Obama on Patriotism in the '60's

From Obama's patriotism speech:

[W]hat is striking about today’s patriotism debate is the degree to which it remains rooted in the culture wars of the 1960s – in arguments that go back forty years or more. In the early years of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, defenders of the status quo often accused anybody who questioned the wisdom of government policies of being unpatriotic.

Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself – by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world; and perhaps most tragically, by failing to honor those veterans coming home from Vietnam, something that remains a national shame to this day.

Constrast with John Kerry's 2006 speech on patriotism and dissent.

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    It's not My country right or wrong, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Molly Pitcher on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:02:08 PM EST
    It is My country, help us to right its wrongs.

    I always remember this quote, (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Rhouse on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:11:20 PM EST
    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right."
    Carl Schurz - U.S. Senator 1/17/1872

    I wish we were emulating the 60's....more (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:09:21 PM EST
    people dissenting and out in the streets standing up for what they believe.

    We need a draft for that to happen.... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:34:01 PM EST
    until then out of sight, out of mind.

    The war-mongers know this...hence no draft.


    Kdog....you are probably right, but something (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:27:33 PM EST
    has got to give and give big!  

    When the bill comes due (5.00 / 3) (#158)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:32:40 PM EST
    and we have to start paying China back all the money that the government is spending in Iraq. Obama seems to think it's US tax money, from his other mentions of it, but it's not, it's borrowed. And we have to pay it back. There is no "money that we save by getting out of Iraq", there is just the load to repay. If we can repay it. Obama needs to start looking at the economy, not the 60's activists.
    Speaking of which,
    Meanwhile, some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties reacted not merely by criticizing particular government policies, but by attacking the symbols, and in extreme cases, the very idea, of America itself - by burning flags; by blaming America for all that was wrong with the world;

    Someone should tell him that a man whose political career began in Bill Ayer's kitchen shouldn't criticize the '60s counter-culture.  Especially someone who likes to wrap himself in the mantle of MLK. Especially since his "good friend" Ayers was part and parcel of the worst side of it. The side that killed. Dr. King was one of the people standing up and saying what was wrong with America, and he was right. America listened and America changed. If I were Obama, I would keep my mouth shut about the '60s. Obama should thank those '60's radicals. Without them, he wouldn't be a candidate for President.

    You tell them girl!! (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:23:14 PM EST
    Instead we have waves and waves (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:24:21 PM EST
    of people typing on keyboards and calling it activism.  And playing junior high clique games over the intertubez and calling it analysis.  Sigh.

    I likedKerry's better (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:09:25 PM EST
    But he used big words that turned people off, while Obama's was full of patriotic references to our founding fathers and wounded soldiers and famous Presidents. I'm not at all sure what to think about what he said about flag-burners. It seemed as if conflated them with people who insulted Vietnam Veterans, which seems unfair, but that my just be my biases speaking. All in all, I suspect it was an effective speech. Wave the flag, include lots of great questions that sound very patriotic, and minimal controversy.

    I'm betting that a million Republicans are currently googling the story of the Astronauts in Hawaii with a calandar of Obama's life in front of them. I hope he vetted that one better than the March on Selma comment.

    Typical Obama (5.00 / 5) (#64)
    by talex on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:10:56 PM EST
    I didn't read his entire speech nor will I. But to read the two paragraphs posted it is typical Obama. In one he takes your side. In the next he takes the other guys side.

    He Stands For Nothing...

    Which may well turn out to be his unofficial campaign theme.


    Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! (5.00 / 0) (#179)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:04:06 PM EST
    face the strain...

    Maybe instead of a history lesson about (5.00 / 7) (#6)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:10:02 PM EST
    the bad/good old days, the candidates could talk a little about... oh, I don't know... what they plan on doing in the present and future.

    Tell me something about the Bacon rebellion teacher.

    Failing to Honor? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by flashman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:16:05 PM EST
    It's my understanding that those stories were mostly 'made up' by the war's supporters.  I was too young to really know, but I've heard that, for example, there isn't one documented incident of the infamous "spitting" stories.

    Yes, the collective myth (5.00 / 5) (#21)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:25:00 PM EST
    is just that.  Certainly, someone somewhere might have spit on a returnnig vet.  Heck, I was spit upon when I protested the war.

    Obama didn't mention, and there is a record on this, that many a VFW post such as some in my area failed to honor Viet vets and even actively dissed them when they attempted to join.  I know Viet vets who remain rankled about that to this day -- but are glad that we protested the war, for whatever part that played in finally getting them home.


    Yes -- Harris Poll in 1971 (5.00 / 4) (#91)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:34:07 PM EST
    Found that only one percent of Vietnam Vets were treated poorly when they returned and 90 percent reported very warm welcomes upon returning home.  Like alot of things, this myth started in movies and gradually fiction became fact.

    I'm not so sure (5.00 / 0) (#151)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:02:52 PM EST
    My ex was a captain/medical officer in Vietnam. I met him after his return. He was unjured, was in post-grad school, and his family was close, etc. One night a year or two later, we watched David Raab's play Sticks & Bones; play is about a Vietnam Vet who is thrown out with the trash by his family at the end of the play.  My ex told me the next day that that is what is felt like to be a returning Vet. He had never been pro-War, never felt his family wasn't behind him, but generally felt others disrespected him for having been there.  

    Yes, my brother was dissed at the VFW (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by esmense on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:40:31 PM EST
    "We won OUR war" -- direct quote and rather common attitude among WWII veterans who supported the Vietnam War.

    If any spitting was done, there's no reason to assume it came from war protestors.

    The really sad truth is that Vietnam vets were disrespected by war supporters as well as protestors.


    no, he was right about that (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:26:03 PM EST
    The spitting episodes are not really the point. That the returning vets were assumed, by many people, to be as guilty and responsible as the politicians for the fact of the war, and were thus treated either disrespectfully, or with awkward silence - being shown little if any respect for the sacrifices they made trying to do what they percieved as the right thing - answering the call of their country - all that is very true.

    Yes, but he limits it to the protesters (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:30:10 PM EST
    when the problem was on the part of the country as a whole -- including our leaders.  Do you see that?  And as he is a leader, what is he doing about it in Congress to treat vets differently these days?  Oh.

    seems like a real strech (2.00 / 0) (#54)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:56:39 PM EST
    Not all leaders of the country were disrespectful to the vets. And it was far from being the case that the whole country was disrespectful. Some of the protesters were loud and obvious exemplars of the phenomenon, and in the context of a speech like this, where this phenomonon is used as an example, referring to those protestors is perfectly normal.

    Flawed on so many levels. (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:09:30 PM EST
    Forget it.  Fine.  See how it flies.

    It's more myth than reality (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:05:29 PM EST
    Obama's showing a habit of buyinginto a lot of rightwing Dolschgeshloss mythology about Nam.

    The VFW for one treated most of the (4.00 / 4) (#81)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:22:43 PM EST
    Vietnam vets like cr@p. Why? Because a significant number of Vietnam vets were protesters themselves, or were, at the least, opposed to the War. The VFW was an extremely rightwing organization at that time that couldn't accept any kind of protest of any war. There were other organizations like that who were solidly in favor of the war, but dismissive of its veterans, and downright hostile to those veterans who opposed the war.

     When Nixon ended the war, as a cover for  losing and leaving, he used a propaganda technique that shifted the whole reason for being there into getting the North Vietnamese to release the POWs. It was just a propaganda technique since normally POWs are returned at the end of any war. But Nixon made it the raison d'etre and when the war ended the only soldiers who received a hero's welcome were the POWs. Other returning vets were merely forgotten.

