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June 04, 2008


Eric Chen

Professor Nacos,

We've had practically everything but . . . woman CEOs, generals, SCOTUS justices, governors, senators, Secretaries of State . . . the day of the first woman American President is coming.

I wouldn't mind seeing Hillary Clinton as Obama's VP.


Eric: Once again your comment is thoughtful and I agree--the fact that America selected an African-American as presidential nominee of a major party is truly historic. As you know, I wanted the see the first female president--but it is equally important to see a minority member in the White House.

Eric Chen

Professor Nacos,

I know how you feel. I'm waiting impatiently for my turn to come and the day a Taiwanese-American becomes the American President.

Part of me very much wants to vote for Obama. His symbolic value as a black, multiethnic, cosmopolitan American President would simply be right for this time in our American history.

But, it's not the 1990s or even the 2000 election. We could afford symbolic purchases then. Now, we're fighting a real war and engaged in real competitions that will determine what America will be in the 21st century and in what kind of world. We must be willing to accept challenges, pay the price, and earn our way. In 2008, is it enough for America to choose the next President for his symbolic value while overlooking his substance? Is it enough for us to choose the next President in order to rebel against a President who's facing mandatory retirement, anyway?

Replace "I love" with 'I want to support' and I feel about Senator Obama something like how Dorothy Boyd felt about Jerry McGuire in the movie by the same name: I love (want to support) him for the man he wants to be. And I love (want to support) him for the man he almost is.

I wrote on Jan 7: "I like that Obama is black, and better, multicultural and cosmopolitan, relatively young, which is to say, he's post-Baby Boom, Civil Rights campaign and Vietnam War, and a pragmatic progressive idealist. Obama is inexperienced, but he has the right stuff to rise quickly and well to the challenge. It doesn't hurt at all that he's a fellow Columbian. I also believe, despite the boilerplate (and infuriating) anti-war rhetoric - required of all Democrats - he espouses, that Obama would not do anything rash and irresponsible about Iraq, such as precipitous withdrawal. Obama's mantra is the Kennedy-esque, "Let's go change the world". Does that sound like someone who would so seriously undermine America's power to effect change and abdicate our nation's leadership and moral responsibilities by surrendering in Iraq? Like me, Obama has a desire to use American primacy and power to make a progressive difference in the world, which cannot work by subordinating American will to other nations. In that way, he's not unlike the post-9/11 liberal-convert George Bush. We are in the midst of a generational challenge, a multi-faceted global revolution and competition, and I believe Obama has a clearer perspective without the deficiencies and historical baggage of the Baby Boomer generation. He's not trapped in the Cold War. Once Obama is actually in position to decide Operation Iraqi Freedom, he's not going to pull us out of Iraq, or the Long War, in a manner that would cause harm to his greater idealistic mandate. He wants to change the world for the better as President, and retreat and surrender in Iraq by his orders would collapse his goals from the outset. No matter the controversial start to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the stakes in Iraq now are world-changing. Once we are clear of the baggage of President Bush - who did what needed to be done, if not always done well - the next President will be able to clarify those stakes. A charismatic and articulate progressive liberal like Obama, as opposed to the frustratingly inarticulate liberal-convert Bush, will have the opportunity to highlight the progressive nature of our Iraq mission for the American and global audiences as well as warn of the long-term harm to the liberal world order that would result from our failure there."

I thought that at the start of the year. The vetting of the Democratic nomination process, however, has caused me to doubt that the President I want Obama to be would be the President that Obama actually would be. In other words, caveat emptor.

My most important issue for this election is American leadership in the Long War. I still believe Barack Obama would be the best available choice for Commander in Chief - if only Obama believed so himself. Senator McCain holds the more sensible position on the Long War. The general election against McCain will be Obama's best opportunity to convince me that, unlike most modern Democrats, he is true to America's progressive liberal heritage and ready and willing to assume the mantle of Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy to become the liberal American champion of a liberal war.


I agree. Choosing Caroline Kennedy is a joke. It's a key indicator that the Mass-Kerry-Kennedy wing of the party is sidling up to Obama and vice versa. He's choosing her to provide him cover when he doesn't pick Hillary Clinton. Caroline K. will probably even announce it. Ridiculous. I'm planning on voting in '08 but just skipping the presidential choice.

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