False Charges in the Blogosphere That Obama Is Attacking Baby Boomers Who Opposed the Vietnam War

Have you heard the one where Obama is now dissing baby boomers who were against the Vietnam War? Hopefully not, because it is not true. Just in case the Clinton supporters persist in this false claim I thought it would be useful to document what Obama actually said and how it is being distorted. Obama said:

One of the saddest episodes in our history was the degree to which returning vets from Vietnam were shunned, demonized and neglected by some because they served in an unpopular war. Too many of those who opposed the war in Vietnam chose to blame not only the leaders who ordered the mission, but the young men who simply answered their country’s call. Four decades later, the sting of that injustice is a wound that has never fully healed, and one that should never be repeated.

This is perfectly reasonable. Most of us who opposed the war considered those who fought in Vietnam to be victims of a terrible policy. There is controversy as to what degree the returning vets were “shunned, demonized and neglected by some” but regardless of how prevalent it was such an attitude was wrong. Many Democrats who oppose the Iraq war are also making the same point about opposing the war but supporting the troops.

Jonathan Martin first spins this as “repudiating boomers.” Clinton supporter Jeralyn Merritt takes advantage of this to concentrate on the false spin as opposed to what Obama actually said, running a dishonest headline claiming “Obama Disses Boomers Who Opposed Vietnam War.”

My major concern is the manner in which Obama’s comments are being distorted by both the rightwing and by Clinton supporters (sorry if this is redundant). There are also some other peripheral issues which Nitpicker and Instaputz cover.

Bush Approval Moves To New Low While Clinton Solidifies Her New Base

It’s the headline which keeps repeating: George Bush’s approval has fallen to a new low. One might think they were caught in Groundhog Day until they looked at the numbers and saw that each time it is another new low. His approval has fallen to a new low of 31 percent in the ABC News/Washington Post poll. Eighty-two percent feel the country is on the wrong track.

In other polls of interest, Gallup finds that “38% of likely voters saying McCain’s association with Bush makes them less likely to vote for McCain, while 33% say Obama’s association with Wright diminishes their likelihood of voting for Obama.” Even though his association with Bush is a definite negative, I stick by my recent post advising Democrats upon relying on identifying McCain with Bush to defeat him. Gallup also finds that ” a majority of voters in both questions say the personal association will not affect their vote either way.”

As expected, playing the race card has paid off for Hillary Clinton as the polls show she has strong leads in West Virginia and Kentucky. Her new base is not helping nationally with Obama moving out to a seven point lead in Gallup’s daily tracking poll.

Obama Remains Strongest Advocate of Medicinal Marijuana Among Major Candidates

Earlier in the race, when there were multiple candidates, I’ve reviewed their positions on medicinal marijuana. Now that we are down to two (or three if you live in Hillary Fantasy Land) this remains an issue which differentiates the candidates. I’ve previously noted the differences between Obama’s views and Clinton’s views. The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the issue, showing that Obama has been the most consistent supporter of ending the federal drug raids in states where it is legal under state law but remains illegal under federal law:

As the candidates prepare for a May 20 primary in Oregon, one of 12 states with a California-style law, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has become an increasingly firm advocate of ending federal intervention and letting states make their own rules when it comes to medical marijuana.

His Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is less explicit, recently softening a pledge she made early in the campaign to halt federal raids in states with medical marijuana laws. But she has expressed none of the hostility that marked the response of her husband’s administration to California’s initiative, Proposition 215.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee-in-waiting, has gone back and forth on the issue – promising a medical marijuana patient at one campaign stop that seriously ill patients would never face arrest under a McCain administration, but ultimately endorsing the Bush administration’s policy of federal raids and prosecutions.

After reviewing the opposition of Bill Clinton and George Bush to medicinal marijuana, and noting the positions of second tier candidates, they return to Obama’s views:

At a November appearance in Audubon, Iowa, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He said he would be open to allowing medical use of marijuana, if scientists and doctors concluded it was effective, but only under “strict guidelines,” because he was “concerned about folks just kind of growing their own and saying it’s for medicinal purposes.”

