Friday, December 14, 2007

Democracy and the Democrat

Barack Obama Logo

Let me make it clear, if it's not already: I am now a supporter for Barack Obama. More than that, I believe Obama when he says that he can accomplish change. There is not one candidate with a more clear track record in politics than Obama. Not Ron Paul, certainly not Clinton, and not even Edwards. We won't talk about Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani (under whose reign I was unfortunate enough to live while in New York City). The other candidates are almost not worth mentioning because I find their positions weak and their logic faulty.

Which brings me to Clinton. She is a "known quantity" which means that we all have seen her before. However, the problem with this is that she acts more like one of the "good old boys" than most of the boys do. While it would be nice to have a strong female president, Hillary Clinton is not it. And in spite of his past philandering, Bill obviously loves his wife very much, but even that isn't enough. The track record of secrets that follows that pair is a mile long. Secretive administrations are what we're trying to avoid for the future. Sorry, Hillary.

Edwards is one hell of a nice guy. However, the problem I have is that he has the appearance of a "yes man" to me.

I have two words for Mitt Romney: Olympic Scandal. We don't need that kind of baggage in the White House.

Ron Paul had my vote for a while, until I realized that he really doesn't understand what it is that he's doing. He's voted in favor of many things that he now claims to oppose. This is evidence of a lack of solid principles. Additionally, most of his supporters don't seem to be registered voters. I'm fairly sure that he's not going to be winning the primary elections... but you know, I do hear that Ralph Nader isn't running on the joint Green-Libertarian ticket this year. Maybe this is the year that a strong Libertarian might actually make it into the White House. But I don't think so. Ron Paul's method of eliminating the issues is to simply whisk them under the carpet of "deregulation" and to claim that he's a strong adherent to the Constitution. While I can agree that broad deregulation is needed in some areas, Rob Paul just goes too far for me to be able to take him seriously.

Rudy "Adolf" Giuliani did more things that made me think he was a fascist than any other politician I've had exposure to in history. In NYC, his streets were less dangerous because a police state is a safe state... so long as there aren't people in open revolt. Giuliani knew the fine balance that needed to be maintained, but that's not the government I want, nor the one our nation needs.

I don't party vote. I have declared myself "unaffiliated" both times this decade that I've voted. And I haven't voted for a presidential candidate since 1992. I was so disappointed with my choice in 1992 that I vowed I'd never vote for anyone until there was someone worth voting for. I said it would only take one person to bring me out and vote again.

And from what I can see, Obama's the one.

The more I study about Obama, the more impressed I am. This is not only rare in my personal life (studying people has shown me that most people are, at their core, hard-working and decent, but selfishly-motivated), it is unheard-of in politics. I'm not old enough to remember John F. Kennedy, and I barely remember Jimmy Carter. But what I do remember is that the people who supported them believed, but that belief diminished during office. Either that, or the person was assassinated.

I'm nearly positive that Obama is the kind of person we need in office, the kind of person whom everyone, once they learn about him, can support.

Barack Obama, we need you more than we need any other candidate. For them, it's business as usual. For me, it's personal. For Barack, "business as usual" means returning to the core values upon which this country stands. Our political stances are so similar that I can count the number of points we disagree about on my fingers. None of these points is so major that I can't support him.

And aside from this, the promise of negotiation at the table with those who would do nothing more than bicker and label me before, in order to arrive at a peaceful compromise, is too good to pass up. Even the chance at sitting across the table from them is something I've longed for since I very first became aware of the corrupting influence that they have. That is to say, the better part of a decade.

Barack Obama, I give you my solemn word: if you stick to your principles, and you are honest in your dealings, I will, in spite of your claim to not want a second term if you fail to meet certain goals, support you in another bid as president 4 years from now. The fact that you have tried means more to me than anything I could name, short of democracy itself.


Anonymous said...



The following says it all to me and thats why i support Barack Obama.

" Barack Obama's New Gov Site + His reform track record + Best Of Obama's Transparent Gov Bills"

Today Dec 13th 2007 witnessed the launch of,=

which was created by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act =

by Tom Coburn and Barack Obama. The site enables tracking of $1 trillion in federal spending on contracts, grants, earmarks, and loans. The bill faced serious opposition, including anonymous holds by some of the biggest porkbarrel spenders (including Ted Stevens), but in the end, Coburn and Obama prevailed.

So what kind of data does this site give us? Well, how about the top 100 recipients of federal money, =

or say which congresspeople rake in the most pork. =
And that's just scratching the surface.
And, to my surprise (especially for a government site), an API is available =
to make it easy to extract data.

Read on for more examples and some implications. and Obama's reform track record =
The site is clearly a treasure trove of data and is a huge step forward towards government accountability. What's also nice is how user friendly it is.

Let's look at a few examples of what we can dig up.

Example 1: The list of transactions with KBR, Inc. (formerly part of Halliburton) in 2007 = . This came out to a paltry sum of $2.7 billion dollars (so far this year), which is nothing compared to previous years as the bar graph on the summary page = shows

Example 2: No bid contracts are among the darkest corners of federal spending - the lack of competition in these contracts is in large part what leads to overcharging by contractors and waste of taxpayer dollars. Well, there was $30 billion in no-bid contracts in 2007 = , including money to some companies I had never heard of, including $1.2 billion to Armor Holdings, Inc. = and, strangely, $163 million to the government of Canada. =

There are a million more examples, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them in the coming weeks and months.

I'm very happy to see another positive step towards government transparency, something that Sen. Obama has been a leader in.

I have one challenge to everyone - find one interesting, strange, or otherwise noteworthy pieces of spending using the site.