Thursday, February 14, 2008

Audacity is just the word

Some commenters to my earlier post on Obama said that I should listen again to his speeches, so I paid some attention to his talk at the Kohl Center. Nothing that I heard changes my impression that Obama offers a grand vision of politics as salvific and all encompassing. Consider thes lines:

Today, the change we seek swept through the Chesapeake and over the Potomac.

this movement won't stop

We have given young people a reason to believe, and brought folks back to the polls who want to believe again.

bringing together Democrats and Independents and Republicans; blacks and whites; Latinos and Asians; small states and big states; Red States and Blue States into a United States of America.

To reaffirm that fundamental belief – I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper – that makes us one people, and one nation.

they need to know that politics can make a difference in their lives,

I might add the tv spot that he is running which, channeling Ted Kennedy eulogizing Robert Kennedy, says something like the "world as it is is not the world as it must be." Obama promises Big.

This combined with the overwrought reaction of his supporters who seem to think that Obama offers a "New Creation" (a term that I have read he actually used in a speech, although I can't confirm that) strikes me as creepy and dangerous. Messianic politicians tend to make conservatives nervous. We know that the world does not so easily bend to our will. (And, just to preempt comments that miss the point, I agree that there have been huge ways in which Bush did not get that.)

But, as noted in today's Journal Sentinel, the campaign is moving into a period of providing more specifics and, as I suggested in my post (the positions aren't new), unity is exactly not what Obama has on offer. What he's selling is class warfare and scapegoating. Consider these lines:

overcome decades of money and the influence; bitter partisanship and petty bickering that's shut you out, let you down and told you to settle.

ExxonMobil made $11 billion last quarter. They don’t want to give those profits up easily.

He rails against NAFTA and the reality of global trade. He promises tons of new spending and a middle class tax cut. He paints a picture of the United States as a nation of economically disadvantaged folks who just can't quite get over because the rich have denied them. We don't need to make hard choices. We just need to fight the Power and take it back.

This is old fashioned economic demagoguery and brain dead economics. It tells people - not just poor people but the vast middle class - that their frustrations are someone else's fault and all that stands between them and what they want is Mean People. It assumes that money just exists and, if someone has too much of it, all we need to do is take it.

Now, I appreciate that, if you are a left liberal, you eat this stuff up. But tell me how it is about unity? Tell me how it unites red and blue states, Republican and Democrats.

If it is unity, it is a unity imposed by the state. You will be your brother's keeper whether you want to or not. More accurately, the state will be your brother's keeper and you will pay for it.

I know that, if you are a left liberal, you don't see the danger in that. You think that the state can assume responsibility for huge chunks of your life without making any untoward demands on you or having any negative impact on the behavior of people for whom security has, to a greater or larger degree, replaced responsibility and opportunity. Facts suggest otherwise.

You may object with the idea that Obama is not proposing anything as radical as my criticism suggests and, in the event, that will probably prove to be true. Even if he thinks he can remake the world, he will find out that a leader must often say "No, we can't."

But's that's not how he's running. This is a campaign mixing messianic politics with the politics of division and scapegoating. History doesn't teach us many nice things about that.

For those of you who are disappointed with John McCain, take note.

50 comments:

Seth Zlotocha said...

Messianic politicians tend to make conservatives nervous. We know that the world does not so easily bend to our will.

I take it you think that Reagan made conservatives nervous.

Obama is in many ways for lefty intellectuals what Reagan was for righty intellectuals. If that was as far as it went -- like with, say, Barry Goldwater -- there wouldn't be much of an issue (at least immediately). But both Reagan and Obama also have significant appeal outside their core constituencies that comes from their shared ability to frame their messages securely within the political angst of the times. For Reagan, it was about countering malaise; for Obama, it's about countering divisiveness.

And it's that mass appeal that made Reagan such a threatening figure to lefty intellectuals in the 80s (and beyond) and Obama such a threatening figure to righty intellectuals -- yourself included -- today.

But, bottom line, if the messianic figure was using mass appeal and messianic language to further a right-wing message, like with Reagan, you wouldn't be writing posts like this.

joe stalin said...