      And the media helped to spread the myth that all returning veterans were damaged goods and not able to fit into normal society again. Rambo was the iconic symbol of that myth.

      There is plenty of blame to go around. The majority of it falls on our leaders and the media. Yet I have never heard anyone blame anyone other than the protesters for the mistreatment of returning vets. The protesters, many of them vets themselves, are merely the scapegoats. Obama doesn't get that, or he does and doesn't mind further scapegoating in order to pander to conservatives and those too young to know the truth.


    But it wasn't in a vacuum.... (5.00 / 8) (#26)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:30:53 PM EST
    ...that was a brutal guerilla war and, sadly, some of our troops did commit atrocities. It was ugly and it was televised. It was wrong to blame the troops, but those of us who actually were old enough to remember those times recognize that there was a context to that which is totally glossed over today.

    But when you send (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:14:39 PM EST
    18+ year olds to war, expose them to psychotropic drugs, chemicals such as Agent Orange, an enemy that is not easily identified at the same time it is everywhere, you get post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is not surprising that both in Vietnam and Iraq you have soldier excesses.  Yes, I suppose there is always individual responsibility, but when you put young soldiers in certain situations, you have to expect certain results.  The level of PTSD among Iraq & Afghanistan veterans and those currently serving is so high that it has stressed the capacity of the VA to provide services.  We did not know then what we know now. The disorder itself was largely defined as result of the experiences of the mental health community with Vietnam vets, and in fact, the National PTSD Center (or something like that) was established in 1980 as part of the VA for the purpose of studying the effects of combat on mental health of those serving.  Much of what we know about the disorder comes out of the first studies of Vietnam Vets and current studies sponsored through this National center.    

    Obama is not running for Historian In Chief (none / 0) (#35)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:35:39 PM EST
    The absolutely worst thing Obama could do is point out that soldiers committed atrocities.

    If there is one thing the GOP has proven it excels in, it is twisting anything even slightly disparaging about the military into proving someone hates the troops and America.


    Ah, but he is. Every president is (5.00 / 8) (#39)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:39:13 PM EST
    responsible for contributing to the collective memory.  And you show exactly why it is a major responsibility to establish a correct record.

    He need not have addressed atrocities, of course.  But he also need not have bashed protesters and furthered untruths about them.  That is, as you say, what the right wing does.


    He did not further untruths (none / 0) (#42)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:41:40 PM EST
    Point to one single thing he said that is not true.

    "The so-called counterculture (5.00 / 8) (#56)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:58:46 PM EST
    of the Sixties reacted" in a way that "remains a national shame to this day."  That is not a truth.  That is an interpretation -- a simplistic and value-laden judgment, and from a guy whose message is his judgment, and he's a Constitutional lawyer.

    That is a misquote (2.00 / 0) (#60)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:06:20 PM EST
    he said "...some of those in the so-called counter-culture of the Sixties".

    You got that? Some. The quote does not begin with "The so-called...". MAkes a big difference of course, because you find it simplistic, but it is much less so than you claim. He is not making any claim against the counter-culture as a whole.

    Further, by truncating the quote where you do, and linking it to a further quote, you manage to mangle the meaning and bring forth a message that is different from what he is saying. It is not the reaction, in general, that is a national shame to this day, it is a very specific part of the reaction - the failure to honor the vets.

    So it is you, using the tools of propaganda, who have mangled what he said about SOME people who did some very specific things that are shameful, and you pretend he said that the entire counterculture was shameful in its general reaction to the war.

    Very bad show on your part.


    And again, the national shame (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:11:19 PM EST
    was on the part of the nation, not the protesters.  Read up on how vets were treated by the country.

    Enough with you.  Not worth another word you will want to parse away, thinking that matters at all.


    Except to say that you also may want (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:13:45 PM EST
    to diagram sentences, a useful skill rarely taught anymore.  I did not link one quote to another quote, blah blah.  I quoted two parts of the same sentence.  Not my fault that his sentences are so long.

    Subject.  Predicate.  Object.  It's what he said, all in the same sentence -- who acted, the action, who was acted upon.


    no, what you say is not true (2.00 / 1) (#88)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:29:22 PM EST
    Do you really need this explained to you? How about an example.

    A few of the less stable Clinton supporters are so extreme in thier opposition to Obama that they particiapte in the spreading of rightwing lies about him, a shameful excess, no doubt.

    Are the bolded parts an accurate synopsis of the original statement?


    Yeah, pretty much (5.00 / 0) (#99)
    by flashman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:45:40 PM EST
    especially since the qualifiers "some" "few" etc. are too vague to effectively change the meaning.  

    And if Obama said that, would it (5.00 / 3) (#104)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:49:04 PM EST
    be a wise way to win Clinton supporters to him?  That's the point.  How did he do in winning the '60s protesters?  We know parsing when we see it, we've heard this crap before -- but from the GOP.  That's the real point.  Why vote for a Dem who repeats, again and again, Republican talking points?

    If he goes after peacenics (none / 0) (#181)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:06:27 PM EST
    he's going after his real base.

    Masks falling and that.


    He doesn't care (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:34:02 PM EST
    He's been going after his base since he started.  One group after another under the bus.  As he and the Dem leadership (and every Democrat I've seen on TV in the last 2 months) have said repeatedly, they have no place else to go.

    The irony is, the main group that's aimed at is Clinton supporters -- a quarter of which are going to McCain.  The one group that does have someplace else to go.

    But MoveOn, NARAL, peaceniks, the few creative class fans who swore their eternal loyalty before getting something in return -- they truly have no place else to go.  What, are they going to vote for Bob Barr?


    Obama charactorized Vietnam (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:39:04 PM EST
    Veterans return most being treated poorly, when in fact, only a statistically insignificant one percent polled said they were treated poorly and the vast majority -- 90 percent -- said very well upon their return.

    Did I say he should do that? (4.50 / 8) (#40)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:39:46 PM EST
    All I ask is that before he makes generalizations about the patriotism of people in an era during which he was a mere child, he should educate himself more. I never burned a flag or spit on a veteran but I can tell you right now that I had a pit in my stomach every time I marched and faced down police officers with billy clubs and mace. It wasn't fun, it wasn't a frat party and it was damned patriotic.

    he was making a generalization (2.00 / 0) (#55)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:58:25 PM EST
    about people who did certain things.

    You claim never to have done such things. Therefore he was not talking about you.
    Why do you act as if he was?


    You know what.... (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:13:03 PM EST
    ...I responded to you before, but it was deleted. The truth is, it isn't about me. I spoke about my experiences because I believe that is the place from which I can have most validity. What bothers me is why does this point even have to be made? There are plenty of examples of people's "patriotism" being questioned in recent history because of their opposition to the War in Iraq. By singling out the bad behavior of anti-war protestors in the Viet Nam era (some of which is in dispute) he is, in my opinion as one who lived through this time, putting too much importance on it. And his presentation of the "facts" is, in my view, distorted.

    did you read the whole speech? (2.00 / 0) (#95)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:37:21 PM EST
    I recommend it. The passage in question is an extremely minor part of the speech - seems to me to have been given the appropriate amount of importance.

    Ironic.... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:49:48 PM EST
    ...since a lot of the attention being given to it here is in response to your protests of our opinions.

    No, it was real (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:54:03 PM EST
    When I grew up Vietnam Veterans were considered pitiable, mentally ill people who had done and seen horrible things and were "damaged goods". Men who had fought and went on to lead normal lives were conflated with those who ended up on the streets. Until recently beggars would hold up signs that said "Vietnam Veteran, Please help". It fit the meme.

