USA - Barack Obama

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by Motorhead, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. Motorhead

    Motorhead Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I was interested in the first part of this article, but I included the whole thing for anyone interested.


    Barack Obama: Could he be the first U.S. black president?

    Updated Mon. Jan. 8 2007 6:39 PM ET
    Mary Nersessian, CTV.ca News

    As the jockeying begins in the race for the 2008 U.S. presidency, questions are emerging over whether top Democratic prospect Sen. Barack Obama's blunt admissions about past drug use will be a liability.
    "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. ... I got high (to) push questions of who I was out of my mind," Obama wrote in his highly personal memoir of 11 years ago, "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance."
    Those words were written not long after he graduated from law school and well before the Democratic senator from Illinois was considered a likely presidential candidate.
    It's too early to say whether the U.S. political darling's revelations of bad choices in high school and college will hurt his chances, more than a year before the primaries and nearly two before the presidential election.

    [​IMG] Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., discusses avian influenza during a news conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. (AP / Dennis Cook)

    "My sense is, there have been presidents from both parties with varying degrees of admission of illicit substance abuse -- that in many ways it's a non-issue," University of Toronto political science assistant professor Renan Levine, who teaches American politics, told CTV.ca
    "As far as I know he is pretty forthright about what he has done in his past," he said.
    When questioned about an admission he had smoked marijuana, Obama replied: "Yes, and I inhaled. That was the point."
    Obama's answer is a not-so-veiled reference to then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton's comment in 1992 when asked about sampling pot. Clinton said he "didn't inhale."
    Rumours have also dogged U.S. President George Bush. While he has admitted to abusing alcohol and having an "irresponsible youth," he has sidestepped questions about cocaine use.
    Obama, who is married to a lawyer and has two children, has not expressed any regrets for his candour.
    In a preface to the new edition of his memoirs, he says that he would tell the same story today "even if certain passages have proven to be inconvenient politically."
    Through his book, Obama has also become the first potential presidential candidate to own up to trying cocaine.
    "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though," he says.
    Obama-mania

    [​IMG] Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, walks past Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, as he leaves the Senate Chambers after a failed last minute attempt to block Samuel Alito's nomination with a filibuster, Monday, Jan. 30, 2006, in Washington. (AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Though the revelations are sure to come under renewed scrutiny, Obama-mania has exploded across the United States, sparked by publication of his second book, the bestselling "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream."
    Obama first burst onto the national scene as a state legislator, deliverign a knockout keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
    "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America," he said.
    The buzz surrounding Obama has continued to only gain momentum. He was the most requested speaker on the 2006 campaign trail, the Christian Science Monitor reports, appearing with candidates in more than 30 states.
    In December 2006, Obama drew a sold-out crowd of 1,500 Democrats and 160 political reporters when he made his first-ever trip to New Hampshire.
    His performance won over even the most cynical political pundits -- although Conan O'Brien joked it was because the state had never seen an African-American before.
    As the governor of the state explained in his opening address: "We had booked the Rolling Stones until we realized that Barack Obama would sell more tickets!"
    Obama is one of those rare politicians who has that star quality. Pundits say he is well-known enough to have recognition, but not so famous that people already dislike him.
    He's showed up on the cover of Men's Vogue, popped up on "Monday Night Football," and remained a favourite of Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has voiced her enthusiasm, should he run for president.
    So far, Obama has demurred. He says a decision is forthcoming in the new year.
    But as the field widens, Obama is making a name for himself as Sen. Hillary Clinton's main political opponent.
    Obama vs. Clinton

    [​IMG] Political activist and entertainer Bono, left, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, applaud President Bush, not shown, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006, in Washington. (AP / Ron Edmonds)

    Though Obama has the fans and the media attention, Clinton has the war chest, the backing, and the brand recognition.
    She ended 2006 with nearly US$14 million in her campaign war chest while other potential White House hopefuls with double-digit millions include Sen. John F. Kerry with a campaign war chest of about $13 million.
    In the meantime, while Obama's revelations were not an issue during his Senate campaign, the 45-year-old is getting new attention with speculation he could be the nation's first African-American president.
    So how does an African-American man whose name -- Barack Hussein Obama -- evokes two of the United States' most hated enemies provoke this kind of praise at such an early stage in the campaign?
    Levine believes Obama could attract support simply by being an alternative to Hillary Clinton, who is the widely perceived front-runner.
    "A lot of people either plain don't like Hillary or feel Hillary is unelectable that there's too many people who will never vote for Hillary Clinton -- as a result her nomination may help the Republicans hold onto the presidency," he said.
    The fact that he is black also sets him apart from the pack, said Levine.
    "Right now, the Democrats have a lot of support coming from non-white males and he is the child of an immigrant. A lot of things about Obama's background and demographics make him appealing and desirable from a marketing perspective," he said.
    Obama is also desirable "simply from the perspective that he would be a novelty. Research has shown voters are attracted to the idea of supporting someone who is a launching a historic campaign," he said.
    Different shades of black

