Yesterday I was talking to some McCain supporters about how they arrived at their preference. We don't see many McCain supporters in my neighborhood, so I always take time to hear their views. Admittedly my sample is not large, but of the dozen or so McCain supporters I have spoken with, there is a common thread: Obama gives them a vague feeling of discomfort that they can't quite identify.

When I ask about this vague feeling of discomfort, the answer has something to do with how his views got formed, his past associations, how quickly he rose to prominence, and how charismatic (slick) he is.

The risk, as I understand it, is that once in office Obama would start sporting a turban and begin each speech with WAHLALALALALALAL!!!! He would appoint Supreme Court justices who favor a redistribution of wealth to unborn gay babies, and he'd legalize crack. It would all be part of his master plan to destroy America. I might have the details wrong, but it goes something like that.

It's hard to argue against someone's vague feeling of discomfort. After all, studies have shown that people are actually quite good at determining character and intelligence from nothing more than photographs. I just found it interesting that the people I spoke with described a vague feeling of discomfort in forming their preference. That is not something I ever heard in other elections.
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Nov 1, 2008
I'd really like you to explain why you want to have your wealth re-distributed Scott? Seriously, anybody who has a job and works should NOT vote for Obama, as all he wants to do is take your money and give it to the poor. I'm nowhere near as successfully financially as you must be, and I will lose - you will lose a ton if Obama is elected. Read his early campaign information, specifically when he was campaigning against Hillary. What he's spewing now contradicts it. He wants everybody to make a nice little $50k per family and everything over that goes to the lazy SOB's to get them to the same standard of living. Even if you don't think he can acheive that goal in one term, why take a chance?
Nov 1, 2008
The idea that you people have WMD's gives me discomfort, especially because a lot of you seem to view presidential elections as choosing some kind of a Cristian mullah to lead by interpreting scriptures.
Oct 31, 2008
"America is the most prosperous and generous nation on the planet. Our human rights positions are not perfect but probably the best in the world."

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Oct 31, 2008
Yeah, in most elections there is at least one candidate that gives me a _very specific_ feeling of discomfort.
Oct 31, 2008
Something to keep in mind, with the media so eager for a democrat to win, Republicans are accustomed to getting their views mischaracterized and ridiculed in the press. If you don't vote for Obama, racism is assumed. If you favor republicans over democrats in general, publications such as the NY Times practacally come right out and call you stupid and a nazi as well. If you live in a place where McCain supporters are not that common, it's got to be worse for you.

On the other hand, if you are a democrat, you're assumed to be enlightened and superior. It's easy to bleat out a phrase such as "change we can believe in" as if that meant something when others of the supposed "educated" bunch embrace the same slogan.

In this environment, McCain supporters are a little less likely to be forthright with strangers.

Personally, Obama makes me uncomfortable as well. He has a lot of charisma and seemingly has much of the nation in a trance. I'm sure some are eager to embrace socialism and hence would strongly favor Obama over McCain, but others seem to favor Obama due to mere charisma and charm. Personally, I am very much against socialism, so that makes me against Obama. At least Obama won't use his charisma to lead us to war like Hitler did in Germany, but he may wind up ignoring Iran and letting them develop nukes.
Oct 31, 2008
Not that i'm saying he's the anti-christ, but some of the supposed signs of the anti-christ include that he will be a smooth talking young man that will rise from nowhere to be a political leader...
I don't feel uneasiness about Obama (Australians can't vote in the US election so who cares anyway right?), I'm also against the whole doomsday prophecy point of vew, however as soon as you described the reasons for their uneasiness the word 'anti-christ' popped into my head, and maybe subconsciously it is for them too?

Now if he starts claiming that he can do miracles maybe we should start to worry hahaha
Oct 31, 2008
Oh god oh god oh god Socialism!

God, I'm so sick of hearing that. Ignoring the pros and cons of socialism itself for a moment, one president cannot change the entire foundation of our nation.
Oct 31, 2008
You know what's interesting, people who say that's normal to have "vague feelings of discomfort" about Obama because his lack of experience, don't have the slight discomfort about Sarah Palin and her lack of experience (and knowledge)...
Oct 31, 2008
If someone gives you two choices, and you pick one, the only decision you made was to be subservient.