Reagan wanted the goverment out of our lives.
Obama wants the government to be our Mommy.
Seth, you as a lib don't want to make your way in the world. You want Mommy Barack to give you HOPE.
Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that has ever hired or managed people will recognise Obama for what he really is, a feather merchant. The only thing he really has to sell is a good line.

He's the guy that everyone likes and that sucks up to everyone but never has any good ideas and doesn't get results. We've all seen this type and they always get fired. Unfortuantely, that may be a problem if he becomes President.

As a conservative, I don't want the goverment to have more power, but less. I think the odds are better with McCain.

Seth Zlotocha said...

What do beliefs about the proper role of government in the domestic economy (I'm assuming you didn't mean involvement in social or family issues, like abortion or marriage, or foreign policy affairs, like nation-building) have to do with presenting oneself as a messianic figure?

Much like Rick, you're confusing the framing with the policies. You can disagree with Obama's policy ideas, much like liberal's disagreed with Reagan's policy ideas, but that's a separate issue from politicians framing their candidacies as transformational.

So when Obama talks about unity, that doesn't mean he's going to avoid scrutinizing every interest group out there -- like CEOs -- but rather that his approach to finding solutions to problems hinges on cooperation and open dialogue rather than the back-door triangulation associated with the Clinton or the unilateralism associated with Bush. Maybe you don't believe it'll happen, but that doesn't mean people who do believe in it as a possibility are wrong.

3rd way said...

Obama must really have you frightened. You have spilled more pixels on the guy than anyone else I read.

Have you read A. Sullivans take on the guy? http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama

He articulates the type of unity Obama represents better than even Barack himself has.

To the conservative Obama represents an oppressive nanny state, to others he represents a hope that we can have a government that functions well for all it's constituients. All of us that believe that government can do good and empower people might be fools, but as long as we have a large and powerful government we shouldn't disdain those that want to steer it in a way that will make it work for the many instead of the few.

Anonymous said...

You're not the only one to make this observation today. Daniel Henninger over at the WSJ has similar perceptions:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/obama_at_the_top.html

Unlike Daniel, however, I don't believe it a foregone conclusion that the public will have to reconcile his rhetoric with their personal lives.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, that link did not post well.

But you can find the article either on realclearpolitics.com or on the editorial page of the wall street journal title "Obama at the top."

Anonymous said...

Seth, you like Obama because he promises lefties other peoples money.
You'd vote for Hugo Chavez if you could.
For a lib to talk about uniting is hilarious. You freaks hate everyone who won't go along with your commie idea's.

jp said...

Microsoft’s dictionary chocked on the word salvific.
Fortunately, I have a Webster’s hard cover handy.
Thanks for the new word.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Based on the comments in this thread, Anon 2:48, I'm not sure I'm the one who's full of hate.

krshorewood said...

The nanny state label is a glib perversion of the notion of the common good. The idea that someone makes it all by themselves is largely a fairy tale, propagated by people who feel comfortable with their own greed.

Other economies practice it around the western world and they are doing better than we are.

Don't believe the lies that will ensue about those other countries.

Anonymous said...

Seth, you folks on the left are seething with hate.
Why is that?

jp said...

“Other economies practice it around the western world and they are doing better than we are.”

Does this mean we are no longer the economic engine of the world?

3rd wya said...

We are the ones seething with hate? Where in this thread is there hatred? Please point out every example.

We are thoughtfully responding to the local rights most outspoken intellectual characterizing our candidate as having a messianic complex and unable to inspire unity because of class warfare. The response we get from other commentors are completely lacking of substance, full of mischaracterizatons and condescenscion. Completely unworthy of a rebuttal. Yet somehow we are filled with hate?

In case you haven't noticed you live in a blue state. More people voted for Kerry than voted for Gore, more people are going to vote for Obama than voted for Kerry. The left is winning this culture war you guys have waged. If you review the comments in this thread you can see why.

Anonymous said...

Did you read the WSJ article I posted 3rd? Use some of your time constructively and do so now.

3rd way said...

I read it when you linked it. I am supposed to be swayed by something from the opinion page of the WSJ?

Should I link something from the Progressive to change your mind?

Did you read the Atlantic article I linked to? You really should, it is some of the best writing on Obama I have found.

