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Monday, June 09, 2008

Barack & Hillary?

It would seem that Barack Obama is on an unstoppable march to the White House. There are so many questions though. I read in the New York Times this weekend that some are asking him to define what change means. He says he's for change. He says Americans are ready for change. (Most of us probably agreed on that too!) But what is the definition of change?

And what of change that's not so good? After all, some other notable characters in history were "for change." They did awful things and ended up representing some of the lowest points in humanity. Shouldn't we be a bit more intentional about defining what we mean by change? I think the New York Times writer had a good point. Mr. Obama, did you catch that point?

I still have other questions for Barack too. How is it that you're America's first black presidential nominee? You are as much Caucasian and you are African. So how is it that you're black? Another question is about that nasty old pastor of yours. How could you sit in that church for 20 years and not take a stand against what was being said that was wrong? What was being said was definitely racist. It was hate-mongering. Did it not occur to you to take a stand against it? Simply resigning from your church when it becomes a political hot potato doesn't really make you a leader, Mr. Obama. Great leaders don't just stand for what's right. They also have to stand against what's wrong. Will you do that for our country, Mr. Obama - when you wouldn't do it for your church?

And now there is the debate about a Barack & Hillary ticket for the Democrats. Would Hillary be electable? Would she enhance Barack's chances of winning? Would they make a good team in the White House? Have we ever seen Vice President's wield much power or influence? In recent years, I don't think we did until Dick Cheney came along. He has wielded much power because we had a lame duck president who didn't know what to do. Dick was like the Oz behind the curtain, pulling the strings and making the noise. George Bush has been like the hood ornament on the car, while Dick ran the country. Is that how a Barack & Hillary team would function?

I don't know if Hillary Clinton would be a good VP. I suspect she would though. She is a determined fighter, she takes a stand for what's right, and stands against what she thinks is wrong. Nobody likes her, but then I'm not sure popularity is really necessary for good leadership in this country. You can't please everybody.

Barack Obama named a three-person team to help him decide who to pick as a running mate. I found his choices a bit odd.

Carolyn Schlossberg Kennedy. She has no experience in politics, hasn't been influential or demonstrated any particular wisdom. Her claim to fame has been as John Kennedy's daughter, Jackie Onasis' daughter, John Kennedy Jr.'s sister, Ted Kennedy's niece, Ed Schlossberg's wife. Has she done anything herself to qualify her to help pick the spot for second most powerful person on earth?

Jim Johnson, former CEO of Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage securitization conduit. He soaked the shareholders for millions of dollars. His colleagues let the company nearly go down in flames. He demonstrated neither a strong leadership gift or a particular savvy for business. He is retired and has been living off the millions he made from being Fannie Mae's former CEO. Has he done anything himself to help him qualify to help pick the spot for second most powerful person on earth?

So who should Barack have chosen? Quite frankly, I'd like to know what Barack Obama thinks about Hillary Clinton. What qualities does he want in a Vice President? What gifts and skills does he think will be important to the success of the position? What temperament does he believe will best position the VP to help him lead this country's strong change agenda?

Finally, of Hillary, I would ask how she can lay aside her view that Barack is inexperienced, unqualified and unelectable? Isn't that a compromise of your integrity, Mrs. Clinton? If you believed you are the best person to run this country, then how could you be loyal and supportive to the person who actually does? Wouldn't you be better positioned as a Senator, to hold Barack accountable? Wouldn't that better enable you to function as a check against his balance? Quite candidly, Mrs. Clinton, me thinks that maybe you should stick to your convictions about who Barack Obama is - and not waffle to get the second place prize out of this thing. If you believe he is unqualified, then let the voters elect him - but don't stand beside him and champion his cause.

I understand that the Clintons are democrats and that the Democratic party is important to them. But is it more important than right and wrong? Is being a democrat more important than moral principle? Perhaps, Mrs. Clinton, you should be answering some questions as well.

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