A friend recently sent me an e-mail that made reference to an article she had read. The author of the article was comparing Obama to the Nicolae Carpathia character from the Left Behind book series. She asked my opinion of that position. Needless to say, that set off a chain of events leading to the following e-mail reply to her.
I sent a copy of the e-mail to a Republican friend. He thought I was right on the money with all of my points (which is unusual for him). I also sent copies to other friends (all Democrats). All except for one agreed with the thoughts. In fact, my wife suggested that I forwarded my comments to the McCain campaign. I am still thinking about that one.
As a disclaimer to anyone who reads this posting, I do not pretend to be a political genius, nor do I pretend to have all of my facts correct. The important thing that I am trying to get across with this posting is that these are the honest opinions and feelings of a Clinton Democrat who is having serious problems with the Obama candidacy. You can criticize me all you want. The important thing to remember is that there are a lot of people, just like me, who are having these concerns. If Obama wants to be the next president, he needs to take these concerns into consideration. Taking the Clinton supporters for granted will be a major tactical error.
In any event, here is the text of that e-mail:
Good to hear from you, as always, As you can tell from my recent conversation thread on the forum (NOTE: an e-mail forum I moderate), I am working on yet another business plan!
I don't know if we are voting for the same guy. I was a dedicated Clinton fan. I even contributed to her campaign a couple of times. However, I am not an Obama fan. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the guy. It is just that there are many things that make me very uncomfortable with him. In no particular order, they are:
1. His total lack of experience in national and international affairs.
2. His emphasis on aphorisms and "feel good" talk, instead of concrete policies on specific issues.
3. His flip-flopping on issues. I believe that he has done so, regardless of what he says, and regardless of the masterful work his campaign is doing in disguising flip-flopping as wisdom and good judgment. I am particularly upset about his ever-changing position regarding Iraq. Current events have worked to his favor. He has manipulated those facts "on the ground" to gloss over the fact that he opposed the very measures (which McCain supported) that gave rise to the new facts on the ground. This is intellectual dishonesty. Although he never had the responsibility to vote yea or nay on the war approval, he tood credit for opposing the war and has made this his campaign mantra. Now that McCain had the good judgment to support the surge, Obama is taking credit for the results while ignoring the fact that he opposed it.
4. I am inherently defensive about anyone with the oratorical skills and charisma that Obama obviously possesses who only speaks in generalities. When the masses become entranced by someone's oratory, I get worried. Could be my Jewish paranoia over 20th century history (Hitler, to be specific). Nevertheless, such adulation makes me nervous.
5. I am offended by the way the press has essentially anointed Obama president, even before he has been officially nominated. As a corollary, I am annoyed that any criticism or political satire with Obama as the target is viewed as offensive and off-base, while it is open-season on McCain's age and temper. Obama seems to have no sense of humor, nor do his admirers and sycophants.
6. Obama has the most liberal voting record of any U.S. Senator. Such a voting record did not bode well for John Kerry in 2004. Although I have been a life-long Democrat, I am not a left-winger. I am socially liberal, but economically conservative. Obama is just too liberal for my taste, both on economic issues and on international affairs.
For these reasons and more, I will find it hard to vote for him in November. Not to say that I am in love with McCain. He is a good guy, and well-intentioned. I am just not sure if he is qualified to lead the country. He is a great maverick and can work across party lines to get things done. I'm just not comfortable with his executive and management skills. If his campaign thus far is any indication, he would be a disaster.
What gives me pause is that, even with everything in Obama's favor, his lead is relatively small. And, as recent polls and articles have demonstrated, he has yet to get an approval rating in the polls above 50%. So, the Clinton Democrats, as well as many independents, are not yet convinced that Obama is the right guy. I seem to be in that group, as is my wife.
Now, if Obama were to select Clinton as his running mate, that might change my opinion. I'm not sure. It would depend upon the nature of the relationship. If she were just window-dressing for him to get elected, I would support McCain and start working for Clinton 2012. However, if they were to commit to a true partnership, as in Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney, I might be more inclined to vote Democratic.
As to the Left Behind comment, it is funny that someone has written about that. I had that exact conversation with my wife about it. There are certain parallels between Obama and Nicolae Carpathia that give one pause. Don't get me wrong; I don't for a moment think that Obama has anything but the best intentions for this country. However, his naivete can get us into a lot of trouble, not the least of which could be a world war. On that point, I read a very interesting article that takes issue with the Obama-Kennedy comparison. The author (can't remember his name) wrote that such a comparison is not positive for Obama, since Kenedy was relatively inexperienced and totally unprepared when he took office in 1961. The result was the disastrous Bay of Pigs, and a disastrous summit with Khrushchev.
When Kennedy met Khrushchev, he was so unprepared that Khrushchev came awy from the summit thinking that Kennedy, and the U.S., were naive and unprepared for Russia's aggression. That, either directly or indirectly, led to Khrushchev's taking the steps he did in Cuba and South America to spread communism. And, as both know, this path took us to the brink of a world war.
I could go on and on. However, I think you get my point. I am very concerned for the country at this point in time. The U.S. is in terrible shape, particularly regarding the economy. And Bush has done a great job in alienating the entire world, regardless of whether he did the right thing in going into Iraq. We need someone in office who can "hit the ground running" and take the appropriate steps to "righten the ship" regarding international relations and make the difficult decisions to get the economy back on track. I think Obama is too radical in his approach. Either he will succeed beyond everyone's wildest dreams and get his face on Mt. Rushmore, or he will be a disaster. I, for one, don't think that this is the time to crap-shoot with the future of our country.
In my opinion, Clinton would have been the right person for the job at this time in history. She has the credentials to handle international relations, and she had the team (both hers and President Clinton's) who hae had experience in handling difficult economic times. So it goes...