The 2008 Presidential Race A Look at Barack Obama
“John Selig Outspoken” Podcast
Episode 28 December 28, 2007
This episode is being produced during the last week of December in
2007 and the presidential primaries will be upon us as quickly as the
next Bush scandal. As I’m a news and political junkie I’ve
been watching the candidates with keen interest.
The only Republican contender that I respect is John McCain. I
believe him to be a man of integrity. Still, I don’t agree with
McCain’s positions and the thought of another Republican
appointing strict constructionists to the Supreme Court sends shivers up
Let’s face it; the only recent contribution to LGBT rights by
the Republican Party has been the widening of bathroom stalls in public
restrooms thanks to Senator Larry Craig’s wide stance. Gee thanks
Larry, perhaps you and other closeted Republicans might consider coming
out and stop voting against gays in order to protect your
I’m shocked that 25% of the LGBT vote in the 2000 and 2004
presidential elections went to Bush. What were those people
thinking? Bush hates gays and always has. The American Taliban
controls the Republican Party and their platform is staunchly
antigay. I understand that the Democrats aren’t perfect, as
they all too often have lacked balls. The Defense of Marriage Act is a
prime example of this. Still, congressional Democrats don’t
introduce legislation to marginalize us. Gays supporting today’s
Republican Party makes about as much sense as “Jewish
I can’t vote for a Republican for president because of the
GOP’s antigay stance. However, even if I weren’t gay
(perish the thought) I still couldn’t vote Republican.
If I fight only for my rights then shame on me! Republicans care
only about big business and protecting the wealthy. Republicans want to
cut crucial social programs and further build our military. The U.S. has
over 50% of the world’s armaments and Republicans want more.
I’m not naive, America needs a strong defense but enough is
enough! Before President Eisenhower left office in 1961 he warned
Americans to beware of the Military Industrial Complex. Ike is turning
over in his grave as Halliburton and Blackwater, not to mention other
defense contractors and the oil companies, make billions and billions
from this senseless war in Iraq. Bush’s flagrant abuse of the U.S.
Constitution with nary a peep from the Republicans in Congress is one of
the saddest tragedies in our history.
The Bush Administration, with the support of Congressional
Republicans, took our country from a position of reducing our national
debt (which currently amounts to $9 trillion, that’s
almost $30,000 for every living man, woman and child in our
country) to increasing the debt by almost $300 billion per
year. Bush did this while entering America into a war in Iraq, which has
proven ghastly expensive in human lives and respect for America and at a
cost of $275 million per day!
Meanwhile, Bush granted a huge tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
Don’t believe for a minute that the tax cuts were put through for
the middle class! 47.4% of the tax cuts went to the top 5% tax
bracket, with 36.7% going to the top 1% and 15% going to the top
onetenth of one percent who make $1.6 million per year or
more. To accomplish this, social programs have been cut well below fat,
well below muscle, and deeply into bone. Our infrastructure is
collapsing. One need look no further than the levees in New Orleans and
the inhumane debacle that resulted after Hurricane Katrina. Our bridges
and highways are crumbling, our educational system is a disgrace as we
fall further and further behind other industrialized countries and our
health care system is a tragedy.
As Barack Obama points out, “we should stop pretending that all
cuts in spending are equivalent and all tax increases are the same.
Ending corporate subsidies that serve no discernible economic purpose is
one thing. Reducing healthcare benefits to poor children is something
else entirely. At a time when ordinary families are feeling hit from all
sides the impulse to keep their taxes as low as possible is honorable
and right. What’s less honorable has been the willingness of the
rich and the powerful to ride this antitax sediment for their own
purposes or the way the President, Congress, lobbyists and conservative
commentators have been able to successfully conflate in the minds of
voters the very real tax burdens of the middle class and the very
manageable tax burdens of the wealthy. The rich in America have very
little to complain about. Between 1971 and 2001 while the median wage
and salary income of the average worker showed literally no gain, the
income of the top onehundredth of 1% went up almost 500%. The
distribution of wealth is even more skewed and levels of inequality are
now higher than any time since the Gilded Age.” And that is before
the exacerbation of wealth redistribution to the wealthy that has
occurred during the Bush Badministration!
I could spend an entire podcast on the Republicans push to turn our
schools and society from a secular one to a sacred one. A mother, that I
knew who lived in Suburban Dallas, understood the crucial importance of
keeping religious dogma out of public schools. The mother spoke with her
daughter’s high school principal when she learned that her
daughter was forced to participate in a prayer led by her
daughter’s coach before a game. The mother was outraged. She told
the principal that her daughter’s coach should stick to coaching.
Both the girl’s parents were Methodist ministers. Mom’s
comments to the principal were, “You teach math, science, English
and history. My husband and I will take care of prayer!”
