I have followed Barack Obama’s career since around a year before he got elected to the Senate in 2004, as even back then people were saying he might be the first Black President of the United States.
He gave a great speech to the 2004 Convention, and I have hoped he would do well enough to one day be elected President, because I do think it should be a great day when an African-American is elected President of the United States. That of course is not reason enough alone to support them, but recognising their legacy of slavery and segregation which didn’t even centuries ago but just in the last generation.
I always thought he should not stand until 2012 or even 2016, when he would have more experience than not even a full term as a backbench Senator. But the opportunity to stand in 2008 became real, and he went for it – and will probably be the Democratic candidate.
I started off as a fairly strong supporter of Clinton over Obama for the Democratic nomination, mainly due to said inexperience. But over the months I started to be far more favourable towards Obama. His speeches were amazing, Clinton was over-exaggerating her own experience and Bill Clinton was starting to over-shadow his own wife and make it look like she was running for a third term for him, not for herself.
I thought a McCain vs Obama contest would be a good outcome, as both men were not creatures of their parties, but their own man.
But I have to say I have gone off Obama in a major major way. Yes he gives good speeches, but his policies are crap, his inexperience keeps showing, and I really don’t know what the guy thinks or will do if in office. I may not like Hillary Clinton, but at least you know what she is.
Mort Kondracke, the Executive Editor of Roll Call, notes:
He’s also now revealed as the most liberal Member of the U.S. Senate — and one who has never, ever departed from party orthodoxy to form the kind of bipartisan coalition he says — correctly — that it will take to solve America’s problems.
Unlike McCain, who has voted against his party often, Obama has never done any major deals with politicians from across the aisle.
Karl Rove (yes I know he is the Prince of Darkness, but he knows his subjects) writes in the Wall Street Journal:
His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making.
Mr. Obama’s call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now” in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle.
Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their to-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.
John Judis at the New Republic looks at his electability:
Even though he campaigned extensively among white working class Pennsylvanians, he still couldn’t crack this constituency. He lost every white working class county in the state. He lost greater Pittsburgh area by 61 to 39 percent. He did poorly among Catholics–losing them 71 to 29 percent. A Democrat can’t win Pennsylvania in the fall without these voters. And those who didn’t vote in the primary but will vote in the general election are likely to be even less amenable to Obama. …
Indeed, if you look at Obama’s vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the ’70s and ’80s, led by college students and minorities. In Pennsylvania, Obama did best in college towns (60 to 40 percent in Penn State’s Centre County) and in heavily black areas like Philadelphia.
Its ideology is very liberal. Whereas in the first primaries and caucuses, Obama benefited from being seen as middle-of-the-road or even conservative, he is now receiving his strongest support from voters who see themselves as “very liberal.” In Pennsylvania, he defeated Clinton among “very liberal” voters by 55 to 45 percent, but lost “somewhat conservative” voters by 53 to 47 percent and moderates by 60 to 40 percent. In Wisconsin and Virginia, by contrast, he had done best against Clinton among voters who saw themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative.
As mentioned earlier, Obama’s position on every issue is pure “liberal”. His voting record is now the most leftwing in the Senate.
The Washington Post looks at the cost of pledges made by Obama (and Clinton). He has pledged US$333 billion of extra annual spending.
When you add on other pledges Obama is looking to impose extra annual costs of half a trillion dollars, and this is compared to an existign federal budget if $2.9 trillion. So that is an increase which wuld give even Michael Cullen the horrors.
And Obama is a protectionist, as identified by The Independent:
The most extraordinary thing is that Obama has actually been pandering to the “bitterness” he identified – the “anti-trade sentiment”. In the rust belts of Ohio and Pennsylvania the Senator from Illinois has lost no opportunity to blame America’s economic woes on the free-trade treaty with Canada and Mexico (Nafta) – which had been enacted by President Clinton.
Obama is one of three Congressional sponsors of “The Patriot Employer Act”, which seeks to give preferential tax status to American companies that choose not to invest overseas. His anti-globalisation rhetoric goes far beyond criticism of free-trade deals such as Nafta. Obama told voters in New Hampshire:”I would stop the import of all toys from China”. China supplies 80 per cent of the toys sold in the US, so that’s one heck of a pile of embargoed fluffy bunnies.
Why stop at banning the import of toys from China. Just ban everything.