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  1. #1
    fogglethorpe
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    What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Barack Obama is certainly the most interesting Presidential candidate in recent memory....much more so than the moribund John Kerry or Bob Dole, etc.

    He is also likeable, a dynamic presence on stage, a great orator, and has the aura of optimism. These qualities have lifted him to near cult-like status. There have been reports of people actually fainting at some of his rallies.

    Do those things qualify him to be leader of the free world? Do innocuous, abstract mantras like "Change" make a political platform?

    I am not posting this to disparage anyone who has voted or plans to vote for Senator Obama. I am simply puzzled....what substantive reasons are there that motivate people to vote for him? What are his convictions...what is his vision...what specific ideas of his are appealing?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    All politicians lie. Might as well vote for a likable liar.

    I did not have sex with that woman - Bill Clinton
    Read My Lips - George Bush Senior
    Iraq has weapons of mass destruction - George Bush Jr
    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

  3. #3
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe View Post
    Barack Obama is certainly the most interesting Presidential candidate in recent memory....much more so than the moribund John Kerry or Bob Dole, etc.

    He is also likeable, a dynamic presence on stage, a great orator, and has the aura of optimism. These qualities have lifted him to near cult-like status. There have been reports of people actually fainting at some of his rallies.

    Do those things qualify him to be leader of the free world? Do innocuous, abstract mantras like "Change" make a political platform?
    No, change is not a political platform. However, your focusing on his appeal, is a problem of your own. You can not simply characterize him and then shoot down your characterization as being insufficient.

    His plans can be read here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

    Let me pre-empt, if I may a possible rebuttal, that non-one is really interested in detailed policy discussion in choosing a candidate. I would answer that the same goes for every candidate.
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  4. #4
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandaler View Post
    No, change is not a political platform. However, your focusing on his appeal, is a problem of your own. You can not simply characterize him and then shoot down your characterization as being insufficient.

    His plans can be read here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

    Let me pre-empt, if I may a possible rebuttal, that non-one is really interested in detailed policy discussion in choosing a candidate. I would answer that the same goes for every candidate.
    But people do choose candidates based on ideology which should inform policy details. Ronald Reagan was a great speaker; a real motivator in his own right. He did so to sell his two big sets of policy: increase military spending and reduce the size of government. That's what "Morning in America" meant to Reagan and his supporters. FDR inspired many with his speeches for a similarly focused goal: recovering from the Great Depression (and later, battling WWII). Martin Luther King told the nation "I Have A Dream" for the expressed purpose of getting civil rights and anti-poverty legislation passed in Congress (and later, opposing the Vietnam War). Each of America's great orators defined change at the outset with an ideological goal--a set of policy goals.

    For me, Obama's "Yes We Can" slogan doesn't immediately conjure up a clear ideology or set of priorities. One day it's Iraq. The next it's ethics. The following day it's economics. After that it's "unity." I still don't get a sense what he's willing the fight for, tooth and nail. I know immediately what the great communicators of the past--the Lincolns, the Roosevelts, the Churchills, the Kings, the Kennedys--meant when they urged voters to embrace some synonym of "change." Each fought partisan battles when they needed to. Reaching across the aisle and embracing the opposition was not in and of itself an ideological goal.

    I do like Obama's proposals on health care (though I like Hillary's better), the Iraq War withdrawal, ethics reform, and commitment to comprehensive immigration reform. But those specific policies must be prioritized and communicated within a larger ideological theme. It's clearly a liberal agenda, but I don't hear him using the L word, or even the P word for progressive. But his voting record in the US Senate is one of the most liberal, if not the most liberal, in that legislative body. At some point Obama must communicate that ideological preference in his "Yes We Can" theme. He doesn't have to now because Hillary has essentially the same set of policies and a stale speaking style. The debate has become one of rhetorical aesthetics rather than ideology.

