Home AboutBest Of Reviews Subscribe BlogrollTwitter

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear Senator Obama,

I am impressed by you in so many ways, and I am registered as a Democrat, so it's not hard to guess where my vote will be going on November 4th.

But I just have to say that I was sadly disappointed at a crucial point in the debates last night, where I thought you could have hit the ball right out of the park. Where, in fact, I was hungering to hear you do so even though I am predisposed to agree with many of your policies.

People who have been following this election for a while have heard the stump speeches, the talking points, the references to specific autobiographical details so many times that reiterating them does not do much for us. People who are new to following this election may not have heard these lines yet, but I don't think that's what they crave. People who are tuning in just now to learn about you and Senator McCain are looking for solutions. For answers in a moment of crisis to the panic that they are feeling. They are looking for inspiration.

And I think people who already believe in you are looking for that too.

You were asked at the very end of the debate "What don't you know, and how will you find it out?"

My stomach did a little flip of excitement. Here's what I wanted to hear, what I thought was coming: I anticipated a rousing speech admitting that although you are incredibly well-educated, you are only human. I wanted an eloquent statement of humility. I craved a clear, precise explanation of how no one can possibly really know what it is like to be president before he or she is actually president. No more than reading books, babysitting, taking parenting classes, asking experts, or stocking up on all the "necessary" supplies could fully prepare me for what it would mean to be a mother for the first time can you wholly know what you will encounter if you become president. You began well with the admission that the most work a president does is always on issues he or she couldn't have anticipated...but after that sentence or two, you moved right into something that sounded like a canned closing speech.

I wanted you to inspire me with your honesty, to tell me that you DO NOT have all the answers, and you are okay with that, and we should be too. I wanted you to remind me that you are knowledgeable and qualified but that you will look forward also to relying at key points on those who know more than you, on a range of individuals who are experts on different issues. I wanted to hear you be emotional and engaged about the work involved. I wanted you to answer the second part of the question: "how will you find out?" by showing me that you know when to rely on yourself and when to turn to others. I wanted you to say something that would not try to make me think "There is a man who already knows exactly what to do to fix everything in the next four years," but who would inspire me to feel, "There is a man I can trust to figure out how to lead us to a better future over the next four years."

Americans right now -- whether Republicans, Democrats, Independents, or Undecided -- are being buffeted by fears and uncertainties. We need as our next president someone who can convince us that he is a man in whom we can place our confidence. And to do that, he needs to talk to us not only from a list of talking points, but also from the heart.

At least in answer to one question.

If you can seize the opportunity to present yourself not just as an intelligent man, not just as a man with specific policies, not just as a man of the people (all of which are obviously important), but as a statesman, a man who can inspire people in difficult circumstances to trust that the uncomfortable choices you will undoubtedly have to make will ultimately move us forward, then you will win this race. Then, you will have shown your potential to be a truly great leader.

In my humble opinion,


catnip said...

Maybe you should be a speech writer! Maybe we'll be lucky - one of his handlers will find this and use it in the last debate. :)

McMommy said...

Wow! I agree with catnip, you would make a fantastic speechwriter!

But here's my thoughts on it...had he said he didn't know what it was like to truly be president, I cannot even begin to imagine the field day that the McCain camp would have with that sound bite. And you KNOW they would never play his comments in their entirety...it would just be commerical after commercial with that soundbite of I don't know what it will be like to be president...and some rousing rendition of "McCain..ready to lead on Day ONE!" Blech.

Of course...all INTELLIGENT Americans would probably agree with Obama...IT IS THE TRUTH! How could anyone know how to be president if they've never done it before? But I just shudder to think of what the Republicans would do/say/spin with that remark.

The Roaming Southerner said...

While I am not pro-Obama, I agree with what you said: I thought he had a great opportunity to hit a homerun with that question and was dissapointed that he didn't answer it.

I also agree: U rite Gud. :-)

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I too am not an Obama supporter but must admit I think he did a better job than McCain in the debate last night. I'm still actually sour that my choice for the Republican candidate, Romney, didn't win the nomination especially now. He's the one we need getting us out of the economic mess.

gina said...

Well said. I too, will vote for Obama in November- but as of right now it is only because Hillary didn't make the ticket- I'd love to fall in love with my "choice".

LceeL said...

I tend not to comment on political stuff, but I thought I might say that yes, you should be writing his speeches.

Heather of the EO said...

Yeah, maybe it's true that he shouldn't say out-right that he doesn't know what it would truly be right, he may have that repeated and only that. Over and over.
But there are ways of saying that without saying it bluntly, and still getting the humble answer across. Ways of saying it like you've included in your post :) Like how he'll be depending on the wisdom of others...

So, yes. You should write speeches.

Kim said...

I was disappointed with his answer as well.

While I believe he won the debate and that he is definitely the better choice, I wish he would have answered the questions he was asked and not gone around so many of them.

Great post!

Mrs F with 4 said...

I, too, want to be inspired by the next leader. I feel like Obama is so almost-nearly there. I realise my opinion, being a non-American is quite irrelevant, but the rest of the world *could* be waiting for this too.

Inspirationally realistic? Realistically inspirational?

lattemommy said...

I missed the end of the debate last night (putting the kids to bed), and I'm sorry that I did. I'd have loved to see Obama tackle that question. I, too, would have wished for something more than a canned answer. But, I wouldn't have been surprised at what he gave instead. The Republican camp would have had a field day with any "admission of inexperience" on the part of Obama, and unfortunately 49% of the population has an IQ below average and they swallow everything dished out to them, and they all get to vote too. Democracy in action.

Although they don't give Oscars for speechwriting, perhaps this ia alternative "dream career" choice for you? Eloquence is MommyTime.

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I think YOU hit it out of the ballpark with that keen observation.

I too expected something more. A close that would "seal the deal"...at least to me, as I am still, terribly undecided and completely conflicted when it comes to this election. This is a hard place to be in, especially when people from both sides think it's stupid of me to still be in this place and accuse me of being stupid or blind to not see that whomever they deem the right candidate, should apparently be my clear choice as well.


I do have to say I ardently agree with Chocolate on my Cranium...Romney is the ideal person to LEAD us out of this mess. It's too bad so many people couldn't see past that little thing called being "Mormon." Ideal ticket for me would be Obama/Romney. It would NEVER happen, but I can dream, right?

MommyTime said...

I never thought of being a speech writer, but it does sound like a lot of fun. Do you think Obama will hire me? I'm sure I'm qualified! ;)

I do think, in all honesty, that he could have said these things in a way that would not be excerptable against him. He could have said, "I know that I don't know everything. I don't know what it's like to stand in the Oval Office with the weight of the nation on my shoulders. But I do know who to call to find out. And here's who I would call..." But he could have said it in a way much more rousing to make us see that he is a real leader. He has that fire in him. He had it at points on the campaign trail. He needs it back at this crucial juncture.

foolery said...

So many thoughts. But I think you have grabbed the essence of the problem, of our need. We need to be reassured, and while I think Obama has as reassuring a presence as any politician in the last 50 years, he can't speak freely. None of them can. They're all too worried (probably rightly so) about negative soundbites and spin. They are hobbled by their own system.

Send his campaign a link to this!

-- Laurie @ Foolery

Ree said...

Excellent observation sweetie.

Caffeine Court said...

Great post. I had a really hard time watching the debate because both candidates kept spewing out the same old rehearsed lines we've been hearing for months. I really wanted to hear them DEBATE.

I thought the whole thing was boring and uninspiring.

P.S. I'm not an Obama fan, but I respect those who are.


Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.
Image Hosting by Flickr.