Obama's MU address draws detractors, too

Thursday, October 30, 2008 | 10:12 p.m. CDT; updated 1:08 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 31, 2008
Brett Dinkins shouts during a protest at Speakers Circle before a rally for Sen. Barack Obama at Mel Carnahan Quadrangle at MU.

COLUMBIA — A dozen anti-Barack Obama detractors were outnumbered by the scores of  supporters who turned out to see the candidate Thursday, but the protesters were a steady presence throughout the night.

The protesters began to gather in Speakers Circle east of the Mel Carnahan Quadrangle before 7:30 p.m., when the line of supporters began to file past them. The dissidents held signs that criticized Obama.


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Matthew Schultz, an MU freshman, bore a flag of the Soviet Union that read "Obama = Socialism."

Others held signs labeled "No redistribution of wealth" and the less political "Obama roots for Kansas." As boos from Obama supporters and taunts of "Yeah, socialism!" rained in, Dave Zobrist, a junior at MU from Franklin County, held a simple sign displaying his pick for president: Republican candidate John McCain.

"I don't dislike Obama," Zobrist said. "I dislike his policies." For him, tax issues are of utmost importance in this election. Zobrist, who said his parents own a Pepsi distributing business, commented, "I know Obama will raise our taxes if he wins, for the rich and the poor."

Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported a poll conducted by Research 2000 between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23 that showed Obama narrowly leading McCain in Missouri, 48 percent to 47 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Schultz said he doesn't put much stock in the polling numbers.

"What's going to happen is going to happen," he said. "I can't really stop people. I can only voice my opinion."

Russ Duker, a member of the Boone County Republican Central Committee, laughed Wednesday when asked if he planned to attend Obama's "Change We Need" rally.

Duker said he was "considering going to Cuba" during Obama's visit to Columbia, "where it's less socialist."

Duker referenced a 2001 recording of Obama in which, Duker said, Obama advocated rewriting the U.S. Constitution in order to redistribute wealth in the nation.

"The Constitution's done well not just for our country but for nations around the world," said Duker, who owns MasterTech Plumbing in Columbia.

"People just manage their own affairs better than the government does ... The government can't balance their own books. How are they going to balance the books for everyone else?" he said.

Jonathan Ratliff, Mizzou College Republicans chair, said before Obama's address that, for him, Thursday night would be no different than other Thursdays leading up to the November election.

"What we're planning on doing is making calls and going door-to-door just like always," said Ratliff, a sophomore from the Branson area who is studying political science, business, communications and architecture.

He compared his organization's approach to what he sees as differences between a Republican and Democratic mantra. "Republicans — we're going to go out. We're going to work hard. We're going to make a difference," Ratliff said.

"They're going to do what Democrats do: Watch the show. Watch TV. Watch a celebrity." Despite the disproportionate number of Democratic supporters at Thursday's event, Ratliff said many college-age voters have "decided that Barack Obama is not their candidate."

According to him, membership in Mizzou College Republicans jumped from 192 last year to 1,804 currently, making MU's the second-largest chapter in the nation. "There are conservatives all over the place," Ratliff said. "They are the silent majority."

Ratliff said he would continue to campaign for McCain in the four days leading up to the presidential election and, he said, regardless of the result, he is heartened by the political interest of both Republicans and Democrats in mid-Missouri.

"We're both very politically active," he said. "We're both Americans, and we both want what's best for the country. We (just) might have different ideologies for how to get that."

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Robert Westafer October 30, 2008 | 10:39 p.m.

What is Socialism?

“Socialism” is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as follows: “1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods 2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.”

Barack Obama is not in favor of any of the above. He simply wants to return to the somewhat higher tax rates on top earners that we had in the 1990’s. So does Warren Buffet. Is he a “socialist” too?

(Report Comment)
Zach McDowell October 31, 2008 | 1:49 a.m.

Not speaking as a liberal or you have any idea how much money Warren Buffet makes? People work hard for their money and with a failing economy wouldn't it be best to hold off tax increase to the wealthy until the economy improves? Of course that would just be hurting the people who make the most money.....who have the most high stress jobs.....who run our country........who run our economy.....the people who have lived the American dream and become successful through hard work, shouldn't those people be compensated even a little, with top 1% of our country already paying 40% of our nation's taxes. Just something to think about.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 31, 2008 | 7:09 a.m.