    But McCain will likely change that situation. McCain will define "Yes We Can" for Obama if Obama doesn't do it first. I'm betting that he will out of necessity. He'll seize on one or two of his core policy goals and fashion his message of change around them. I like his chances, but he does have weaknesses that McCain can exploit. Look at what McCain did to Romney with a few out-of-context remarks fashioned in an unflattering way. Romney's own lack of definition allowed McCain to fill in the blanks as he saw fit.

    Perhaps Obama will win in a landslide--I hope so, but I don't know. I still have lingering doubts that only time will cast away or confirm.

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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    I agree Manise.

    But this is only the primaries, and he is presently only running against Hillary; someone who shares his ideology for the most part. For the moment, he seems to be winning the electability debate and for him, at this stage, it's the most important point.

    If he gets the nomination, yes, he surely will need to sell his vision with better clarity and draw some contrast between him and Mccain.
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandaler View Post
    I agree Manise.

    But this is only the primaries, and he is presently only running against Hillary; someone who shares his ideology for the most part. For the moment, he seems to be winning the electability debate and for him, at this stage, it's the most important point.

    If he gets the nomination, yes, he surely will need to sell his vision with better clarity and draw some contrast between him and Mccain.
    However, the primaries, in theory, are tune-ups for the general election. I read a lot about the huge crowds at Obama rallies and the domination of most constituencies, except apparently old white women, and how that translates into victory in the Fall. Well, the Democrats have nominated candidates who cleaned up in the primary elections only to lose the Big One in November--(kinda like the New England Patriots this year--18-1, but the one is the most important game). I don't know how far I can go with that sports metaphor, so I won't even try. My point is simply that early wins, even convincing ones, in the Democratic primaries guarantee nothing. George McGovern won the nomination convincingly and got butt kicked by Tricky Dick in 1972. Michael Dukakis not only dominated the Democratic primaries in 1988, he racked up a 17 point advantage on Bush I by convention time.

    The counter-argument is "Obama is a different candidate; Yes We Can." Well, now that the nomination fight is all but over except for the shouting, it's time to consider how Obama beats McCain. What "vision" does Obama have that gives an ideological focus to his Fall campaign? Is the JFK approach of youth and vitality for public service ("Ask not what your Country Can Do for You....") over 8 years of stale Republicanism? JFK barely defeated Tricky Dick even after winning the TV debate and wooing just about every national reporter in the nation. Or is it the government intervention of FDR's "Prosperity is Just Around the Corner" over Hoover's Depression economy--a progressive theme that began a 4 term dynasty?

    What is Obama's ideological program? Walter Mondale's campaign slogan was "America needs a Change." When Reagan informed America that Mondale's change was classic Minnesota liberalism, Mondale's agenda was defined by his opponent. Mondale's convention pledge to raise taxes kinda spoiled the secret too.

    Perhaps McCain will help Obama make the decision on campaign focus for him. The recent dust-up over McCain's relationship with a younger female lobbyist has reopened the ethics questions surrounding the senator during the Keating Five scandal. Maybe corruption and honesty will be the driving theme, much like Jimmy Carter's "A Leader, For a Change" encapsulized the national disgust over Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon.

    "Change" must mean something. What do you think it ultimately means against McCain?

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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Manise,

    As a Canadian, I been only been paying attention to American politics since 2000. Your grasp is clearly superior to mine.

    I am not ready to speculate on the upcoming narrative of an Obama-Mccain confrontation, but it would surely be an interesting match-up. I will look forward to read further of your musings.
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  8. #8
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    I would like to see McCain run against Obama. I think they both have ideas that would be good to see implemented. I'd vote for Obama over McCain, but this is the first time in my adult life where I feel like I would be happy with either candidate in office... as opposed to recent elections.

    I don't think Obama is the messiah as Clive is fond of prodding. Instead, I see him as the least tainted by Washington politics and a far better uniter than Hillary.

    I feel as though Hillary is to conservatives/Republicans what Bush jr is to liberals/Democrats. She has a tremendous potential to further polarize the nation. I would much rather vote for McCain than for her. I see McCain's moderate tendencies as an ability to reach out to his opposition and actually get stuff done.

