So Obama is running for president. I’m not a fan (too pious and too unaccomplished), but what hurt most about the article is this:

Mr. Obama, 45, was elected to the Senate two years ago. He becomes the fifth Democrat to enter the race, joining Senators Joseph R. Biden of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut as well as former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and Tom Vilsack, who stepped down this month as governor of Iowa.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is expected to join the Democratic field soon and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he would make his decision known by the end of the month. Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts also is weighing another run.

BOOOOORRRING. The only ones with a hint of charisma are Obama (who I will not support) and Edwards; the others just put me to sleep. I guess we just wait to see which drone will receive the DNC coronation—and it won’t be the most interesting candidate, or the one who promises to shake anything up—and we pull the lever for not-Giuliani or not-McCain.


  1. Eric says

    The primary schedule is very favorable for Edwards so don’t be surprised if he’s the eventual nominee. Forgetting about the “BOOOOORRRING” candidates you mentioned, who would you actively support, PZ?

  2. JR says

    PZ, who would you suggest should run for the Democratic nomination?

    Also, plenty of people have pointed out that the percentage of atheists among intelligent and powerful people is much higher than in other segments of the popular, so presumably this would be the case with politicians, but none are admitted atheists. Obviously to admit atheism would be political suicide (something we’d love to change, but it’s today’s reality) so the question becomes, how many of these guys are closet atheists? Which ones?

    I don’t hold the perception of piety against Democratic politicians, since it’s necessary for their job — just so they limit it to rhetoric and don’t tangibly advance religion like Republicans are always trying to do.

  3. says

    The primary schedule is very favorable for Edwards so don’t be surprised if he’s the eventual nominee.

    That’s unfortunate.

  4. Aloysius Horn says

    I read the excerpt from Obama’s book reprinted in Time (or was it Newsweek) in which describes how he got religion. He didn’t convince me that his conversion was particularly real. He was attracted to the Black churches for their role in the civil rights movement. I’d prefer a leader who was unassociated with any church, too, but let’s face it, no freethinker is getting elected to that office anytime soon.

    Obama did say this:

    “We are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

    As for Edwards:

    “…My faith has been enormous to me in my personal life and of course my personal life is a big impact on my political life. I have had an interesting faith journey over the course of my life. I was born and raised in the Southern Baptist church, I was baptized in the Southern Baptist Church and then later in life joined the Methodist church and like a lot of people, when I was in my college years, and I went to law school and became a lawyer and was raising my young family I moved away somewhat from my faith. And then I lost a son in 1996 and my faith came roaring back and it played an enormous role in my ability to get through that period. It stayed with me and has been enormously important.”

    –Interview with the Interfaith Alliance, December 3, 2003

    and On Prayer:

    “I believe that God answers prayers.”
    –Washington Post profile, Aug. 7, 2001

    To reassure me, I’d like to hear one or both of these candidates speak out against Bush’s “Faith-based initiatives” programs.

  5. Christian Burnham says

    Have you written in more detail about why you dislike Obama? (Sorry- I haven’t been reading your blog for more than a month.)

    I looked at his site a few weeks ago. Yes, he’s religious- but a cursory read-through of his writings indicated that he is very much in favor of respecting everyone’s beliefs or lack thereof.

    He doesn’t strike me as a paid up member of the god-squad.

  6. Christian Burnham says

    Thanks for the quotes Aloysius.

    A mixed bag, but his position on religion is not any worse than the average wish-wash.

  7. J-Dog says

    I live in IL, and @ 1 1/2 years ago, I emailed Obama and asked himn to bitch-slap Senator Santorum for me, for supporting ID.

    Obamma emailed back – he ignored my bitch-slap comment, (no surprise there), but did respond that he was totally in favor of church-state seperation, so he’s got that going for him anyway.

  8. Rob G says

    PZ, is your objection to boring candidates that they cannot win, or that a boring person shouldn’t be president? Since you seem a reasonable fellow, I assume the former, but please elaborate.

