Friday, September 26, 2008

Worth Reading

John Althouse Cohen (son of law prof/blogger Ann Althouse) explains in three posts "How Obama lost me":
I've supported Obama since I watched his announcement in early 2007 with excitement, I voted and caucused for him in the Texas primacaucus, and I'm going to vote for him in November.

So in what sense did he "lose me"? As with my mom's "How Kerry lost me," I haven't gone from supporter to non-supporter. What I mean is that I used to hold these beliefs:
  • I thought he was clearly, dramatically preferably to Hillary Clinton.

  • I thought he was virtually the dream candidate for 2008, with the obvious but overlookable exception of his thin resume.
I now believe that I was wrong. Specifically:
  • He's probably better than Hillary would have been, but it's at least really close, and I'm even open to the idea that she would have been better.

  • I still support Obama, but not particularly more strongly than I'd be supporting any other mainstream Democratic candidate who was the nominee.

  • He's just not a good enough candidate. Democrats are entitled to feel very disappointed about this.
It's taken me a long time to get to this point because there's no single issue or moment that decisively turned me off from him.

Rather, it's a long list of things that add up to the "He's not good enough" conclusion.
Part 2 includes:
It's getting clearer and clearer that what has gotten him so much attention and adoration despite his inexperience is not his ideas or policies or even his life story. It's two things: he's black, and he can give a great speech. If you took those two things away, it'd be inconceivable that he'd be chosen over Biden, Richardson, or Dodd, let alone Hillary Clinton. I'm not complaining about the focus on his race -- I think it's really important to have the first black president. And I'm glad he gives a great speech. But look, fellow Obama supporters: that's not really enough, is it, considering the crisis America is in right now?
Among other things, Part 3 says:
Obama's two main responses to being asked whether he was wrong on the surge (which you can see starting around 4:00 of this clip) are, to paraphrase:
  • It didn't do what it was supposed to do.

  • No one, not even Bush or McCain, expected it to achieve the positive results that it did.
So his position is: the surge wasn't successful enough . . . and by the way, it was successful beyond our wildest dreams?!
Cohen dislikes McCain and still vows to vote Obama, but his analysis (and his acknowledging the limits of his knowledge) is interesting.

Shouldn't Republicans be asking "how could we win this guy's vote?", and "can we win without voters like him?"


bobn said...

Obama lost me on his position on gun control and his refusal to own that position (insisting he "supports" the 2nd Amendment when his whole legislative history is to the contrary).

Also, his 4 times voting against the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was just GROSS. And he refuses to own that position too.

On the other hand, McCain worries me too, but I am leaning in the direction of voting McCain.

Carl said...


I confess I'm a bit surprised to hear you're leaning McCain.

One thing I found interesting in Cohen's analysis was the emphasis he put on the personality of the candidate. I can remember doing so myself--for Reagan and Bush 43. But this year, I'm voting for a Party. I wonder whether that reflects getting older or my various disagreements with Senator McCain.

OBloodyHell said...

> I confess I'm a bit surprised to hear you're leaning McCain.

Well, he's been saying that for at least a month or thereabouts.

> But this year, I'm voting for a Party.

I'm doing what I usually do -- voting against a Party and an individual.

I can't always support anyone. But I can usually tell who I won't support. This year it's pretty much like 2000 and 2004.

I'm not remotely happy with a lot of what the GOP has done -- but I'm not going to reward them for going off the left side of the road, into the fields, and digging ditches out there where one can barely see them....

OBloodyHell said...

> going to reward them*

*i.e., the Dems

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have the naive belief that anyone as reasonable as John Althouse Cohen will eventually be somewhere near us politically.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'll do a write-in vote for McCain and Biden. It's a free country. Maybe a HILLARY-BILL CO-PRESIDENCY can save us from the current disasters going on now. Let us use our open-minds rationally thinking about what is best for the nation rather then basing our votes on preconceptions and prejudices.

Anonymous said...

Let's re-design government before the people hit the streets and make a noisy, messy revolution.