Dear Senator Obama

OK, I’ll admit it: I’m in a quandary here. You see…my man John Edwards is out of the race, and frankly I don’t think you’re qualified to be the president. I’m not old enough to be excited by perceived similarities between your campaign and the 1960 Kennedy campaign. Likewise, I’m not young enough to be filled with optimism merely by listening to your speeches. In fact, you and I are just about the same age, and if I had as little time on the national stage as you, I wouldn’t consider myself qualified to be President either.

True, you were a member of the Illinois State Senate for 6 years, but that run for the House of Representatives didn’t work out so well. And since then, you’ve developed a habit very common in your Gen-Y supporters: You’ve started job jumping. In other words, you get bored with a position and then…well…you move on. Hell, your US Senate seat wasn’t even warm before you decided that your time had come. So what should we expect 14 months into an Obama administration? That you’ve had enough and are going to run for God?

Add to that the fact that, since starting your campaign, you’ve acquired an unfortunate allergy to Senate roll call votes. Since I’m not naive enough to believe what you say on the stump, the most reliable guide to your views is your voting record. It’s the touchstone of the pressures that you might be susceptible too. But you seem to have concluded that if you don’t vote no one will figure you out. Your vote in favor of stripping immunity from the telecom bill? Admirable. Your refusal to vote on final passage? Transparent and cowardly.

In short, I wish you’d go back and prove that you can serve your constituents though till the end of your term. Then…maybe…I’ll consider you qualified to serve the rest of us.

19 thoughts on “Dear Senator Obama”

  1. Well, this was a surprise, Kvatch, did a toxic fly end up in your pond? It’s OK, we can disagree. I was also a big Edwards supporter & extremely disappointed that he never caught fire, but even he saw sometimes you just have to stand out of the way & let a movement happen. I witnessed the JFK phenomenon & worked on the RFK campaign & there is a similar feeling in the crowds today, but this time the support is coming from across all strata.

    You raise good questions. Some answers might be obtained in Obama’s policy blue book on his website. In the end, I think Obama can win & Hillary can’t. Sorry, that’s my view. She garners no repub cross-overs & few indies, which makes for another close election & somehow repubs win close elections. Even if they are apathetic about McC, repubs will turn out to vote against Hill for there is no one they love to hate more. Obama is running an incredible campaign & inspires voters. I will pause if Edwards endorses Hillary. Or maybe you have a 3rd party in mind?

    ps, you sell yourself short if you don’t think you are qualified to become president. The qualifications are pretty simple. It’s the campaign & winning votes that’s hard. But I’d still vote for you!

  2. D.K… Don’t get me wrong, if there’s anything that I am, it’s a pragmatist. I will vote for whomever is the Democratic nominee. But, as I said I have no recollection of Kennedy and am not young enough to throw caution to the wind, no matter how enthusiastic Obama’s crowds are.

    My political life has been shaped by bitterness–bitterness at being raised a liberal just in time to watch the movement die and the word become a curse. Bitterness at being 1 year too young to vote against Reagan, yet still knowing that his legacy would bankrupt this nation both morally and financially. And…at this point, I’m far too cynical to watch a man who can’t seem to keep his attention focussed on his constituents and not wonder what we’re getting ourselves into.

  3. BTW D.K., I should mention… that last bit you wrote was very kind, but I’m much more radical than you might guess. I have it on good authority that if were ever to run for political office many of my friends would immediately start making plans to emigrate.

    I’ve been reliably described as somewhat to the left of Fidel Castro.

  4. I guess I did get in a few good years when liberalism was not a dirty word. I identify with your stmnt about political bitterness. Mine is a sudden realization that when my generation’s time at bat came, the best we could put up was Bill Clinton and George W. (ok they are a bit older, but still within my generation). Now talk about bitter!

    Now about your ever running for political office, I think a platform somewhat left of Fidel is an unfilled niche that might garner more votes than you suspect. You couldn’t call it that, though. Maybe something more along the lines of, let’s move up to the 36-th ranked nation in providing health care.

  5. I did vote against that piece of shit, Ronald Reagan, for all the good it did anyone. Notice how nobody mentions how Saint Ronnie began the reduction in the number of USDA inspectors when they’re talking about the latest meat recall?

    I’m no fan of Obama’s, but I notice he has gained a lot of worhsippers rather than just a lot of voters. I’ll vote for him if he gets the nomination, but I would have preferred Edwards also and Clinton was my second choice. If you write something critical of Obama, be prepared to get snarked at by his worshippers. There are a lot of people who are into the whole Cult of Personality thing. They’re the same people who joined the Moonies years ago. They’re looking for a movement that will make them feel like part of a tribe. That’s not all Obama supporters, but I’ll bet I get criticized by some folks who take it personally when I talk about the Obama worshippers. It’s inevitable.