    Veteran's were not literally spit on, although many people believe that (to the point that some Veterans have convinced themselves that it happened to them - even if they only started remembering it 20 years after the fact). But they were metaphorically spit on, not respected, and dismissed for fighting dishonorably, even if the vast majority did nothing wrong and many were heroes. Even the right dismisses Vietnam Veterans. Look what they did to Kerry - do you think they could have done that to a WWII veteran?


    And it was because of protesters? (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:59:54 PM EST
    That's what Obama said.  That is not "real."

    Not entirely (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:17:09 PM EST
    But some protester's did feed the frenzy by distorting the actions of soldiers in order to incite revulsion and anger in the general public.

    That is not correct..... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:20:20 PM EST
    ...the general public (Nixon's silent majority) was not inclined to take the protestors' word for anything. The whole thing blew apart on its own.

    And some on the other side (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:20:42 PM EST
    fed awful frenzies, too -- leading to deaths of students on two campuses, some of them just going to classes or lunch or just sitting in their dorms.

    So if what he said belongs in a speech about what is and is not patriotic (I don't think this belonged at all), then why not balance it with examples on both sides? What could have been the purpose in presenting a one-sided perspective?


    Flat out wrong. (none / 0) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:16:44 PM EST
    Even the right dismisses Vietnam Veterans. Look what they did to Kerry - do you think they could have done that to a WWII veteran?

    That is flat out not true.

    The anger with Kerry wasn't over whether or not he deserved the medals, or that he did not spend Christmas in Cambodia, or anything he did or did not do while in Vietnam.

    The disgust and anger was over the false claims he made in his Senate speech, his association with people who claimed to be but weren't veterans and his association with Gollywood swellheads who were using the war for their own purposes.

    That speech and his actions smeared hundreds of thousands of men and women who served honorably, many giving up their lives and bodies in doing so.

    Catch a clue. That was what the anger was about.


    Tell that to the the purple heart band aid crowd (5.00 / 6) (#76)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:20:16 PM EST
    They didn't just dismiss his words, they diminished his valour, and brought into question the valour of the tens of thousands of men who have medals and purple hearts. They called the entire medal awarding process into question in order to diminish Kerry. You may consider that acceptable. I do not.

    There's a crowd he could have thrown under.... (5.00 / 0) (#80)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:21:08 PM EST
    ...the bus in this speech.

    It was about the confusion (none / 0) (#182)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:08:19 PM EST
    of being the warrior hero/peace protestor.

    Confusing but very noble.


    So? (none / 0) (#202)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:12:04 PM EST
    They called the entire medal awarding process into question in order to diminish Kerry.

    Oh, really? Somehow I don't remember anyone saying anything about the process. They did challenge Kerry, and were effective. But for millions of ex-military that wasn't the issue. It was the re-awakened memories of his Senate speech, etc. That nailed him.

    BTW - Have you done anything which the process would be meaningful to you? I didn't. I served 10 years in Naval Aviation and never got anything worse than the creeping crud.


    don't change the subject (none / 0) (#191)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:35:10 PM EST
    to Kerry from Obama. It's one thing to compare the two speeches as I did and another to veer off topic to Kerry himself.

    Who knows. (5.00 / 0) (#170)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:52:31 PM EST
    it's hard to tell.  Kerry was mixed up in teh protests and the combat. Obama was again NOT there.

    He was too young and wasn't around just as he wasnt; around for the IWR vote.

    He's a vicarious figure. Living through other's authentic experiences.


    Obama's understanding of history (none / 0) (#194)
    by mikeyleigh on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:29:31 PM EST
    is rather suspect.  The debates over patriotism don't just go back to the Viet Nam war and the counter-culture sixties.  Those disagreements had their origin in the fights over "who lost China" as well as the Korean War.  And those disgreements had their origin in the battles between isolationsts and the FDR adminstration over our position as a neutral in the early days of WWII.  And some of those same disputants were in Congress when Wilson brought home his League of Nations treaty.  For Obama to think he can put almost a century of partisan foreign policy debates between Republicans and Democrats behind him with some rather shallow comments is foolish.

    As a Buddhist... (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by BostonJ3K on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:20:23 PM EST
    (And I use that term loosely as there are tons of denominations in Buddhism just like any other religion and I do not claim to speak for anyone but myself)

    ...I just want to say that while parts of Obama's speech don't rub me quite the right way it is still pretty refreshing to hear a politician be able to talk about dissent and patriotism without self-righteous anger.

    Ok, I've said it - I could academically and ethically explain my position but I'll just let those who get it do their thing and those who don't fuss at me.

    There really were astronauts in Hawaii (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by goldberry on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:21:39 PM EST
    I lived there in 1969-1971 just at the height of the moon landings.  Splashdown was in the Pacific not too far away.  The astronauts from several missions spent a couple of weeks in quarantine in trailers on one of the military bases (Scofield?  I can't remember)  AND my elementary school teacher, Miss Picard, who was only a little bit haoli and mostly Hawaiian, got to go to a dinner to meet them.  

    So, this part of Obama's story unfortunately seems to be very plausible.  

    I liked that little bit of personal history (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:24:07 PM EST
    I'm glad it is plausible as well as interesting.

    I like a lot of the speech (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:21:54 PM EST
    But yes, it is easy to find slaps in the face when they are right there, and were intentional. Why do you think he put those lines in the speech?

    I think they are there (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:50:37 PM EST
    because Obama is facing protesters himself. To question the patriotism of the people who protested the Vietnam war, particularly those of a certain age, will give him the opening to question the patriotism of the people who he believes are from the same demographic and will continue to protest his candidacy until November.  Speaking for myself only as BTD is fond of saying.

    And, moreover... (none / 0) (#52)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:54:31 PM EST
    ...we are being treated to a spectacle of McCain (yes, a Vietnam War veteran) being heckled at his public appearances.

    Oh, no. That's over the line again (5.00 / 0) (#120)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:35:39 PM EST
    and I'll have to go read up on recent news for this (unless you have a link, but I can go google for myself:-).  That is so sad, and that is not going to go well with veterans, no matter their politics.

    Sorry... (5.00 / 0) (#157)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:24:52 PM EST
    I don't have a link handy, but it was at a Hispanic organization meeting on Saturday. Both Obama and McCain spoke, McCain was first and there were something like four Code-Pinkertons who interrupted McCain in succession. It's stuff like that that helped elect Nixon. Twice.

    Actually, veterans are the ones who are (none / 0) (#163)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:38:23 PM EST
    wise to McCain.  He's undermining vet benefits, and they know it.

    MaCain is busy screwing veterans (none / 0) (#162)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:36:50 PM EST
    to make sure active duty soldiers stay in as fodder for the US interests in the middle east.

    Obama would have beaten (none / 0) (#172)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:53:57 PM EST
    Clinton without old age war protestor fanatics.

    I think everyone may be missing the point (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:53:03 PM EST
    This is a standard part of his pitch to the young, and it's been effective. I assume it was poll-tested very early and found to resonate. It's the very backbone of his campaign.

    If you've spent any time at the Orange place you can see that the anger of the young at baby boomers is everywhere in evidence. The rejection of 60s generation is something he both capitalized on and fanned and is a big part of his appeal to young people. They love him because he's "their" candidate - and in some cases for no other reason - and he became this mostly by positioning himself with "them" against "us".


    Why the boomer bashing? (5.00 / 0) (#133)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:00:05 PM EST
    Is this something other than the usual rebelling against one's parents? I do not understand this need to denigrate an entire generation.

    I wish I knew (5.00 / 0) (#141)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:09:54 PM EST
    Before I gave up on the place I was spending a great deal of time trying to discuss it with them, but but got nowhere.

