August 29, 2008 by

No More Convinced Than I Was Before


Categories: politics? oh puh-leeze.

I usually try to stay away from politics on this blog, especially in this season of our nation when they can be so divisive. But I’m going to venture into it tonight. And I recongize that some of my readers won’t share my views, so just realize that my opinions here are my own, and I respect yours if they are different from mine.

A few months ago, I wrote this post about my concerns about Barack Obama’s campaign. My concerns were not so much about his policies (which I do disagree with), but mostly that this largely unknown and unseasoned politician’s rise to power has been mainly due to a vacuum in leadership around him, and that lots of people were gathering around him simply because of his charisma and ability to communicate. (Please read the post.)

Since that post, I’ve continued to watch and listen, and I’ve continued to be concerned. There has continued to be a big lack of substance in Obama’s message, and a huge rise in his celebrity, almost Messiah-like status. (I don’t feel the caricatures by the conservative talk-show hosts are entirely unwarranted.)

My biggest concern is not that he is a liberal Democrat. My biggest concern is that he’s just too good to be true.

Tonight, I watched Obama’s acceptance speech, a larger-than-life extravaganza in a packed stadium with a backdrop remniscent of the Parthenon. (So much for downplaying the celebrity thing.)

With the first thing out of Obama’s mouth–he lost me.

“To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation: With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.”

Um…to all the citizens, he accepts our nomination?? I’m not a Democrat, and I didn’t nominate Obama. Where’s the “great humility” in that statement? If anyone else had said that, we’d have thought he was incredibly presumptive, arrogant, and narcissistic. But this isn’t just anyone.

See my point?

I have to hand it to Obama–he knows how to make a speech. He promised a speech with less rhetoric, more substance. I’d be almost scared to hear a high-rhetoric speech. Man, the stuff that guy promised he would give us–all while reducing our taxes? It’s magic, I tell you. If he can work miracles like that, maybe the Messiah thing is true.

Okay, tongue out of cheek. My point is…still lots of promises, still no substance, still no indication as to how he would do what he promises. It’s hard to believe his I am-a-patriot-I-love-America rhetoric when one of the few things we do know about him is his anti-American associations. And sorry…when you have so little experience, you don’t convince people you’d be a good Commander-in-Chief just by saying (in your strongest, growliest man-voice) that you would be.

Look, I have no delusions about the government, and I understand the shortfalls in both parties. And although McCain is not the Republican nominee I would have chosen, in fairness I have to admit that tonight’s speech, no matter how good, would probably not have convinced me to vote for Obama. But at the very least…tonight was Obama’s chance to convince me that he’s someone with whom I could feel safe if he got elected–that he’s more than an empty celebrity.

I’m sorry. He didn’t convince me. I still don’t trust him, and I still think he’s way too good to be true.

(I think Brant made a good point, too, in this post.)

Musician. Composer. Recovering perfectionist. Minister-in-transition. Lover of puns. Hijacker of rock song references. Questioner of the status quo. I'm not really a rebel. Just a sincere Christ-follower with a thirst for significance that gets me into trouble. My quest has taken me over the fence of institutional Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts along the way. Read along, join in the conversation. Just be nice.

15 Responses to No More Convinced Than I Was Before

  1. Lightbearer


    I did not get the chance to see Obama speak this evening. However, I agree with everything that you said about him. It is truly the talented individual who can use many words and still say nothing of substancc.


  2. tysdaddy

    “It is truly the talented individual who can use many words and still say nothing of substance.”

    Isn’t this the very definition of political rhetoric . . . and we get it from both sides of the aisle.

    This time of year always gets folks riled up. Lots of I’ll do this and I’ll do that, and perhaps they have a skeleton of a plan somewhere in the back of their mind, but at this point it’s not about having a solid plan. It’s about getting elected. About swaying the majority of people to pick you instead of the other guy.

    So I believe only about a third of what I see and none of what I hear . . .

  3. KELLY

    Wow. Great post. I, too, am not an Obama fan – but, do find his rise to fame interesting.