  9. says

    That’s it, PZ. Take the high road. I mostly agree with your choices but am less interested on how “boring” a Dem candidate is than whether he/she has any true guts to fight for progressive/populist causes and ideals. Until Gore says absolutely-positively one way or another, Edwards is clearly the leader of the bunch (although Richardson is a dark horse because I don’t know too much about him). Please Al, RUN!

    And, yeah. I’m voting Dem no matter who it is. Even if they dig up LBJ and make HIM the candidate.

  10. bc says

    Well, we have to vote for the people we have and not the people we want to have, to paraphrase Rumsfeld. I just want to be sure we don’t elect any more of these fellows who believe in a “unitary executive” and believe the Bill of Rights is just a series of suggestions. I have my problems with McCain – who was against torture before he was for it – and with Giuliani. Gingrich has already staked out a position to get rid of free speech. Tancredo is racist. Huckabee is evangelical Arkansan. Sam Brownback is a christianist. Guess that leaves whoever the Dems choose.

  11. elmore says

    Good to see your on the Edwards bandwagon, the sensible choice and the one with the best chance to beat a republican any republican.

  12. Lily Rose says

    Well, here in New Mexico I gotta say that I hope Bill Richardson runs, since he is definitely not a bland guy.

    And if you want someone from the SouthWest, since we’re the fastest growing section of the US, you could go with the same old white guy (McCain, a/k/a GoldwaterRedux), or something … else.

    (Granted, Bill is old, and whiter than he thinks, but at least he knows how to pronounce “hispanic”).

  13. Evan Murdock says

    Richardson is, to my mind, the most interesting candidate in the democratic field in a long time. He’s well worth another look, as is the front runner for me. He’s a governer, he’s from a western state, he’s a minority, he’s an excellent speaker, has interesting ideas.

    I agree that the rest of the field is weak.

    As for Feingold, I’m a Wisconsinite, and have had the great pleasure of voting for Feingold twice. I wish he were still in the race, though he had zero chance of getting the nomination, to say nothing of the presidency. But he’s not running, and there’s no point making some sort of symbolic vote in the primaries, to my mind.

  14. says

    Hang on, I count six Democrats. I’m not saying Dennis Kucinich is necessarily exciting, but if he’s not even getting acknowledged at this early in the game after having declared, what does that say about his chances later on?

  15. Noodle says

    So I’ve seen the inexperienced/unaccomplished comment before and I can see where people would draw that conclusion.

    What would people think of an Edwards/Obama ticket?

    Being second banana would give Obama more leeway with respect to experience and set him up for a later persidential run.

  16. Todd Adamson says

    They’re politicians. Of course their boring. If they were the least bit interesting, they’d be doing something useful for a living.

  17. Russell says

    Kucinich strikes me as honest, caring, dedicated, and — unfortunately — completely naive on economics.

  18. tacitus says

    We’re going to get a lot of religious talk no matter who gets the nomination, that’s just a simple fact of presidential politics today. At least one more trending-secular generation will have to pass, and probably many more, before the presidential elections can be run on purely rational and secular grounds.

    At least Obama appears to be comfortable talking about his faith, as opposed to people like Kerry or Gore who looked as though they would rather be passing kidney stones.

    I don’t know what lies in store for Obama, Clinton, or the other candidates and I have no clear favorite at the moment, but if Obama can weather all the negative attacks that will soon be heading his way, I suspect he will become a formidable candidate.

    P.S. Memo to Kerry – give it up already.

  19. stogoe says

    I agree. Kerry needs to be taken out and beaten, then left in the Senate where he can melt in peace.

    His loss in 04 wasn’t completely his fault, but he’s a complete wimp against the media.

    Edwards is the only one actually talking about America’s ‘war on poor people’ right now; that makes him attractive to me as a candidate.

    Richardson did just help broker a ceasefire in Darfur, though.

