The word on Obama
Whenever I have written about politics, I have tried to be as even handed as I can. I've tried to focus on principle rather than on candidates. But, I read something today that crystallized my own feelings on Barack Obama.
Marc Andreessen wrote about his meeting with Barack Obama in early 2007. His summary of Obama is:
Smart, normal, curious, not radical, and post-Boomer.
More interesting to me was Obama's answers to the two big questions: 1) lack of executive/management experience and 2) lack of foreign policy experience. On 1), Obama predicted that he would run a well-organized campaign. Hard to argue with that. And on 2), he points to his personal background and his experience on the foreign relations committee.
That second answer is OK, but doesn't really show experience. I'd like to see Obama complement himself with some real hands-on experience, like Bill Richardson. Perhaps he will. But, in general, I don't think any Senator reall has foreign policy experience. They may have knowledge, but not real experience. That comes from being in the State Department, an ambassador, at the UN, etc. You have to face real trade-offs to have experience.
We have a family friend who had Obama as a law professor at the University of Chicago. She calls him the smartest person she has ever met. That confirms Marc's impression of intelligence. And, Marc is pretty smart, you have to be smart to impress him.
I was drawn to Obama for many of the resons Marc listed. I also think that he is one person who can really unite the country. After almost 16 years of very divisive politics, I think that the country wants to come together more than we want to argue. Most politicians and pundits don't get this. That's why so many Republicans ignored Rush Limbaugh's lambasting of John McCain. They liked McCain's moderate positions and appreciate his frankness and independence. More proof that we, as a country, want to be united and less polarized.
I expect that Obama will win the two major primaries tomorrow in Texas and Ohio. If he does that, it's over. And, we should have a pretty interesting general election season.