Four years ago, I watched Barack Obama's rise into the national political scene as he ran uncontested in the Illinois Senate race. It was impressive watching such a dynamic speaker in action. His elevation to a presidential campaign seemed inevitable, even at that time. I'm not exactly sure what has changed, but as the 2008 presidential campaign continues, I am finding him to be more and more repulsive.
Here are my reasons for disliking this candidate:
1) While he can be a gripping, charismatic speaker behind the podium, once he deviates from a pre-written speech, he stammers and stumbles to the point that he sounds similar to George W. Bush. This tells me that he is more like an actor than a leader. He is good at reading pre-written material and having the correct facial expressions. Is he capable of complex thought, or is that simply assumed through the script that he is reading? There is no real gauge of this... unless he takes the presidency and we have years of information to study, or a somewhat safer solution would be for him to remain in the Senate until he has proven himself. On the other hand, as long as he surrounds himself with intelligent people, his advisers will keep him from making decisions that cannot stand up to public scrutiny. This entire point (#1) could be moot - if, and only if, he is capable of identifying and selecting a competent staff.
2) The now famous speech on racism was not a speech that transcended race, but rather focused on differences between races - in effect propagating racism rather than extinguishing it. The news stations and the general American public are not aware enough to make that connection. Until everyone sees themselves as a person (human being) first, then racism will still be a problem and that goes for whomever is making the determination. Last week, there was a Spring Training baseball game on called "The Civil Rights Game" and the exact same incorrect interpretation of the very point was exploited. Baseball was instrumental in the civil rights movement because the institution was one of the first to become fully integrated. The concept was not universally liked, but baseball rose above prejudice to accept anyone that was skilled enough to take the field. That is the concept that should have been acknowledged. Instead, the moron announcer, Joe Morgan, used the opportunity to single out and praise individual players for their achievements. Those players should be respected for what they had done and what they went through. However, the very heart of the argument is that baseball did the right thing. Baseball transcended race. Barack Obama did not transcend race, he singled out and focused on race, which in itself propagates racism. Until this country identifies each citizen as being human first, then whatever else next, prejudice will forever be a problem.
3) Obama claims to be a common man with common upbringings, but the man bowled a 37? The image of him at an alley, wearing a suit (sans jacket) with the sleeves rolled up, rolling balls in the gutter sickened me. Common people bowl. A 37 though? Maybe he wasn't wearing the proper attire? The last time I bowled, I was wearing a dress shirt and I threw a 200 game. Granted, I have had a lot more experience bowling in my lifetime, but any self respecting man should be able to crack the 100 pin mark with little effort. Even if you've never bowled before, you should be able to catch on, learn from mistakes, adapt and then improve. This doesn't just apply to bowling, it applies to life. His performance shows that there is little hope for learning from mistakes and adapting. Bowling is not that difficult... how will he handle real-world scenarios? Further more, the bowling episode should force common people to see him in the same light as another former presidential candidate. John Kerry claimed to be a common man and the only photos of him doing anything athletic were of him skiing, or wind surfing. I now see Obama as a cross between Bush Jr. and Kerry, and I see that individually and in combination to be a terrible leader.
Realistically, Obama would be a better candidate after another term in the Senate. He would be able to claim a more experienced political background - possibly even some experience with foreign policy. This campaign could kill his political future depending on how everything plays out and I do find that possibility disappointing. I have nothing against Obama personally, but this is not the right time for the Democratic Party to take a chance on a candidate. This country needs strong leadership in a challenging time. Either of the remaining candidates would be better choices to sit in the Oval Office. I hope the American people see this as well.
NOTE: I cannot explain how annoyed I am with this story about Obama bowling. I am willing to make this challenge. Megan has claimed to have never bowled in her life. I believe, with at least 95% confidence, that I can get her to finish a game with a score higher than 37. Motivation should be on her side as she dislikes Obama with a furious passion. I can't think of a better way for her to show her displeasure... other than through written media, i.e. her blog, where she has voiced her opinion on Obama at will.