Friday, August 29, 2008

My Reflections on Obama and McCain

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am not a true fan of either candidate currently running for president. I’m also not registered as a Democrat or Republican as my political beliefs don’t fit neatly into either category. I pretty much sit firmly in the middle and vote the issues, not party alignment. For me, this particular election comes down to which candidate could I tolerate for four years. Lately that candidate seems to be Obama.

Sure, he is inexperienced and he doesn’t have the "record" that McCain has. However, I feel, just based on my own personal observations that Obama is more open minded and would be more receptive to the input and ideas of others. I don’t get that impression from McCain. He seems like a "My way or the highway" type of guy. That type of attitude serves no one in present day politics, especially after suffering through that arrogant attitude for eight years with Dubya.

I have watched much of the DNC this past week as I will watch much of the RNC next week. I listened to Obama’s speech and was thoroughly impressed with him, as I was four years ago when he spoke at the DNC as an unknown Senator. He is a gifted orator and I believe a truly sincere and nice guy. However, I do worry about Obama. He does not seem to be one to offer specifics on policies. His answers are vague and often unclear. He seems to speak in broad generalizations. He certainly speaks to the hearts of people. There is no doubt he can stir the emotions of even the biggest naysayers, but is he really saying anything of substance? The verdict is still out for me.

I think that even though he is inexperienced he would probably surround himself with a staff that would be knowledgeable and experienced to compensate for any weakness he may lack. I think he would listen to opposing views and seriously consider them, whether those views come from Democrats, Republicans, or any other political party. I think he stands the greatest chance of unifying the polarized parties of our country. I also think he would be an asset in diplomatic dealings.

Conversely, I have a bad feeling about McCain. I don’t like a lot of his politics for starters. I also don’t get the impression that he is one to heed the advice of others too often, especially if that advice is different from what he thinks or feels is best. He seems to be quick-tempered and rather unpredictable. I reiterate that this is just my personal feeling and not based on anything more.

Last week at the DNC Jimmy Carter said that if Obama were elected President it would mark the end of racism in our country. I am by no means naïve enough to think for one minute that that is anywhere close to the truth. Nor do I think that if McCain and Sarah Palin were elected it would mark the end of sexism or ageism. We have come a long way, though, that is for certain. It is pretty cool when you stop to think that either way history will be made. We will either have a black President or a female Vice President.

The cynical side of me thinks that is why McCain chose Palin. I am sure that she is probably qualified to be Vice President, but is also greatly helps McCain’s image that he is "progressive" enough to buck traditional DC and pick a young, inexperienced, woman for the second highest job in the land. I think he is trying to send the message that he too is capable of being a catalyst for change; that he went against he stereotypical GOP VP nominee and chose Palin. I just have such a hard time believing that she serves any greater purpose than being McCain’s token. His choice also seems to undermine his criticism of Obama’s inexperience. That point now seems fairly moot and void of any substance since both campaigns now have an experienced DC insider paired with an inexperienced DC outsider. I guess over time we will see how this plays out and if I am just being too cynical.

On a personal note, about five years ago my brother, who is now a lawyer, did an internship for Senator McCain in Arizona. He was rarely at the location my brother worked out of, but when he did make an appearance one of his aides suggested that he go over and meet his interns and thank them. Well within earshot (and view) of the interns he told the aid that he didn’t have time to meet them. In the same amount of time that he stood there telling his aid that he was too important to rub elbows with the hired help ("hired’ being used very liberally here as it was an unpaid internship), he could have gone over and met the interns. That is seemingly something minor but it rubs me the wrong way that he couldn’t take five minutes to meet the young men and women who were working tirelessly for him. I wonder how much that says about how he treats others around him or those that work for him and how he would in turn treat the people of America if he were elected.

So, what are your thoughts? Was Palin a good choice? Was she chosen merely because she is a woman? What did you think of Obama’s speech?


Nancy said...

Our view on politics seems to be very similar. I'm also an independent because I call myself a liberal conservative and a conservative liberal.
I did not watch any of the DNC and will probably not watch any of the RNC although I can probably find Obama's speech (and hopefully Ted Kennedy's) on YouTube.
I personally think John McCain is too old - because I have a 84 year old father. I know McCain's not THAT old, but the old people get, the crotchety-er they become and I know that up close and personal. So I agree with the "my way or the highway".
I think Obama has the sense to surround himself (Biden being one example) with people who will help him/guide him as President.
I think McCain's selection of Palin (is that confirmed?) as Vice-President DOES make his criticism of Obama a moot point because he has selected an inexperienced running mate. And I think he's just trying to curry favor with people who want to see a woman elected in some capacity. However, I don't really see that as a wish of anyone in the Republican party as I picture them as a bunch of crusty old farts who hate change.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Mark said...

Good post! As a Canadian, I have watched the leadership build up with interest. Like the political scene here, there are pluses and negatives with each candidate. Obama is strongly pro-choice, young, inexperienced, and guilty of election evil. McCain has some character defects, is old, possibly stuck in his ways, and connected to the old establishment. Each man has something to offer. Personally I wished Huck had made it further - I liked him! As for Palin, I think that was a stroke of genius. McCain definitely gets the higher marks for cunning in choosing a running mate. As long as she's squeaky clean she will severely improve McCain's image . . .

jodifur said...

I'm a die hard democrat, but really, McCain would just be 4 more years of bush, and I can't do that.

Gena B. said...

I think Obama's speech was powerful and inspiring. I am very shocked at McCain's choice and agree with your assessment as to why he chose her. I can't wait to see how "we, the people" respond. Her inexperience makes me nervous.

Gypsy Gal said...

Insightful post. I was a Hilary supporter and am still trying to get my thoughts around Obama. I do feel McCain should not be president. No way, No McCain.

Emerald said...
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Emerald said...

Wonderful post. I am a Democrat and wish it was Hilary I would be voting for. I do feel 4 more years of Bush-league would be horrible for our country.