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February 29, 2008

Comments

Nato

Actually, I think the biggest kind of "change" Obama really offers is a retreat from ideology and political revanchism. The resumption of pragmatism and real political dialog is actually infuriating to plenty of folks of the left, who find his insistence on treating those who hold differing views as if they were worth talking to in good faith. I recently read a post excoriating Obama for remaining cordial with McCain after losing a legislative fight with him. Temperamentally, this is exactly what I hope for, and is most recent in a long line of complaints by liberals about Obama that have amounted to arguments in Obama's favor to me, despite being quite liberal myself in a lot of ways.

Nato

Incidentally, Reagan first ran for president in 1976, nine years after first being elected to public office. Obama's first took office twelve years ago in 1996. Granted, governor is a higher office than legislator, but Reagan certainly would have looked green next to McCain's 26-year career.

Tom

Eh, they're both alright. I don't really care who wins between the two. I suppose I slightly favor Obama since I'm upset with the Republican Party, but I wouldn't cry in my beer if McCain won. The running mates could change my preference considerably, though.

Either way, it looks like Americans will have a decent next president.

Nathan Smith

Yes - state legislator is really too small to count. Whereas governor is a better qualification even than senator.

Obama's inexperience doesn't necessarily mean he'd do a bad job. Or, even if he does a bad job, that it will really do the country any harm. Sometimes an incompetent president does the least harm. LBJ couldn't have done as much damage as he did if he were a lightweight like JFK.

In a way, *no one* is really qualified to be president. The position involves so much power, so much rides on one's every move, that anyone could use more talent, skill, wisdom, experience in executing it. But McCain can say in good faith that he has as good reason to believe in his own capacity for the job as in anyone else's. If he runs into a crisis and proves unequal to it, at least he can say that he prepared for the job as best as anyone could reasonably expected to it-- he "did his best," as the saying goes.

If Obama runs into a crisis and proves unequal to it, he can be justly criticized for applying for the job without adequate preparation. If we do encounter a crisis, I think Obama probably will prove unequal to handling it. But I think it's relatively unlikely that we'll run into a crisis that really demands presidential leadership-- unless Obama causes it himself through a precipitate withdrawal from Iraq, an attempt to renegotiate NAFTA, or following through on some of the other foolishness he's talking (hopefully insincerely) on the campaign trail.

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