What about Obama?

In my continuing series, we turn to the Democrats.  Barack Obama, it seems to me, has conducted himself very well in this campaign, which is free of the vitriol of pretty much every one else.  Alone of all the Democrats, he is not demonizing conservatives.  He is not even demonizing opponents of abortion.  In his book, he writes about how he understands and appreciates their points, though he depicts himself as reluctantly “pro-choice” anyway.  That book also tells about his conversion to Christianity and his faith in Christ, something that he is open about and is quite sincere about.  (Inside sources among Christians on Capitol Hill confirm this.) 

I’m not saying I could vote for him.  He is weak on both abortion and the war on terrorism and is liberal in his overall political philosophy.  Still, if the agenda is “anyone but Hilary,” shouldn’t we root for him in the Democratic primaries?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    I think that Republicans are much less sure about their chances to beat Obama than their chances to beat Clinton. So even though they may prefer Obama as president over Clinton, they still want Clinton to win the primaries so they can be more sure of beating her and winding up with a Republican still in the White House.

    That’s my guess.

    Personally, given the people running for the Democratic ticket, I have to say that Obama is probably the one that would do the best job as President. Or perhaps ‘least bad’ would be the correct term.

  • WebMonk

    I think that Republicans are much less sure about their chances to beat Obama than their chances to beat Clinton. So even though they may prefer Obama as president over Clinton, they still want Clinton to win the primaries so they can be more sure of beating her and winding up with a Republican still in the White House.

    That’s my guess.

    Personally, given the people running for the Democratic ticket, I have to say that Obama is probably the one that would do the best job as President. Or perhaps ‘least bad’ would be the correct term.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    WebMonk, I agree that there’s a bit of an effort on the Republican side to play up Hillary. But then, she’s been the bête noire of Republican fundraising for over a decade, so why stop now? When you talk up Hillary, you stir most Republicans’ basest fears, and then you don’t have to talk policy so much as shout rousing platitudes about how you’re going to beat the … well, you know.

    That said, it’s my impression that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be, of the Democratic nominees, most like the current administration.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    WebMonk, I agree that there’s a bit of an effort on the Republican side to play up Hillary. But then, she’s been the bête noire of Republican fundraising for over a decade, so why stop now? When you talk up Hillary, you stir most Republicans’ basest fears, and then you don’t have to talk policy so much as shout rousing platitudes about how you’re going to beat the … well, you know.

    That said, it’s my impression that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be, of the Democratic nominees, most like the current administration.

  • Don S

    Quite frankly, he is utterly unqualified to be president. He is in his first term as senator and has never, to my knowledge, served as an executive of a large organization (and unfortunately, the federal government qualifies as one of those).

    Though his temperament is moderate (refreshing in itself in Democrat circles these days), he is unquestionably a deeply committed political liberal. Moreover, he would surround himself with deeply committed, not so moderate in temperament, political liberals, and would certainly appoint judges of that stripe to the bench.

    Although I do not doubt the sincerity of his Christian faith, his church is quite radicalized. He attends the Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago, and its website reflects the liberal theology of the United Church of Christ denomination, combined with political social justice themes. From its website, the church mission statement is:

    “Trinity United Church of Christ has been called by God to be a congregation that is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that does not apologize for its African roots! As a congregation of baptized believers, we are called to be agents of liberation not only for the oppressed, but for all of God’s family. We, as a church family, acknowledge, that we will, building on this affirmation of “who we are” and “whose we are,” call men, women, boys and girls to the liberating love of Jesus Christ, inviting them to become a part of the church universal, responding to Jesus’ command that we go into all the world and make disciples!

    We are called out to be “a chosen people” that pays no attention to socio-economic or educational backgrounds. We are made up of the highly educated and the uneducated. Our congregation is a combination of the haves and the have-nots; the economically disadvantaged, the under-class, the unemployed and the employable.

    The fortunate who are among us combine forces with the less fortunate to become agents of change for God who is not pleased with America’s economic mal-distribution!

    W.E.B. DuBois indicated that the problem in the 20th century was going to be the problem of the color line. He was absolutely correct. Our job as servants of God is to address that problem and eradicate it in the name of Him who came for the whole world by calling all men, women, boys and girls to Christ.”

  • Don S

    Quite frankly, he is utterly unqualified to be president. He is in his first term as senator and has never, to my knowledge, served as an executive of a large organization (and unfortunately, the federal government qualifies as one of those).

    Though his temperament is moderate (refreshing in itself in Democrat circles these days), he is unquestionably a deeply committed political liberal. Moreover, he would surround himself with deeply committed, not so moderate in temperament, political liberals, and would certainly appoint judges of that stripe to the bench.

