Monday, October 23, 2006

The Real Deal?

There is a lot of noise right now about Barack Obama running for President in 2008. I honestly don’t know that much about him, only glancing knowledge from a blog post here and there and an occasional news story. Evidently, at the Kennedy Library forum on Friday night, Barack Obama declined to rule out a Presidential run in 2008 and in an appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday, he said in so many words that he was considering a run.

The fact that this is being taken seriously is somewhat telling about the state of our nation right now. We are desperate for anyone that is smart, attractive, sensible and apparently trustworthy to step forward and provide some leadership. I am not so sure, however, that Mr. Obama is the right man, right now. He may be capable of being a great President someday but with the country in the state it is in currently, I am looking for someone we will not have to train on the job. We need someone with heavy experience on the national scene, preferably having been in close orbit around the presidency. We need someone with experience at serious foreign policy and that has had to develop diplomatic skills in the real world. It has only been a couple of years ago that Mr. Obama was just an obscure state politician. His short tenure in the Senate has not proven his skills and frankly he has been unimpressive to date. If anything, our recent experience should tell us that we need to be a lot more careful about who we pick for President. We need to be real, real careful.

There are currently some serious questions in my mind about how committed Barack Obama is to the progressive agenda that I feel America is desperately in need of. While he appears to have a firm understanding of the problems facing America he has not yet demonstrated the willingness to make the hard stands and defend his beliefs on the floor of the Senate. His willingness to praise Bush and then turn around and pander the whacko Christofascists is very disturbing. He also has a tendency to come across as contemptuous of progressives and liberals. More than once his remarks are seen as talking down to the progressive left. The choice he made to not go to Connecticut and campaign for Ned Lamont was, I think, a serious breach of faith with the Democratic Party.

Another disturbing fact is that you are not hearing much negative energy coming from the other side. Why is that? It could be because the GOP would like nothing better than for the Democrats to nominate someone like Obama for the run in 2008. It would be very easy for them to field an opposition candidate with a deeper résumé, more national experience and foreign policy credentials than Obama. While the Republicans may be in deep guacamole now and most probably still will be in 2008, they could easily put together a ticket that would annihilate the likes of Barack Obama.

All of the above being said it might be a good thing for him to at least get in the mix for the nomination. We might at least get to see him debate his ideas and give us a better understanding of who he is and what he could really to for the country with a little more experience. My personal opinion is that there are just too many unknowns and way too little record for us to truly judge him. Maybe with a couple of more years in the Senate, especially if the Democrats can regain control, he could build a record of accomplishment that would tell us who he is. Not to mention that with a few more years of national political exposure he could earn some of the thick hide and mettle necessary to weather a national presidential campaign.

He could be the real deal someday only not today. I will give him one thing. He has been consistently against the invasion and continuing debacle in Iraq even as he was running for his senate seat in Illinois.

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