It touches on our culture and its influence on this election. Our celebrity culture has as much to do with the cult of personality revolving around obama as anything.

Rick Esenberg said...

Seth writes "his approach to finding solutions to problems hinges on cooperation and open dialogue."

I understand that he - and everyone else in God's creation - says that. But look at the rhetoric that I excerpted. He is a garden variety left liberal. Nothing wrong with that if that's how you think, but nothing new or transcendent about it either.

Where I get nervous is when this gets translated into something that resembles a religious movement built around a Savior. There are elements of that in the Obama moment.

As far as Reagan being messianic or attempting to bend the world to his will, I disagree. The shining city on the hill that he envisioned was not to be built by the coercive power of the state.

Rick Esenberg said...

Other economies practice it around the western world and they are doing better than we are.

I don't think you can support that statement. We both could pick and choose numbers but I don't know that there is any set of numbers that could support a statement as broad as that. I've been all over western Europe and I've yet to come across any place that is "doing better" than we are. Some places do quite well. Others, less so.

Don't believe the lies that will ensue about those other countries

You know, I've been general counsel to a company that operated in some of those countries and I think the reality is fairly complicated. The welfare state (and, of course, we have one, too -they have just have a bigger one) seems to work well enough in Scandanavia (although they are reconsidering large parts of it), but these are homogenous countries with a culture unlike our own. Denmark, with which I am most familiar, is, in many respects, not the paradigmatic lefty regime that people think it is. They have relatively high taxes but they do not micromanage private enterprise in the way that, say, Germany does.

The welfare state seems to work less well in more diverse nations like France and Germany. It has certainly not created social cohesion and I think you can make an argument that it has contributed to social alienation because there have not been opporunities for North African immigrants in economies that are much less dynamic than ours.

The idea that someone makes it all by themselves is largely a fairy tale, propagated by people who feel comfortable with their own greed.

That's a caricature. Obviously people live in community. But "community" is not synonymous with "state" and even people who can love you - your parents - tend to understand that, at some point, you have to take responsibility for yourself and this may require a certain degree of tough heartedness on their part.

A country that takes something in the neighborhood of 40% of every additional dollar earned by people who are moderately successful is hardly mired in a state of nature. If you think that's not enough, you have quite a case to make.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Again, Rick, I think you're confusing the policy ideas with the means. In terms of policy, Obama and Clinton are not far off. But there is a clear difference in their means. And, on the point, every politician doesn't privilege cooperation in the same way as Obama; for instance, Clinton will occasionally talk about "reaching across the aisle," but she more often -- at least during the primaries -- emphasizes the down and dirty fighting with Republicans, and, in fact, she uses that point as a way to claim she'd be a better president than Obama.

And there are stories of the way Obama operated in a cooperative fashion in the IL legislature to get things done, often in a way that upset his party colleagues but nevertheless were successful in the end because he refused to shut any particular stakeholder out of the process (unlike B. Clinton or G.W. Bush). As an example, GOP state senator from IL, Kirk Dillard -- who appeared in Iowa ads for Obama but has endorsed McCain -- has said that "Barack had a way both intellectually and in demeanour that defused skeptics." Adding that Obama has a "unique" ability "to deal with extremely complex issues, to reach across the aisle and to deal with diverse people."

As I said earlier, you may not believe Obama about emphasizing cooperation as a means for solving problems, but that doesn't mean others are wrong to believe it and believe that it's an important quality for a president, who is often looked at as the person who sets the political tone for the nation (a tone that can either encourage people to participate more actively in political society, or persuade them to turn away from politics, as has been the case recently).

And, regarding Reagan, I'm still not seeing the connection you and commenter "joe stalin" are trying to make between presenting oneself as a messianic figure and believing that government as an important role in the domestic economy (again, I'm assuming you didn't mean American government involvement in social or family issues, like abortion or marriage, or foreign policy affairs, like nation-building, because on the latter Reagan certainly did believe in and profess about coercion as a means for bending the world to his view).

And, bringing it back to Obama, you're again confusing policies with means. When Obama uses transformational language, he's referring to changing the way policy positions are reached -- that is, American political society, but not American society itself.

Rick Esenberg said...

