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Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2008

OBAMA'S GRANDMOTHER PASSES ON ELECTION'S EVE.... Barack Obama's ailing grandmother, who he left the campaign trail recently to visit, passed away today. Obama's half-sister issued a statement to the media:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

"Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer."

Dunham, who helped raise the Illinois senator, was 86 years old.

Steve Benen 5:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

A sad day for Obama and his family. Didn't take long for Free Republic readers to suggest things like "cyanide" and "he kept her on ice until today". Stay classy.

Posted by: Jeff on November 3, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Can't wait to hear the wingnuts say Obama offed his grandma just to get the sympathy vote.

Posted by: e. nonee moose on November 3, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Rest in peace and the comfort of God's love surround you.

Posted by: joey on November 3, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

i can't remember which of the blogs i frequent it was, but one of them put up the address for the obama honolulu office to send postcards to mrs. dunham at the time senator obama paid her the recent visit.

i'm glad i sent one. all i could think of to say was "thank you."

Posted by: karen marie on November 3, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sad, very sad ... my heart goes to the family.

Posted by: naz on November 3, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Auwe Aloha O'e, Toot.

Posted by: cazart on November 3, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

what an extraordinarily difficult and confusing time this must be -- especially when you are as physically and emotionally spend as Barack (and Michelle) must be.

you are on the verge of becoming the President of the United States, and the first non-white President, no less, if you can just hold on and push through the finish line.

and the Grandmother who raised you dies without getting to see it.

your campaign manager is joyously about to have a baby, literally any minute.

and your Nevada state director dies of a heart attack.

I cannot imagine the amount of stress, nor do I have the first illusion that I could withstand it.

Posted by: zeitgeist on November 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Rest in Peace, Grandma Toot!
My condolences go to you and your family, Mr. Obama.
Victory tomorrow will be bittersweet, but it will be yours, nevertheless!

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'd hoped she would live long enough to see her grandson elected. I imagine she was holding out for that but didn't quite make it. She lived a full life, and that's good, but still no doubt a sad day for the family. But her legacy lives on.

Posted by: Jurgan on November 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

What a trying time for Obama and his family. A roller coaster of emotions all packed into these next 48 hours. Imagine what that must be like for them.

And just imagine if McCain manages to pull off an electoral vote squeaker. How positively devastating that would be.

Posted by: hark on November 3, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

So very sad. I can't imagine how it feels to have one of the worst things in your life happen just a single day before one of the best.

This celebration tomorrow will certainly be a somber, bittersweet affair reminding us all that life is what happens to us when we're all caught up in something.

It made me saddest when I realized she wouldn't be able to vote for him.

Posted by: doubtful on November 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/11/3/141032/949/825/651082

Check this out. On the day that she passed away, the Republicans filed a complaint about Obama mis-using campaign funds to visit his dying grandmother.

Posted by: global yokel on November 3, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

What a shame.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 3, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

To make political hay out of the passing of
Madelyn is wrong.

To Rush... will you just shut up? I hate it when you snidely say/have said Obama's WHITE grandmother. Just what does race mean to you anyway?

To Obama.... I think I have a handle on the ache you feel right now. Time may lessen the pain, but the love (for her)will always be there.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 3, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, very stressful, zeitgeist, but...

His grandmother must have died knowing he will be president...and his campaign is such a well-oiled machine that it can spare Plouffe if he needs to bug out for the dugout at any minute.

Calmness, long-range planning and keeping everyone's eyes on the prize have served this campaign and the Obamas very well, and will carry them through the rough spots.

(But I do wish his grandma could have lived to see him officially win.)

Posted by: shortstop on November 3, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

R.I.P., Tutu!
Now you can supervise that everything will go according to proper rules tomorrow, and you can see the joy in our hearts that you brought us such a great grandson to lead us in the near future.
My condolences to you, Senator Obama, and your family!

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

It made me saddest when I realized she wouldn't be able to vote for him.

But maybe she did?

Posted by: shortstop on November 3, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, had hoped she'd hang on long enough to see him win... Wonder if she had voted early/absentee?

Posted by: exlibra on November 3, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it is a blessing, as it is many times at the end of a long illness. And instead of thinking of her not being able to see her grandson elected President of the United States, maybe the opposite is true. If you believe in such things, maybe she have the best seat in the house, a view from abovea view she would have never had confined to her bed at home.

Rest in Peace and condolences to her whole family.

Posted by: avi on November 3, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

"And just imagine if McCain manages to pull off an electoral vote squeaker. How positively devastating that would be."

Yeah, just imagine, and keep on imagining, because that's the only place (your imagination) where it's going to happen.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on November 3, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I will be the first to agree---or at the very least, among the first to agree---that "Toot" was the Senator's Rock of Gibraltar.

