The King's Marquee

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Choosing Obama: Rationale and Analysis

The most complicated thought process is understanding why someone would support Barack Obama. I think that generally speaking when you lay everything out, he's an incredibly hard sell. But there are those - those looking beyond merit and experience, who are squarely in the Obama camp.

Let's analyze their arguments to see what we come up with.

Rationale: I'm voting for Barack Obama because we've had eight years of George Bush and Republicans and we can do better.

Analysis: George Bush can take both credit and blame for a lot of things. This writer has found many faults with Bush as a leader, communicator and President. But President Bush's biggest downfall is his inability to articulate positions and ideals in a manner understood by his general audience. This gap hurt him and Republicans tremendously because principles and ideals could not be advanced by the man at the top. If you can't communicate economic policy or defense policy in other than non-complex terms, or draw analogies (or paint the picture) then its hard for folks to buy into your way of thinking. In fact, the Bush Administration has been mostly about the various military conflicts abroad, and less about domestic policy - which required far more attention than it received.

Few people, even on the Republican side, are sad to see George Bush leave office.

Republicans dug their own hole with the public by proving that they are no better than Democrats at dipping into the til to spend money on pet projects. Newt Gingrich spoke most plainly to this by saying that Republicans began to act like Democrats, except that the pork spending went into Republican districts. Republicans were promoted to control of Congress after putting together the Contract with America and committing to hold the line on frivolous spending. Republicans were seen to be no better than Democrats, and as memories are short - Republicans got the boot. And they deserved to get the boot. The problem with this argument though, is that Democrats have controlled Congress over the last two cycles and have been less productive then just about any Congress in the history of the the United States.

Democrats cannot claim to be part of the solution since their Congressional record is beyond dismal. Even with a poor communicator like George Bush in office, Democrats couldn't muster a counter-argument to any policy. Senate Leader Henry Reid (D) came across bitter and angry; and made himself irrelevant. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) seemed at best distracted and disengaged. Surely, no Congress has ever done so little with so much ammunition. And Democrat activists are coming unglued about the lost opportunty to have possibly advanced their agenda. And with both Presidential nominees coming from the U.S. Senate, we must admit that they are both part of the problem, and both fall within the 7% approval rating that Congress so justly deserves. That rating is far below the President's approval rating even at its lowest peak.

The other part of this faulty argument is that John McCain is not George Bush. In fact, the leadership styles are very different. Are the political stance different? Not quite sure on that one. We know that McCain has differed with his party on more than one occasion, but just because some agrees on where we need to get to, doesn't mean that they would follow the same path. In this respect, tying McCain to Bush is dishonest by any intellectual standard. While its true the platforms for Democrats and Republicans are different, approaches, plans and ideas should be evaluated on an individual basis, not a party line evaluation - particularly when it comes to John McCain.

Rationale: Obama is new and exciting. He's not an insider.

Analysis: It's true that Obama wasn't an insider at the start of his U.S. Senate career some 147 days ago before he was a Community Organizer. But one would have to say that he's probably just as much an insider as anyone is in the political establishment. The process to become a U.S. Senator, regardless of party, is rooted in favors, money, donations, pacs, special interest groups and a litany of other things that candidates seem to be always rallying against.

It's true he's new. But he's too new to know how things work. We do not elect dictators that come in on day one and start calling the shots. And moreover there are plenty of entrenched politicians in Congress, Lobbyists, and civilians lifers in every department that tend to be the ones that make the engine chug. Barack Obama has barely been in the Senate, he's barely proposed any solutions, and he's not managed to get a single piece of legislation approved by his peers. How do people expect him to come in and advance change on a global scale, when he cannot advance change in his own Chamber?

Rationale: Barack means change.

Analysis: Change to what? Change what? Barack Obama hasn't laid out any detail plans that reflect change we can believe in, let alone change we can't believe in. He's made the same general statements that most politicians wish to adhere to: better lives for middle class, getting along with our neighbors, ending the war on terror, better health care for everyone, on and on and on. In this respect, he's no different. But in one respect, given that the election is only two months away, he hasn't given out a hint of how all these wonderful goals can be achieved.

The only change we see is the one that he has gone out of his way to point out - that's he of a different ethnic background, and comes from a non-traditional background. But that alone isn't reason enough to select Obama.

Rationale: I hate Republicans. I'm voting for Obama.

Analysis: This by far is the most legitimate reason to vote for Barack Obama. The reason is that because behind this rationale, there is not need for discussion on merit, experience, resume, or detailed plans; its pure emotion and pure politics. There is no way to change the mind of someone that thinks like this (and there are those on the conservative side that will vote for McCain by the same argument).

Depending on where you come down on certain issues - we call such voters "one issue voters" that either McCain or Obama will be your candidate no matter what. For example, a die hard pro-abortion person will choose Obama, and a Christian conservative pro-life voter will choose McCain. But these issues are few and far between and make up a minority of the population. Their votes are already cast. It's the people in the middle - the independents, the loosely affiliated - those that may be members of a party but don't adhere to much of the platform, and those that are members of a party but may be so by chance or because they chose a party 20 some odd years ago.

If people really want new and untested. If they want to break the mold - they thing that seems to really excite the media because they enjoy a fairytale ending, then Obama will win in November. If Americans take the election seriously, and want the Nation governed by an experienced (work and real life) person, then McCain will get the nod.

My guess is that the college crowd (those who are still living in a bubble), the unions, the liberals, and minorities will show en masse for Obama. And the conservatives, the small business owners, the Christians, and the guy who watches his wallet will probably hold his nose and vote for McCain (against the unknown underachiever).

As for Palin and Biden. They add little; they are merely distractions from the main event.

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