Seth

The point is that a commitment to limited government is a built in brake on your ability to bend the world to your view. I don't buy into your characterization of Reagan on foreign policy and social issues, but that's another topic.

You keep saying that Obama wants to reach acros the aisle but what I hear - when he moves past platitudes - is the same old class warfare. You may be in favor of that, but it's sort of hard to call it cooperation.

If you think that Obama is about reaching across the aisle, provide some examples of a significant departure from Democrat orthodoxy.

Rick Esenberg said...

As for the distinction between policy and means, I acknowledge that tone can matter. It's obviously important to me, but, were I to run for office, I hardly think that many lefties would vote for me because I'm respect them.

More fundamentally, I don't see the difference in means or tone. His campaign seems to be all about "uniting" "us" v. "them."

3rd way said...

So in your view only a centrist is able to unite? Obama is certainly to the left, but that does not mean that he can't find a common ground on certain issues and reach a compromise.

Obama sponsored with Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for a review by the Government Accounting Office following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs. He sponsored the “Iran Sanctions Enabling Act” supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran’s oil and gas industry, and joined Chuck Hagel in introducing legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.

This country is hungry for a government that will function for their benefit. Obama represents a leader with an ability to get past old GOP and Clintonian squabbles and work for the common persons best interest. Playing up his ability and aspiration to do that is not coersion, it is good politics.

Seth Zlotocha said...

The point is that a commitment to limited government is a built in brake on your ability to bend the world to your view.

That's not at all true, Rick, since you're referring specifically to limited government in terms of a domestic economy. The economy isn't the only place governments are used to bend things.

You keep saying that Obama wants to reach acros the aisle but what I hear - when he moves past platitudes - is the same old class warfare. You may be in favor of that, but it's sort of hard to call it cooperation.

You quoted some lines from a speech where Obama scrutinized the growth of CEO salaries in relation to the stagnation of middle/working class incomes. That's hardly class warfare, for starters, and also there are a number of people -- conservatives even -- who wholeheartedly believe in the fundamentals of a market economy, yet nonetheless are quite concerned about the growing divide between CEO and worker salaries.

If you think that Obama is about reaching across the aisle, provide some examples of a significant departure from Democrat orthodoxy.

One would be merit pay for teachers, which certainly hasn't endeared him to teachers unions. Another is avoiding an individual mandate for health care, which demonstrates a pretty clear belief in the power of the marketplace to achieve universal health care as opposed to having the government require it, and this is something that has brought Obama a significant amount of criticism from the left (most notably from Paul Krugman).

There are also important distinctions regarding the way Obama views government that separates him from many Dems, including the Clintons. As Ezra Klein has pointed out, these views stem from Obama's years as a community organizer where government is often viewed as an important but overly-bureaucratic institution. This has led Obama to a view that his advisers call an "iPod government" in reference to Obama's desire for a sleeker, easier-to-use state. Klein notes how this view contributed to a number of Obama policy positions that differentiate him from Clinton, including the lack of an individual mandate and an across-the-board tax cut as part of his economic stimulus package (as opposed to Clinton's targeted credits and subsidies).

All in all, while many of Obama's positions are liberal -- he is a Dem, after all -- he does have important views on issues, government in particular, that separate him in key places from those on the left and endear him to many in the middle and some on the right who have chosen to support his campaign.

As for the distinction between policy and means, I acknowledge that tone can matter. It's obviously important to me, but, were I to run for office, I hardly think that many lefties would vote for me because I'm respect them.

This isn't just about respecting the other side; it's about fundamentally acknowledging that to tackle some of the important, complex issues that have consistently plagued our country you need to involve stakeholders from all sides in the decision making, including -- perhaps most importantly -- American citizens who have previously been too disillusioned to even consider paying attention to the process. As Andrew Sullivan -- one of those conservatives backing Obama -- has put it (emphasis mine): "No he will not transform politics. He won't abolish our problems. He won't eliminate our enemies. He won't disappear partisanship. That's not the point. He's a decent, reasonable human being prepared to tackle these problems outside the depressing template of Morris-Rove politics. One way he can begin to do that is to bring a wave of support with him, to appeal beyond Washington to Americans who know this country is in a terrible mess and want to fix it. That's what Reagan did. He wasn't perfect. But we still remember the difference."

