Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Paul checking in...

It's been widely noted that Barack Obama's appeal extends far beyond traditional Democrats.

Independents and even moderate Republicans are expected to support the Illinois senator, should he become the Democratic nominee. To this date, 986,000 people -- many non-Democrats -- have contributed money to his campaign.

A dear friend of mine from a traditionally Republican family recently announced his support of the Obama candidacy. I'm talking about Jay Paterno, quarterback coach at Penn State, and son of the legendary Joe Paterno.

In his younger days, the elder Paterno was frequently mentioned as a possible Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania. The Hall of Fame Coach also gave a seconding speech for the first President Bush at the Republican National Convention in 1988. (Contrary to public opinion, Joe Paterno did not give the nominating speech for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, though Joe was spotted in the crowd in Chicago).

Jay's brother Scott, a Republican lawyer, was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress a few years ago.

(None of this is surprising. Football coaches, like senior military officers, are seldom flaming liberals. You didn't see Woody Hayes campaigning for George McGovern, did you? Ben Schwarzwalder didn't frolic naked in the mud at Woodstock, did he? And Amos Alonzo Stagg never campaigned for socialist Eugene V. Debs' presidential campaign).

But now Jay Paterno, when he's not designing Penn State's new spread offense, is supporting Barack Obama. Here's an excerpt from e-mail I received from Jay the other day:

Last Wednesday night I attended a meeting of Penn State Students for Obama. It was a moving, inspiring sight. In the group of roughly 50-60 students there were white men and women, Black men and women, and even two citizens of foreign countries. It was a gathering of people from small towns and big cities all coming together to start a group to support Obama.

During the meeting we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves and tell everyone why we were there. Roughly half of the young people there mentioned that they had lacked any interest in politics...until they heard Obama speak. They talked about how he inspired them, they talked about how they were just here to support the man and the hope he holds out for the future.

In light off all the bad news, pessimism and conflict we are promised by so many candidates maybe it is time for Obama. Maybe inspiration and uplifting our souls is the #1 issue in the minds of people.

Beginning with my generation--a generation of young white people who began to embrace black culture and hip-hop and rap music--and now through a generation that largely looks at race as nearly meaningless--we have come to see people as fellow human beings. We want to go beyond conflict and come to resolutions.

Maybe Obama's campaign is short on specific policy explanations--who is to say? Maybe we shouldn't care. I don't believe that someone who has beliefs set in stone is qualified to be my president. I want someone who can adjust to an ever-changing reality and constantly adapt--that's what I have to do in my job.

We've had 16 years of baby-boomer rule and where are we? Bill Clinton told us in his last State of The Union Speech in January of 2000 that we lived in a unique time of economic prosperity with no outside threats to our security. Less than two years later--due to forces that were in motion when he made that speech--we were in recession and at war after being attacked. Yet these are the same people who now claimed they saw this coming?

It has been 16 years--not just 8 years--of politicians who lead by division--even though the vast majority of Americans are centrists who generally agree on a large number of issues.

It is time to be inspired, to dream to hope.

The road of the pessimist has taken us nowhere.

As I met so many young people who are now not only willing to help, but also to get involved in the process I can't help but be moved. I can not help but think that inclusion is a direct result of the motivation of Obama. These are young people who never even voted before now.

Robert F Kennedy said, "Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask why not?"

That is a fancy way of saying "Yes, We Can".

No matter how you want to say it, it is time to elect someone who wants to create dreams, someone who wants to work together to accomplish big goals, someone who dares to have hope.

Jay Paterno

Way to go, Jay!
(Although, strictly from an age viewpoint, rather than politics, I didn't cotton to that shot about "baby-boomer rule").

And...for those people who complain about the Obama proposals being vague, please consider his 64-page "Blueprint for Change" available on the senator's website.

Meanwhile, someone born the same year as Joe Paterno quit his job this week. I speak, of course, of Fidel Castro. (How's that for a segue, folks?)


