sozobe
 
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:40 am
Didn't want to derail nimh's thread about Republicans. This can become the equivalent about Democrats, but my initial question is: Would Obama work, after all?

I have personally loved him but have been hesitant to back the idea of a presidential bid in 2008 for three main reasons, and also the ways they interact:

- Race
- Admitted drug use
- Inexperience

I'm wondering if they may not be as crippling as I had thought, though.

Race: If Hillary is really the presumed nominee, race could be in his favor in getting the nomination. Part of what is exciting about Hillary is that she could actually maybe (I don't think so, but in theory) be the first woman president. It's much more exciting to make the nominee another inspirational groundbreaker rather than defaulting to yet another old white guy.

Admitted drug use: While this is bad, it's the kind of thing that just possibly could play up a couple of Republican weaknesses. One is that he's already taken full responsibility. Sure, he tried it, he didn't like it, let's move on. I think that kind of full disclosure and accepting responsibility might be seen as refreshing by the electorate. Another is that it's the kind of thing that if the Republicans pounce on, it might just make THEM look bad. "Oh, sure, smear the black candidate with the drug allegations, dirty politics again." I think people are really sick of that crap.

Inexperience: This is the one that has changed the most since Obama first came up. I, personally, like to have a leader with a lot of experience. But things I've read here and that I've seen in general seem to be indicating that the zeitgeist is more towards "FRESH START." Get rid of the lying liars, the politicos, the fat cats. Get a breath of fresh air in there, someone with integrity and enthusiasm. Obama has that, in spades.

Things I've always liked about him:

Public speaking skills: This guy is GOOD.

Bipartisan appeal: He did amazing work in connecting to Republicans in Illinois, and has gotten a good reaction among many Republicans I know.

Savvy: He's made a lot of good decisions, politically.

Charisma: He's got it.

Idealism: This goes back to what I said re: inexperienced -- I think it's something that people really like to see, and can be especially good when paired with young.

Humor: Slightly different than charisma, and what made me start this thread. Read Maureen Dowd's column about his performance at a press dinner on Saturday (?), and it sounds like he did an amazing job.

Quote:
In the capital's version of "Dancing with the Stars," Senator Obama won, turning in a smoothy, funny performance that lifted him from his tyro track.

He tweaked fellow Democrats, telling the white-tie crowd: "Men in tails. Women in gowns. An orchestra playing, as folks reminisce about the good old days. Kind of like dinner at the Kerry's."

He mocked the president's unauthorized snooping, saying he'd "asked my staff to conduct all phone conversations in the Kenyan dialect of Luo." He advised W. to "spy on the Weather Channel, and find out when the big storms are coming."

After saying that he'd ejoyed the Olympic baithlon of shooting and skiing, he, deadpan, turned to Dick Cheney: "Probably not your sport, Mr. President."


She points out that Obama is 44, and that JFK, "who had a reputation as a callow playboy and lawmaker who barely knew his way around the Hill, was 43 when he became president."

What I know for sure is that when I think of all of the possible Democratic nominees, my reaction ranges from "could be OK" to "OH LORD PLEASE NO!!!", with one exception. Obama is the only one who makes me think, "Oh man, that would be SO great!!"

What do you think?
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Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:44 am
I think he could be a strong candidate, if he handled himself well. The issue of a lack of experience is a non-starter. There is no experience which can prepare someone for the responsibilities of the Presidency, and the incumbent is evidence that alleged experience will do nothing to save a bad presidency. Governors have, however, historically done better running for the office than have Senators. There is a public perception, which i consider unjustified, about experience.

All of which being said, i think racism would rear its ugly head--and it would be great if conservatives could be outted for their racist attitudes by such a candidacy.
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:53 am
The Dowd column mentions a Dem. who wonders if the voters can accept a candidate with a name like a Mideast terrorist's. Sad but true.

Then again, someone named Condaleeza is taken seriously, so there is hope...
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:55 am
I think the admitted drug use would work against him in local communities regardless of unfair it is.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 10:56 am
What do you mean by "local communities"?
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 11:10 am
Hey Americans elected a reformed drunk why not someone who has tried drugs. In addition he can identify with the baby boomers many of whom have also tried them.
I would imagine his biggest drawback is lack of experience [as the electorate would see it]. He may be a viable candidate in the future time. However, his time is yet not come. That said who can predict what the US electorate will do?
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 11:14 am
D'art wrote:
The Dowd column mentions a Dem. who wonders if the voters can accept a candidate with a name like a Mideast terrorist's. Sad but true.

easy solution -- change it to Barry O'Bama...
0 Replies
 
Akaya
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 11:47 am
Admitted drug use?
Is that not better than the ever so popular deny-any-drug-use-in-spite-of-evidence-and-accusations-proving-the-contrary that we have seen in the past?
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:12 pm
I think the name is the biggest problem. He should have changed it years ago, even I can't get it to come out properly and I've known about him for a few years (we call him
Osamabama around my house). I think conservative America would vote for a black man before they would vote for a white woman. As Au1929 has already pointed out - lack of experience and substance abuse will not keep you out of The White House.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:14 pm
Re: Obama '08?
sozobe wrote:
Another is that it's the kind of thing that if the Republicans pounce on, it might just make THEM look bad. "Oh, sure, smear the black candidate with the drug allegations, dirty politics again." I think people are really sick of that crap.

This sounds all too idealistic to me. People were said to be sick of dirty politics in '04 already, and yet the Swiftboaters succeeded in bringing Kerry down - and that on a succession of allegations of which most were plain out there. Who would have believed in advance that a group of bitter partisans could succeed in smearing a decorated war veteran like that, that the voters would fall for that? (I didnt think much of Kerry, but that was the one point I thought he'd remain unassailable on, too).

