Monday, February 11, 2008

AN EDITORIAL: The 'Skeeter Bites Report Endorses Barack Obama for President

A Rising Star in 2004 -- and the Next President in 2009

Senator Barack Obama, who swept to overwhelming victories Saturday in primaries and caucuses in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state and Sunday in Maine, is now strongly favored to sweep the "Potomac Primaries" in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. With his momentum building since his victory in the January 26 South Carolina primary, the Obama campaign could become an unstoppable juggernaut by the time of the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas. (Photo: AP)

COMING WEDNESDAY: The REAL reason Mitt Romney's run for the White House failed -- a reason he refuses to admit

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Dear Readers:

For the first time since I launched
The 'Skeeter Bites Report in December 2005, I am publishing an endorsement of a candidate for public office -- something that I have never done publicly before.

But this is no ordinary public office: It's the highest public office in the land, the presidency of the United States of America. The nation's chief executive. The commander-in-chief of our country's armed forces. And the candidate I'm endorsing is no ordinary candidate.

It is with great enthusiasm, therefore, that I endorse Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States.

What can be said about Barack Obama that hasn't already been said in terms of his history-making impact? The junior U.S. senator from Illinois is the fifth African American to serve in that august body since the post-Civil War reconstruction period and the third to be popularly elected -- by the biggest landslide in recent Illinois history.

And, oh yes -- he's the author of two best-selling books,
Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

Now, four years after his election to the Senate, Obama -- the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas -- stands poised to make history again as the first African American with a real chance to be elected to the presidency.

During a visit to his father's Kenyan homeland in the summer of 2006, Obama was given a hero's welcome rivaling the late
Roots author Alex Haley in Gambia 30 years earlier after his book became the most highly successful miniseries in television history.

But unlike Haley, Obama's visit reminded me more of another young U.S. senator who received a similar hero's welcome while visiting New York's Harlem -- America's unofficial black capital -- in 1968. His name was Robert F. Kennedy, whose campaign to succeed his assassinated brother John in the White House was tragically halted by bullets fired from the gun of Sirhan Sirhan.

As I watched the TV footage of Obama's visit to Kenya, I received a vision that was as crystal clear to me as those TV pictures: A vision of Obama taking the oath of office as president of the United States in the near future.

Nothing that has transpired in the 18 months since then has detracted from that vision. On the contrary, they are reinforcing it. In the Illinois Senate, in the U.S. Senate and so far on the presidential campaign trail, Barack Obama has demonstrated -- and is demonstrating -- an uncanny ability to work with and reach out to as broad a spectrum of people as possible to get things done.

Writing about Obama's political image in a March 2007 Washington Post opinion column, Eugene Robinson characterized him as "the personification of both-and," a messenger who rejects "either-or" political choices, and could "move the nation beyond the culture wars" of the 1960s.

I don't claim to be a psychic, but as I watched Obama's victory speech at the Iowa caucuses on January 3, I was overwhelmed with the sense that there was an other-worldly presence on the stage behind him. Three other-worldly presences, to be precise: The spirits of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And I could sense all three of them whispering into Obama's ear as he spoke, for the Illinois senator's address certainly had Kennedyesque and King-like echoes.

But the primary reason I'm endorsing Obama is an overriding one: We need a president who is willing to get us out of the quagmire in Iraq -- which has clearly become a Vietnam in the desert. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy ran for the White House on a platform of ending the war in Vietnam. And I'm certain that had he not been gunned down, RFK and not Richard Nixon would have been our 37th president.

Forty years later, Obama is likewise running on a platform to end the war in Iraq. As a candidate for the United States Senate in 2004, Obama put his political career on the line to oppose going to war in Iraq, and warned of “an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs, and undetermined consequences.” Obama has been a consistent, principled and vocal opponent of the war in Iraq.

"The best way to press Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future," Obama says, "is for the U.S. to make it clear that we are leaving. As we remove our troops, I will engage representatives from all levels of Iraqi society -- in and out of government -- to seek a new accord on Iraq's Constitution and governance."

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain insists that to withdraw from Iraq would constitute "surrender to the terrorists." Rubbish! This is the same Joe McCarthy-like rhetoric that kept us mired in Vietnam for 10 years and I don't buy it for a second.

On the contrary, the longer we stay in Iraq, the more we overtax our resources, making it harder and harder to fight terrorists elsewhere -- and even here at home. The longer we stay in Iraq, the more our enemies become emboldened to strike. And the longer we stay in Iraq, the more our credibility with the international community deteriorates. Why else do you think NATO members are refusing U.S. requests to send more troops to Afghanistan?

Get real, Senator McCain! Iraq has become a second Vietnam that is sucking the life and capital out of this country and is stretching our military to the breaking point -- and it's high time for us to get the hell out of there.

Just like the Vietnam war, we went to war in Iraq based on a pack of lies. Just as President Lyndon Johnson lied to us about a non-existent attack on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, President George W. Bush lied to us about a non-existent Iraqi stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

All you offer, Senator McCain, is more of the same in Iraq. I say -- loud and clear -- hell, no! Enough is enough!

Obviously, John McCain won't bring us out of Iraq. But Barack Obama will.

John McCain has refused to pledge to bring our anti-terrorism methods at home in compliance with the Constitution. But Barack Obama has.

John McCain doesn't have a clue about what to do about our worsening economy. But Barack Obama does.

John McCain hasn't even begun to address our deepening health-care crisis. But Barack Obama has.

John McCain has failed to impress many in his own party -- and indeed, many hard-line GOP conservatives still oppose him. But Barack Obama has inspired and is drawing support from across the political spectrum -- Democrats, independents and even Republicans. And he's drawing support that transcends racial, ethnic, gender and generational lines.

We haven't had a presidential candidate with that kind of appeal in 40 years, not since since RFK. And Obama's campaign for the White House comes at a time when Americans are fed up with the slash-and-burn politics of personal destruction that have dominated Washington for more than a decade.

With all due respect to Obama's chief Democratic rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, it has to be said that a second Clinton presidency will only continue that poisoned atmosphere -- a re-run of the attack politics that engulfed the nation's capital during her husband Bill's presidency.

A second Clinton presidency would also continue the Bush-Clinton "dynasty" in the White House -- a dynasty that will have turned 20 years old next January. It's hard to believe that it's been nearly two full decades since George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988. It was not the intention of our country's Founding Fathers, having thrown off the rule of the British monarch, King George III, for this nation to be governed by a dynasty of its own.

The time has come for an end to the bitter hyperpartisanship that has poisoned the nation's capital and threatens to poison the entire country. The time has come for a president who's not afraid to reach out across the aisle to work with members of the other party, as well as his own, to address the serious challenges that our nation will face in the coming years.

The time has come for a president who will restore America's standing in the world community -- which the soon-to-be-outgoing current occupant of the Oval Office has all but destroyed with his stubbornly wrongheaded war in Iraq and his equally stubborn refusal to deal with the growing threat of climate change.

Most of all, the time has come for a president who, unlike his predecessor, will be truly a uniter, not a divider. This blogger is convinced that the time has come for a President Barack Obama. I firmly and wholeheartedly support his candidacy and I strongly urge you to do the same.

Skeeter Sanders
Editor and Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report

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Volume III, Number 10
Copyright 2008, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.