March 14, 2008

Questions, Questions

We have received some questions from our listeners on the VOA web Here are the questions and my responses:

Question from John:

Why do you and numerous other news agencies insist on using Hillary Rodham Clinton’s middle name and fail to utilize Barack Hussein Obama’s middle name? Do you really assume that people would not realize this? I truly believe that a secret Muslim such as Hussein Obama should not even entertain the idea of becoming President of the United States. It will be an Obama Nation, or should I say an Abomination; that brings forth Desolation?


I use the name, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because she uses her middle name herself and has used it in the past. It is also more common journalistic practice to use her middle name although Hillary Clinton, without the Rodham, is also used.

Sen. Barack Obama has not used his middle name as a common practice so I will call him what he calls himself. He has gone out of his way to say he is not a Muslim and I have no evidence that is a “secret” Muslim. I have no problem using the middle name—it has caused a bit of a journalistic flap when a talk show host introducing Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee made a big deal of it—but unless the candidate identifies with the name, I tend not to use it.

Question from Margaret Altink:

Geraldine Ferraro stated that Sen. Barack Obama would not be where he is today if he was not considered black. Hilary Clinton would not be where she is today had her husband not been the President of the U.S.

Also why is Obama considered black when he is also half white?

Who was it who said speak softly and carry a big stick? That describes Obama to me. After Bush you need someone with intelligence, and that for me is Obama. Thank you.


As I commented in an earlier post (March 13), the comments from former Rep. Ferraro caused quite a stir and now commentators are weighing in on both sides of the issue. People have also written about Sen. Clinton and the political relationship to her husband, the former president.

I believe it is fair to say that although Sen. Obama is the son of a white mother and Kenyan father, he identifies himself as an African-American. Who was it that said, speak softly and carry a big stick? Former President Theodore Roosevelt.

Question from Annette Alt:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

As a voter in the United States, I am upset that the Florida and Michigan delegates did not count. We the people make up the rules that govern our lives, and we will stand up and be counted. The individual voters of Florida and Michigan deserve to be heard, not ignored due to party rules. After all, we are the party right? Let’s get off our high horses and remember why the party exists ~ it is to bring a collective voice of the American democrats, so let’s get this correct and re-do the primaries in Michigan and Florida.

I am sick and tired of the rhetoric, that is what we have had for seven years. Just do the right thing and honor the voters who work hard every day to pay their bills, take care of their families, and honor their country. How can you possibly tell them that they do not count due to an antiquated rule? Shame on the party. Perhaps I should join a different one? Independent, Republican, not my first choice, however I WILL BE HEARD!


As you know, both officials of the Democratic Party and the states of Florida and Michigan are trying to work out some kind of revote in the two states.

The latest information I have is that the Democratic Party officials in the state of Michigan say they have an agreement for a primar, likely on June 3. The money to stage the primary would come from the Democratic Party. The primary would need to be okayed by both the Clinton and Obama campaigns, the Democratic National Committee, the state legislature of Michigan and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

A potential hangup is that members of the Michigan legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, leave at the end of March on a two-week spring break.

Florida is another issue. Not much progress there. The Democratic Party there offered to hold a mail-in primary but odds of that being approved are not very great. Opposing this plan is the state’s Democrats in the U.S. Congress, and Sen. Obama’s campaign has expressed concerns about a mail-in vote, questioning the security and accuracy of such an enterprise.

Any vote has to be completed by June 10 but officials in the state say they will decide on a plan to hold both a mail-in and in-person vote. One of the state’s two senators, Democrat Bill Nelson, suggested seating half of the state’s delegates.

We should know something about Florida Monday.

But I maintain that when you say “we the people make up the rules,” the “people” did make up the rules and they came up with the rules that said Florida and Michigan could not move their primaries up they way they did. Florida and Michigan chose to violate the rules to which other states adhered. It wasn’t an “antiquated” rule, it was passed in this campaign season.

The two states gambled that the rules would not apply to them. It is still not clear as to what will happen but if the states are allowed to violate the rules without any sanction, there will be no rules at all.

If you violate the rules and vote illegally, your vote does not count, no matter if you are a “voter who works hard every day to pay their bills, take care of their families, and honor their country.” I know you will disagree with this, but I think both states knowingly violated the rules thinking their size and importance would exempt them from what was agreed to.

Your ire should be directed at the state officials who promulgated this, not the party officials carrying out the rules they passed for everyone.

Question From Bingye Xue:

I'm not an American but I just say the rules are rules. For the Democratic Party, there are totally 4049 delegates, and who wins 2025 who will win the nomination.

I don't see any reason that the superdelegates should vote based on the primary voting. If the superdelegates follow the public voters, I think assigning superdelegates is like wasting time and money. Just count the primaries and caucus.


Bingye, I couldn’t agree more. Great observation.

I will have a post on the controversy regareding Sen. Obama and his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, tomorrow. A big story here in the US.

Thanks for the questions!

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