Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Yet Another Political Rant

Why is it that Obama doesn't seem substantive? Is it because people who don't really want him to be president have said so?

I can understand someone not being sure if they are positive about him, but if you actually look at what he's done in his professional life, it is quite substantial. He has an enormous amount to offer. He is clearly a thinking individual who knows what he's about, works at undestanding a problem, and has great analytical powers to apply to a solution. What the hell do people want? I keep hearing the comment that he hasn't really made clear what he would do. That's nonsense. He's made it abundantly clear, both in debates and speeches and on his website.

He also has the obvious capacity to lead, to inspire and to manage large group efforts. Someone on the radio this morning said that he has less experience than only 20 other presidents in our history.

As for McCain, I recall Wesley Clark questioning the idea that McCain's Vietnam experience qualifies him to be Commander in Chief, and Bob Scheiffer being incredulous at the thought. However, Clark was right, and if you look at it why would being a POW qualify you except on the basis of knowing what it is to suffer on that level? That's certainly part of it, but nowhere near all of leading a nation's forces at war.

On the economy, McCain makes me think he has no real idea what's happening in a global sense. I don't want another goombah in there who only understands enough to make himself and his pals a profit. His outlook, and his reliance on boilerplate expressions and hoped for zingers to make an impact leave me with my jaw hanging open wondering if we will ever do better than that. Obama brings me back to thinking about things. He has an intellect that he's not worried about displaying. McCain isn't as far down the slope as Bush, but he's also not inspiring at all.

What has come through loud and clear to me in these debates is that McCain is fundamentally a man of the past, the Cold War. His day is come and gone. It's partly his age coming through, but it's also his outlook that leads me to that. There are those who age and grow wiser, and make you believe that the times they live in are of no real consquence to their abilities and vision. McCain ain't one of those for me.

There is something forward looking about Obama, and static or backward looking about McCain. If I were a more deft commentator, I might be able to articulate this. In my late afternoon torpor, that's the best I can come up with. I do not feel safe at the thought of McCain managing foreign relations in a crisis that potentially will turn military. I do not feel safe with McCain having the final say in economic decisions. Social issues under McCain will go backwards or nowhere.

This post was inspired as a comment to a post on What is Hip, but I thought I should just post it here 'cause I rarely do these days,and things have slowed down a bit here in the calabozo known as my office.


Blogger Don said...

Why is it that Obama doesn't seem substantive? Is it because people who don't really want him to be president have said so?

Could be: My reading isn't all that broad.

Bu what I do know about him doesn't show much. No real Senatorial leadership, strictly partisan; a typically mean Chicago pol (not that there's anything wrong with that); an academic with zero published papers. Maybe I missed something but my impression remains that a lot of his support comes from his charm and charisma. I don't know of any fresh ideas or any record of having the gear to really get things done.

His greatest success seems to be in mounting a (presumably) successful Presidential campaign.

I'm not saying that isn't enough. As Clinton said there really is no training for that job. Prezzes with less to show did just fine -- some with a lot more did horribly.

Just that when I watch Obama debate or speechify, there's no there there, nothing extra, nothing special, and though McCain is something of a loose cannon, at least we know where he's coming from, that he can likely walk the walk, and that he has good judgment in the foreign arena (from what I know). I also worry about Obama being another Carter or young Kennedy and setting us up for more trouble, but I admit that has to be a minor concern because, crap, anything can happen, and no one has an idea what will really come of how he manages things. (Jury's still out on Iraq.)

I am not endorsing either one, in case it sounds like I am. I really like the idea of turning the page, bringing in the younger generation (the first Prez younger than you and me), someone with a proven global appeal. There's a lot of upside. Just not wanting to let the hype go unchallenged either.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Don said...

And then, next day, I worry again, when I read stuff like this. VDH is not a great writer, and is sometimes given to overstatement, but his fundamental concerns are sound.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

I don't have time to properly comment, but having skimmed VDH, you can almost go item by item and bring in likewise foul associations on the other extreme for McCain. Also, his opionons on Palin just blow my mind.

More later, on Obama as well as VDH.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Right, well, it's really the first paragraph of your comment that I take issue with. Here's why:

Strictly partisan - Obama worked with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative of the then republican majority, to create an internet database of federal spending. See this link:

Obama and Richard Lugar, senior republican senator from Indiana worked on securing funds for non-proliferation to continue work started by Sam Nunn and Lugar. See this link:

He worked with Senator McCaskill on a bill for veterans:

As you can see, those first two were examples of Obama working with Republican senators on issues of importance to everyone.

These would be just three examples, and remember that for the first two years of his senate term, the republicans were in control and would rarely let any democratic authored legislation see a vote, nevermind the light of day.

There was a lot more that he accomplished in the Illinois statehouse. As for academia, he taught constitutional law, he wasn't a research university prof as such. There was probably no requirement for him to publish research that he wouldn't have had time to do.

I honestly don't get why you think there's nothing there. Look into his record some and see, for instance, why veterans are supporting him in much larger numbers than they support McCain.

More tomorrow. Gotta go home.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

As to the Ayers "connection" here's a link to a letter from the prosecutor in the Ayers case.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

it's funny that people say they don't know enough about him. after 2 books, countless debates, and how many speeches? he is an open book, sorry folks.

here's my take. the people that don't like him or don't trust him simply won't or can't.

like the simon and garfunkle line-
'still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest'

10:46 AM  

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