Context Is Everything

By Al Giordano


As my closest colleagues know, I'm not a fan of long documentary films, and I discourage my journalism students from attempting them. There are only a handful of directors alive today that can pull off a work of non-fiction for the screen and still hold people's battered attention span after 20 minutes or more. And I'm bored, like most people, with 30- and 60-second ads. I think the public is inoculated against them and views them extremely skeptically. They flash by too rapidly - like trucks on the freeway - to lower the viewer's guard enough to infiltrate his and her psyche and deepest yearnings.

I am, however, a huge enthusiast, and sometimes writer-producer, of the newsreel: that short film format that before the television era played in movie theaters, that would last five to fifteen minutes: that's about the maximum that you can hold most people's attention onto a "serious" work, and yet it provides the opportunity to move the audience's heads and hearts together for a lasting impression, especially if it is seen in the context of current events and circumstances that already touch the viewers' lives rather than in isolation of them.

When, during Thursday night's convention in Denver, I saw the nine minute introductory video (it came on right at prime time, when those 40 million + Americans were tuned in live on every network and via the Internet) that preceded Obama's speech and that's when I knew - even before Obama uttered the first word of his oratory - that it will be a wonderful November. This brief film erased any doubts that were out there that this guy isn't "American" enough or somehow doesn't belong as its head of state and organizer-in-chief.

But what really made the film work was the context: It brought the viewer at home (and at 50,000+ house parties across the fruited plain) into that stadium, together with the 84,000 that were physically present. It made one feel that he and she, too, were there. And although Obama gave a speech for the history books, it almost didn't matter what he would say after this video coup de grace imprinted on the public psyche. In truth, the speech itself - DVD copies, rebroadcasts, etcetera - ought to always be shown with this film in front of it, because it sets the context.

And speaking of the context on Thursday night, I thought it was also tremendously important for the Democratic Party - its politicians, leaders, constituency groups, delegates and superdelegates - to experience that film and that speech in the larger stadium, where the insiders were suddenly outnumbered by real people who are not public figures and don't even imagine themselves as power brokers or back room deal makers. It forced those insiders to get used to the new reality: that they are not the show, nor should they ever be again. This film and that speech would not have left such an everlasting impression had it been in the smaller Pepsi Center hall, an exclusive screening for the political elites.

If for any reason you missed the introductory video on Thursday, or were so busy wondering what Obama would say (or how it would be received), or yakking with your friends and family members that you didn't pay good attention, watch it now, study that newsreel. For this was the greatest video newsreel of the convention, and probably of the century, and it's the reason - together with the speech itself - why all the media flurries and distractions that have happened since and will happen through November are pale sideshows, affecting a small fraction of the audience, by comparison, to that of tens of millions who were ushered into the future on Thursday night.


I loved this

It makes me think about Barack's grandparents.  About the colossal amount of crap they must have endured for loving and helping to raise their African American grandson.

Thanks. Al

Thanks Al for posting this video.  I know I could have gone to YouTube and tried to find it, but honesly, I didn't think of it.  Now, I have been able to email it everyone I know, and ask them to send it on to their friends.  Of course, I cried again watching it.  I am so grateful to you, and my fellow Field Hands, and all the millions of us working to elect this human being President of the United States.

Going to Digg it.  Thanks, Al, really, thank you.


My eyes welled up. And I'm a dude.

Wonderful post. Thanks for it.

Right on

Speaking as a film editor, but when communicating in any form, the trick is getting the format and length right.  Is this a 30 second idea?  Is this a novel?  Is this a magazine article?  A good idea can get buried under the weight of an overly ambitious execution.  This past week was such a satisfying one, seeing our candidate rolled out to the biggest audience yet, and with integrity and finesse.  Despite all the hand-wringing during days 1-3 about hitting hard enough blah blah blah, it all ended where it should.  Obama stood there, introduced to the nation as what he is, an honorable person with a unique vision at a time that is exactly what we need.

And then he gave his speech, and man did he bring it.  He went right up to McCain's door, knocked, and said, "We need to talk."  As Twain said (paraphrasing), "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still getting it's boots on."  Well, we've got our boots on, and it's time to hit the pavement.  Phonebanks are making the calls for an efficient GOTV, and we have 2 months to lock this thing down.  We've had our show, McCain has proved his cynical recklessness in his VP pick, and we can win this thing.  GOTV!

