09 September 2008

Why I am voting for Barack Obama

This post has been a long time in the making. I knew I was going to vote for Obama, but getting around to writing all the reasons has taken time. My reasons aren't about policy, generally. Policy is a large, complex machine that can be derailed at any point. These are more general.

Let's go.

1. I want a smart guy to be President. I'm sick of having an idiot (or someone who plays one on TV) in the White House. I don't want someone I can have a beer with. I don't want someone who is like me. I want the smartest guy in the class. Where do the smart kids go? To the best schools they can get into. Obama went to Columbia as an undergrad and to Harvard Law. YOU try getting into Harvard Law. Then try getting onto Law Review. Then become editor-in-chief. Out of an average of 7500 applicants to Harvard Law, around 560 are accepted. And only one becomes Harvard Law EIC. It isn't proof of genius, but it's a good start. And it is a lot better than graduating fifth from the bottom of your class, as John McCain did.

2. I want someone who is well-spoken to be President, someone who can act as a statesman. Obama can speak clearly and intelligently to foreign leaders. After eight years of President Bush, we need someone who can step onto the world stage, as Obama did in Berlin, and show the people that things are changing in the United States. I am tired of my country being represented by people who are crude and unsophisticated and who say and do stupid things in public.

Compare and contrast:

3. I want someone who isn't white to be President. Oh my Gah, she said something RACIAL!! I think it is about time. The United States has a gaping stomach wound around race that is gushing blood and that won't heal by itself. A biracial President would help stitch us back together. Obama's connections to Africa via his father, his international family and even his middle name of Hussein help send the signal that we are ready to move on and include people other than old white guys at the highest levels of power.

4. I want someone who inspires people to be my President. Much has been made of Obama's "celebrity." Obama is famous and beloved because he speaks to people's hearts. He talks about our deepest values and asks us to be better people. This is something we respond to in a much bigger way than "I'm going to cut your taxes." He speaks to young people and people of all colors like no other politician out there. Yesterday online I read someone sneering that they were sick of him talking about hope. Since when is hope BAD? I want that inspiration. I need that hope.

5. I want someone with good values to be President. Obama's life has been about improving himself, serving other people and raising a good family. Despite 18 months of vetting, no one has come up with anything significant. He knew a few bad people. Name a politician that doesn't. He hasn't divorced anyone when they were recovering from a serious accident, as McCain did when be began his affair with his present wife. He hasn't called his wife a cunt in public, as it has been reported that McCain did.

6. I want someone with a good temperament. I haven't heard much about Obama's temper, but McCain's is legendary. Bush is famously tetchy, too. Cranky people are hard to talk to and hard to reason with (I should know - I can be one!). The Prez, like any good leader, needs to be approachable.

7. I want someone who isn't bound up with the Bush White House and with Karl Rove-style politics. Sarah Palin is already out there repeating bald-faced lies about her record. I think the McCain campaign has taken a page from the Bush/Rove book there, where you lie and lie and lie, and pretty soon people start to believe you. Ick.

8. I want my constitution back, complete with protections from being spied on without suspicion, preservation of habeas corpus, an end to the use of torture, etc. The Republicans have shown remarkably little spine in this area. Democrats aren't much better, but Obama answered my question about torture in his BlogHer interview in a way that made me very happy.

9. Isn't 8 enough? Ok, here's a totally shallow one: I want a president who is Kennedy cool. When Obama got that dirt off his shoulder, he sent a clear message about his cool. Watch the audience react: they know.


thailandchani said...

Wow! Very good points!!!


Anonymous said...

YES. That about sums it up. Thank you.

grace said...

yes. Yes. YES!

LittlePea said...

He's had my vote since his key note speech in '04. I remember telling everyone I knew that he was going to be America's first African American president and everyone said, "Huh? Who? What a weird name....."

Actually I volunteered for his campaign right after I knew for certain he would get the nomination but wasn't able to get active until now. My first even is this weekend. I want badly for Florida to win for him this November-it's a long shot but it's worth a try. And if we can make it happen, or actually either way, I'm proud to be a part of history.

Obama '08!

LittlePea said...

I mean my first event not my first even, oops. I got a little excited :O)

Anonymous said...