Republicrat said...

3rd way --

I'm not going to get too far into this sqaubble, except to point out that your examples of Obama's post-partisanship hardly prove your point.

The proposals mentioned don't exactly involve contentious, party-line votes (perhaps I'm wrong on this -- I didn't check the votes, if any -- but I doubt it).

What about the fundamental issues on which conservatives and liberals disagree? This is where most of the partisan ugliness occurs, and this is where Obama finds little common ground with conservatives.

I'll believe this post-partisanship (or bipartisanship, if you so choose, and if you recall the early Bush days, which promised much bipartisanship). Just talking about it -- even talking about it a lot -- won't get it done.

Republicrat said...

Seth -- these are honest questions, so please provide me with details if you have any:

Is Obama's support of merit pay merely a vehicle for increasing teacher salaries? Would any built-in raises be denied for teachers lacking effectiveness?

Rick Esenberg said...

If I thought that Reagan's social conservatism was about controlling the way in which people live, I might agree with you but that's not how the politics plays out. They are generally playing defense. Even opposing something like gay marriage is not to impose your will on someone else. Nor do I recall a lot of nation building unless you want to count Grenada. I don't think that standing up to communist totalitarianism is quite what we have in mind here.

I'm not impressed with the notion that Obama has found some new way of governing because you can identify a few things where someone else may be to the left of him. There was no one to the left of him in the Senate and the speech was not about CEO salaries. The essential message was that you have it bad and it's someone else's fault. That is not a message of unity.

As for "iPod government", please don't tell me you take that kind of stuff seriously.

3rd way said...

Electing anyone to be president is a leap of faith. Nobody has experience at being the chief executive. Judging how Obama will handle the issues where there is a deep partisan divide is simple conjecture.

We will have to wait and see. His second term will depend on how well he can reconcile the contradiction of promoting a progressive agenda while unifying.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Repulicrat,

Merit pay is a vehicle for increasing the salaries of good teachers who distinguish themselves. And if some teachers didn't achieve the standards of the merit plan, then I imagine they wouldn't receive the merit pay increase.

Rick,

I'm sure we could disagree all day about whether opposing gay marriage, domestic partner benefits, civil unions, and a woman's right to choose is imposing one's will over another's, but the fundamental point is that Obama's transformational rhetoric is separate from his policies. He's not proposing to change the fabric of American society or the basis of our economy; what he's proposing to change is the manner in which the government -- and the executive branch, in particular -- has gone about creating and enacting policies in recent decades. Again, you may not believe him, but that doesn't make others wrong to believe in it as a possibility.

And the central message of Obama's speech is that America hasn't been as great as it could be by not providing enough opportunities for people to achieve the American dream. This is very similar to Reagan, except Reagan said government was at fault while Obama believes government can be -- if it's based on open dialogue and collective responsibility, which requires public insight and interest -- an important partner in the solution.

And I absolutely take the "iPod government" notion seriously. This isn't something the campaign has used as some cheap slogan; in fact, I doubt you could find any mention of it anywhere in any of his speeches or on his website. Rather, this is an internal way for the campaign to describe Obama's general philosophy of good government, and that view is backed up in the details of his policies.

Anonymous said...

Seth said
"Obama is in many ways for lefty intellectuals what Reagan was for righty intellectuals."


I recall being skeptical of Reagan until I started to learn the many reasons why he would make a good president, simple logic I guess.

To this point, I have not heard one reason why Obama would make a good President. In sharp contrast to Reagan, Obama has no record, experience and has not even managed anybody. Now, the band wagon gets rolling and many people that maybe are logical become empty headed?

C'mon, give me one good reason why Obama would make a good president, just one.

Rick Esenberg said...

Seth

I am congenitally cranky about organizational slogans. "Ipod government" sounds like the old "reinventing government" fad. I tend to see it as putting a new name on old things.

As for whether Obama wants to expand the role of government and that some people believe that is a good idea, I have no doubt. I also believe that a lot of people are simply responding to the atmospherics. My point is that this is not new; that it is not unifying; and that there is a whiff of real trouble in it.

Seth Zlotocha said...

