Sunday, January 06, 2008

Progressive Update--01/06/2009--Finally off the Fence

Sorry for the back-to-back postings—events are hopping! A big election year is underway.

How the view up here?

I’m tired of being on the fence; I’ve had enough. Uncle! I have assiduously remained uncommitted regarding the candidates for President, and for Delaware Governor. I had what I thought were good reasons for remaining perched on the fence. I’ll share some of these reasons briefly, but would like to take more time on why I’m off the fence.

Governor—There are several Democrats running for Delaware Governor this year. I know two of them pretty well, John Carney and Jack Markell. Both have worked very hard for Delaware, and I like both candidates very much. I wanted to hold off on selecting a candidate to back for one primary reason—strategically, I dislike it when good Democratic money is used to beat a good Democrat. I have generally preferred Jack Markell, however I don’t like the idea of spending money ‘against’ John Carney.

That concern was trumped last week. Our esteemed General Assembly in Dover had the gall to halt the wind power project, in a typical unannounced, closed-door meeting, the hallmark of all that is wrong in Dover. This move is exactly the reason that we desperately need to OOGA, Open Our General Assembly, by removing the exemption that our General Assembly has from FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act. Their gutless move is exactly the reason that the public must insist that General Assembly needs to pass Senate Bill 4.

Enter Jack Markell. On Friday Markell issued a press release in which he calls the legislators to task. He takes a very un-Dover stance, stating that the public has the right to know what is going on behind closed doors that will impact our wallets. Markell and Carney are generally on the right side (in my opinion) of most important issues. However on Friday, Jack Markell made clear that he is a real leader, who puts what is right ahead of politics (and risking offending the ‘good ole boys’ in Dover). Jack Markell pulled me off the fence on Friday, and I thank him.

I will be sending a check to his campaign this week, and I encourage each of you to go to to learn more. I still like John Carney, and respect the heck out of him. However, Jack Markell is my choice for Delaware’s next governor.

President—I have been developing a 2008 New Years resolution for a few months. I want to be a delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. That has affected my backing of presidential candidates, and caused me to remain on the fence for longer than I’d like. (A second reason is that as my church’s Social Justice chair, I organize presidential primary forums, and it is easier if I am viewed as unbiased.)

I really like the field of Democrats running for President. As a matter of fact, I like my least favorite Democratic candidate more than I like my most favorite Republican candidate. It amazes me that the Republican candidates are uniformly in their dream state, ignoring the fact that the Bush tax cuts have produced an incredible budget deficit, that Bush’s immoral war has caused dramatic harm to our country and the people of Iraq, that the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay are diametrically opposed to the Constitution and our Founding Fathers’ principles.

Only two men (and two women) will be selected as delegates from suburban New Castle County, in which I live, to go to the national convention. This has put pressure on me to declare my support for a candidate who would earn enough delegates in Delaware to give me a chance of being selcted. The pressure was sharply reduced on Thursday, as Delaware’s own Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential race, and as Barack Obama won in Iowa.

With Biden out of the race, my first-choice front-runner is likely to get at least one-third of the vote in Delaware, and therefore I am able to ‘come out of the closet’, and publicly declare my support for Barack Obama (

Most of the Democratic candidates have good positions on health care, the Occupation of Iraq, tax policy, etc. If you are interested in which candidates share most of your views, go to I warn you that it does not put any ‘weights’ on the questions. Biden’s opposition to a woman’s right to choose, on which I differ from Biden, is rated as importantly as Hillary’s support for Mandatory Three Strikes sentencing laws, on which I disagree with Clinton, but which I don’t consider as important as being pro-choice.

I find the site in useful in doing what the media is failing at miserably—seeing how the candidates’ positions differ. I examined the positions of the leading three Republican candidates. It shows those who are anti-choice (McCain, Romney), those who prefer coal over alternative energy (Guiliani, Romney), those who support discrimination based on sexual orientation (Romney), those who wish to piratize Social Security (McCain, Romney), those who desire to cut taxes further on the rich (Giuliani, McCain, Romney), and those who support the Patriot Act (Giuliani, McCain, Romney). The media instead focuses on pressing issues like ‘what did you dream about last night?’, and ‘what is your pet peeve?’ With a media like we have, it is hardly surprising that we’re suffering through eight years of Bush.

Again, I feel that every Democratic candidate is far superior to each and every Republican candidate. I think that they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I recognize that several candidates are ‘better’ than Obama on some issues, for instance the war (Kucinich seems better), and experience (Richardson seems better). I’m fine with that. I’m not a singe-issue voter; I’m looking for the total package, and I think that Obama is it.

We’ve all been told that Obama can’t be President. They said that we can’t elect an African American. They said that we can’t elect such a young man. They said that Obama doesn’t attract Republican voters. Well, Iowa showed us 1) that while valid, these concerns are not serious, and 2) that those who spread these concerns are more often than not opponents, masquerading as analysts.

Of the three leading candidates, I feel that Obama is the most truthful when speaking his mind. This is very important to me. I feel that Obama gets ‘the vision thing’, that he can picture how to make the world better, and he can describe it to others. It amazes me that Hillary complains about the ‘false hopes’ that Obama shares. We can not achieve great things if we aim low. Hillary Clinton doesn’t get this. Obama aims high, and that is what we need. I want our country to be led by a President who aims high.

Barack Obama is in many respects a polar opposite to John Kerry. He has vision, and he can inspire. Check out his speech from Thursday night at

Obama inspires me. I hope that I am able to be an Obama delegate at the convention that nominates him in Denver in August. Later this month I will share with you the delegate process, and what lays ahead of me in this quest.

In the meantime, count me in Barack Obama’s camp. I’m signing up on their website, and I’ll be donating.

I’m off the fence, and quite happy about aiming high, and thinking optimistically about our state and our country. Thank you, Jack Markell and Barack Obama.

Paul S Baumbach

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