Friday, March 23, 2007

Obama for President

After careful consideration, and surprisingly early in the process by my standards, though that seems to be the theme of this cycle, I have tentatively decided to support Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.

The main rap against Senator Obama is his lack of national political experience, as in 2008 he will have had only four years in the Senate. This is normally a problem in foreign policy, where decisions have to be made quickly and consequences can be profound. However, he has been an enthusiastic participant on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his campaign web site highlights some serious stuff, particularly on nuclear proliferation from the former Soviet Union. He has also spent significant time overseas and gained familiarity with different parts of the world that will serve him well in the White House.

Obama's domestic agenda is less formed, the main reason this support is tentative. However, he addresses issues such as education and health care in a way which conforms to my own philosophy of a government which supports localized initiative which creating conditions of security and stability in which people can live and work. On key labor issues I have no doubt he has the right ideas, and his background as a community organizer gives him insight into the problems faced by, well, people who work for change at the community level.

Finally, at the level of shaping the national debate, Obama is a talented politician who, as some have noted, has a tendency to come across as more liberal than he actually is, but doing so in a way people find acceptable. After six years of President Bush, conditions seem right for someone to articulate a coherent, inspiring liberal vision of the country, a process begun in 2003 and 2004 by Howard Dean. This would represent an important paradigm shift in our national politics, one which would pave the way for more progressive change in the future.



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