Tuesday, May 13

What hope for Obama?

My buddy, Jim, has a very hopeful post about Obama. Here's my reply (lightly edited):
i want to hope, Jim, but i am honestly afraid of being disappointed.

so, i'm trying to think, given this is politics and compromise, what is a reasonably cynical hope for an Obama presidency?

an intelligent, articulate president.

i think my biggest issue is re-engagement with the world at large, a change from the Bush Admin's unilateralism.

i want a message shaped by hope and not fear.

i don't want him to pull us out of Iraq immediately, which all professionals agree would be disastrous.

i don't want him to turn back globalization.

bonuses: being an advocate for the poor without damaging the economy, including improving health care access for all; more bi-partisan unity (i doubt this will happen. politics has become attack and riposte and Obama has certainly played that way with Clinton).

i hope you're right, Jim. i hope we're not naive. and i'll cast my vote for it. but i wouldn't (otherwise) bet on it.
What do you think?


Shawn said...

I've emerged from my Green Party shell to support Obama so far. Not because I am hopeful he will do much different policy wise, but because I am hopeful that he will set the tone for conversation in this country like he did with his speech on race after Rev. Wright part 1.

I'm hopeful not because I think he is any more in touch with working class Americans than Clinton, McCain, or any other elitist politician, but because I think he is willing to be a little more blunt and honest and not simply say what polls tell him to say. His opposition of summer gas tax relief is a good example of this.

So do I think Obama is that different? No. Do I think that he will help us focus and acknowledge certain problems we've been ignoring for too long? I hope so.

Paul Stokes said...

I am hopeful that, whoever becomes President, the country will become a better place for everyone. Whether hope in Obama rather than hope in McCain is missplaced is, of course, another matter. I believe that it is missplaced. I believe that McCain is very much his own man, very experienced, and I would be comfortable with him making foreign policy decisions. He will not be someone who will "serve out George Bush's third term" as Obama states.

With all due respect, I would suggest that many of the people who support Obama have simply projected their own hopes and dreams on an essentially blank screen. We will only know what who Obama really is after he becomes President. That is simply too risky. At the very least, there may well be a great deal of disappointment in an Obama administration, and his election will have created yet another generation of cynical Americans.

Jim said...

Well, I have to disagree, Paul. First, I'd argue we never know what a President will be like until they are elected. Take George Bush for example; compassionate conservative? fiscally responsible?
Remember that pitch?

Second, Obama supporters as a demographic tend to be well educated, as well as informed (if the exit polls are correct). There are always be the unmindful followers; however, most are not "projecting on a blank screen". I for one checked his website, specifically for his positions on issues that concern me before deciding to support him financially. You might take a look yourself, if you have not already done so. He has some solid ideas.

However, I'm not blind. Could he prove a disappointment? Absolutely; but it's too risky not to try to move our government in the way he is suggesting.

Sean Meade said...

S: i really agree that opposition to summer gas tax relief is a good idea.

P: i don't like McCain, but I'm not prepared to argue that i'm being objective. i think he's too old, too combative, too bellicose. he does seem like another term of George Bush to me, and that's the worst option, in my opinion.

Obama is somewhat unknown, but no more so than Bush was 8 years ago. i don't believe the chances of disappointment in Obama are any greater than what the real disappointment with Bush has been.

just to prove i don't suffer from BDS, allow me to say i credit Bush for not ruining the economy (many would disagree) and not screwing up globalization or our relationship with China.

J: i think what Paul's saying is we won't know who Obama really is until we see him with more experience, under real fire. but, as i say above, that's a risk i'm willing to take.

Paul Stokes said...

Good points, Jim and Sean. I find Obama refreshing and it will be interesting to see how he will do. (I'm pretty sure he will win.) But I won't vote for him. (I voted for, gasp, Hillary.)

But I'm not sure I give much credit to the argument that because "He can't be worse than Bush" we should vote for him. I know that's not your main argument, but I don't think Bush much belongs in the discussion. I do, however, think it is clever of Obama to paint McCain as Bush lite.

I think Bush failed us by not living up to what he said he stood for and by projecting a sort of arrogance that served us all very poorly.

I can read Obama's position papers, but I'm not sure I know the man very well. He just hasn't been much tested, and that's why I suggest he's a bit of a blank screen. I don't mean that people who like him are unintelligent.

Anonymous said...

Your marxist antiSemetic slip is showing. ;~)

PS Thank you. How long I been after you to change that pic? heh heh heh

sameasthem said...

Yeah, Sean I agree with you (and Paul) on the experience issue. I just think it's true for anyone in that job. However, I understand that with Obama it's is more so.

Anonymous said...

