Saturday, September 06, 2008

My Impression Of The Presidential Candidates

"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." - P.J. O'Rourke

After watching the two major party conventions, I was hoping to get more details on the candidates platforms and specifics on proposed programs. However, it seemed very little time was devoted to sharing and discussing the platforms, with most of the focus on image and inspiration. So I am still left with mostly impressions on the candidates, based on their performance and, to a lesser extent, their history.

Here is how I currently see the major party candidates:

  • Obama - Inspirational, purposely vague and calculating. Obama gives excellent speeches with a great populist message that is appealing. In Q&A sessions, he skillfully empathizes with different views, almost to the point of agreeing, before stating his disagreement or opposition. He offers refreshing differentiation from the current administration.

    My disconnect with Obama is that I don't see much evidence of delivering results in his previous positions of state legislator, community organizer or law review president. He seemed to have the title, but not the level of accomplishments I would expect. In addition, he seem to shift positions regularly, even to the point of reversing earlier statements or actions.

  • McCain - Sincere, government reform agent, and predictable character. McCain seems to be a "what you see is what you get" candidate. I believe he would try to shake up Washington if he were elected.

    However, I think it would be tough for one person to reform Washington, especially with the other party has control of Congress. McCain's candidacy would need bring more Republicans into Congress, which doesn't appear likely.

  • Biden - Same old Democratic political machine. Enough said.

  • Palin - Interesting, has potential, more data needed. Her first major speech made a great impression, enough to call her a rising star. However, she will need to have continued good showings for the next 58 days.
  • At this point, I still believe this is Obama's election to win or lose. I was very surprised by his VP pick. While bolstering his foreign policy weakness, the choice of Biden weakened Obama's position of being a different and new breed of politician. In my opinion, picking Clinton as VP would have demonstrated he was savvy enough to handle any political situation (including Bill) and maximized Obama's chances to win in November.

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or political advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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