Goes to show you what a loving and accepting brand of Christianity the political Christian right has promoted...
I do wish though that when he addresses those pathetic emails, he'd also make a point of remarking how insulting to the 2.4 million American Muslims it is to treat their faith as understandable cause for paranoia. I know he always tacks on a perfunctory "Now, I have the greatest respect for Muslims but..." preface before launching into how important Jesus Christ has been in his life etc., but to me at least, that's not distancing himself enough from what whoever writes that shit obviously means to imply is a reasonable attitude to take towards Muslims.
Well, I did express a concern about "The Cult of Obama" before here...
ETA: Whoever our next president is, he or she needs to encourage (by example) serious, honest, and extensive discussions on racial, religious, and gender equality. We've made a lot of progress in that area, but we have a long way to go.
I have a problem with the Christian Left.
Technically speaking, I suppose we all have a "problem" at some level with the political beliefs we disagree with.:shrug:
I can handle leftists, but couching it in religious justification while successful feels deceptive, at least they generally have their hearts in the right place, the Christian Right is generally about large government for social control and dominance, far more totalitarian.
Passing the Torch: Kennedy's Touch on Obama's Words
Ted Sorensen, Legendary Speechwriter, Lends Support, Eloquence to Democratic Contender
By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
Feb. 8, 2008—
It's no accident the Kennedy magic has infused itself into the campaign of Barack Obama.
Theodore "Ted" Sorensen, the adviser whom John F. Kennedy once called his "intellectual blood bank," is lending his unabashed support -- and eloquence -- to the Obama campaign.
The Kennedy Connection
Oprah, another gushing Obama supporter, may have star power, but Sorensen has brain power.
At the age of 24, he joined the staff of the newly elected Sen. John F. Kennedy and later helped him win the presidency, calling on Americans to pass the torch to a new generation.
The legendary speechwriter helped Kennedy craft the now-famous 1961 Inaugural address in which the new president proclaimed, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis -- when Sorensen was 34 -- he penned the letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that historians say saved the world from nuclear destruction.
Today, at 79 years old and blind, Sorensen has a new mission: to resurrect Camelot. And it seems the Obama campaign is listening.
"I've given them a phrase or suggestion or two," Sorensen admits.
As for all the comparisons that have been drawn between Obama and Kennedy, "I probably started it," he told ABCNEWS.com
Torch Passed to Obama's Speechwriters
Sorensen has not only given his support and advice to the Obama camp, he's grown close to the senator's young speechwriters as well.
The candidate's deputy writer -- Adam Frankel -- assisted Sorensen with his memoirs, which Harper Collins will publish in time for his 80th birthday in May.
"We've become close friends," Sorensen said of Frankel, 26, one of Obama's wordsmiths.
"He knows me and my style and JFK's style and his speeches. It's surprising the little touches that creep in to whatever he writes for Obama."
Even Obama's Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has acknowledged Obama's rhetorical skills.
"You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose," Clinton said in a bit of a backhanded compliment delivered before Super Tuesday.
Youth vs. Experience
Sorensen said he was impressed with Obama when he met the senator in 2006. But all he heard was Obama was too young and inexperienced.
"That's what they said about Kennedy," he said. "Everyone said Kennedy had no chance because he was baptized a Roman Catholic. They say it about Obama because he's black."
Clinton captured the endorsements of several of Robert F. Kennedy's kin, including Kennedy's son Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, and daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.
But Obama is largely ahead in the Kennedy endorsement race, earning a seal of approval from Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy's widow, and Caroline Kennedy.
"Kennedy, like Obama, was one of those extraordinary individuals who was completely authentic, at home with himself and in his skin," said Sorensen. "He knew who he was, unlike so many in politics who are putting on an act all the time."
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Seemingly frail, Sorensen suffered a stroke seven years ago that took his sight, but he still remains active and agreed to talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis -- a topic he re-examines in his new book -- to students at the Peddie School in New Jersey this week.
Sorensen confides he's never heard of IM or Facebook, and as he shuffled to the podium on a student's arm, it seemed unlikely he would connect with the teenagers, whose parents were being born as Kennedy arrived at the White House.