Robert, Warren Buffett has said many times that he believes he should pay more in taxes, but does he ever write extra checks to the U.S. Treasury? No. Instead, he writes them to private charities. Why? Because he knows that the private sector will use his donations more effectively. Why shouldn't the rest of us have that option?

Speaking of charity, do you know how much Obama gave? Between 2000 and 2004, less than 1 percent. In 2005 and 2006, he gave less than 5 percent. And yet he has the audacity to complain that society hasn't done enough for "the least of these."

Finally, who are you and Obama to decide how much money I can keep? If you want more money in your pocket, go work for it. Get your hand out of mine.

(Report Comment)
Marcie McShane October 31, 2008 | 9:02 a.m.

Robert, Obama has publicly stated that he wants to "spread the wealth". This can only be done by taking from some what they've earned and giving to others who have not earned it. Why should those who take responsibility for themselves and their families have taken from them to give to those who won't do the same. Higher tax rates on top earners to give that tax money to lesser earners, or those who won't work is his idea of "spreading the wealth". And since you had to look up socialism, thanks for confirming this. Did you notice #3 states "unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done"? Taxing the hard working self-sufficient to support the lazy non-working is exactly that - socialism! The overwhelming social move towards lack of personal responsibility and expecting the government and/or the president will take care of people's problems is absolutely dillusional.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 31, 2008 | 9:58 a.m.

The Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin takes money from the oil industry each year and "hands it down or spreads it around" to the citizens of Alaska in the form of a yearly check which they did not earn nor work for.

Welcome to Republican Socialism.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 31, 2008 | 11:22 a.m.

Chuck, that money has been taken from the oil industry since 1976, as part of an amendment to the Alaskan constitution.

(Report Comment)
Marcie McShane October 31, 2008 | 11:56 a.m.

Exactly Ayn. Those payments are mandated by Alaska's state constitution from oil royalties. Not by the governor. And, they are distributed equally among all state residents, not taken from some and given to others. Not taken from oil profits, but from royalties. According to a report from GROUNDSWELL in March/April 2004, Alaska is the only U.S. state where the wealth gap had decreased in the previous decade.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 31, 2008 | 12:33 p.m.

It is still Socialism anyway you look at it and that is one thing Sarah Palin is accusing Obama over which is something she condones herself in her own state.

Pot kettle black there.

(Report Comment)
Toby Holmes October 31, 2008 | 1:33 p.m.

Nobody is allowed to call any minimum wage earner lazy until they've worked a third shift of physical labor job because they couldn't afford college. Society could not function without these people, educated or not. I don't care if you don't think wealth should be redistributed or not, just realize you depend on those "lazy" people every day of your (most likely) privileged lives.
And taxes? Where else is the money going to came from to support roads, education, art, public parks, etc.? A little socialism is as helpful as capitalism. No extreme is healthy.

(Report Comment)
Marcie McShane October 31, 2008 | 1:55 p.m.

Yeah, I worked those jobs in high school, and because I couldn't afford college I did work those jobs during college so I could afford to go to college. I was willing to do, and did, those jobs that Americans now think they are too good to do, so they're sent overseas. That was the only way I could go to college, not depend on the government to support me or help me pay for or finance college loans. I worked and studied by butt off so I didn't have to depend on anybody. Still do, so guess I don't have a privileged life. You know, Toby, a privilege is an "entitlement". I'm not entitled to anything I don't work for and earn. I also didn't call minimum wage earners lazy. People who are physically capable of working, but choose not to, are lazy. Feeling entitled is extreme.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 31, 2008 | 3:18 p.m.

"A dozen anti-Barack Obama detractors were outnumbered by the scores of supporters who turned out to see the candidate..."

The only news here is that there were many, many "scores" of supporters. In this case the "gadfly 12" carry little significance in this history making event...

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand October 31, 2008 | 3:42 p.m.

I worked several low-wage, manual jobs to put myself through college. That kind of work is not beneath me. If I had to do it again to keep from going on welfare, I would.

(Report Comment)

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