    [​IMG] Barack Obama, U.S. Senator for Illinois, right, is escorted by former Robben Island prisoner Achmat Kathrada, left, at Robben Island prison in Cape Town, South Africa, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006. (AP / Obed Zilwa)

    While his background defies the pigeonhole, some say his toughest sell may be to fellow African-Americans.
    "He is black in the sense his father was an immigrant to the U.S. from Kenya, but culturally he doesn't quite fit the non-immigrant African-American community," Levine said.
    "While certainly by looking at his skin, white people will say 'This person is a black man,' there is some doubt that rank-and-file African American voters might take a look at him and say 'He's black, but he's not quite like me.'"
    In contrast to the enthusiastic support he has received from white Americans, support from black people has been lukewarm. Many have said while they share skin colour, they do not have a common culture.
    "Obama did not -- does not -- share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves," wrote African-American newspaper columnist Stanley Crouch in a recent column entitled "Barack Obama -- Not Black Like Me."
    Crouch says Obama does not share the experience of the painful legacy of slavery but that he is more representative of the uplifting immigrant experience.
    "While he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own -- nor has he lived the life of a black American," Crouch wrote in his New York Daily News column.
    "If we then end up with him as our first black president, he will have come into the White House through a side door -- which might, at this point, be the only one that's open."
    Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 to a Kenyan father he has described as "black as pitch" and a woman from Kansas who was as "white as snow."
    Obama's father, who grew up in Kenya herding goats, gained a scholarship to study in Hawaii.
    It was there that he met and married Obama's mother, who had moved to Honolulu with her parents.

    [​IMG] U.S. Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, publicly visit a clinic where they took AIDS tests Saturday Aug. 26 2006 in Kenya, where fear and social stigmas have slowed progress in fighting the disease. (AP / Sayyid Azim)

    While Obama was young, his father got the opportunity to study at Harvard, there wasn't the money for the family to travel with him. He later returned to Kenya by himself when Obama was just 2, and the couple eventually divorced.
    When the junior Barack was six, his mother married an Indonesian oil manager and the family moved to Jakarta.
    Obama lived there for four years but later moved to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.
    He went on to study political science at New York's Columbia University and later moved to Chicago where he spent three years as a community organizer.
    In his first book, he writes about his tortured journey trying to come to terms with his identity.
    "We were always playing on the white man's court . . . by the white man's rules," he writes. "If the principal, or the coach, or a teacher . . . wanted to spit in your face, he could, because he had the power and you didn't. . . . The only thing you could choose was withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage.
    "And the final irony: should you refuse this defeat and lash out at your captors . . . they would have a name for that too. Paranoid. Militant."
    In 1998, he left Chicago to attend Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president or editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.
    After Harvard, Obama returned to Chicago. After a few years practicing civil rights and teaching law, he was elected to the Illinois state senate, where he served until winning election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
    But whether the electorate will welcome the African American with a less-than-conventional name remains to be seen.
    Obama, Osama, Dalai Lama?

    [​IMG] Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and rapper Ludacris leave the senator's Chicago offices after a meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006.(AP / Charles Rex Arbogast)

    During 9/11, he was warned his name would never let him get ahead in politics.
    "When I first started to work in public life... people would ask: 'Hey brother, what's with your name? You called Alabama or Yo' Mama?'" he has said.
    As for his middle name, which means "little beautiful one" in Arabic, he dismisses, the senator says it won't make a difference.
    As he puts it: "The American people don't care about middle names."
    Indeed, it's a measure of how times have changed that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper recently rhymed his name to that of the Dalai Lama, as opposed to Osama.
    But is his compelling story enough to get sway the support of the electorate? Can he raise enough cash for his campaign?
    If he overcomes above the challenges that will come his way, Barack Hussein Obama may indeed succeed George W. Bush to become the next president of the United States.
    And even if he chooses not to run this time around, he has time on his side.
    "He is relatively young, so if we're not talking about 2008 maybe we are talking 2012, or realistically another decade or two beyond that," Levine said.
    "We may not be talking about Barack Obama presidential campaign in 2008, we may be talking about him as a vice-presidential nominee, we may even be talking about him as the next candidate waiting in the wings for 2012 or 2016."
     
  2. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    I hate to sound racist, but as a Black man in the USA - he doesn't stand a chance of being elected - YET. The Republicans would mobilize their pals in the KKK to intimidate the voters all over the Bible-Belt to vote for their candidate - OR ELSE!

