I voted for Barak (Hussein, as Fox News would be quick to point out) Obama in the California primary, and I'm hoping I'll get a chance to vote for him again in November. Given the chance, I'd like a chance to vote for him about 25 times in November, but this is California, so I doubt that will be necessary. Obama backers are often asked why we get behind this guy, and Democrats in general need to understand why we should all get behind this guy, so I figured I would put together some simple talking points that everyone can understand. I'll organize the points in the form of rebuttals to the most common arguments launched against Obama.
1. Some people, sadly, just won't vote for a black President.
This is a true statement. There are some among us who won't vote for any black guy or gal for President. But here's the thing: these same people also wouldn't vote for Clinton, and the vast majority of them wouldn't vote for any Democratic nominee. See, Democrats just don't appeal to hard-line racists and bigots. Frankly, we're not trying to. So there's no need to worry that Obama will lose the race for the Democrats because he's black, because the votes he'll "lose" were always going to go to McCain, regardless of who the Democrats nominate.
2. Obama talks a good game, but he's long on rhetoric and short on detailed plans.
This is an unfair criticism of any candidate for President. If American voters have been clear on only one thing in the last 30 years, it's that they HATE detailed policy discussions. What they love is "Morning in America" commercials and Willie Horton scare tactics. American voters elected a guy who used to appear in chimp movies and whose main selling point was "I'm not Jimmy Carter." American voters elected a guy who almost shit himself in amazement when confronted with a grocery check-out scanner (in fairness, it was 1988, and those things had only been out for about 7 years). American voters elected a guy whose only response to most policy questions during the campaign was to drool a bit and smile crookedly. The voters have sent a loud and clear message to politicians: we don't want to hear about it. Just tell us you're going to make everything better, and we'll vote for you. And we want to punish Obama because he's been smart enough to listen and learn?
3. Obama doesn't have enough experience to be President.
People say this like there's a foolproof training camp or educational seminar out there that teaches people how to be good Presidents. Some of our best Presidents (JFK, Clinton) haven't had a lot of comparable experience (a few years in the Senate and a few terms of governor of a state most people enjoy making fun of, respectively). Some of our worst Presidents have had pedigrees which would suggest they were very well-prepared (Nixon, Hoover), yet they still booted the actual job. As far as I can tell, being President is a lot like riding a roller coaster: the only way to get good at it is to do it. No training, no knowledge, can really prepare you for the experience. Also, just between you and me, do you really think he'll be a shittier President than what we've been living with for the last 8 years? Yeah, didn't think so.
4. Obama's pastor's words will be used against him in the election.
Actually, I highly doubt McCain and the GOP will say a damned word about Obama's pastor and his sermons. Why? Because McCain's pastor has said some shit that will curl your hair. First, there’s Pastor John Hagee, who runs an arena-sized megachurch in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee preaches that Muslims have a “scriptural mandate” to kill Christians and Jews. But don’t worry, because according to Hagee, America is on top of this coming showdown with Islam. Writing for the evangelical Pentecostal magazine Charisma, Hagee argued that “The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty.” In his 2006 book, Jerusalem Countdown, he expanded the first theater of operations for his coming world war to include Russia. This nuclear war, according to Hagee, would eventually end with the second coming of Christ and the whisking away of true believers to the heavens. In a move sure to be inspiring to the Midget, Hagee refers to the Catholic Church as “the Great Whore of Revelation 17,” as well as a “false cult system,” an “apostate church” and, like Islam, an anti-Christ institution.
Then there’s Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, whom McCain identifies as a spiritual advisor. According to Parsley, who recently appeared side by side with McCain at a campaign rally, America’s “divine purpose” is to destroy Islam. In his 2005 book, Silent No More, McCain’s spiritual advisor claims that this country “was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion [Islam] destroyed.” Parsley complains about the growing number of Muslims in the United States (he claims 34,000 converts since 9/11) and the number of mosques in this country (he clams “some 1,209”) as evidence that we are failing in our historic calling as a “Christian nation” and “a bastion against Islam.” Frankly, even the Bushies were smart enough to understand that you had to ixnay the acismray when talking about the arway, so I doubt McCain or the Republicans will want to bring up the pastor issue, given what bad shape McCain is in. All of the above, and more, can be checked out on the ever-useful MoveOn.org.
By way of summary, let me give you one solid reason to vote for Obama (rather than just swat aside all the reasons not to, as above): he makes people excited to vote for him. And, even better than that, the people who get excited to vote for him are the people the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over: the great, Undecided hoard. Obama will eviscerate McCain in the debates, and his message of hope and prosperity, trite though it might sound to cynics like me, is exactly the kind of snake water elixir that voter have been drinking like Jonestown Kool-Aid for the last 3o years. They just can't seem to lay off the stuff. Which makes Obama electable. Which, in case anyone forgot, was the point of the whole primary: to nominate someone who could win in November. Obama's the guy.