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 firstname.lastname@example.org or you can see his archive at dbkline.com.