It’s been a little more than four years since I was first introduced to Barack Obama, well not literally. Virtually I guess. I was watching the Democratic National Convention on TV in 2004. I’m not sure why, I don’t particularly like watching these things, even if I do, I tend to just watch the presidential and vice-presidential nominees just to see what they had to say. But for some reason, maybe it was fate, but I saw this politician that I had never before seen stand up in front of the convention and speak in a way I had never heard a politician speak. You know what you get with politicians, the same old same old.
This man was different. He went up to the podium and showed that he was one thing that most politicians weren’t. He was a professional speaker. This is an odd statement to make as politicians live and breathe to talk. That’s what they do, but Obama proves time and again that they are amateurs at what they do, he is a pro. And he didn’t speak about the things they all spoke in the same way. He spoke about unity and working together, and about hope, but the difference between him and everyone else was that you actually believed it when he said he wanted a brighter future. You believed him, you never believe others, but you believe him when he says it. Much like a congregation believes their preacher, he is the preacher of the future of American Government and you believe his messages of hope, or you don’t believe in a brighter future at all. Those are the options and he convinces you in some way, no matter how dire the straights seem to be.
I had high hopes for his career, as did many others, but then he came out as a presidiantial candidate and I wasn’t so sure. After all, what everyone else says about him is entirely true. He is very inexperienced in the political world and he could use some time in it to get his feet steadily on the ground. Furthermore, he wasn’t the only big time candiddate, there was also Hillary Clinton entering the race.
Hillary and I have our own history. I like her quite a bit, or at least I used to. When she was the first lady, and even her time as senator of New York she has done many good things, she has great experience and a good history. Yes she is more traditional, but she is a step in the right direction. However, through her campaign it seemed every week I saw her I liked her a little less. I’m not sure what happened to her, I actually suspect her real self came out and this became problematic for her because I didn’t like her one bit. I went from thinking there was no way anyone could beat her 4 years ago, to not wanting to vote for her myself this year. And it wasn’t attack ads by her opponents that did it. It had more to do with how she handled herself and her own attack ads on others that did her in.
It amazes me to see John McCain follow the same path as Hillary Clinton. It truly does amaze me. When I saw him in the 2000 presidential race, I loved him. Even in the early days of the Bush presidency I didn’t mind it, he seemed like he was going along with Bush because he had to. It seemed like he was almost saying “<sigh> yeah I agree with Bush because I’m a republican and that’s what we do.” But as Bush became less popular, he stuck with him and kept supporting him. And in some cases it got worse than Bush like constantly saying that we have a stable economy when the market crashes, or mentioning that he wants to restart the Cold War with Russia as we complain about the current war with Iraq. He just seems insane.
And if that weren’t enough, his campaign tactic has been identical to Clinton’s. Attack, Attack, Attack, nothing solid underneath. It is not surprising that you see the same happening to McCain that you saw happen to Clinton…. the more he attacks, the better the Obama numbers seem to get and the worse McCain seems to look. For some reason this tactic doesn’t do what you’d expect when it comes to Obama, he is unflappable and now two politicians that I used to like to some degree, I don’t really care for anymore.
The downside of Obama is his obvious lack of experience. A downside that is negated on the other side by Palin who is far less experienced than Obama and given the age of McCain it isn’t unlikely that she would become president by the end of the first term. So you are voting for inexperience at president regardless of whom you vote for. But ultimately even that isn’t worth not voting for him. The lack of experience means that he is unknown and that is what people are afraid of. But the hope that Barack brings to the ticket is worth the risk, and honestly even if you worry about the “unknown” that doesn’t warrant a vote for McCain as we know what he brings to the table, and unfortunately that is not something we want as a president.