    Although I do not doubt the sincerity of his Christian faith, his church is quite radicalized. He attends the Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago, and its website reflects the liberal theology of the United Church of Christ denomination, combined with political social justice themes. From its website, the church mission statement is:

    “Trinity United Church of Christ has been called by God to be a congregation that is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that does not apologize for its African roots! As a congregation of baptized believers, we are called to be agents of liberation not only for the oppressed, but for all of God’s family. We, as a church family, acknowledge, that we will, building on this affirmation of “who we are” and “whose we are,” call men, women, boys and girls to the liberating love of Jesus Christ, inviting them to become a part of the church universal, responding to Jesus’ command that we go into all the world and make disciples!

    We are called out to be “a chosen people” that pays no attention to socio-economic or educational backgrounds. We are made up of the highly educated and the uneducated. Our congregation is a combination of the haves and the have-nots; the economically disadvantaged, the under-class, the unemployed and the employable.

    The fortunate who are among us combine forces with the less fortunate to become agents of change for God who is not pleased with America’s economic mal-distribution!

    W.E.B. DuBois indicated that the problem in the 20th century was going to be the problem of the color line. He was absolutely correct. Our job as servants of God is to address that problem and eradicate it in the name of Him who came for the whole world by calling all men, women, boys and girls to Christ.”

  • fwsonnek

    All of our most memorable leaders have had the gift of great public oratory. I say memorable rather than great, because you may or may not agree with the policies of Reagan, JF Kennedy, ML King Jr, FDR, Hitler, Mussolini, Juan Peron, Getulio Vargas, Churchill, Fidel Castro, Lincoln, WJ Bryant, WB Dubois, etc.

    I consider this an important quality, because our presidents get credit or blame for alot of things they really don´t control. Yet they can, with good oratory, set a definite course or direction for society, and remind us of who we aspire to be as a society according to our basic civic ideals. They can appeal to our sacrificial best selves.

    For example, agree or not, I feel Bush squandered a glorious opportunity along these lines after 9/11 to sacrifice for energy independence and national security. He did not ask for sacrifice. We were all ready for that call. But then maybe that was because he is not a master of grammar or oratory by any stretch, asside from his many good qualities as a leader for which I give thanks.

    Of all the candidates present, I could argue that Barack Obama uniquely possesses this gift for oratory.

    Whether or not he has sufficient moral vision, experience, leadership qualities and intelligence to be the best choice is, of course what must be considered by all beyond his rhetorical and oratory skills.

    In addition, it will be interesting to see if the nation is truly ready for the election of a black man or a female as president. Usually in our country, the first anything is usually the most very conservative version of that first anything to be electable. 2008 may be an exception to that rule.

    Obama´s website seems less fluffy and self congratulatory than was the bush site of 2004. (with it´s section titled “compassionate conservatism” consisting of no text and endless uncaptioned fotos of bush foto-oping with black folks. ONLY black folks. It truly looked like parody…).

    I understand that Obama consciously avoids appearing only before carefully screened, totally sympathetic crowds as Bush and now Clinton are doing. Promising sign.

    His video clip on his speech about separation of church and state is a model of lucidity and clear thinking presented in a compelling and very accessable way. I cannot think of anyone who is Lutheran here not applauding it.

    He seems to provide enough real information presented in straight forward terms to allow folks of any political leaning to evaluate in detail exactly where they would agree or disagree with him and why.

    He stakes out detailed positions on alot of stuff that is not a hot button issue now, but which shadows alot of those hot button issues (his church state speech being a good example).

    Better, he seems to also provide enough insight into his basic philosophical and religious leanings to allow someone to feel like they could predict his stand on future issues, and makes his positions on issues seem contextual and organic to an overarching and well thought out weltanschaung. None of his policy positions appear to be “ad-hoc” political calculations.

    We could do alot worse than Obama.

    In fact, being where I am in Brasil, and seeing the choices presented here, I would be ok with any candidate republican or democratic that is running now. Our nation is blest.

    It would be great to see a debate that would give equal time to the libertarians, greens, ron pauls, and others. Maybe then this election would be more interestingly about issues.

    But it would probably make all of us, including me, have to think too hard…..

  • fwsonnek

    All of our most memorable leaders have had the gift of great public oratory. I say memorable rather than great, because you may or may not agree with the policies of Reagan, JF Kennedy, ML King Jr, FDR, Hitler, Mussolini, Juan Peron, Getulio Vargas, Churchill, Fidel Castro, Lincoln, WJ Bryant, WB Dubois, etc.

    I consider this an important quality, because our presidents get credit or blame for alot of things they really don´t control. Yet they can, with good oratory, set a definite course or direction for society, and remind us of who we aspire to be as a society according to our basic civic ideals. They can appeal to our sacrificial best selves.

    For example, agree or not, I feel Bush squandered a glorious opportunity along these lines after 9/11 to sacrifice for energy independence and national security. He did not ask for sacrifice. We were all ready for that call. But then maybe that was because he is not a master of grammar or oratory by any stretch, asside from his many good qualities as a leader for which I give thanks.

    Of all the candidates present, I could argue that Barack Obama uniquely possesses this gift for oratory.

    Whether or not he has sufficient moral vision, experience, leadership qualities and intelligence to be the best choice is, of course what must be considered by all beyond his rhetorical and oratory skills.