Yes. I might also add that I agree with his policies, but that's understood.

McCain/Palin are a disgrace. The lying. Oh my fuck, THE LYING.

Anonymous said...

I'm with mslittlepea. He's had my vote for four long years, too. I've been working my ass off for his campaign here in North Carolina for sixteen months or so, trying really hard to turn my red state blue.

I know we don't know each other, but I'm going out on a limb anyway.

I LOVE you for posting this.

Piece of Work said...

Me too! Me too! Me too!

Anonymous said...

Also! Also! I meant to add that re: policy, that while yes, I agree with you that it's flexible and very complex, I trust his ability to compromise rationally to be able to do the best he can for what he believes in, and what he says he will do. I'm not planning to hold him word for word for what he says (no president has delivered on that. none.), but instead, I trust that he will do the best he can, as level-headedly as he can, with the Washington machine. And I do NOT feel that way about McCain, Mr. "I'll put Democrats on my cabinet" Lying Sack of Shit.

If you mean Lieberman, Johnny Boy, that doesn't count.

Issa said...

Ha I finally figured out how to follow you.

I love him for all these reasons and more. Thanks for saying it so eloquently though.

Hey, I even bet he can pronounce nuclear.

Major Bedhead said...


I've been a fan since the DNC in '04, too. I am beyond thrilled that he won the nomination and I am cautiously hopeful that he'll win the election. November can't come fast enough for me this year.

tiff said...

Even though I'm about to go through the exercise of reading both parties' platforms, I'm 99.99% convinced I'll go with Obama, because of all the reasons you lay out here.

Plus which? John McCain even SOUNDS like Bush, and that? Is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

These are great reasons, and very similar to my own (especially 5 and 8). My summed up reason is "I don't want to be embarassed to be American any more."

Deb Rox said...

Yes! I can't wait to love the leadership of my country!

super des said...

My bf was reading over my shoulder, & he said "this blog should only be 3 words: I'M NOT CRAZY."

But you make good reasons too.

Anonymous said...

This was just a joy and a pleasure to read. Absolutely excellent, and I'll be coming back to visit and subscribing to your blog just the second I finish writing this comment! I just feel completely like you do and have had so many of the same thoughts. So gratifying to see them laid out so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I don't find this convincing in the least. Actually, I find it offensive. I know I'm in the minority, but damn. Making fun of the way Bush talks? (By the way, can we stop beating 'nucular' to death? And in case you haven't noticed, Bush is not running.)

And why does it have to be ANY non-white guy? If I told you I was voting for McCain because he was white, I'd be burned at the stake. Yet you think we should vote for Obama because he's black.

Give me a break.

mar said...

i think i love you! (aw heck, i know i do!)
mind if i link to your fantastic list? (not that many people who read mine don't already read yours. in fact, i caught one of my coworkers reading you after she went to my blog.)
love my word verification: fewnpb

Maggie, Dammit said...

I like how anonymous spelled nuclear. Kind of proves your point a bit.

Brilliant post.

Mayberry said...

Agree 1000%. I tried to post something similar recently but you've done it SO much better. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Are there any bloggers voting for McCain? Seriously, I've gone to a ton of blogs with pro-Obama posts but haven't run across a single one for McCain.
...And that's the way I like my blogosphere.

marty mankins said...

Well said and great points. I really want to be proud to support a president again... and someone that actually has the smarts and know how to turn this country around.

SUEB0B said...

Hey anonymous,

I didn't just say I was voting for any non-white guy, I said I was voting for the mixed race guy and gave a reason. Could you come up for a reason to vote for yet another old white guy just because they were white? (A voice in my head just sang in Tevye's intonation "Tradition!")

And nuclear. It IS irritating LOL. The weird part is that I think he does it on purpose, because I heard him pronounce it correctly just one time.

Mignon said...

Anon, if you come back, I understand why you wouldn't be convinced (because the reasons she gave are largely subjective, and very personal), but why do you find it offensive (aside from the race issue, which SueBob already addressed)?

I'm reading each of her reasons very closely and don't find anything that would offend. Please explain.

PG said...

Great post! Sums up my feelings pretty much to a tee. And way more lucidly than I could do it! Bravo!

