I like Barak Obama, but I also recognize that a portion of that affection is something of a projection on my part (as I suppose most political affiliation is.)
I think that Barak has the intelligence to recognize the value of bipartisanship. I'm not too moved by "hope" and "change". I'd rather a candidate was expressing the hard choices that we have to make such as John McCain has regarding the Bush administration's war policies or Mike Huckabee when he describes our foreign policy as "arrogant".
Overall, I like intelligence as a prerequisite to elected office. However, academic and author Shelby Steele says that Barak may be unable to nail down what "hope" and "change" really mean. Mr. Steele (author of A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win) suggests that blacks fall in to two bold categories, the bargainers and the challengers.
Bargainers begin with the assumption that whites are okay and have to act in a way that is racist before they apply that label.
Challengers begin with the assumption that all whites are racist, and only after assessing their actions will they remove that label.
With the recent New Hampshire primaries' win for straight-talking John McCain and the teary-eyed passion of Hillary Clinton, honesty and personal transparency are potent magnets for votes. Steel isn't sure that Barak can rise to that occasion. Bargainers as a rule, hide their inner most feelings.
In the opening days of our country, one argument against democracy said that whomever can best stir up the passions of the electorate will earn a position in high office. A passionate electorate is much easier to obtain than an informed electorate. I think there's some truth to this. However the electoral process also makes certain demands of a candidate that may provide some insight into how they'll do when elected.
There's a book about Buddhism called "How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything" I've never read the book, but the title says enough for me. So by extension, how a candidate runs their campaign may offer some insight in to how they will do their job if elected.
Will Barak recognize the need for more specifics than the audacity of the rhetoric of hope? Will the bargainer remove his mask and show us what's underneath? Or will he continue to modulate his voice just enough to best speak to the group before which he's appearing. His Southern black accent (is that Southern Indonesia or Southern Hawaii?) that comes up whenever he's talking about hope and change is clearly reminiscent of Dr. Martin Luther King and quite honestly, it doesn't ring true to me.
It's going to take more than sounding like a beloved leader to become a beloved leader. The electoral process is on-the-job training. Experience is good, being a quick learner is better.
I just hope that Barak can quickly learn to change.