I’ll vote for any of the Democrats should they get the
nomination as each and every one of them are better than all of the
Republican candidates. I would love to see a woman as president. Hillary
Clinton is capable of the job. However, I don’t believe Hillary
stands for anything other than her thirst for power. I see Hillary
Clinton as being in the grip of the corporate elite and out of touch
with the average American. I think Hillary would sell out gays in a New
York second if it would benefit her own priorities.
Hillary Clinton is the one Democrat easiest for any Republican
candidate to run against next fall. If Hillary Clinton is at the head of
the ticket attempts to hold Republicans accountable for Bush’s
atrocities are much more likely fall flat with voters.
Still, if Hillary Clinton ends up the Democratic Party’s
presidential nominee, not only will I vote for her, I will campaign on
her behalf because Hillary Clinton is far better than any
I’ve been enormously impressed by Barack Obama since I listened
to his 2004 Democratic convention speech. Obama is captivating and I
feel not only his intellect and his poise but also a hope similar to
that my parent’s generation felt when John F. Kennedy ran for
president in 1960.
I was livid when Obama had antigay Grammy Award winning gospel
singer, Donnie McClurkin, at his side while campaigning in South
Carolina in October. He did so for the purpose of attracting the
allimportant African American church votingbloc. McClurkin,
who is a selfproclaimed “former homosexual,” was a
slap in the face to the gay community. We rightly raised a hue and cry
over Obama’s decision. Obama explained that he was trying to
“build bridges” and “bring people together” so
he would not remove McClurkin and he tried to smooth things over by
having Rev. Andy Sidden, an openly gay South Carolina pastor, appear at
the same concert. I don’t think that Obama would have invited
David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, to
appear with him in Louisiana to obtain white votes. In spite of
Obama’s error of judgment I believe that Obama supports the fight
for equality for the LGBT community.
Obama went on to his reaffirmed his progay stance amid
questions about his commitment to gay rights in an interview in the
“Advocate.” In another interview Obama said,
“You’re talking to somebody who talked about gay Americans
in his convention speech in 2004, who talked about them in his
announcement speech for the President of the United States, who talks
about gay Americans almost constantly in his stump speeches,”
Obama added, “If there’s somebody out there who’s been
more consistent in including LGBT Americans in his or her vision of what
America should be, then I would be interested in knowing who that person
Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts
on Reclaiming the American Dream,” was published as a hardback in
January 2007. I recently downloaded the audio version on iTunes because
Barack Obama narrated it. It is also readily available at Barnes and
Noble and Borders and on Amazon.com.
I have to admit a predisposition towards having a soft spot for Obama
as he taught at the University of Chicago, which is where I obtained my
MBA in marketing. However, the University of Chicago has supplied many
advisors to Republican administrations, especially during the Reagan
years. So my predisposition has by no means resulted in blind
allegiance. From personal experience I can say this much, anybody
teaching at The University of Chicago has an incredible mind. Obama
taught in the Law School, which is currently ranked 6th in the country
by the “2008 U.S. News & World Reports Ranking of American
Graduate Schools.” Obama’s specialty is constitutional law,
which will definitely come in handy to help piece together the U.S.
Constitution, which has been put through the shredder repeatedly by
George W. Bush.
I recommend that you read Barack Obama’s book. Better yet,
listen to the audio version of “Audacity of Hope” as I did.
Obama gets it, not only on LGBT issues but also on everything else about
America, our economy, our role in the world, our political system and
what is wrong with it, education, healthcare, civil rights, separation
of church and state, corporate America and the environment. His
intelligence is immediately apparent, but so is his compassion. When
weighing decisions that impact people he always asks himself, “How
would that make you feel?” Most of the facts and figures I
have cited in this commentary are from Barack Obama’s book; many
are direct quotes.
Barack Obama understands the different sides of issues and freely
points out faulty thinking by both Republicans and Democrats.
Furthermore, he has sound policy proposals. Obama is unabashedly a
Democrat who strongly believes in taking global warming seriously,
fixing our broken educational system, universal health care for all
Americans, civil rights for all, shoring up social security, separation
of church and state, and ensuring a secure safety net for the
disadvantaged. He believes that since all Americans must share risks
than all American should share the benefits. At the same time Barack
Obama believes in a strong economy with American businesses capable of
competing in the ever more competitive world economy, eliminating abuses
in social programs, the importance of the family, the role that religion
plays in many peoples lives (but not forcing ones religious beliefs
on people who believe differently or who don’t believe at
all). Obama’s analysis of our nation as well as his policy
suggestions have enabled me to experience a sense of optimism that I
haven’t felt in a long time.
At this point, as of late December 2007, I am leaning strongly
towards supporting Barack Obama. I trust him more than anybody else. He
is forthright in his analysis, positions and vision. It is still more
than three months until the Texas primary on Tuesday, March 4th so
I’ll make my final decision on whom I will vote for closer to
election day. However, I certainly feel comfortable in recommending that
you read or listen to Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.”
“John Selig Outspoken” Episode 28 ››
© 2007 John R. Selig. All rights reserved.