If you want just one reason, Anon, I'd quote (again) IL Republican state senator, Kirk Dillard who has said that "Barack had a way both intellectually and in demeanour that defused skeptics." Adding that Obama has a "unique" ability "to deal with extremely complex issues, to reach across the aisle and to deal with diverse people."

If that's not good enough for you, and you don't see anything else that sways you based on Obama's public appearances or what's on his campaign website, then don't vote for him. But that doesn't mean the millions who are going to vote for him -- and do so excitedly, as opposed to feeling forced into it like many Dems felt with Kerry and I'm getting the impression that many Republicans feel with McCain -- are "empty headed" just b/c you don't feel the same way.

Rick,

Again, it's not just about "expanding government," which is a policy, it's about the way in which Obama will approach setting the tone for and leading the government.

But we just seem to be spinning in circles now. You're certainly entitled to your points; I just don't think they stand up to scrutiny. Ultimately, I think they're a strategic attempt (alongside many other commentators on the right) to turn Obama's positives -- i.e., his ability to excite and unite people -- into a negative by heaping ominous labels onto him, like "messianic figure," and using ambiguous phrases like "a whiff of real trouble in it," as if something truly and uniquely bad is going to happen to American society through an Obama presidency.

Anonymous said...

Seth -

Thanks, but thats not saying anything that can be proven. It's takes another leap of faith to accept.

It appears to me that he has no hard credentials that can be relied on to say that he would be a good President. People cannot move up the ladder without a history of success. This is simply a campaign of telling people what they want to hear.

Seth, you seem to be a smart guy that I think will come out of this once your endorphines go back to normal.

Dad29 said...

Lack of loving McPain in and of itself does is not the equivalent of loving the Dems.

Dad29 said...

Seth: unlike another historical "messianic" politician, Ron Reagan did not head a party called the "National Socialists."

Seth Zlotocha said...

As far as I know, Anon, there isn't a standard set of a objective criteria that "make" a good president. Tommy Thompson had 14 years of executive experience and 4 years of cabinet-level experience, but I'm not sure that qualifies him to be president, let alone a good one. Bush II had 6 years of executive experience, and there aren't too many Americans today who would mistake him for a good president.

But in your search for an objectively-defensible -- meeting your objectives, of course -- candidate, keep patronizing Obama supporters. I'm sure that'll work out well for you.

Dad29,

What's your point?

Rick Esenberg said...

as if something truly and uniquely bad is going to happen to American society through an Obama presidency.

If Barack Obama moves the US to a European style welfare state, if he really does withdraw troops from Iraq in 90 days and if he adopts a Carterite foreign policy, that will be uniquely bad.

Enthusiasm, as you know, is not a value that can be divorced from what we are enthusiastic for.

Seth Zlotocha said...

If Barack Obama moves the US to a European style welfare state

What policy idea are you basing that statement upon?

And I don't think increasing diplomacy in foreign affairs -- or the judgment that saw Iraq as a war that would inflame terrorist sentiment, as opposed to diminish it -- is uniquely bad.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Enthusiasm, as you know, is not a value that can be divorced from what we are enthusiastic for.

So is your concern that Obama would be a more effective president than Clinton? If so, that is something we can agree on.

Anonymous said...

Seth -

That's the point, Obama supporters do not have a reason to think that Obama will be a good President. It's like talking to (Obama supporters) a teenage girl that think's she's in love and that the guy can't do anything wrong.

Some of us are trying to see and find what it is and it's not there. What we see is that there were some silly clips of sexy girls supporting him for President, then there was Oprah that really doesn't mean anything to someone that thinks on there own, then there there was Kerry and Kennedy.

That's the line up that we are to be impressed with? Give me a break.

Seth Zlotocha said...

I gave you a reason, Anon, that involved a Republican vouching for Obama's ability to tackle complex issues in an inclusive manner, which would be a refreshing quality for a president in this country after eight years of the current unilateralist administration. Another reason is Obama's ability to bring new voices into the political process -- which is the only way, in my view, to even start to counteract the impact of special interest money in politics -- after years of public disillusionment.

If you want more reasons to support Obama, from a conservative perspective no less, I recommend the writings of Andrew Sullivan. You can start with this article, but there's much more on his blog.