But that impression soon dissipated.
"I don't see much, but I have more vision than the president of the United States," Sorensen joked to loud applause.
He had plenty more to say about President Bush, including his "lack of judgment" and diplomacy in handling the threats after 9/11.
Speech writers wield untold power among voters, and Sorensen is considered one of the modern day best.
George Washington got help from Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Franklin Roosevelt often turned to playwright Robert Sherwood, and Dwight Eisenhower used journalist Emmet Hughes.
But Sorensen was more than a speechwriter, and his closeness and access to Kennedy was "unique" in U.S. history, say presidential scholars.
Graduating first in his class at University of Nebraska Law School, Sorensen -- at the advice of his college adviser -- took one year off his age to get a job as a legal aide in Kennedy's Senate office.
"The rest is history," he said.
He helped Kennedy draft the Pulitzer-Prize winning "Profiles in Courage," though he consistently denied charges that he had been its author.
After Kennedy's assassination, he wrote Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union, before publishing "Kennedy," the 1965 biography.
He stayed active in politics, campaigning for Robert F. Kennedy, then later joining the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he still works today.
"I think the television era has been hard on eloquence," said Sorensen. "Most politicians think that talking like JFK sounds old-fashioned today. And we have a president who doesn't round out the "ings" at the end of his words."
Like Kennedy, Sorensen retains a keen wit.
Bill Clinton was a great communicator, he said, but the one sentence best remembered is, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
"His mind is as sharp as ever," said Russell Riley, presidential scholar at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. "I think it's an understatement to call him a mere speechwriter."
Indeed, Sorensen helped guide foreign policy.
He was part of the inner circle of advisers who for six days agonized over how to respond to the threat when U2 planes spotted Soviet missiles 90 miles off the Florida coast in Cuba.
Kennedy even entrusted Sorensen to deliver a "back door" message to Khrushchev, meeting a KGB courier on a Washington, D.C., street corner and exchanging a newspaper that contained an important message for the president.
But it is Sorensen's role as a writer -- reflected in the Kennedy speeches -- that still resonates.
"It's such a change from the current president who has only of late indicated that he has an interest in books," said Riley. "[Bush's] 2000 campaign practically made a virtue out of the fact he was uninterested in the written word."
As for Obama, "It's not just the words," said Riley, "but the person saying the words, with his youthful vigor and enthusiasm and his ability to impart that to the crowds."
Still, Riley struggles to understand how Obama has catapulted himself to the national stage.
In 2004, when Obama gave the convention speech, Riley was overseas and missed what he called the candidate's "coming out party."
"It's been difficult for me to grasp how he managed to do what he has done," said Riley. "But the power of his rhetoric has largely captured people's attentions -- that's not an uncommon occurrence in politics, going back to the Greeks."
At nearly 80, Sorensen managed to work his charismatic magic with a new generation. At a dinner before his speech, he fielded questions from students, such as 16-year-old Jackie Wang.
"I wasn't prepared to meet such an extraordinary man," said Wang. "Mr. Sorensen never had the opportunity to thank or part ways with former President Kennedy. The emotions I imagined he experienced when hearing about his death moved me to tears."
I've said it before. I'll say it again.
"worshiping" Obama is shallow. (I often wish some of his more fervent supporters would tone it down a bit). But. . .
skepticism about Obama's ability to lead the country because he has overly fervent supporters and because he happens to have a talent for speechmaking is also, equally shallow.
But in a way the second shallowness is worse than the first because it's a cheap and easy way to sound as if we're thinking deeply about issues of substance when we're not, when really the skepticism is based on nothing more than "geez, people sure do get worked up about this fellow. I don't trust that."
I say, let's get to the issues. I'll be happy to start the discussion. See the next thread.
Oh, and one more thing. Who is this Obama Girl I keep hearing about?
Speaking of worshipping, my brother, who is voting tomorrow in Virginia's primary, sent me this link to a speech Obama gave on the topic of religion in politics. It's a very compelling speech, full of the kind of insight and nuance that is often so lacking in political speeches. It is long (40 minutes), but I think it's well worth a listen to anyone interested in Obama and his positions:
Great speech, but it does take the whole listen, because otherwise it will be ripped to shreads.
