Obama shoots the messenger

If Obama thinks that it’s only Edwards who thinks he’s too nice/too soft to tackle the problems in DC, he’s really living in a fantasy world. In any conversations I’ve had about Obama, right after praising his positive attitude, the first thing people mention about him is that he may be too nice. Whether he likes it or not and regardless of what Edwards is saying, this is what people are saying.

“The argument goes that the only way to bring about change is to be angry,” said Obama at an event in a church hall here tonight. He quickly added: “I don’t need lectures about how to bring about change because I have been doing it all my life.”

How does “change” fit with cozying up to anti-gay bigots? I appreciate the fact that Obama has been against the Iraq war from the start. This is commendable and it is one issue that I like a lot about him.

More on the 2008 issues, after the jump.

When I look at the problems that we will face in the coming years, I have my doubts about just how strong he will be with changing our health care system or repairing a badly damaged economy. There is a lot of money at stake with both issues and anyone who thinks these will be resolved with debate team exchanges is nuts. We are looking at some of the wealthiest and most powerful special interests in America. They are the reason why we have these problems today. Who out there thinks they will accept change easily?

Take a look at the campaign contributions and think about how easily these groups will change. Numbers listed are from 1990 until 2008, which is still ongoing.

- Pharmaceutical: $148,514,782
- Insurance: $281,058,830
- Securities and Investments – $529,351,964
- Commercial banks: $191,424,027
- Health Professionals: $384,917,481
- Telephone Utilities: $109,581,401

This is what we know about. One could argue that some of these contributions are fairly even between Democrats and Republicans. True. That is also part of the problem. Both parties rely so much on these funds so there is little incentive to go against the tide as will be required for change. It would be nice to think this would be a tough but fair negotiation with the special interest groups but this strikes me as incredibly naive. My heart says “yes” but my brain says “no way.”

I like the positive attitude that Obama delivers and think we could really benefit from a return to the positives instead of the cynicism of recent years. (Cynicism for good reason, mind you.) Obama’s venture into supporting a bigot in South Carolina didn’t help. His wobbly attempts to respond to criticism and having it both ways hardly inspired confidence. For voters seeking a profile in courage, they may have been disappointed.

After the Bush years, a change in tone is refreshing and might help pull in new voters who would otherwise sit on the sidelines. Ultimately though, with the problems that the next president needs to face, I too wonder if Obama has the force to tackle the special interests. He can shoot the messenger all he likes, but that message is already out there and it did not just come out of thin air. Does he have what it takes for the burning issues of the day?


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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