No doubt about it: he’s cool. A lot cooler than John McCain. (I mean, he gave his wife a fist bump on national TV.) He’s inspiring. He delivers a speech very well. His voice is confident and authoritative. He has the best image since probably JFK, and all the skill of Bill Clinton without most of the liabilities. A black President would be a great statement about the (still incomplete) progress we’ve made in race relations.
Still, I think Obama is a terrible choice for President. Here are a few reasons I pass on the “Yes We Can” Kool-Aid.
- He has no experience, no background. He logged under 150 working days in the Senate before forming his presidential exploratory committee. He’s done nothing but prepare to run for President. Hillary Clinton had more of a track record than him– and that’s saying something.
- His whole image is just that. He seldom actually says anything– just throws out the same clichés over and over: “the failed policies of the past,” “hope for the future,” and the ever-popular “change we can believe in”. He refuses to answer tough, specific questions, because he knows that’s not where his strengths are– and a lot of his constituents don’t care about his answers anyway.
- He is unbelievably naive, especially when it comes to foreign policy. He has this idea that if he just sits down and talks with [insert crackpot dictator here], he could straighten things out. That we can just pull out of Iraq and suddenly everything will be wonderful. He doesn’t seem to have any sense that there’s evil in the world that needs to be restrained. (Unless it’s the evil of “cynicism”.)
- He has a messiah complex. He and his wife think that everything is spiraling downward in America, but that if we just put him in the White House he can lead us into the Brave New World. That is scary to me.
- He is chillingly, unbelievably terrible on abortion, with a consistent 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He believes “A woman’s ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess”– which, of course, would be just fine if he weren’t talking about a woman choosing to kill the children she doesn’t want to have. He would require insurance companies to pay for abortions, and restore federal funding for them as well. This point alone makes it unfathomable to me that evangelicals are giving Obama a moment’s thought.
- His tendency (and that of his wife) either to say things he clearly does mean and then reinterpret them, or to say things he doesn’t seem to mean and then reinterpret those too, suggest either a willingness to say whatever needs to be said to get elected, a lack of understanding of some important issues, or some combination of the two. (This speaks, then, to #s 1 and 2 above as well, but is so frustrating that it merited its own number.)
- At the end of the day, he’s nothing new. He’s not any different from any other politician, except that he’s very handsome and gives a great speech. His policy ideas, once you push away all the fluff, are plain, down-the-line, far-left orthodoxy. Of course, you can be a liberal– there are worse things to be. But don’t paint yourself as some Grand New Way when you’re not. Man up, campaign on your actual ideas and plans, and see who gets the votes. We’re electing a president, not a messiah.