM EST
    Just Brilliant! :)

    Um, I don't believe you. (none / 0) (#63)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:39:20 PM EST
    Profanity---even mild profanity---gets deleted quickly here.

    Speaking of which, I guess this reply (none / 0) (#64)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:39:47 PM EST
    of mine was wasted... heh

    Yes (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:42:49 PM EST
    I have done it. And J has scolded me severely for it. I avoid it now.

    The comment you are replying to (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 04:49:21 PM EST
    has been deleted. And Dwight has been banned.

    Don't any of you people work for a living? (none / 0) (#79)
    by plf1953 on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:02:33 PM EST
    Just askin' ...

    I don't recall BC saying (none / 0) (#89)
    by NJDem on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:24:27 PM EST
    his time in Oxford was foreign policy experiences--but there is a difference between living in a foreign country as a child and being an adult Rhodes Scholar in Oxford.  Just sayin'

    And, according to HRC, BC had a lot of experience working with TX as governor of Arkansas--lot of trade stuff, etc.

    I win (none / 0) (#93)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:31:00 PM EST
    I attended a madrassa in Egypt.  (madrassa is just the word for school in Arabic that has devolved into this idiocy of Islamic extremism painting of all Arabs and or Moslems)

    GASP! (none / 0) (#95)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:34:59 PM EST
    Are you a member of Al Queda? (No, really though the sad thing is this admission would probably disqualify you from any major elected office in the United States).

    Admission? (none / 0) (#138)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 04, 2008 at 01:29:10 AM EST
    Any and every school is a madrassa.  There are some madrassas that are the "bad ones".   Actually, just got creeped out.  

    I think Chelsea went to school in England as (none / 0) (#98)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:37:10 PM EST
    well, so I guess she's ready to be president too.  She could run after Hillary's 8 years are up.

    I have a prediction: (none / 0) (#104)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:46:55 PM EST
    David Axelrod's stature as genius and guru will undergo a revision in the next couple of weeks.

    I so hope you are correct. (none / 0) (#110)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:59:51 PM EST
    how about march 5! (none / 0) (#114)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:05:32 PM EST
    hmm, i ordered snails last night. (none / 0) (#113)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:05:04 PM EST
    i studied both german and spanish in college. i should probably get my presidential exploration committee going right now. i went to europe a couple of times too. i sat on the beach in mexico. yup, i'm read to roll!

    me too! i watch all the law and orders. (none / 0) (#116)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:07:59 PM EST
    of course the original is still my favorite. heck it worked for thompson, maybe i can add my l & o experience to my resume for prez!

    jeralyn, thanks for being patient with us. (none / 0) (#123)
    by hellothere on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 06:23:31 PM EST
    we were a little silly and goofy there. i guess with all the strain and tension in recent weeks, this particular diary brought out the south park in us. thanks so much!