Thank you

I'm so pleased to have the opportunity to watch that again.  I loved how it introduced the candidate we all know and respect in a way that was true and easy to follow. 

I enjoy how it introduces the concept of service to the county.

The symbolism in the video that stands out most for me was the picture of Barack at the airport at Christmas time.  That image is bound to resonate with so many with absent fathers who only showed up during the holidays and then only briefly enough to be seen coming and going from an airport.




Cross-posted Daily Kos.

David Strathairn--Great Choice

I was extremely impressed with this film, right down to their choice of narrators.  David Strathairn is a fine actor and has a commanding, reassuring delivery.  His voice is soothing and familiar, but not so instantly recognizable that it distracts from the film or comes off as a gimmick.

Thanks, Al

Thanks so much for posting this film. I'm sending it to everyone I know. Well done and well done.

Agreed -- a masterful video.

Agreed -- a masterful video. Hit me in the gut. The music especially, I thought, was really beautiful and really connected with the viewer, invited the viewer in, and made the film more intimate and powerful as a result. Anyone know what the music (at the beginning) is? Oh and I thought David Strathairn did an excellent job narrating; again, a voice that connects with people without feeling heavy handed makes the film even more effective. But my fav part is the last line -- "And that's worth fighting for." Amen amen amen. That line transformed the rest of the emotional, feel good film into a call to action. Onward!

Been following

the campaign for quite a while now and still learned something from the "newsreel." I wondered what the speech would be like after that.

Does anyone know how to capture videos. I want to be able to share this with friends who don't have fast digital hook-ups.

After Barack's speech

I recieved two phone calls from friends. Both calls were to thank me for working all year for Barack. My girlfriend who was big HRC'r was crying and said she was so excited about BO becoming President and thanked me profusely for realizing it so early on. The other was a Repub who has decided to come aboard the O'train after watching the above video and the speech. I called her back after the VP pick and she was not impressed by McSame's choice. Loving it!

Thank You Al for reminding us

of what at stake in this election.

The media was badgering Obama on why did he not

pick Hillary. Why isn't the media doing the same to McCain about Mitt Romney/Huckabee ? Why aren't they asking him on teevee on why did he pick this woman and follow that up with more questions ?  After all she could be the President in heartbeat.


Thursday night we won the election.

Fourty million people watched Sen. Obama's introductory film and his speech live: that doesn't include the house parties where multiple people were present or the internet viewings at all. Fourty million. And the Obama team was smart; they began the film at 10:04, immediatly after the networks signed on and said Hello this is Brian Williams (Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric) at Invesco Field and went all the way to 10:53 leaving only 7 minutes for comments that were pretty much WOW.

Gov. Sarah Palin was a clear attempt to create division within the Democratic party and wedge women from Sen. Obama as well as shore up the base while recreating the maverick McCain image.

McCain got his headlines: but he also lost crediblity with the MSM imo. I just read playbook: a lot of Republicans are upset and Charlie Black in today's NYT admits Palin has no forigen policy experience but she'll learn from the master McCain.

Sen. McCain's goal has been to turn this election into a personaltiy one: the celebrity ad and attempt to make Obama and "other" and when it didn't work he attempted to get pizzaz on his own ticket. But the Republican women who are qualified can easily be labeled more of the same.

This was a smart political pick, a Clarence Thomas to tie Democrats into knots and knock Obama off message. I'm glad his ad "No Change" is all about McCain. Because that is what this election needs to be about.

John McCain: More of the Same.

But Thursday night Americans got an unfiltered look at the Obama campaign, what it means, what he stands for, and how this is going to change THEIR lives.

And they understood: ENOUGH. We can't go back to Bush.

John McCain's media created kerfuffle over Gov. Palin will subside and I have no dobut she'll get rock star coverage: she's gorgeous and she's the first female GOPer on a presidential ticket. But Fallows @The Atlantic makes a great point. They can't hide her ignorance from the media and the Time interview shows she has a lot to learn. And as smart and incredibly on she may be; she doesn't have the time to become presidential material.

Thanks, Al!

Thanks, Al for bringing me back on track. After yesterday and reckless night of sleep, I needed this beautiful reminder of what "WE CAN CHOOSE" in this election. This moment in time is truly defining each of us as much as it is defining our country. We are all having to assess our own lives and our own futures. Where do we see ourselves heading? What do we really stand for? How much will we allow to slip away from our country? I am so thankful we have this man standing in front of us leading our charge...but as he so wonderfully stated, this election has never been about him. It's about US(A).