    So, that's why I like Obama. I like his ideology. I like his chances of uniting the nation after 8 years of retardation.

  9. #9
    fogglethorpe
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandaler View Post
    No, change is not a political platform. However, your focusing on his appeal, is a problem of your own. You can not simply characterize him and then shoot down your characterization as being insufficient.
    I gave my opinion on his candidacy and personality, but noted that he has failed to articulate a clear vision for his Presidency, should he be elected.

    His plans can be read here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/
    I have been to his website. It is amateurish and reads like a mediocre college term paper. It has categorized litanies of percieved problems, and vague solutions (usually oppressive, unenforceable mandates or unfunded giveaways).

    Let me pre-empt, if I may a possible rebuttal, that non-one is really interested in detailed policy discussion in choosing a candidate. I would answer that the same goes for every candidate.
    Perhaps you make my point.

    But, many Americans still do think substance and vision should trump style and Oprah-esque feelgood rhetoric.

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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe View Post
    I gave my opinion on his candidacy and personality, but noted that he has failed to articulate a clear vision for his Presidency, should he be elected.
    Yes you have. In the fairly typical manner of pitting his appeal and charisma against his lack of a clear message. You are repeating the same category mistake that is so prevalent in media punditry. If you don't like his ideas please do say so, and why. The tiresome acknowledgement of his appeal, in the end, to attack his platform is not necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe
    I have been to his website. It is amateurish and reads like a mediocre college term paper. It has categorized litanies of perceived problems, and vague solutions (usually oppressive, unenforceable mandates or unfunded giveaways).
    I would guess your not a Democrat then. Well, it would seem that the Obama campaign has been gracious enough to help you form a rather precise opinion of his platform. So why underline that he as not ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe
    Perhaps you make my point.

    But, many Americans still do think substance and vision should trump style and Oprah-esque feelgood rhetoric.
    Perhaps I did. Previous to this post, I didn't know what point you where making. You had only asked any would be supporters why they do support him.

    I see him laying out this vision:

    The end of 51% rule, where you pander to just enough constituents to gain a majority, and then rule only for that majority. The vision of an inclusive majority that is not divisive in nature. Sounds like a vision to me.

    What is Mccain's or Clinton's vision ? Why aren't those called into play more often ?
    If it's because of a lack of enthousiasm about those candiates, do you see the non-sense of linking both ?
    Last edited by Vandaler; February 22nd, 2008 at 09:00 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe View Post
    He is also likeable, a dynamic presence on stage, a great orator, and has the aura of optimism. These qualities have lifted him to near cult-like status.
    Obama is more than just a good orator. Those are Hillary's talking points, by the way. It typically takes an intelligent person to formulate an eloquent argument, both in prepared form and impromptu. It takes an intelligent, thoughtful person to lay out specific ideologies in comprehensive format throughout a personally-authored book as he has expertly done. Obama is more than just a charming individual. He's more than just a positive person too. He's sufficiently demonstrated all of those things in concert.

    He's not a typical politician who's bent on tearing into the character of his opponents. He has a positive outlook for the future instead of dwelling on the problems of the present. He's a breath of fresh air, and just what the doctor ordered for this country. We don't need another politician-type. We need someone to lead us out of the doldrums.

    Someone who possesses the combined traits of likeability, optimism, insightfulness, dynamic presence, and eloquence is almost assuredly not someone who is simply masking deficiences, but instead is someone who has genuine qualities producing those traits. John McCain and Hillary Clinton would kill to have traits like that, but when they're artificially conveyed, they tend to be transparent. Obama has given absolutely no indications of transparency. He tells it like it is, doesn't obfuscate, doesn't dodge, doesn't sugarcoat. You gotta love someone in office like that. Someone who owns the problem and faces up to it, instead of someone who will try to shift the blame.

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe
    Do those things qualify him to be leader of the free world? Do innocuous, abstract mantras like "Change" make a political platform?
    Nobody knows precisely what qualifies someone to be the leader of the free world. Many presidents have been effective without containing the supposed requisites of experience. To me, aptitude for something is even more impressive than experience.

