Monday, June 16, 2008


Will anyone with a microphone ever ask Obama what qualifies him to be POTUS? NRO did the investigation that was sitting there waiting lo these many months to be done, and found that, surprise, Obama's ability to get people excited about Obama is all he has ever really accomplished. Unfortunately, he is very good at that, though. Tom, I am not a subscriber - are you able to forward me the article? Hopefully someone with a broader readership and whose name is not Hannity will pick up on the NRO piece, but I ain't holding my breath.

When it comes to lasting accomplishments, Obama's list isn't very long. His greatest hits seem to have been a successful effort to convince the city of Chicago to locate a jobs placement office on the far South Side and his part in a drive to push the city to clean asbestos out of a housing project in the same area. What else? A few other things; nothing big. [Through the course of my investigation] I got the sense that Obama's greatest talent was his ability to convince people to believe that it was possible to change things, not to actually bring about much change himself.

Obama has been selling the message of change since his organizer days. His gift, then and now, was to convince people to believe in him. Obama, not long out of college, didn't have much experience to qualify him to be an organizer. But he was black — a threshold qualification for this particular job — and he seemed able almost to work magic on those he encountered. "He didn't have experience," Augustine-Herron told me, "but he had a sensitivity that allowed us to believe that he could do that job."

In the media age, does personality trump policy? Is it more important to be a charismatic leader than to have a proven record of effective leadership? Do we hire now based on potential rather than performance? Is a well run campaign sufficient qualification for office? Interesting times.

My hope is that Obama is peaking, and that he can only become less popular, not more, as people get to know him. My fear is that he is so engaging that everything else matters less, and that compared to the awkward lump of porridge that is John McCain, and the lukewarmness he engenders among right-leaning voters, Obama's charm and rhetoric will shine too brightly to overcome. I especially fear this in light of the two or three appointments to SCOTUS that the next president will make.

But it's not a fear that is really fear, the kind that makes one noticeably afraid, not like a snake at the ankle or a crazed killer with knife aloft behind the refrigerator door.

I preferred being on vacation with no news. It was simpler. I like simple. Just the waves lapping at the beach and occasionally a bird snatching a fish, that was pretty good.


Sir Saunders said...

This is excellent commentary and will certainly make Barack seem inexperienced and naive when compared to McCain. I don't know how Barack will survive a series of unstructured debates with McCain, but it may simply be a "cult of personality" and people may want change for change sake, even if they are voting for an illusion rather than substance.

Dude said...

I'm devil's advocate on this issue. I think you pick the man for the job rather than the best resume. If experience was the best barometer for POTUS suitability, then Hillary would be trying to unseat Emperor Dole.

Reagan had governing experience before he ran but before his speech at the '64 convention, he could easily have been discounted for being just an actor and not a politician. Truth is, he had a charisma that enabled him to engage people and it is apparent that Obama has that same quality.

There's no way to tell now if he will be a good leader or not but he instills in people a fervent belief that he knows what he's doing and all the best leaders possessed that quality.

I'm not voting for Obama because I don't vote for socialists, but I am so happy that it is him and not Hillary that has the chance to win the White House that I'm willing to give him the benefit of doubt until the results of his decisions start coming in.

Sir Saunders said...

Yeah, Stalin and Mussolini also instilled in people that they knew what they were doing. I think Dude has finally fallen off his rocker. I'm sure Obama will make the "trains run on time" but I'd rather have a late train and my Liberty, then his crazy socialist agenda.

Dude said...

Maybe I've been in California too long, Sir Saunders. I woke up today to news reports from West Hollywood that lesbians were marrying and Mr Sulu is no longer flying solo and I smiled and thought "good for them."

Tom said...

Sorry E. My subscription must have run out. I didn't get one single notice and yet I haven't seen a print issue in over a month.

Sir Saunders said...

Actually, I was pretty happy for Mr. Sulu as well. There is something sweet about that guy and the thought of him happy made me smile too.

Tom said...

I don't even want my daughter watching television and getting caught up in this celebrity nonsense because it all ends in the cult of personality.

I heard Senator Levin getting on some administration official because of abuse at Guantanamo Bay. "abuse". A ragtag army of terrorists attack our soldiers in Afghanistan and we're to fix them tea at 4pm. There is not a one of them that shouldn't be beaten senseless whenever the mood hits. The cult of personality thinks different.

Hey, E. Left unsaid in all of these comments is the fact that your post is poetic in its beauty. The last line is sublime.

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