    I got to be part of a group of bloggers who were chosen to review the book “The Faith of Barack Obama”. It was not what I expected – mainly because God really revealed some things in my own heart.

    I have decided that while who we vote for this election year (in regards to the presidency) – I have chosen to focus more on my local elections – hoping to make the change from the ground up. I mean, even if Barack gets in office – he still has to have Congress behind him to get anything done, right? LOL

    Have a great holiday weekend!

  4. Rachael

    You put my thoughts down EXACTLY. We can stay in our homes, pay lower health insurance premiums, have top notch education for our kids, social security can be secure again, and LOWER TAXES…. RIGHT!!! My husband and I talked about this same thing last night after we watched the speech. It really concerns me the way people are blindly following him. He is an incredible charismatic person and you really want to buy what he’s saying…I don’t though. I am not excited about McCain either. This year is so hard for me…Obama will most certainly not get my vote, but I cannot decide whether or not McCain deserves it either. I am seriously praying for wisdom on this one. 🙂

  5. Steve Oberg

    I am with you. Great delivery – just more of the same rhetoric. I thought some of the news commentators where going to wet themselves, y’now, the “objective” journalists on T.V. we’re supposed to trust…..

  6. Kansas Bob

    What you said makes sense Jeff.. as long as you really think that McCain will be different than Bush.. I am not convinced – yet.. I may write Kansas Bob in on the ballot.. now that would be change that I could believe in 🙂

  7. Jeff McQ

    What you said reminds me, of all things, of a joke about 3 kids bragging about their fathers…
    CHILD 1: My dad’s a brain surgeon, and he can talk for an hour about operating on the brain.
    CHILD 2: That’s nothing. My dad’s a rocket scientist, and he can talk for an hour and a half about jet propulsion.
    CHILD 3: You think that’s great? MY dad’s a preacher, and he can talk for 2 hours about nothing at all!

    I have to say I’ve shared your skepticism, especially this year.

    You have a good point about local politics, and more people should be involved in their local elections. As far as Congress…there’s not much to do here in OK. This state is so red it practically bleeds. 🙂 I’m happy enough with the reps and senators we have…so about all I could do is harass people who aren’t in my district. 🙂

    As I said in the earlier post, I think this is the first election where I couldn’t get excited about any candidate, and McCain was the last guy I would have picked on the Republican side. I agree, it’s tough. All I can say is that no vote is still a vote–it’s a choice to let others decide for you who will be president. For me, it almost (sadly) comes down to which candidate I think would do the least damage. 🙂

    Outstanding! Everyone needs to follow that link. People of the nation, I humbly accept… I mean, if Obama can do it…

    That’s probably one of the hardest parts of election season, trying to weed through the spin.

    See my response to Rachael…and check out the link on Heidi’s comment. 🙂

  8. Sarah

    I have to admit I find the “accusation” of celebrity a confusing one. He’s running for the presidency of the United States of America – only the most influential position in the entire globe. Of course he’s famous. No more so than McCain (in my opinion). Is it his popularity that’s being presented as ‘untrustworthy’? I really don’t understand this ad campaign by the Republican party. I don’t get it. But whatever.

    I agree that the speech promised the world, and that’s pretty unrealistic. He plans to pay for many of his policies by increasing the taxes on those who make over $250,000 per year (and by cutting tax breaks that corporations get). McCain, on the other hand has told us that the economy isn’t a problem at all. He said, and I quote, “I’ll get you a billion dollars tomorrow.” Really? Borrow more from China so we can be even further indebted to them? Kind of unrealistic, too, huh? But, who cares… our grandchildren will be paying these debts, not us! Fiscal responsibility… what is that?

    One thing that appeals to me about Obama (that others see as a liability) is his Kenyan father. He understands third world issues, and has an empathy for the global poor that is unique among presidential candidates. The president of the United States has an enormous impact on the entire globe, and I for one am weary of the hubris and arrogant attitude that the world is our playground. But comments like these will probably not be nationalistic enough for most Americans (even the Christian ones). But I’m a citizen of heaven first, a Jesus-follower first, American second. How I vote impacts others (in the world), and I want to make sure that impact is a positive one.