Brandon said...

Great post. I'm with you 100%.

Now, if only the Democrats and Obama would grow a pair of testicles and start hammering the very hammerable McCain/Palin ticket on their very public record, we'd be in business.

And I'm sick and tired of white men...and I am one.

LiteralDan said...

Nice summation, though I'm surprised no run-by commenters jumped on your mentioning of the Nazis. I disagree with the widely held idea that comparing someone to a Nazi in any way is a conversation-ender, because the Nazis did lots of things besides The Obvious.

Before they did anything, they turned a country and its political system on its head by dividing and conquering, using many of the same tools Rove/Cheney/Co. are using today-- since third parties have gone nowhere in this country for over a century, these students of Nazi political manipulations had to first worm their way into one of the existing parties before turning it into their puppet.

I only wish more Republican supporters could fully grasp that they need to purge their party of these "neo-cons" before their candidates can be taken seriously again as a healthy option for our democracy.

I used to like John McCain.

angel apologist said...

"...famous and beloved" ???????


Julie said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your list. -:) After a few days of hardcore debating at Sweetney's blog, this is a refreshing summary of why we can be so thrilled with our candidate this year.

SUEB0B said...

@angel apologist Maybe not in Orange County LOL.

Christina said...

This was a beautiful post, and described much of how I feel, too.

I know some people might get upset at the Nazi reference, but you know who else they remind me of? Peron from Argentina. Hiding the truth, lying about opponents, etc. Palin is so Eva Peron in her words and actions that I find myself singing, "Don't cry for me, hockey moms!" when I listen to her.

(The difference is that I doubt McCain/Palin would do anything to help the poor if elected. They just want to use them and scare "wal-mart moms" into voting for them.)

Avitable said...


lizgwiz said...

Your reasons are very, very much like my reasons!

Anonymous said...

I'll be glad to explain why I'm offended. But let me explain a couple of things first.

I am posting anonymously because when I started blogging, I said I would not inject my politics into this arena. I'm not a political blogger, and my opinion, in all fairness, is really just that. So when I do comment -- either in favor of or opposition to -- on what is written, I do it anonymously. Just didn't want anyone to think I'm hiding.

Second, in response to maggiedammit, I'm not sure what you are implying, so I'm not going to let you put me on the defensive. However, I'll say this: I am not a moron. I am not an idiot. And I am not stupid. More importantly, I don't judge people by the way they speak.

Now, here's my explanation. First and foremost, I am offended (here and anywhere else) when the President of the United States is called an idiot. And I don't care WHICH president. I am quite capable of expressing my opinions without resorting to that.

Second, I am offended when the first thing out of the Obama supporters' mouths is that the Republican ticket is full of lies. You know as well as I do that both sides stretch the truth. When Obama (and Hillary, previously) do it, you guys call it "misspeaking." It's the same thing.

I am offended when anyone tries to compare Obama to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, or anyone else. Obama is Obama. (As an aside, you should read Larry Elder's recent piece on John Kennedy. Very insightful.And no, none of you will die a horrible death by reading something written from the 'dark side.' Trust me.)

Grades? School? Education? That's elitist. And offensive.

Finally (and believe me, I could go on and on, but I won't), your party is all about civil liberties, and privacy, and not intruding on people's lives, yet every day we are subjected to another tabloid-type article about something the media dug up. That, my friends, is offensive.

At the beginning of this incredibly long election, I had hope. Not the unicorns-and-rainbows hope that your candidate goes on about, but hope that we could have an election free of name calling, race baiting, sexism, and ageism.

I guess Obama's HOPE is the only hope that counts. And that, my friends, is offensive.

Jill said...


Jill said...

just to clarify, my "Amen" was to your post Suebob, not annonymous which appears right above it :)

SUEB0B said...

Anon (I think I know who you are) - When he was first elected, I refused to use rude terms to describe Bush. But at this point, he is the enemy, as far as I am concerned. He has tried to ruin my country and everything it stands for, so I reserve the right to call him anything I feel like. He also ACTS like an idiot, over and over again. So...to me, idiot.

