Monday, March 31, 2008

Campaign 2008 - Obama's 3/27 Speech on the Economy

Here's the full text of Senator Obama's speech on the economy last week. I am leaning more and more in his direction. For one thing a political candidate who reflects on issues from a historical perspective is a rare and wonderful thing. Imagine a candidate who asks "how did we get here" before charging off to the "where we need to go next" part. How refreshing!

Better yet, Senator Obama referred to Alexander Hamilton. There's a guy who understood how economic systems work and who had some (brilliant) ideas about how to set up a financial and banking system for our fledgling country. It was a system he more or less invented pretty much from scratch. Hamilton cobbled together a banking system (and postal system, etc.) to respond to the needs of a country that was sort of making things up as it went along. More than two hundred years later, Senator Obama reminds us we need to continue to evolve and change to respond to new challenges in new times. He says we can learn from Hamilton about things to consider as we do that. He is right. (But then again, Hamilton is one of my Top Ten Heroes in World History so I am prejudiced.)

Just to totally balance things out, quote Jimmy Madison on checks and balances and separation of powers in your next speech, Mr. Senator, and you've got at least one vote from Florida! [No guarantees our election officials will be able to count it, mind you, but it's yours.]

I do not know a lot about economic theory or the nuts and bolts about how it works, but intuitively Senator Obama's speech resonates with me, on most points anyway. Best of all is the fact that Senator Obama is someone who thinks seriously about issues, based on a wide range of information. He apparently even reads books. Golly! In fairness, I am sure Senator Clinton thinks deeply and reads books, too. My problem with her is that her focus seems to be on the utilitarian part of how to put some legislation into effect, when what we need is someone who can put the situation into some kind of perspective and marshall our will to work together to get out of it.

Senator Obama's recent speeches have shown his ability to look at political problems from a variety of perspectives and to try to find a position that will be best for the most people. While I still have a problem with his inexperience and I would prefer for presidents to come from the ranks of governors (where they at least would have some administrative experience), I think it may also be true that his relative newness to national politics means he is relatively unencumbered by political favors owed. He may be inexperienced, but Senator Clinton brings way too much baggage with her.

The trick for him now will be to avoid mud-wrestling with Senator Clinton between now and the Convention. I personally think he would do well to start his GE campaign now. I think he would do well to look past the Convention and show America what he offers us versus the warmed-over, stale slop the Republicans will serve up in the GE.

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