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“No Way. No How. No McCain! No Palin!” September 20, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, politics, Uncategorized.
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I attended a democratic rally in Pike County today where Hillary Clinton stumped for Bruce Lunsford (who is running against incumbant Mitch McConnel for Kentucky’s Senate seat) and for the Obama/Biden ticket.  Hillary made the case that stakes are too high for Americans to allow Republicans to continue to run the White House and that more “good Democrats” are needed in the Senate.  Lunsford and Clinton argued that McConnel stood in the way of progress in Kentucky because his interests in energy do not include clean coal. They also played up Lunsford as a self made successful business man.

Hillary asked those who voted for her during the Primary to vote for Obama/Biden in November.  Obama is not popular here in the Appalachian region.  Many in this region continue to believe that Obama is a radical Muslim or the Anti-Christ. I can’t quite figure out why they think that he may be the Anti-Christ but that meme is heard and read often in these parts.  Sadly racism also persists here although it is not as overt as it once was.  Hillary seemed to be aware of Obama’s perception here but urged Democrats and Hillary Supporters to vote for him. 

Hillary did not mince words about her feelings for the McCain/Palin ticket even though she views McCain as a friend as she reiterated her much used catch phrase: No Way. No How.  No McCain. No Palin.

Hillary and Lunsford focused much of their speeches around the current economic crisis. Harkaning back to President Clinton’s administration they lamented that it is Democrats who can fix the economic mess.  Of course Hillary also mentioned her signature issue, health care.

I found it humorous that Lundsord kept referring to the last eight years as the Bush-McConnel era.  The stigma attached to Bush and his administration is so strong that Democrats are trying to attach every Republican to Bush.  On the national stage, Obama has been linking McCain to President Bush in most of his stump speeches.

Before Hillary was introduced, former Governor Paul Patton spoke breifly. He opined that Obama has the potential to be one of the greatest Presidents in history.  He also chastized the Bush Administration for failing to capture or kill “that robe wearing idiot” referring to Osama bin Laden.  I personally found the “robe wearing idiot” comment too close to calling him a “raghead”.  While Osame is a terrorist we should be sure not to demean aspects of whole cultures especially since the Democrat party is so diverse.  A lot of individuas in the middle east still wear traditional robes and most of these individuals are not terrorists.

Another local political leader, whose name escapes me, also advocated mountain top removal (strip mining) to the chagrin of several members of the audience.  Democrats and liberals tend to be pro-environment (a woman to my left was concerned about strip mining and water pollution) yet mountain top removal leads to jobs for local residents (not to mention more money for coal companies).

Hillary had visited Prestonsburg during the Primary and had visited Pike County during the 90s.  John Edwards also visited Prestonsburg during the Primary.  Bill Clinton visited Pike County during the Primary while he was campaigning for Hillary.  The Clintons are very popular in this region as many look back favorably on their economic conditions during the Clinton Presidency.

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Obama in the Middle July 10, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in politics, Uncategorized.
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Obama supporters should not be shocked that he has been at least perceived to be pivoting towards centrist positions. That is the norm in campaign politics. Politicians play to their base during the primary and then move toward the center, arguably where most Americans are, for the general election.

Finally democrats are catching on that they can reach out to evangelicals and speak the language of faith too. It is usually the republicans who are more comfortable talking about faith but that has changed with this election. John McCain is not very open about his spiritual beliefs and doesn’t seem at ease when discussing religion. Obama, on the other hand, sometimes sounds like a preacher when he is giving a powerful speech. Its no question that Obama is an impressive orator but he also seems to have an intuitive understanding of the evangelical community even though his view of Christianity is more liberal than many of theirs.

Kerry made a big mistake in not courting evangelicals so it is nice seeing Obama reaching out to them. Obama says he will support an expansion of Bush’s faith based initiatives. He has also met with a group of evangelical leaders. However, Obama will have to do more than talk faith to convince those who disagree with his views on abortion and gay rights to vote for him. I believe that Obama should let them know that his inclusive beliefs come from or at least are compatible with his Christian faith.

Some of Obama’s more left leaning supporters also worry about his position on FISA which is going to allow telecommunications companies to have immunity from being held accountable for spying on americans. Obama also supports gun rights with some regulation and has said that mental illness should not be used to justify late term abortions. Obama also seems to support the death penalty in the case of brutal crimes against children.

Again, I don’t think that Obama supporters should be surprised. Yes, he is a liberal and a progressive, but he shouldn’t be expected to be an automaton that always keeps in step with the party line. After all there is much variation within the democratic party and within the liberal and progressive traditions as well. Most of us probably have a mix of liberal and conservative views.