Obama not ready for the White House - We Op-Ed - A Community for Political News and Civilized Debate
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We Op-Ed - A Community for Political News and Civilized Debate

By Daniel B. Kline

Despite his popularity and growing lead in the polls, Barack Obama has yet to make a convincing case that he should be president. This likely will not stop him from winning the White House, but it still seems to me like we're giving the keys to a Porsche to someone who barely knows how to ride his Huffy.

Basically, Obama has gotten this far because of what he isn't. He isn't part of the establishment, he isn't "business as usual" and he isn't another old white guy. He is pretty charming and has done well at telling people he's different, but he has done little to actually show that he can run the country.

Put simply, Clamato may be different than orange juice, but that does not make it better. Obama represents change, but a person needs to be more than unlike what we currently have to run the country.

Nothing Obama has accomplished suggests he has the ability to go from being a senator for a very brief time to running the United States. The man has potential, but Heath Shuler and Akili Smith had potential and, well, neither one of them exactly made the Football Hall of Fame.

Obama has essentially no experience running anything larger than his campaign for president. He's also an inexperienced legislator who has no significant accomplishments during his time in the Senate.

Democrats have rallied around Obama largely because of the ideas he symbolizes. He's not a Washington lifer (at least not yet) and he's not another Al Gore/John Kerry limousine liberal calling down from his mansion to raise taxes.

We know what Obama isn't but we don't really know what he is and everything that comes out of the man's mouth suggests we should try to find out more. One of Obama's key talking points involves taxing "rich" people who make more than $250,000 a year.

Never mind, that $250,000 in New York is very different than $250,000 in Des Moines, and consider the populist vote grab that this idea truly is. Everyone making less than $250,000 a year who never hopes to make that much will get behind taxing the so-called wealthy.

Of course, these folks making $250,000 a year already pay a heavy tax burden and increasing that burden simply removes incentive. Why work harder to have, spend and save more money, when a Socialist like Obama simply plans to come in and redistribute the wealth?

Recent Obama ads also attack company CEOs and their supposed excessive salaries. Of course, working in the public sector Obama may not know that CEO salaries and their so-called golden parachutes are not gifts, but negotiated contract points.

A top executive is like a baseball free agent and he has the right to make the best deal possible. If a company wants what it sees as the best available talent, they have to pay market rate and take the risk that they might be bringing in Stephon Marbury when they thought they were getting Tim Duncan.

Or, to put it into language that even the kids can understand, "don't hate the player, hate the game." CEOs, like any other workers, make the best deals for themselves they can in what, until recently, was a capitalist society.

Not wanting Obama as president does not make me a huge fan of John McCain. I preferred McCain a lot more before his ridiculous pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate and his showing that being a real "maverick" meant a lot less to him than pandering enough to get into the White House.

Still. if the choices are McCain and Obama, I'd have to pick McCain and hope really hard he doesn't die in office. That may be a pretty tepid endorsement, but neither party has given us much to work with.

Daniel B. Kline's work appears in over 100 papers weekly. When he is not writing Kline serves as general manager of Time Machine Hobby New England's largest hobby and toy store, www.timemachinehobby.com. He can be reached at dan@notastep.com or you can see his archive at dbkline.com.

Views: 11

Comment by Katie on October 21, 2008 at 10:14am
As soon as I read the word "socialist" in front of Obama's name...totally changed my opinion of your piece. I don't think it does anything for your original thought to inject talking points.

However, I of course agree that Obama's legislative experience is significantly less than Sen. McCain's. How can you not agree with that? I do, however, think the sum of what Obama has done with his life is greater than the parts. Not that that's any consolation to anyone who's worried about an Obama presidency. He's extremely intelligent, common sensical, is an accomplished individual, has vision, is conciliatory and I really believe will make smart decisions. Yes, BELIEVE. I of course don't know, because none of us know until it happens...or doesn't happen. I don't think McCain would be a bad president. I just don't think he's what we need right now. We need a Democrat or otherwise, what have the past 8 years meant? This is perhaps the lowest standard imaginable, but can an Obama presidency really be worse?