    Check it out yourself. Go over there and search the comments for "boomer". You'll find daily diatribes against boomers for being responsible for everything wrong in the world, including Reagan & Bush, against Bill & Hillary (specifically as baby boomers), calls for baby boomers to be stripped of Social Security, calls for baby boomers to surrender control to the young, claims that Gen-x was "disenfranchised" by baby boomers (how, I don't know), and so forth. They're mostly not fooling around either, it's genuine hate.

    It does worry me some, but mostly it just pisses me off in the way that you get pissed off when people are being incredibly stupid.


    I think bringing this up now (none / 0) (#161)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:36:23 PM EST
    is at best a double-edged sword. Many of those who continue to fight the battle of the 1960s, the "swift boaters" and the like in particular, dredge up this old divide to take an old conflict so they can bash their opponents as those who were on the wrong side.  Today it seems to me, the national debate over Iraq is a different debate.  Sure, there are "hawks" and "doves", but more importantly there are "hawks", "hawks" who have since developed buyer's remose, and doves.  And no one disses the troops.  The issue is no longer, in my mind, one of hawks and doves, but rather the topic should be how to promote national security. By giving this speech, Obama was addressing his perception of his vulnerability for not being an American, a patriot. The speech was mostly about him, and how the perceived attacks on him can be seen in historical context.  But like a lot of other issues he raises, imo, it focuses too much on him individually, and misses the point, or perhaps the opportunity to exert leadership.  In short, I don't think most of the electorate can even remember the debates of the 1960s, no less care.  The underlying issues of the 1960s, and the issue that is more important today than patriotism, is national security. Recall that the supposed raison d'etre for the Vietnam War was to keep the U.S. safe from communism.  Similarly, the Bush Admin claimed it had to invade Iraq to keep us safe from terrorism. To me, the issue that Americans care about is national security, & Obama needs to recast the discussion on these terms, not harp back to decades old divisions between hawks and doves. He is a hawk - at least on Afghanistan, and the underlying reason for this is that Afghanistan is believed to be the hub of Al Quada, that is in turn believed to be the major threat to U.S. security. So, he can lead the country and prove his patriotic bona fides by addressing how the Iraq War is not making the U.S. safer, but in fact making us less safe, and laying out ways in which those who really care about the U.S. and its future, want to be smarter about security, and how this can be accomplished.  Here he can bring in our porous unsafe borders, the need to negotiate, the Hersh revelations about what is going on in Iran and how it is making us less safe, how, in fact, if Hersh is to be believed, U.S. activities re: Iran reflect disregard for the leading U.S. military leaders by those without any military credentials in the Admin.  A Democratic administration can return the military to its former position of respects, etc.  Another miised opportunity to CHANGE the conversion to focus on the real issues imo.   If Obama does not change the focus before his mideast trip, he will be put on the defense as to whether his trip doesn't undercut the actions of our government at a crucial time.

    I think there's a lot of resentment. (none / 0) (#148)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:25:55 PM EST
    Although many of us graduated from college into Jimmy Carter's recession, we are a generation who was able to become more successful than our parents.  The X-ers have found it more difficult to live on their own right out of school,let alone to be come homeowners, and in part because we were successful enough to indulge them more than our parents were able to indulge us, there is a problem with instant gratification.  I have repeatedly told my children that they don't get to start out where their dad and I are now, they need to start where we started. I think that they are also scared of supporting an older generation that outnumbers them as we approach retirement. My younger brother is Obama's age, and sometimes he's proud to say that he's part of the boomers, but he has also said that since he was too young to participate in the "excitement", he feels like he never got to join the "club". Just looked through window.

    i don't think the point is really the boomers. (5.00 / 0) (#153)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:08:31 PM EST
    fan the flames for whatever purpose is the issue. and the fans will be flamed. the so called anger will be directed here and there but rarely at the real issues that need to be addressed. sad, really!

    Oh, I understand it (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:38:37 PM EST
    I wish I had a dollar for every time I've said how glad I am that I got to be young when I did. Life really has gotten harder for people starting out. I'm sure that those of us here who are baby boomers are very motivated to make things better for our children & grandchildren (or, in my case, nephews and cousins).

    My only point is that trivializing the issues of the 60s (and 90s) is part of Obama's strategy of fanning the flames of this to his benefit.

    I've spent a great deal of time trying to understand all the things that have happened in my lifetime and before. I know that seeing them as  due to a whole generation being bad, selfish people is beyond simplistic: it's the least enlightening, least thoughtful and least informed way of looking at it. That so many obviously intelligent and educated people seem not to be willing to look deeper makes me pretty sad.


    Part of it could be that (none / 0) (#152)
    by RalphB on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:08:20 PM EST
    this is the first generation where you didn't have to actually win to be told you were the winner.  the self-esteem movement may be turning on us boomers.

    The rage of the entitled denied (5.00 / 0) (#192)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:50:09 PM EST
    has nothing on the fury of the woman scorned.

    (actually, I hate that woman scorned but I was grapsing for a universally understood metaphor).

    This is what I see -- and it's probably not the majority of people younger than a certain age but it's definitely the loudest and most enraged, and really, most horrifying.  They think being smart, or rather as smart as they think they are, trumps every other consideration of experience or hard work, and can't stand that the older generations won't hand over that silver platter they think they're hiding behind their backs.

    I see it in a lot of the younger people I work with, even ones I like.

    It's this bizarre howling rage when something unearned is 'taken away' from them that far outbalances any anger when actual rights are taken away.


    Social Security privatization, IMO (none / 0) (#165)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:44:57 PM EST
    Boomers are feeding at the trough "the ones we've been waiting for" don't want to fill.

    Because (none / 0) (#24)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:29:48 PM EST
    the Vietnam War was 40 years ago.  

    Right or wrong but for a lot Americans the people they think of when they think of Vietnam War protesters is Jane Fonda taking a picture in front of a NVA artillery battery.

    There WERE SOME protesters that went too far.  And as someone who does not have a Vietnam War legacy to defend, he can point that out without fear of recrimination.  

    I respect the heck out of the vast majority of Vietnam War protesters but I can also recognize that the extremists were a detriment to the cause back then because they allowed the legitimate opposition to be smeared by their actions.

    While I support the right to burn an American flag I do not RESPECT people who do so.  Not because I have some intrinsic love for the flag but because the intended purpose of doing so is to incite people negatively.

    The United States as an nation wasn't evil because they engaged in a terrible war 40 years ago and the protesters of the time sometime forgot that.

    Protesters are no more above criticism than anyone else.


    You realize, I hope, that being a war protestor... (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:34:04 PM EST
    ...in the Viet Nam era was risky business. We were tear gassed, billy clubbed, arrested, and jailed. It would have been much easier, and certainly more expedient, to do nothing.

    But the shame in treating Viet vets badly (5.00 / 8) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:35:47 PM EST
    was national, as he says -- the lousy treatment when they tried to get treatment, even basic benefits, etc., as well as much more.  Yet Obama limits it to  protesters; that is the problem yet again in his '60s-bashing (and bashing so much of the past).

    It bespeaks either a lack of knowledge of the larger problem, which is a problem again for our vets, or it is a pandering to the right.  Either ought to be worrisome -- especially as it just was unnecessary in this speech.


    You know what? (4.50 / 8) (#51)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:54:14 PM EST
    There were people who favored the Vietnam War and violently opposed the protesters that also went too far. And, on another 60's issues, there were people involved in the civil rights movement that went too far.  There were people involved in union organizing and pushing for better labor laws that went too far. There were people opposing slavery that went too far. There were people that participated in the birth of our country that went too far. I don't see any reason to single out Vietnam war protesters as somehow needing to be yet again held up as the lone example of a small group of people that went too far. If Obama can't understand and teach the lesson that excesses happen on every side of an issue, then he really ought to STFU about it rather than perpetuating stereotypes. Sadly, I suspect he really believes those stereotypes, which doesn't say anything good about his depth of understanding of people or issues.