    Also, nice avatar from In the Court of the Crimson King... I particularly like Epitaph and Part 1.
    anything could be an illusion and we wouldn't know the difference... proof schmoof...

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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    I see him laying out this vision:

    The end of 51% rule, where you pander to just enough constituents to gain a majority, and then rule only for that majority. The vision of an inclusive majority that is not divisive in nature. Sounds like a vision to me.
    You think that a professional politician, like Obama, is going to do anything but that? He'll hedge his bets as much as he deems reasonable, like any other untrustworthy politician, and will advance his claims of self-righteousness and uncorrupted moral fiber, like any other untrustworthy politician.

    If his wife's rhetoric is correct, I really don't want to see him in office:

    Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
    He's Here From The Government, And He's Here To Improve You!

    Oh, and this:

    We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
    Now the government's going to fix our souls! Sweet action! Thanks, Obamessiah!
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  13. #13
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    If his wife's rhetoric is correct, I really don't want to see him in office:
    Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
    He's Here From The Government, And He's Here To Improve You!
    So when a politician says, "I'm not going to allow anyone to starve", do you interpret it as a threat to your ability to engage in a hunger strike? No, because obviously he's talking about providing everyone with the opportunity to eat. Likewise, Obama's wife was quite obviously referring to a commitment to raise the profile of the political sphere, not force everyone to read the Wall Street Journal each morning. That's a noble ideal in a country where voter apathy is abundant. You're grasping at straws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive
    Oh, and this:
    We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
    Now the government's going to fix our souls! Sweet action! Thanks, Obamessiah!
    So, you interpret a statement of moral obligation as a proposal for government mandate? Barack has every right to run on his own values and ideals, and it's important that he share them with the populace so that they know what he stands for. It is no different from any politician talking about what he believes is right and wrong. Again, you are grasping at straws.

    Furthermore, it is ironic that the politicians on the right are the ones concerned with "family values" and improving the morality of society in this "Christian nation". And unlike Barack, who to a great extent merely expresses his moral views in the examples above, many right wing politicians are perfectly willing to translate those morals to government action.
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  14. #14
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    So when a politician says, "I'm not going to allow anyone to starve", do you interpret it as a threat to your ability to engage in a hunger strike? No, because obviously he's talking about providing everyone with the opportunity to eat. Likewise, Obama's wife was quite obviously referring to a commitment to raise the profile of the political sphere, not force everyone to read the Wall Street Journal each morning. That's a noble ideal in a country where voter apathy is abundant. You're grasping at straws.
    Look at what she said:

    Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
    If Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama wish to shed their cynicism and move out of their comfort zones, then by all means let them do so. That they should require or demand that I do so is far too presumptuous.

    So, you interpret a statement of moral obligation as a proposal for government mandate? Barack has every right to run on his own values and ideals, and it's important that he share them with the populace so that they know what he stands for. It is no different from any politician talking about what he believes is right and wrong. Again, you are grasping at straws.
    He's running a political campaign on "we need to save our souls". He isn't just talking about his own personal opinions; these are his policy initiatives.

    Furthermore, it is ironic that the politicians on the right are the ones concerned with "family values" and improving the morality of society in this "Christian nation". And unlike Barack, who to a great extent merely expresses his moral views in the examples above, many right wing politicians are perfectly willing to translate those morals to government action.
    First, it's his wife talking, not Barack, which is the reason I provided the caveat at the beginning.

    Second, she's talking about what Barack will do when in office, not just expounding on what he happens to personally believe.

    Third, those who are willing to legislate their morality are being--shall we say--too liberal with the government's power.

