I asked and you answered. Thank you for your responses to the question of “why Barack?” which I read several times. They ranged over many issues, but especially leadership. We can continue to debate the candidates for another 45 days or so, but I’m bothered by a nagging question I just can’t resolve. Perhaps you can help me with it.
Right or wrong, when it comes to the world of work (and the Presidency is a job after all) I divide the leaders I’ve worked for into two groups: those who get things done and those who talk a good game. And I suspect we could all agree that there are a lot more of the latter than the former.
I just can’t shake this impression that Obama is a talker, not a doer. I don’t denigrate his role as a community organizer, but he himself has said he left the field for law school because he could not get anything important done. I don’t dismiss the value of being a law professor, or a published author either, but those are essentially solitary pursuits in which one talks (or writes) but bears no direct responsibility for results.
I start really questioning his record when he enters politics; the 130 “present” votes in the Illinois Senate trouble me, but more troubling is his role as a US Senator. Not one hearing of the Afghanistan subcommittee that he chairs? A country where we have 30,000 troops? I find that hard to understand. There are a bunch of emails floating around that list his legislative achievements, but I think we all know these lists are not meaningful. The Senate leadership in both parties dole out “co-sponsorship” credits to all so everyone can say they did something.
A man with Obama’s ambitions should have dared something bigger – an alternative energy bill, a healthcare reform act – something that demonstrates vision and daring. But he seems very undaring to me. Careful to a fault. More afraid to fail or disappoint than to challenge the powers that be.
I don’t want to run the guy down; I may vote for him in the end – it really depends on the debates. But this nagging feeling that the man is an articulate, ambitious, poser just will not leave me. What say the rest of you?