For a precise translation of Castro's resignation speech, check out "Something Awful's website.

Adios cabrĂ³n,



  1. If Obama laid out his detailed plans in his stump speeches, the press would be all about how "boring and uninspiring" he is. If he doesn't, but instead goes for the inspiration we so desperately need right now, he's "vague."

    Heads Republicans win, tails Democrats lose. That's the narrative from your so-called "liberal" media.

  2. Hillary. Hillary Hillary Hillary.

    I'm as sick of Baby-Boomer Rule as the rest of the sane people of less whiny, self-entitled age cohorts, (see blog post re: Dennis Hopper as retirement-plan sales guru), but at least she's not another idiot GUY.

    And "16 years of divisive"? Oh yeah... Newt Gingrich and Ken Starr. Speaking of idiot guys.

  3. I'm an Obama guy, too, but I'll say this: Hillary Clinton is only thought of as "divisive" because of the completely unjustified Republican hatred for her. And I say completely unjustified because, in so many ways and for so many years, Hillary Clinton has been an enabler for Republican thuggery, particularly on issues like Iraq. She's been, to put in kindly, squishy on torture. And where was she when telecom immmunity came up for a vote?

    No, Ann the Man Coulter's right (even a busted clock's right twice a day) . Hillary's more conservative than McCain, at least on some issues I care a lot about.

  4. I agree with Dusty. And it's embarrassing to me as a woman to hear other women say they're voting for Hillary just because she's a woman and it's time for a woman. Well, it may be time, but it's not time for that woman.

    Obama is someone we've not seen in 40 years. We need that hope, that inspiration. And there are policy specifics, but Dusty's right on that one, too, if Obama droned on about them he'd just be another John Kerry.

  5. Tell Mama I'm for Obama. For all those reasons.

    And so far, he's been a real class act. Something we haven't seen since Goldwater.

  6. I don't plan to vote for her just merely because she's a woman, I plan to vote for her because I think she's the better qualified candidate, and I think we need someone who can hit the ground running on the first day in office--Bush has fucked up too many things for far too long to have another ineffectual Jimmy Carter type as his replacement.

    The times are far too dangerous for that, and I sure as HELL don't want to see another Republican taking the oath of office in 2012.

    I don't say that to say that I equate Obama with Carter, just that there's a POSSIBILITY he may not have the gravitas I know for sure that Hillary does.

    Even my staunch Republican inlaws in Syracuse think Hillary's done a fantastic job as Senator (this coming from people who practically offered to assassinate her when she was first running for that office). I think she'd do an equally fine job as President, for a number of reasons.

    Should Obama get the nomination, however, I will back him whole-heartedly.

    McCain can kiss my ass.

  7. Okay, who’s writing the novel about Obama? Who’s going to write Hillary’s political obituary? Who’s going to cheer up McCain after La Chute? That must be what you’re all planning.

  8. I have never understood the vitriol aimed at Hillary, and I take it personally. She's a strong, smart, and capable woman and it seems that there are still too many people who aren't comfortable with that. Remember all those people who elected Dubya because they thought he was the kind of guy they'd like to have a beer with? Let the voter beware.

  9. @patty smiley

    Don’t take it personally. It’ll blow over like everything else. Time cures everything.

    And, yes, she’s definitely intelligent. But, like you’ve implied: Cave cane. That goes for the other two guys also.

  10. Hillary lost my vote when she decided to stand with the unionists putting down Wal-Mart and conveniently forgetting she spent several YEARS on that company's Board of Directors. I wouldn't mind her behavior if she would stand up and make a statement that she felt she'd made some mistakes, but to pretend she had no input on the way the company was run during her tenure on the board, then to try and take some sort of credit for the changes afterward turn my stomach.

    The issue, for me, lies in "integrity" and Mrs. Clinton has shown me, with this issue, she has none.