Monday, October 23, 2006

Obama "open" to a Presidential bid

If you haven't heard it in the news, Barack Obama has been telling the media, in between the warm cocoa butter massages, that he's open to the possibility of a Presidential bid.

The conventional wisdom is that he's so popular now, so why not take advantage of it and just run for President.

I hear more from the arguments that Senators haven't made popular Presidential material in the last several decades because they have little to no executive experience. Still, I'm more convinced that he's too politically undeveloped to consider a Presidential bid. He's two years into his first term in the Senate. I won't discount that he was qualified to be a Senator, but also recall that his competition for the position was Alan Keyes.

Anyhow, most of the coverage the blogs are giving to this is divided between expressing why that would be a bad idea and lamenting the loving tongue baths the media seems to be stroking his ego with. Myself, I'm wondering whether or not the public at large would go for electing a political neophyte to office.

And of course, the requisite questions arise: Do they like him because he's black? Would he be elected just because he was black?


-Murphy said...

I hear more from the arguments that Senators haven't made popular Presidential material in the last several decades because they have little to no executive experience.

I've heard similar arguments, but also arguments that Senators that have run in the past have been more likely to have votes that can be twisted against them. As a younger guy in the senate, he's got less that can be held against him. That also means he's relatively inexperienced though.

And of course, the requisite questions arise: Do they like him because he's black? Would he be elected just because he was black?

Obama seems to bring up the fact that he's black very rarely. And, of course, there are those that will vote for his opponent just because he's black. So there's that whole issue.

Do you have any idea why I have to put the word verification in twice?

Hal said...

Sorry, I've just read some articles in the past how Obama's qualifications would be passe if he were a white politician.

As for the word verification, that's been happening to me, too, and I have a theory:

I think the pattern is switched on a timing basis, possibly every 30-60s. If you write a very long comment, the verification code will have changed already.

Just a theory, but that's my best guess.

-Murphy said...

Like... what exactly?

Also, I think it might be because I'm logging into blogger to post, and it registers that separately from the verification.

Hal said...

-Murphy said...

What an odd and confusing article. The problem is that the author starts out at the very beginning with the idea that "Barack Obama is well liked because he is black and people that like him really just hate Whitey." and runs with it. Never, for example, does he consider that the reason that Barrett O'Leary may not have so much attention given to his junior career because Barrett O'Leary because of O'Leary's race and not because, say, O'Leary delivered the Keynote Address in the previous presidential cycle which was wildly hailed as being centrist, appealing to unification of the country rather than polarization and very charismatic, or the fact that O'Leary appeared to back up a message of unification to improve the nation rather than polarization by cosponsoring a number of bills with prominent members of the other party (including a senator who is nearly as low down on the Seniority Chart as he is).

The people who have the same level of seniority as Obama are, incidentally,

Richard Burr (R-NC); Former Representative of five terms who sponsored the Bioshield Two act.

Jim DeMint (R-SC): Deputy Majority Whip

Jim Coburn (R-OK): Who sponsored the transparency bill with Obama and who may be most well known for being the guy who was doing a crossword puzzle on camera during Roberts' confirmation hearings.

John Thune (R-SD): Who has said that Republicans should distance themselves from Bush, and (here's the most important thing) has been mentioned as a possible 2008 candidate for President.

Johnny Isakson (R-GA): Who was more or less a Libertarian before drifting to the right on social issues in response to not being elected to the senate for being "too liberal".

David Vitter (R-LA): First Republican elected by the populace in LA.

Mel Martinez (R-FL): Who was born in Cuba and, unless the Constitution is amended, can't run for the office of president.

Ken Salazar (D-CO): Who narrowly beat Pete Coors for his senate seat, which is kind of shocking that he was able to do that.

Bob Menendez (D-NJ): Who was appointed to the seat earlier this year and is in a tough race in NJ right now to keep it.

Salazar and Menendez either barely won their state or were appointed to the position they hold, so it's a stretch to propose that they run. Many Republicans don't seem to like Isakson, Martinez can't run, Coburn doesn't pay attention, Burr and DeMint could be nominated and John Thune, who was elected at the same time as Obama, is being considered for precisely the same thing, despite the NY Sun's insistence that this is impossible because he is white.

The article goes on to the land of raging oddness as the author considers that "Obama has a Black-cent" because he hears it and that the Democrats would rather elect him than, say, Spike Lee (a film director) or Al Sharpton (who is crazy), neither of which have held office before despite Sharpton running all the damn time. Which is a confusing dig which reverses the course of the argument "the Democrats want to run a black guy because he's black" to argue "the democrats want to run a black guy, but are being racists by going with the guy who is involved in politics and centrist... I mean not black enough."

