Is Barack Obama Overrated?

Believe it or not, I did watch some of the 2004 Democratic National Convention on television. Looking back, I remember seeing this smooth, eloquent individual by the name of Barack Obama delivering the keynote address and all I could think was: who is this guy?

It seemed evident that the DNC had chosen their new rising star. However, I wonder if people like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards ever dreamed they’d be facing him in the 2008 primary. After all, Obama was only a state legislator then. He hadn’t even be elected to a statewide office, much less a national one.

So I wonder: “What is so special about Obama?”

As you may have seen from the recent music video “I Got a Crush on Obama,” he’s got a certain degree of sex appeal. He’s smooth, eloquent, and articulate. He’s got a multi-ethnic background, which appeals to wide variety of Americans. He’s got that certain JFK charm. But is that all?

In an effort to delve into the actual substance of Barack Obama, let’s look at his political history. In 1996, he was elected to a Illinois state senate seat in a predominantly Democratic district of South Chicago. That doesn’t seem terribly difficult for a man of his talent, especially in a place where most of the voters are already in his political corner. While he did win re-election by a large margin in 1998 and 2002, he failed to win the 2000 primary against his incumbent opponent in the U.S. House of Representatives. Perhaps the world was not quite ready for him to make that big of a splash on the national scene.

But Obama’s luck took a turn for the better in 2003, when he began seeking the office of U.S. Senator. The seat he wished to fill was vacant, so he didn’t have to run against an incumbent. One of his primary opponents decreased in popularity due to scandal, which allowed him to win the nomination by a substantial margin. Upon winning the nomination, Obama’s somewhat formidable Republican opponent by the name of Jack Ryan (not to be confused with any of the Tom Clancy novels) also had to bow out due to a scandal of his own. Ryan was replaced by Alan Keyes, a last-minute longshot opponent for Obama. As a result, Obama won his 2004 election by a tremendous margin.

With such little opposition along his political path in one of the bluest of states, it’s almost hard to understand why his popularity has spread like wildfire. What does he have to offer besides a charming personality and well-spoken demeanor?

From the outset, I’d say virtually nothing. His political career amounts to a lack of experience when stacked against his even his fellow Democratic candidates. To my knowledge, he has little or no governing experience.

However, his popularity is undeniable. He’s easily the most popular candidate on the Internet thanks to bloggers like myself. By the way, Barack: you’re welcome. His poll numbers speak for themselves. For the Democrats, he’s the guy to beat. Even Hillary Clinton is getting frustrated by him.

But behind the exterior of wild popularity is a candidate with limited substance and a relatively short political career. He’s all bark and no bite. He’s been on a blue-state easy street throughout his time in office. If he’s wise, he won’t resign his Senate seat until the 2008 election is over.

Here’s my prediction concerning the fate of Obama: either he will win the nomination and be defeated in the general election, or he’ll take second place to Hillary in which case he will be her running mate. You can forget Hillary running as his running mate; she’ll never have it.

I think America will see through Barack Hussein Obama, which brings up another thing: his middle name. Americans will be a bit hesitant to elect a candidate with a name like that. I know that’s probably discrimination or just plain paranoia, but it’s true. While it’s unfortunate that they see him that way, a name like that in this day and age makes some Americans uncomfortable. You’d be surprised how people I’ve heard claim that he’s actually a Muslim (even though he’s not). Of course, this has nothing to do with how well he would manage the country. But it certainly does affect whether or not he can gain the support he needs to win the White House.

I see Obama as a faberge, a fancy decorated egg that may have a high value placed on it, but in reality, there’s nothing inside.

9 Responses to Is Barack Obama Overrated?

  1. Sheldon says:

    I agree with your analysis of Barack Obama. I actually think Hillary Clinton is delighted with Obama’s role in the Democratic primaries, for he has taken the wind out of the sails of far more credible opponents of Senator Clinton for the nomination.

  2. mdvp says:

    The real question is : how overrated is Barack obama? I see nothing in him and nothing on the outside either. He might speak well, but in the end, he’s just the same guy as any other Democrat with a surprise or two like being against gay marriage. Definitely not Presidential material. But then again, none of the Democrats are.

