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10 February 2008


This is pretty amazing. Click through and watch it. Now! Really, I’ll wait. And you don’t want to miss it.

As I have mentioned before, my feelings about how we should hire a president don’t exactly match those of the rest of the country. To summarize: we should think of the election as hiring the president, and we should hire him or her on the basis of his ability to lead, not based on the issues he believes in. The president’s job isn’t (supposed to be) to set policy – it’s to execute it. As such, I want to vote for the candidate who will be the best leader, regardless of what their policy opinions are.

That makes my decision very difficult, because the campaigns focus mostly on issues, so it’s very hard for me to tell who the best leader is. This song may have introduced me to a side of Obama that shows the leadership. I’m going to have to chase it down.

A relevant side note: I’ve tried a number of those “which candidate should I vote for?” tools, and each one as focused on how well my beliefs match up to the candidates. They make me sad, for two reasons. First, they’re a sign that we’re doomed to always elect a president for the wrong reasons, which makes it a toss of the coin whether they’ll actually be a good leader. Second, when I use those tools, the strongest match is usually around 45%. So even if I wanted to vote by the issues, I’d have nobody to vote for.

I thought it was obvious in the last election that Kerry could be a good leader, and Bush could not. We elected Bush anyway, which is what made me realize how badly-skewed our presidential elections really are. I like to think that I’ve been proven right about Bush over the last four years, so maybe all of you who voted for him last time can take a long hard look at why you made that mistake, and try to learn from it? All the signs were there during the election season, so please don’t think that you couldn’t have figured it out.

And by the way, I’m probably slightly more a republican than a democrat, so I’m not necessarily urging you to vote for a democrat. I’m urging you to vote for the best leader, whomever that may be. If they’re a democrat, that scares me somewhat, because they’ll probably try to restrict my gun rights. But if they’re the better leader, I’d still prefer to have them in office.

Updated: Matt sent me a link to a (40-minute) speech by Obama about politics and religion. It is a strong clue that Obama is a reasoning, thoughtful leader. I am starting to have hope :)

  1. Matt says:

    I’ve read/heard/talked-to-you-about your opinion before about electing people with the ability to lead, not people who agree with you personally on the issues. My problem with this is, of course, that folks like Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Charles Manson were all powerful and effective leaders. It’s not enough to be a great leader of people – you have to lead people in the right direction. What direction should we go? That, my friend, is the issue. And that is why I personally will continue to look at the issues I care about to help me measure the value system of a candidate. How they have dealt with things in the past will be a good indicator of how they might deal with situations in the future.

    One of the things I’m most interested in is hearing about when a candidate is open to opposing viewpoint. Or, when a candidate has swallowed their pride and changed their mind and admitted they were wrong – not to pander to their party or compromise or waffle with the political winds – but as part of an earnest self-evaluation and heart change? But, ultimately, I’m as much an issues voter as any other factor, because that in its very essence is what a Representative Republic exists to do – reflect the will of its people.

    Disclaimer – this was not a comment about Obama, democrats, or any specific candidate – just a simple comment about the fundamental disagreement that we have about issues versus leadership.

  2. Nathan Arthur says:

    I agree that the leader will set a direction, and I care what that direction will be. The issues do matter to me, and I may change my vote based on a few key issues. But such a thing would be rare, especially if I thought the best candidate was willing to compromise when needed.

    But I don’t think the examples you gave (Stalin, etc.) apply here. Each example is from a system without the same separation of powers and checks and balances that we have. Within our system, it is the president’s job to lead, congress’s job to legislate (based on their beliefs about the issues), and the court’s job to arbitrate disagreements and edge-cases in the interpretation of the law. In that system, the role of the president’s personal beliefs should take second stage to their ability to lead.

  3. Beth says:

    you’ll possibly find this amusing. I did. Listen to the Obama audio but cover it up and watch the Bob video.

  4. joblo says:

    .bq And by the way, I’m probably slightly more a republican than a democrat, so I’m not necessarily urging you to vote for a democrat.

    BS your just another Democrat who is a stranger to the truth.

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