Monday’s List: Obama in His Own Words

The words in parentheses are my own editorial comments:

To Charlie Gibson: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

To Joe the Plumber: “It’s not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (huh?)

Homosexual “marriage”: “I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.”

Grandchild as a punishment: “I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

In response to Rick Warren’s question about when a baby gets human rights: “Well, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”

“No one is pro-abortion.” (But an unwanted child is a punishment, and Obama doesn’t know when life begins or even when a citizen deserves the full protection of the law. See this post.)

You Bitter Frustrated People: “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

“We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old – and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges.” (Not adherence to the law?)

“I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though. …” (Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barak Obama)

On the episodes described in his book: “I was a confused kid and was making a bunch of negative choices based on stereotypes of what I thought a tough young man should be. Those choices were misguided, a serious mistake.”

“I can no more disown (Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

“The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person…” (All white people are racist, even if they harbor no “racial animosity.”)

“To the extent that we’ve got a fiscal crisis right now, part of it is prompted by a bullheaded insistence on the part of the president, for example, that we should extend all of his tax cuts, make all of them permanent.” (Stupid tax cuts!)

“First, I’ll stop spending $9-billion a month in Iraq. I’m the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning, and as president, I will end it.” (Who cares what happens to the Iraqis or whether the terrorists are emboldened by our quick exit?)

“Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems, and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.” (No missile defense.)

“Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”
Politfact, St. Petersburg TImes

“my individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Unfotunately, I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices and this country is not always willing to make the sacrifices to bring about a new day and a new age.” More on the meaning of this quotation at Spunky Homeschool.

“I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation, setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the Constitution. I would not nominate Justice Scalia, although I don’t think there’s any doubt about his intellectual brilliance, because he and I just disagree. You know, he taught at the University of Chicago, as did I, in the law school.”

From a 2001 radio interview: “But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.” (Redistributive change=economic justice=breaking free from the essential constraints that the founding fathers placed in the Constitution?)

If the man who said these things is the man you want for president of the United States, vote for Obama. If not, vote for someone else. It’s that simple.

14 thoughts on “Monday’s List: Obama in His Own Words

  1. Well, actually yes, he is the man I’d like to be the next President of the United States. But the great thing about this country is that you get to vote your conscious and I get to vote mine. I’m grateful to have that right! 🙂 On a non-political note, however, I couldn’t agree more on your assessment of Lost….Lord, how I miss that show!

  2. Amy

    Disable nuclear program? Teach sex ed? End the war in Irag, so our sons can come home and not die? Oooohhhh….he sounds scary! You know what I think is even scarier? That you’re reproducing…oh and home schooling…spreading your ignorance to the next generation.

    P.S. Please don’t speak for me when you say all white people are racist. That’s the dumbest thing you said in the whole post, and that’s saying a lot.

  3. Typical White Person

    I am ashamed of all the anti-Obama fear-mongering that I see among my Christian brothers and sisters, not because I approve of Obama but because the fear-mongering de-legitimizes sincere intelligent criticism of Obama’s policy positions and foundational philosophy. Thanks, Semi, for hitting the real issues. The man is a socialist, clearly and simply. He sees government as the solution to his perceived societal ills. He will never believe that mere parents are qualified to teach their own children. Less power to the people and more to the government. If you think government power grew under the Bush administration, hold on as the Obama administration takes over…

    Conservative Christians bear much responsibility for this year’s electoral defeats because they have continued to support President Bush in the face of his anti-conservative fiscal policies and his deceptive advocacy of a war that we should never have entered into. Yikes! If God allows this, then it is a part of His plan, just not the victorious part we like to think of.

  4. Amy, Obama said that his grandmother was “a typical white person” who was ‘uttering racial stereotypes” but “harbors no racial animosity”. I was merely interpreting his words to the best of my ability.

  5. He is definitely NOT the man I want as our next president. And it absolutely terrifies me that there is a section of our population (possibly even a majority) that can read these quotes, or listen to them directly from him, or examine his past, or watch his smear tactics (esp. regarding anyone who dares question him) … and STILL THINK HE IS THE BEST CHOICE!!!!!

  6. I cannot believe how many people don’t know history (well, public school at its best). Every country that followed socialist/communist/fascist ideology ended up in ruins. Look at any country in Eastern Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, who wants to live there? Is that what we want for our country??? Voting for a socialist/communist is beyond my understanding.

  7. Good stuff here.

  8. That last quote, where he seems clearly to want judges (who by design are harder to remove) to be more powerful than the other branches of gov’t, would be the scariest thing I’ve heard so far if I hadn’t heard of his “Freedom of Choice Act.”

    Freaky stuff, this.

  9. Well it’s my opinion that anyone can skew things in the direction they desire. If you want to skew in favor of one candidate, it’s easy to do so. Just like the post above, this was sent to me this afternoon:

    What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
    What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

    What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said ‘I do’ to?
    What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

    What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain
    killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
    What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

    What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5? [The Keating Five were
    five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a
    major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of
    the late 1980s and early 1990s.! ]
    What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

    If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election
    numbers would be as close as they are?

    This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes
    positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in
    another when there is a color difference.

    PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter….

    Educational Background:
    Columbia University – B.A. Political Science with a Specialization
    in International Relations.
    Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

    University of Delaware – B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
    Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)


    United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

    Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
    North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
    University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
    Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
    University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in Journalism

    Now, which team are you going to hire ?

  10. Michele, I’d hire the team that sees my potential grandchildren, and theirs, as a blessing not a punishment, no matter how they were conceived. I’d hire the team that wants to make it possible for every American to work hard and become prosperous, not the the team that wants to make everyone’s economic status “fair” by taking from the middle class and the wealthy to give to the poor, Robin Hood style. I’d vote for the team that doesn’t call me a racist, doesn’t do a background check on me, doesn’t criticize me, and doesn’t publicize all my mistakes just because I ask a question or disagree with them. In other words, I’ll take ethics and morality in the policies my team plans to pursue over Harvard and Columbia any day.

  11. eko

    Thank you for your blog, I am de-lurking after reading through my google feed for about a year.

    IF the media had reported fairly, EVERYTHING about Barack Obama, I would feel okay with people choosing to vote for him. But I feel people do NOT know any thing about the man. They are going for rhetoric, misguided anger over Bush/Republicans. It is told if he wins this election, his four year term will be the longest consecutive (sp) job he has held. And we get to be his test subjects. I do not think G.W.B did all the press says he did. WHAT would any other President done after a happening like 9/11? Hindsight is always perfect. Anything that can be pinned on Bush is and will be.

    McCain isn’t the ideal candidate for President (WHEN is the last time we had one of those?) – but we KNOW him, he has a history!

    I am sad that people in America are ignorant to what socialism is – we may find out.

    God help us!

  12. Very sobering. I agree with eko. Neither candidate is ideal. Frankly, I’m worried either way. But I still voted and can only hope for the best.

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