Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Who Is Obama? 

TH and many others are struggling to capture who is this bright, inexperienced fellow. What does he think? What will he do if elected President?

1) Will he withdraw from Iraq within 16 months, and if so, what will be the result? Or will he "refine" his approach and stay longer?

2) Will he raise taxes as our economy struggles? Or will he do a complete about face and launch a massive fiscal stimulus package to combat economic weakness?

3) How will he choose to deal with US interests in the Middle East? Oil? Israel? Iran?

4) Will he elect to emphasize law enforcement as a device to manage domestic and international terrorism? Or will he see it as a challenge for war and diplomacy?

5) Will he propose to nationalize the healthcare in the US and replicate the Canadian or British healthcare system for payment and provision of service? Or will he merely extend benefits to more people via the current system?

6) Will he appoint judges sympathetic to the death penalty? Or to abortion? Ginsberg? Or Alito?

The fact is, we cannot answer with certainty. His tactical political decision to promote policy "triangulation" and ambiguity replicates President Clinton in many respects. But in my judgment, looking in the rearview mirror may serve Obama poorly, as opposed to standing for clearer principles. From 1992 - 2000, the US lived in a fairytale moment of great calm and transition from the Cold War and all of its challenges. We benefitted from a "peace dividend". Clintonian pragmatism fit well with a calm moment.

In the current moment of economic uncertainty and foreign policy and diplomatic challenges, consistently articulated principles may serve both candidates better than policy triangulation. Voters may not like everything McCain stands for, but I suspect they understand precisely his stance on many of the issues that will be debated during the campaign. With Obama, while he has written a great deal and voted as a Senator in a fashion which suggests he is an unusually left of center politician, he is now running away from that history. Commentators on the left and right have made a note of it. Even Pastor Wright made that observation.

So who is he, really?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 08, 11:06:00 AM:

Ironically on 1, 3, 4 and 5, I'm betting that he would be alot like Bush.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 08, 11:44:00 AM:

Let's remember that Obama himself made substantially similar arguments to Cardinalpark in his famous Jefferson-Jackson dinner speech. Oh, how quickly he changed!  

By Blogger Gammer Gurton, at Tue Jul 08, 12:00:00 PM:

Who is he? Well, what has he done the most, and most consistently, for the longest? He's sat in Trinity Church, listening to Reverend Wright. That's the bass note; the rest is just ruffles and flourishes.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Tue Jul 08, 12:04:00 PM:

So who is he, really?

The guy that might trigger the next great depression via incredibly inept and naive policies. The Pelosi/Reid congress, even inept as it is, is the only thing that might stop him.

The guy who's administration will turn out to be so corrupt it will make Huey Long look like a paragon of virtue.

The Guy who will get rolled like a Bowery drunk by the likes of Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, etc when it comes to foreign policy.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Tue Jul 08, 12:06:00 PM:

Look at his campaign policy advisers and its not hard to divine what the playbook contains.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 08, 12:37:00 PM:

Who is he?

He's black, isn't that all that matters?  

By Blogger Elijah, at Tue Jul 08, 01:27:00 PM:

"He's black,"

Hence the term...
Black Liberation Theology

"isn't that all that matters?"

it is for individuals who attempt to use it as a tool to suppress discussion and debate  

By Blogger vanderleun, at Tue Jul 08, 03:05:00 PM:

Or for those who value concision over repetition.  

By Blogger joated, at Tue Jul 08, 03:44:00 PM:

Perhaps his campaign's theme song should be the intro music from the original CSI.
"Who are you?"  

By Blogger Diane Wilson, at Tue Jul 08, 03:54:00 PM:

Who is he?

Looking at his record, he's a do-nothing, say-anything back-bencher with no accomplishments to call his own, even in his vaunted history as a "community organizer." He has no record of taking hard stands, or crossing the aisle to generate bi-partisan support on any significant issue.

He speaks of what he stands for, but he's never successfully stood up for anything, especially against entrenched opposition.

What would I expect him to do as President? I'd expect him to get rolled by every foreign leader, every terrorist, every Congressman, and every bureaucrat he comes up against. He has no clue what he's getting himself into.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 08, 04:04:00 PM:

What has Hussein EVER done to make you conclude that he is "bright?" Getting through Columbia and Harvard might be a start, but we don't yet know the impact of their affirmative action efforts. And, isn't a little strange, especially in view of all the evil doers in Hussein's background, that we haven't had a constant stream of glib university professors telling us what a fine student he was?  

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