What I'd Like to See

Yesterday there was an article by Dan Balz of The Washington Post about Barack Obama's trip to New Hampshire. It describes less what's a nascent political campaign, and something more like the Beatles first American tour. I guess there's some good reason to be gratified if you support Obama, like I do. However, I also have my concerns about what's becoming a national mania...

If Howard Dean failed by peaking two months early in the 2004 primary election season, then what does this "Obamamania" portend? This kind of white hot political fervor simply can't last, and if history is a guide it probably won't come down gracefully.

Expectations have continued to build to such a point that if it's eventually discovered he once passed gas in the 8th grade people will drop him like a hot potato

How much of this phenomenon is simply a tabla rasa upon which people can write their own hopes and expectations? I've read both of his books and virtually every speech he's delivered. I know there's considerable substance there, but is that substance in danger of being lost to a huge persona that eclipses absolutely everything else? When will it become impossible for him to win people over by virtue of his positions when all that finally matters is his celebrity?

In the center of all this hysteria is it possible for Obama himself to keep his bearings and retain that down-to-earth candor that's one of his most appealing assets?

How much of this enthusiasm is actually built on Barack Obama, and how much of it has to do with the fact that he's not George W. Bush, and is about as opposite George W. Bush as a person can be and still have a "Y" chromosome? Can you really build a campaign on what you're not?

At this point what I'd like to see is the spot light shift for a while. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some good news out of Iraq, or good news about this administration from almost any quarter? That would shift attention away from Obama for a while and then allow that attention to return later at a more measured pace and without the almost irrational desperation that seems to characterize it today.

Anyway, that's what I'd like to see....

P.S. Speaking of Obama and full disclosure, the editorial cartoon is by my son Gregory Pence who's the cartoonist for (of all papers) The Manchester Union Leader.


His positions

What does he stand for? What does he believe in? What would he try to do as president?

I agree with the sentiment that the actual presidency of many of these top Democratic choices will end up being the same, due to the problems they face coming into office. But, I think it misses the point that they all have pet issues that they would spend a ton of time on.

We know the issues of Edwards, people are wrong about the issues of Hillary. I think we know the issues Gore would advance. What is Obama going to do? Right now all I see is a lot of personal narrative and speeches. The thought of a president getting elected on just those two is scary, regardless of party.


"Keep the Faith"

I'd Suggest a Little Research

I honestly don't understand how anyone could suggest that it's not possible to know who Barack Obama is, or what his positions are.

He's written two books. His first book was "Dreams of My Father," which is a biography of his pre-political life that offers more personal disclosure than any volume ever has about a politician. His second book, "The Audacity of Hope," is in small part an update of that earlier biography, but in much larger part a survey of his perspective on the major issues facing America.

Asking people to read close to 700 pages is asking alot. However, many people have, since both books have been on the New York Times best seller lists for a good long while. And even if you are like me, and choose not to buy them, virtually every library in North Carolina has them in its collection.

It's quite fair to say that you disagree with Obama, or that you don't like him for reasons of your own, but it's not fair to say that it's impossible to know who he is or where he stands. Obama has worked quite hard to deprive everyone of that criticism.

If you're looking for something more concise that might give you an easier entry point into his major positions I'd suggest going to BarackObama.com. In addition to a lot of other material, there are two speeches there that I'd suggest in particular. One is his address on the war in Iraq delivered to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the other is his speech on the place of religion in the public square delivered to The Sojourners Convention.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

I like Obama too

but I don't think he's ready to be President and I don't think he should run for the reason you state above. The crash and burn could get ugly and could tarnish a future run. I don't see a problem with him seeing just how high the fervor will go and then gracefully exit saying he has more work to do in the Senate. That leaves him open for a bid for VP without having to go through a run for Pres where any/all of his shortcomings are discussed.

Not that they won't eventually come out...they may already be out there and I just haven't been paying attention.

I really like him, or at least what I know of him. I enjoy seeing the excitement build around his candidacy. I just don't like him for President more than I like John Edwards for President. Even Edwards says he thinks he should run, though. I guess the other side of that is that if Obama runs and isn't successful he has a lot of knowledge to apply for the next run.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Not Ready Yet

Have we learned anything from the past six years? In 2000, the American people elected an untested Governor to be President based on soundbites and compassionate conservative ideas...what the hell does that mean. I am not comparing Obama to Bush, Obama is much more intelligent, but the bloger raises a good point about where does he stand on the important issues of our time.