    PS. The discussion over at Brant’s blog was excellent! A lot of different perspectives – it really made me think. I recommend reading the whole comment thread for those who have the time.

  9. Kansas Bob

    Personally, I have difficulty voting for smeone who all their life has worked for the government.. but I still may vote for him if God tells me to.

    But I think that it is okay to not vote in the election if God leads you that way.. why vote for the lesser evil if you truly believe that it is a vote for evil 🙂

  10. Amy


    I agree with you wholeheartedly, quite honestly on everything you said here. It’s refreshing, and somewhat comforting to hear that someone else agrees with me.

    I’ve had concerns about Obama all along, for the reaons you mentioned. I agree with you that he ocmes across as “too good to be true.” As well, something in my spirit does not feel in-sync with him. I’ve learned that it’s often smart to listen to my heart.

    When I watched Obama’s speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, and he gave that introduction of accepting his nomination, you know what I noticed? Immediately following it, when everyone was clapping and cheering (and, did you notice the media’s excellent selection to pan to people actually crying?) I noticed a smirk on his face. It was a very brief shot on his face, but nonetheless, I caught it. I felt a definite twitch in my heart. Red Flag. Hmm…is that perhaps some foreshadowing of his hunger for power, celebrity or attention? Who knows, but it does make me wonder.

    During the speech, I was thinking the whole time, “he’s just saying everything everyone wants to hear. But, if were to be president, would any of those promises become reality?”

    His speach seemed to perfectly tailored to bring emotion to the audience just at the perfect moments. I was thinking, “But can he really relate to the ordinary’s like me, or others who are struggling deeply?” He says he could, during a beautiful re-cap of his growing up years, with a mom who worked to put food on the table. But that was a long time ago. I can’t help but think how he’s been living a life of privledge, weath, esteem. Now, forgive me if I’m sounding harsh or dissing him, but this is just how I feel. It’s really hard to tell who a person is…and what his real thoughts are through polished words read over a teleprompter written by a speech-writer.

    And I’m not dissing Obama here. He genuinely may be a wonderful and true person. Only Papa knows his heart. Papa loves him. And I love him too, as his sister in Christ. Besides, I am certainly no one to judge anyone.

    I’m just giving this as an example of what I see across the board when anyone is up for re-election. I just don’t enjoy the salesmanship at all.

    Sorry about that little rant on my soapbox there on your blogpage comment section, Free Spirit.

    ~Amy 🙂

  11. Jeff McQ

    The “celebrity” I’m referring to is not about fame or notoriety, but about image. I feel Obama’s image is “made” by his handlers and by the media that favors him–almost a rockstar persona–and that further clouds our ability to see who he really is. Obviously, there’s going to be some image spin with any public figure, McCain included…but with Obama I think it’s over the top.

    I’m certainly not trying to be anyone’s conscience as far as voting goes…but for clarity, I dind’t suggest voting for the lesser of two evils, but for the one who would do the least damage (read: make the fewest amount of critical errors). One of the two is going to be president, whether I like it or not, and for me voting in this election is a matter of stewardship. I might feel differently if the candidates were different, and if it violated my conscience to vote for either one of them. So “vote your conscience” can also encompass NOT voting, if need be.

    About the whole teleprompter/speechwriter thing…as I alluded to in my response to Sarah, one of my problems with Obama is that his image is so polished that we have a hard time seeing who he really is, and what he truly stands for. And in my experience, that usually means that if we DID know that information, we might feel differently about him.

  12. Mork

    You did a GREAT job of selecting your present Commander in Chief. The world applauds you (well) –

    All I can say is – BETTER LUCK THIS TIME!!!

  13. Kansas Bob

    I agree with your thoughts about voting (or not voting) in accord with your conscience Jeff.. another way that God leads us. I also agree that image is a big ingredient of this election.. why else would McCain tout his POW image so much? It comes across to me like Rudy campaigning on his 911 exploits. There is image/celebrity all over this election.. if your eyes are open to it 🙂

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