    Too Far (4.00 / 1) (#58)
    by creeper on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:02:02 PM EST
    There were people who favored the Vietnam War and violently opposed the protesters that also went too far.

    Yeah.  One of them was the president.

    Never thought I'd be citing Goldwater but here goes.  "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue."

    Of course, it makes a difference who you believe the tyrants are.


    huh? (none / 0) (#79)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:20:43 PM EST
    There were people who favored the Vietnam War and violently opposed the protesters that also went too far

    Hmmm. And just who might those be? Got some links?


    Good lord, why are so many clueless? (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:33:01 PM EST
    Look up the hard hat riots, look up Kent State. Look up the Chicago Police Riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Read some valid history of the time. There was anger and violence on both sides of the issue. Look up the VFW and the Vietnam vets. Do you honestly think that everyone in the country was just kumbaya except the protesters?

    They're clueless because they just don't (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by mikeyleigh on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:35:17 PM EST
    care.  I remember teaching Viet Nam era politics to a bunch of college freshmen in 1980.  They didn't know the stakes involved, didn't understand them, and just didn't care.  The Viet Nam War might just as well have been the Punic Wars as far as they were concerned.  And I believe Obama plays on this lack of knowledge on this issue, on the MLK-LBJ remarks made by Hillary, on the achievements of Bill Clinton's administration etc.

    I took the liberty (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:46:10 PM EST
    of providing you a link:



    Kerry was there; Obama wasn't. (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by magnetics on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:33:19 PM EST
    Ergo no contest IMO.  I'm old enough to have voted for McGovern, and remember the '60's well, although I played no distinguished role in the great historical and cultural battles of that era.

    Seems Smart To Me (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:13:21 PM EST
    Considering that the GOP rhetoric is all around supporting the troops with their mouths but not with their pockets. It calls attention to  the hypocrisy of not supporting the returning troops and the GOP rejection of the GI bill.

    He is carving out a position where bringing home the troops is supporting them. Increasing their medical and educational benefits rather than McCain's reducing them which, imo is akin to spitting on them when they return.

    The Iraq troops are central to the election. This also ties in nicely with Wes Clark's point about McCain and the GOP using the troops as a first resort (fodder) while Obama will only use them as a last resort, because American soldiers blood is too precious to waste.

    One thing I can't shake (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:16:14 PM EST
    is the feeling that he's lecturing the audience when he is giving one of these speeches to make up for his shortcomings. It is pretty tiring. I read the speech at the link and at various times rolled my eyes and the saying "physician heal thyself" came to mind. I like the anecdotes of him as a child, in particular the part of sitting on his grandpa's shoulders watching the astronauts. Then I cam to this part:

    We must remember, though, that true patriotism cannot be forced or legislated with a mere set of government programs. Instead, it must reside in the hearts of our people, and cultivated in the heart of our culture, and nurtured in the hearts of our children.

    Nicely put. If he practiced what he preached and "nurtured" and "cultivated" it in his home by telling Michelle the anecdotes he repeats in this speech he wouldn't be giving a speech on patriotism today.

    a gdnmd good point. (none / 0) (#175)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:56:10 PM EST
    Move on, Obama (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by santarita on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:23:17 PM EST
    The media narrative is already forming:  The Grizzled Military Hero vs the Rock Star.  Obama doesn't need to contribute to that narrative by making too big a deal about the Viet Nam War or the dissenters.  Gen. Clark's approach is the right one.  McCain's service is to be honored but that alone is not the end of the inquiry as to who is more qualified to be Pres.

    In that case... (none / 0) (#166)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:47:58 PM EST
    ...it should be done on an issue per issue basis, not by impugning his military service. I did not like it when it was done to Kerry (because, when you come to think of it, Purple Hearts do not C-in-C make, by that logic), and I don't care for it when it's done to McCain.

    Obama talking about (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:23:43 PM EST
    the 60's is like me talking about the 40's.

    Neither one of us has any idea of what he is talking about.

    There he goes again... (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by Exeter on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:30:15 PM EST
    A statistically insignificant ONE PERCENT of Vietnam veterans reported poor treatment after returning home, while nine in ten reported their welcome home as a positive experience.  

    The reason why this offends me is because he is throwing the entire Left under the bus here by basically saying, "You guys think ##I'M## unpatriotic?!? I may not always where a flag pin, but at least I didn't spit on soldiers like those dirty hippies!"

    I think there was something like a (none / 0) (#203)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:17:14 PM EST
    million people who served in Vietnam.

    You may think 10,000 insignificant.

    Ask Gore about a 1,000.....


    Obama seems rather obsessed (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:34:48 PM EST
    with the sixties. I was a willing, if many times terrified, participant in the actions of that ere, and I am not nearly as fixated on that time as Obama appears to be. What's with that?

    I get that he was a child then. There is no disputing that Barack did not protest either for civil rights or against the war. He has, however, been a beneficiary of both of those struggles. Why the need to continually bash those times and the folks who were there?

    I just don't understand this campaign strategy. And it is really starting to annoy me.

    Very obsessed in a personal way (5.00 / 0) (#118)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:26:27 PM EST
    I could do an armchair psychoanalysis as to why, but I will resist.

    I don't think so (5.00 / 0) (#132)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:57:53 PM EST
    I think it's a very targeted, calculated, market-tested and effective pitch to certain voters. We already know that he's blown off older voters to get the younger ones. This is part of the strategy.

    Well my parents were very activist-minded (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:08:31 PM EST
    but very confused (at the time,) and I do wonder if he holds resentment toward his mom for being so rootless and restless. (I am guilty of this strain of self-pity. See also: Alex P. Keaton.)

    He talks about it in his book, and it's why he settled in Chicago, in his own words, to "lay down roots."


    Perhaps you're right (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:15:28 PM EST
    I don't know anything about his emotional makeup, but I do see that he's a ruthless fighter who seems to me to lack core beliefs, and I assume everything he says and does is calculated.

    That too (5.00 / 0) (#147)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:23:11 PM EST
    This is what I think: he spent a lot of time daydreaming, picturing himself striking those serious, thoughtful poses, like the one on the "HOPE" poster.

    He's somewhat introverted, and has taken few risks, save for running for the next office.

    His calculations, to me, strike me as shallow. I don't think he sees himself as ruthless.

    (OK I suffer from ODS, and have long thought he harbors a messiah complex.)


    Yes (none / 0) (#200)
    by denise on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:21:50 PM EST
    What you say rings true.

    It does seem obsessive on the part of (5.00 / 2) (#169)
    by MontanaMaven on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:52:02 PM EST
    Obama and his campaign to bash the 1960's left.  I  don't get it unless it's real. He did refer to his mother as naive in her convictions, didn't he? So maybe it's personal along with a real dislike of the freedom of the counter culture.  After all in that souless "Audacity of Hope", he repeats over and over about Americans' longing for order and his love of "the military bases with their well-oiled machinery and their tidy lawns and crisp parades and crisper salutes".  Dude, that is so square.
    But if it's calculated to refight the 1960's, the fall election will be the same old "who's more patriotic?" foolishness that we get instead of who's going to stop the madness.  

    Yeh, it's okay that Obama is not like me (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:40:07 PM EST
    but that he doesn't like me, I don't get that as a strategy.  

