Archive for the ‘Gyasi Ross – Contributing Blogger’ category

ColorsNW – Critical Thoughts–Are you an Obamaphiliac??

February 13, 2008

by Gyasi Ross
ColorsNW Contributing Blogger

I’ve made no qualms about the candidate that I support in the current primaries, and hopefully in the 2008 General Election as well. I voted for Obama–and I will do it again. I think Obama is a breath of fresh air, and shows an intellectual curiosity, an integrity and compassionate viewpoint that is rare in D.C.

Still, let’s not get it confused–our standards are necessarily lowered because we are, after all, talking about D.C. Looking for intellectual curiosity, integrity and compassion in Washington is like looking for virginal women (or men!) on VH1’s “Rock of Love.” Not gonna happen–so when somebody, like Obama (or John Edwards, or Dennis Kucinich) comes in with some modicum of benevolence and/or genuineness…well…we tend to get a bit besides ourselves.

This condition, in Obama’s situation, has been characterized as “Obamaphilia“, by Joel Stein of the L.A. Times, as if it was a sickness, a palsy. And it just might be. I mean, seriously…A music video by one of the Black Eyed Peas??? Couldn’t we get somebody with some musical curiosity or integrity to replicate those traits that we say that we admire about Obama…anybody else??? Britney?? Hammer??? Vanilla Ice????

But I digress.

Still, I have to believe that many of the people that are jumping on Obama bandwagon are jumping on because, well…so many other are people jumping on the bandwagon. It’s the cool thing to do–like carrying around little puppies under your armpit a couple of years ago, or adopting babies from foreign countries and giving them exotic names and carrying them around like they’re puppies under your armpit…

My point?? Well, the thing is, these puppies oftentimes grow up to be big rabid dogs that foam from the mouth and attack little kids. What I’m saying is, that’s cool that you’re voting for Obama–obviously, as someone connected with his campaign, that’s a position that I can agree with. Still, if you’re voting for Obama or Hillary or Ron Paul simply because it’s the en vogue thing to do, well you’re not really helping the process. Learn a little about the candidates–maybe even more than what the campaign itself says, and I think that you’ll appreciate the process more. I also think that when you learn more about the candidates, you’ll come to the conclusion that Obama is the right candidate.

But he’s not the right candidate because he has a music video. Maybe if it was by Prince or Earth Wind and Fire, though.



Politico – Interesting Amendment to Brilliant Pat Benatar Story

February 6, 2008


Obama claims delegate lead

By: Mike Allen
Feb 6, 2008 08:24 AM EST
Updated: February 6, 2008 11:09 AM EST

Barack Obama

With the delegate count still under way, NBC News said Obama appears to have won around 840 delegates in yesterday’s contests, while Clinton earned about 830.
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In a surprise twist after a chaotic Super Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) passed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in network tallies of the number of delegates the candidates racked up last night.

The Obama camp now projects topping Clinton by 13 delegates, 847 to 834.

NBC News, which is projecting delegates based on the Democratic Party’s complex formula, figures Obama will wind up with 840 to 849 delegates, versus 829 to 838 for Clinton.

Clinton was portrayed in many news accounts as the night’s big winner, but Obama’s campaign says he wound up with a higher total where it really counts — the delegates who will choose the party’s nominee at this summer’s Democratic convention.

With the delegate count still under way, NBC News said Obama appears to have won around 840 delegates in yesterday’s contests, while Clinton earned about 830 — “give or take a few,” Tim Russert, the network’s Washington bureau chief, said on the “Today” show.

The running totals for the two, which includes previous contests and the party officials known as “superdelegates,” are only about 70 delegates apart, Russert said.

The bottom line is that the two are virtually tied.

Obama won 13 states, some of them smaller, and Clinton won eight.

On Wednesday morning, the battle was on to shape public perceptions about Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign said it was crunching its delegate numbers but was not sure it was correct that Obama got more.

The Obama campaign sent an e-mailed statement titled: “Obama wins Super Tuesday by winning more states and more delegates.”

Campaign Manager David Plouffe said: “By winning a majority of delegates and a majority of the states, Barack Obama won an important Super Tuesday victory over Sen. Clinton in the closest thing we have to a national primary.”

“From Colorado and Utah in the West to Georgia and Alabama in the South to Sen. Clinton’s backyard in Connecticut, Obama showed that he can win the support of Americans of every race, gender and political party in every region of the country,” Plouffe said. “That’s why he’s on track to win Democratic nomination, and that’s why he’s the best candidate to defeat John McCain in November.”

The Obama campaign attached an Excel spreadsheet containing “state-by-state estimates of the pledged delegates we won last night, which total 845 for Obama and 836 for Clinton — bringing the to-date total of delegates to 908 for Obama, 884 for Clinton.”

ColorsNW – Post Super Tuesday Hangover and…Obama’s still in it…????

February 6, 2008


Alright…there’s this little internet phenomenon that’s been going on for some time called “Kimbo-mania.” It involves this HUGE bare knuckled boxer dude named “Kimbo Slice”, and he puts these unsanctioned fights on youtube. In one particular fight–I believe his first one–he fights this Other Big Dude (hereafter referred to as OBD). At one point, Kimbo motions that he is going to allow OBD to hit him in the face as hard as he can and essentially say, like the famous philosopher Pat Benatar, “hit me with your best shot…fire away!!!!”

