Monday, July 23, 2007

Guest Blogger - MP Nettleton

An Obama Primer
by Matt Nettleton

His short time in the Senate shows Barack Obama to be a solid liberal. This website fleshes out where he stands on the issues. For the most part, he is in line with how we think. While at that site, make sure you scroll to the bottom where there is a grid plotting each politician's overall viewpoint. Obama actually has the same plot point as Kucinich, which is not quite as far left as Edwards, but way more left than Gore. Pretty interesting. I'll have to go back and see what is bogging down Kuci's leftiness.
Anyway, moving forward, like I mentioned before, Obama's youth spent organizing hints at progressive instincts. He didn't exactly grow up rich either. Per this article in yesterday's Washington Post, it appears he hasn't left these concerns behind.

Another reason I like Obama is the fact that his dad was born a Muslim and that Barack grew up partly in a Muslim country, which should help the US image with moderate Muslims. And the fact that Barack is connected to his Kenyan heritage should win us friends among common Africans, which would be great because currently China is doing a lot of sucking up on that continent (at least to those in power).
Further, I think electing a black President might even invigorate the blacks in our country who feel disenfranchised (see New Orleans, elections in Florida, etc). It would help globally too, because the Soviets published a lot of propaganda about the US keeping black folks down. No doubt these thoughts must linger in some corners of the world.
A pet issue of mine is campaign finance reform. His website doesn't have much on the subject, but I think he'd support tighter soft money laws if Congress could push them through. A quick google search shows that he did make some statements that he would use only public funding if the Republican candidate pledged to do the same in the general election. A little weak sauce, but at least talking about it. He's pushed some other non-money voting bills, though - mostly stuff on making it illegal to use deceptive ads. And I think as far as democracy goes, you have to like the extent of his grassroots fundraising. I give him a C+ on this subject, but elections devoid of big money will probably never exist in this country since the Supreme Court would overturn such a law. Sidenote: did you know that former Nebraska senator Tom Osborne - yes, the legendary Cornhusker head football coach - lost his reelection campaign in part because he refused to accept donations over $1000? His opponent, who was far behind in the polls at first, kept the big money coming in, and was able to pull off the upset, no doubt due in part to immense advertising. I guess it really is low money mo problems in politics.
Then we have the environment. His website again doesn't say much. I think the reason why is that Illinois has a ton of coal (another sidenote: for a great book that takes place in the coal towns of Illinois, try The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder). My guess is Obama doesn't want to upset anyone in his home state (which is a little lame because I doubt he needs southern ILL to carry the state). One telling story on this, though: a few weeks ago, he drew up a bill to increase funding to research clean coal in Illinois. He got a lot of flack from the Sierra Club, and actually voted AGAINST his own bill. Overall, his enviromental voting record isn't great, but he's still on the left - at least looking at some of his votes on And with a (hopefully) Democratic Congress in 2008, I think the country will move ahead environmentally and push Obama even more in that direction.
My bottom line on Obama: like Bill Clinton, Barack doesn't want to alienate business too much. I'm not totally against him. Do we want stagnant economies like those in Europe? That said, a strong economy should help everyone, which hasn't been happening. I think based on his comments about poverty, Barack would move towards this. He's also for repealing the tax cuts and keeping the estate tax (which he cleverly terms the Paris Hilton tax), which are important steps to equalizing America. He'll end the war, give the US a fresh face abroad, and move towards better access to healthcare . And, then, like I said before, he is Hollywood's guy, which means he'll be a liberal: you never bite the hand that feeds you. In closing, he's kind of stiff and pompous, but I think he'd be a good choice for President. My big worry about him is that his inexperience will rear its head in picking a high level advisor who will do something stupid thinking he could pull the wool over Obama's eyes or picking some newby unfamiliar with arcane procedures, and bring some sort of corruption charges on the administration. That's why I think he needs an experienced guy like Biden, Dodd, or Panetta as his running mate more than a token military or southern guy (not that I'd be against such a choice).

About the Author:
Matt Nettleton is an Americorps volunteer in Alabama, focusing on preparing small businesses for natural or man-made disasters. He is currently assigned to the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Alma mater: Westech '03
Hometown: Stratford, CT
Career Highs: 25 points, 11 boards, 6 assists, 9 turnovers.

1 comment:

o said...

i don't believe 9 turnovers...i think that whoever was keeping stats probably didn't have his glasses on...