Friday, April 18, 2008

With Friends Like These...

While I'm not a ticket holder on the Barack Obama train, I have found him to be a palatable alternative to my preferred candidate, John McCain. There have been some things that have ome out lately that have made me rethink my position, although I think I'd still be okay with his presidency. The major knock I have on Obama at this point is his choice in friends. I think he's still an amazing speaker, despite his unintentional putdown of your average American, so he's definitely got that going for him - he's one of the most inspiring speakers we've had run for president since Ronald Reagan.
At the same time, he links himself to a lot of people who have spouted a lot of anti-American vitriol. There is his famous preacher, Jeremiah Wright. That can be explained away to a large degree - Wright was angry, has been through segregation, etc. I don't think that should absolve him from what he's said, but he is entitled to his opinion. The more troubling connection that Obama has is with The Weatherman - a group that bombed the Pentagon, the US Capitol, and were looking at bombing Fort Dix until their bomb factory blew up. These aren't your Islamic Wahabbist-style terrorrists, but home grown wackos. While they aren't best buddies, it's connections like this that keep coming out that make me think he may not be the best man for the job because this makes being a drunken cheerleader or a philandering governor look like something inconsequential. To top it off, the group was doing this to protest the Vietnam War and Obama (assuming he wins the nomination) is going up against one of the men who fought that war for us and that The Weatherman were fighting. That is pretty incredible. I don't know if I could possibly support him (although if he's CINC, that changes things).

1 comment:

Cheeth said...

I am no more alarmed with Obama's friendships with people on the crazy left (or other directions) than I am with McCain's (recently formed) connections with the crazy right. That is to say, I don't care who either man has associated with.

When I think about all the people I can say I have been/am friends with, I have to acknowledge that some of them are insane. Some of them think really dumb things. Some of them have done really bad things.

I think that guilt by association with certain elements is a slippery slope, as shown by the McCarthy years. So let's say Obama knows some Weathermen. Is he going to win the presidency, then start putting Weathermen in the cabinet? Is he going to bomb the Pentagon? No.

The other point that comes to mind here is that radical groups, while espousing untenable ideologies and sometimes spouting voilence and hate, have still had influence on the country that has resulted in good. Extreme views do play a part in pulling the center in different directions, sometimes for good.

So I will be voting based on how I think the man (and by man, I mean a male, with a penis and testicles) will do at being president. I don't care who he knows, because he isn't who he knows, he's him.