I decided to follow my heart and do what I could to learn about what an Obama presidency would mean for this country and started posting on SEATTLEFORBARACKOBAMA.COM in February 2007. HOWIEINSEATTLE.COM will continue to follow progressive Democratic politics in the spirit of Howard Dean's effort to "Take Our Country Back."--"In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it."--Barack Obama
I'd like to point readers to a pivotal moment in last night's 60 Minutes piece on Ohio. Steve Kroft was interviewing Kenny Schoenholtz, an Ohio paper factory worker facing a layoff:
In Chillicothe, people told 60 Minutes that both race and gender would both be hidden factors in southern Ohio - that many blue collar workers here won’t vote for a woman and others would never vote for a black. And Sen. Obama has another problem: a malicious campaign against him that surfaced in a number of our interviews. Schoenholtz told Kroft he is leaning towards Obama, but that there were a couple of issues he was "not too clear" on.
Asked what they were, Schoenholtz said, "Well, I'm hearin' he doesn't even know the National Anthem, you know. He wouldn't use the Holy Bible. He's got his own beliefs, got the Muslim beliefs. Couple issues that bothers me at heart."
"You know that's not true," Kroft remarked.
"No. I’m just...this is what I've been told," he replied. I'd like to point readers to a pivotal moment in last night's 60 Minutes piece on Ohio. Steve Kroft was interviewing Kenny Schoenholtz, an Ohio paper factory worker facing a layoff:
Now, I think that moment between Steve Kroft and Kenny Schoenholtz was the take away moment from that 60 Minutes segment last night. It was honest. It was authentic. It was real.
It's part of where we are at in this campaign for president in 2008.
When Steve Kroft says, "You know that's not true" it's pretty obvious that Kenny Schoenholtz up to that point in time didn't, that he was struggling, authentically struggling, to make sense of his support for Barack Obama and rumors he's heard. You can see that Schoenholtz is not hateful, that he is trying to be respectful in how he expresses himself, he just had some authentic questions about those rumors that he was struggling with.
That made for a powerful TV moment.
You know that's not true.
Debunking the smears
What I'd like to point out here is that "what people hear" and "what they've been told" are extremely cogent political realities. Blogs don't have that reach. Cable talk channels don't have that reach. However, and this is crucial, mass media TV does have that reach. 60 Minutes does have that reach. A former First Lady and current presidential candidate and senator does have that reach.
Here's a simple reality. Hillary Clinton knows the facts. Hillary Clinton knows that Barack Obama is a Christian. And she knows that the smears against him aren't true.
Knowing all that, however, here is how Senator Clinton chose to answer Steve's questions:(This video op/ed, by JedReport, is more than just a replay of the Clinton clip shown in the intro, it features key complete passages of the 60 Minutes show, including Senator Clinton's and Senator Obama's full remarks, and extended clips debunking the Obama smears.)
My point is really simple, Senator Clinton knows that Barack Obama is a Christian.
Why didn't she say that on 60 Minutes?
Barack Obama's family
I have another video I'd like to offer.
This one is a visual photo diary of Barack Obama's family. It shows his grandparents on both sides of his family, his mom, his dad, his sister, his wife and his children.
I think this video helps explain who Barack Obama is.
Despite the fact that these pictures show both how Barack Obama has a Kenyan side of his family and a Kansan side of his family, it will never likely reach someone like Kenny Schoenholtz. Which is a shame. More people should have a chance to see this video; it gives the context of who Barack Obama is in a way writing never could. If you watch it, maybe in your GOTV or your calling, you will have a chance to correct the record about Senator Obama:
None of us choose our parents, or our given names.
Given all the hatred and mistrust in the world, there's no reason that we Democrats should ever add to that hatred, that mistrust, that ignorance. In fact, I would argue that we have a moral imperative to heal that hate.
If you feel strongly about this, I would encourage you to do two things.
Second, if you are feeling angry or disappointed with how Barack Obama has been treated, as a Democrat, you should let your Democratic elected officials know that, in respectful and authentic terms. It is always a good thing to call your elected officials, even local ones, and let them know what you think and whom you support.
The Democratic Party needs the vote of Kenny Schoenholtz and citizens like him. His authentic questions for any of our candidates should be taken seriously by all of us. Senator Clinton had the power and a specific opportunity to help put aside the smears and innuendo directed at Barack Obama on national television. She was given a chance to denounce and to reject those smears.
When given that chance, she did not do so.
I would ask you to compare and contrast the authenticity of Kenny Schoenholtz with that of Senator Clinton. And when doing so, I would ask you to consider this crucial reality: Kenny Schoenholtz didn't have all the information on Barack Obama and the smear campaign against him, he didn't have the information I've shown you above.
Senator Clinton, however, did have that information and she chose, effectively, to say nothing.