Jan 4, 2008

Barack Obama Will Be Our Next President

Here are some reasons to consider Barack Obama for president.

1. If we can agree that the United States is, for another moment, the most powerful nation in the world, then you could argue that every person in the world should be able to vote for America's president. Failing that here is a candidate, whose father comes from Kenya, his mother from Kansas, and of course whose middle name is Hussein. Isn't the diversity inherent in this man one of the most important qualities needed in the next president? Can you imagine the sense of participation this man will give to so many people, not just in America but out....

2. He's the smartest candidate. He has a vision of the future and a vision of America. He also has plans, and whether you agree with a particular plan, for say Healthcare or Foreign Policy, there is a clear statement of purpose. That's more unusual than you might think. You begin to see that his plan for one is like his plan for another. Everything is based on the idea of including all sides. You don't isolate healthcare providers from users, you don't shun dialogue with Iran because they support Hezbollah. The goal is to move things along, get past fear and ideology, and if discussion doesn't work then you try something else. But talking to opponents is the first option not the last.

3. Barack Obama is also healthy and you see that particularly in comparison to Hillary and Bill, still playing out their family drama in public. How could Hillary every say, "and I want to thank the great love of my life"?

As an aside, can't you see Bill listening to Obama's speech and thinking how much it sounded like something he would have written, and how much more visionary it was than what his wife was saying. And can't you see Bill at the nominating convention, forever more black than white, secretly wishing Obama wins the nomination. And after all, he stands a much better chance of some plum job, say this country's representative to the UN, than what he's like to get from his wife.

1. The endless argument is that Barack Obama lacks experience. But one could argue that if experience is what we've had for the last eight years, and maybe longer, then something else is required. The brain trove of experience imbedded in the Bush dynasty has lead to every kind of disaster but, most of all, a growing sense of hopelessness. Which is why Obama's speech last night was so inspiring: he know how to express the desire for hope, he understands how to dispell cynicism. Meanwhile, he's splattered as an idealist, partly because he wants to bring people to the table to talk. "Yes, but you can't simply say, 'let's talk' and assume that solves the problem." Of course not, but the lessons from Camp David have always been that you get opponents together and, using your imprimatur as president, you get them to agree to something. That's not idealism, it's pragmatic. Obama lacks experience? Perhaps, depending on your define it, but certainly intelligence, principle and the ability to provoke hope is worth more than some familiarity with the political passageways of the White House.

5. B said a true thing last night after listening to the speech. It was that Barack Obama speaks to the soul of America in a new way. it's partly because there's so much substance in his style, and because he has taken on, subconciously or not, the role of that Black preacher who really believes his message and through that conviction, convinces others. He offers a unique sense of security, a deep down trust in the rhythmic mantras of those people like Martin Luther King. It's that American lullaby that appeals even to whites who've never been to the south. It's that assurance that 'you know what, I guess everything can be okay after all, that with a fresh effort we really can succeed.'

Here is the part of his speech following his win in Iowa....

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