Dr. K’s Blog Endorses Barack Obama For President of the USA

Ideas. Insight. Inspiration.

Dr. K’s Blog Endorses Barack Obama For President of the USA

October 23, 2008 Politics 5

Yesterday, while working on my new book, I stopped to write my opinion of the whole campaign and where I am at with it.  In today’s post, I’ll share with you what I wrote and make an official endorsement.  I don’t expect this to persuade anyone, but I’ve been getting emails asking me about this, and it seems like it is time.  

Patriot, Founding Father, Revolutionary

I love my country, and believe our best days are still ahead of us.  We’ve yet to fully live up to our highest ideal, to be a light unto the nations and a beacon for freedom and dignity, but we have made great strides. The last few laps are the hardest.  So even though we live in a divisive time and in a polarized country, the good news is we seem to be coming together again (I’m going by polling numbers and party defections.) 

 I hope my fellow citizens will make me proud.  I hope our voting system will make me proud (no monkey business this time!) and I hope that our choice for President will restore our reputation in the world and the persuasive power that gives us to effect positive change for humanity. 

I want to thank those of you who interacted with me about this election in a respectful way. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to share an overview of the election, discuss differences around persuasion, and find common ground with our communication. Only one person let his temper get the best of him in his comments, and he’s gone to greener pastures (No doubt this has something to do with the fact that I blocked him from commenting.  His parting shot was to call me ‘intellectually dishonest.’   Thank goodness for free speech. He’s free to speak of it on his blog, and not to on mine.) 

So here’s my endorsement, and why.  

Straight talk:  McCain has run a pathetic campaign, with a strategy that was diametrically opposed to the way he promised to position himself.  His excuse, that Obama wouldn’t engage in Town Halls with him, is just bogus.  The guy we loved in 2000 got derailed by some bad Bush mojo, and John McCain took it on thinking he needed it to win in 2008.  The guy we loved in 2000 moved to the fringes of his party and our country in 2008.  He may have been prepared to lead in the last century.  He clearly doesn’t understand this one. 

And now, what a pickle he is in.  No matter which way he goes, it doesn’t mean enough to count for anything.  All the hollow phrases have already fallen short, though he keeps using them.  Palin is failing by any reasonable benchmark, with all but the most partisan and extreme.  She was never more than a thin veneer over an inadequate resume.  Now they’ve dressed her up,  But pardon the metaphor, because lipstick on a pig doesn’t change the underlying nature of the beast.  

I can see a whole different direction this could have taken.  It’s a very sad ending for a good American, a villainous fall for an American hero.  It’s sad, and he did it to himself.  When leadership was required, he abdicated for petty campaign tricks.  When straight talk was required, he bottled himself up and cut himself off, and gave evasive and nonsensical answers.  He is personally guilty of almost everything for which he’s accused Obama (including associations with unsavory types of the worst sort.)  The doublespeak (Palin saying we don’t know who Obama is, after 14 months of campaigning, when she limits herself to two interview? OMG) the mixed messages, the demonization and character attacks built on the thinnest of foundations.  After 8 years of failed government, America wants something better.  

There were many themes used to try and define this race.  Is Obama all style and no substance?  Is McCain a real maverick or a reformer?  Is Obama a reformer or a radical?  Is this a race about personality or issues? Is McCain too reckless?  Is Obama too prudent?  The debates gave us all a chance to hear for ourselves from the candidates.  Obama won all three debates, not on style, but on substance.  McCain failed to make a case for himself.  And he failed to make a case against Obama.  The only case he made was that he can’t make a case, because he kept undermining every case he made himself.  Even his latest artifice, Joe the Plumber, has failed to hold up as a symbol, because Palin was dressed up to counter the symbol.  His former allies are now jumping ship, and for very good reason.  This is no steady hand at the tiller.  This isn’t the kind of thoughtful person you want in charge when everything is going to hell in a handbasket.  This is not the right  man for our time.  If McCain knows how to capture Bin Laden and solve all our other problems, then he should have run against George Bush 4 years ago. His time has passed.    