    In addition, it will be interesting to see if the nation is truly ready for the election of a black man or a female as president. Usually in our country, the first anything is usually the most very conservative version of that first anything to be electable. 2008 may be an exception to that rule.

    Obama´s website seems less fluffy and self congratulatory than was the bush site of 2004. (with it´s section titled “compassionate conservatism” consisting of no text and endless uncaptioned fotos of bush foto-oping with black folks. ONLY black folks. It truly looked like parody…).

    I understand that Obama consciously avoids appearing only before carefully screened, totally sympathetic crowds as Bush and now Clinton are doing. Promising sign.

    His video clip on his speech about separation of church and state is a model of lucidity and clear thinking presented in a compelling and very accessable way. I cannot think of anyone who is Lutheran here not applauding it.

    He seems to provide enough real information presented in straight forward terms to allow folks of any political leaning to evaluate in detail exactly where they would agree or disagree with him and why.

    He stakes out detailed positions on alot of stuff that is not a hot button issue now, but which shadows alot of those hot button issues (his church state speech being a good example).

    Better, he seems to also provide enough insight into his basic philosophical and religious leanings to allow someone to feel like they could predict his stand on future issues, and makes his positions on issues seem contextual and organic to an overarching and well thought out weltanschaung. None of his policy positions appear to be “ad-hoc” political calculations.

    We could do alot worse than Obama.

    In fact, being where I am in Brasil, and seeing the choices presented here, I would be ok with any candidate republican or democratic that is running now. Our nation is blest.

    It would be great to see a debate that would give equal time to the libertarians, greens, ron pauls, and others. Maybe then this election would be more interestingly about issues.

    But it would probably make all of us, including me, have to think too hard…..

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@3), certainly it is interesting to look beyond the label “Christian” at what Obama (or his church) actually believes — though I question if many outside our circles necessarily believe that a church’s belief statement speaks (or should speak) for all its members.

    But as to your assertion that Obama is “utterly unqualified” because of his lack of executive experience, can you explain where the current President’s six years of pre-presidential executive experience has gotten us today? Things going great? Really shows a command of politics? Wouldn’t change a thing? Also, who’d you vote for in 1996?

    Personally, if this administration is an example of what executive experience gets you, I’m all for hiring the newbie.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@3), certainly it is interesting to look beyond the label “Christian” at what Obama (or his church) actually believes — though I question if many outside our circles necessarily believe that a church’s belief statement speaks (or should speak) for all its members.

    But as to your assertion that Obama is “utterly unqualified” because of his lack of executive experience, can you explain where the current President’s six years of pre-presidential executive experience has gotten us today? Things going great? Really shows a command of politics? Wouldn’t change a thing? Also, who’d you vote for in 1996?

    Personally, if this administration is an example of what executive experience gets you, I’m all for hiring the newbie.

  • WebMonk

    tODD – it’s my firm opinion that a man-on-the-street who is willing to apply himself to the job would make a better senator/congressman/president than 90% of our current batch of leaders.

  • WebMonk

    tODD – it’s my firm opinion that a man-on-the-street who is willing to apply himself to the job would make a better senator/congressman/president than 90% of our current batch of leaders.

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  • fwsonnek

    I not in the “anyone but…” camp.

    This is because whoever is elected will be my president. I will believe that God himself has placed that person over me.

    I will need to SINCERELY pray for that person.

    Compared to what i see here in Brasil, we in the united stated are very blessed with all the candidates , republican AND democratic we are to chose among.

    Pray, praise and give thanks!

  • fwsonnek

    I not in the “anyone but…” camp.

    This is because whoever is elected will be my president. I will believe that God himself has placed that person over me.

    I will need to SINCERELY pray for that person.

    Compared to what i see here in Brasil, we in the united stated are very blessed with all the candidates , republican AND democratic we are to chose among.

    Pray, praise and give thanks!

  • http://parableman.net Jeremy Pierce

    I’m not sure the “anyone but Hillary” mindset is really supposed to be an absolute. People who say that are presuming she’ll win the Democratic nomination and then seeing who the Republicans can nominate to beat her. That’s consistent with thinking that she’d be better than any of the other Democratic candidates (or at least better than most of them; Joe Biden and Chris Dodd may be better in some ways than she would be, but I’d sure rather have her than Edwards, Obama, Gravel, Kucinich, or Richardson).

  • http://parableman.net Jeremy Pierce

    I’m not sure the “anyone but Hillary” mindset is really supposed to be an absolute. People who say that are presuming she’ll win the Democratic nomination and then seeing who the Republicans can nominate to beat her. That’s consistent with thinking that she’d be better than any of the other Democratic candidates (or at least better than most of them; Joe Biden and Chris Dodd may be better in some ways than she would be, but I’d sure rather have her than Edwards, Obama, Gravel, Kucinich, or Richardson).

  • fwsonnek

    If you want a great case against hillary, and for obama, check this one out….

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama

  • fwsonnek

    If you want a great case against hillary, and for obama, check this one out….

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200712/obama


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