Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not Your Standard Obligatory Obama Post

I read some technical (programming, math, science) blogs, and for the most part they remain on-topic. Lately, as the presidential race as gotten more "exciting," they often post a "Don't usually do this... but vote for Obama, and here's why" post.

Pretty much all of those kinds of posts say to vote for him because he's a uniter, he's charismatic, because he's a good face for international relations, because he's young and not spoiled by Washington politics, because he's black, because Clinton is divisive, etc.

He may be all those things, and Clinton may be divisive (though is she only divisive because people keep parroting the news stories?). But none of those reasons address actual policies. What is he going to do as president? That is why you should (or shouldn't) vote for him.

Obama apparently doesn't want a fight, but if you look at recent politics, the Republicans have done nothing to help the Democrats - they've consistently filibustered the Democrats. How is Obama going to change that? He isn't, and if he's not up for a fight, then either 1) he's not going to get much done, or 2) he's going to work for things Republicans want (and Democrats generally don't).

He is sounding more and more like a Republican - which if that's what you want, fine. He thinks there's a crisis with Social Security (there isn't, it's with Medicare), he praises Reagan's fiscal policies (which began the rich-getting-richer trend that's left the bottom 95% of Americans with no real income growth over the past 20 years (so much for a rising tide...)), his approach to health-care was the weakest of Clinton/Obama/Edwards, he's completely fine with the free market system we currently have (which continues to further the rich-getting-richer), he bashes unions, and the list goes on.

My point isn't that Obama is a bad guy, he's probably just as magical as he appears. My point is that people seem to be jumping on the bandwagon for the superficial reasons. The thing is, the current power structures are not going to be wowed by his charisma, politicians are not all going to get along just because he is president.

It all depends on what you want from your president. If you want a charismatic leader, Obama is clearly the choice. If you care about the issues, you should see what the candidates' stances are.

Here are some articles I've read in the past that shed some light on Obama's policies:

Read them, see what you think. Try not to react with, "but Obama is a good guy" - instead look at the issues raised.

Note: I'll probably vote for whichever Democratic candidate is chosen, but I don't believe for a minute I'll have any effect on which one is chosen. I'm just saying that there's a lot of hype around Obama, when we should really look at what he's advocating. And if you believe he's going to find the middle ground in Washington, is that what you want? I believe great leaders don't find the middle ground, they lead on principles.

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