Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obama vs. McCain

Thankfully, I forget 99.999% of punditry within 48 hours of reading it. But this one has stuck with me since January, so I bring it back now:
Columbia, South Carolina — I went to Barack Obama’s rally here, on Sunday night, with a Republican friend who had never seen the Illinois senator in action before. Watching the crowd of more than 3,000 fill up the convention center, watching the people send up waves of energy to Obama, and watching him play off that energy in a speech that was one of the best political performances anyone has seen this year, my Republican friend said, simply, “Oh, s—t.” He recalled the scene from Jaws, in which the small seaside town’s sheriff realizes how big the shark he’s tracking truly is, and says, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” What my friend didn’t have to say was that he was deeply worried that Republicans just don’t have a bigger boat.
I must admit, at the time that article was one that started the adjustment in my thinking about the real possibilities of an Obama candidacy. At the time, I thought I was fairly solid for McCain, but I was open to revisiting that position. Minnesota held its caucus on Super Tuesday and we opted to go to the Democratic caucus and vote for Obama because we thought that he would need our help here (which was wrong) and McCain would not need our help here (which was wrong).

So what are the real possibilities of an Obama presidency? First, we get $800 trillion in immediate goodwill from around the world. I would like to hear from everyone who predicted that a black guy with a middle name of "Hussein" might be elected POTUS just 7 years after 9/11 and 4.5 years after pulling Saddam out of a spider-hole. Second, we get a potential for things to get done domestically. Of course, "get done" is nothing without specifics. That is where I start to get nervous (again) about Obama.

So what are the risks of an Obama presidency? I have two inter-related concerns. First, Obama is raw when it comes to national security and, second, if he wins he is likely to have comfortable majorities in both the House and the Senate. I'm not sure that I like the idea of a giving the Democrats complete control to do whatever they want over both national security and domestic policy.

It sucks to live in a democracy and have to sort through this stuff.