Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Obama Challenge

This is a line from a blog post by MJ Rosenberg:
Staking out some new territory here will make Obama look like the leader I think he is.
I tend to prefer a President who knows how to get things accomplished. I generally prefer to see a demonstrated leadership ability or else some specific ideas, or a framework in which I can judge their decision process. I've yet to see that from Obama. I've gone through his legislative record during his Illinois tenure and was less than impressed.

So here's my Obama challenge. Can you name something specific that clearly demonstrates Obama's leadership and ability to get done? For the people in my top five list of candidates, I can name things off the top of my head which are pretty specific. I just can't find anything even comparable with Obama. Before I consider him as a serious presidential candidate, I'd like to know why I should vote for him. I just don't see him as being better than my other top contenders.


At December 21, 2006 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can name a few

he's supported guestworker program to give a path to citizenship for illegal aliens

he's supported the DREAM act to give in-state tuition to illegal aliens

he's supported raising H-1b visa level

so actually, you DO have a framework in which to judge his decisionmaking, with regard to the base of the consituency he already has in Illinois

basically, he's stabbed them in the back

At December 21, 2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

First of all, I'm not intending to bash Obama. He's smart and charismatic and would likely be a good leader. But I just don't think he compares to others favorably in the Democratic pool.

Secondly, there's actually plenty of research that shows immigration does not harm very many Americans. There is a nominal effect on non high school graduates, but that is nominal at most. Immigration, has a net positive for everyone else. With the economic benefits from immigration, the country could easily put money into things like health care and child care which would more than offset the almost negligible loss to non high school graduates.

Immigration foes are either ignorant of the facts or just plain xenophobic. I'm definitely not the latter and the facts indicate immigration is not a bad thing.

I think your essentially as wrong as a person can be, but I still think that even that doesn't provide an example of leadership. I can support a lot of things, but that doesn't make me a leader.

At December 21, 2006 10:23 AM, Anonymous Subodh said...

Gilbert, if you haven't already, please read Obama's "Dreams from my Father" and "Authenticity of Hope." Reading the former first helps you understand the human being before you get to his political thinking.

Just because Obama doesn't have a lifetime of having been a political hack doesn't mean he lacks vision and ability. (And he was as accomplished as you could expect in working across the aisle on major issues in the Illinois House considering he was in the minority.)

Obama would bring life experiences to the presidency that no other candidate could possibly touch. The ability to understand history--where we have been, where we are going, and where we could go to avert disaster and maintain our greatness--along with the ability to inspire a committed majority of us to the better course are all what sort out greatness from mediocrity in the presidency.

While I would ordinarily agree that top-notch executive experience and accomplishment set the stage, the quality of Obama's reflections and writings suggest that he has those qualities. And he would have the ability to attract like-minded people to the federal government to administer policies that take us in the right direction.

Hope all is well in Stanford Democrats land.

Subodh Chandra
(Chair, Stanford Democrats, 1986-89)
Cleveland, Ohio

At December 21, 2006 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Immigration foes are either ignorant of the facts or just plain xenophobic"

if there's something there beyond namecalling, I missed it.

H-1b destroyed American tech workers, by making indentured servitude the standard of labor in tech

Illegal immigration hurt his own Chicago blacks by driving down their wages

And the in state tuition for illegal aliens makes the taxpayer liable for benefits to people who arent even citizens - all tuition breaks should go to OUR OWN first

At December 21, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

Illegal immigration hurt his own Chicago blacks by driving down their wages

Can you show proof of this? This meme is always trumped as if it were true. In fact it is not. As I mentioned, there is only a nominal effect on non high school graduates for immigration--legal or otherwise. And even that effect is minimal and can easily be offset.

At December 21, 2006 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Illegal immigration hurt his own Chicago blacks by driving down their wages

Can you show proof of this? This meme is always trumped as if it were true."

it's not a 'meme', it's Econ 101 - more supply, lower price - doesnt matter what it is: corn, beans, gasoline, workers, you name it

more supply, lower price

even milton friedman said that H-1b is a corporate subsidy from the citizen to corporations, for that exact reason

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