But it is of even greater importance to acknowledge that, after tomorrow, Barack Obama will be our President-Elect. With that comes the realization that he---like ourselves, each and every one---faces an almost-insurmountable task in righting the ship that is this Republic.

Therefore, we all share the frightening responsibility of becoming our next President's "Rock of Gibraltar." We are all the Rock; we are all Madelyn Dunham.

I am Toot.

You are Toot.

We are ALL Toot.

Posted by: Steve W. on November 3, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

But maybe she did? -shortstop

Wonder if she had voted early/absentee? -exlibra

I certainly hope so, just for her own satisfaction, but unfortunately, legally, any early voters who pass away between the time they voted and election day will not have their vote counted.

I really, truly hate relaying this.

Posted by: doubtful on November 3, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

When the wave breaks on the shore
The water returns to the sea

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

R.I.P., Tutu!
My condolences to Obama and his family!

On a related note:
"Terence Tolbert, the Obama campaign's Nevada state director, died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday. He was just 44." (from WaMo; link to original: http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/11/obamas_nevada_state_director_d.php)
When it rains, it pours...
We ALL need to be Mr. Obamas' rock now. We ALL need to chip in and help him with the enormous task ahead!

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I am glad her passing was peaceful. My only regret is she won't see her grandson elected president.

Posted by: madstork123 on November 3, 2008 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Condolences to the Obama family. Perhaps his grandmother was comforted knowing he would win tomorrow and was ready. She had broken her hip and may have been in pain and just ready.

Posted by: Karen on November 3, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, SecularAnimist.

Posted by: shortstop on November 3, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful: I certainly hope so, just for her own satisfaction, but unfortunately, legally, any early voters who pass away between the time they voted and election day will not have their vote counted.

It apparently depends on the state. Not sure what Hawaii does.

Posted by: shortstop on November 3, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Obama family.

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

My thoughts and prayers to the Obama family. In a way, maybe she has gone ahead to make sure Barack is protected. I am happy that she is the first to know that he was elected.

Posted by: coral on November 3, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

It is sad Sen. Obama no longer has any family from his childhood, except for his sister, to celebrate with tomorrow. I hope America's joy for his victory will provide some consolation.

Posted by: Brojo on November 3, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, this is so sad. To pass on the eve of perhaps seeing her grandson elected president...it breaks my heart.

Posted by: Gina on November 3, 2008 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

How long do you think it would take Hotline and the rest of the nuts to come up with a theory that Obama poisoned his grandmother to get the sympathy vote? In case you think no one is that callous, think again--they already expressed similar sentiment about Obama's visit earlier. Yet another theory had him going to Hawaii to doctor his birth certificate--again. And you thought Vince Foster was a crappy conspiracy theory!

Posted by: Buck on November 3, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo,

Yes, sad in a technical sense--but Obama has a HUGE family--his whole life has about building connections, about building community....

And I think that's what is so appealing on an unconscious level for all of us...what the country and what the world has needed for ages...

Community Organizers know what truly matters: They are citizens of the world and remind us of the same.

Posted by: it's not only not Right, it also Ain't right on November 3, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Obamas obviously cherished this woman very much. She will stand with him tomorrow as he votes, as he waits, and as he gives his victory speech.

Meanwhile, those who maligned her and raised insidious questions about his trips to Hawaii will get what they deserve tomorrow -- a new president that out classes anything their party could ever hope for. And it's all thanks to this extraordinary ordinary woman.

Rest in peace, Toot. You've done a great thing.

Posted by: chrenson on November 3, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm saddened, even though it's expected. My condolences to Mrs. Dunham's family.

Let's all dedicate to her memory our journey to the polls tomorrow, and let's do her legacy proud.

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro on November 3, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

exlibra: "Wonder if [Madelyn Dunham] had voted early/absentee?"

My friend Cynthia, who is a longtime neighbor and friend of Mrs. Dunham (they both live on the same floor of the Punahou Circle condominium), told me about ten days ago that she did in fact vote by absentee ballot. Hawaii's early voting started five weeks ago.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 3, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

It apparently depends on the state. Not sure what Hawaii does.

IIRC, in California the vote counts if the ballot is postmarked prior to the person's death. That seems fair enough -- that way you cover the people who sent theirs in and died afterwards and leave out the people who died before they sent theirs in and left their ballot available for tampering.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 3, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is incredible to see the vileness that is being spewed by some of those so-called 'Godfearing familyvalues' people! Here is one site:
http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/03/obamas-grandmother-dies-eve-election/comments/#commentPaginationTop

Rest in Peace, grandma Tutu!
Never mind all the vileness, Mr. Obama! My condolences to you and your family!

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

If the vote was cast and not just posted for mailing, how could it be "un-counted?" On a secret ballot, there is no way of knowing which ballot belonged to the deceased. Or for whom they voted, correct? I was wondering the same thing if a person died prior to the official election day, but had already voted absentee or early. We really need a modern system of voting, which may be paper ballots, hand counted, with universal registration in perpetuity. With computer networks, all registrants could be verified and their votes counted once, then further access for a given election blocked.