    He now has dissed me as a woman, as a Midwesterner, as a believer, as a '60s protester, and I feel like I'm forgetting at least six other reasons that, from what he says, I'm not feeling the promised reaching out to me.

    Not my problem, of course.  I'll somehow survive.

    But it would seem to be a problem for him.  Can't he make a positive speech?  Must he always diss someone?


    we can have supporters say it was a great (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:46:26 PM EST
    speech and the critics will add their views. i see another missed opportunity to really lead. the division continues and widens. is that a winner? i don't think so. i read one post that said obama's campaign has been i believe weak or maybe tepid would be a word to use. that doesn't win campaigns.

    Keep your blood dude, (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:47:04 PM EST
    ...I don't need it. I'm older and I have more insurance.

    God help me for saying this, but (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:50:41 PM EST
    Kerry's speech was much better. I'm Obama's age so i never protested in the 60s, but I'm tired of the trashing of the DFHs. I thought Sen. Obama was going to tell the voters what they needed to hear, rather than just what they wanted to hear.

    Which voters wanted to hear that (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:17:22 PM EST
    from him?  That's what ought to be worrisome -- and that he still has to diss a substantial portion of the Dem base, of the left, to keep listing right.

    A truly great speechifier would know how to appeal to one without dissing the other.


    Ah, that unity thing again. (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:23:28 PM EST
    So far, I've not seen or heard Obama do a unifying speech. For someone who claims to be such a uniter its amazing that he even misses the obvious ways to unify.

    I thought it was a fine speech (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by kempis on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:21:44 PM EST
    But my problem is that, based on what I've seen thus far, I don't trust Obama to answer satisfactorily these questions that he poses:

    How do we keep ourselves safe and secure while preserving our liberties? How do we restore trust in a government that seems increasingly removed from its people and dominated by special interests? How do we ensure that in an increasingly global economy, the winners maintain allegiance to the less fortunate? And how do we resolve our differences at a time of increasing diversity?

    He gave a fine speech, but Obama won't thrill me ever again until he shows he can govern effectively and remain loyal to those principles he rightly includes in his definition of patriotism. I'm not sure that placing the financial well-being of the telecoms above the Constitution is a patriotic priority.

    Nice speech though.

    Fine line between self-pity and honest (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:36:30 PM EST
    account of one's past.

    For a young man of mixed race, without firm anchor in any particular community, without even a father's steadying hand, it is this essential American idea - that we are not constrained by the accident of birth but can make of our lives what we will - that has defined my life, just as it has defined the life of so many other Americans.

    I never heard Bill Clinton talk in quite that tone.

    He (O) strikes me as a sad person sometimes, who fights his own urge toward self-pity.

    Did his stepfather just go under the bus? (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:46:25 PM EST
    His mother remarried when Obama was four or five (sources vary).  On behalf of fine stepfathers everywhere, and their perfectly fine steadying hands -- was Obama's stepfather a bad guy?  I haven't read that.  If not, then, yeh, it's pretty self-pitying.

    And yeh, in this as in so much else, Bill Clinton knew how to tell his story with remarkable positivity, and without self-pity.


    Lot of poor black kids don't have grandparents (5.00 / 0) (#137)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:03:29 PM EST
    as committed to them as his were to him.

    Um, lots of kids, period (5.00 / 2) (#142)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:10:34 PM EST
    -- of any race, class, etc.  I don't get that Obama has had such a horrible life, compared to so many in this country.  Unusual, yes.  But he was not a "street urchin," abandoned and ill-fed and etc.

    The narrative just gets weirder and weirder -- when the narrative, the biography, is about all he's got.


    Good catch, of course (5.00 / 0) (#146)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:16:05 PM EST
    but I get the sense he really does consider himself born a poor biracial child.

    Does he get how offensive it is to kids who really were born poor?


    Agreed. Much as his continued (5.00 / 2) (#150)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:55:51 PM EST
    narrative about his life saddled with a single mom irritates Jeralyn, me, and others.  And again, that was for all of two years of his life, before she remarried when he was four . . . but then, the stepfather went under the bus today, too.

    lol...you got me thinking about Steve (none / 0) (#196)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 07:41:56 PM EST
    Martin in The Jerk....

    I think what makes me crazy about Obama (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:57:33 PM EST
    is that just when I think he is hitting all the right notes, he veers off to counter those notes, leaving me wondering whether he ever, ever gets off the fence.  It was good, it was bad - sometimes all within one speech, sometimes good before Group A and bad before Group B, so that if you listen to both, you come away with no clue about what he really thinks or feels.  Or what he will do, given that he can't seem to decide which point of view is the one he most agrees with.

    Being able to see other sides of issues, having a mind that is open to other views, are good qualities, but there comes a time when one must choose what it is one believes and act on it.

    I see the professor in Obama, the teacher who wants to provide all possible points of view for his students to pore over and consider and chew on as they develop their own core beliefs.  I don't see someone who will excel at governing, at putting his beliefs into action, at standing firm for principles.

    Someone needs to save this clearly intelligent man from himself before he finds himself delivering a speech on the Meaning of Life.

    Ah, he can give that speech in Why, Arizona (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:13:10 PM EST
    to continue the earlier thread on speech sites.

    I hope he doesn't end up having to give a speech in Embarrass, a town in my state.  But at this rate. . . .


    Mail that into The Onion (none / 0) (#149)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:50:48 PM EST
    this is too good to pass up.

    There's a nagging pattern to them though (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:13:19 PM EST
    like he's instructing us on how to behave. Not saying we must be more courageous and take on more challenges, but in being more prudent. Or just saying group A, you did this wrong. And you in group B, not so fast, you're guilty too.

    The Black Agenda Report noticed it in his Father's Day speech.

    I just feel sort of down after reading his speeches.


    Oh that speech is coming on Friday LOL (none / 0) (#138)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:05:30 PM EST
    Someone needs to save this clearly intelligent man from himself before he finds himself delivering a speech on the Meaning of Life.

    Not too far off: Tuesday he will give a speech on faith and Wednesday and Thursday on service to the country.


    Why does he even go there? (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:00:19 PM EST
    I see no need for him to drag up the issues about the Vietnam protests and such.  Is he purposely trying to alienate Democrats who have supported the party for decades?

    When Obama talked about changing the nature of the Democratic party, I thought he meant that we would work to make sure that our representatives would no longer capitulate to big business and that there would be a return to the basic values the party had in the time of FDR.  I thought he meant that we'd ditch the career consultants, party insiders and leaders who let the party infrastructure across the nation stagnate, who sell us out and who are responsible for not doing the things that help us win elections.

    Instead, he's throwing long time party members and activists under the bus.  He's alienating large parts of the base.  I'm beginning to think that this is what he means by "change" -- a new party that brings in more independents and throws out more of the activists and working class.  Actually I've been thinking this for some months now.

    Does he really have a vision of this change and this new party?  Or is he making it up as he goes along?  

    Anyway, back to the subject:  What's the purpose of statements like today's on the Vietnam era?  Is he trying to make sure everyone knows he was not part of that era?  Is it because McCain is a Vietnam vet?  

    Or is he trying to lecture the current anti-war movement?  Is he trying to further distance himself from the current progressive and anti-war movement?  

    I just don't see the purpose of saying these things.

    He disses MoveOn for Patreus ad in speech (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by catfish on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:01:11 PM EST
    Ben Smith noticed:
    All too often our politics still seems trapped in these old, threadbare arguments - a fact most evident during our recent debates about the war in Iraq, when those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.

    Actions speak louder than words (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by fctchekr on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:01:54 PM EST
    We live in a different generation, we just aren't glued to our radios and televisions, we have blackberrys, podcasts, videos and a short attention span, because life demands it.

