Tuesday, July 10, 2007

REACTION: A response to the Obama Nation

In yesterday's reads, I made a joke about Barack Obama, which led to this response from longtime reader and fellow Dem activist RF:
I forgot you are very skeptical of Obama. Nothing wrong with that. But what are you looking for? For the perfect resume or "right" on every single pet D issue? Didn't we already go that route? Are we enjoying the fruits of Gore and Kerry administrations?

Like it or not, most people vote with their gut. Plus, lots of people seem to think Obama has something to offer, something they want. I'm in that group for sure. The fact that his astounding fundraising has all been done without PAC or lobbyist money has been incredibly underreported. He's done it Fallon-style, which proves something to me.
I felt the need to respond, because I felt a little slapped in the face when it was suggested that I'm looking for the next John Kerry. I'm not.

I'm an idealist, a farther-left-than-most liberal and a policy wonk. I'm also on record as hating things done for the sake of "party unity," which I think sets aside our true responsibilities in favor of political expediency and often creates scenarios where we're choosing between losing a little or losing a lot.

As such, I'm not interested in looking for a candidate we can all unite behind. I'm not interested in finding the least offensive candidate or the candidate most likely to beat the Republicans. I'm interested in supporting the candidate who is with me on the issues and shows a genuine interest in leading the country in the direction I feel it needs to go.

I'm skeptical of Barack Obama because I feel he's running for chief rock star, not chief executive. He's polished, articulate, and he displays likeable qualities, so if you're voting based on those things, he's your guy. But in 2000, Governor George W. Bush said "I'm a uniter, not a divider." That platitude got him into the White House, and six and a half years into his administration, most Americans would argue that we're not better off for it.

Today, Barack Obama is running on a platform of similar platitudes based on hope and unity. I like those things as much as the next guy, but he's going to have to show me a bit more substance before I'm convinced he's someone I want to invest any hope in or unite behind.

KL

1 comment:

RF said...

I thought you might be inspired by my comment…

When you imply that Obama is not campaigning on any issues and has no substance, I have to strongly disagree. You should visit his website, hear him live, and/or read his latest book. Yes, there is emphasis on the unity theme and the media loves to report on that. But, there is also an awful lot of policy detail, stands on issues, plans, etc. Not really that different from the other contenders. I did a guest post on Sporer a while back about the info the top candidates had on their web sites about national security, terrorism and foreign policy. I was trying to be objective, but I had to conclude that Obama had much more detail on those issues than any of the other top D’s (Clinton, Edwards, Richardson). Plus, we are not really seeing many differences between the D candidates on major issues. Gravel and Kucinich are the only ones who are offering something substantially different. If you don’t like platitudes, you must have a problem with all politicians. And if being polished and articulate turns you off, Edwards is a much bigger offender than Obama. Of the credible D candidates, Biden may be the only real straight-talker (but a long-winded one).