We need a heavyweight in 08! Gore fits the mold. Obama would be an excellent compliment to the Democratic ticket, yet his lack of experience coupled with no clearly defined set of beliefs is a negative our party can not risk taking.

Not Ready Yet.... Maybe

I understand your criticism that Barack Obama should have more political experience before he runs for the Presidency. That might be true. However...

There are a number of criteria by which to choose a President and national political experience is only one of them. Other important qualities include intelligence, judgment, leadership skills and political philosophy. Experience is important, but not as important as any of these other qualities.

When both ran for President in 1960, Richard Nixon had been a Senator and then a Vice President for eight years while John Kennedy had barely completed his first term as Senator. If experience were the most important consideration, then who should have been elected President?

Abraham Lincoln had served only one term in the House of Representatives and then failed in his attempt to be re-elected when he decided to run for President.

This isn't to say that experience is unimportant, it is important, but it certainly isn't the primary quality we should look for in a potential Presidential candidate.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

I think NOW I understand.

I understand why I don't like Obama's style of politics and it has to do with something you wrote in the comments of your first diary George.

Well, 9/11 is in the rear view mirror, and it's now much further behind us than the war in Iraq. Consequently the right half of the electorate has thinned and the middle portion of the electorate has become significantly fatter. The sweet spot of contemporary politics is now neither to the left nor to the right, but firmly in the center.

I can't disagree with that more and the fact that you are SO into Obama makes me realize that its his desire to placate the center that I don't like. His digs at Democrats on religion, his take that bloggers are boring and predictable, its all a little too "triangulated" for my taste.

That, and I find his speeches flat and uninspiring, even though others don't.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Your criticism that Barack Obama is not radically committed to the far left is fair comment. If you think that the fulcrum of the body politic now rests in the lap of Dennis Kucinich, then Barack Obama need not apply.

However, I think it's important to make a distinction about the nature of Obama's presumed "moderation." For it's not the moderation of goals. He claims every objective of the left as his own. Rather, his "moderation" is a moderation of means by which to achieve those goals.

Take national health care for instance - that issue is a good litmus test by which to determine if a candidate is serious about his liberal credentials. In fact, many of our so called liberal Democratic candidates fudge and dance around this issue with a surplus of nervous energy.

But not Obama. On this issue he's been consistent from the beginning.

Read for instance in todays New York Times,

What New Hampshire saw was a first-term senator from Illinois who offered a strong condemnation of the way politics have been conducted in Washington and who positioned himself as someone who could strongly appeal to the more liberal Democrats... In two speeches and a news conference, Mr.Obama called for universal health care — the issue with which Mrs. Clinton, the New York Democrat, was once closely identified — a battle on global warming and a timed redeployment of troops from Iraq.

Where his "moderation" is in evidence is not in his goals, but in the means by which those goals are achieved. In that area he's probably the most pragmatic politician alive. If he thought that universal health care could best be achieved by creating a tariff on oil, he'd probably do it. If he thought it could best be achieved by a new uniform corporate tax, he'd probably do that too.

For Obama, when it comes to "means" everything is on the table and ideology is not a concern.

On the subject of religion, if you read his speech to the Sojourners convention, you know that the criticism he offered was primarily directed to the far right. The main thrust of his comment to the left regarded their habit of shying away from any discussion of faith and pretending that it had no legitimate role in the public square.

As to bloggers, he made no critique of bloggers in general, but only of Daily Kos, which he said had become too routine and predictable. I agree with him. I used to read it every day, and I enjoyed it. However, now I read Daily Kos and I get the feeling that I've read this same opinion fifteen times before. It's become like turning into Lou Dobbs... how many stories can you hear on the subject of illegal immigration before you say "Enough already, I'm not learning anything new."

As to your comment that others don't find Obama's speeches flat and uninspiring, I couldn't agree with you more.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

He isn't my top tier candidate

so I haven't paid attention to his recent speeches. His speech at the convention blew me away.

I have no doubt he's a wonderful man and will some day make an amazing president. I just don't think he's ready right now. I have no special expertise that makes my opinion valid. It's a gut/emotional opinion.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Love your stuff George


I really enjoy your writing, be it here, the Pilot, or the Moore Dem site. You certainly make more sense than anything else I've seen come out of Whispering Pines lately. Keep up the good work.


with SPLib George, and glad you've joined us here at BlueNC. Also glad you've joined us SPLib, even tho your opinion may spark a lot of discussion, and not always the warm and fuzzy feeling we tend to give each other, it certainly gives us another view and makes us question our own thoughts and opinions!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.