You bet. Obama delivers a speech as few are able. He's handsome. His wife is lovely; his children could not be more adorable. The candidate is clearly quite intelligent - and, don't forget; bright, clean and articulate. (Sorry; I couldn't help it.) Seriously, though; Obama is an attractive candidate in many respects.
For some of us, however, Obama has one glaring disability. His vision of government, his opinions as to where our country should head - and how - are not the vision we share.
Senator Obama tries to couch what he would do as President in a gauze of misty, rah-rah middle American apple pie. When your fork works its way under the crust, however, what you see on the surface is not what you get.
He is proposing a steeper tax increase than any recent candidate, yet he is selling it as a net tax cut. He justifies this by asserting that his eight "refundable" tax credit proposals for people who pay no income tax are "tax cuts." But such tax credits are really a government cash transfer from one taxpayer to a nontaxpayer. Mr. Obama is disguising the kind of pure income distribution that Mr. McGovern failed to sell as a $1,000 "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's packaging is post-ideological but his package is from the Great Society.
In this and in other policy areas, Mr. Obama is different from Bill Clinton and the New Democrats of 1992 and 1996. Mr. Clinton made real concessions to conservative policy goals -- welfare reform, a balanced budget -- in the hope that this would give him the political running room to pursue other liberal goals. Mr. Obama's concessions are nearly all rhetorical, a nod that Ronald Reagan had some good ideas or that the free market does some things well. But his policy instincts and political program always seem to turn left. He has shown he can tack right when he is politically forced to, as on wiretapping of al Qaeda abroad, but he has done so only after his liberal options have turned into dead ends.
This will also be a Commander in Chief election amid a war on terror, and Mr. Obama's national security profile is especially indistinct. He has made much of his 2002 opposition to the Iraq war, though he took that stand from the political safety of the Illinois legislature. In his time as a Presidential candidate, the most consequential security debate concerned President Bush's 2007 Iraq surge. Mr. Obama opposed it, and we now know the U.S. would have been defeated in Iraq without it. Voters will have to decide if they believe that his capacity to learn on the job will trump his instinct that negotiations can tame almost any enemy.
Am I glad that our nation is finally capable of nominating a black candidate? Absolutely. Am I happy that we have an intelligent and capable candidate who isn't weighted down with the ethical and power-hungry burdens of a Hillary Clinton? Yep.
John McCain has viewpoints and opinions that run counter to mine - and, more than just a couple fall into this category. Nevertheless, overall, his political philosophy approaches that of my own far more than that of Senator Obama.
So. Tonight I watched the spectacle, was charmed by Obama's family, and appreciated a master speaker perform admirably. But, no matter how bright his star shined tonight - it still was worlds away from what I think will better serve our nation.