  20. quork says

    The election is still 22 months off, and so many candidates have announced already. My guess is that a lot of people are looking around right now and saying, “I could do better than that.”

  21. George says

    I’m thinking Biden’s in there because he likes to hear himself talk. Hopefully, he will bow out early so we don’t have to listen to him blather on endlessly and incoherently.

    Obama lost me with his pro-religion speech.

    Hillary is about as fake as it gets. She doesn’t brush her teeth without taking a poll and summoning a focus group to weigh in on the pros and cons.

    Blah. Just blah. A very uninspiring field of candidates.

  22. SLC says

    Re Orac

    Of course, we know why Mr. Orac doesn’t like Edwards. Edwards used to sue doctors for malpractice and win!

  23. Lettuce says

    I’m waiting for Gore… And if he doesn’t run, I’m going to swallow hard and vote for the Democratic candidate.

    As a constituent of his, I sure hope it isn’t Russ Feingold on either half of the ticket.

    Russ Feingold is an enabler, single-handidly responsible for John Ashcroft, I have yet to hear a satisfactory apology for that.

  24. says

    Three words:
    Write. In. Feingold.

    Very. Bad. Idea.
    Posted by: Will

    Care to expand on why? Is it because he’s been consistent for years, refused to sign the USA PATRIOT act, has always stood up to Bush and his bandwagon, or do you have some other reason?

  25. chris larry says

    Wow are really going to start eating our own this early! Aren’t the stakes to high for this kind of celebrity like/dont like stuff? Who would you like to see run and would they have any chance to win….our country is being taken over by the hour….I will take any of these canidates quite frankly.

  26. Stogoe says

    Someone has to win the nomination, and people already have strong opinions on the current crop of shiftless hacks. Why blather about ‘St.’ John McCain and his McCain Doctrine when we can bag on sHillary?

  27. Sonja says

    When Bush leaves office, “our long national nightmare” will, unfortunately, NOT be over. We need a president who can go out into the world and mend bridges with all of our old allies and build new bridges to our adversaries. In short, we need a president with tremendous charm, grace, dignity, intelligence and diplomacy.

    The only one on that list who fits the bill is Barack Obama. If you’ve ever met him or heard him speak (I have met him twice), he is one of the most utterly charming people I have ever met.

    True, he doesn’t have the experience. But he has exactly the qualities America needs right now.

  28. squeaky says

    I say if you are bored with the field, then just vote for whoever is hottest. That would be Edwards with Obama as a close second. An Edwards/Obama ticket would be by far the most attractive ticket ever. Eye candy for president!

    But seriously–as said earlier, Edwards does seem sincere in his desire to tackle the issue of poverty in this nation, and I have also heard him express his concern over our slip in science education in this country.

    Personally, I think both he and Obama bring youth and vigor to the campaign–it certainly is a breath of fresh air as compared to the old guard of old white guys who are out of touch with the country. I’m probably falling for the marketing flair, but all I know is I get a sense of forward thinking when I hear them speak. They don’t make me feel exhausted like those tired old Reps do or like Kerry does.

    (Note–although I am tongue-in-cheek about the hot comments, I actually turned my Republican aunt into an Edwards supporter by pointing out the hot factor. She now supports him for reasons beyond hotness–my comments got her to take a look at him and what he stands for. She has contributed to and is joining the campaign).

  29. weemaryanne says

    Lettuce: Even we Canadians were (are) terrified of John Ashcroft, so I’m curious — how is Feingold responsible for that?

  30. DavidByron says

    Kucinich strikes me as honest, caring, dedicated, and — unfortunately — completely naive on economics.

    Really? He sounds like he knows plenty about it to me, and proved he has incredible balls, as Colbert would say.

    He is also the only candidate from either party that supports the vast majority of the US public on the number one issue in America (the end of the Iraq war). I guess that alone disqualifies him.

  31. Fred Levitan says

    Draft Al Gore. Make it very very clear to him that the party and the country will go nowhere without him.