I think we're all kidding ourselves if we think that these candidates got to their positions without somebody behind them propping them up and pulling the strings. As much as the democrats like to think that Kerry or Gore or Obama wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq or instituted the ridiculously unconstitutional "Patriot" act (which, perhaps, but only perhaps, is true), the fact is that none of them are chanting about how we should take it down. Even now, as the government is bailing out investment banks with the supposed claim of trying to save us all from a much worse fate, the fact is that everything this government institutes, either ideologically, pragmatically, administratively, legislatively, etc... it all serves to make us rely on our government. Because as they say, you won't bite the hand that feeds you. You won't remove rise up and fight against those who give you barely enough to get by with.
Oct 31, 2008
"The problem with Obama is that nobody (or only his closest associates) knows what he really thinks. "

"I think the first and foremost is that he is an intellectual. Issues are complex, and I want a president who will think long and hard about both sides of every issue before making a decision."

And with those two quotes you have the essence of the whole thing.

Republicans want to elect someone whose mind is already made up on all issues; they want to know what the president thinks. And with McCain they get that. This gives them a feeling of comfort, because they know (or at least think they know) what the president's response will be to any given situation (he's a Republican, so you know what he'll do when it comes to Abortion, etc.). This appeals to their conservative nature; they feel in control, as constituents.

The Democrats, on the other hand, want to elect someone smart because they generally care less about a person's personal beliefs (live and let live), associations, or religious affiliations, and care a lot more about the ability of the president to analyze problems and find solutions. So instead of going into a problem with their mind already made up (i.e. Bush and Iraq), they expect the president to be open-minded and look at all angles before coming to a conclusion. Of course, this method of problem solving is a lot less predictable, which doesn't sit well with conservative sensibilities. Conservative people don't like the unknown. They fear it.

Personally, I tend more Libertarian. I want the government out of my life. It should exist to protect me from foreign invaders and domestic crooks.

I want government to stop telling me what I can or can't do with my body/money/property. Neither the Democratic party nor the Republican party can claim themselves winner in that regard. The Democrats tend to want to nationalize things (good intentions, bad implementation), and I think there are better solutions out there (although complete privatization leaves us wide open to the crooks) . Meanwhile, the Republicans want to butt in and tell me how to live my life every step of the way - telling me what I can or can't do with my body (Terry Shaivo anyone?), because they've morphed into the Republican-Christian party, which doesn't sit well with my Atheist values.

When faced with a tie, I have to give the edge to the smartest candidate and hope they spend more time using their brain to solve problems than their party affiliation. Republicans *know* what McCain is going to do - he's a Republican. I'm kind of tired of the past 8 years of Republican rule. I'm especially tired of the Republicans saying they're "conservative" and then spending our taxes like money grows on trees, and butting into everyone's lives every chance they get.

It's time for someone else to lead now.

Oct 31, 2008

Every since September 11, 2001 some people say it was our fault we were attacked. That America deserves what it got for all the oppressions we have visited upon others. Sorry, don't buy that. America is the most prosperous and generous nation on the planet. Our human rights positions are not perfect but probably the best in the world.

No President goes to war lightly and is aware of the harms way for our soldiers, airman and sailors, the cost in treasure and the collateral damage that will inevitably occur. There have always been and always will be those who are against our way of life. We live in a relatively free and peaceful environment today with no major wars on our shores or in our heartland (except 9-11 which was a terrorist attack) since the British burned Washington DC in 1814.

And why is this? They know that if they attack us Pearl Harbor style they will pay dearly. Ask the Nazis and the War Lords of Japan. The Soviet Union was put to bay by threat of economic and physical annihilation. And yes, occationally we have some strange bedfellows to acompolish all this but we can't do it all by ourselves.

The religious zealots with political power who just don't get the concept of separation of church and state are just the next threat to our way of life. Sitting home, isolating ourselves, seeking appeasement and hoping we can reason with them will not work. They have vowed to wipe us off the face of the earth. Sorry, but it is better to go after them wherever they are than waiting for them to strike. This will take a proactive leader with the guts, experience and will to do anything to protect our way of life and the people of this nation.
Oct 31, 2008
The strange thing is - nationalizing banks is what the current republicans are doing - so it is the republicans who are the socialists! Too be fair, both candidates endorsed the bailouts, so both are socialist, but of a very unusual type - giving tax money to the rich rather than the poor!
Oct 31, 2008
I have to admitt that the very first time I saw him, my first thought was "i dont trust that guy."
and I have been fighting that same impulse ever since.
I love the idea of a black president. I love the idea of us moving forward with the rest of the world.
i am 26 so i dont think i have any hidden racism that fears a black leader.
There is just something about him that seems...fake. I can't pinpoint it...but I just dont trust him.
I am still voting for him because voting for McCain means a President Palin...and she wants to make sure people like me (gay) move to Canada.
But I have also had to override my instinct about him too.
We will just have to see.
Oct 31, 2008
Scott, I don't think you actually understood what the McCain supporters were telling you. The problem with Obama is that nobody (or only his closest associates) knows what he really thinks. I heard a PBS recording of some fairly well-known news folks saying, just yesterday, that they didn't know what Obama was really like - that they didn't know how he'd handle foreign policy, they didn't know how he really felt about capitalism versus socialism, and so on. They were saying that the only things they know about him come from the books he's written and the speeches he's given.