    It would be a slaughter. I truly hate saying that. But it's true. And if the Democrats run Obama next year - I'm moving to Cuba. We have to get that bunch of Nazi's out!!

    This is the sort of crap I mean:

    http://www.afa.net/

    Take some aspirin - that will likely cause a headache.
     
  3. Riconoen {UGC}

    Riconoen {UGC} Newbie

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    I hate to say it, but castro probably has wet dreams about being able to accomplish the rampant civil liberties violations that we've accomplished here in the US.
     
  4. Motorhead

    Motorhead Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Sadly I have to agree that a black man doesnt stand much of a chance of being elected president in the US. I found his candor about past drug use refreshing though.

    I havent been paying much attention to the news lately. Do the Democrats have anybody with a little pizzaz that has a realistic chance of knocking the Republicans out of the white house? Not only is the war on drugs out of control, and civil liberties being violated-didnt Bush just anounce that they are sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq?

    Bush bashing is getting kind of old, but this administration has to go.
     
  5. Paracelsus

    Paracelsus Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I bet that is a direct response to Bill Clinton's statement: "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again."

    Besides he is black, Obama will probably not become president, because he dared to say that "pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though,". That suggests a Netherlands-like opinion on drugs (differentiation between soft and hard drugs)and his political enemies will call him a pot-smoking gangster who is supported by the marijuana smuggling mafia.
     
  6. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    As unlikely as Obama would become president, I don't think Mrs Clinton would have much of a hope either. America isn't ready for a president that doesn't fit the stereotypical criteria yet. That being said, I don't even know who the Republicans have lined up. I hear that if Hilary runs for president that the Republicans will put Condi Rice in line as their potential vice president. I don't know who the hell they're lining up to replace Bush in the big seat though.
     
  7. Allez

    Allez Newbie

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    Jeb?

    I'm not entirely pessimistic about Hillary. Admittedly my opinion on the US is formed from visits to Democratic, East coast cities and CNN, but they seem hopeful.

    I'd love to see Obama, but you're still right.
     
  8. Woodman

    Woodman A very strange person. Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Obama doesn't want the office.

    He knows he doesn't stand a chance of winning in the general election, but right now he's popular among Democrats (especially ethnic-minority Democrats -who are notorious for voting for their own people in much the same way that a cow follows a bell), and as a NEW member of the US Senate, Obama hasn't put in enough years to give him the same power that senior members of the senate have.

    So, using his popularity in the polls, he will make a run in the primary election and pull coveted votes away from front-runners like Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary, also a senator, will surely attempt to cut a deal with Obama in order to make sure that more votes come her way during the primary election.

    Other front-runners will attempt to do the same with the hope of locking-up votes from Obama's supporters, and all Obama has to do is sit back and wait for the offers to start coming in.

    So whether he's offered greater power in the senate (perhaps as a committee chairman), or the opportunity to run as Vice Presidential candidate to a more senior democrat in the general election, Obama has secured himself a higher status just by becoming a candidate in the 2008 primary.


    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2007
  9. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    Is he even a dead cert to be the Republican candidate though? I'm not really following their situation. Three members of the Bush family as president in one generation is practically monarchial rule.
     
  10. painfully_lost

    painfully_lost Newbie

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    sen. John McCain will be the next president. He will do much better, but is no friend to drug users.
     
  11. Broshious

    Broshious Silver Member

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    I sure as hell hope Hillary doesn't run/win. That would be a scary precedent too Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton...etc.
     
  12. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Gold Member

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    At least Hilary and Bill aren't blood related.
     
  13. Woodman

    Woodman A very strange person. Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I think the jury is still out on that decision, N/B.

    Have you taken a good look at Chelsea Clinton lately?
     
  14. old hippie 56

    old hippie 56 Gold Member

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    But, you have to remember they are from Arkansas. Hew-Haw!!!
     
  15. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    Obama: I Tried Drugs As a Teen

    Obama: I Tried Drugs As a Teen

    By PHILIP ELLIOTT
    21 November 2007
    Associated Press

    MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday told high school students that when he was their age he was hardly a model student, experimenting with illegal drugs and drinking alcohol.

    Obama stopped by a study hall at Manchester Central High School and answered students' questions about the war in Iraq and his education plan.

    But when an adult asked about his time as a student, Obama spoke bluntly. "I will confess to you that I was kind of a goof-off in high school as my mom reminded me," said Obama, an Illinois Democrat who grew up in Hawaii. "You know, I made some bad decisions that I've actually written about. You know, got into drinking. I experimented with drugs," he said. "There was a whole stretch of time that I didn't really apply myself a lot. It wasn't until I got out of high school and went to college that I started realizing, 'Man, I wasted a lot of time.'"