    Speechs used to be cool, now actions and sound bites rule.

    Obama seems to be treading water, eschewing the glory of our past political icons and at the same time attempting to enfuse the now...

    Notice we don't see McCain making speeches to address his vulnerabilities. It's not his skill-set and so what, frankly though Obama's rhetorical skills are better, that in itself does not qualify him to be President.

    Neither does the donning of a lapel pin, which does not fulfill the meaning of the axiom.  

    Bloody hell. (4.90 / 10) (#3)
    by OrangeFur on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:06:35 PM EST
    By the end of this campaign, he's going to make Ronald Reagan seem like a liberal.

    the repubs won't buy it and the dem (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:36:04 PM EST
    base will reject it.

    Ahistorical and pandering (4.69 / 13) (#7)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    leaves me not knowing which angers me more.  Yeh, I'm bitterly clinging to pride in being a protester in the '60s.

    But I'd appreciate it if a presidential candidate didn't further yet more myths, more untruths that I will have to undo for my students -- as ever, but now they will have heard it from Obama.  Bah.

    Somehow while I wasn't looking..... (5.00 / 8) (#13)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:20:23 PM EST
    ...baby boomers became the boogeyman.

    We have been for quite a while (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:28:31 PM EST
    in the popular culture of those under 30; I hear it all the time, because I hear them.  

    But we have not been, until these primaries, the bad guys in speeches from the mouth of a potential president -- who is himself, of course, a boomer.  (Another example of why some of the things he says just must fascinate psychologists.)


    If he is 46 (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:07:21 PM EST
    then he was born in '62.

    I don't think that's a boomer.


    Yes, he is a boomer (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:15:45 PM EST
    The boomer geneation ran from 1946 to 1963 or 1964, depending on who you talk to.

    See warning at commetn #84 (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:28:03 PM EST
    and don't engage this guy.  We've got us a blogclogger from the GOP.

    No (none / 0) (#106)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:50:34 PM EST
    He is a long time TL regular. If he is a blogclogger he is our blogclogger, as irritating as that has been and will continue to be.

    Nothing to be done, ignoring is a good strategy, but sometimes quite hard to stick with.


    Okay, so he's a regular (5.00 / 0) (#115)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:19:39 PM EST
    from a while ago -- but see his site, see his name for Obama, see what he says about Bush, and he is GOP.  

    Agreed that he apparently is wiser than to do such stuff here, so far -- but he is dallying, or else he is incredibly uninformed about even recent history.


    Wow. (5.00 / 0) (#130)
    by pie on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:53:34 PM EST
    One of the 24 %ers.  I didn't actually know of any
    until now.

    A dying breed, to be sure.


    Yes (none / 0) (#119)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:33:13 PM EST
    But a regular from not too long ago. He posted her for years, and will more than likely resurface during the GE and beyond.

    Before you arrived he was doing the muslim innuendo with Obama big time and loooooves BushCo. He took a break when all the new Clinton fans arrived, as did more than a few of the other regular commenters. His site is also relatively new, I looked once when he started it early winter or late fall.

    Disgusting reactionary sh*t, imo. But he mostly stayed within the rules here, and was I imagine a generous contributer to TL's tip jar. Some left TL because they could not believe he was allowed to say the crap that he said.

    Silver lining for me was that I got to hear the GOP echo chamber without ever having to leave TL. It is good to know what the other side is up to and ppj was our portal, or the most prolific one.


    Got it, thanks, and I agree (none / 0) (#126)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:42:03 PM EST
    that a glimpse into the dark side is useful.  And better to get that glimpse here than to have to wander over to sites like that again to see.  Ugh.

    How do you feel about (none / 0) (#183)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:09:36 PM EST
    a Dem candiate buying into the Dolschgeshloss Legend about Vietnam?

    Jim aka PPJ is indeed (none / 0) (#186)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:26:58 PM EST
    one of our longest readers and while he takes the other side, he's welcome here and he is not a blog-clogger. You are free to ignore him, but you also can engage him in debate, so long as it's on the topic of the thread.

    heck boomers have been under the bus (5.00 / 5) (#94)
    by hellothere on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:36:51 PM EST
    so long there are rv parks there now.

    Best laugh of the day! n/t (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:52:14 PM EST
    Interesting (4.20 / 5) (#2)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    John Kerry managed to give a whole speech on Vietnam and dissent without once mentioning that there were some DFHs who crossed the line and dissented the wrong way.

    Curious that Obama takes a different approach.  Perhaps he has decided that this is the reason Kerry lost - not enough distancing himself from the DFHs.  I'm pretty sure that's a big part of the Beltway narrative, at any rate.

    I think that's exactly what he (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:19:29 PM EST
    and Axelrod think. Never was a more conventional campaign to be run.

    Isn't that the way to go though? (none / 0) (#16)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:21:47 PM EST
    Why should Obama take any significant chances at this point?  The election is Obama's to lose.  

    I am talking about the pure politics of it and not speaking about moral imperatives or other such things that are nearly impossible to gauge.


    Dukakis, Michael (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:24:10 PM EST
    If Obama plays it safe and doesn't campaign hard, he will continue to look aloof and professorial. The way to answer the commander-in-chief question, IMO, is to campaign hard and get specific.

    If Dukakis (none / 0) (#28)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:32:52 PM EST
    had an ounce of Obama's charisma he would have won that election running away.  

    There is absolutely no reason to campaign hard and get specific in June.  None at all.  

    The race begins at the Conventions.  There is no reason to waste any bullet in June when they will be forgotten by October.


    Unbelievable (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:38:57 PM EST
    If Obama doesn't campaign as hard as he can until election day, he will surely lose.

    There's a reason why we laugh at John McCain taking weekends off, you know.


    Oh come on, Andgarden (none / 0) (#44)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:45:15 PM EST
    I'm not suggesting he starts working a 3 day work week.

    I'm saying that now is not the time to go on the full scale offensive.  


    Honestly, my perception (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:49:17 PM EST
    is that Obama is campaigning as little and as weakly as possible. One glance at the numbers in Ohio shows that he can't just sit pretty on his lead.

    European trip (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:02:15 PM EST
    That will be very interesting to watch....Obama needs to meet with heads of state, very stuffylike, very stiff--that's how that should go....Obama is a serious person...

    But the interesting part is does he do a public rally in Germany for instance....This could be very good....Germans waving American flags would be nice....And they love him there....But too much and we get stories about a presumptuos JFK wannabe....The right balance could be awesome...American prestige and influence will be restored with a President Obama...  

    But the real risky part of the trip is when he goes to Jordan--presumably after going to Israel first....What does he say to the Jordanians--stop letting your neighbors build and throw bombs?  Recognize Israel?  We love you and will help you?  Minefield aplenty there....

    And, what about all those Jordanians in the street who will talk about Obama's middle name--Will they say, "We love Obama because he is a Muslim like us"?  Axelrod had better cue up lots of American flags in Jordan....

    Obama can dominate the Summer.  First his trip.  Then his VP pick.  Then the convention.  It could be a media black out for McCain until the Republican convention and then he will be limited by public money....


    But we know that such trips (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:44:46 PM EST
    are only "tea parties."  And that was for a First Lady.  For a junior Senator, such a trip doesn't even merit crumpets with his tea, much less trumpets.

    Obama will meet with heads of state (none / 0) (#109)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:51:50 PM EST
    to discuss substantive issues....And the imagery will be fabulous....

    Yeh, so were the photos of Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:14:54 PM EST
    when she met with heads of state.  That hardly means that his dissing of such trips won't come back to haunt him.

