A journalist by training, Meline Toumani shocked friends and family by moving to Turkey and embarking on a journey to understand a people and a country she'd been taught were the enemy. The result is "There Was and There Was Not," part political history, part deeply personal memoir.
Weigh in on the presidential race, the Senate battle in Virginia, unrest in the Middle East, the NFL referee lockout, or anything else on your mind–it’s your turn.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn. This is your opportunity to select the topic you would like to discuss and then, well, to discuss it by calling 800-433-8850. While you're getting your thoughts together or deciding whether to call, I'd like to share a few ideas with you. First, of course, the number again, 800-433-8850. It is Your Turn. The presidential campaigns, interested in hearing your observations, particularly about how organized or not the campaigns are.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIf TV commercials are so ubiquitous that they're not making a difference in one state or another, what do you think is making a difference in terms of what you have been seeing about how organized the campaigns are? What's the organizing on the ground that you've observed or through the Web? Who has been in touch with you, and what impact do you feel that it has had? Or do you feel that you are being ignored when you might be a voter who is still undecided?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWhat are your observations about how these campaigns are going? The same, I guess, for the Senate race in Virginia. You've got two former governors -- Tim Kaine and George Allen -- competing. Kaine now seems to be pulling ahead. Why do you think that is, and what does that have to do with, again, the organization of the campaign? Who have you been hearing from if you happen to live in the commonwealth of Virginia?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd what have you been hearing from the campaign that has either turned you on or off, whether it's the Republican or Democratic campaign? 800-433-8850. If, of course, you're merely interested in the horse race aspect of this -- who's ahead or who's behind -- you may want to offer your reasons why. And who is at fault, in your view, for the replacement referees being on the field in the National Football League, the regular referees or the owners?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThat, of course, is the dispute that led to the lockout of the regular referees and their replacement by these replacement referees. Do you consider the replacement referees scabs or just decent men trying to earn a living without necessarily having a great deal of experience at what they're doing? Call us at 800-433-8850.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIOf course, the prevailing orthodoxy is that nothing is going to happen because, well, once we keep watching, once there are those eyeballs on television, then the money will keep rolling in because the money comes from the television contracts. And the television broadcasters make money from the commercials. So would you stop watching because of the quality of the replacement refereeing?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAlthough I must say there's now, I guess, a kind of train wreck quality to the viewing, people will be watching just to see if anything really bad happens this week, people who may not even have been watching before. What do you think? Give us a call at 800-433-8850. It's Your Turn. We'll start with Moaz (sp?) in Hyattsville, Md. Moaz, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MOAZHi, Kojo. You know, you -- you're having a lot of subject I want to jump in and -- but I guess I'm going to go on...
MOAZ...about the Senate race. I mean, I'm going to talk, really, in general. It seems the way the Republican is losing grounding is because it's not really just the candidates or not that create, I think, because people are now aware about the deficit of this party, national-wide. And this is -- you can see it even in the presidential campaign. I mean, Mitt Romney, yes, he's a lousy campaigner, but it's more than that.
MOAZHe is forcing to get his view of the right wing of this party, which is now taken over. They are used to be part of it all these years, but now they are the bosses of it. So when they start -- this -- the right wing of the Republican Party -- making the shots, this is what happens to the Republican. They are losing all their moderates. They're losing -- I mean, the Democrats, they sound like Republican, like you said, 10 years ago. So this is, in general, my point.
NNAMDISo you're saying that you think that the reason that Mitt Romney seems to be slipping in the polls is the same reason that you think that George Allen might be slipping in the polls in the commonwealth of Virginia, and that is because, in your view, the far right of the Republican Party has been taking over the leadership of the party, and you think that's a turnoff for a lot of voters?
MOAZThat's exactly, Kojo. I mean, their message is very divisive. They are against everybody. They are against the immigrants, the poor, the middle class. I don't know what they think -- they can win -- how they can win. I mean, they pushed Mitt Romney to get this point of view. And now, he's trying to distance himself, but it's too late. Everybody know that he's going to flip-flop. I mean, this people -- the right wing of the Republican Party, they are part of it, but they never been the bosses of this force. But now, they are the bosses.
MOAZThey are firing representatives, senators or anybody who compromise or do any work with the republic. They go after you and kick him out of the party.
MOAZAnd this is the end of -- I think the beginning of the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
NNAMDIOK. Moaz, thank you very...
MOAZSo sorry, Kojo.
NNAMDIOh, no. That's all right. No need to be sorry. That is your view, and that is exactly what we ask for on Your Turn. So if you have a point of view on this or any other issue in the news, call us at 800-433-8850, as we move on to John in Washington, D.C. John, your turn.
JOHNHello, Kojo. How are you?
JOHNA great show.
JOHNYeah. I am really irked by this seemingly bad blood between Netanyahu and President Obama and the way the press is handling it. I mean, they make it look Israel is the senior partner in this relationship. OK?
NNAMDIWell, I guess that depends on which part of the press you have been watching, listening to or reading. What is...
JOHNNo. I've -- I want -- yeah, I mean, the issue is that Obama doesn't want to meet Netanyahu and all that crap when the man is inserting himself into American politics, something that has never been done before. And nobody has really had that man to account or asked him some serious questions. And...
