The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Equal Time

In an article in the NY Daily News, Michael Goodwin defends Barack Obama against attacks by the Clintons. Bill and Hillary argue that his speeches, as spectacular as they are, mask a lack of experience and a sparse record of accomplishment that make one wonder whether the soaring rhetoric is nothing more than empty promises.

Goodwin argues for Obama:
In amassing a large coalition of young and old, black and white Democrats, independents and some Republicans, Obama offers the possibility that America can finally get beyond its partisan stalemates. If that happened, a united nation would be better equipped to move forward on everything from the economy to the scourge of Islamic terror …

His coalition could dramatically change the dynamics of our politics. Start with the sheer number of new voters who have supported him, nearly doubling the turnout of four years ago.

Increased citizen involvement is the greatest threat to special interests. Brought together by a common purpose, new voters are unlikely to fall sway to the narrow focuses that have reduced politics to a board game of legal bribes for pols and paybacks for special interests.

And given that Obama has trumpeted his ability to work with Republicans and said nice things about Reagan, his supporters are less likely to be limited by partisan labels.

All of this enthusiasm sounds good, but I think its very important to recognize that promises are easy … implementing those promises is very, very hard.

What in Obama’s extremely liberal voting record leads one to believe that he can bridge the partisan divide and “work with Republicans?” Has he crafted or even sponsored a single bi-partisan bill that has become law? Has he worked actively with Republican members of congress to limit the partisan bickering that we all despise? Are his “solutions” (as vague as they are at the moment) centrist or do they represent Left-leaning ideology (big government, higher taxes, but only for the “rich,” etc. etc.)?

Adults who indulge in adolescent swooning for this man make his entire self-referential campaign (“we are change”) just a little bit creepy. Is it possible that Barack Obama will be everything every admirer projects him to be? Not a chance.

Does that mean he couldn’t be a good President. No, it does not. But Presidents make decisions that have long lasting affects. Decisions that affect millions of lives. If those decisions are bad ones, or naïve, or doctrinaire, our world will not be a better place. Don’t believe me? Think: George W. Bush, or for that matter, Jimmy Carter.

If you're an adult and you’re gung ho for Barack Obama, I can understand your enthusiasm. But before you step into the voting booth, be sure you’ve given your heart and your brain equal time.

Obama’s rhetorical talent is a lot like Amy Winehouse’s soaring musical talent. You can love the listening experience, but before you propose marriage, understand what you’re likely to get as an outcome.