Monday, January 07, 2008

I endorse Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani

. . . Barack Obama on the Democrat side, Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side.

That's where I stand on January 7, 2008, without having paid serious attention yet to the Presidential race.

I like that Obama is black, and better, multicultural and cosmopolitan, relatively young, which is to say, he's post-Baby Boom, Civil Rights campaign and Vietnam War, and a pragmatic progressive idealist. Obama is inexperienced, but he has the right stuff to rise quickly and well to the challenge. It doesn't hurt at all that he's a fellow Columbian. I also believe, despite the boilerplate (and infuriating) anti-war rhetoric - required of all Democrats - he espouses, that Obama would not do anything rash and irresponsible about Iraq, such as precipitous withdrawal. Obama's mantra is the Kennedy-esque, "Let's go change the world". Does that sound like someone who would so seriously undermine America's power to effect change and abdicate our nation's leadership and moral responsibilities by surrendering in Iraq? Like me, Obama has a desire to use American primacy and power to make a progressive difference in the world, which cannot work by subordinating American will to other nations. In that way, he's not unlike the post-9/11 liberal-convert George Bush. We are in the midst of a generational challenge, a multi-faceted global revolution and competition, and I believe Obama has a clearer perspective without the deficiencies and historical baggage of the Baby Boomer generation. He's not trapped in the Cold War. Once Obama is actually in position to decide Operation Iraqi Freedom, he's not going to pull us out of Iraq, or the Long War, in a manner that would cause harm to his greater idealistic mandate. He wants to change the world for the better as President, and retreat and surrender in Iraq by his orders would collapse his goals from the outset. No matter the controversial start to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the stakes in Iraq now are world-changing. Once we are clear of the baggage of President Bush, who did what needed to be done, if not always done well, the next President will be able to clarify those stakes. A charismatic and articulate progressive liberal like Obama, as opposed to the frustratingly inarticulate liberal-convert Bush, will have the opportunity to highlight the progressive nature of our Iraq mission for the American and global audiences as well as warn of the long-term harm to the liberal world order that would result from our failure there.

My support for Giuliani is as a New Yorker who remembers New York City before Giuliani's mayorship and the New York City that blossomed under his leadership. Rudy Giuliani was exceptional, visionary, savvy, principled, and tough as mayor of New York. He led a revolution for the better in this city. What he did for New York is what we need for the country. Simply, I trust him to be a competent, effective President. I just doubt that someone as uncharismatic as Giuliani can win the Presidency.




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