Short form videos

Nice observation, Al.  Fortunately, the recent New Media technological advances, and online video in particular, are perfectly suited for these "newsreel" type video.

It's an exciting time to be alive!  "Our future's so bright, we gotta..."  well, you know the rest:

I thought Thursday night was

I thought Thursday night was really wonderful.  I enjoyed the whole convention, but when I watched Mon - Wed, I had some sort of feeling of watching an insider-type process that did not really include me. But throughout Thursday evening, watching speakers like Kaine, Durbin, Richardson who had really been involved in the Primary campaign, the video, the camera panning the faces of the crowd, seeing David Plouffe, and the Colorado state organizer doing the texting, the great music (so different from the other three nights), and then Obama really speaking to us - this is the populist grassroots campaign that I've been involved in.  Oh - and the "ordinary" people who told their stories - they were all fantastic (I hope some of them were on some of the TV channels).

And it was so satisfying, to watch Barney Smith, and Pam from NC and the rest of them, speaking in front of the "greek" columns, framed by the so-called "Pantheon" and I'm thinking, there you go McCain - there's your "celebrity" - there's your arrogance.

"What the naysayers don't understand is that it's not about me, it's about you" - Barack Obama, Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech

(wasn't that the loudest cheer of the night when he said that?)


As I was watching this great newsreel

just now, my heart was bursting witha wide array of emotions..
joy and pride that this country found the courge to give this man a chance, that this man is welling to take the monumental task of fighting for the voiceless, that above all, he knows that his priorities are for his family...
and My heart was beating so fast with little fear.. fear that the fores of darkness and the past will some how find a way to steal hope from us.

with a smile

great post, loved watching it again. about a month ago Barack started to smile a lot. he lights up and the hearts of all who see him.

McCain rarely smiles and when he does he fights it.

Obama is US

Yes, this film is excellent. And it destroys the number one attack point of the Rs. As George Will (an asshole I know but sometimes an astute observer) said on an interview with Charlie Rose,  that Obama would be president unless the people think that he's "not one of us." That's the "celebrity" ads are about, it's what the phony e-mails are about, the Muslim story etc., that he's not one of us. It's why Michelle led off with her story, and their story. What too many of us don't consider is that human beings make meaning through story, and see reality through the lens of the common American cultural story. The theory is called social constructivism and it holds true. Some like to pooh-pooh as irrational the story of American exceptionalism, but it is ingrained in each one of us, and in our history, for better or worse. We believe, and want to believe that being an American is about having the freedom and the opportunity to realize our potential in this lifetime, and making a contribution to the larger community.

It's what my Italian immigrant grandparents, my Irish immigrant great grandparents believed, and have passed on to my parents and to me. Obama in this video is connecting his story to the American story in a powerful way and we can see him and identify with him, because he is Us (US) and we are him in the community we call the United States of America. This identification, combined with our shared values and commitments to the policy changes he offers and his ability to communicate and build consensus, makes him a strong candidate.

I sniffled when I watched

I sniffled when I watched this Thursday night then went into a full blown cry when City of Blinding Lights began and THERE he was, getting ready to give a speech for the ages.  I feel so lucky and blessed to feel like I got to know Barack through his many visits here, to have walked the streets here on his behalf sharing his story and helping this campaign overcome the 20 point deficit last fall.  This documentary is bookmarked, along with the many articles, videos, and speeches that I've loaded my computer with!

YES, David Straithairn as the narrator...  awesome choice!

Just Back

Just back from a long morning registering voters in Indiana. We took a neighborhood and knocked on every single door in it. Most people were already registered and were Obama supporters. But in this one little area in this one brief moment--in the context/shadow of Obama's speech and convention--we registered 25+ brand new voters, 90% of whom will show up to vote (probably a higher percentage here because of good early voting opportunities despite the ID law). On top of these new voters and Obama supporters, making contact with all those other people as they are gardening, walking dogs, washing cars, eating brunch, etc. and talking about Barack was huge because they will say to friends--damn, these guys are out early. It's still August!!! 

So then I go to the Post Office, with Obama button on, and the postal worker at the counter promptly asks me what I think about Palin, prefacing the question with the statement that she voted for Barack in the primary.  I said what Kaine said that the choice speaks volumes about McCain's judgment.  She cut in to say something to the effect of: "that man must really think we are stupid," this even after she said Palin was attention-grabbing.  