The only thing I'm really worried about is the Democratic Congress going crazy with legislation the country does not want.
Comment by Daniel B. Kline on October 21, 2008 at 10:33am
I think the word socialist is apt. I also think that the recent bailout was a form of socialism (as I allude to in the piece). I'm extremely intelligent and full of common sense, but nobody wants me to be president (well, maybe my mother does).
Comment by Katie on October 21, 2008 at 10:38am
Very fair. Intelligence is not enough. Though I've been an Obama supporter for a long time, I'm still willing to admit I have apprehensions about him actually becoming president. No one knows what will happen. He's made some definite screw ups in his campaign.
Comment by DJ on October 21, 2008 at 4:31pm
Do we hire people in this country just on their resume? No that is why we have a interview, sometimes multiple interviews. And based on the interviews of the last 8 months, between these two potential employees I can't possibly hire John McCain. Not only is he unfamiliar with the current way we do business but I do not like the way he has interviewed for the job. And this assistant he plans on bringing in with him...no thank you!

The destination is important but sometimes how you get there is just as important as arriving.
Comment by Daniel B. Kline on October 21, 2008 at 5:15pm
I'm not a fan of either candidate and I'm generally in favor of learning on the job, just not in the White House. My disdain for Palin is pretty clear.
Comment by DJ on October 21, 2008 at 7:26pm
Your disdain for Palin is pretty clear....as are many other people. Which is why I can't understand voting for John McCain. I of course hope that something does not happen to him but if something does.....talk about inexperience. And she is just not that bright. I mean not in the arena in which she is operating at this time.

If your are not happy for either candidate (a position many black people find themselves in about every election) then you should vote for the one that you think will screw you the least and hey for you that might be McCain but understand your also voting for Hockey Mom palin when you do that.
Comment by Razorwire on October 21, 2008 at 8:10pm
What free market society have you been living in?

Washington has always responded to economic times, political circumstance, and ideological fashion by writing legislation that favors certain segments of the economy over others.

From the right of way of railroads, to the public airwaves, to taxing brick and mortar, but not the web; this is a managed economy. A centrally managed economy. And tax cuts that come with sunset laws sound a bit like the Politburo's five year plan.

Obama is no more a socialist then Arthur Laffer. Of the Laffer curve. Obama is not a socialist, he's anti-stasis. Like Teddy Roosevelt, Obama understands vast income inequality, concentration of wealth, and total deregulation of markets results in the top down economic cluster fuck that we are a part of today.

You can't have a "free market system" in a democratic republic. With freedom comes competing interests. And an open political system is designed to serve and enhance that wealth of interest that best reflects what a majority desires at the time.

That invisible hand was long ago handcuffed by "We the people."
Comment by Katie on October 21, 2008 at 8:21pm
This socialist talk has my mind completely bonkers. This line of attack by the McCain campaign is completely ridiculous. Have people lost all sense of history and perspective? Thanks, just wanted to get that in there.
Comment by DJ on October 21, 2008 at 9:03pm
And....she does not even know what job she is interviewing for.....Come on....she could be President!!!!!!!!!!!! I know I am not really making a point and i am not throwing this in your face...I just felt it needed to be said..now I have that off my chest. :)
Comment by BKardell on October 22, 2008 at 4:10am
"A better analogy would argue to the contrary: after all, the greatest of all time was so disregarded by the scouts that he was drafted as the 82nd overall pick, in the relative obscurity of the third round."
Or perhaps an even better one might disregard football altogether in favor of an actual president who often carries the same term "greatest" in their description: Lincoln, with which whom Senator Obama shares many traits :) If the problem is experience - the question is how to judge it? The current Bush had executive experience, so did Nixon - I think both were choices many regret. John Quincy Adams did not James Madison did not - neither did Lincoln or Kennedy.... Great presidents. But then again, neither did Buchanan and look at all of the things that went wrong there. The point is that one does not necessarily dictate the other - you might argue that this makes it a crap shoot, but there are lots of factors you can consider. I just posted an opinion "Party Tail Wags Candidate Dog" which explains why I think I have the leadership answers I need.


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