Will the real Obama please stand up

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Over at the National Journal Magazine, Stuart Taylor Jr. has a great article, Which Obama Would America Get?  I think he takes a pretty fair look at Obama and asks some really good questions.  Obama is clearly one of the most gifted and talented politicians in recent memory.  Despite his age and relative inexperience, he has had a vibrant and interesting political career.  For someone to say that they "just don't know him" is silly, but I think it is fair to ask what kind of leader he will be.

"When John McCain and many other Republicans ask, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" there is an implication that maybe he is somehow sinister or extremist.

I don't believe that. But I do think that there are two very different Obamas. Both are extraordinarily intelligent, serene under pressure, and driven by an admirable social conscience -- albeit as willing to deploy deception as the next politician. But while the first Obama would be a well-meaning failure, the second could become a great president."

I hope we get the second.

9 comments:

Smitty 11:36 AM  

I don't need to say that I'm the first to say that I'm biased, because it's been pretty obvious where I stand on Obama (I am a shameless fanboi). But I really feel like we'll get the latter, not the former. To the extent that the Executive branch can do what Obama wants to do, I think that stuff will happen. To the extent that Congress needs to act...well...by all accounts and predictions, Obama will have all the help he needs in the House and 1 less vote than he needs to guarantee a "rubber stamp" Senate.

My only worry is this: is that expectations are so high for Obama that there is no way he can live up to them. He will, under an analytical, benchmark-measured scope, do quite well. But there will be things to clean up that really nobody can in just 2 or 3 years. He will fall victim not to incompetence, but to unreasonable expectations. Shit from the Bush admin will take more than 1 term to fix...and no matter how much I love Obama, I along with many others have put much into a messianic vision of Obama that he won't be able to live up to it.

Make sense?

steves 5:49 PM  

It sure does. I don't think it is realistic to expect him to fix everything. Some things, like the economy, are influenced by factors that are outside the control of the executive branch. I think he can do the most good in the area of foreign policy. He has some great ideas, and that arena is almost entirely under the control of the Executive branch.

No fanboi here, but I am cautiously optimistic.

B Mac 7:12 PM  

Has Obama shown himself to be anything but pragmatic over the last two years?

Presumably, the guy would want to get re-elected. And he would want to affect a true realignment of the country (i.e. Reagan in '84). Neither of those would be possible if he led from the far left.

Sopor 7:30 PM  

I suppose we can only hope that the majority of the American voting public realize that Obama is not necessarily going to be able to live up to our highest hopes and dreams.

I hope we get the second Obama, because I too want to see him re-elected, as much because I would rather have a Dem in the White House for the next 8 years to balance some of the Republican influence of the last 8.

B Mac 9:12 PM  

Who's ready for Obama v. Palin in 2012?

Talk about the Globetrotters v. the Washington Generals

Andy 10:00 PM  

No one can truly live up to expectations.

Even better...very few presidents actually get to determine their own agenda. They are 20% proactive and 80% reactive.

Obama will try to respond to the economic mess (its the economy, stupid) and will respond to the foreign policy dilemmas that arise...but it is the 20% that is the most important.

I am hopeful on the energy policy, and I am even more hopeful about his appointees than McCain would have. That is truly "change" vs. "more of the same".

I don't think he can come through with all his promises...but no president could. And the people in 2012 will judge him on the last 4 years of performance and not on promises fulfilled.

And I HIGHLY doubt that the GOP nominates Palin. Romney would mop the floor with her.

Mike 6:50 AM  

Since we can all safely assume that if elected Obama will be nothing like McCain or Bush then he's already exceeded my expectations.

That's about all I expect.

Mike 6:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
steves 9:00 AM  

Palin has a ways to go before she would get the nomination. She has generated some interest, but time will tell if people will support her as a presidential candidate. I know that she isn't respected at all on the left, but to some on the right, she is. Jindal is another up and comer, so I wouldn't be suprised to see him try for the nomination in 2012.

And the people in 2012 will judge him on the last 4 years of performance and not on promises fulfilled.

You have more faith in the average voter than I do.

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