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And, yes, I DO take it personally: An open letter to the Obama campaign
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Monday, April 21, 2008

An open letter to the Obama campaign

Dear Colleagues,

I am currently working on a USAID-funded project in Kabul, Afghanistan, but I am closely following the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in the U.S.

For a number of years, I have become increasingly distressed over the actions of the Bush administration, a distress that has grown enormously since the 2006 elections after watching the Democrats both in Congress and the Senate abdicate their responsibilities and make a mockery of their oath of office. Our Constitution has been systematically shredded, and not one of our elected leaders, with the possible exceptions of Senator Dodd and Representative Kucinich, has addressed that issue with anywhere near the forceful response it deserves.

I have given Senator Obama's campaign ever-closer scrutiny over the past few months, and have actually begun to shed some of the entrenched cynicism over my country's "American Idol" election process, at least where Senator Obama is concerned. I appreciate more than I can say being spoken to like an adult with good sense, and to see the Senator not only rise above, but positively leverage the repeated and, in my opinion, well-coordinated attacks from the media, republicans, the corporate and business elites, and members of his own political party, gives me a sense of hope I haven't felt in a long, long time.

I have two thoughts to offer to Senator Obama.

One is that I would greatly appreciate it if the Senator would directly address the abuses of executive power and, arguably, the unconstitutional actions engaged in repeatedly over the seven years of the Bush administration, from approval of torture, to initiating a war in Iraq based on lies, to the manipulations of executive signing statements, to a refusal to respond to Congressional subpoenas, to the politicization of the Justice Department, etc., etc. By "addressing" I mean "renouncing" and, moreover, pledging to roll back those levers of unfettered executive power as part of the Senator's agenda for his first days in office. They must not be allowed to stand.

Second, on a slightly different subject, since Senator Clinton seems bound and determined to destroy Senator Obama's credibility, his campaign, his chances to win the Democratic nomination and any hope he has of being elected President, I would like to suggest that Senator Obama's response should simply be to ignore her and to begin campaigning against Senator McCain. By constantly responding to Senator Clinton's allegations, innuendos and accusations, the Senator, although I admire greatly the quality of his responses, only serves to reinforce her power over him. Reinforcement is reinforcement, be it positive or negative, and Senator Clinton does not deserve to be reinforced. Yes, I fully realize that there WILL be those occasions where responses are required, but, as a general strategy, I think it would serve the Senator and all of us who support him much better if, as much as is practical, he could just let her attacks roll off his back and go on with his campaign.

Best regards,

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