I wish John McCain well, I truly do.  But this country needs leadership now more than ever before.  The qualities of leadership that I’ve been looking for include wisdom, because for me, wisdom always trumps experience.  Obama has demonstrated wisdom by knowing when to respond to attacks and when to let them pass.  He has offered a willingness to use diplomacy before going to war.  He has recognized our obligations to future generations.  Leadership requires discipline.  Obama has demonstrated discipline.  Leadershp requires vision and Obama had it when he took on the formidable challenge of running for the highest office in the land. 

2300 years ago, Plato spoke about the virtues of temperance, fortitude, justice and prudence.  I detect these in Obama, not in McCain.

Samuel Adams wrote that “The liberties of our country, the freedomes of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards;  it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.  We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors.  They purchased them with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood.  It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation -enlightened as it is-if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or the be cheated out of them by designing men.”  

John McCain has embraced the the Bush adminstration’s challenges to our constitution.  Obama has challenged the administration.   On this most fundamental item, Obama is right.  McCain is wrong. 

Obama has run a disciplined campaign, he makes sense, he inspires many, and most importantly, he has the intelligence to actually think about the problems we’re faced with and come up with ideas and answers, or find the people who can come up with ideas and answers.  If he runs our country even half as well as he’s run his campaign, we have a bright future ahead.  He’s won my vote. That happened a while back, though I stayed open to persuasion.  Not a single persuasive argument has materialized, only partisan anger and disinformation.  My mind is made up.  I’m voting for Barack Obama. Let’s see what a smart guy can do. 

Here’s a little video from the Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days that I think makes this case in a wonderful way!  


Do you think I got it right?  Or am I missing something?  Who are you voting for and why?  Your reasonable comments are always welcome.

be well,



5 Responses

  1. Here’s a great video that makes the case about the first major mistake of the McCain campaign:


  2. J.D. Meier says:

    Which aspect do you think influences your opinion the most? … Ethos? …Pathos? … Logos?

    > come up with ideas and answers, or find the people who can come up with ideas and answers … Let’s see what a smart guy can do.
    I like the idea of smart people solving problems. What sorts of results did you see or hear that helped you decide that Obama will nail stuff?

    Have you ever found a scenario where your logical conclusion says one thing, and is right, despite what you think about character or your emotional response?

    • Hey J.D.!

      I hope you are enjoying your weekend. it’s 80 degrees here, the leaves are all turning, the roads are golden with them, and it’s a great day to feel alive.

      Which brings me to your comment. Seems you’re asking me, when what I think doesn’t match what I feel, do I go with my gut or my head. And, can’t help but say it, it depends. I’m not big on intuition, though supposedly I am an intuitive guy. And my head gets ahead of me more than occasionally.

      But I have this idea that a moment presents itself in which everything becomes obvious, and that if I’m patient, it will come. Whether it’s writing a book, or taking a vacation (one which I’m doing now, the other I plan to do after!) I don’t push the river. So for me, things either line up or they don’t.

      There are lots of races I’ve been watching, including many happening on my local level. Mentally I have good reasons and bad ones for each candidate, and there’s stuff I love and stuff I don’t care for in any of them. Yet I already voted, and it wasn’t hard to do. It all lined up for me, some mixture of see that it’s best, feel that it’s best.

      That said, I also know that there’s no such thing as a perfect decision, so that’s not what I’m holding out for.

      Now that I’ve vented all that, I have to say that my head lining up with my gut is no guarantee for anything. I’ve been wrong plenty. Just this year I made a costly business decision because I was sold mentally and emotionally. And so it goes. With risk comes reward when you’re lucky. And sometimes the magic works.

      Wishing you a great rest of today, and thanks for the comment, always appreciated!

