Obama – Electable?

There is not one America as we all know.  The America which ‘elected’ George W. Bush, seemingly was the America who felt they could sit and have a beer with this guy – he was likeable.  Was he capable, intelligent, world wise?  I think we can safely say that we now know the answer to that, after almost 8 years of his reign.

Whether Obama is electable or not is a matter of much of the current sentiment towards his candidacy.  Both he and Hillary have more or less similar platforms and policy programs, with some divergent, yet not significant differences.  With both having recently been on the hotplate, and seem to have somehow moved on, the question of electability and what that really means becomes the central question.

Do you have to be able to not only trust your choice of candidate, but also like and be able to relate to them?  For many voting Americans, I think they feel they may be able to connect with the Obamas more so than with the Clintons.  With a grandiose political history shared by both Clintons, I’m sure a large number of the general public sees them in their own world surrounded by all that is Washington.  While Obama has been in office as a State, and now US Senator, his past seems to resonate more so with a particular subset of society – not only with the higher educated,  professional 20-somethings to 50-somethings, but also ‘working’ families, as they say.  The fact that his wife works, they are raising young children in today’s society and that they both came out with college and graduate school debts larger than their mortgage, seems to me at least, strike a chord amongst a vast group of Americans.  They have lived and are living a similar experience to which many of us can vividly relate.  He may have his flaws (dealing with the Rev. Wright issue), but he comes across as earnest, honest and really wanting to work for the best and good of the people – as his past work in organizing local communities illustrated.  His charisma, oratory talent and openness to the world around him, enables this sense of trust which exudes from his words, beliefs and work.  Again, his judgement calls (Iraq), even in the midst of his recent crisis moment, indicates to me that the man is smart, speaks his mind and doesn’t waffle or change his tune, or abandon what he believes in, just to be on the ‘right side of the fence’.   His peers are starting to realize this, as many heavy hitters continue to endorse Obama vs. Hillary.

While Hillary has an equally good platform, a strong voter base and inside knowledge of the true Washington life, there is something about her persona and ambition which does not exhibit the same sort of earnest desire or sincere passion.  Perhaps she is not able to better communicate it?  Nonetheless, I personally don’t feel moved by her vision.  As if there is more at stake for her, as a woman, that she must prove and acheive.   Many women feel they need to support her, just because of her gender and what she’s ‘been through’ as a woman.   Her inability to be comfortable in her own skin, comfortable in her own (or others’) words and her lagging skill in genuinely connecting with people are somehow factors which in my opinion, make her an unelectable leader.  Her capacity to ‘fight’ is not a quality which makes a good leader.  To be able to rise above the mudslinging and be the honorable person who is more concerned with finding the best way to bring two parties together and really create an atmosphere conducive to producing actual policy solutions, are qualities a true leader really needs to have.  It is here where Obama takes points, as a person who shows you that he prefers to take the higher road which may be less combative and more honorable, to not pander to the high rolling lobbyists for garnering their contributions, and to be able to stay grounded in his fundamental belief system.

Intelligent, thinking folks are coming around to this realization – that bringing parties together vs. tearing them down is an approach which actually may work.  His outlook on international conflicts and crises takes a similar stand.  He sincerely (sometimes maybe naiively) believes in taking the approach where America is no longer looked at as the bully and the clueless state it has become.  Would Obama be a safer choice – possibly.  He has less skeletons in his closet, but at least he has an honest and sincere approach – a rare quality in a politician, which could prove to be a refreshing and needed change.  With Hillary, we’ve seen many of the skeletons and the scandals and even policy fiascos.  Is she [and Bill] honest?  Is she truly sincere?  I cannot say that I feel wholly comfortable describing her with those adjectives.   If I were electing a PTA President for my child’s school, I probably wouldn’t go for a candidate I didn’t feel I could fully trust based on an such an open history.  Why would I elect someone like that to govern my country?  I’d probably go for the enthusiastic, ‘I’ll roll up my sleeves’, rookie mom, with a kid just finishing Kindergarten, who plans to stay for the long haul (till 5th grade!), baked cookies for class events and volunteered her time once a week in her child’s classroom vs. the mom who’d drop off 2 dozen cupcakes every year at her children’s Halloween class parties (clearly bought from Whole Foods Bakery), saying how she made them from scratch and hand decorated each one of them the previous night…. 

To many, Obama has the appeal, intelligence and charisma so longingly wanted in today’s leaders – Carla Bruni has seemed to seduce the Brits!  So why not go for another ‘likeable‘ guy?

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