The general rap on Barack Obama is that he is too young, too inexperienced – not ready.
The trouble with these “charges” is that they are too vague to be useful. Jack Kennedy was younger. Bill Clinton was about the same age.
What matters most in selecting a new President has less to do with age or experience and more to do with:
- Character – which goes beyond simple honesty; it is the core of a person that instinctively always seeks the right way of doing things without sacrificing principles or honor. Obama has displayed integrity consistently throughout the past year and throughout his life.
- Intelligence – is not only about being book smart as evidenced by his outstanding education and law professorship but also his great emotional intelligence in how he conducts himself as a candidate and reaches people through his books and speeches.
- Temperament – is a crucial characteristic in leadership; it is an amalgam of calm determination, depth of sensitivity to other people, sense of humor and sufficient detachment to see the world clearly. He has consistently displayed a solid, deep unflappable temperament all this year and throughout his adult life.
- Judgment – is about people (good and bad), right and wrong in life generally, policy choices and how and when to move fast or slow, hard or soft. He has exhibited extraordinary judgment in conducting himself the past year in tough debates and on many other matters including the
- Iraq War – In addition to the qualities listed above, he brings to the challenges of the Presidency a wider range of personal exposure to worldly experience than almost any other person who ever sought the Presidency – in Asia, Africa and at home in the U.S. That experience translates into a better understanding of global issues.
He had a slow patch in the campaign this summer and heard more advice on how to deal with it than he may have wanted or needed. But, he listened well and integrated what he heard from many sources, putting it to work in his own way in his own time. That is what great leaders do – they listen and then decide and act. They should never be weathervanes. Through all this he has shown us in the course of the campaign that he has the stuff of great leadership.
At the end of the day a key question for voters to consider is – what is the candidate in this for? I believe Obama is in this race more for the country than himself.
I hope this is all food for thought for thinking voters.