  3. Cantey Tull says:

    [This post has been moderated]
    I have concerns about Obama’s character and a lack of belief in what he says-not only his ideas but his character. Being in the financial industry, I am concerned that the financial crisis has been made out to be a Republican issue. The problems really began under Jimmy Carter. A huge push came under the Clinton administration. This fact does not seem to be readily brought out in the media. (ACORN has been hugely involved in the push for lending institutions to make loans for people not qualified-Obama has had a long standing relationship with ACORN which is being investigated for voter fraud.) I have a huge concern about Obama’s relationships with unsavory individuals. He has acquired as advisors Franklin Raines, the former head of Fannie Mae, along with one or two others who left under a major dark cloud with millions-and I mean many millions- of dollars while the company was struggling. Under their leadership, Fannie Mae was put in a position to fail. Obama’s judgment seems lacking there. I find it hard to put faith in a person whose long time associations, including a known communist and a racist minister , are so suspect. His judgment seems lacking there. As a small business person, I am afraid of his tax policies which will put many entrepeneurs in a position of difficulty. I don’t believe that giving to the weaker at the expense of the strong will improve the weak long term (give fish to the poor and you feed them for a day; teach them how to fish and you feed them for a life time.). Spreading the wealth helps no one in the long run and will eventually fail. (Take the Soviet Union as an example). The future lies not in taxing but in education, volunteer work, giving personally of time and money to help the less fortunate-but not by government. It is far better to have work done, in my opinion, by businesses and individuals than by government. Big Government is not the answer! I would love to know how much Obama has given personally to assist non profit organizations or has given time to help needy individuals. I also believe that Sarah Palin has more qualifications than for what the media give her credit. I don’t disagree that McCain hasn’t run a strong enough campaign. He doesn’t have the money the Obama does, however. I absolutely believe that Obama is the more charismatic of the two. Unfortunately, charisma isn’t always a good sign of the strength of the individual. Charismatic people can talk people into anything. (take Hitler for instance).

    • Cantey, Thanks for your comment.

      You raise some legitimate issues. I think this should have been a contest between two different platforms about what is best for the country, an honest debate over honest differences. I blogged about that from the beginning. At this point, the campaign is about over, and with 14 months to make the case, for McCain it’s a case, in my opinion, of too little too late.

      I’ll give you that the money advantage went to the Republicans in the last two elections and they did win. But I don’t believe that McCain’s problem was a lack of money (they had plenty, just not as much.. we do live in a time of limited resources, and a smart campaign would have been able to maximize the resources available.)

      I think the real problem was a lack of discipline and focus in the McCain campaign, and profound inconsistency in an ongoing series of really dumb choices.

      Instead of running FOR President, McCain chose to run against Obama by throwing every little thing he could at him. That’s just not persuasive. It’s a form of venting frustration. A smart politician knows how to handle these kinds of attacks and turn them into an advantage, and that’s just what Obama did. I give credit where credit is due. Obama handled himself throughout all this with aplomb.

      Obama aimed at America’s highest ideals, McCain aimed at American’s prejudices and fears. Obama was cool and reasoned. McCain was angry and unsteady. Obama outlined what he would do. McCain was all over the map.

      We live in a media age, and persuasion counts more than ever. Anger and frustration polarize rather than unite, divide rather than bring together. The consequences of McCain and his supporters continuing to make that choice are that McCain has lost the support of a lot of good and reasonable people. Throwing out bad words and angry opinions causes good people to look away, once the initial stimulation has passed (people slow down for traffic accidents, but then they keep going like they never happened)

      I think the mixed messages and double standards of McCain’s campaign undid him, just as they undid Hillary. I also think the character assassination approach to politics (emphasizing Hussein …lots of Americans have dorky middle names; throwing around words like communist and Hitler, veiled racial and racist references, etc.) that worked twice for the Republicans in the previous elections failed this time because the policies of our current administration have had such disastrous consequences for our nation and the world. For many of us, Bush as the ‘decider in chief’ operating in secrecy outside of the constitution and too often against the will of the people has produced a long national nightmare, and most everyone I talk with these days wants to wake up from it. McCain did not offer a meaningful alternative. More bluster, more anger, more of the same.

      Regarding the economy and wealth, you and I could find much common ground. But all that is beside the main point of this election. America’s problems have multiplied. Bush and Cheney have lost the confidence of the people. Change is in the air. Obama made the case that he represents that change. McCain failed to make the case.

      The purpose of this blog is persuasion. The main purpose of a political campaign is persuasion. I think the lessons available to my students and readers about persuasion are too many to count. But the main lesson is, some things work, and some things don’t. If you’re not sure which is which, just look at the results of the campaigns. Two different approaches, and a stark contrast.

      This blog’s purpose is to explore the issues of communication, influence and the art of persuasion. I hope to keep that aspect of it going long after this campaign is behind us.

      best wishes,

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