Theres the thing tho, perhaps. I dont think voters really "fall for that"; its not like they do start to believe the smearers all of a sudden. Its just that the whole nastiness that then comes to surround a candidacy leaves enough of an unease for voters to just turn away from the whole thing and look for an alternative - or just drop out altogether.

Thats one of the cool things about a multi-party system: agressive negative campaigning is much less likely to work - at least, not in the attacker's favour. If one party starts mudslinging and another party gets the mud slung at it, most voters simply turn to a third. In Holland for example, 'attack ads' are extremely rare, and the one previous time before this year that a party did it (the VVD in '94), the result was that, as one expert put it, "it was the only ad that had a directly measurable result" - namely, it was the VVD that dropped in the polls.

In post-Soviet countries, "black politics" is therefore sometimes delegated to third parties. Eg, a small, new, but improbably well-funded party starts attacking one of the main opposition parties, out-trumping it on the issues or slandering it with 'kompromat' (compromising material); the voters, in disgust, turn away from both that opposition party and the small, new party in question - and vote the governing party back into power. Hmmm.

Anyway, with just two parties to choose between, people cant turn to a third party in disgust. The only comparable situation was that of '92, where Bush Sr. fought a negative campaign and it merely resulted in many voters voting for neither him nor Clinton, but Perot. I dont see that happening now. So if a new candidate is systematically blackened, but people have no third way to turn once they get uneasy enough to hesitate about voting for him anymore, at best many will just stay at home altogether. That alone would be lethal, because turnout still seems key for any Democratic success.

I dunno. Blacks + drugs is, like it or not, such an almost iconic image of white, suburban fear - the image that security systems and alarms are sold on, that zero-tolerance campaigns are sold on, that insurances are sold on - it practically embodies or symbolises white suburban fear. So the thing is that you only just need to bring it up for it to already work its unease and deterrance - regardless of what the person in question then still has to say about it or how he says it.

(Count me pessimistic..)
0 Replies
 
Anon-Voter
 
  0  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:19 pm
I'd vote for Obama in a heartbeat!

Anon
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:36 pm
I really don't think race will work against him. Except for a few sad pockets of Jim Crow throw backs, I think America is over the color issue. I'm not saying racism has been eliminated, far from it, but Americans do not associate successful black people with the old black stereotypes of drug dealers, pimps and welfare queens. Most Americans really wanted more from Colin Powell (I did until he started to work for The Dark Side) and I think many would have been happy to see him in the oval office. I live in a rather whitey conservative neighborhood, but our local mayor is black and he could only have been voted in with a majority of white support.

It probably does help that Obama is mocha and not licorice, it also helps that he has a beautiful mocha wife and children. However, as a whole, I think many Americans would consider him presidential material - as long as he doesn't have oral sex with some intern.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:43 pm
GW:

Quote:
I think America is over the color issue.


Later, in the same post:

Quote:
It probably does help that Obama is mocha and not licorice, it also helps that he has a beautiful mocha wife and children.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:45 pm
Green Witch wrote:
Most Americans really wanted more from Colin Powell (I did until he started to work for The Dark Side) and I think many would have been happy to see him in the oval office.


This is perceptive, and a very apposite analysis of Powell's image and career.

Quote:
I live in a rather whitey conservative neighborhood, but our local mayor is black and he could only have been voted in with a majority of white support.


This fairly adequately describes the situation in Columbus, Ohio. However, there, Mayor Coleman put an awful lot of black cronies in positions of authority and responsibility for which they were not qualified, and an awful lot of contracts were let to minority (almost always black, and usually male) contractors who were not qualified. This resulted in a good deal of resentment by affluent white liberals who had voted for him, which said something about their attitudes as well as it said things about what Coleman was prepared to do once in power. He was re-elected, but attitudes have soured--including among significant portions of the black community, who find cronyism less than charming if it does not work in their favor.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:47 pm
Okay, I'll bite - someone explain to poor ole snood the mentality that likes mocha better than licorice in human shades.
0 Replies
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:48 pm
I didn't want to pile on Green Witch, Snood, but your penultimate post does deserve a response...
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:54 pm
Hmm, well ya gotta wonder why, if that were the case (America being over the color issue), there's not many more black elected officials already. Obama's only the third popularly elected black senator in US history, and there's only ever been one black popularly elected governor (and that was fifteen years ago).
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  0  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:54 pm
sozobe wrote:
Oh, sure, smear the black candidate with the drug allegations, dirty politics again." I think people are really sick of that crap"


I thought this was very unfortunate. I don't think he'll be perceived as a black guy with a drug history, I think only the drug history will stand--and as soon as he addresses it, it will evaporate. Clinton has broken all those barriers.

Inexperience will get him. If he behaves for the next four years and shows some knowledge, he could be a great contender in the future.

The GOP was ready for Colin, as someone said previously, and Condi would have enormous support, as polling reflects.

I think the Dems are more hung up on race than the GOP.

Look at the person, not the wrapping.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  0  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:57 pm
Lash wrote:
The GOP was ready for Colin, as someone said previously, and Condi would have enormous support, as polling reflects.

Actually, polls of Republicans and leaners have Condi being outpolled by both Giuliani and McCain almost without exception.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Mar, 2006 12:59 pm
Thanks, nimh - it seems you can always be depended on to bring needed kernals of truth.
0 Replies
 
 

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