So, then I go to the sub-shop. The two young people behind the counter (and African American young man and a white young woman) suddenly perk up and say in unison: "we were just talking about Barack!"  They are both registered. And both now plan on coming over to the campaign office after work today to volunteer.  When I asked them what they were talking about, they said 1) Barack's speech was awesome and 2) the Palin pick demonstrates McCain is desperate and running scared. The youth of small town Indiana!

The lesson is simple. Get out there and talk to everybody about Barack... the pizza guy, the car wash attendant, the nurse, or office temp. Wearing a button prompted 3 distinct conversations with strangers in the space of 30 minutes. How many votes might that be? And, of course, McCain hardly has a single office in the entire state of Indiana!

Off Topic - Gustav

Just wanted to check in, are any of the Field Hands in the path of Gustav, or have family who is? 

The video rocked

For me, it was the highlight of the night - I though the speech itself was a B-plus and went where it had to go (Obama 2.0 with Joe Biden and economic populism, for the win) but the film had my whole family riveted to the television. Great theater.

My only quibble: they shorted the community organizing, and used it as a love story intro rather than as the basis for how well Obama organized this campaign, which really is his shining accomplishment. I'd honestly like to know more, and we were too quickly into the legislature.

Sure, the thing was hagiographic but it also worked for this Hillary voter - and I suspect, for millions more.

Thanks, Brendan

Thanks for your good stories and thanks for ALL the work you've done for Obama.  I hope to get out and canvass tomorrow and on Thursday we are having Neighborhood Team meeting to recruit others and teach them how to use the tools.  The Neighbor to Neighbor tool and the phonebanking tools are so easy to use and easy to convince people to use because they can do it all from their homes.  I think it makes it much easier to get people to participate.  They don't have to find the campaign office, go to the campaign office and get their marching orders.  It's all so empowering.  A lot of people contributing even a little can make a difference.

A question for Al

..But first a thanks to Brendan for sharing his experience - keep up the great work!!

Now on to my question (which I hope you see Al and are able to answer) - I'm NOT being a CL Al, I want to make that clear from the start, but I was struck on Thursday night (or Friday morning as it was here) whilst Barack was speaking and I was checking out your live blog of the event that you were so certain that Obama was not only going to win in November, but do so by a landslide.

I figure you aren't the type to get caught up in the moment of something and get carried away, so I truly would love to know WHY you think that (and has your opinion changed at all in the days since - I certainly hope you're right. As a non-American I can say I've NEVER cared so much about who wins a US election (though I have been an observer of US politics for a long time now) as I do this time and I'm truly worried about the mess that we would all be in if the worst happened come November - its tough watching from afar and not being able to do anything about something so vitally important.

Anyway thanks!

Perhaps Barack Obama met

Perhaps Barack Obama met Walt Whitman along his journey to the presidency, a poet who said:


"This is what you shall do; Love the

earth and sun and the animals, despite riches, give

alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and

crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate 

tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and

indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to

nothing known or unknown."


I don't want to spoil the fun, but...

... I was so glad to read Barry Crimmins about The Speech and this convention:

I got to watch the speech again and clearly Barack Obama and his strategists have decided they don't have to appeal to me to win this thing. Low points included the Afghanistan jingo-jangle and the dildoic Brooks and Dunn song at the end of the speech. The bottom came when many in the crowd burst into a USA! USA! chant. So Homer Simpson is now for Obama.

and earlier:

Do I disagree with Barack Obama on any number of issues? Absolutely. In particular, I can't abide his promise to increase military spending nor his assertion that Afghanistan requires an escalation of American martial involvement. I am unequivocally anti-nuke, he isn't. He is Chicago School of Economics, my views were shaped in Managua. I'm for single payer healthcare and he thinks the current profiteers just need some redirection. And I strongly disagree with his belief that humanity needs the USA at the front of the parade of nations.

Hear hear. Don't mis Naomi Klein's piece Crimmins linked to.

