Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wealthy white developer extols Obama's virtues

Bob Clark is a non-black St. Louis developer who runs CLAYCO and has been a core supporter and operative in the Obama campaign. I don't have much use for his local politics these days - he also supports and gives money to Mayor Francis G. Slay - but this endorsement of Obama he is circulating is very powerful, particularly in that it comes from a wealthy white man from a segregated city who tells us he voted for George W. Bush.

If Bob didn't have as much of his own money and developments leveraged in the Slay administration, I think he might say the same of our municipal administration that he says of Bush and co.: "a team of people who have been proven incompetent in almost every department. Cronyism, favoritism and lack of preparation ... resulted in terrible responses to a host of critical issues our country [or, city] faced." But you would have to add "nepotism" to the list if you are talking about Slay, whose unqualified brother Gerard Slay is deputy director of the airport authority and who generally likes to keep the money and power in the family.

I look forward to Bob Clark's future local my bad- "I voted for Francis Slay, and boy was that a mistake" - but for now I give you his well reasoned mea culpa for voting for Bush and a passionate appeal to vote for Obama.


Why I support Barack Obama
By Robert Clark

Six hundred fifteen (615) days ago, I made a personal commitment to Senator Barack Obama to endorse his candidacy for President of the United States and to lead the Missouri effort on the National Finance Committee as an official “agent” of the campaign. I did so in person in a one-on-one meeting with the Senator.

Previously, I had met Barack on a few occasions and seen him in action from the audience (or even on TV) several times. Senator Obama came to St Louis for a rally and a large luncheon to elect Claire McCaskill as one of Missouri’s senators. At the time, I had lunch with Barack and saw him inspire the crowds with his unique rallying message and his quiet strength. Sometimes, but rarely, a person appears at the right time and the right place to transform ordinary people into thinkers and doers who can accomplish more than they ever thought they could. That truly is the definition of inspiration. Barack Obama has this quality. I have witnessed it personally many times. But that’s not enough....

Leadership and brightness matter. The current president’s policies and actions make us painfully aware of just how much they matter. Our current administration will arguably go down in history as one of the worst ever -- a team of people who have been proven incompetent in almost every department. Cronyism, favoritism and lack of preparation (over 800 presidential appointments were unmade or in limbo on 9/11/2001) resulted in terrible responses to a host of critical issues our country faced. The president has isolated us from our international allies, destroyed our country’s world wide standing, delivered us into a crazy and expensive (and unjustified) war, tipped the wing of his airplane over the worst domestic disaster within our own borders, and enacted a tax cut in excess of a trillion dollars for the wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations. Worse yet, it promoted and enacted deregulation that has completely crippled the economy.

The Republican Party has left the Republican Party. At least it has left behind the principles by which it stood.

Although the economy and other measurable standards were in the best condition ever under the Clinton administration, I voted for Bush. That personal mistake will always haunt me. My vote mattered then and it matters now. So does yours.

For almost two years I have worked tirelessly for the Campaign for Change, “Obama for America.” I have traveled and spent time with the senator in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Des Moines, Kansas City, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, Rolla, Union and Denver and been his host for all of his trips to St. Louis. This has given me that rare inside look at the strategy of the campaign. I have observed economic and foreign policy summits with top advisors, attended the debates, and campaigned door to door in the freezing cold in Iowa. My responsibility in the process has been to introduce the senator to new people and donors, act as a clearing house for Missouri communication, chair the Missouri Finance Committee and temporarily the North Carolina Finance Committee, host surrogate events with local politicians, Secretary Madeline Albright, Warren Buffet, Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden and others, and to create an always available refuge in my own home for weary Obama staff and volunteers from all over the country.

During my time with the campaign, I have seen Barack Obama consistently meet every challenge. Ideas and promises have become actual policies and clear messages for hope and change. My candidate has been cool, collected and “presidential”. He has carefully selected and added to the team the best and brightest, as I do in my own life and business. It is clear that this process will continue and our leader will select a world-class team of people to administrate, manage and carry out service to the public. The more I observe Senator Obama, the more confident I am that my early hopes will be realized.

In great contrast, I have seen the Republican candidate drift completely away from the policies, comments and maverick behavior that had earlier gained my tremendous respect. He has surrounded himself with the same dispirited confused, and unqualified campaign managers, advisors, and supporters that helped put the country in the mess it is in. In particular, we watched with a bizarre sense of confusion as a misguided candidate or judgment-impaired advisors chose a completely unqualified vice presidential running mate.

If there is anyone in America that thinks things are going well and wants to stick with the same type of management as the last eight years, the Republican ticket is your ticket.

There has been much confusion and negative comments about Senator Obama’s proposed tax structure and economic plan. Having personally met with his staff and economic advisors (including Warren Buffet) and having actually read all the available information online , I am convinced that a progressive tax code, reversing the Bush trillion dollar tax cuts and delivering true tax cuts to all those American businesses and people who make less than $250,000 per year, is fair and equitable and will help, not hinder, the kind of economic activity we need for change.

Senator Obama can and will restore our reputation around the world. He will strengthen our alliances in Europe, the Mideast, Asia and beyond. Obama has been thoughtful, clear and shown great judgment since his early opposition to the war in Iraq to his concern about leaving the battlefront in Afghanistan and weakening the true fight against terrorism by mismanaging our resources and diluting our capability to respond to a very dangerous Al-Qaeda.

For years and years, I have been concerned and baffled as our leaders have frequently shrunk from real diplomacy and hands-on involvement and ignored the complicated solutions necessary to ease tension in critical regions around the world. That is why I am excited about a candidate and political leader willing to go face to face, under the correct conditions, to try to achieve objectives that have been shattered and to lessen the true risks for the United States.

On issues basic to the very core values on which our country was founded -- the Supreme Court, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Justice System (which is all headed in a disastrous direction) – I believe that Senator Obama can help set our country back on the right path. On a host of other critical issues such as access to health care, infrastructure investment, environmental issues, and energy policy, it is my view that Senator Obama is in the right place. And, we know that this is the right time!

Finally, I have complete and total confidence that just as Senator Obama has handled himself throughout his career, and especially in the toughest Democratic primary, he will continue to manage himself and his country … our country … with the calm, cool, collected and thoughtful resolve that he has displayed throughout. He has managed himself in the face of adversity, un-ending attacks on his religion, his ethics, his family, his color, his patriotism, with a cool resolve because he believes that the nation’s problems are too great to let the politics of fear and division separate the electorate from justice and the strong, decent leadership we deserve.

I am asking you for your trust and your vote on November 4th for Barack Obama for President of the United States.


Image from a blog about book design.

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