This is what pride feels like

Barack Obama has just begun to speak to an audience of 75,000 Americans in Denver. Some spinners, sheisters, and hucksters like to claim that this is the coronation of the Messiah by his thousands of adoring worshipers. I beg to differ. Those people are nothing more than empty cynics. When Americans come together, when we coalesce, when we seek a better future, and when we respond to a politician who believes in those same ideals, we are not establishing a new religion; we are following in the footsteps of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay,and George Washington. We are looking to a better future, and we are coming together and, as one nation, indivisible, we are making it happen.

The facts are these. Fifty years ago, a black man in America could not eat in the same diners as a white man - he had to walk around back and pick up his dinner by the dumpster. He could not use the same clean restrooms and water fountains - he had to seek out the dirty, roach-infested stalls and broken plumbing. He could not send his daughter to the same public schools; he had to make her walk three miles across town to the shack with outdated text books and untrained teachers. He could not walk down the street and admire the clouds; he had to walk down the street and look behind every corner, afraid of a lynching. This was not the occasional inconvenience: It. Was. Life. Every moment, of every day.

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Only Bush Can Go to China

Cross-posted at Taylor Marsh.

Note:  I lived and worked in Shanghai, China for five years before returning to the United States three weeks ago.  This was originally posted at Taylor Marsh, where I am covering current issues in China--international politics, culture, human rights, and more.  Given that this became an issue here yesterday, I thought I would cross-post my diary and have a discussion about this emerging power.

In May 2007, President Hu Jintao invited President Bush to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.  This spring, in the heat of the primary election, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and, eventually, Senator Obama called on the president to decline the invitation to protest the human rights situation and the recent Beijing crackdown in Tibet.  Several human rights groups also issued calls for a boycott of the opening ceremonies, but ultimately, George Bush accepted the invention.

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The Olympics: To Boycott or Not

Crossposted fromMY LEFT WING

I watched One Day in September a few weeks ago on HBO, despite my almost pathological aversion to films about painful historical events.

(Which is not to say I don't eventually get around to watching them; I just procrastinate. It took me two years to watch "Hotel Rwanda", a year to see "Blood Diamond." I did manage to see "Schindler's List" while it was still in the theatre, but only because my friend dragged me. And I've still never seen "The Sorrow and the Pity," but please, it's sixteen years longer than the war.)

Yes, I've buried the lede.

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McCain and his Doc Brown DeLorean

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing

click to enlarge

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We need a Centrist President

Both Barack Obama and John McCain came to national prominence as centrists. Obama seized the lyrical center - Reagan style with a multicultural twist - thanks to his 2004 Democratic National Convention Speech, and McCain won the Republican nomination because he was the Republican candidate most independent of his party leader, George W. Bush. Nevertheless, partisans from both extremes are insisting that their respective candidates run away from the center. Many liberals, especially in the blogosphere, claim that Obama's defeat of Hillary Clinton repudiated Democratic centrism; conservatives keep warning McCain to shore up his base. Amid this struggle, where are the passionate moderates, the people who believe in a principled center, both as the shrewd place to be - and the right place to be?

Unfortunately, the gravitational physics of American politics, especially during election time, tends to polarize. Our culture and our politics reward the loudmouths, the partisans, the controversy-generators, rather than the bridge-builders, the centrists, the peacemakers. And, in fairness, moderates are frequently too reasonable, too passive. It is easy to see the forces pulling the candidates to particular extremes; where are the forces pushing toward the center?

As I argue in my latest book, "Leading From the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents," (, America's greatest presidents were maestros of moderation, who understood that the trick to effective leadership in a democracy is finding the middle, or creating a new middle. George Washington viewed his role as more of a referee than a crusader. He preached repeatedly to his squabbling subordinates, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, about finding common ground. Abraham Lincoln spent most of his time in office, negotiating, compromising, cajoling, and conniving to keep the badly divided North united against the South. That is why he emphasized fighting to keep the Union together rather than liberating the slaves, despite his personal dislike of slavery. Theodore Roosevelt, although temperamentally immoderate, proved to be an adept arbitrator, ending the Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, and even earning a Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomatic skills in resolving the Russo-Japanese war. Franklin Roosevelt, though often denounced as a radical, in fact tacked carefully between the extremes of the radical left and the complacent right, inching America toward a modified welfare state.

Americans have a tradition of muscular moderation, and if we don't figure out how to push our candidates towards the centre, rather than to the poles, we are going to deeply regret it.


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