After hearing second hand, not from a news source mind you about people fainting/swooning at his rally speeches, decided I'd try and get a feel for this guy. Sat through a televised debate, agonizing. Took in two of his town hall meetings on C-Span, mindless bumper sticker politics coupled with finger pointing(judgment AND condemnation), knowing head nodding, smirking, pessimism, America sucks - every square inch of it. Tedious. Checked his books for heft, did not open them though, warming to the touch is a sure sign to put anything down. My question was, this guy ever had a real job? Don't think so. Clueless. His labor never produced a thing except the threat of a law suit. So when he starts talking about manufacturing jobs, please stop. I've had a couple, dull, dirty and often times dangerous, which I was proud to do. Ship 'em overseas, let some person in the third worlds boat rise with the tide. The building trades, proud of it, monuments to yourself like dog poop around town, connects you to every little part of a market economy from cutting down the trees to hanging those sensor driven lights at the front door. Excuse me Mr. Senator sir, this situation is not static, neither is the pile of money you can't wait to confiscate, everything is connected and makes the next thing jump. It's not one pie and it's not almost gone. Oblivious, then again maybe not. Investor class - I'm there. Two full time jobs for what seemed like three lifetimes, took those taxed several times pay checks, squirreled $5, $10 at a time in a mutual fund - heavy in coal, natural gas, evil oil and defense. You know what he wants to do with those industries, my interest and dividends. He's pretty cavalier talking about my money, acts like I'm a trust fund baby or not deserving of profit on my investments. Higher capital gains, then tax at a higher rate as income when I want to spend some. Small business? My wife was 29 years the consummate American entrepreneur, razor thin profit margins, cycles in every direction, it's a 24/7 proposition - sole proprietor of your own business. Taxes, taxes and more taxes, local, state, federal. Bureaucratic agencies you never heard of, with law enforcement type powers, like dogs on small game. Sold the business, maintained the licenses as inactive, kept the S Corp status, everybody still wants their tax money from an inactive business generating no money. Call me crazy but I think the government(s) should really reconsider their positions on enticing their citizens to embrace the 7 Deadly Sins and break The 10 Commandments at the expense of the citizens who make this Great Nation work. I'm no genius but I sure can sense when a politician is holding/passing a loaded law to my head and relieving me of my property. The other two candidates are no better. Anthropomorphic Climate Crisis, Dr. No, Darth Vader, Pinky and The Brain plotting to take over the world. Do something about the weather? If only. Think pretty highly of themselves I might add. Gorons and meteorologists, spare me, please. We're starving people, importing wheat for the first time in our history and putting inflationary pressure on the price of everything so we can feel good about filling up with bio fuel/ethanol? The rest of the world is laughing themselves silly over our energy policies. Our good friend George Orwell put it best, "One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that; No ordinary man could be such a fool."

Hope? As if we're hopeless. I'll take some action thank you. Something like punching holes in the ground, bleeding off the natural gas, sucking out the oil, mining for coal, build some refineries, build a nuke plant. And here's a novel idea, let's do it in America, have Americans get paid for producing energy, working for American companies, working for Americans. Heck, nobody would mind paying $5, $6 a gallon. We live in the Age of Oil not the Stone Age. America is the Greatest Nation, producing untold wealth, reaching out to every human being on the planet with our generosity and good will, advancing medicine and every imaginable technology beyond our wildest dreams - in the history of mankind! Then you listen to one of our politicians and you get the impression they will not be satisfied until we are all living in caves, eating dirt cookies and pooping in holes in the ground.

I cast for American Exceptionalism this November!

PS Jump at every offer of a tax holiday, tax cut, stimulus check even if it's ONLY .... Every penny we get out of Washington DC is one more penny that will not be wasted.

Sean Meade said...

P: i think i'd vote for HRC before McCain.

the argument is not 'since he can't be worse than Bush we should vote for him'. i was just responding to some of your arguments by applying them to Bush.

nice of you to admit that Bush failed us to some degree ;-)

Anonymous/GSR: if you're going to call me anti-Semitic, at least spell it right! ;-)

your criticism of Obama does not move me at all. i think much of it could be applied to McCain (unless being in the Navy and the Hanoi Hilton (for which i honor him) absolves him from everything).

pretty sure Obama's not after you, but the CEOs of Shell and Lockheed Martin. you talk of taxes, most under Repubs in the last 4 administrations (so at least 20 years-worth). those are your guys for the tax cuts.

i could adjust to 5/6$ guess, but i doubt everyone could. these are the people who shop at Wal-Mart. they want low price, even if it's made in China.

is America exceptional? you bet!

you'll find Paul in agreement on tax starvation (and i'm getting there ;-)

Anonymous said...