  3. John says:

    What is so special about Obama? As a long-term conservative voter I’ve studied this guy to see what all the talk is about,and here is what I found. What is so special about Obama? Let’s see…maybe the fact that he came from a racially mixed and poor background to take the entire US political system by storm-raising more money and attracting more contributors than anyone in history at this stage in a race. Or maybe the fact that he’s the most electrifying and dynamic new public figure since the Kennedy brothers-drawing far bigger and more more responsive crowds than any other candidate in the race. Or maybe because he’s very smart (Harvard law review) very successful (two time best-selling NY Times author),taught constitutional law at U. of Chicago, was a dynamic and respected state legistator in Illinois of 8 years, is a self-made millionaire, husband to a beautiful woman (who also happens to have a Harvard law degree)and father of two really cute kids.. Or that he’s honest, hip, funny, good-looking and has devoted his whole life to community service and improving things for other people.
    Outside of those things, and that he is energizing a whole new generation of Americans to become less cynical and get involved in the political process, I can’t think of much more. But he’s only 45-give him a few more years and he might really do something.

  4. Braden says:

    Good points. But other than the hype, his success story isn’t much more impressive than someone like John McCain (Vietnam POW) or Fred Thompson (son of a car salesman). The good-looking, hip, funny, honest (that’s questionable), electrifying, and dynamic aspects of his personality don’t necessarily define his character or even his political career.

    I’ll say this, he’s got a lot going for him. And honestly, he does have the potential to be the next JFK. But other than being a media darling, I don’t see him having the real substance or experience to be President. At least not yet…

  5. mdvp says:

    So, he can create a lot of hype and he has a nice record and his famiy is just perfect. Which means he’d actually be good for America? There’s no actual substance or weight in the long run to any of what you said. look at his admittedly small record of voting. Look at where he stands on the issues. He’s energetic and youthful and has wide youth support, but since when has that been a factor in deciding who to support? You say you’re a conservative voter. What seems so great to you about getting even more young people involved in liberal politics? Don’t you think that he’s done more harm than good by making the political atmosphere among young people even more one sided?
    Even if cold, hard reality will often cause their secular-progressive utpian dreams to come crashing down, many will hold on to their views.

  6. Braden says:

    MDVP, I’m guessing that comment was not directed at me. I think you make a good point. Although I do think it’s important for younger voters to get involved in the process, I definitely agree that the kind of excitement that Obama is generating is on the left, where it’s easy to generate support from a younger crowd. Not to mention that Obama is strongly opposed to the President, where he can ride that opposition wave that’s reflected in the media.

    It all goes to show that the hype behind Obama has allowed him free press and smooth sailing throughout his entire political career, which my post mentioned. Without any substantial opposition during his career, how do we know if he’s all that good? He’s only lost one election that I know of. The rest has been easy ride. We’ll see how well he does under the national spotlight in this election.

  7. tegis says:

    Thank you for your comment on my blog.
    “A name like that in this day and age makes some Americans uncomfortable. You’d be surprised how people I’ve heard claim that he’s actually a Muslim (even though he’s not).”
    Well, isn’t this only another reason to vote for him then? To stand up against xenophobia is as important as defending other basic values like freedom and democracy. If xenophobia and other forms of hostility is such an everyday occurrence in the American society, then it is really important to battle that. By the way, I really can’t understand how people can be racists in the Americas (everything from Alaska and down to Chile). I mean all of these countries basically exist only because of racial diversity and multi-culture. In the Nordic countries this is not the case and we are not used to that. However, I understand the unpleasant feeling many people get when they think of the possibility to get a “President Obama” leading their country.
    But since you live in this part of the world this is probably something you have to live with. I, on the other hand, don’t.


  8. Braden says:

    I definitely see your point. And it’s certainly not Barack Obama’s fault that his middle name is “Hussein.” But it’s not really racism, per se. America has an interesting dynamic of people. Sometimes the nature of our “melting pot” society causes the various cultures to clash. Having been attacked by Islamic extremists, some Americans are a bit paranoid regarding people with Muslim names. It is unfortunate that some see Obama that way though. The reason I won’t vote for him is because I think he’s wrong on the issues and because he doesn’t have that much experience. I personally don’t care what his name is or what his ethnic background is. Thanks for the comment.

  9. practicalreasoning says:

    I think a Hillary/Obama ticket is definitely in the works. And they’re going to have a lot of money for the general election when the pimaries are done.

    Obama really doesn’t have any legislative record in the Senate yet, but he’s only been there a couple of years. But, man, is he liberal. People are praising him as a “uniter” but they obviously haven’t read his platform. The guy is the next Adlai Stevenson.

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