I Had a Dream. . . About Obama and Perot

And when morning came I awoke, and lo, an angel of the Lord appeared and said unto me. . .

Okay. Kidding. I did have some dream involving Obama the other night, but since I don’t keep one of those dream journals by the bed, the better to jot down pre-dawn epiphanies, and because I quickly got involved that morning with several mind-filling activities, I cannot for the life of me dredge up any details of the Obama Dream.

 I am left only with the lingering realization that, sometime during the night, I was visited by the spirit of Obama, no doubt bringing Hope and Change to my slumbering mind, and perhaps some glimpse of the world to come after the November election, but, alas, I remember no more.

However, the Vague Dream of Obama did make me remember a real dream I did have about another Insurgent Bringer of Hope, Ross Perot, who while he could not be more different from Obama did in fact bring Hope and the Promise of Change in the spring and summer of 1992.

Perot was much on my mind that spring. Because he was from Dallas, the world press descended on the city when his campaign caught fire. I was involved in writing several big magazine pieces and eventually co-authoring an insta-book on Perot, which to my shock actually climbed to #6 on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List. I helped several journalists from England and other lands to understand something about Texas and Dallas and Perot (stories on that some other time).

Anyway, in that Perot-drenched time, before the world saw him  to be the cranky power freak we locals knew him to be, and before he got out of the race on the eve of the Democratic Convention and got back in and still somehow racked up 18 percent or so, I had this dream about Perot.

 I had been covering him and interviewing him, but was never sure I’d actually vote for him. So in the dream Perot came to me as I was standing on the edge of a cliff. He looked at me and said, “Well, now, you gonna jump or not?” And I told him I was unsure and afraid. It was a long way to the bottom. So to my surprise Perot produced a rope and tied it around my leg, and tied the other end to his leg.

Then he said again, in that oh-so-imitable voice, “Okay. I gotcha. Everything’s taken care of. Now you gonna jump?”

And so I started to jump, knowing I was tied to Perot, but as I neared the edge I realized that Perot was not tied to anything, and that he could not keep me from falling.

Then I woke up. I still remember that dream all these years later, and I still wonder just what it meant.


Dem vs. Dem vs. Dem on Race, Ethnicity & Power

In this fallen world there is no such thing as politics without resentment; in fact, I believe someone once defined politics as organized resentment. It’s always group vs. group vs. group, with everyone fighting for their piece  of the pie and powerful forces operating to make us believe we have an inherent right (guaranteed by whom or what, they never say) to more, more, more.

 Small wonder, then, that under that big Democratic tent they’re starting to punch n’ tussle. Come fall they may remember to point all the guns toward McCain, but for now the different interest groups that nest under the Dem banner are starting to remember old wounds and resentments toward each other.

One example popped up when the racist and anti-Semite  Louis Farrakhan came out for Obama (really? Instead of Huckabee?), which led to Obama’s saying that he not only denounced but rejected the Nation of Islamite, or was it rejected and denounced?  Now we learn  here that many Jewish leaders were already concerned about Obama’s commitment to Israel, thanks in part to outrageous Web rumors.

Further fissures in the Dem landscape have opened up between blacks and Hispanics, who have been squabbling for power and preferment in large American cities like mine, Dallas, for a decade now. Yesterday, Hillary had to do some denouncin’ and rejectin’ of her own when a longtime Dallas Hispanic activist let some anti-black rhetoric seep from her lips.

 And let’s not even try to count the number of middle-aged white women who are looking at Obama and seeing the slick, well-groomed single-X chromosome-bearer who got the promotion they think was theirs. Lots.

As long as the Pie of Power is finite (i.e., forever), politics will always be a contact sport. But–bright side–it sure beats the alternatives.

Obama vs. Clinton: The Experience Question

Too late now, but we should  have limited ourselves to watching just two or three rather than 20 of the Democratic debates. Why? So much sheer repetition makes even good ideas seem like tedious boilerplate, while nonsense and bad ideas become as unendurable as the 56th hearing of a late-night used-car dealer spot.

Consider “experience,” for instance. This issue has been parsed endlessly now, and long ago it became obvious that she would emphasize quantity and he would emphasize quality. Again and again and again.

The only useful spinoff from this impasse has been a refresher course about our own history, with scholars and historians pointing out that in the long run, the “experience” question is a wash: Lightly experienced candidates have become solid presidents, while some candidates toting heavy resumes have stumbled badly in office. Hoover and Nixon had boatloads of experience. Obama and Clinton both have more experience than–brace yourself–Abraham Lincoln had before he was elected President.  Does anyone think they belong in his company?

And what constitutes valid experience for the Presidency, anyway?  Richard Reeves, in his masterful biography of John F. Kennedy (who, younger readers should know, was Kennedy before Obama was Kennedy),  had this to say in 1993:

John F. Kennedy was one of only forty-two men who truly knew what it is like to be President.  He was not prepared for it, but I doubt that anyone ever was or will be. The job is sui generis. The presidency is an act of faith.

Obama Turban Guy: Typical Pol or Cultural Traitor?

Barack Obama, right, is dressed as a Somali elder by Sheikh Mahmed Hassan, left, during his visit to Wajir in northeastern Kenya, near the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia. Photograph: AP 
Barack Obama in a turban

Don’t know if this burning issue will come up in tonight’s Majorly Important Debate in Ohio, but some Obamaphites believe the Clintons are spreading pics of Obama in traditional Kenyan garb, trying to emphasize his Otherness, his Not one of Usness, his odd taste in clothing, or something.

If this is all they have, I think the S. S. Clinton is going down. File this one in the gallery of American pols wearing sombreros, Shriner fezzes, Stetsons–and don’t forget Mike Dukakis’ Tank Guy helmet. Can’t wait to see Saturday Night Live’s take on this one.

NY Times Liberals Jump Off The Hillary Train

More woes for Hillary as the NY Times’ Frank Rich, a predictable and sometimes vociferous liberal voice, bludgeons Clinton for her recent attacks on the O Man. If the likes of Rich aren’t with her, she may be left with little but AARP-ish white women and, she must pray, most of Texas’ Hispanics.
As for countering what she sees as the empty Obama brand of hope, she offers only a chilly void: Abandon hope all ye who enter here. This must be the first presidential candidate in history to devote so much energy to preaching against optimism, against inspiring language and — talk about bizarre — against democracy itself. No sooner does Mrs. Clinton lose a state than her campaign belittles its voters as unrepresentative of the country.

The Last Straw on Meat?

I’ve been pondering last week’s news about the record recall of more than 143 million pounds of beef from a California meatpacker.

 The recall was spurred in part by a secret video shot inside the slaughterhouse, showing weak and possibly diseased cattle–“downer cows,” as they’re appropriately called–being dragged, shocked and otherwise brutalized because they were unable to walk to slaughter.

I’ve made clear in other posts that I’m not what  you could call an “animal rights” person–for example, I do not oppose serious medical testing on animals, though I do think testing cosmetics on them is wrong– but I’ve been increasingly uneasy with meat-eating over the past year or so. This report today may be the final straw for me on eating meat, at least meat produced on factory farms and from standard meatpackers.

Paul McCartney, probably quoting someone else, once said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we’d all be vegetarians.  For some searing sounds and images that may change your mind, too, hear a radio  story on the report  here  , or watch part of the secret video here.