Saturday, March 29, 2008

All Talk?

There seems to be a growing opinion that Barack Obama is all talk and no more. As a longtime community organizer, a Harvard Law School graduate, the former editor of the Harvard Law Review, a state senator, and a US Senator, one would think most people would recognize the likelihood that there is some substance behind the speeches.

However, if that is not sufficient to convince you, I offer you this.

There are some minor differences, but in general, Hillary and Barack are fairly close on policy issues. They are both smart, driven, committed to their cause, and solid, if not splendid, representatives of their party’s philosophical ideal. As has every political candidate in history, both offer a plethora of ideas, suggestions, platforms, policy suggestions, and recommendations on where they’d like to take the country. But let’s be realistic. Governance in this country is not about recommendations in the end. It is not about saying you will get things done. It is not about making promises that we all know will have to go through a long process of vetting and compromise before becoming reality.

The ideas are out there and, honestly, being President is not all that hard. There are a number of tough decisions and the current President has mostly made the wrong ones. Both Hillary and Barack will both make the right decisions with far more regularity. So if their decisionmaking capabilities and policy positions are about the same, how do we decide?We decide based on this: the reality in this country is that relationships, compromise, and the ability to work with others, build consensus, and bring people along with you are by far the biggest indicators of political – and Presidential -- success. This is where Obama excels and how he differentiates himself from Hillary and most other people on earth.

And why, in the end, he’ll be a more successful president, regardless of what he says, or doesn’t say, now.