Monday, January 7, 2008

More Thoughts on Obama-mania

I had a spirited discussion with a couple of friends from work today when I shared with them my prediction (for today, at least) that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States (over my dissenting vote). One of them, a conservative, was hung up on the fact that he seems, to her at least, an inexperienced "empty suit," getting by on personal charisma. The other, one of my favorite libs, called her a racist for saying so.

Here's my take on Obama--if a Democrat has to win (and this looks like their year), he's better than the other two. To say I have concerns about Hillary Clinton's integrity is understatement of the year. And in my mind, John Edwards, the "two Americas" guy who gets $400 haircuts and lives in the 28,000 square-foot mansion, is not much, if any, better in the integrity department. And it's not fair to hold Obama's less than one term in the senate against him, when Edwards has barely one, and Hillary has one and change (and both have spent some portion of that limited time running for president). Suffice it to say that we are definitely going to have a Democratic nominee with little experience this year.

The main thing in Obama's favor is that half the country won't automatically hate his guts as they would Hillary. And that, if nothing else, counts for something after 16 years of impeached Clinton and vilified Bush 43. Indeed, were there not this little war thing going on (and possibly up to 4 supreme court seats coming open in the next 4-8 years), that, in itself, might be enough.

There's also the race thing. He's perfect there--a black politician who owes no homage to the Jesse Jackson-Al Sharpton axis. He gives us all the benefit of getting over that historical hump with hardly any of the bite.

However, let's not kid ourselves about how much he would "unite" America. He gives a good speech, but he's not going to find some new middle ground on the war on terror, or abortion, or other hot-button issues. He wants us to "unite" around traditional liberal positions. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

Either way, he is, if not an empty suit, at least a clean slate. Lots of folks have written their hopes and dreams on that slate. And he may fulfill them, beautifully, or he may fall flat on his face. But that has little to do with what we see on the campaign trail. A vote for Obama is a dice roll. But the Democrats had their chances--they could have chosen a Biden, or a Richardson. If he (as I think/hope) emerges from what's left of the field as the last man standing, that's the choice before us as a nation. But if my principles have to come in second, I'd rather it be to what appears to be a good, honest guy than a crook or a fraud.


C. S. Fox said...

Oh my GOD! Have you become a LIB?
I hope not! Obama Is the suit that would take America to every tin horn dictator and have us kiss their anti-freedom, kill and torment your people moron on the planet! The only thing worse that Obama would be the second coming of Christ only to find out he was a Clemson Fan..
I think that I would pick just about any of the Republican's running to an Obama as president!
Listen to Rush Or Glenn Beck before it's to late for you!!
The Socialist Dem's scare me to death.....
America can't afford the Dem's in power!!!

bekster said...

BTW, Larry, what is your opinion of Glenn Beck?

Coach Sal said...

Steve, I didn't say I'm going to vote for the guy. I'm saying that the math favors a Dem win, and I only get one vote. And if a Democrat wins, I'd rather see Obama than Clinton. That's like saying if I have to have a broken arm, I'd rather it be my left one.

And Becky, I don't watch Beck on TV, and have only heard his radio show a couple of times. He seems to me (at first glance) to be a Rush Limbaugh wanna-be, but not quite as good. Of all the right-wing radio jocks, my favorite is Hannity, but I don't really listen to any of them.

Paul Murphy said...

So why not vote for Obama? It's a classic game theory question (Beautiful Mind bar scene). Think about it. If all the social conservatives vote Thompson and Huckabee then you alienate the health-care conscious, environmentally friendly outliers that may vote Republican. Obama essentially has become the anti-hillary for the politically middle church-goer. It starts to make support for Obama look like a vote against Clinton. So why not bail and vote in the democratic primary?

What's wrong with being a "LIB"?

And the only the America can't afford is more years in Iraq, social security, and merchantilist trade policy.

Coach Sal said...

Paul, you have a good point. My father-in-law is doing just that (voting for Obama or maybe Edwards in SC as the counter to the worst-case Hillary nomination). However, I have detailed elsewhere (my Nov 28th post called "Coach GOP Sal") why I can't in good consicence vote for any of the three Dems in the race. I just can't get over the killing of innocent babies. If you gave me the chance to vote for a Harry Truman type who was pro-life, pro-defense, but liberal on all the fiscal stuff, I'd be all over that. That's why I flirted with Huckabee for a while. But it finally dawned on me that he is the least qualified of any of the major candidates remaining, and that if he were some average Episcopalian twice-a-month churchgoer I wouldn't agree with him on anything of substance. As for Iraq (maybe I'll do a post on this later), we can stay there for 50+ years, so long as we're not taking big casualties (we've been in Korea since 1950, and Germany and Japan since 1945). Now that the surge technique is bringing those casualties down, I'm hoping we're on the (gradual) path toward increased stability there. I think just pulling out precipitously would be worse in the long run, though, for a variety of reasons.