Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tell Your Momma Bout Obama* (Updated Below)

Image via wikipedia

When I read about Barack Obama before his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, I called my family and told them to watch his speech because they would be watching the first black president. And his speech certainly lived up to my billing.

Then he went to the Senate and I was disappointed by all his Senate-speak and voting with LIEberman and the like. Maybe my expectations were just too high, because ever since he started his run for president my earlier admiration has returned. Every speech I have seen has been spot on. He speaks English, not Senate. And he is progressive. I put up with all that religion talk because, well, I put up with it from many people. Being overtly religious just isn't my cup of tea, but as long as you're not attacking me for not sharing your religiosity, I'm OK with it.

Good article in today's New York Times on Obama, actually focusing on substance, not on how he looks or sounds or what his supporters said about another candidate. Meat, not air.

Nicholas Kristof, NYTimes: Obama: Man of the World (TimesSelect wall; also here and here).

[] In some respects, Mr. Obama is far more experienced than other presidential candidates.

His experience as an antipoverty organizer in Chicago, for example, gives him a deep grasp of a crucial 21st-century challenge — poverty in America — that almost all politicians lack. He says that grass-roots experience helps explain why he favors not only government spending programs, like early childhood education, but also cultural initiatives, like efforts to promote responsible fatherhood.

In foreign policy as well, Mr. Obama would bring to the White House an important experience that most other candidates lack: he has actually lived abroad. He spent four years as a child in Indonesia and attended schools in the Indonesian language, which he still speaks.

“I was a little Jakarta street kid,” he said in a wide-ranging interview in his office (excerpts are on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground). He once got in trouble for making faces during Koran study classes in his elementary school, but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics — and more likely to be aware of their nationalism — if he once studied the Koran with them.

*This was a sign at an Obama rally that I watched on Youtube a few weeks and can't locate today. Every time I hear or read something about Barack Obama, it goes through my head.

Update: Found a picture of the sign in the LA Times:

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