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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Steven Warshawsky

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Steven Warshawsky

Last Build Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 11:30:07 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2009

Why Obama is in Trouble

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 11:30:07 -0600

One of Obama's most striking characteristics is how "green" he is compared to previous presidential candidates. Obama was born on August 4, 1961. He just turned 47 years old. The average age of elected presidents since 1952 (the era of televised politics) is 56. If elected president, Obama would be the fifth youngest president in U.S. history. The only younger presidents would be Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Ulysses S. Grant, all of whom were much more accomplished than Obama. Grant, Roosevelt, and Kennedy were war heroes. (Not Clinton, notoriously.) Roosevelt and Clinton had served as state governors. Grant had been the general-in-chief of the Union Army during the Civil War. The least experienced of the four, Kennedy, had served twelve years in Congress, six in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate, and had been a serious candidate for vice-president in 1956. What has Obama accomplished to date? In truth, not very much -- except to master the art of self-promotion. Obama has written two best-selling autobiographies: Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006). Yet he has never served in an important leadership position in government, business, or the military. His ability to perform as a chief executive officer is completely untested. Obama has prestigious degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, but no significant professional achievements to his name. No businesses or organizations he has founded or managed. No law firm partnerships. No important cases he has tried. Not a single work of legal scholarship he has authored, despite having been Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review and a part-time law professor at the University of Chicago for twelve years. (This is unheard of in the elite ranks of the legal profession, and calls into question the bona fides of Obama's professorship.) Obama's principal occupation before entering politics was as a "community organizer" in Chicago. By his own admission, these efforts achieved only "some success," and none worthy of highlighting on his campaign website. Obama then served eight unexceptional years in the Illinois Senate, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, where he is not even considered one of the Democratic Party's legislative leaders. And this man believes he is "the one we have been waiting for"? Obama may be considered a "rock star" by his supporters, but the kind of superficial glamour and excitement that this terminology suggests is not what most voters are looking for in a president. Heartland values, not Hollywood values, still define what most voters want in a president. Most voters want a president whom they perceive as loyal, courageous, hardworking, and fair. Someone who commands the respect of others through the strength of his character and the wisdom of his actions. Someone who is prepared to fight to protect his home and country from invaders. In other words, someone who appeals to voters, on a psychological or emotional level, as the kind of person they would want for a father, husband, boss, or comrade-in-arms. Rock stars may be fun, but they do not fit this image. Neither does Obama. His life story, while unique and interesting, bespeaks little more than an ambitious and opportunistic young man, still wet behind the ears, with an unhealthy fascination with his own ego - and potentially unreliable when the chips are down. The American people are not going to entrust the security and prosperity of the country to such an immature and unproven man. Obama is too liberal. The last Democratic presidential candidate who garnered more than 50% of the popular vote was Jimmy Carter in 1976 - and Carter received only 51% of the vote in a political environment marked by defeat in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, an energy crisis, and stagflation. There has been only one other Democratic president in the past 40 years: Bill Clinton. Despite campaigning as "New Democrat," Clinton received only 43% o[...]