Like I said before, if nothing here or there convinces you, then don't vote for him. But it's nothing but condescending to think that others don't have a good reason for doing so just because you can't find one.

Anonymous said...

Seth -

Okay, let me ask in what may be a clearer way.

What has Obama done in his life that makes you think that he would be a good President?

Seth Zlotocha said...

He has a demonstrated record of bringing diverse stakeholders on complex issues together during his time as a state senator. He's also shown a keen ability to work with people on the ground during his time as a community organizer and demonstrated an ability to manage a sizable organization through his current campaign.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Oh, and he'll also have 4 years in the US Senate.

Anonymous said...

Seth -

Forgive me if you feel that I keep dogging you down on this but I've hired and managed many people in my life and you are not being specific enough to make him a credible candidate.

You may think you are giving me valid reasons but to me your giving me someone that for example would be applying for a job selling cars and is telling the manager that he has a new way to sell cars that will solve all the dealership problems. The manager asks him where he has demonstated this terrific program or why he believes it would work, but he can't give an answer because he's has no examples of success.

Do you think the dealer is going to hire someone like that? Of course not and we should not believe in it for the Presidency of the U.S..

I know Illinois has a terrible problem with companies and jobs leaving the State. This has happened while he's been a representative both in the State and the Senate. It doesn't appear that he brought to many people together for this problem.

I still do not know one thing that he has done in his life that would make him a good President. It appears that he wants to skip over the part where people earn it.

Seth Zlotocha said...

Like I said, Anon, then don't vote for him. But also don't think that you're the only one capable of judging who would make a good president because you've "hired and managed many people" in your life. I mean, please. There are thousands of Obama supporters who have had extensive management and HR experience who feel what Obama has done is his life is perfectly sufficient for the presidency.

Like I said before, there is no standard set of criteria for the presidency. If the American public just wanted someone w/ the most tangible experience for the White House, they probably would've picked Bill Richardson on the Dem side and probably Tommy Thompson on the GOP side based on their executive and cabinet experience. But that didn't happen b/c that's not all people look for in a presidential candidate. If that's all or primarily what you look for, then fine, but that doesn't mean others aren't giving sufficient thought to their choices just because your's are different.

In the end, if Obama is elected president and runs the country into the ground b/c of his lack of tangible executive experience, then I guess you know who to blame.

Seth Zlotocha said...

And in case you're actually interested in what Obama did in the IL legislature, rather than generalizations about the state's economy in flimsy connection with Obama's tenure as a state senator, I recommend this article and this article.

Seth Zlotocha said...

The manager asks him where he has demonstated this terrific program or why he believes it would work, but he can't give an answer because he's has no examples of success.

And those articles I just cited provide clear examples about how Obama has practiced what he preaches about bringing people together in the political process to solve important and complex problems such as ethics reform, capital punishment, racial profiling, and police procedures.

Anonymous said...

Seth -

read the article and saw it just as a puff piece for him. It's funny how you so easily dismiss that he hasn't done anything about the problem of jobs and companies leaving Illinois. If he didn't do it for them I doubt he would do it for anyone else.

Last night I talked to three highly educated young people that thought Obama may have potential. So I asked them the same questions I've asked you and not one of them knew of anything he has done that would make him a good President. It came down to one saying that McCain would probably be better for her company and the other two were very concerned about his merit pay plan for teachers. Hmm.

I think that once you get people off the band wagon and start talking to them, they realize he no longer seems as great as all the hype.

You obviously are working very hard to convince people, but pragmatically speaking, I don't like the odds with him. Way to risky.

Seth Zlotocha said...

What's truly funny, Anon, is how easily you dismiss as "puff" evidence that doesn't fit your clearly preconceived point of view.

And I didn't address your generalizations about the IL economy b/c I view them as a non sequitur. For starters, you never established your generalizations with any sort of evidence; and, second, even if they were established, it's an entirely additional leap to pin a state's economic problems on one of its state senators. It's far more concerning to me as a voter and citizen that the presumptive GOP nominee says "The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should" just as the nation heads into a recessionary period.

Again, like I said, don't vote for Obama. But it's just ridiculous (and ridiculously condescending) to think that b/c you aren't going to support him that others who are haven't truly thought about it or don't have sufficient reasons for doing so.

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