Sunday, November 02, 2008

Buyer's remorse? Maybe later.

Earlier this year when Obama and McCain were ahead in the primaries, I thought that this would be the best choice of presidential candidates that the US had had in well over a decade. Well over. Once the two were officially nominated and the campaign had begun the quality of the debate sank to the usual cesspool level. Obama appeared to come out on top mainly because he played calmer and steadier by mostly keeping his mouth shut. McCain seemed to set out to destroy his own reputation and image by resorting to the petty, irrelevant nonsense that Bush had used in his campaigns. (So did the Obama campaign to some extent, but they were less aggressive about it.)

Washington state finally got around to sending my absentee ballot 2 weeks ago (I hope the effort did not strain anyone there) and I finally was able to vote. I voted for Obama even though I have never voted for a Democrat for president (I take zero responsibility for Boy George as I did not vote for him either. I did not vote for a presidential candidate when the choice was between him and AlGore--good god!---and John Kerry.) There were a lot of reasons to support Obama, many of which require more of a faith that he will do what he vaguely says he will do and a hope and prayer that he is not as left-wing as his record and as some of his colleagues in congress.

I lost any belief that he was much different as a politician than any other when he decided to opt out of accepting federal campaign finance (he broke his word, i.e. he lied) and then gave his sorry excuse for doing so. Still, I have some hope that he may live up to the promise that he showed early in the campaign. Perhaps he will do well if he can avoid the extremes of some in his party.

Obama is not, any more than other politicians, a paragon. He reneged on his promise to use public funds for his general election campaign, driving a stake into the heart of the post-Watergate effort to reform the campaign finance system. He rejected McCain's invitation to hold joint town hall meetings -- opening the door to the kind of tawdry exchange of charges that we have seen. In both instances, he put his personal goals ahead of the public good -- a worrisome precedent.

But he has engendered widespread enthusiasm in a jaded and cynical public, especially among young people. And if he does not disillusion them in the years ahead, that would be a real gift to the nation. David Broder, Washington Post.

We shall see. Let's hope he does not turn out to be another Jimmy Carter, the previous worst president in the history of the universe before Bush. Perhaps he will do well. He could hardly do worse, could he?

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