But his point about the sermon on the mount and the defense department was awesome...
I kind of wonder as well what exactly Obama is going to do if he gets in office. Will there really be change?
Do we honestly believe that any politic can make a difference? I guess I've given up hope over the past 10 years with Washington.
I will agree that he'll probably be better than Dubya. And that is a good enough change.
Anyone has to be better right???
Women 'falling for Obama'
College Park, Maryland - You can see it in their flushed-face smiles and hear it in their screams. They say the phenomenon is difficult to describe, but once they experience it they tell their friends, sisters, mothers and daughters, and they come back for more if they can.
"He's very charismatic. It was a 'you-had-to-be-there' kind of experience," said Lolita Breckenridge, 37, after hearing Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama address a packed rally at the University of Maryland on Monday.
A dedicated supporter, she brought two of her friends to hear the Illinois senator deliver one of his much-talked-about speeches.
"Not too much of the speech was new to me," she admitted. "But hearing him live..." she trailed off, shaking her head and grinning.
When Obama addressed the crowd of 16 000 on the eve of primaries which he is tipped to win in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, he carried himself with his habitual worldly confidence, interspersed talk of foreign policy with recollections of his childhood and even poked political fun at his Republican adversaries.
He did not flinch when women screamed as he was in mid-sentence, and even broke off once to answer a female's cry of "I love you Obama!" with a reassuring: "I love you back."
The 46-year-old son of a white American mother and black Kenyan father repeated his platform of ending the war in Iraq, offering tuition credit for students and providing health care for all Americans, drawing repeated standing ovations during the hour-long rally.
In contrast to Obama's schedule which included a second arena-sized appearance in Baltimore on Monday, his rival Senator Hillary Clinton held a series of low key talks, including a guest lecture at the University of Virginia and a tour of a General Motors plant.
'Party Like a Barack Star'
The former first lady's discrete approach to voters in Washington and bordering states appeared to acknowledge her likely defeat there, amid questions over her campaign's stability after a sudden shake-up saw her top advisor stepped aside.
With Obama surging after a series of key wins last week, supporters eager for a chance to see him in the flesh braved freezing temperatures and filed politely into a near interminable line that stretched all the way across campus.
Ahead of Obama's speech, hip-hop music blared across the sports arena and fans held up signs that read "Barack My World" and "Party Like a Barack Star". Afterward, supporters were eager to talk about the experience.
For Karen Ruffin, 42, hearing him speak of his hope for the country was "inspiring, full of hope and phenomenal".
She said she felt some pangs of regret for not supporting Clinton, who early on was tipped to gain the women's vote.
"I was undecided in the beginning but after hearing a few speeches I gradually moved toward him," Ruffin said.
Her friend Tyra Simpkins, 37, said she has always rooted for Obama.
"I think he has a lot of momentum and I'm really excited about his health care plan, I know he's going to do a lot of great things for people with disabilities," said Simpkins, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
'My grandparents like Hillary...'
His speech "made me glad to be an American again".
Obama, who has been endorsed by Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, brother of the late John and Robert Kennedy, often quotes the famous family in his speeches and did so again on Monday.
"John F Kennedy said we can never negotiate out of fear, but we can never fear to negotiate," Obama said, vowing to shut down the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, end the war in Iraq as well as "the mindset that got us into war".
For student Rachel Niederer, 21, it was Obama's way with words that swayed her to his side.
"I love listening to his speeches," she said.
Asked if she had any university friends who were backing Clinton, she answered: "My grandparents like Hillary. I don't know anyone (my age) who does."
Retired Washington native Marty Lallis, 61, said Obama reminded her of Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968, five years after his brother and the same year as Dr Martin Luther King, Jnr was gunned down.
"I was just as excited by Robert F Kennedy when I was a teenager. I feel the same excitement for Obama. Maybe a little bit more because I am more mature," she said.
"Every time I hear him speak I become more hopeful and more sure that he would be the best president we could have," she said. "He makes you feel like he's talking to you especially."
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