Monday, February 18, 2008

A psychological profile on Obama

As I immerse myself in the lefty blogosphere of Hillary and Obama blogs my head started spinning reading the poll data, the pro and con arguments for and against them, the red vs blue conversion rates, whose bite is stronger than whose bark. Ultimately boiled down to this one very simple point -- Who are these people really? and does their personality support what I would want in a president.

I had an interesting discussion with my 7 year old the other day. She like her dad has now become interested in this Hillary vs Obama race. Her entire elementary class of 120 kids (grades 1 thru 6) voted for Hillary and sent a letter to her campaign recently announcing their support and endorsement for her. She asked me point blank -- "Daddy why dont you want to vote for Obama?". I really had to think hard. I have got to know Hillary as a person for the last 16 years as a public figure. I didn't know much about Obama. How do we get to know someone like him in just a few months?

In many ways we define ourselves by our historical perspective, our educational background, principles, parents, our upbringing etc. I only recently found out that Obama's middle name was Hussain. Hillary is so commonly and casually refered to as HRC - Hillary Rodham Clinton. After I heard this, which came a surprise, I felt Obama had not truly defined himself and his identity. According to reports I have read, he has denied he his muslim, a religion from his father. I really oppose people who do that. You have two parents and you are products of their genes and heritage. My kids follow two religions, their mother and their father's. I know religion is a personal choice, but I find it hard to believe that Obama was not exposed to his father's religion.

I feel we should be proud of our heritage and what our parents represent. These are values I teach my kids. Yes, we are all american but we all came from somewhere else. Denial of that heritage is like not fully defining yourself. I told my kid that one of the things I didn't care about Obama was that he doesn't use his middle name "Hussain". He comes accross as hiding it and I don't care about that in a person. Obama calls himself black, but does he represent all that is black about him? I am not really sure about that.
That speaks volumes for me when I make an assesment of a person.

Today, in my exploration of the lefty blogosphere I found a comment with the followiing link that describes a psychological profile of Obama. It made an interesting lunch time reading and was eye opening and resonated with feelings deep inside I have for why Obama never got me as excited as Hillary Clinton. I know many polls show Obama will blow McCain out of the water. Well folks, don't under-estimate these conservatives. They will have lots of dirt to dig out to slam him.

Peace Out!


Dan said...

I certainly respect your choice to support Sen. Clinton in the primary. Personally, I remain torn, but leaning toward Sen. Obama. As an interested voter, I feel that it is important to point out a few thing that struck me in your post.

The reservations you mention are Obama's middle name and his Muslim heritage. First, let me point out that Rodham is Hillary's maiden name, not her middle name. I have never read or heard her middle name mentioned in the media (it is Diane, by the way, according to Wikipedia). It doesn't seem to me that Obama is hiding anything by not prominently featuring his middle name, Hillary doesn't either.

Now, you mention that heritage is a part of a person, and I agree to an extent. A closer examination of Obama's personal history shows that his father, and namesake, was raised Muslim but lived as an atheist. His father and mother also separated when young Barack was two. He spent much of his childhood on a different continent from his biological father, so I am not positive his father's Muslim heritage had a big impact on Obama's childhood or development. I respect your opinion and personal view, but in this case I fear you may not be fully informed. Unfortunately you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers or online.

This brings up the 'profile' you linked. It definitely was an interesting read for me as well. More than anything, the profile sought to paint a picture of Obama within a conservative worldview, or framework. It consistently pointed out parts of his rhetoric that conflict with conservative framing and labeled those as weaknesses. What was most telling to me was this quote:

"Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention speech was so powerful and so memorable precisely because he was constrained by format and content. Today’s display was free-form Obama, and he won’t travel well and sell well outside a narrow spectrum of the electorate."

Interestingly, Obama has consistently polled (and performed in the past primaries/caucuses) very well with a broad spectrum of people. He has harnessed more of the 'left' side of the party than Clinton has, as well as more of the 'right' side. He continues to poll much better among self-identified independents and even Republicans. The 'profile' has some glaring flaws, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it.

Thanks for blogging, I enjoy checking in from time to time.

I have an opinion said...

Dan, Thank you for your comment. I have been waiting for someone to post their opinion. I know many folks are torn between Obama and Hillary and it seems like the Obama wave is pulling many uncertain and independents. I really wasn't paying much attention to this race till the last few debates prior to Iowa and I think many of us who support Hillary just presumed she was the obvious choice. I am certain her campaign felt the same way till the shocker in Iowa. The drive for change has really obviated the need for "reason". I was part of the change generation when Bill Clinton ran for presidency. I guess part of my support for Hillary has been familiarity and I was a big supporter for her healthcare plan. That mobilized many efforts in the healthcare business that I am in deeply involved in, and I owe my career to her in some ways.

Obama was not a known entity. Believe it or not someone who doesnt even live in this country made me aware of the fact that his father was muslim. I was very surprised to hear that because no one discussed it, he didnt discuss it. I felt that was somewhat ingenous, not that I am some ultra conservative, I am actually very liberal person, but I feel like when you are in the public, and running for office you need to be completely genuine about who you are. I guess after that I have never felt much connected to Obama, and he didnt come across very strong to me in the debates. More words than substance and I am suspect of politicians who have little experience. Hillary is controversial but she has been around the block. I personally feel Obama is a risky candidate. My posting of this psychological profile was simply to get a reaction, because I am certain that if he runs, he is going to see this reaction from the conservatives. Also if Obama becomes the nominee I plan to support him whole heartedly. I think some folks may have accused me of being an ultra conservative on blureoregon. Thanks again for commenting. I hope more will comment.