Why is comparing one person to another offensive? The way we figure things out in life is to compare things and see how they measure up. And my only comparison was in the "cool" category, which I admitted was shallow and silly.

Both sides do stretch the truth. Check factcheck.org - they analyze both sides. But Palin is blatantly lying about the earmarks, and doing it over and over again in public. That makes her a liar.

I don't know where the idea of discussing grades, school and education is elitist came from. It is more about excellence to me (and is one of my favorite things about U.S. society - that a person can take advantages of their God-given talents to rise). Obama did not go to Ivy League schools because of an elite background. He went because he was incredibly intelligent and hard-working. I think that is to be honored.

Your argument about privacy just does not track. The government and the media are different things and have different functions and regulations. For the government to spy on law-abiding citizens without suspicion goes contrary to the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and is, as such, illegal. The media's function is quite different - to find and report information. I'm not going to go into the quality of news, because that is another post, but as long as they are lawfully collecting information and not libeling or slandering, they are permitted to report it. This is not a function of liberals or conservatives. There are bad news outlets on both sides.

I actually think this campaign has been one of the cleaner ones lately. Most of the sexism, ageism and racism has come from media, not from the campaigns themselves. It has not been perfect, and it may well get worse before it is over. But so far it does give me hope that things can get better.

Gwen said...

I have never heard Obama mention unicorn and rainbows. Did I miss that? Because I *love* unicorns and rainbows. Also, puppies. And chocolate. Especially chocolate. Ergo: Obama.

Mignon said...

Thank you for responding, Anon. It's tough to get any sort of discourse going without name-calling and reactionary sentiments.

I agree with SueBob, and I'd like to talk about this claim of eltisism, with respect to education and grades. I went to an Ivy-League school and came from very humble beginnings. I was on full scholarship, as was my husband (at the same college). I consider it insulting and degrading to be considered an elitist when I applaud someone who has done what I've done. Ivy schools are hard to get into, hard to do well in, and provide excellent educations. Just why is it elitist to value the achievements of people that have succeeded at the finest universities in the world? That's like saying it's elitist to discuss the gold medals of world-class athletes. It doesn't make sense to me.

Your reference to "tabloid-type article[s]" is one that we should all recognize. That type of journalism does more harm than good, unfortunately, and detracts from the real issues our country faces. But I maintain that blue and reds alike are susceptible to such stories, and blue and reds alike are for maintaining privacy and keeping our civil liberties.

Also, please don't condescend (referring to your suggestion that we read pieces written by righties). Many of us formulate opinions after collecting and processing information from both sides of the issue.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm certainly outnumbered here, and that's ok too. I appreciate the opportunity to at least have my comments heard. I'm not going to continue to defend my position -- it is what it is, and that's that.

Let me say this -- Mignon, I'm impressed by your educational background, and I'm impressed by Obama's. It's not elitist to have attended a good school. It is elitist to think that a person is somehow better than the other for having done so. And I'm sorry if you felt I was being condescending. I never intended to do so. I simply suggested to those who are still trying to decide that they educate themselves by listening to reasonable arguments on BOTH sides. In that vein, SuebOb, I neglected to tell you that you make some compelling arguments.

Best of luck to all of you -- and stay involved. The worst thing that any American can do is be apathetic.

Glennis said...

Let's face it. If nothing else, the way McCain has run his campaign in the last weeks ILLUSTRATES the fact that he is morally unfit to be president.

He hired the very same people who slandered his own child in South Carolina in the 2000 primary, to run his own dirty, lying and sleazy negative campaign, all the while proclaiming himself a man of honor.

yesterday's ad with false and vile accusations and implications of sexual abuse on the part of Obama exceeded the cynicism of both the Willie Horton ad AND the vile whispering campaign Bush's guys ran against McCain himself in 2000 in South Carolina. And yet unlike those ads, McCain actually put his name on this latest ad. That ALONE puts his character beyond the pale.

Then, too, the cynical choice of Palin - not because she's capable of SERVING as Vice President, but because she's going to help him win an election by dividing the country and distracting voters from the real and important issues at hand.

Before this, I was willing to say, well, he's not a guy I'd vote for because I don't agree with his policies, but at least he's a principled guy.

Not anymore.

John McCain is not morally fit to be president.