  32. says

    Here you go: http://draftgore.com/

    I only wonder why Fred thinks the country would vote for a loser. (No matter how bad the officiating, the team that walks off the field with the superbowl rings is the team that won.)

    Mind you, I would have no problem voting for a candidate that lost a previous outing, but I’m a negative bellwether on so many issues.

  33. says

    There is something about Bill Richardson that I like, he seems intelligent on the Bill Clinton level. I don’t know anything else about him, like whether he is very religious or not. I assume he is Catholic, is he in Opus Dei or any of those christianist organizations?

    How about Richardson for President and Edwards or Obama for VP?

    Personally, I think Hillary Clinton has been a good senator and would make an excellent president, but people just HATE her with the white hot flame of a thousand suns.

  34. says

    I won’t claim to speak for PZ, but I think I know why he’s not nuts for Obama. It’s simple, really. What’s Obama going for him?

    A speech. One speech. It may have been a nice speech, a very pretty speech. But who cares? People voted for Bush because he had regular-Joe charisma, and look where that got us.

    Just no. No voting on charisma. If Obama manages to wrap up a compelling platform of progressive issues — in other words, if he starts at least talking a good game rather than just talking — he’ll become a solid candidate.

    On the other hand, I do agree that Obama would make a rather handy choice for VP.

  35. says

    Personally, I think Hillary Clinton has been a good senator and would make an excellent president, but people just HATE her with the white hot flame of a thousand suns.

    Count this as a successful marketing campaign by the Republicans, because there’s no other way to explain how such an inoffensive, middle-of-the-road politician is perceived by so many as extremism incarnate.

  36. says

    Count me in for the Edwards/Obama ticket.

    The ads alone would be inspiring. Both of them standing side by side, staring resolutely into the camera, a flag slow-motion waving in the background.

    Yep, there’s the election right there.

  37. Becca says

    Oh please please please PLEASE reconsider on Obama.

    So let me explain why I like him. He is, of course, a law prof at Uni. Chicago and I went to see him at an event at Uni. of Il. Urbana-Champaign. He said something alone these lines ‘and I *really* appreciate all the students; it’s really encouraging to see all the enthusiastic young people. And I know plenty of students in my law classes who aren’t thrilled about getting up at 8am to hear me speak.’
    I think this is an example of one of the best things about Obama- he *gets* people (ok, as a prof PZ, you should also *get* how students feel about 8am classes. It’s not rocket science to figure out, but still.)… and he (after a lot of rational thought) *got* that what was motivating the movers and shakers helping some of the poorest, most forgotten people out there, was religion. He *got* that it can provide a glue for a community- a group of people where goodwill toward other people was a fundamental ternate. Nothing religion *specific* about that (nor does Obama think there is, as far as I can tell).

    Incidently I base my opinions on his speeches, as well as his (first) book (will get to the second soon).

    As to the criticism that he’s still green- well, this is partially true (although others have already pointed out how youth/vigor can be an asset). But consider something (I had to have this pointed out to me)…
    How many presidents are former senators? Not many (the person who brought this to my attention noted it would be hard [impossible?] to name more than one). Senators vote on an awful lot, and they make a lot of enemies in terms of having the “wrong” view on something. So I submit this: if we wait for him to be more experienced, he may well (through rational and principled voting, no less) eliminate himself from potentially holding the office. Please note I’m not suggesting that we don’t want to give him time to screw up (I trust him not to do that)- I’m suggesting that we don’t want to give him time to make enemies no matter how he votes.

    I also submit this: Being “pious” (and I’m reasonably sure he wouldn’t describe himself that way) should hardly be a deadly sin, as far as potential flaws of politicians… there are sooooooo many worse things.

  38. djangone says

    I think people are underestimating what happens if Obama gets in office. The effect will be the best thing to happen to progressive politics in nearly 50 years. Kennedy inspired an influx of energetic people who tried honestly to do the right thing for their county. The most recent figure to have this effect was, disastrously, Reagan, and we’ve all been fighting his ‘enlightened self-interest’ goofballs for the last 20 years. Obama would, I think, be the third in this line. As a president, he would be at worst able, but his effect would be lastingly positive, pulling young people off the fence and shaming into the shadows the bigots and wilful idiots who form the base of the right wing.

