Sunday, August 3, 2008


I spend a lot of my evening quiet time silently thinking over my response to the evening news. I like most people in America (I hope) have been grossly dissatisfied with the media since oh, about 2000 -- when news stopped meaning objective facts and started meaning round tables and editorial comments. After listening to the news, I generally debate the points in my head, marshalling my arguments, generally trying to work off my mad. The other night I had a fit of rage, when I watched the news accusing both McCain and Obama of dirty ads, including the celebrity comparison and the 'Obama is elitest because he likes arugula and power bars memo.' Seriously, these are dirty ads??? No, this is a slow news day in which you as the main stream media feed into America's growing dispassion for all things political and train us to stop paying attention to what you say. Dirty politics was what you forgot to report in 2000, when Karl Rove's small minded men engaged in phone campaigns throughout the South asking what people would think "if" they knew that McCain had a child of a different race. Accusing people of eating arugula or being "Same Old" not dirty politics -- just boring.

Now, that being said, the other big issue that seems to come up A LOT both at home and throughout those lovely round table discussions is the question of whether or not Obama is all talk and no substance. I don't consider it a bad question. Our nation has traditionally had longer serving candidates, and Obama is a relative unknown to the majority of the country. For those of us in Illinois, he's an old standby. He was an institution in this state when I moved here in 2002, so he to me is characteristic of Illinois politics. When I went to school in Louisiana, people used to talk about Louisiana Politricks. I think the term applies here too. I moved to Chicago, when Illinois was cleaning house Obama being one of the cleaners-- the biggest scandal of course being the indictment of Governor Ryan who has since been convicted.

When Obama spoke at the Democratic Convention, I had already been thoroughly dissolutioned at the democratic party. I was a Gore supporter, big time. It was obvious to me that John Kerry was not going to be elected, though I voted for him anyway. I knew that the Democratic party was in danger of becoming the villian, something that physically hurt me because the meaning of the party, the purpose of the party is so incredibly popularistic that it is essential to our very being. How could the Republicans be the party of family values -- when the concept of a government caring FOR the people is the tenant of the Democratic Party? DNC leadership had failed, and I knew we needed a superstar -- a Kennedy, a Clinton, a something to steer public attention away from the backwater of party dealings.

Obama's speech was moving, and truthfully, I told Rob that night that I thought O should run. But I didn't think he would, and I wasn't 100% serious. Until August 30, 2005 and the days following. Those of you who know me well know I have recently been obsessed with Colleen McCullough's First Man In Rome series about the late days of the Roman Senate. Though never a fan of the Republic(an) system, I was fascinated for the first time about the pure intentions of Senate legislation -- and saw in this plan of Obama's a Caesar, or a Princeps Senatus.

I started paying attention to the political plans which were not appearing on the evening news. Any articles on Obama's plans were clipped and neatly tucked in whatever book I was reading at the moment. Having a compendium of articles on Obama's the war, environment, tax, and economy plans, I never really understood why people were unsure of what he would do if president. I found his plans more extensive than most. Yes, I realize that plans must be altered as the moment requires, it struck me as fascinating to see that he was able to come up with intensely detailed plans, covering all of the eventualities that I could possibly envision.

Subsequently, I knew from the Katrina actions on, that I was voting for Obama. I chase news about Obama now because I like to see what he's doing and I'm starting to realize because of that I may hear things that other people don't. My ears prick when others don't. For example, when I was waiting at O'Hare for a flight in June, I heard Obama's name on the CNN broadcast and sat down to listen to an article on Obama and McCain's response to the Supreme Court's verdict on Guantanamo Detainee rights, in which Obama spoke out about the importance of the right of habeas corpus for all individuals. (I'm sadly disappointed to say that the media had very little interest in this story.)