    I would not place Mike Huckabee on the Right, politically.
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanadu Moo View Post
    Someone who possesses the combined traits of likeability, optimism, insightfulness, dynamic presence, and eloquence is almost assuredly not someone who is simply masking deficiences, but instead is someone who has genuine qualities producing those traits. John McCain and Hillary Clinton would kill to have traits like that, but when they're artificially conveyed, they tend to be transparent. Obama has given absolutely no indications of transparency. He tells it like it is, doesn't obfuscate, doesn't dodge, doesn't sugarcoat. You gotta love someone in office like that. Someone who owns the problem and faces up to it, instead of someone who will try to shift the blame.
    I've seen many Republicans and Independents--even Clive for a brief time--pledging to vote for Obama. Some cite the reasons you list here: dynamism, transparency, and an unwillingness to "shift the blame." I will definitely work and vote for Obama this year. But I also have my doubts about all this cross-over love for a US senator with one of the senate's most liberal voting records, if not the most liberal. McCain's alleged liberal inclinations can't even begin to touch Obama's. And if this wave of bipartisan enthusiasm continues November, it could spell "landslide" for the Democrats and all the benefits of its coattails in Congress.

    So I have to ask you and others from the moderate and conservative side of politics, what liberal foreign and domestic policies are you prepared to see enacted as the price for having Obama as president and possibly larger Democratic congressional majorities? I'm just curious.
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  16. #16
    fogglethorpe
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xanadu Moo View Post

    Also, nice avatar from In the Court of the Crimson King... I particularly like Epitaph and Part 1.
    Thanks. I consider the first King Crimson album one of the most prodigious and stunning pieces of music ever recorded. There will never be anything like it again.

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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    I've seen many Republicans and Independents--even Clive for a brief time--pledging to vote for Obama.
    When did I ever pledge to vote for Obama?

    I might have said that I was considering voting for him, and that he was an excellent politician.

    Maybe if it came down to Huckabee versus Obama...maybe I'd vote for him.
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  18. #18
    fogglethorpe
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandaler View Post
    If you don't like his ideas please do say so, and why. The tiresome acknowledgement of his appeal, in the end, to attack his platform is not necessary.
    Attack his platform? What platform? That is my point...I'd likely attack it if he'd adopt one.

    I would guess your not a Democrat then.
    Correct. I am a recovering Republican, disenfranchised to the point of registering independent three years ago.

    You had only asked any would be supporters why they do support him.
    I see him laying out this vision:

    The end of 51% rule, where you pander to just enough constituents to gain a majority, and then rule only for that majority. The vision of an inclusive majority that is not divisive in nature. Sounds like a vision to me.
    That is a strategy for winning, not a vision for governing.

    Ok, so he sways enough people to supposedly achieve your anachronistic "inclusive majority that is not divisive in nature". Sounds eerily like fascism to me.

    Then what?

  19. #19
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe View Post
    Attack his platform? What platform? That is my point...I'd likely attack it if he'd adopt one.
    Let me help you.

    1. Withdrawing all fighting troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office.
    2. Acknowledge and start addressing the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
    3. Reboot American Foreign Policy.
    4. New national health care plan with emphasis on coverage for everyone.


    I'm not an American, but I would think that these 4 elements alone, which are clearly in his priorities and stark changes from the current administration are worth commenting on. Most especially if you disagree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by fogglethorpe
    That is a strategy for winning, not a vision for governing.
    What do you expect ?

    The bold narrative on McCain is that he thinks he's the only one smart enough to have known the surge would work.
    Is that a vision for governing ? Quite frankly, McCain as no narrative going for him at all. So we know him as a straight talker... Big deal. That he's a maverick, whatever that means.

    As for Clinton, is being ready on day one and being person of action, not words a vision ?

    Tell you what, if you can outline McCain's, Clinton's and Huckabee's vision clearly, I'll concede that you may be on to something.
    Last edited by Vandaler; February 23rd, 2008 at 02:58 PM.
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    Re: What inspires you to vote for Obama?

    I'm not an American, but I would think that these 4 elements alone, which are clearly in his priorities and stark changes from the current administration are worth commenting on. Most especially if you disagree with.
    There's nothing to critique. "Change" isn't a policy, it's a buzzword.
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