Now, these are members of the same press that was supposed to be finding out for us what he's really about. They have had almost twenty months, and they didn't do their job, for whatever reason. Only just now do they seem to be admitting it.

My problems with Obama are many, but I'll try to boil them down here. The reason for that vague unease your neighborhood McCain supporters have is that his current words don't fit his past actions. He has associated with an unsavory, by most standards, group of people, including Tony Rezko, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayres, Bernadine Dohrn, Rashid Khaladi, and more. Yet he says, in effect, he really didn't know any of them very well. I don't believe him. He's either being disingenuous, or he's too oblivious to be president (which would seem to fly in the face of that great intellect he supposedly has).

He says that he's a big believer that we are our brothers' keepers. Yet his half-brother George, whom he has met, lives in a hut in Africa on $12 per year. His paternal aunt is currently living in the slums in Boston (it took a UK newspaper to find that out, again showing what a poor job our press corps have done), and says she can't really talk about him (Obama) until after November 4th. Does that kind of thing concern anyone else?

There's a big blank in everyone's knowledge of what he did in one important part of his past: his time at Columbia University. It's as though that time didn't exist - no one knows what he did during those four years.

He also has, in the past, supported socialism through the redistribution of wealth. He now says that that really isn't what he's going to do, but again, I don't believe him. His work with Bill Ayers in Chicago, particularly his work with the Annenberg Challenge, seems to have been pointed, at least in part, to building curricula to teach teachers how to indoctrinate children in how to become radicals. I don't think this is appropriate for children. I would rather have the schools teach them how to think, and then present them with both sides and let them talk it out. Obama does not seem to support that kind of free exchange of ideas.

Obama is running on a feel-good platform of "change." Yet his ideas pretty much mirror those of Franklin Roosevelt. Take Obama's desire for a "new Bill of Rights," for example. That was proposed by Roosevelt back in 1944. Liberals always accuse conservatives of somehow wanting to take us back in time. When you peel away the onion of what Obama is saying, it leads right back to the New Deal and the Great Society. I'm not for that.

The bottom line, for me, is that he lacks experience and has had a somewhat radical past. I don't feel it makes sense to hand the most powerful job in the world over to someone who not only lacks experience but also is largely an unknown.

At the same time, look at what his supporters say about him. Charismatic. A great orator. Gives them hope. OK, that's a bunch of great feelings, but where is the substance to back them up? If I tell you what you want to hear, you'll feel good - for a while. But then what happens when the words turn out to be just that: words? To whom will you complain then?

If you'd like an interesting intellectual exercise, then take a look at the major cities that are most out of control in the US. Those that have the highest crime rates, the highest poverty rates, the lowest high school graduation rates, the worst schools; and then ask yourselves how long it's been since they've had a Republican mayor.

My point is that rhetoric, by itself, is meaningless. Take a look at the results. Are the candidates you are supporting proposing solutions, or short-term, feel-good actions that put band-aids on the problems? If you are intellectually honest, the very least you can do is demand of your legislators that they show results. If they don't, then you should seriously consider evaluating, on an intellectual rather than emotional basis, what it's going to take to get those problems solved, and who is proposing those solutions, regardless of their party.

As long as you let politicians keep getting elected because they make you feel good, rather than because they prove they can solve problems, the politicians are going to continue to do make you feel good. I believe, for a lot of people who look to feelings rather than realities, it's time to grow up.
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Oct 31, 2008
I'm sure a "vague feeling of discomfort" is probably subdued racism. Subdued in that they would probably never consciously refuse to hire a qualified black man or something, but in that they "just like" a similar white guy better.
Oct 31, 2008
I rarely log in to post anything, but some of the comments here have intrigued me.

Are people really being called racist for not voting for Obama? Really? I'm not calling you liars, it's just that I live in my own little bubble here at UC Berkeley (a liberal Mecca, if you will), and I never hear this. None of the Obama supporters I've talked to (quite a few, because, you know, it's Berkeley) accuse McCain supporters of racism. Also, none of the McCain supporters I've talked to say they've been accused of racism. We even had a debate on campus between the College Dems and College Republicans, but it (mostly) stuck to policy issues, not personal attacks on the candidates or their supporters. Please respond, I'm very curious.

