17 January 2007

Beating Obama: a guide to not sounding ridiculous

Hey, so everyone knows that I love the H E double hockey stick out of Barack Obama. I think he's honest. I think he's cute. I think he's smart. But I am certainly open to hearing why he is none of these things or why he is a bad candidate for President. Unfortunately, I have only been hearing really silly arguments about why he's a bad candidate, so I thought I might help my friends out on the right by giving a little tutorial on how to criticize Obama without looking ignorant.

Bad Argument #1: Obama's a political newbie. He's a baby. He can't be President.
Here's the problem with this argument, Obama served in the state senate of Illinois from 1996 until he became US senator in 2005. You count up those years of political experience and by 2009 (when he will assume office) that's like 12 or 13. Our current commander in chief was only governor of Texas from 1995 until he assumed office in 2001.
Better Argument #1: Obama's experience in the state senate did not prepare him for being President. He may be politically experienced, but 7 or 8 years as a state senator is way different than 5 years as a governor.
(Be careful here because you might be running McCain who is a senator. Obama also taught constitutional law at The University of Chicago. That might be considered a huge advantage for people who care about things like the constitution).

Bad Argument #2: Obama hasn't said or done anything.
Well, he did just write that book of policy. He has been an outspoken opponent of the war and arguing for a slow withdrawal from Iraq. He's introduced loads of bills in the senate and the state senate. There's plenty to disagree with.
Better Argument #2: I disagree with what Obama stands for. In his book (or in X speech or in X Bill he sponsored) he said Y and I think that's wrong.

Bad Argument #3: He hasn't been under enough scrutiny. Once he gets under the microscope, then he'll have problems.
You're gonna have a hard time convincing folks that since he made that speech in 2004, the Republicans (or anyone who doesn't like him) haven't been trying to dig the dirt up on the guy. He's been the most watched jr. senator in quite some time, I think.

Bad Argument #4: He hasn't said anything disagreeable or divisive.
Yeah, he probably won't as long as he can. People LOVE agreeable and inclusive people. If you'd rather have someone who's so strong-willed and steady-handed that they continue in their path while being disagreeable and telling Irish TV to stick it up their bunghole, well, that's fine. But it can't win another election in this political climate and it can't unify the world against "terrorism", two things that are pretty crucial to becoming President in 2009, I think:

So you wanna beat Obama, you're going to have to eventually argue with him instead of blowing him off as a flash in the pan or a media-darling. That's been going on for two and half years. He doesn't seem to be running out of steam yet.

Update: I can't get Wordpress to let me comment so here is the third comment in the string-

Well, you can check out this list, Presidents who were governors:

* Thomas Jefferson - Virginia
* James Monroe - Virginia
* Martin Van Buren - New York
* William Henry Harrison - Indiana Territory
* John Tyler - Virginia
* James Polk - Tennessee
* Andrew Johnson - Tennessee
* Rutherford Hayes - Ohio
* Grover Cleveland - New York
* William McKinley - Ohio
* Theodore Roosevelt - New York
* William Taft - Philippines
* Woodrow Wilson - New Jersey
* Calvin Coolidge - Massachusetts
* Franklin Roosevelt - New York
* Jimmy Carter - Georgia
* Ronald Reagan - California
* Bill Clinton - Arkansas
* George W. Bush - Texas

And US Senators:

* James Monroe - Virginia
* John Quincy Adams - Massachusetts
* Andrew Jackson - Tennessee
* Martin Van Buren - New York
* William Henry Harrison - Ohio
* John Tyler - Virginia
* Franklin Pierce - New Hampshire
* James Buchanan - Pennsylvania
* Andrew Johnson - Tennessee
* Benjamin Harrison - Indiana
* Warren Harding - Ohio
* Harry Truman - Missouri
* John F. Kennedy - Massachusetts
* Lyndon Johnson - Texas
* Richard Nixon - California

It seems that at least historically, we've held the two as equally electable. I think because a person is a President and not a set of former experiences, it will come down to who is the better leader for country at the time. Bush has really shown us that Presidents don't make policy; they approve policy. Bush has been broken by the people he's chosen to listen to, not because he makes bad policy.

Many people have called Obama a black man, but I'm not sure why he isn't as often called a white man. I mean, he is bi-racial. His father was also African, not African-American. I think this is a big difference. Maybe it's not.

In the end, Obama will benefit from the Clinton machine, either as a vice-presidential candidate or as a presidential candidate with a Clinton as his vice-president.