Friday, September 19, 2008

OK but…

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?

25 comments:

hankster said...

How does McCain not being present for all 8 votes on bills including credits towards alternative energy compare with what you present on Obama? There is plenty of fault to go around.

rsb said...

With “W” having an approval rating of less than 30% it is very likely the dem’s will control both the house & the senate.

Should be a cake walk to get things done for BO.

d'blank said...

Hankster -- i'm sorry brother but that is a total "i know you are but what am i" comment.

RSB -- that's part of what scares me. when one party has both Congress and the WH they steel with impunity*

* see GWB 2001-2009

hankster said...

Dennis, if we are discussing about who is a talker and who is a doer, would we be currently better off if the present administration were talkers and not doers? In elections, we each decide which candidate's vision is closest to our own. If elected, I would prefer if McCain was a talker and not a doer. I would take my chance with Obama because I would rather he be a talker than McCain be a doer or a talker.

What vision do you share with McCain?

Birdman said...

Much of a the job of Senator and Representative is to listen, take positions on issues, vote on issues, and sometimes author legislation. I don't know anything about Obama's 130 "present" votes but I would ask the question out of how many? What did he vote present on? Throwing out a statistic like that may be dramatic but also very misleading. Sort of like the old George Carlin partial score. "Cleveland Browns 24." To what?

I'm not all that familiar with Obama's legislative record. All I can do is listen to what he says and decide based on that.

I'm not all that familiar with McCain's either. I do know that in the past 18 months he failed to vote on or voted against any legislation (and there was a lot)having to do with veterans benefits. Listening to John McCain this past week has only reenforced my opinion that he would be a disastrous president.

jb said...

Denny,

You hit a drive 350 yards down the middle of the fairway.

Knock it on and sink the putt.

Doers and thinkers...jb

Gaga said...

D Make a list of all the boring people you would follow.

rsb said...

D’Blank….the question of the day is BO a doer or a talker.

My point is he won’t have to do much doing on what he has been talking about to get things done….or if you prefer….getr done.

I happen to like what BO is talking about….and in the last week I can’t tell what JM is talking about since changes positions so quickly.

kgwhit said...

There was a item on the news with an Illinois state senator that said that it is normal procedure to vote present. He didn't explain why and the interviewer failed to follow up as to why.

Only old geezers remember that the same things were said about JFK when he ran. He was a pretty boy who had written a book, but had almost nothing to show for his time in the Senate.

My father worked for a Senator on the hill at the time and he would talk about how JFK had never done a thing. My Dad's opinion of JFK was not very high. As I recall he had a history of not showing up for votes. In the end he turned out to be a bright guy who was up to the task.

McCain's age is really starting to concern me. It seems his team is way too often trying to "clarify" what he just meant. Those are 72 hard years that he has on him and he was never Rhodes Scholar material to begin with.

Watching McCain sometimes gives me the feeling that he is in over his head.

Kaz said...

Denny, you have such a dim view of things. If that's how you feel, here's one for your repertoire I heard yesterday. William Golding said it: "As bees are to honey, man is to evil." Come on, you can have a brighter view of the political process than this.

hankster said...

Am I missing something here? I listen to the McCain side and hear half truths and outright lies. I see political moves which are antagonizing anyone who is not right of center. How does he expect to "reach across the aisle" with so much ill-will he is creating? Do I get this right, he is running on a platform of rooting out corruption but has no bold ideas? We see a bit of this in the ban on short selling. "Round up the usual suspects." Hey, I've been shorting GWB from day one. The fear that Obama will institute huge tax and spend programs is as bankrupt as our economy. There isn't any money. The laissez-faire Republicans have scoured the treasury dry. An incoming White House and both branches of Congress would be toothless. If the course we are on is collision, and there isn't any money to spend, what is the problem of actually getting in someone who proposes to offer a change in direction? Consider the downside of having Sarah Palin in total control. I was once told the deadly duo is confidence and incompetence. We all know she is confident...

d'blank said...

Kaz -- the Obama supporters on this blog have called McCain everything except a human being, and I challenge you to find a negative comment I’ve made about Obama. How does that make me the guy with the dim view? I’m asking a legitimate question that millions of other Americans are asking, that’s all.

Woody said...

The University of Wisconsin's Ad Project has been monitoring the political ads of the candidates. 77% of Obama's ads are negative and 55% of McCain's ads are negative. Yet the Hankster feels the Republicans are the attack dogs. We are not getting the honorable campaign promised by both parties. It is only going to get worse. Say goodbye to bipartisanship. Read The New Yorker article about Obama for some political insight. The link is on The Daily Blank home page.

hankster said...

Woody, the New Yorker article portrays Obama as a very smart guy who doesn't miss an opportunity to move forward, even at the expense of those who have helped him. He is no wimp. There is an opinion going around that he does not want to express anger publicly for fear of being pinned an angry black man. Do you believe that the article lays to rest the notion that Sarah Palin is just a qualified as he is?

Regarding the statistics on negative ads. This can be a misleading metric. You can have a career criminal who only does break ins and another who has only broken the law a couple of times: for murder. Who would have a higher percentage of criminal acts? The question is the difference between lies and damnable lies.

Kaz said...

My dim view Denny is not about what you have said about Obama, but rather your negative view of politics, politicians, and the political process.

d'blank said...

Geeez Kaz, that hardly makes me a niche thinker. something like 80% of the American public holds a dim view of either the president, the congress, or politicians in general.

Woody said...

d'blank, you have plenty of company. The latest approval rating for Congress stands at 14 %. This is the lowest approval rating for Congress since 1974.

Birdman said...

Who doesn't hate politicians? Everybody hates congress but sends their own guy back time and time again. Wierd dynamic. It used to be that men and women would first have a career and then run for congress or senate. Now it seems that they run for congress and then leave to make their pile. Witness Trent Lott's "retirement" just before the restrictions on lobbying were going to get stricter. I think their were 5 or 6 "retirements" for that reason.

I'm with the 80%. They're all feckless cowards whose only talent seems to be a genetic disposition for remembering names and faces. However, it's the only game we've got so we might as well pick a side.

d'blank said...

they keep winning because they gerrymander the districts until they look like rouge cancer cells, that in reality contain only the demos that will guarantee them reelection time-after-time.

birdman said...

There's also that wierd thing about. "I hate congress but my guy is okay."

d'blank said...

Yeah, but it is because the only people in his district are people who look, think and act like him.

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