Feb 282008
Authors: Joseph Haynie

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is no better than a traveling salesman from yesteryear.

Using powerful diction and a strong stage presence, Obama has been able to sell the disillusioned American public a cure-all elixir, a soul cleansing solution. What his product – that is himself – lacks in substance, he has been able to make up for it in show.

Through the use of words like “change” and “hope” he has been able to bypass the serious questions about his substance and inexperience.

In fact, Obama’s official slogan reads, “change we can believe in.” Although catchy and awe-inspiring, someone better inform Mr. Obama that seeing is believing and, quite frankly, we haven’t seen much from the senator.

Five years ago he was a political nobody. One keynote speech and a campaign later, Obama is currently on his way to becoming the Democratic presidential nominee.

During that time, the freshman senator has rarely crossed party lines in the Senate and received the distinction from the “National Journal” as the most liberal senator of 2007.

The Republican candidates may not be as fresh and hip, but at least they’re not lying on one of the ideological extremes.

This past Tuesday on MSNBC Live, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), an Obama supporter, excused Obama’s inexperience saying, “In terms of experience, I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is good judgment.”

That’s a bit of a leap, even for a Democrat.

Judgment is no substitute for experience. Four of the past five presidents have been governors prior to entering the Executive Branch. Being able to rely upon their previous executive experience, these presidents did not need much on the job training. Obama, on the other hand, has never run a business, a city or a state.

Edwards, qualifying his statement, continued by saying that Obama “showed, when others did not, the good judgment to know that the war in Iraq would be a real mistake.”

What Edwards failed to mention or even factor into his thought process was that Obama was a mere Illinois state legislator, not a United States senator.

Unlike the 77 senators who voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq, Obama, as a state senator, was never put in that kind of position. He never faced the political pressure from a constituency supportive of the invasion.

Was Obama exercising “good judgment” when, as a state senator, he voted “present” on numerous and controversial bills ranging from partial birth abortion availability to gun rights? Instead of stepping up to the plate and taking a stance on a tough issue, Obama felt it prudent to sit atop the political fence. Is this the kind of indecisiveness we are to expect from Obama when saber rattling rogue nations threaten the United States?

Lukewarm leadership is not what this country needs.

Yet, despite these gapping holes in his resume, the Illinois Democrat has had no problem racking up wins and delegates.

Since Super Tuesday, Obama has won 11 straight contests and gained a significant number of super delegates from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Not only is he on his way to becoming the Democratic nominee, but he has even become the apparent national frontrunner.

According to the Real Clear Politics average of several national head-to-head polls, Obama has a 3.7-point lead over Washington insider and political swinger, Sen. John McCain.

With McCain’s troubles courting conservatives, it seems safe to say that the upcoming presidential election will be a “slam dunk” for Obama. If so, where’s George Tenet when you need him?

Obama will more than likely talk his way to the presidency, just as he has talked his way to his party’s nomination. However, America is likely to find, as the old adage says, talk is cheap.

Joseph Haynie is a senior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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