  39. says

    I can’t believe how many people are willing to vote for Obama based solely on his abilities as a public speaker.  I mean, not to get all Godwin or anything, but Hitler was also known for his public speaking ability.  I’d gladly take a president who had their head on straight with regards to public policy but couldn’t speechify worth a damn.

    I have read this blog post arguing that Obama is actually doing some really good things in the Senate without grandstanding or sticking to the huge, hot-button issues that so many political climbers use as their selling points.  If he can keep that up and find a way to actually communicate a not particularly sexy but very meaningful legislative record to the voting public, I can think of far worse people to have in office.

    Sure, he’s not perfect, but the perfect candidates are pretty much unelectable.  Dennis Kucinich has more views in line with my ideals than any other presidential hopeful within the Democratic party, but that hope is entirely driven by him — he just doesn’t have the support within the party’s power structure or the media to win the primaries… or even to come in near the front of the pack.  He doesn’t have it and he won’t get it — sad but true.

    And I still wish our electoral system wasn’t so screwed up as to make the two-party system pretty much inescapable, but that’s another rant entirely.

  40. JScarry says

    PZ, I think it is a bit odd that you support Edwards, who made millions off of a broken legal system that allows bad science into the courtroom. He’s a guy who has absolutely no respect for the scientific principles that you hold dear yet you are willing to support him?

    He’s an example of the worst kind of lawyer and people somehow think he’d make a good president. I just don’t understand his appeal. Could someone explain it to me?

  41. says

    Personally, I think Hillary Clinton has been a good senator and would make an excellent president, but people just HATE her with the white hot flame of a thousand suns.

    But do remember, that is how people felt about Bill as well, yet he seemed to get elected a couple of times.

  42. Warren Terra says

    As someone who – in Boston and without Illinois ties – gave a small amount of my small income to Obama’s primary campaign in 2004, before he got famous, I’m emotionally invested in the guy. So maybe I’m just biased. I’m hopeful about his run; uncertain, because he’s got so little time in federal office, but hopeful. Despite someone’s comment above, it’s not just because Obama’s a good public speaker. I was able to convince myself that Kerry was a good public speaker. I was able to convince myself that Gore was a good public speaker, in 2000. Obama’s not a good public speaker, he’s a fantastic public speaker. But that’s still not the point.

    Obama’s book – by which I mean his first one, I’ll probably wait for the paperback for his second one – amazed me. It is a moving story about how he decided to become a member of the black community and how he gave himself to public service, and it’s something he wrote before he had serious political ambitions. To my recollection, in the book he makes it very clear that he joined the church because without those credentials he couldn’t help people as much as he could with them. I don’t know of anything he has done to hurt secularism or science, unless maybe you are over-interpreting his “we worship a mighty God in the blue states” line, which I concede may have been intended to placate those disposed against godlessness. Do you recommend a politician instead stick a metaphorical stick in their eyes?

    So, as someone said back in the fifth comment: why is PZ so set against Obama? And, to reiterate a question in the first comment, who in the field – by which I exclude Gore, who isn’t (yet) – could PZ support?

  43. says

    What I’m looking for in a candidate is an outspoken firebreather for progressive ideals: someone who says we must have a secular society, we must fight for equality, we must break down the growing class stratification of the country, we must support alternative energy research and conservation, and goddammit we absolutely MUST end this criminal war.

    What we’ve got instead are wafflers, apologists, appeasers, and triangulators. Obama is a nice guy who says the kind and inspirational words, but I want someone with fire in their eye ready to shout thunder at the slack-jawed criminals who have put their venality above principle. That is, exactly the kind of person the DNC would stab in the kidneys to make sure he or she didn’t have a chance.