NNAMDIHow do you see Benjamin Netanyahu inserting himself into American politics?
JOHNWell, I mean, he came on CNN and some other television programs to talk about Iran and knowing fully well that it could, in fact, affect the outcome of the election. And, you know, if you go back to Netanyahu's comment, his problem from the time of the primaries between Obama and Clinton, when he came on CNN, at that time, he wasn't even prime minister to call Obama naive when he made that comment about Iran, you know, trying diplomacy with Iran.
NNAMDIWell, I guess, Prime Minister Netanyahu would respond that he's simply trying to do his best to make sure that his country's interests are understood by the American electorate. One of the things I find very interesting about this is how we tend to be unaware of the politics inside Israel or the amount of dissension there is inside Israel because the voters in Israel tend to be very well-informed, and to take very strong positions on one or other side of the issue that tends to be more debate about those issues in Israel than there is in this country.
JOHNWell, the fact is that a lot of people don't know that, you know, every time America gets into trouble anywhere in the world, it is because of Israel.
NNAMDIThat is absolute -- that is absolutely not true, John. Anytime America gets into trouble at any part of the world, it is not because of Israel, even though there have been some issues in the Middle East in which Israel is involved. I think that is not a fair statement.
JOHNWell, I'll take that. But then, you know, how about the case of Libya when, you know, this (unintelligible) the ambassador there was the chief security officer, and he had all the intel. And he should have asked for more security. Is anybody asking questions about whether or not he asked for more security, but they want to, by implication...
NNAMDIWell, what do you think about the response in Libya to the killing of the U.S. ambassador where now, in Libya, the militias are being forced to disarm, people have been taking to the streets because they object to how they operate, how the militias have been operating? You only got about 30 seconds, John. I got other people who want to join the conversation.
JOHNWell, I think that that situation also came about because of the way Obama handled that -- the Libyan thing because the Libyan people owned that revolution. We didn't put the footprint there.
JOHNAnd on the Romney's blaming Obama like he's going to order for some -- more soldiers to go and die over there when he (unintelligible) making some money on Wall Street.
NNAMDIJohn, thank you very much for your call. On to Sally in Manassas, Va. Sally, it's your turn. Go ahead, please.
SALLYHi, Kojo. I volunteered for Kaine because I'm really interested in Medicare. I'm a senior citizen. I don't want to see my Medicare change to a voucher system. And I come down here, and I call senior citizens from Kaine's office because the principle of it is to get feedback from the citizens and find out what they want and what they need.
NNAMDII'm fascinated by this. The senior citizens that you are calling, how are they selected?
SALLYOh, they are all registered voters, and it's very sophisticated. Now, when you use a computer, you get the name of the senior citizen and the general area where they live on the computer screen, and it dials automatically. It's called HubDialer. So anyone that's out there and interested...
NNAMDIWhat kind of responses have you been getting from the seniors with whom you've been speaking?
SALLYOh, they are uniformly that they do not want a voucher system, and they want to keep Medicare and, if anything, strengthen it. People feel they put into it during their whole working career, and it would be a sin to take it away. We just feel we deserve it.
NNAMDIOK. Thank you very much for your call, Sally. We move on now to Oheen (sp?) in Silver Spring, Md. Oheen, your turn.
OHEENYes. Hello, Kojo. A long time listener, first time caller.
OHEENI'm calling about the NFL refs.
NNAMDIGo right ahead.
OHEENI believe that what the society of America right now is giving these refs a little bit too hard of a time. I think we need to direct our anger more at the NFL and then the "scab referee." These guys are just going in, and they're trying to do the best they can. And it's -- and, you know, we're not giving them a fair shake. We haven't even training them in the proper fashion of a normal NFL ref. So, you know, I think people need to give them -- give the refs a little bit -- less of a hard time and give the NFL in a harder time and tell them to, you know, make their (word?) a lot better. So that's my...
NNAMDIWell, what do you say to people who say the NFL is not going to have anything to say? That's why there's a deafening silence from the owners. Because, John -- I mean, Oheen, you're watching, and you're going to continue to watch. So why listen to it?
OHEENExactly. I think that, you know, I've been hearing a couple of people speak about walking out of stadiums during the half-time of the Sunday night -- Sunday game. And I think maybe the fan does have influence on -- in order to make the action happen because, obviously, the NFL does not care enough about their product to change. People have continued to tune in.
NNAMDIOK. Thank you very much for your call. We move on to Lawrence in Sterling, Va. Lawrence, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
LAWRENCEHi, Kojo. Wonderful talking to you. And I wanted to talk about the ad campaigns that are used in the -- that I see just flooded with the presidential election.
LAWRENCEI think both sides are taking these unilateral campaign promises without taking into account that these promises essentially overstep all the bounds that are set up for the authority of the president. Example is the -- I'm seeing continuously these Romney ads about how, you know, day one, he's going to repeal Obamacare. He's going to pass a bill to have the Keystone pipeline pulled.
LAWRENCEThose things can only be addressed by a member of Congress through either a Senate or a House representative. The president cannot introduce any bills into law. He can simply sign laws he likes or veto laws he doesn't like.
NNAMDIYou make a very good point. And I'm afraid that's going to have to be the last point. Lawrence, thank you very much for participating in Your Turn. Thanks to all of those of you who called in, and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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