God help the country if we reward this despicable display of cynicism and falsehood.

Sister Wolf said...

Amen, sister.

Suzanne said...

This made me cry a little bit because I want it so bad. And I'm scared that we are not going to get it for a variety of reasons.

brandy said...

Oh. I love you. I honestly just said that out loud (I know that sounds creepy but stay with me). I've been thinking about doing my own list (and yes, I'm still aware that I can't vote, so it would be more of a 'why I would vote for obama if I lived in the States' sort of thing), and love that you did this one.

I think the one that really got me is the one about inspiration. Somewhere along the lines the idea that an inspirational leader can't also be a tough leader was ingrained in the heads of so many. Even now, when I say how much I like Obama, I get eye rolls and comments about 'he's all speech'. When did we stop thinking we could have leaders who could be both? Who could inspire nations AND protect them? Why do we think we have to choose between them?

Obama does both. Which makes me (once again) jealous I can't cast a vote.

Effortlessly Average said...

Here here. At the same time, I'm peeved that so much was made from the McCain camp of Obama's lack of experience only to have them pick a running mate that makes Obama's resume look two inches thick. Not long after, McCain/Palin insisted that "family is off limits" in the campaign. OK, I'm good with that. Until she posed for a full interview and pictoral with her family for People magazine. If it's inappropriate for the Obama camp to make issue of her family's influence over the firing of her sister's ex-husband, then don't parade your family in front of the cameras in an obvious effort to gain favor with potential voters.

Those two things alone are enough to sway me from McCain, to say nothing of his belief that, fiscally, every American is in the same boat.

Elena said...

Please, please...read Thomas friedman's Op-Ed piece in the NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/opinion/14friedman.html?em


Mr. C (a.k.a. Clarence) said...

I'm new to your blog and actually accidentally stumbled into this particular conversation.

But I'm glad I did!

Back in January of this year, I was at a crossroads, politically-speaking. I wasn't sure who I was going to vote for in Florida's Democratic primary. I had narrowed my choices down to either Hillary, John Edwards or Barack Obama. I thought about it long & hard, but when I realized that what I needed (what ALMOST ALL AMERICANS NEEDED) was someone who was easily identifiable as the un-Bush. In almost every single measure, Barack Obama fit the bill. He not only spoke about the change we need & the hope we found it more difficult by the day to latch on to. He speaks to our "better angels" & to our hearts & tells us that we, as a country and even as individuals are so much more than our present circumstances imply...and that we can dare to dream big again & we can still believe that, to paraphrase what Bill Clinton said it in one of his nomination acceptance speeches in the 90's: there is nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right about America. For me, Barack Obama IS one of the things that is so very right about America.

I remembering hearing part of one of Obama's speeches in which he said he had been chastised for offering Americans a false hope. Barack's response? Basically (and paraphrasing again) he said that in the improbable story of America, there has never been anything "false" about hope. How sublimely true that is. Before we can begin to change anything in this country & in our lives, you gotta have hope that--together--we can make one helluva difference...as long as we have a leader who exhorts us to do & offer our best.

I tend to ramble sometims (especially when preaching to the choir), so I will stop here for now.

If you have the chance, I hope you will read the post on my blog (http://undoingthedamagemrcswildride.blogspot.com/2008/01/obamamania.html) about why & how I came to be the Obamamaniac I am!!

Thanks again for the wonderful post & for making such a stellar case for the election of the man who still believes in "The Audacity of Hope".

Thank you!

Clarence (a.k.a. Mister C)

nutmeg said...

Why can't everyone make informed decisions like this? Such a thorough and articulate account of why we NEED him as our next president. #3 - I feel the same way - we need to take this step as a nation. We need to grow up and move on. It's embarrassing.

Please, please, please visit my blog this Monday and help me make a difference in this election!

hoppytoddle said...

I wrote about hanging on to my stapler in my post yesterday & someone emailed me your blog.

I have been sad, mad, not happy over the realization that people are not voting for Barack because he is black. I know, I'm naive. Especially for someone from Detroit. I guess I just wanted this to be over already.

Yes, great points. I want to take a couple of them & post them some other places. Just type "what she said: your blog". Completely agree.

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