In the end, the evidence appears to be that because a guy who wouldn't vote for whoever the democrats nominated because of his party affiliation is getting attention from the national media, it must be because he's black and not because he gave a very well received speech and has been working with prominent senators of the opposite party to pass legislation, or because he's more centrist than anyone else the Democrats might run which would give them more of a chance for victory than if they ran someone incredibly polarizing (Hillary). None of which actually makes sense, particularly when you consider that the Republicans are also considering running a senator that was elected in 2004 who served in the House rather than in the State Senate as was the case with Obama and is older than the guy by about eight months. While being white, which the NY Sun columnist claims to be impossible.

I'm not saying that there aren't people that would vote for Obama simply because his father was Kenyan, but I think it's fallacy to presume that everyone that would vote for him would, or that nothing he's actually done is worthy of mention, or that the republicans aren't also talking about running a young guy who would not have served a full senate term (actually, my money's on Jeb Bush or Rudy Giuliani getting the Republican nod, two years before the election).

Hal said...

The thing is, I don't actually know enough about Obama to say what his accomplishments really are. Do you?

Some of that can be chalked up to having only been in the senate 2 years, but there are things I do know he's done. He did the pork database bill (which I like), he voted against the confirmation of John Roberts (partisan vote? I can't say), and he went to Kenya recently to talk about AIDS. I want to say he's voted "yes" on the various amnesty related immigration bills recently, and voted "no" on the Secure Fence Act, but you know what happens when I try to recall things from memory; I usually end up having to recant whatever it is I just said.

The point is, I don't know how much of a centrist he really is, and people better informed than I question whether or not that is the case. My main concern is that all this "Presidential" gossip is premature for a 2-year junior Senator, and I'd say that if I heard it about Republican candidates as well. Romney, McCain, and Giuliani are the only real names I hear floated on that side.

The only reason I pointed out that article was because he was one of the people pointing out the phenomenon, though you can be sure he's not the only one. Incidentally, I found the article through Johnny Triangles (in my blogroll), who has a fantastic story about meeting Bobby Brown.

-Murphy said...

He did the pork database bill (which I like)

His big sponsorships have been that, the Senate Immigration bill (which he cosponsored with McCain and is, in my view, more practical than the House Bill) and the Pell Grant reform bill. At the state level, he worked to reform the procedure for the death penalty (which is something in need of reform, though it's currently on a moratorium in Illinois if I'm not mistaken) and with gun control. His trip to Kenya also included appealing to the Kenyan government to stop "ethnic based politics" and has argued that the USA should aim foreign aid toward Africa, which he says it's currently not doing because Africa (particularly sub-Saharan) is not a threat to the United States.

Yes. I've read about what Obama is trying to do. The "He's only popular because he's black" thing appears to be an attempt to divert the issues to whether or not there's some kind of racism going on rather than concentrating on "Do I agree with where this man stands on policy?" That's the only reason anyone should vote for anyone.

various amnesty related immigration bills recently

Depends on whether you're calling the McCain bill "amnesty". It proposes increased security on the border, cracking down on employers who employ illegal immigrants, employing FBI-run background checks on those applying. It does allow long-time residents to apply for citizenship.

Romney, McCain, and Giuliani are the only real names I hear floated on that side.

I'd be surprised if McCain captured the nomination, as he looks a bit disingenuous, showing one face to the evangelicals and another one entirely to the democrats he's trying to court. Giuliani is a possibility, but then there's the whole sex scandal that the right gets mad about whenever someone on the left does that and the fact that he's to the left of most republicans.

The only reason I pointed out that article was because he was one of the people pointing out the phenomenon, though you can be sure he's not the only one.

If the other ones are pointing out what this guy is pointing out (Obama's getting too much press coverage and he's been brought up for President too early despite the fact that the Republicans are doing precisely the same thing with a white guy even though he said they can't and speaks with a "black-cent"), I'm not sure I consider that legitimate.

-Murphy said...

Oh, one thing. I didn't mean to imply that the left doesn't attack the right for their scandals. They do.

Hal said...

This doesn't add anything, but this is exactly why I like talking politics with you, Ryan.

When I'm uninformed, you teach. When I'm wrong, you correct. You're polite.

It'd be nice if everyone could be as civil.