    If he's smart he'll say nothing (none / 0) (#108)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:50:44 PM EST
    and just listen, in both Israel and Jordan. If he panders to one, he'll lose influence with the other, and probably end up with another quick flip-flop on his hands.

    Interesting point (none / 0) (#111)
    by MKS on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:56:17 PM EST
    But he'll have to say something--even if it is one of those standard, quick asides as he is sitting stiffly in a chair next to the Jordanian King Abdullah, son of the former King Hussein (oh my, there will be press on that one) during a press conference or photo op....

    I'm more worried about him pandering (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by tree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:11:20 PM EST
    to the Israelis myself.  I suspect that what he says to King Abdullah will be private and will remain private, as will Abdullah's comments to him.

    Euro trip (none / 0) (#164)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:40:48 PM EST
    Of course, given the fact that the European media are not nearly as cowed as the US one, and that the European public expects the next US president to radically depart from Bush Admin policies, I wonder how he'll answer the inevitable questions to that effect. BBC, in particular, does not strike me as an organization that swallows platitudes easily so the Hope and Change shtick may not travel well. I mean, what if they ask him point-blank, when are you going to shut down Guantanamo?

    The reason to get specific (none / 0) (#139)
    by joanneleon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 04:06:00 PM EST
    is that there are huge problems affecting people every single day, and we have a president who is not really addressing any of them.

    IMHO, people want to know what Obama is going to do to fix the problems that are getting worse every day.  It's fine to be vague when things are going fairly well, even if there are big problems.  But when the problems are causing real pain to significant numbers of Americans, he needs to get specific!  


    Wait til the y make an issue of the (none / 0) (#167)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:49:14 PM EST
    bloke hwo got out of Gitmo and was found smeared on a car bomb in Mosul.

    Because change is the core of his campaign (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:33:54 PM EST
    He is running as a centrist when he doesn't have to, and running away from anything that would indicate a new kind of politics when the election is, as you say, his to lose, and he presumably won the primary based on his new kind of politics. If he were running on a platform of "safe", this would be a terrific speech.

    OK (none / 0) (#43)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:43:47 PM EST
    I'm not sure what this means. Politically he has been centrist with a change message throughout the entire primary.  That really hasn't changed much.

    His biggest asset right now is that he isn't a Republican.  Why risk that by pushing for contentious issues right now?

    "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars" Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Oct 30th 1940.


    One word: mandate (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:53:16 PM EST
    Thinking that people will vote for Obama just because he's not a Republican did not work for Kerry, either.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with pushing into contentious issues. The majority of the country thinks it's on the wrong path. So why not capitalize on that by pointing the way out of crisis?

    Of course, I think Obama's reasons are somewhat different. I suspect that if he were to start offering details on his actual plans, he'd lose much of his liberal support.


    At the time Roosavelt said it... (none / 0) (#66)
    by dianem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:12:19 PM EST
    ...it was true. There was no reason to send troops to fight in WWII. The United States had not been attacked, and we had no history of getting involved in other people's wars. Being bombed by Japan changed a lot of perceptions. If Roosavelt had not responded to that by getting involved in the war, he would have been considered a coward by virtually every American. Heck....look at Afghanistan. People forget that we are involved in two wars, one of them widely accepted even by the left and one not. Very few people felt that attacking Afghanistan was wrong, given their involement in harbouring the terorrists who conducted the attacks.

    Would have to disagree that we (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:16:09 PM EST
    had no history of getting involved in others' wars.  Yikes.  That is too much of our national history.

    The main one you had (none / 0) (#178)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:59:00 PM EST
    was your civil war.  WW2 is a distant second on teh casualty count.

    That's such a silly point. (none / 0) (#168)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:51:01 PM EST
    FDR would have been hanged if he'd not gone to war with Japan after Pearl Harbor.

    Some of his audience are former DFH (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by goldberry on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:33:29 PM EST
    Sometimes, I don't know if he realizes what generation his target audience is.  He needs voters and they don't call it the Baby BOOM generation for nuthin'.  

    Baby boomers, under the bus?  Check!


    There's a problem with that... (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:56:36 PM EST
    For all this speech talks about the "wrong" ways to dissent, the Right will keep bringing up his connections to Ayers--the epitome of "wrong" forms of 1960s dissent.

    I find it interesting that Obama (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:03:20 PM EST
    choses to distant himself in a speech but not in his own life. By most people's standard, Ayers and his wife went way, way over the line Obama mentioned.  

    2 words: William Ayers (none / 0) (#127)
    by RalphB on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 03:44:59 PM EST
    there are others but he'll do by himself to put this speech to bed.

    A very excellent passage from a great speech (2.00 / 0) (#31)
    by tben on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:33:36 PM EST
    Showing oneself capable of honestly discussing the overreactions and mistakes of ones own side, lends enormous credibility to the critiques of the other.

    There are few things more tiring, especially to the vast majority who are not hyperpassionate about politics, than to hear politicians and political junkies rattle on about how they and their side are absolutely right about everything and the other side demonic and wrong. No one believes that kind of talk, and it is not what one hopes for from a president.

    What do you mean by (5.00 / 8) (#37)
    by dk on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:37:17 PM EST
    "their side"?  Was Obama a vietnam war protester?  I must have missed that part of his bio.

    Why not do that by giving examples of (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:06:29 PM EST
    patriotic dissent on both sides of the politcal spectrum then?  Why the continual need to provide negative examples?  It just seems like pandering to me, but I'll think about what you said.

    He'd never be in the spot (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Salo on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:57:26 PM EST
    he's in without all the dupes in the antiwar movement. lol.

    He Is A Long Timer (none / 0) (#97)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:44:11 PM EST
    GOP (aka social liberal) TL whipping boy, some would say troll. Although he is to be commended for reversing his stance on the death penalty.

    Hey Squeak! (1.00 / 0) (#204)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:24:38 PM EST
    I am here to serve but whipping takes some doing...must I start reminding you of some of your other unworldly comments?



    Did anybody else notice (none / 0) (#160)
    by Grace on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:34:18 PM EST
    that he called Myanmar by it's old name:  Burma?  I wonder why?  

    The speech was probably written (5.00 / 2) (#177)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:58:00 PM EST
    by an older baby boomer.

    But Not Someone (1.00 / 2) (#188)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:32:41 PM EST
    Nearly as ill informed as you.

    Burma (5.00 / 0) (#190)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:34:43 PM EST
    is the official name from the US diplomatic perspective.  Myanmar is considered to be the military junta name and therefore carries a negative connotation.

    Most, although not all, of the groups that oppose the junta and support democracy prefer "Burma" as the name.  So it's our little way of choosing the right side, as it were.


    Because The US Does Not Recognize It (none / 0) (#187)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06:31:52 PM EST
    As far as the military junta is concerned, their country should be referred to as Myanmar. The junta officially changed the English name in 1989.

    Yet the change was not universally adopted.

    In Europe, Great Britain and Ireland do not recognize the legitimacy of the military junta and have also continued to use Burma exclusively. Exiles also refer to it as Burma.


    The United States government, like Britain, doesn't recognize the legitimacy of the military rulers in Myanmar, and calls the country Burma. But major media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN and the Associated Press refer to it as Myanmar




    JFK (none / 0) (#171)
    by pmj6 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 05:53:24 PM EST
    was a military hero himself, and in a very personal way (PT-109 and all that), so it was a level playing field.

    Oh my goodness. We've nominated Mitt Romney. (none / 0) (#197)
    by Jake Left on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:02:02 PM EST
    And now I have to vote for him.

    Kerry looks best in rearview mirror. (none / 0) (#199)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:49:10 PM EST