    I’m willing to forgive a candidate who deviates from slavishly following my personal political desires — including that they be an outspoken atheist — IF they could show a little ferocity and passion for some liberal ideals. I just don’t see it in that roster. I see a group of beady-eyed accountants carefully ogling the angles to get into office.

    Oh, and Clinton…she might be qualified, but I’m opposed to the idea of political dynasties on principle. Look what we’ve got in the Bush clan. <shudder>

  44. Christian Burnham says

    PZ: Obama IS very critical of the war.

    I’d prefer to have a boring president right now. Someone with the (low) charisma of a physical chemist would do.

  45. says

    You actually still have levers where you live? My parents pulled levers when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, but I never have.

    Anyway, I don’t believe that either McCain or Giuliani will get the Republican nomination; both of them have occasional hints of sanity (although both of them are doing their best to pretend otherwise). I expect that I’ll mark my optical-scan ballot for not-Romney or not-Brownback or not-Gingrich.

  46. Ktesibios says

    I haven’t seen enough to decide yet whom I would support, but one thing is for sure: I would never cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary.

    My reason, it is simple: I recognize gutless, unprincipled, self-seeking, time-serving aging yuppie scum when I smell it.

    I have the same regard for Bill Clinton. I well remember that sort from back in the ’80s. They were worthless, annoying assholes then and they haven’t improved a damned bit since.

  47. G. Tingey says

    As someone who is only influenced by which president is chosen by you ex-colonials – what’s really wrong with Hilary Clinton?
    I suspect that you don’t want a woman as president …..
    And all the rest is excuses.

  48. phat says

    I’m going to have to chime in here and ask that everybody look at Wesley Clark. He hasn’t announced yet, and I don’t know that he will. But you should take a look.

    I’ve been checking out Richardson a bit lately, too.

    Edwards seems to be on the ball.

    Obama has somehow taken on the mantle of the “visionary politician” without actually being able to articulate that vision in terms that truly explicate the ideas this country was based upon, in particular a vehement pluralistic and secular outlook. That’s not visionary in my book. It’s quite myopic, actually.

    He’d probably be an OK president, though. But his schtick pretty much offends the hell out of me.

    That is all.


  49. Bailey says

    When are the democrats going to end the war.

    They control the money, they could end it.

    If you say they are worried about their reputations or accusations if they cut the money, then you are saying they are more worried about that than the lives of our men.

    Either they end the war, or they will be out next time.

    The people have had it .

    End the war or quit blubbering and crying.

  50. Stogoe says

    sHillary is just in the pocket of too many rich conglomerates. She’s a compulsive centrist with nothing but contempt for the internet left (iirc she’s as terrible on video games as Lieberman).

  51. says

    Reading some of Obama’s writing is encouraging. If memory serves, his mother was an anthropologist and also a non-believer. In articles and excerpts I have read quoting Obama, I have been encouraged that he acknowledges the importance of separation of church and state and acknowledges non-religious peoples as a valid segment of the American population. The impression I had was that his ideas are throughtful and nuanced with a goal of political compromise without compromising principles. As for his personal faith, I am neutral. Since every indication is that he is supportive of the position I hold on church-state separation, recognizes and respects the non-believing segments of the population, and seems to approach situations with a rational rather than ideological approach, I believe the question of his personal faith and/or the public face of his faith is a non-issue. After all, if we begin disapproving of politicians based on our perceptions of their beliefs rather than the compatibility of their platform to our goals or principles as non-religious people, then we truly become the atheistic “fundamentalists” that some have tried so hard to paint us as.

  52. Carlie says

    What about Gore with Obama? Gore has the cred for the job, and Obama gets to be Obama, easing the run later. Edwards/Obama is appealing, but I think people would be possibly justifiably nervous at two relatively young’uns without a huge amount of experience between them. Gore would add, in the words of Colbert, the requisite “gravitas” to the ticket, but having Obama would add the spark and ease with public speaking that Gore was sorely missing last time he tried.

