Monday, September 01, 2008

This is why I support Barack Obama (and why you should too)

I can't speak for anyone else and why she's so taken with Barack Obama, but here are a few of the things that I like:
  1. He has a track record of working for the dispossessed in inner-city Chicago.
  2. He has a proven history of working with people from both sides of the aisle. I've noticed that he hasn't engaged in any of the personal attacks that have come from the Republican corner. Character assassination becomes no one, and it is especially not desired in a president.
  3. He actually listens to advisers when they tell him things contrary to what he thinks.
  4. He realizes that our nation has lost a lot of international standing in the past eight years and that the old days are over. We can no longer get what we want because we're America.
  5. It's true he opposed the surge in Iraq, which Sen. McCain supported and which apparently has quelled a lot of the unrest there. On the other hand, he also didn't support invading a sovereign nation without provocation, plunging an entire country into chaos, and destabilizing the entire region.*
  6. Obama favors moving the United States to greater energy independence. This is a matter of national security, as well as environmental security, and industrial and economic well-being. Remember, he has called for developing a Green Belt here in America, developing sustainable industry to take the place of the Rust Belt that languished and fell apart under the efforts set up by the Reagan and subsequent administrations of "Let businesses go and they'll do what's best." (Which they did -- for the bottom line, which involved moving outside the U.S. and laying off thousands of workers.)
  7. As thrilled as I am that the Republicans finally have nominated a woman for the vice presidency, let me point out that should anything happen to Obama, Biden has a strong political resume and presumably would make a viable replacement. Palin's resume is too thin to say the same should anything happen to McCain.
On those things that may concern others:
  1. He is not a Muslim. Even if he were, that is neither cause for alarm, nor even for concern. If this is a concern, please get over it.
  2. Yes, he is black. That is an asset. Our past 43 presidents have all come from positions of power, wealth, influence and uncounted privilege, and to some extent that's had to affect foreign policy. Obama has had to deal with the downside of America. He's been subject to racism, he's had to prove his worth time and again, and he's done it. In fact, he just recently paid off his college loans. Do you really think that a man who's had to prove himself so many times is just going to assume that the world will do what we wants, should he become president?
  3. Also true, his experience at the national level is limited. The issue here isn't experience as much as it is wisdom and willingness to listen to qualified advisers. Obama has plenty of experience at organizing people, building consensus, and getting things done in an above-board manner.

    Are people that different at the world stage? Small-minded people remain small-minded whether they work at the city clerk's office, the foreign consulate, or the Grand Assembly. Obama knows how to connect with people, just like George W, Bush doesn't and Ronald Reagan did. Bush also has had great advisers, like Colin Powell, but he doesn't know how to connect with people, and he's ignored advisers when he disagrees with them. Look how that's turned out.
  4. Yes, he's "liberal." I wish I knew what people meant by that these days, though, because it seems to an empty pejorative any more. Bush is billed as a conservative, even though he's gone on runaway spending sprees without a plan on how to pay for them, and he's engaged in nation-building of the worst possible sort.

    And my mother, God bless her, criticizes Obama for being liberal and yet she's voiced support in the past for abortion and physician-assisted suicide while laying claim to being a conservative. (On the former, at least, she agrees with Obama's stated position, if not McCain's, and Obama's position anyway is "We all want fewer of them, so let's work together.")

* Edited to add: Actually, he voted against funding for the troop when there was no timeline set for their withdrawal. McCain also voted against funding, when there was a timeline attached. Therefore it is just as accurate to say that McCain voted against the surge. And in any event, the real successes there seem to have flowed from the Sunni tribal leaders who have broken with the insurgency and with al Qaeda in Iraq, and not from any increase in U.S. troops.

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