    Anyway, Obama won’t be a bad president compared to George Bush, but that’s the best I can say about him at this point. Don’t say anything, Kvatch, about not knowing his positions or you’ll get told to look at his position papers and yelled at. Mind you, his web site’s position statements read more like biblical passages than positions. I certainly don’t care much for what he says is his political philosophy. Yes, we should talk to everyone, but he seems to stand for group hugs and singing Kumbaya. And lately he’s been making these, “I’m so tough, why, I’d bomb our ‘enemies’ as fast as anyone” noises in order to pander to the security crybabies. He doesn’t seem prepared to restore sanity to our country’s policies on security, and that worries me.

  6. D.K… I’m in the interesting position of being a boomer who wishes he wasn’t. As the last year of that generation, I was raised on all of the get a job, get married, have some kids, work hard, save a lot mentality–but got smacked down hard by the dismantling of the social safety net.

    Wish I’d been born 20 years earlier, so that I could have experienced real some middle-class stability, or 10 years later so I’d have the mental capacity to just freakin’ deal.

    Kvatch, if you’re that far left, you have my vote. I feel so hopeful about an amphibian run! Yes we can!

    Hey Randal… don’t you think that maybe I should run for ‘Reptile’ before running for president?

  7. SA… Well to paraphrase Chris Rock, “We’re apparently ready for a retarded president, why not an amphibian president?”

    DBK… I’m already getting flamed on The Impolitic where I cross-posted this. Just goes to show, Obama supporters aren’t as sure of their candidate as they would lead everyone to believe. That last bit you related about his new found “toughness” on defense is a harbinger of things to come, I think. Of course a president will act to protect the nation. It’s a no-brainer, but the ‘how’ really matters.

  8. Obama’s lack of experience concerns me a bit too, but I’m at the point where I think we need a change. Clinton and McCain have the experience, but they’ve also developed too many corporate and special interest ties over the years – ties that work against average citizens. I don’t see them disengaging themselves from those connections once they win.

    I also think his lack of experience can be overcome if he surrounds himself with the right team and then listens to their advice before making decisions. Bush surrounded himself with “yes men” who told him what he wanted to hear or else he ignored sound information and pushed his own agenda. I don’t see Obama doing that.

  9. I think Obama’s lack of experience might be a plus. Our whole political system is such a cesspool, our only hope might be somebody who’s an outsider and hasn’t been polluted by the process.

    A few years ago a car dealer in N. California was advertising for new sales people. The one requirement was that the person did NOT have any previous experience in car sales. They had some sort of “unique” training program and they only wanted people who wouldn’t have to unlearn their previous sales tactics.

    I don’t know how comparable that is, but anyway…

    Kvatch, if you run for president, you’ll be the candidate whom all of us bloggers would like to have a beer with.

  10. Kvatch, I agree with Tom Harper and Kathy. I’m no worshipper of Obama, but, like D.K. Raed, I feel he is the one who can win. And the reason he can is because of the admiration and, perhaps, the worship, he inspires in many people who might not bother to vote for Hillary.

  11. Thats the question isn’t it, either Obama who hasn’t got that much experience but who is much more likable and has a greater chance of winning or Hillary who has the experience but doesn’t seem to endear herself to many outside of her own supporters.
    Personally, i think Hillary would be the better choice for the actual job of being President, Obama seems to have gone at least one election too soon.

  12. Kathy… perhaps I’m more concerned about Obama’s commitment to the job. He’s moved on (or tried to move on) from each public office he’s attained within 3 years. What might that do to the presidency? A man whose decided that he doesn’t like it after all.

    (Not really suggesting that it’ll happen–more thinking out loud here.)

    …you’ll be the candidate whom all of us bloggers would like to have a beer with

    Tom… :-) But, the real question is…do I have to buy? Maybe I can just get China to buy US Treasury Securities to finance all those rounds.

  13. Lucy, Mauigirl… No doubt Obama is the candidate that you’d choose if you want the greatest possible contrast with McCain, and that probably does translate to his ability to win.

    I have a post coming about Senator Clinton, and I think that I agree with you Lucy that she’s the more competent candidate. I have a letter to her to post later today.

  14. Experience is very overrated, by the way. You have to vote for the person you think is smart and tough enough to do the job. Good judgment is actually the only solid qualification for office, because the opportunities for bad decisions are too many and the consequences of bad decisions are too severe.

  15. DBK, I think I mentioned a few comments back (or perhaps over on The Impolitic) that I’m not so sure I agree with that statement. For example, I tend to think that good governors have a better chance than most of making a good President. Case in point…GWB who was such a bad governor in Texas that even the Texas GOP wanted him to win…so he’d leave!

    TomCat… Don’t get me wrong, I plan to support the Democratic nominee. Just wishing the choices were not as they are.

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