OBD did, indeed, hit Kimbo with his best shot, and Kimbo did not wilt or wither. The look in OBD’s eyes was that of pure terror, realizing that despite his impressive stature and furious flurry of blows, he had failed.

My guess is that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is feeling a bit OBD-esque right now.

See, she won the states that she desperately needed to win–California, Massachusetts (how???), New York and New Jersey. Despite that, she gained practically nothing–19 delegates, lost the majority of states. This was supposed to be the knock-out blow–the brutal flurry that left Obama like “Glass Joe” on Mike Tyson’s punchout.

But she couldn’t…

I’m not a spin doctor. Hillary is incredibly competent and savvy, and I’m sure that Obama’s folks wish that they had won California and Massachusetts . She is very smart, ambitious, and has the asset (and baggage) of Bill Clinton in her purse. That said, she had to be expecting more structurally from “Super Tuesday.” EVERYPLACE that Obama has gone in the caucus format–the format that will now dominate the primaries–has favored Obama. Where he is able to go and connect with the voters, tell his story and empathize with them–that’s where he has been best, and where Hillary–save a few tears in New Hampshire–has been at her worst. That is the format that we now find ourselves in.

My suspicion is that now this thing is slowing down from that brutal flurry, the structure or tone of the race now favors Obama substantially. His people are energized, focused and most scary, confident. They’re saying, like that fountain of knowledge Pat Benatar, “Put up your dukes, let’s get down to it!!” Amazingly when the smoke cleared, Obama’s still in it to fight another day.


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ColorsNW Exclusive – GYASI ROSS – Election and Obama

February 4, 2008


False Choices: Electable vs. Good

by Gyasi Ross / ColorsNW Contributing Blogger

I’ve got freakin’ anger issues when it comes to this election game! More on that later, but suffice it to say that I’m sick and tired of getting to the voting booth and being required to choose between a) the electable (is that even a word??) candidate, or b) the good candidate. I’d like to be able to say that I’ve always chosen the good candidate, but that’d be a lie. Instead, I give in to the emotional/sentimental blackmail that our beloved Democratic candidates inevitably employ. It sounds something like this:

Electable Candidate: “This is the most important election ever. Even though I’m a crappy candidate, I’m our best shot to get rid of blah, blah, blah.”

Silly Voters Like Me: “Gee, you’re right. I should not vote for the person I want. What was I thinking?”

Inspiring, right? In 2008, however, I think that I may be able to choose an electable candidate that is actually good. His name? Obama.

In any primary election, there is the electable/practical choice for the bid, and the idealistic/good choice for the bid. The practical choice is unsexy, but kinda safe; close to what we want, but not really. Think of the practical choice as Diet Pepsi—it’ll do if we just want sugary fizz, but as Ray Charles clearly saw, “ain’t nothing like the right thing, baby!”

Uh, huh.

Obviously then, if the so-called electable candidate is Diet Pepsi, then the good candidate is Pepsi, or maybe even Pepsi Max. It tastes so good going down, but you know there has to be a catch. In elections that “catch” is that the good candidate doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Cabo of getting elected. Consequently, the electable candidate emphasizes the good candidate’s unelectability and promises to give a whole lot of almost-real-thing in exchange for your vote.

Just like drinking Diet Pepsi, however, downgrading to the electable candidate leaves a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. If you’re anything like me, you’ll kick yourself after doing it. Hence, we’re back to where we started; my bitterness and anger at this election process.

I can’t lie—I’ve done it before. For example, in 2004 John Kerry was the practical choice, but not a good candidate. Now, I take some solace in the fact that Kerry is supporting Obama in 2008—good choice. Still, even that didn’t justify his candidacy as a Senator who initially supported the War in Iraq and later attempted to bring his vote more in line with Howard Dean and the political left. If I would’ve voted my conscience, I would’ve voted for Dennis Kucinich. Granted, Kucinich’s presidential campaigns are destined to go down in gasoline-boxered flames; still, the man has a message, and isn’t that what elections are about? But like many others, Diet Pepsi was sadly sufficient in 2004.

I resolved, however, never to vote for a candidate merely because of that candidate’s electability again. Instead, I want the real thing—a genuinely good candidate that I could feel good about. If that means that I have to vote for myself as a write-in candidate, and as a result the electable candidate loses by one vote, and everyone hates me like Chicago hates Steve Bartman…so be it. My conscience will be clear.

This year, however, I may not have to result to such drastic measures. The reason why? I actually like, respect and admire Obama. He is a messenger of hope; he has openly been opposed to the Iraq War since its illegitimate genesis, and has always promoted accessible and high-quality health care since his days in Illinois Legislature. As a Native, I admire that Obama has made it a priority to articulate a coherent stance on the trust relationship that the U.S. has with Natives. Further, Obama—with an unlikely win in Iowa and a near-win in Clinton’s firewall state, New Hampshire—is well-positioned to be the next president of the United States. In a word, he’s “electable”. And good. Together. Imagine that.

As Ray Charles so eloquently said, “ain’t nothing like the right thing, baby.” I plan to vote for Obama because he is—at long last— the real thing.

Gyasi Ross is from the Blackfeet and Suquamish Reservations, and is a Columbia Law School grad. He writes regularly for several publications in the country. He has worked with several tribes in various capacities and has a special interest in reconciling traditional lifestyles and contemporary economic development.

Interested in being a ColorsNW Contributing Blogger? Email Editor Naomi Ishisaka at for more information.