Man. I had some surreal conversations over the weekend. I’m so ready for a vacation I’d happily spend a week in an Alabama Days Inn just to get away…but I had to get this out before I leave. (thanks by the way, to those of you that offered to house sit while I’m gone)
I actually had it explained to me that Barack Obama’s candidacy is boosted by the fact that he is African American. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t suffering from the effects of too much Kool Aid, so I talked to some savvy political friends…and to a man, (or woman) each has agreed that if Mr. Obama had the same positions, same height, same voice, same fiery rhetoric but was blond over blue, he’d be ahead by 20 points. (oh, and, uh, same amount of money)
I’ve also read some stuff in my reader that has me scratching my head. A couple of prolific bloggers are lamenting Obama’s “shift” to the center. Really? This caught you guys by surprise? “But, hes supposed to be a different kind of politician!” they cry. No, hes supposed to be a different kind of leader. Unfortunately, you had better be a first class politician if you seek the White House. Barack Obama thrived in one of the nastiest political environments known to man…Chicago. Did some of my fellow Democrats think McCain and the RNC were simply going to slink away and hide? Don’t act shocked or dismayed when Obama morphs from Liberal Savior to Safe Centrist and back again, and try to bear in mind that in any political career (with the exception of maybe Tom Delay’s) there must be an effort to find common ground, and build unity from there.
From now through November…everything is political. Every Appearance. Every Speech. Every photo op. Every vote that comes before the Senate. There will be compromises, there will be disappointments. He explained his FISA vote, go read it if you have questions. My favorite line? “If my vote on this is a deal-breaker, thats ok.” (slightly paraphrased)
Reaching out to Faith-based communities is smart politics, since roughly 150% of population considers themselves religious. I’m not..but he already has my vote. I’d like him to win over enough people of all persuasions to, you know…win.
I knew Obama was a skilled politician from the jump. I happen to think he will become a skilled Statesman on the world stage. Just like I think Hillary would have been, had she won. But, you know, its been year after year of snappy slogans, clever catch-phrases and black/white up/down kind of rhetoric coming at us from the GOP. The world, though, is a little more nuanced. A variation on a formerly expressed position could be pandering, triangulation, finger-in-the-air flip floppyness, OR……a reconsideration after careful thought. Or, a shift in perspective due to new information. But, you, as a voter, should decide that, not the endless stream of vapid talking heads emanating from your radio or television. (Or computer screen, for that matter.)
When you get behind a candidate, you make up your mind what kind of person he/she is, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Until you don’t. Then you can go vote Libertarian….