Barack Obama already proven to be best candidate |

Barack Obama already proven to be best candidate

Enough already. I’m tired of hearing Hillary Clinton and John McCain supporters tout their candidates’ “experience,” implying that Barack Obama will be an ineffectual force in Congress and unable to deal with tough decisions in world affairs. The issue is a specious one, for several reasons.

First: Yes, McCain and Clinton have somewhat more congressional experience. Their foreign policy experience, alas, has been in pushing through an ill-conceived and tragically destructive agenda in Iraq, based on politics and largely deceptive evidence. John McCain, alarmingly, often seems confused about the major players in Iraq, confusing Al Qaida/Sunnis/Shiites, and declaring erroneously that Muqtada al-Sadr had declared a cease-fire (rather than merely agreeing to it).

Experience does not seem to correlate with competence, in McCain’s case.

Obama, by contrast, has shown a clear understanding of the situation in the Middle East from the war’s inception in 2003, when he argued that, rather than over-extending our troops in Iraq for questionable reasons, we should concentrate on Afghanistan, then the last real stronghold of a relatively weak al-Qaida.

Had Obama been making foreign policy decisions in 2003, al-Qaida would now be an impotent vestige of what it was, rather than the huge force for fanatical Islam it has become, swelled by anti-American sentiment. Osama bin Laden himself could not have conceived a more effective recruitment tool than the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Second: Obama, contrary to what his opponents imply, is no babe in the political woods. He won election as senator in Illinois through a combination of charisma and political hardball. In addition to being a skilled communicator who thinks on his feet and talks in real ideas rather than canned rhetoric, he has successfully navigated much of the political landscape already.

How else could he have gone from his humble beginnings as a child of a single mother in Hawaii to president of the Harvard Law Review, and Illinois senator, and now presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency? To suggest that he lacks the ability to get things done is just, well, silly.

Third: Since when has the ability to communicate become a presidential skill with little value? Lovers of Ronald Reagan regularly called him “The Great Communicator.” Bill Clinton, likewise, was skilled at bridging ideological gaps. Whatever one thinks of the politics of these two presidents, you cannot deny that their communication skills enabled them to accomplish far-reaching changes during their tenure.

Fourth: Obama will be working with a Democratic majority in Congress, and with an emphatic public mandate for change from patterns of the past eight years. “Getting things done,” a concern cited by some supporters of more “experienced” opponents Clinton and McCain, will not be an issue.

Obama’s qualities – his understanding of the nuances of world cultures, his grasp of history and ability to make intelligent decisions based on this knowledge, his record of bringing together people from diverse ideologies – along with support from Congress will render him the most effective president in recent memory.

In short, when that red phone rings, I’d like the person who answers it to be informed, discerning, calm, and a good communicator. No amount of time spent in Congress guarantees these qualities. Obama, on the other hand, has already demonstrated them.

Diane Miessler lives in Nevada City.

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