We now know (finally!) who the two players are in this year’s general election. We have Barack Obama and John McCain. Both have been cast as “different” politicians at various times, and both come with some questions.
Given these choices, I will tentatively support Obama. I’m not locked in; the possibility remains that I’ll go for a stronger statement and vote the independent Nader, the Green Cynthia McKinney, or write in Dennis Kucinich. I’ve been skeptical about the messianic fervor over Obama. I don’t believe that his undeniably brilliant oratorical skills should be a clinching factor in my vote. And a few serious warts have come up regarding his candidacy. Given the mess I believe our method of financing elections is in, I’m saddened that Obama went back on his word and opted out of the public financing system. Furthermore, while Obama said virtually all the right things on foreign policy during the Democratic Primary, I was bitterly disappointed by Obama’s recent pandering to AIPAC, promoting a more traditional sounding foreign policy agenda. Frank of Simple Utah Mormon Politics recently wrote a very insightful post on the conventional U.S. foreign policy agenda regarding the Middle East (a self-described conservative, Frank might well be considered by some almost as “negative” and “anti-American” in his foreign policy views as am I). For Obama to seemingly embrace this sort of foreign policy approach is hardly “Change.”
But while he might not be perfect, I still feel Obama has more integrity than any mainstream candidate in quite some time. Barring further disappointments, I’m comfortable with the idea of Obama as president. And I think the presidency is his to lose. I don’t see McCain being able to rally the support necessary to beat Obamamania.
The fever is even catching here in the typically right-wing Book of Mormon Belt. This may be the first Democratic candidate in decades with an outside chance of winning Utah. Not a great chance, mind you. But where his predecessors had absolutely no chance, I really think Obama has a slim chance.
If what appears to be a largely honorable, slightly left-of-center candidate can win the general election and maybe make some headway in The Reddest of the Red States, that is at least a step in the right direction which I can support.
It appears that I’ve been lax in following the federal news. The recent activity on the FISA bill somehow slipped under my personal radar. I’ve been catching up, and in particular investigating Obama’s involvement. I am now very disappointed. This bill is an egregious breach of the civil liberties for which our nation is supposed to stand, and rather than taking a courageous stand against politics as usual, Obama has thrown in his support.
Given the portent of the AIPAC speech and the FISA bill, I’m now very strongly considering a third-party/write in vote. It is a tough decision. Would the now apparently modest but immediate change Obama is likely to represent worth sacrificing the more fundamental but less probable change represented by third-parties? Something to ponder.