  53. Aloysius Horn says

    That’s right….Obama says his father, born into a Muslim family, was an “atheist” in later life and his mother, born into a Baptist family, was a skeptic. While he claims to have given himself to God in a black church on the South Side of Chicago, he speaks lovingly and respectfully of both of his parents. For Obama to have a chance at the Presidency of this country at this time in history, he HAS to proclaim his faith. And he has to do so convincingly. This is unfortunate, but at least we have a candidate who openly respects freethinkers. When was the last time a candidate even mentioned “nonbelievers”??

  54. says

    My immediate reaction to the idea of Obama as a v.p. candidate is to think forward to vice-presidential candidate debates. Can you imagine any potential republican v.p. candidate who would look anything other than rigid, stuffy, or out of touch in a debate with Obama? If the nation’s attitude is and continues to be favorable to a new political dynamic, it is hard to imagine republican candidates that would not scream “status-quo” in any live forum with Senator Obama. The V.P. idea is one I will have to contemplate further.

  55. TomS says

    I’ve been daydreaming about an Edwards/Richardson ticket for months. Edwards seems to have the vision part down (though he’s a little more liberal than my own current stance) and Richardson was effective in a number of positions in the Clinton administration and seems to be doing a reasonable job in NM.

  56. Sonja says

    Obama doesn’t have charisma, he has charm. It’s different.

    Charm is a quality that simply means people will like you. It also means you can persuade people to your point of view.

    The President of the United States actually has very little real power. Other than the veto, Presidential power is almost entirely the power to persuade.

    When I met Barack Obama (this was just before he was elected to the Senate), I told him he reminded me of Paul Wellstone. Now, they are on the surface very different people. Paul was probably more politically progressive and populist than Barack. What reminds me of Paul is a quality about Barack where you can’t help but like him. They also share a quality of possessing incredible intelligence, but it is always tempered by social grace, empathy, and consideration.

    Bill Clinton also has an abundance of charm. He and Barack share another quality which is the ability to say exactly the right thing in any given situation. I think you could put either of these two men in front of any audience and have them speak on any subject and they would know instinctively exactly the right words to say to win the crowd over. This is a gift — you can’t learn it.

    I’ve heard people say that W. Bush is likeable — maybe in Texas. Certainly not in Europe or anywhere else in the world. The more he tries to explain something the stupider he looks and less likely he is to convince you.

    I’m not worried about Barack’s ability to learn issues or know what positions to take on things — frankly, for someone of his intelligence that’s the easy part of being President. He has a very special quality that American needs at this time. I think he’s in a unique position to restore America’s respect in the world and unite the country.

    No one thought we could elect Paul Wellstone to the US Senate in 1990 but we did it. It was hard work, but it was worth the effort. I’m convinced Obama is actually more electable than a John Kerry or a Hillary. I think the Republicans know it too. They’re pushing Hillary so hard on Fox, you’d swear she was their candidate.

  57. MJ Memphis says

    My dream ticket is Clark/Bredesen- that way I can once again drive across the Mississippi River bridge and see a sign saying “Home of the President”, then drive back and see a sign saying “Home of the Vice-President.” Selfish, I know, but they would both be good for the jobs, not that it is a likely occurence.

  58. says

    “Count this as a successful marketing campaign by the Republicans, because there’s no other way to explain how such an inoffensive, middle-of-the-road politician is perceived by so many as extremism incarnate.”

    Actually, it’s not the “extremism incarnate” part that bugs people, it’s the “inoffensive, middle-of-the-road politician” part. A lot of folk are just plain sick of these white-bread candidates, on top of which the last two Presidential elections showed that the American public is immune or at least resistant to triangulation these days. It’s not some mesmerising spell, where you just have to sit as close to the middle as possible and the voters will close their eyes and vote for you. These days, motivation is far more important, and both Gore and Kerry failed to motivate voters in their respective runs. Hillary would fail just as miserably if she runs in 2008.