html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: My early endorsement.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My early endorsement.

This, incidentally, is why I'm for Obama. I think he's the only electable candidate who has done peacework and I think peacework is most radical, and only workable, option to undo what Bush has done. The stuff he says that sounds conventionally crazy ('Of course I'll talk to any world leader who wants to talk to me' and 'I'm not interested in punishment') is straight from conflict resolution practices. Well settled, not even controversial, in conflict resolution circles. That and climate change are my two top concerns, and he nails them both.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to hear how conflict resolution between states and between people is similar and different. People die, states do not. Both grow. I'm sure there are even grander deviations. The choice of a peacemaker above all is interesting though (didn't Japan try this... Abe?) With all that you hear about the otherwise unimportance of the Presidency, maybe you're right.


8:45 PM  
Blogger John said...

I became a supporter of Obama after reading his "The Audacity of Hope."

Obama represents the same generational shift that saw John F. Kennedy elected. And not being a member of the baby-boom generation allows him to leave behind a lot of the baggage older candidates must carry with them.

People complain that Obama lacks experience. But what America lacks today is NOT experience -- just look at the resume of Dick Cheney -- but a vision for a future that includes more than just tax cuts for the rich and war for the rest.

The important test for any candidate for high office is the question of values: What do they value? I like Obama's values.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

I have an interest in Obama as the Dem, I still haven't seen what'll shake out of the gop. Since I'm an indy I get to choose who I think will make the work happen. That is my concern with Obama. Does he have the ability to herd the cats? If you can't figure a way to work with congress, they make your life miserable. Right now I have no faith in them at all, since they seem only interested in pork and greed, and they were supposed to be the very model of a modern congress this time. They are acting like cats of no principle.
On the foreign policy front, I think an Obama would benefit from the position we are at right now with the current administration. Because the stock is so low in the world, whoever can come out with coherent strong positions will have some power on their side, because it will be different. As long as he and everybody else remember that once seated behind that oval office desk? Sometimes your choices are bad, or worse, and no outcome will be good, just less bad. Whoever wins is likely to have to deal with Iran with nukes, and I can't really think of a worse no-win than that. Seems like the last time we had a no experience outsider was the last time we tangled with Iran, and that didn't work out so well.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that O will be able to "herd the cats" so to speak. I also think the change he will bring will only create more change -- in the general election in 08 if he's the Dem candidate, and again in 10 when more seats are open. It will pave the way for more people like him, and for an ouster of some of the stodgy - though experienced - incumbents. And I think we the people are ready to clean house a little bit, and I hope we recognize that the rest of the world is clamoring for us to regain our place as a positive leader. I sincerely believe that they need us. No other nation is rising to the task the way we have in the past. No other nation has the sort of hope and optimism that the America I believe in used to bring to the table.

9:39 AM  
Blogger caveatBettor said...

I get cards from Barack and Michelle, frequently, as I heard his 2004 convention speech, and was inspired by how unifying he was. I did some research and saw that he understood (to some degree) the value of free trade to distribute wealth and reduce poverty (vs. a government run scheme, which distributes poverty and reduces wealth). So I guess my donation to his Senate campaign keeps me on their list.

But his run for POTUS has exposed some of his lightness on foreign policy.

To me, freedom is always the most important thing. It should not be sacrificed for some type of coercion which promises that the ends justify the slavery. That doesn't seem like one of Barack's priorities.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious about conflict resolution circles, about which I know nothing.

Are the conflict resolution practices you speak of universal, or do they change when the conflict resolver has a vested interest? Do the practices differ in conflicts that are likely to be repeated, relative to one-time conflicts?

Could be interesting stuff.


11:18 AM  
Blogger caveatBettor said...

The conflict resolution that escapes me with Obama is how he can be:

1) pro-environment

2) a chain-smoker

11:52 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

You can have beliefs and not live up to them and keep trying in the face of your own weaknesses. That doesn't make you a hypocrite and disqualify your beliefs. It just makes you normal.

The interesting point is what beliefs you choose to try for and how you try and how you fail and how you try again.

1:36 PM  
Blogger caveatBettor said...

Good points, all. I hope your candidate wins his party's nomination.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous lw said...

He may well be the best of the three, certainly better than HRC, but's analysis of the 2005 energy bill suggests that he's unwilling to stand against ethanol subsidies.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Edwards and Richardson have been much more forthright and shown more leadership about the need to end the war in Iraq than Obama has. For a while Obama was helping demonize Iran by pushing a bill encouraging people to divest in the country.

I was disappointed that Obama ran. He's not ready, he veers wildly around on foreign policy and has shown reluctance to challenge conventional wisdom there. The run feels ego-driven to me. He sucked up the oxygen needed for an alternative to Hilary to emerge. I think he basically doomed Edwards candidacy, and Edwards might be the only chance to beat Hilary unless Gore enters.

Sorry to be a touch mean, but I was disappointed in him.

2:32 PM  
Blogger matt said...

I like Obama, but like others, don't think he has the foreign policy respect he'll need.

A little more out there, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on Mike Gravel, if only to address some of his environmental positions.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor said...


I like Hillary. I like Obama, too, but he seems too green to me and too fuzzy on details. What I want from our next presidency, above everything else, is COMPETENCE. And I think Hillary has it more than any other candidate.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Glad you're here, Eleanor.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Kwindla said...

To throw my hat in the ring: I value policy and position specifics. This is a personal weakness, and one few professional democrats share these days.

John Edwards has, for his entire career in politics, put forward detailed and well articulated policy positions. In this regard, at least, he is head and shoulders above the other democratic candidates.

Broadly speaking, I tend to agree with his policy positions. And I certainly believe that being willing to actually publish position papers counts as political bravery in these times. This backbone at least partially balances out his war vote for me, and his willingness (like all of the other candidates) to trim on gay marriage.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting piece in the NYT about drought in SE USA.

This very same factor in Australia has had a huge impact on public opinion re the dangers of global warming. Humans are hard wired to consider short term phenomena, and local impacts. And the Australian drought may not be a short term phenomenon, but with the largest river system in the country running at 10% of its normal level during the worst drought ever recorded, there surely is a 'local impact'.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I always find American puritanism fascinating.

The environment is about other people and what we do to them, largely.

Chain smoking is about what we do to ourselves largely (tobacco is a stripper crop, but conversely some of the poorest places on Earth are significant tobacco exporters).

(there's a debate about secondary smoking, but I think we can safely assume the Obama kids aren't heavily exposed to their dad's secondary smoke)

There isn't really a moral connection between a self-harming act, and a moral stance on not harming/ reducing harm to others.

Maybe we should ask why Obama can be a devout Christian (which he is) given that his middle name is Hussein?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Obama is 45, right? born 4th August 1961 according to google.

The Baby Boom ended in 1964. He is a Boomer.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous DaveW said...

Can Obama work with Congress? Well, according to hilzoy's article from last year, as a freshman Senator, he piled up quite a record of working quietly with Senators from both sides of the aisle to get a bunch of wonky but important legislation passed. I'd say that bodes well for his ability to work with Congress in the future.

3:55 PM  

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