Fraud is always possible when human beings are involved; but, in the long run, all is balanced by Natural Law.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation.
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on November 3, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

It is truly a shame that Barack Obama's grandmother couldn't live at least long enough to see him be elected President (as is so very likely.) My sympathies go out to her and him and all their families.

Posted by: Neil B on November 3, 2008 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

the empty page
wide and deep
as a field
harrowed with
dirt turned up
ready for seed
plenty of light
a little rain
all they need
for a thought
to arise sustain
and recede
a few clouds
moonless nights
the heart will bleed
in solitude
in silence
before the mind
is freed
out onto the earth
up into the sky
to the end
of the universe
i'll hear the
endless cry
i was too busy living
to ever think i'd die

Posted by: estebanfolsom on November 3, 2008 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama's half-sister issued a statement to the media:"

"half-sister"? Sounds now like a relic from some Victorian novel about inheritance. Do you really think people introduce their siblings as "half-sisters" or "half-brothers"?
Yes, it's literally accurate--but so is "bastard" and "illegitimate" and "mulatto" and "octoroon". You can say these words, but your kids will laugh at you.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on November 3, 2008 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

My sister, an avid and life-long Democrat and Obama supporter, died of cancer last month at the age of 61. I hope she's "up there" with Mrs Dunham, and our 90 year old Democratic father who died last year. Let's hope they'll all get a kick out of - hopefully - Barack's win tomorrow.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on November 3, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Maopopo ku'u 'ike i ka nani
Na pua rose o Maunawili
I laila ho'ohie na manu
Miki'ala i ka nani o ia pua
Aloha 'oe, Aloha 'oe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo.
Aloha 'oe, Tutu.

Toot did indeed vote absentee before her passing. Her vote will be counted among all the others from Honolulu county. I'm proud to have my vote tomorrow be counted alongside hers.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20081103/BREAKING01/81103073

Posted by: Keori on November 3, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

How very sad for the Obama family. My condolences!

As for the Republicans suing the Obama campaign for illegal use of campaign funds for his visit to his grandmother, I hope Dems sue the McCain campaign for Palin's clothes and looks into whether her family used the campaign plane to fly to Alaska to see Track off to war!

Posted by: Always Hopeful on November 3, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hawaii chief elections officer confirms that Dunham's vote will be counted.

Posted by: on November 4, 2008 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

If anybody out there runs into Cokie Roberts be sure to ask her if she still thinks Obama going to Hawaii (instead of Myrtle Beach) after the convention didn't "make any sense whatsoever." Now that we have learned that we can hold our presidential candidates to a higher standard lets hold the distinguished national journalists to one as well.

Posted by: Felipe on November 4, 2008 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

The second post here sounds like a troll conveniently sent here to counter what everyone was already thinking. He killed his own grandmother to help him win the election. Just like OJ. Just like Jennifer Hudson. Maybe she talked? Maybe she identified him? We may never know now. And you want this evil bastard to be president? Seriously? Bad, bad choice. Very, very bad. He's a downright freaking evil bastard. A genuine criminal and traitor.

Posted by: Ohio True on November 4, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

After researching that link Keori left, Keori, it turns out, doesn't exist. That's another fake Hawaiian identity that Obama has manufactured, like himself and his family roots. This is a dangerous arabian middle-eastern guy posing as, and being peddled as, being from Hawaii, which he IN NO WAY IS and could NEVER be. If you Obama campaign trolls don't think Americans can't see through this guy, you're nuts. You are gravely mistaken.

Posted by: Dwayne R on November 4, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Dwayne R at 8:29, excellent parody, man!

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2008 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop at 9:21, the parody there was Keori. Dwayne was telling it like it is. Obama isn't even who he says he is. Everything about Obama has turned out to be manufactured and doctored. His Hawaiian roots which don't exist, to his criminal political affiliations which do. Everything. He has no business becoming President and we should all do everything to keep him out of office.

Posted by: Stephen on November 4, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Stephen at 10:27, excellent handle change from Dwayne R, man!

Posted by: shortstop on November 4, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

America has not had such a genuine person as Obama running for such high political office in a very long time, which is why people respond with sympathy to the loss of his grandmother. Amercian royalty like W. Bush and McCain earned no such emotional response to their trials and tribulations because they always had some institutional family authority to save them from hardship, accept when McCain became a POW and when W. became president. Unfortunately for individuals like W. Bush and McCain, they were never loved as children by their mothers and grandmothers, while that makes them pitiable, it also makes them dangerously unworthy of the presidency because they lack an essential humaness that can only be learned as a child from the tenderness and unconditional love from someone like Mrs. Dunham.

Posted by: Brojo on November 4, 2008 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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