by user Ayd
Barack Obama is an amazing and inspirational man. I remember walking into my office the day after his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and telling my officemate that Obama's speech was the most inspirational speech I had ever heard. I can't even describe the emotions that ran through my body when he said:
Nothing had ever captured my thoughts so succinctly in so few sentences. But it wasn't just that line. It was the whole speech. When he spoke of "the audacity of hope" he had me completely. I was willing to follow this man into the promised land. I knew he was special.
Template:Barack Obama 2004 Keynote Speech But now the Junior Senator from Illinois is testing me by allegedly considering running for President. I can't figure out why, besides his personal attributes, he would make a good Presidential candidate. I can't say I have any disagreements with Obama's politics. But I don't have a great sense of what his politics are. We are talking about a man who spent 2 years as a member of the minority party in the Senate. As a Senator he has few legislative accomplishments, and before serving in the Senate he served a few years as a State Senator.
However, there is the counter-proposal that sitting Senators do not make good Presidential candidates. After all, we have not elected a sitting Senator President since John F. Kennedy. Therefore, Obama should run sooner rather than later so that his Senate record does not weigh him down as it did, for example, John Kerry. Furthermore, Obama's record of accomplishment, even in his brief political career, is far more distinguished than president Bush's record as Governor of Texas. I don't think that the current President is a particularly good measuring stick, though. There probably hasn't been a less qualified President since Civil War General and raging alcoholic Ulysses Grant was in the White House.
Maybe Obama is the best choice because the remaining candidates are so seriously flawed. Many argue Clinton is unelectable, Biden is wacky, and Bayh is too centrist. Clark has zero legislative experience, Dodd has more Skeletons in his closet than a Halloween store after Halloween, and no one has ever heard of Vilsack. With this matchup, why not just put your faith in the guy who inspires people the way Bill Clinton did?
I am suspicious of all the attention Obama has gotten. I suspect it is helping him sell books. I also suspect that the media would love to write stories about the first serious African American Presidential candidate (with apologies to Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, and others). I must admit though that the idea of voting for such an intelligent, inspirational, African-American man tugs at my liberal heart strings. His candidacy could be so vitally important to this country, and his victory could be the world-changing event the caliber of Kennedy's 1960 victory.
Still, I go back to a basic principle. A man should be qualified to lead this country. Bad things happen when they are not. Is Barack Obama qualified to be President of the United States? I am not ready to say no, I am just waiting for someone to convince me.