Who I Voted For And Why
Okay, I realize that's not what you were curious about. But I'm at least half-proud of the fact that Christy and I took the time to do a little research and vote on stuff like Public Service Commission and state ballot initiatives that will likely have a more direct effect on our lives than whether the next President is named Barack or John or (in somebody's fantasy world - not mine) Bob. But if you're curious why Bubba's a terrible candidate for Georgia's PSC, click here. When the outgoing Republican endorses the Democrat to win her former seat, you know something's seriously wrong with Bubba the Republican. (Note: Bubba the Republican is no relation to Joe the Plumber...that I know of.)
Anyways, on to what you were really thinking.
No surprise here: I voted Obama.
The main reason is, of course, that I'm a liberal. When the Wall Street Journal warned of the Coming Leftist Supermajority (see some blog copying the article here), I laughed at how they warned of such horrors as expanded union membership, a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions and - the horror! the horror! - a voting representative in Congress for the District of Columbia. That's EXACTLY the kind of thing I'm voting for! I'm also voting for a government that's more likely to look out for the interests of the poor than the super-rich. And I'm voting for a foreign policy that is focused more on diplomacy than bombing away our problems. (I think the articles Jacob's been pointing to painting Obama as a warmonger of a different political stripe have been way off base - taking a few statements and policy positions out of context and missing the overall tenor of the kind of foreign policy Obama proposes.)
Among my friends in the blogosphere, I've seen a lot of skepticism about Obama. Matt Novak, while saying he will vote for Obama, seems to be holding his nose while doing so even more than he did for his 2 Bush votes. He sees Obama as a party yes-man, except when he's not liberal enough. Jacob Grier fears the rise of dictatorship - a popular, charismatic President who will grab more power for the federal government. He actually longs for the days of bitter partisan rancor under the Bush administration because it means the federal government isn't doing anything. (In case you can't tell, Jacob and I have very different philosophies of the proper role of government and of....well, just about everything else.)
As for me - I've never been part of the Cult of Obama. I never thought he was going to save American politics from itself, usher in racial harmony (though it's still momentous to have our first non-White Male president and that's worth noting, if not a reason for voting for him), and bring about world peace. I'm disappointed that he broke his promise about only accepting public financing. I'm deeply disturbed by his vote to gut FISA. And, obviously (if you know me), I'm highly conflicted about voting for a person who believes it's a matter of personal opinion whether murdering an unborn child is okay.
So - aside from general political philosophy - why vote for the guy? Because, in his answers to questions, in the way he has run his campaign, and in many of the policy proposals he has made, he has displayed the kind of temprement I want in our next president - disciplined, thoughtful, deliberate. I do NOT want another President who shoots from the hip or speaks from the gut or whatever other mid-level body part metaphor you want to employ. Obama's tightly disciplined campaign shows me that he has a measure of self-control John McCain (and before him George W. Bush) lacks. When he answers questions about issues like abortion, his answers sound like he's really thought through these issues...why he believes the way he does....what common ground can be found with those who disagree with him. It looks to me like Obama's the type who doesn't like reacting instantaneously to situations, but likes to step back and assess them and then make a deliberate choice. Sometimes, there's not time to do that and I'm not sure how he'd handle that. But usually, it's better to choose your words carefully, to think through what you're going to do and why, and only decide after giving it careful and thorough thought.
Maybe I'm reading the tea leaves too much. Maybe I'm projecting the kind of lawyer I strive to be onto the kind of President I want Obama to be. But I don't think so.
One left wing writer - I think it was on Slate - accused Obama of running a campaign of "Cunning, Calculation, and Compromise." He meant it as an insult. Actually, that's exactly what I want in my next President.
[Oh yeah, and he also had me when he cited Reinhold Niebuhr, one of my favorite theologians. And he cited him for one of my favorite insights. See the Wikipedia article.]
[I note how little I mentioned John McCain in this post. I'll say this for him: I'm scared about what he'll do in foreign policy, but - recent campaign antics aside - I generally respect the man and think he wouldn't make a terrible president. In other words, I won't weep and shudder in fear should our next President be named John.]