My support for Obama has been wavering somewhat in recent weeks. He seems to have sacrificed his positions on the FISA bill, public financing, and a few other issues. The most important of these is his tough talk on Iran when he’s around a crowd that wants to hear it. In short, he’s looking more and more like a standard politician.
He covers this very topic in his book, however, and I’m quite aware of the fact that every political decision involves some sort of compromise, but I still don’t like it. The problem is, I am unsure of how important it is. In other words, I know that without him playing this game the way he is he would not be where he is now.
But those compromises aren’t the only problem. It’s also the policies I disagree with him on that he hasn’t waffled on. Gun control. Immigration. And I’m not sure how I feel about socialized medicine. I know there is value to socializing certain things, but I’m not sure how much of this is good for us at this stage in our development.
So let’s do it this way: let me tell you why I like Obama. And these are going to be “feelings” I have, which are subject to all sorts of biases and media trickery. So keep that in mind.
- Honesty. He speaks the most from the heart of any candidate that I’ve ever watched closely, with Paul and Kucinich being his only peers.
- He listens to people. I like Presidents who surround themselves with smart people and actually listen to them.
- His technology position. He’s supposedly for net neutrality, which is great, and transparent government is even more important to me. I also like his concept of a CTO for America.
- I like his energy policy, i.e. one that’s focused on alternative engery and doesn’t dismiss safe Nuclear as part of the portfolio.
- I think he can help us regain respect for our country on the world stage. The world senses his honesty and his willingness to talk through problems (even with his “enemies”), and this regaining of our respect will help all aspects of our country’s health.
- If he’s too extreme he’ll get marginalized just like Ron Paul would.
- If enough of the country is bigoted they’ll hate him just for not being white, and that lens of dislike will be used to distort any good he will do. But this is a problem with America, not with him.
- I want to see harsh penalties placed on businesses that hire and support illegal immigrants. I want to raise wages for blue collar jobs by changing the labor market to include more Americans. This means fewer illegal Mexicans. I don’t think Obama agrees.
- I haven’t seen him do anything courageous with respect to immigration or national identity, e.g. supporting English as the official language. This bothers me. He seems more likely to embrace unification of Mexico through a slow, gentle legalization process. And this is consistent with CFR goals. I see this as an ideal, perhaps decades or centuries in the future, but I think it’d be guaranteed disaster in the world we live in now.
- I think American citizens should be allowed to carry handguns to protect themselves. I don’t think the forefathers envisioned a society where Americans’ only defenses against an assailant using deadly force would be to call the police (see government). In fact, I think they had precisely the opposite idea. The government is there to help in a limited fashion, not to nanny us. If we are attacked we should have the right to defend ourselves. That’s the entire basis of personal freedom and responsibility.
These are just a few thoughts on the matter. The basic idea here is that I’m not sure Obama, for all his strengths, is going to be the right guy. I still think he’s likely the best guy (and he’s way better than McCain for sure), but the options of Bob Bar (Libertarian) or writing in Ron Paul are starting to become more attractive to me.
I hate to go back and forth on this crucial issue of who to vote for in such a public manner. I was for Ron Paul at first, and now I’m for Obama — but I’m having second thoughts. I considered not posting this for fear of appearing shallow.
But fuck that. I’m not going to apologize for being thoughtful and willing to change my mind when I deem it appropriate to do so. I will continue to do this — even at the expense of looking shallow.
Most anyone who’s thoughtful and has views that anything like my own is facing a tough choice this election. Obama could do a massive amount of good on the foreign front, but will his immigration and health care policies harm us more? Voting for Barr or Paul is a good option as well, but is it better to put your vote where it has the most chance of countering McCain?
These are not easy questions, and I look forward to hearing what your thoughts are on the matter.
[ Jun 27, 2008 ]