It was a general perception that the idea of race would hinder presidential hopeful Barack Obama. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as the battle for the White House continues. Obama, who was the underdog among other candidates last year, has become a force to be reckoned with.When the question of electability is asked, I wonder, because it seems to be directed toward Obama, not Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. There is little difference between these folks when it comes to electability. They are or were senators, trained law graduates and successful in their various fields. The only difference is, one is Black, the next is a female and the other is a White male. Some say America is not ready for a Black president, or he is not ready. Others say he is lacking experience.
A look at the Iowa caucuses proved critics wrong. Among the male Democrats, Obama got 35 percent while rival Hillary got 23 percent. Among female Democrats, Obama pulled 57 percent while Hillary managed 11 percent. And among independents, he edged Hillary by 41 percent to 17 percent. America is ready for a president who could change things around, regardless of race, color, religion or creed. Obama is ready. Experience matters but not in all cases.
I respect Sen. Clinton and her values, but the notion that she is the experienced candidate lacks proof. The simple truth, Sen. Obama got elected to public office before her. While Hillary was a well respected first lady with a mere ceremonial role, Obama was serving in the Illinois Senate, passing laws that reformed ethics and health care. He was responsible for the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations and a law to monitor racial profiling by cops before moving to the Senate in 2005.
Upon graduating from law school, Obama turned down juicy job offers to work as a community organizer in his home state. Obama has worked as an ordinary man; he knows what people are facing more than most candidates. He and wife Michelle just recently paid off their college loans.
In 2002, prior to the Iraq war, Obama addressed an anti-war rally in Chicago: “I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and strong international support will only fan flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”
The “experienced” candidate voted for the war in Iraq, adding the possibility of weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein. The result of the war? Hussein is dead, no WMDs were found, America defiled the U.N. order not to go to war, and the country is losing close to $2 trillion to a failed war. Is that experience? What happened to good judgment? What happened to wisdom?
On health care coverage, Clinton’s plan is universal health care that is mandated while Obama opts to reduce health care costs that are optional. The difference is the word “mandate.” Though his plan might not cover everyone, he gives people a choice by making health care affordable. Also, children would be covered under their parents until they turn 25. Hillary’s plan is reasonable; she wants everyone to get health care. But what if one can’t afford it? It goes in this route, probably being fined or taken out of one’s paycheck. Similar cases are happening in Massachusetts.
Obama has a better chance of reuniting the American people. He preaches change of Washington politics, not fear, and he appeals to everyone. He is honest, admitting drug usage as a teenager in his book, while others shy away from their dirty past. He has a better chance over Republicans than Clinton, according to recent polls.
My prediction: Even though he fails to win the nomination due to dirty politics, everyone would remember him as that guy who brought fresh air to American politics. While others say anything to get elected, he sticks to the issue – change.