To piggyback off of some

To piggyback off of some previous comments:

My husband went for his morning coffee and wasn't paying much attention to two men picking up the newspaper. He's run into these men before many times as this is an every day ritual for these guys. Without prompting one guy turned to my husband as they were checking out and said, "Can you believe this VP pick of McCain's? What was he thinking?" My husband really didn't need to say anything as the two men blathered on about how they have always voted Republican but won't be this year. Don't know if they intend to vote for Obama, but staying home is OK with me.

to Tom.W

my dear friend,
remember those days of the primaries?
I was sitting today and thinking about the wreklessness of John McCain and his VP pick, and it hit me that even if some how Hillary became the nominee....I would have voted for her.
the backwardness of the McCain/Palin ticket, and cheer chutzpah of thinking that he relly doesn't need a VP filled my heart with a profound apperciation to the senator from New York and all she stands for.
If anybody still doubts that this party is united, then you should have watched Obama, Hillary, and Bill at Stephanie Tubbs Jones funeral today. As much as I was angry at president Clinton, I couldn't but feel pride and joy at the reception he recieved at the convention, and I think he felt the love too...

Great piece of work

I watched the video on CSPAN right before Obama's speech.  It got me all teared up, and all I could think was my God we've got to get this guy elected.  Actually said it outloud.  Obama's real, and he strikes me in a way I can't recall ever feeling about an American politician.  Maybe its because he's my generation, but I feel this deep affinity and emapathy with the guy.  That video - more so than any speeches - reinforced the notion that's been developing for some time that Obama gets what's going on in the American street, and his ambition appears to be to bring that awareness and understanding to the Executive Branch.  After Bush tis a huge turning point for the nation.

Sometimes I think my general review of Obama is too glowing.  Yet even so I'm convinced what we have here is an earnest, sincere public servent.  Its like through the reletively unconventional choice of Obama we get a return to an exalted old American civic ethic, and that's precisely the spirit we need for renewal.

Barry Crimmins

The USA chant?! Brooks and Dunn?! Well, I guess that's what happens when you let the unwashed masses be a part of a political convention. Whatever. I was thrilled to see the flags and hear the chants, because for too long the Republicans have claimed love of country as their exclusive domain. Thursday night was about taking that back. So if that makes me Homer Effing Simpson in the eyes of Mr. Crimmins, so be it.


Thanks! I'm with ya...all the way.

Obama is a Patriot

@ okke ornstein

Obama is a patriot and he wants to get the guys that got us on 9/11 who are alive and well in Afghanistan, who want to cause more hurt. And Democrats can love their country and chant "USA, USA". I don't have a problem with that. And I don't have a problem with Obama being schooled in market economics at the U. of Chicago and not being a Marxist from Managua. Apparently you do. So if you you're hear to diss the O-man, why??

A Way to the Better

One quick thought on the documentary/newsreel: it achieves transparency.  By this, I mean that its subject literally disappears from view even as he remains the subject. Obama does not become an everyman, and the everymen and women in the film do not become Obama. They do not look at him as an image of themselves. Something far more remarkable happens: at the moment the focus is most on Obama, a citizenry emerges. This oscillation occurs throughout the ten minutes. Obama is who he is; a citizenry is who it is.  But his presence allows this citizenry to be made manifest--to appear, to become embodied. It is a subtle effect and devastatingly effective because it fits with the man himself, the message, and the campaign.

And in light of Barry Crimmins's (today) and Steven Hunt's (yesterday) valuable encouragement of a collective sobriety--a sobriety that is genuinely politically useful--I want to share a powerful and equally sober quotation  that does the hard work of bringing into alliance a healthy and productive skepticism and the joy attendant to unalloyed hope. 

Thomas Hardy, the great English novelist and greater English poet, wrote the following in his "Apology" prefacing his 1922 volume of poems:


If I may be forgiven for quoting my own old words, let me repeat what I printed in this relation more than twenty years ago, and wrote much earlier, in a poem entitled ‘In Tenebris': ‘If way to the Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst:' that is to say, by the exploration of reality, and its frank recognition stage by stage along the survey, with an eye to the best consummation possible: briefly, evolutionary meliorism. But it is called pessimism nevertheless; under which word, expressed with condemnatory emphasis, it is regarded by many as some pernicious new thing... and the subject is charitably left to decent silence, as if further comment were needless.

Happily there are some who feel such Levitical passing-by to be, alas, by no means a permanent dismissal of the matter; that comment on where the world stands is very much the reverse of needless in these disordered years of our prematurely afflicted century: that amendment and not madness lies that way. And looking down the future these few hold fast to the same: that whether the human and kindred animal races survive till the exhaustion or destruction of the globe, or whether these races perish and are succeeded by others before that conclusion comes, pain to all upon it, tongued or dumb, shall be kept down to a minimum by loving-kindness, operating through scientific knowledge, and actuated by the modicum of free will conjecturally possessed by organic life when the mighty necessitating forces - unconscious or other - that have ‘the balancings of clouds', happen in the equilibrium, which may or may not be often..."


I won't indulge in a reading of this statement other than to say that Hardy's life and writing genuinely believed in "the Better" as real possibility only accessed by a serious apprehension of "the Worst."  For me, Obama as our nominee for President represents a full grasping of the Worst that has been in American history not to mention the last eight years as well as a sober way to "the Better." Obama will never be the "Best," as in perfection; after all, he is American. But his "Better" will give us a new access to an even better "Better" down the road.  



Spent the afternoon phonebanking here in LA.  It's my first time, and I heartily recommend that any of you who haven't yet gotten involved do so.  The main reason is that your time will not be wasted - this thing is scary organized.  Without going into too much detail, once you get over the initial butterflies and dive into a list of phone numbers, you see the detailed information that you are picking up, piece by piece, for the campaign.  Who is not worth bothering with, who is solid for our guy, who needs a ride to the polls.  There's not much discussion, since most people don't want to be bothered, so it's not like you need a ton of policy info at your fingertips.  It's about creating a list of names that they can come back to later and get to the polls, since we've weeded out the lost causes.

It's magnificent, the sense of this thing growing up from the bottom, from one little phone call, that gets added to all the rest and creates this flood of data, the solid footing for the campaign to zero in right where it counts.  And it's not random, though sometimes the specific strategy may be vague, it's clearly about identifying voters and districts, local issues and downticket preferences in all parts of those swing states, building a group of volunteers that know that area and will babysit it all the way to November.

My best call was a 92 year-old woman who loves our guy, complaining about the religious right smearing him.  Made my day. (She needs a ride to the polls - now she's going to get one.)

So, if you haven't already, take the plunge.  Own a piece of this thing.

Brendan@7:54 p.m.

Hey Brendan,

That's the best post I've read on a blog in years.  Many, many thanks.  And thanks as well for keeping Thomas Hardy in people's minds.  A too much neglected writer, IMHO.




@ Brendan 7:54pm

Bravo!  When I started reading your comment I did NOT expect to have to engage my brain so fully (especially having just come from a three hour phonebanking session here in L.A. to call Las Vegas voters), so thank you for waking up more of my brain cells!

The Hardy quotation and your take on it, I think, are spot on.  Obama is, hopefully, a SIGNIFICANT step towards the better and one who, if the process can be changed, WILL change the process to make it more easy for future 'betters' to emerge and participate.

When Obama says "it's about us," it's not just about helping us (as opposed to the political/monetary elite), it's about inspiring us, mobilizing us, mentoring us in a way, and one day watching us do him one (or two or three) better.

And as for 'Change,' well, almost by definition, change is the natural order of things.  Things either atrophy and die or change in some way, so why not harness change for good?

So, while I might fret about Obama's positions/evolution on FISA, nuclear energy, capital punishment, and opposition to gay marriage, I also take great consolation in the fact that, by his election, and by my (and others') engagement in this election and in political life, the CHANGE I seek might be closer to reality than I would have ever thought possible since his emergence on the national scene. 



I think we were probably at the same phonebanking get together!


There were a ton this weekend all over town, but I was at the one in Venice on Electric.  I had mostly "not home"s and mccain voting Republicans, but I did get one 21yr old Republican female voting for Barack AND willing to volunteer!

If you have a chance to drive to Vegas on one of the canvass trips, you should.  I went last weekend, and it was fun and rewarding.

New Yorker: Palin thot it neat that Obama ahead of McCain in AK

Before she was running against him, Sarah Palin [...] thought it was pretty neat that Barack Obama was edging ahead of John McCain in her usually solidly red state. After all, she said, Obama's campaign was using the same sort of language that she had in her gubernatorial race. "The theme of our campaign was 'new energy,' " she said recently. "It was no more status quo, no more politics as usual, it was all about change. So then to see that Obama--literally, part of his campaign uses those themes, even, new energy, change, all that, I think, O.K., well, we were a little bit ahead on that." She also noted, "Something's kind of changing here in Alaska, too, for being such a red state on the Presidential level. Obama's doing just fine in polls up here, which is kind of wigging people out, because they're saying, 'This hasn't happened for decades that in polls the D' "--the Democratic candidate--" 'is doing just fine.' To me, that's indicative, too. It's the no-more-status-quo, it's change."

McCain not only co-opts Obama's campaign "Change" slogan, but have you noticed he's copied the rally card style?

God, I love this Palin clusterfuck.

The desperation of Republican internet friends (or as they call themselves these days, "former Hillary supporters") is a sight to behold, and their attempt to justify Palin forces them to reveal their stunning ignorance about Barack Obama's record. I had one miniature Peggy Noonan today tell me that, unlike Obama, Palin has actually done something about ethics reform, whereas Obama did nothing about the situation in Illinois. Of course, Obama passed massive ethics reform packages both in Illinois and D.C. These people are actually buying the McCain campaign's pathetic "Palin is more experienced than Obama" line and they're flying off cliffs like Freeper lemmings.

read the whole thing

Please read the whole post that the quotes came from before you give me shit. And then make your shit specific and I will try to reply.

In the meantime, let me excerpt someone else:

Reverence for one's own sacred things--parents, religion, flag, laws and respect for one's own beliefs--these are feelings which we cannot even help. They come natural to us; they are involuntary, like breathing. There is no personal merit in breathing.-- Mark Twain -- Following the Equator



@ Klaus - About those Palin ethics fanatics

I've seen those 'ethics' talking points vis-a-vis Obama peppering the blogs today as well. They're all drinking from the same cup.

So in the interest of saving all of you time replying to this tripe, copy these, and use them with abandon. I rounded them up from various sites.

“Obama Forged Political Mettle In Illinois Capitol”


"How Obama defied Reid and got real ethics reform passed"


"Senate begins work on ethics bill"


Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Ethics Reform


Feingold and Obama Introduce the Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act


Klobuchar talks about Obama's ethics bill


“Obama unveils ethics reform proposal”

@ Barry

Great reply.

@ Bill R the red-baiter

Hey Bill R,  Nice McCarthyistic slander but, as is often the case with such jingo-jangle, you hit the wrong target. Okke quoted me so  I was who you should have gone after with your "marxist" sniffle. Here's why you won't deter me: I was in Managua (and elsewhere in Sandanista Nicaragua) and there I saw socialism employed to elevate desperately poor people.

I wrote what I wrote, how I wrote it because we will never move this country to the left until people own up to their beliefs. I'm a socialist. Big effing deal! Except it really needs to be said. I believe what I believe even though saying so will signal some brainwashed Americans to treat my rather mainstream worldwide view as if its as stupid as creationism.

When I criticize the Democratic candidate, I do so from the left. I don't do it with rancor, I simply take issue. It is my right to do so and it is of almost no significance anyway. That said, I  truly hope Obama is elected president and is tremendously successful. I also hope you lose your rather narrow way of looking at things, Bill R.

¡Viva Sandino!

Barry Crimmins

@Bill R. (not verified)

So? I'm far from doubting Obama's patriotism after the flag waving parade of the last days.

But his Afghanistan policy is neither "change" nor intelligent. What the US is actually doing in Afghanistan is turning it into another Colombia, and it only fuels rebel groups, hampers development and sustains human suffering. And Obama wants more of that recipe and presents that as change. It's ridiculous. I was in Kabul end 2006 and found that the US wants nothing but intensify the war on small poppy farmers and all the people I met with from, let's use that horrible word "civil society", were complaining that they didn't get any support in their own efforts to rebuild their country. See here and here. And what's Obama's answer? Stage a cave hunting party.

Then, if the Democrats think that they can repair the bridges that have been destroyed by misguided flag waving and gung-ho jingoism with more jingoism and "leader of the world" talk they obviously have no clear understanding of what actually transpired over the last eight years.


OH . . . snap!

Greg Mitchell of Editors & Publishers updated his HuffPo piece on the Alaskan reaction to Palin. A must-read.


It was amazing. I watched

It was amazing. I watched the speech online, hadn't seen the vid. Was moved moved moved by the speech. But the vid pushed me right over. Thanks Al.

Palin aint no palindrome to Jewish voters

Fascinating article by the editor of the Jewish Journal, Rob Eshman, about the contentiousness in the Jewish community over Palin. As Eshman writes "Oh, now it's getting good."

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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