Moving on, there are quite a few reasons I'm supporting Obama, but I think the first and foremost is that he is an intellectual. Issues are complex, and I want a president who will think long and hard about both sides of every issue before making a decision. I want a president who is engaged by debate, not turned off by it. Obama's meeting with Gen. Petraeus is a great example. ( http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1853025,00.html )

Another reason I'm supporting Obama is that he is inspiring and charismatic. Now, don't get me wrong, I'd rather have a dull intellectual than a charismatic moron in the White House, but as long as Obama's got both, I think this point is valid. Normally, I'm pretty apathetic about participating in the political process except for voting. But after following this election closely and listening to Obama, I've not only donated money to the campaign but actually volunteered to go door-to-door to get out the vote. I don't think any other candidate - in any party - could have inspired me to do this. And when you look at the numbers, you can see that this effect is widespread. Hundreds of thousands of people going to hear him speak and record breaking fund raising that consists of mostly small donations from many, many individuals are just a couple of pieces of evidence for this fact. As it's been pointed out before (I think on this very blog, although I could be wrong), having an inspirational president can do a lot for a country, especially in bad economic times.

Obama also has what it takes to rebuild the US's reputation around the world. I consider this a very, very good thing. We're not going to be able to solve the world's problems without international support, and the US has a terrible reputation right now that needs to be rebuilt before we can move on.

Oh, there's also the fact that I agree with most of Obama's domestic and foreign policies, but those are the boring (but quite valid) reasons.

I'll wrap this up by saying that, of course, Obama isn't perfect. But I believe he has the qualities to be an effective leader when we need it. There are plenty of great things about McCain too. I mean, if McCain from the year 2000 was running against Obama, I'd have a much harder time deciding who to support. But don't even get me started on what I don't like about McCain's current policies or the decisions he's made in the past few years.
Oct 31, 2008
So... Obama is a socialist for proposing that the most wealthy pay a little more, but McCain gets a free pass for saying the same thing at a debate in 2000! We're not talking about nationalizing businesses and social welfare which are true tenants of socialism - we are talking about tweaking tax rates. Talk about hypocrisy...

Past associations... Republican attack groups go after Obama's past connections no matter how distant and paint him a terrorist. McCain gets a free pass for Charles Keating, Pastor Hagee, Phil Gramm, Rick Davis,etc... More hypocrisy...

Attack Obama, you're a racist... Attack McCain and you're anti-American or not Patriotic... Give me a break, this is American and we [still] get to say what we want.

I actually like McCain, but he's not even running his own campaign - it's being run by the same Republican machine that ran Bush's campaign and much of the white house. The same group that attacked McCain himself in 2000. Does anyone really thing that McCain himself picked the redneck religious freak Palin??? This group can't think up a good idea between them, so they just try to tear down the opponent. Sad, truly sad...

Feel free to vote for McCain, but do it for the right reasons - Mainly that you want more of the same policies of the past 8 years. That's your choice. Personally, I'll take a change thanks very much.

Oct 31, 2008
My feelings of discomfort for Obama stem specifically from his socialist tendencies. I earned my money, I help others less fortunate. It's not the gov't job to give money I earned to those who didn't. Also, I'm all for change, but he's just not specific enough. Change to what? Just because you think it'll be a good change, doesn't mean I do...I need more than just "change".
Oct 31, 2008
For many in the over 50 crowd and I hate to admit it..........that uneasy feeling is Obama's skin color.

I am 51 and live in white, rural Midwest America and there is still a subtle racism that lurks underneath the beliefs of many older people. I hear it in Church when older people talk about "colored people" or "those" people. Exactly who are THOSE people and what color are they?

I believe the current generation is pretty free of this type of thinking. but my generation, and my parents generation still battle with latent racism. This will never show up on an exit poll but it is there.

When you grow up white and white is all you ever know or see.......it is not hard to imagine the result.

Oct 31, 2008
A lot of the hoopla during this election about the Democratic Party and Obama is very similar to the Kennedy election. The Democrats had a young good looking wonder kid with a smart and beautiful wife and a hope at changing the old guard in Washington. Many historians look at the JFK Presidency as not being one of our best examples of a stellar administration.

There are lots of differences between JFK and Obama. But the feeling still lingers that he is not the heavy hitter we need in the White House to deal with representing the US on the world stage. We could use someone with more experience. Many feel that Obama could pay more dues in the Senate and run in 2012 or 2016. But maybe not.
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