Mar 112008
Authors: Nick Hemenway

Yes we can! So says the incessant chant that precedes Barack Obama.

With his ever-increasing supporters at his side, Sen. Obama has created such a huge tide in the Democratic Party that even the mighty Clinton machine is struggling to hold on.

As he tours the country along the campaign trail, Obama is greeted at every stop by overflowing crowds and loyal supporters. The question is, does anyone really know what Barack Obama is all about?

With Hilary Clinton, we all know exactly who she is and what she will do, which may account for her poor primary performance. She will raise taxes, dismantle the military, impose universal healthcare on all of us, and she will look the other way when her husband commits crimes, as long as she can keep her power.

On the other hand, Barack Obama has only had national recognition since being elected as senator of Illinois in 2004. Before that, his ‘experience’ is largely limited to state legislature and education. This begs the question: what does Barack Obama really stand for?

At this point, no one seems to know much about him, yet they are deeply loyal to him. Perhaps this is the genius of his plan.

Obama has created his image so that he can be anyone you want him to be.

Maybe we will get lucky and he will turn out to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan.

When I ask friends of mine who are Obama supporters why they like him, they rarely give me an answer of substance.

Most will say they love his charisma or his passion. Very few of them know his stances on the issues.

On paper, there is little difference between Sens. Obama and Clinton. Both are very liberal, supporting tax increases, universal healthcare, and both hate President Bush.

One difference that gets more attention is Iraq.

Obama excites his supporters at every stop by reminding them that he never voted to authorize military action in Iraq while Clinton did.

What people forget is that Barack Obama was not in the Senate for that October 2002 vote.

He never had to make any decision. However, he now uses this issue to make people think he was the lone voice against the war.

Something that made me laugh was the explanation on his Web site for the strain Iraq has caused to our military.

It reads, “The military is being severely strained by repeated and lengthy deployments.

The Army and Marine Corps are facing a crisis as 40 percent of their equipment is either in Iraq or being repaired.”

I’m no mathematician, but that means despite our large presence in Iraq, the majority of our military’s resources are not in Iraq and are also in perfect working condition. Sounds good to me.

Moreover, he gives almost no credit to President Bush or General Petraeus for last year’s troop surge, which dramatically reduced violence in Iraq, accounting for the little attention Iraq has garnered in this campaign.

In addition, Obama embraces the trite arguments of gender-based income equality, hate crimes (not to be confused with friendly or happy crimes), and bear-hugging trees for a cooler environment.

Whether or not you believe in his “controversial” and radical views of hope and change, be wary of the unknown man who is Barack Hussein Obama, because he does not walk on water.

Could he turn out to be someone vastly different than the person you believe him to be today? Yes he can.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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