    Obama has written about his drug use in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father."

    "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final fatal role of the young would be black man," Obama wrote. Mostly he smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, Obama wrote, but occasionally he would snort cocaine when he could afford it.

    Drugs, Obama wrote, were a way he "could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory."

    Obama told students he developed his sense of social justice at college — he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York. Before he got to Columbia, he said, he lived a naive life. "I went to high school in Hawaii, so there was a lot of opportunity to goof off because the weather is really good all the time," he said. "I did well in school, but I didn't really apply myself. I did what I needed to do to get into college and it came fairly easily to me."

    His biggest interest was in sports and girls. "I was big on basketball. We were state champs. I thought I was better than I was," said Obama, who finds time on the campaign trail to still play a pickup game. He then added: "I thought about girls a lot, I won't lie."

    During a campaign stop in Chicago, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was asked if he thought Obama's comments to the students were appropriate. "I respect his honesty," Giuliani said. "One of the things that we need from our people that are running for office is not this pretense of perfection," said Giuliani, who has faced questions about his own personal life marked by three marriages and estrangement from his two children. He said of the candidates, "we're all human beings."

    "If we haven't made mistakes, don't vote for us," Giuliani said.

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hdtK4q88ki4DYZbYPw48NbEzWGswD8T1KTQG1
     
  16. TheBlackPope

    TheBlackPope Newbie

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    Obama isn't actually black.. He does not represent blacks.

    He is 50% black in skin, and 0% black in culture. He was raised by a white woman.

    This angers me when people think he could be the first "african-american" president.

    If I was an actuall african american I would be pissed that he was representing me.
     
  17. cra$h

    cra$h Palladium Member

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    i'd like to see a more real president than one that just gives themselves a fake image. atleast the guy's honest, and that's exactly what we need in America, a president that isn't afraid to say they've made a mistake.
     
  18. nEone

    nEone Gold Member

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    TBP - wait - you're saying that because he was raised by a white woman, no one sees his skin color? I think that millions of mixed-racial Americans would disagree.

    I grew up in South Carolina and can tell you from experience, racial profiling doesn't ask who raised you. Racial profiling doesn't wait to hear how you pronounce your words. If you look "Asian", then in the eyes of the world, you're Asian - even if you were raised by Germans.

    Also, you're saying that because he doesn't prescribe to your image of what a "black" person does or sounds like, he's just a really tan white person?

    "Black" isn't a culture - it's a skin color. Black people from Africa speak and behave very differently from black people in England who have very different customs and traditions from black people from South America.

    You're saying that he's not fit to represent African-Americans because he doesn't live up to the ideal of what an African-American is to YOU, a non-African-American, presumably white, teenager? Would you be more comfortable with him being described as "black" if he ate fried-chicken, and rapped?

    Luckily, he's not claiming to represent African Americans - he's hoping to represent ALL Americans, regarless of race, creed, gender or otherwise.

    I'm not sure that he's the best candidate for this country, but I sure as hell am ready for a leader who is man enough to admit to things he considers mistakes, and to have the self-courage to act in ways to change his behavior instead of steadfastly refusing to admit any error, no matter who suffers.
     
    1. 4/5,
      nice response to that idiot comment
      Dec 7, 2007
    2. 3/5,
      Very nice post on obama, I agree completely
      Dec 7, 2007
    3. 4/5,
      well handled and said
      Dec 7, 2007
    4. 5/5,
      very intelligent remark
      Dec 7, 2007
  19. Kodi

    Kodi Newbie

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    I think the replies illustrate a larger problem in society, and nEone hit the nail on the head, he is still black even though he may not fit the black stereotypes that exist.

    I know plenty of black people who agree with Obamas views, and probably a similar amount who disagree with all or some of his political positions. They express excitement because they hope that having a black president will force people to abandon some of those stereotypes and realize that most black people are not criminals.

    However though, some black people I've talked to say themselves that he isn't one of them, that just because he's dark skinned isn't enough and they say they won't vote for him no matter what because they worry that he's just playing the race card as a political stunt.

    ------

    I do like the fact that he came clean about his past though, unlike Bush and Clinton before him. It also is encouraging to think that since he did have the past that he did, I at least can find comfort in thinking that he at least has some common sense when it comes to drugs.
     
  20. TheBlackPope

    TheBlackPope Newbie

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    Actually, a large part of his campaign is towards black people. He is trying to get the black vote. I think this is wrong, because he is not black. He's a fake. If he wasn't trying to get the black vote I wouldn't have a problem w/ him. His politics suck too.