Did say the other two candidates are not any better. Casting for President? Probably sit it out. Will touch screen for Congress to Animal Control. March me to the booth, with a handgun to my head, tell me to cast for one of the three - pull the trigger please. My conscience could not withstand the compromise. HA!

Poisin Ivy! Try rubbing a little salt in/on, depending on your pain threshold. Safer than injecting whatever, clears faster too.

Spelling error? Of course, kwazdy people can't spell, you know that. ;~)

Sean Meade said...

GSR: warning: you are not endearing yourself to my wife by calling me anti-Semitic ;-)

compromise, indeed. voting for president is usually no fun.

salt?! very interesting. sometimes that pain just hurts so good (i have been known to scald poison ivy with hot water or a hair dryer ;-)

sorry: crazy people are still responsible for spelling ;-)

Paul Stokes said...

These political posts get things moving, no?

If it were not so important, one would like to see an Obama presidency, just to see how long it will take for the Left to turn on him as he begins to confront reality, which I believe he is able and honest enough to do. As he is doing that, he will make lots of mistakes that McCain would have avoided. I hope few of them will be beyond correction.

Jim said...

I'm going to guess "anonymous" is Andrew...am I right "anonymous"?...
HAHAHA!!............ :-)

Sean Meade said...

P: indeed they do :-)

if Obama is elected, the Left will turn on him, no doubt.

what do you mean by mistakes McCain would avoid? any examples?

Jim: nope, he's my cyber-buddy GSR/GLSR. but you make an interesting connection ;-)

Paul Stokes said...

Of course, we will never know for sure whether a mistake that Obama would make would have been avoided by McCain. But an example of what worries me about his inexperience is his statement that he would meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Now we have his campaign trying to spin that away, and the McCain campaign attacking with it, which is entirely legitimate on both sides. But there you have a well meaning mistake that I find disturbing.

Sean Meade said...

Paul: any engagement with Iran is better than our current 'Axis of Evil' posture.

Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting and speculative. My wife was a die-hard, time-and-money donating Hil supporter, and as much as I thought she was as hard as nails, I was sad to see her go. (I'm an Obama supporter) I think it is going to be a difficult campaign for BO to win without her, and I think she got the brunt of the criticism, and he was treated like our new shiny joy. The gap between the average struggling American, and Barack Obama is undeniable; and, I'm sure anyone with marbles knows that he isn't a tested, hardened politician.

I was listening to an NPR show this week where someone finally drew all of the contrasts bet. JFK and Barack and it was sobering to juxtapose the blind hope people get from Obama versus the nostalgic dreams that were 'dashed' by Kennedy's assassination. The main reason I will miss Hil was because she has done the time, and has enough punch in DC to start a snowball. I don't think that many in that town are as sunny as our Democratic nominee, and are mainly wondering how they can get close to him for their own benefit. The power structure, the ridiculous cost of a campaign, the need for industry ties and thus influence, the unnecessary moral kowtowing, the media blender/butcher effect, and all of the making nice, has the whole system in a strangle hold making it semi-impossible to get anything done, or undone, for that matter. BUT: having a guy who brings out a gut feeling of hope in the minds of a nation definitely is a splash of cold water to the face. (Which to this one voter, is a nice change). I keep in mind, that the average voter does not hang on to the political ticker and read the latest blog on the temperature of our candidates. The average voter has an average job, which he/she likes and hates. Has kids to raise. Has a hobby like fantasy football, or darts. In the long-run they vote for someone who will do more good than bad for the country. Many deal in brush strokes, and are angry at which ring of the toilet bowl we've been hanging around since the induction of the current administration.

Really, there are only 3 main issues. The war, which everyone in the country knows where the two candidates stand. The economy, which a president has little control over (other than The New Deal), because American-made jobs, and American-made industry/excelled students in said future industries is really up to the individual American, the family, and the American company. So much of the globe is entrenched in our economy, that a co-dependant creature has been spawned with our need to succeed as well as falter is in high-demand. National Security, which McCain MAY be more schooled in than Obama, but his take on that issue is much like the former Soviet Union in my book (we are stronger, we will hit you harder than you can hit us, and think twice). I'm not sure if I hate the idea of having a global conversation, and some humility in this regard, as well as keep ourselves informed on the REAL threats that exist to us on the globe.

I don’t think voters that hinge on single issues, like race, abortion, gun control, or global warming, are going to decide this election.

Sorry this went on forever/became soap-boxy, and a little droning.

Sean Meade said...

Terry: i agree that there's a gap b/t BO and the average American, but his beginnings sure were humble enough and i love the multicultural background.

i'm not sure any senator is a good pick for Prez, less so those that have served a while.

i think your characterization of the average voter is dead on.

thanks for the comment!