Friday, January 05, 2007

Putting my money where my mouth is...

Ok, it seems I will be voting for Barack Obama should he run for President in 2008.

"Uh, isn't that a little premature, Steve?"

No, not at all. There's a lot to like about Senator Obama. First, he's extremely well spoken. That counts for a lot with me. Our current President is a moron, but what's worse, he sounds like a moron. He may only be 'just stupid' but he comes off as far worse. Honestly, it hurts me to watch him attempt to speak. It causes me physical discomfort.

Yes, Obama is somewhat new to the political arena. But so was Bush. Obama has also worked with community groups helping the poor, as a civil rights attorney (graduated Harvard Law) as well as in the State legislature. Although he hasn't run a large business, all the ones Bush ran failed miserably, so it 's a zero sum game there.

He is a Christian, and is happy to talk about it. Normally that sets off some alarm sirens for me. But I read about his childhood and how his mother took him to several different churches when he was growing up. Muslim, Buddhist, Baptist & more. He was exposed to different faiths and I admire his mother for doing that. Eventually he became a Christian, but I can deal with that so long as he grasps the fundamental concept of separation of church and state.

But none of these facts is the reason I will vote for him. Some of you may have heard me wax political (rant) now and then and one oath I have sworn numerous times is that I would vote for the first Presidential candidate who freely admitted that he used drugs in his youth. Why do I place such importance on this seemingly trivial fact? Because it is a goddamn fact of life that young people these days (strike that throughout all recorded history) do some stupid things in their youth. You smoke, or binge drink or take too much of something. But eventually you wise up. You learn that there are consequences for doing stupid things. Hopefully you do it before the behavior becomes destructive to yourself or others around you.

But for some reason, we still cling to some strange Puritanical ideas. And because some poll says that the majority of Americans don't trust someone who's taken drugs, many politicians simply lie. Some will talk about their wild youth, but offer no specifics or will downplay their activities. Clinton pissed me off by copping out in a manner that was very lawyerly. "I tried it, but I didn't inhale. " Then why did you take the joint? C'mon! Go the distance. Even if you tried it and didn't like it, which is very possible. Just say, "I took a toke and coughed for the next 10 minutes, I nearly threw up I coughed so hard." That's what happened to me the first time I inhaled a joint. I damn near threw up. The truth shall set you free.

So when a young man like Obama comes out and freely admits he took drugs, that he did stupid things but learned from the experience and doesn't do them now he has proved to me that he has the strength of character to tell me the truth from the outset. He won't waste time and energy trying to cover up or 'spin' his actions. It's a small thing, but it counts for something to me.

So, would you trust a politician who admits to what many of us have done in our past? Comments welcome.

10 comments:

Ed said...

I don't think he can get elected. It is a sad state of affairs, but here in the US, no one with a name that ethnic is electable.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate, but I doubt Obama will get the love he deserves (despite the fact that he really is the best candidate). Not only does he have a name that rhymes with "Osama," but he is also an African-American. Pathetic as it sounds, this country isn't ready for a non-Caucasian president (much the same way it isn't ready for a female one). Regardless, he has my vote.

Anonymous said...

Don't count him out just yet. As America increasing becomes more diverse and balance of power is equalized with the ever increasing population of non-white citizens the chances of a "minority" president get better. Especially since the states with large edthinic populations carry tremendous power in the Electorial College. I will alway vote for the most qualified candidate regardless of political offiliation or race.

Brother of Monkey

Ed said...

I agree, I will vote for the most qualified candidate in the primary, and then pick amongst two unqualified candidates that the majority selected in the election.

I have a tendency to vote for unelectable people - Perot, Dennis, etcetera.

Looking at the results of the last two elections, the states with large ethnic populations don't matter. I can try and sway 10 million people in NY and another 10 million in California - or I can sway a total of 10 million in "fly over" states. I get more electoral votes in the fly over states for less money.

Steve said...

Hmmm, my question wasn't whether Obama can be elected President,though I am keen to hear peoples opinions.

The question was whether you trusts A politician who confessed to doing things you know almost everyone does in this day and age, or would you consider that person 'weak willed', 'soft on crime', 'immoral' or worse?

Anonymous said...

I would be able to more closely identify with a candiate who shows his flaws that who is seeminly "perfect". Honesty is a rare quality in most people, especailly those running for political office. I would not hold someone in less regard for single past disgression as long as he has learned from the mistake with the following exception. Those convicted of a violent crime or someone with a history of lawlessness.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have an open and honest president than one who thinks we are guillable enough to belive thier lies.

Mike said...

Steve, I do not consider Obama to have any meaningful ethical weaknesses. His transgressions are insignificant.

But on electability, I agree with Ed. Obama's qualities as a person are less important to America than the his name. Even in the 21st century, America will only elect a WASP. And that WASP must have an Anglo-Saxon name.

Then look what Ohio did to Ken Blackwell, who has a WASP name, but does not qualify in the W department. He's a staunch and loyal Republican, but a huge portion of this red state will never vote for a black man.

If Obama changed his name to Bob O'Brien he would only need to worry about the W in WASP.

Steve said...

There is the terrible Liberal dilema. I want a qualified candidate, regardless of race. I see a lot of plusses to electing a woman or a monority candidate. But they I think about the NASCAR, 'Iraq was part of 9/11', 'What happens when she gets her period?" crowd and cringe. We desperately need to get the Republicans out of the Whitehouse. So what do if the best candidate is a minority, and the more electable candidate is a white male?

This shit keeps me up at night. In the end, I gotta go with the candidate who can get the votes and win the election. I don;t think this will always be the case. I'd be keen to see a woman or minority VP. Get the country used to the site of such a candidate in this high a governmental role. Does that make me a bad person? maybe.

Nightwalker said...

I have to agree with you Steve on this. Obama has my vote too. ONe thing about slick Willy that really pissed me off. He should have just come out and said, "yeah I banged her." Meaning Monica, I mean he woul dhave had the vote of probably every red blooded american male in the U.S. Maybe would have pissed off all the women's groups, but still that would have been great.