The media reaction to the recent ABC Presidential debate in Pennsylvania was almost unanimous. Television moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were widely ridiculed for not asking a single question on an issue of political substance for more than the first fifty minutes of the Presidential debate. Indeed, there was not a single question on health care, the war in Iraq, the economy, illegal immigration, social security, or any other of the important challenges and issues facing America today.
Instead, for nearly the first hour of the debate, the voters heard questions concerning Barrack Obama’s recent dubious comments on small town America. In addition, the ABC moderators focused several questions on Obama’s relationship with his pastor, the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Another debate question concerned whether Obama loves the American flag and why he does not wear flag pins on his suit lapel. Still another question concerned Barack Obama’s relationship with the former radical leader of the “Weathermen“, William Ayers.
While some of the criticism of the coverage of the Democrats Pennsylvania debate is certainly valid (especially troubling were the continued camera shots of Former First daughter, Chelsea Clinton), the questions posed by the moderators in those first fifty minutes were exactly the types of questions that the American voter now needs answered in order to vote for or against Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.
It is evident that the country is aware that Barack Obama is to the left of the American political center on most of the major issues. It also appears from the public opinion polls that much of the American public would currently support an inexperienced, liberal, Democratic politician in the 2008 Presidential election. In fact, the polls indicate that if an election between John McCain and Barack Obama was held today, it would certainly be very close.
So a pertinent question in the mind of the American voter is really just how far to the left of center are the politics of Barack Obama? The ultimate answer to that question will probably decide the 2008 Presidential election. Therefore, the questions in the first fifty two minutes of the ABC Presidential debate, while not about national issues, were certainly not frivolous and actually quite important.
Consider that Barack Obama is running for the highest office in the land on a very short political record. He has been a United States Senator for just three years. Prior to that he was a State Senator in Illinois. His political record is short and his voting record appears carefully designed with a future campaign for a high office in mind.
In announcing the reason for his candidacy for the Presidency, Barack Obama said: “What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics, the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions”. His oratory sounds wonderful until one examines his actual record as an Illinois State Senator. That record indicates that he voted “present,” (effectively sidestepping many important issues) nearly 130 times. It is a political voting record that gives little insight into today‘s presidential candidate. It is also a voting record that is in conflict with the words of the man.
As a result, in the minds of the voters, there are really two distinct Presidential candidates named Barack Obama. Which of the two is the actual candidate is the biggest question the voters must answer between now and election day. The fact is that the Barack Obama who cannot win is the candidate who secretly agrees with the diatribes of his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. He also supports Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers, and other extreme activists of the American left. The Barack Obama who cannot win is the candidate that makes elitist comments about small town America and its guns and religion. The Barack Obama who cannot win is the candidate that continues to backpedal and apologize for gaffes and communication errors.
However, the Barack Obama who can win the 2008 Presidential election is the candidate who uses his considerable communication skills to unite the nation. Also, he must be a candidate who transcends partisan politics and wants real reform in Washington, D.C. He would learn quickly from his limited experience and cannot vote “present” on the major issues of the day. He may not be an elitist, but should be the candidate who has shown great skill in the management of his heretofore successful Presidential campaign.
Is Barack Obama a unique, thoughtful politician who can transcend party politics and use his considerable oratory skill to lead the country and reform Washington DC.? Or is Barack Obama a far left of center, elitist candidate who secretly admires the dubious diatribes of his radical pastor, and who condones the actions of a violent underground leader of America’s past?
Historically, American political reality concludes that the former Barack Obama can win the 2008 Presidential election, while the latter Barack Obama simply cannot. It certainly would be a lot easier for the voters during the next several months if the real Barack Obama finally stood up.
James William Smith
About the Author:
James William Smith has worked in Senior management positions for some of the largest Financial Services firms in the United States for the last twenty five years. He has also provided business consulting support for insurance organizations and start up businesses. Visit his website at http://www.eWorldvu.com