Obama went a step further in an interview in March with the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. While still expressing qualms about patients growing their own supply or getting it from “mom-and-pop stores,” he said it is “entirely appropriate” for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, “with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors.”

In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama’s campaign – the only one of the three contenders to reply – endorsed a hands-off federal policy.

“Voters and legislators in the states – from California to Nevada to Maine – have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

“Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice – though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulation like other drugs,” LaBolt said. He said the FDA should consider how marijuana is regulated under federal law, while leaving states free to chart their own course.

Besides Obama, there have also been supporters of medicinal marijuana by minor candidates such as Bill Richardson and Ron Paul.

MoveOn Ad Features Republican Endorsement of Obama


MoveOn has developed an ad for Obama (video above) which moves away from their image of being on the far left. The ad is designed to appeal to Republicans.

Obama Coming to West Michigan

Barack Obama has scheduled an appearance on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. No further details are available yet.

Update: Obama will be at Van Andel Arena with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. He will also be appearing in Macomb County earlier in the day.

Paul Supporters Planning Convention Revolt Against McCain

I’ve previously noted that Ron Paul is unwilling to endorse John McCain, and prefers Obama’s views on foreign policy. Many of Paul’s supporters are not likely to back McCain either, and The Los Angeles Times reports that they plan on making trouble for McCain at the Republican convention:

…quietly, largely under the radar of most people, the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in St. Paul at the beginning of September.

Paul’s presidential candidacy has been correctly dismissed all along in terms of winning the nomination. He was even excluded as irrelevant by Fox News from a nationally-televised GOP debate in New Hampshire.

But what’s been largely overlooked is Paul’s candidacy as a reflection of a powerful lingering dissatisfaction with the Arizona senator among the party’s most conservative conservatives…

According to a recent Boston Globe tally, Paul has a grand total of 19 Republican delegates to Romney’s 260, Huckabee’s 286 and McCain’s 1,413.

The last three months Paul’s forces, who donated $34.5 million to his White House effort and upwards of one million total votes, have, as The Ticket has noted, been fighting a series of guerrilla battles with party establishment officials at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi. Their goal: to take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals and influence platform debates.

Paul, for instance, favors a drastically reduced federal government, abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending the Iraq war immediately and withdrawing U.S. troops from abroad.

They hope to demonstrate their disagreements with McCain vocally at the convention through platform fights and an attempt to get Paul a prominent speaking slot. Paul, who’s running unopposed in his home Texas district for an 11th House term, still has some $5 million in war funds and has instructed his followers that their struggle is not about a single election, but a longterm revolution for control of the Republican Party.

So eager are they to follow their leader’s words, that Paul’s supporters have driven his new book, “The Revolution: A Manifesto,” to the top of several bestseller lists.

While Paul has consistently refused a third-party bid, he has vowed not to endorse McCain, a refusal mirrored by hundreds of his supporters who’ve left comments on The Ticket in recent weeks. And, no doubt, they’ll flock back here today to spread the gospel below.

If Paul supporters manage to have a role at the convention I hope they concentrate on issues such as opposition to the war and abuse of civil liberties where they are on the right track, as opposed to some of their more conservative views, often including racism and paradoxically anti-freedom positions, or discussion of the various conspiracy theories which are prevalent among them.

It is doubtful that the Republicans will allow a real disruption at their conventions. In recent years conventions have become carefully scripted events with neither party wanting to risk a replay of Chicago in 1968. The Republicans might allow some participation from the Paul supporters in the hopes of maintaining their support, but I suspect most will wind up voting for the Libertarian Party candidate as opposed to McCain. The Republicans also realize the danger of losing votes to the LP, especially should they have a high profile candidate such as Bob Barr. The Republican Party is trying, without apparent success, to convince Barr not to run. The Libertarian Party could certainly receive more attention, and votes, with Barr as nominee but this would also further solidify their position as a conservative party which has forgotten the ideals of libertarianism.