As you know I've been a Barack Obama supporter since before he officially threw his hat into the ring. I was first introduced to him, as many, via the 2000 Democratic National Convention. His fiery speech gave me chills of inspiration and it touched me deeply hitting at my core. He was reaching me in a way that most Democratic candidates have never done--except John Edwards. And there in lies my dilemma. I am now leaning away from Obama and toward Edwards. Which somewhat pains me because I really like Barack but I just don't think he's ready to lead this country.
I am impressed with Obama's ability to rally people and convey a passionate vision for the country. However. I have been sorely disappointed with his lack of command and his timidity during the last two Democratic debates. He seems to lock up and have trouble with substance, plans and concrete ideas that are bold, full of conviction, practicality and honesty about what it will take to realize those things. He started his campaign with plenty of conviction (as all campaigns do) but I think that he has since settled into thinking too much of how things might poll and relying too much on his advisers.
The debates are important to me because it gives me a chance to see candidates respond to live questions as well as immense pressure and Obama does not like to be pressed it seems. At least from the two debates I've seen him in. He seems to be in over his head when pressured and falls back on scripted responses that are full on promises but short on substance. A president must remain cool under pressure and be able to think fast and come up with the right answers. It's a tall order to be sure but we are talking about the most powerful and important job in the country (and perhaps the world seeing how America is still the only "Super Power." Although China is getting there). After 8 years of a president who has been "learning on the job" (and doing very poorly at it I might add) I am leary of another "on the job training" candidate. I like a candidate who is tried and true and polished in their platform.
Anyway, because of Barack Obama's inability to come up with solid answers to unscripted questions and scenarios tells me that he does not have a very strong and experienced command of the issues. This is all leading me to think that he would be an excellent vice-president and I would love to see him run with John Edwards.
Edwards has everything that Obama has and the depth in platform and ideas that Obama seems to lack. Edwards is someone that I've liked for awhile too. I was very impressed with the way he ran his campaign in 2004 and was greatly inspired when I saw him speak in Denver at a campaign rally as part of the Kerry/Edwards ticket. I remember at the time that I couldn't help but think that the ticket was backwards. I knew that John Kerry was not as strong a candidate as Edwards and perhaps that was a bit of fore shadowing for the collapse of John Kerry.
Edwards ripped Darth Cheney a new one in the vice-presidential debate as well and I was just blown away at how politically savvy and yet sincere he was about the issues--and he still is.
The other thing that I like about Edwards is that he is honest and perhaps painfully so to some people. I, like some were dismayed when he voted for the war but for me he made up for it by admitting he was wrong. Honesty--something you rarely (if ever) hear from a presidential candidate. I like people (and especially candidates) that can admit when they are (and were) wrong. It lets me know that they are not just worried about their political ambitions and, "What polls well" or will it make me look weak. It makes them look human and able to relate to the average man who makes mistakes everyday.
He like most politicians has big ideas but is very straight forward and honest about them and what it will take to see them happen. He knows that his universal health care plan will require raising taxes and It is so refreshing to hear a politician admit that. I'm sick of these wishy-washy Democrats who won't say the word "taxes." Americans have become spoiled and lazy expecting the best of everything without having to pay for it. Well you know what? It takes money to have a well run government that can fulfill it's obligations to the people and that means taxes but targeted taxes.
We cut taxes for the middle class and raise them for the wealthy who can absorb them easier then the average worker who is living pay check to pay check. The wealthy owe a debt of gratitude to this country that enabled them to make all that money they have or inherited. So they only make 5 million a year instead of 10 million a year--big deal. They can afford the cut more then anyone else--and that is what John Edwards understands and is not afraid to say.
He understands that the backbone of this country is the middle-class and that by helping the poor we all improve. He is a true populist and that is something that this country sorely needs after Bush's war in Iraq and years of Republican rule have left this country broken and falling behind the rest of the world in social issues.
I think the issue that is tipping me over toward John Edwards is his health care plan and especially his mentioning the need to have mental health issues treated with the same attention as any other biological disorder. As some of you know I live with many mental health issues which has greatly affected our finances and any candidate who can address the mental health care crisis in this country definitely has my ear.
So, for now I am taking down the Barack Obama for president button on the blog.
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