All of this is merely to say, why I like Obama and does not allay the fears of those concerned for his lack of experience. To you, I offer this rebuttal. There is no experience to prepare any one for the job of President of the United States short of being President of the United States. If you recall, George W. Bush had experience (5 years as governor -- a far more highly rated type of experience than senator). That turned out really well, but I bet you knew that back when you didn't vote for him. Other people who had experience? George HW Bush (26 years experience in government), Richard Nixon ( 6 years in Congress, 8 years VP) Herbert Hoover (7 years, Secretary of Commerce), and Rob would like me to add Jefferson Davis (US Senator and 7 years US Secretary of War). If that doesn't reassure you, then you've gotten the point. There is no assurance that any one will make a good president. The most we can do is look at his or her character.

Quite frankly when I hear people concerned about Obama being all talk and no substance, it all the more reminds me of one of the biggest reasons I'm voting for him. My number one concern for our country is our current lack of respect for the global community, our current unethical conduct and completely immoral recent actions. The number one thing that I know we are going to get from Obama is diplomacy -- and the number one thing you need for that to happen? A good talker.


kat! said...

Barack Obama wished me a happy birthday on my birthday. That was pretty cool.

A Fuss said...

Sweet! Someone got me a Barack Obama as Oprah card for mine. But he didn't personally remember my birthday. That makes you pretty special!

Net Ghost said...

I think a candidate's experience gives him a track record that voters can use to figure out: a) what the candidate stands for; b) what the candidate does to accomplish what he stands for; c) whether the candidate is willing to work with the other side to make a workable law that a majority will vote for and pass.

Since Obama does not have that, he needs to be more specific on how he would "change" the U.S. And he is not being specific (those links in your blog don't prove otherwise). For example, the site on the economy says that Obama does and should have a thin economic policy so as to allow him to adapt to change. That's probably right, but it still doesn't give me much of an idea about where he's going to go with the economy. Simply stating that he's going to give every working family a $1000 tax cut is not an economic policy because, for one, it doesn't say where he's going to get the money to pay for that.

As for his immigration policy, he voted for the law for a fence around the border. That sounds to me like he's more concerned about enforcement than fixing the laws. When he's asked about his immigration policy, he says that he wants comprehensive immigration reform and will promote it if he's elected president. The problem with that is that Congress makes the laws, and really, what has he done as a Senator over the last 4 years to fix immigration? And let's not forget that George W. Bush also supported comprehensive immigration reform. A lot of good that did. All we got was the Real ID Act, which makes it harder for people to get political asylum, among other things. Obama's chance for starting change on topics such as the economy, taxes, the war, and immigration came when he was a senator.

I think experience is important, if only to give voters a true look at what the candidate truly believes and how he will accomplish that. Candidates say lots of things during the election in order to get votes. You don't know what they are really going to do until they're in office. That's why experience is essential in an election. And Obama's main task as a Senator has been running his presidential campaign.

Experience is necessary but not the only requirement for a candidate. Those people you listed certainly had experience, but they lacked other essentials. Nixon, for example, lacked a regard for following the law when it came to his campaign activities.

A Fuss said...

I agree with you on some of your points, but I think you're looking for something that you're not going to find from either candidate (hence your blog in the first place).

Your point on Obama's vote for the fence is valid -- that particular vote was defensively based. But that's only part of his immigration voting record. I've never seen an Obama plan which did not have multiple facets. And that's one of the things I like about him. Every issue he comes at from multiple angles.

But you can't say that he doesn't have any experience and then say he should have been doing everything that he talks about in Congress during his years of non-experience.If you acknowledge that he doesn't have any experience, then you can't look to his experience for proof of who he is and what he'll do. I look to his character and his impact.

What we do know is that he was able to do something that no one else has been able to do in the past 8-12 years. Rally people together to stand a chance of fighting the Republicans. But what's more important to me is that he's made young people sit up and pay attention. And believe again.

To me the President has 2 roles in our government: diplomat and pace-setter. That's most certainly why I'm voting for him.

My intention is not to persuade you to vote for him -- I don't think I can do that. But I think the answers to your questions are all out there.