Why Barack Hussein Obama
"What on earth for?" you ask.
First let me recommend David Brin's blog here: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/
This is well worth reading - even though there is actually not much I agree with in regard to specific conclusions. Nonetheles, the guy is thinking.
I've made clear that (with some small/nagging reservations) I support Mr. Obama for the Democratic nomination and (with much greater reservations) Mr. Paul for the Republican. Might I add another reason to the long list that I've offered before?
I've just returned from Europe where, I must tell you, the prevailing attitude is not only disappointment with America, but also a certain amount of shadenfreude, or secret pleasure, over how far into silliness we seem to have fallen. The spectacle of two "royal families" reigning over the American political parties for almost thirty years is viewed as proof that we have become absurd, lacking any confidence in our ability to draw new leaders from the general population. An age-old trap that we used to accuse the Europeans of!
It is, frankly, part of the same sickness that prompts the directors of major corporations to hire CEOs only from the same, tedious list of unimaginative, uninspired and terminally greedy golf-buddies. An utter repudiation of the ideal that markets and democracy will find talent from a great and vast pool, amid a brash and brilliant populace.
I won't pretend that there aren't aspects of Mr. Obama I'd have preferred to see tested and proved for a while, first. I pray that he is what he seems. But still, what he seems is worth a gamble. Because, what he seems to be is the best of what America stands for. He seems confident, honest, eventempered, and willing to pragmatically negotiate, free of fixed dogmas, helping us to work out, among ourselves, answers to a myriad problems.
And a cute comment on Ron Paul:
And for those who are registered Republicans? Well, he may be crazy, but at least a vote for Ron Paul would help him get a speech at the convention -- a speech where he'd fire up the libertarian wing and propel them toward confronting the dark cabal that's tried to turn America into a Banana Republic. (If someone were to whisper in his ear, "damp down the psycho-ward stuff and stick to the things folks like about you!" That'd be cool, too.)
I've mentioned before, I have the highest respect for Dr. Brin, and his writings about the "Dogma of Otherness" have significantly shaped my thinking. http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2007/03/david-brins-otherness.html
But in a lot of ways I think he's just flat naive. And contrary to his scientific training he seems to reach conclusions on surprisingly little data.
A trip to Europe? Has he lived there or associated with people other than an author and scientist is likely to associate with? And which part of Europe is he talking about? Europe's a big place and more diverse than the US. And he seems to have learned their "secrets" awfully quickly.
Nonetheless I recommend reading him. Regardless of whether you agree or not, he'll make you think about things from a different perspective.
Now about Obama, the reason for my glee at Obama's success is less high-minded than Dr. Brin's. I REALLY want to see Hillary's absolute and utter humiliation.
I originally wanted to see her run for president and lose badly. But then she'd just blame it on the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If she loses her own party's nomination, in spite of the well-oiled machine they've built over the years, to someone she has to consider a rank amateur - now THAT would be humiliating.
Hey, maybe she'd really lose it and use the N-word and get caught at it! (We have so far, pretty much only Dick Morris' word about the "F-ing Jew bastard" expletives.) Now wouldn't that would make her PC base absolutely squirm with discomfort.
And for a more high-minded reason, if Obama won - or maybe even doing as well as he's done so far is enough, it will make it plain to African-Americans and the rest of the world, that we are so over that racist B.S. Obama is kicking butt in areas where there is no significant black population.
Make no mistake, I think Obama is probably a nice, sincere guy whose world-view amounts to a collection of 60's-era cliches. He's managed to hang on to an idealism of unworkable ideals, likely because he hasn't had a lot of experience in the machinery of government so far.
Would experience in office mature him? Maybe - but even Dr. Brin refers to it as "a gamble."
And, what are the chances he'll live long enough to get experienced?
So far, I've only heard observed once what is going to become an important consideration, and awful temptation, in the event Obama becomes president.
His middle name, as Senator Kerry kept pointing out, is Hussein. His father was a muslim from Kenya. He spent at least some time in a madrassa in Indonesia.
To us that adds up to a colorful past. To muslims it adds up to apostate muslim. And the penalty for apostasy is death.
The Left pretty much ignored an attempt by Saddam Hussein on former president Bush's life. But if that wasn't a legal cassus belli I don't know what is. Could they ignore an attempt, successful or un-, on a president who was one of their own?
And here we get to that "awful temptation" I alluded to. Once conservatives realize this, that little voice inside is going to say, "Now THAT would wake them up..."