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July 31, 2008

Why Obama, by Dave Allen

Why Obama is a series of guest essays by musicians and authors, where they share their support for Democratic United States presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and offer arguments why we need him elected.

Dave Allen is a musician (Gang of Four, Shriekback, King Swamp) and a blogger (he runs the music and mp3 blog Pampelmoose and the social media discussions blog social cache).

In his own words, here is Dave Allen's Why Obama essay :

There is a fairly new business term being bandied around lately particularly amongst the online social media pundits. The term is ‘Thought Leader.’ Wikipedia describes the term as so; “Thought leader is a phrase used to describe a futurist or person who is recognized among their peers and mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights.” I believe it is safe to say that Barak Obama can be described as a thought leader.

His fierce intellectual abilities and the clearheaded writing in his book “The Audacity of Hope” have helped him attract many adherents. It puts him in a unique position - Obama may well be one of only a few presidential candidates in recent history that can clearly articulate a vision of America’s future, confidently explain his positions and comfortably orate in front of large crowds. He is an inspirational candidate.

America badly needs an executive leader with intellectual vision.

This is not to say that Obama comes without some serious flaws. For many he is not liberal enough and in recent weeks he has shown us that he can deftly sidestep some issues when they have proven to be unreliable in providing support for his candidacy or have caused discomfort amongst certain constituencies. He may be inspirational but he didn’t become the Junior Senator for Illinois without deftly parlaying his considerable political skills. He is amenable to a different version of ‘change’ when it becomes convenient. That is an unfortunate trait that exasperates Liberals but if he is to be elected he has to attempt to embrace all voters. As a nation we long ago moved to the political centre and Americans are not going to vote for anyone they perceive as too far to the Left or the Right.

Obama arrives as a candidate with almost perfect timing. America is clearly ready for a sea change. The change that he refers to in his speeches is now becoming part of the everyday currency of our conversations. It is no longer a glib statement; it is a fascinating embodiment of the raw power that has propelled Obama’s candidacy this far. This election is about two things - the war in Iraq and the Economy. Americans require change in both of those arenas. They can no longer stomach the thought of what John McCain has called an ‘Endless War’ in Iraq. [You can hear him talk about this in a video compilation of his interviews and speeches here] The war is costing us billions of dollars a month and of course Americans are now very aware that this money would be well spent bolstering an ailing economy here in the USA. If there is improvement in the situation in Iraq before November then the candidate with strongest position on our economy will be in a great position to win. McCain has been ridiculed for his lack of a sound economic policy and he has had nothing to say beyond promising to make the Bush tax cuts permanent which would be a huge fiscal mistake. McCain’s weakness in this area opens up an opportunity for Obama’s camp to deliver some strong proposals for fixing the economy.

Obama has been called weak on foreign policy but then so was George W Bush eight years ago. On Obama’s recent trip through Europe and the Middle East war zones he was treated with a presidential deference because the leaders of foreign countries have tired of being treated with antipathy by the current administration. Like Americans at home they see great opportunity for change. It is hard to imagine that in 2000 before he was elected president, George W Bush would have been able to find such strong foreign support for his presidential candidacy as Obama found on his recent trip.

We need a visionary leader with the ability to repair the damage that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice gang has wrought upon our foreign relations. Europe and the Middle East need to be embraced as never before. The isolationist policies of our current administration and its ‘war on terror’ have poisoned the minds of many young, radical Muslims in those countries as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan and beyond. Their hatred of us is paramount. Our next president has to take on the huge burden of proving to many millions of disaffected young Muslims that we as a nation are not the “Great Satan.” We as a nation have not all followed the policies of our current administration as it ran roughshod over our own liberties, never mind the liberties of those currently lost inside the nightmare that is Guantanamo Bay. We as a nation do not support torture.

Obama offers hope for change and I believe that it is possible for us all to embrace that change. This doesn’t mean that he will become our next president. He is just laying the groundwork for a more open and transparent government. If John McCain defeats Obama he will find it very difficult to govern using the tried and tested ways of the Republicans that we have seen in the last eight years. The people are speaking out and they need to be heard whoever wins in November. I sincerely hope that Barak Obama will be the next President of the USA.

Dave Allen links:

Pampelmoose (music blog)
social cache (social media discussions blog)
Dave Allen's Wikipedia entry

Barack Obama links:

Barack Obama presidential campaign website

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Why Obama essays
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews