Over the weekend I had the opportunity to read (or actually hear) Senator Barak Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. I have included much of this opinion on the book on Amazon as a review. The purpose of reading the book was to simply know more about the man who may be our next President. So I pushed aside any preconceived notions I may have had and listened to Obama read to me as I traveled along I-49 en route to New Orleans with an open mind. This is what I learned.
First, Obama is a genuine person just as I suspected. He is a family man devoted to his wife and children. He loves his country. He is proud of his heritage and his accomplishments, but he is hardly boastful. He is honest. He has a lot of ideas for making America a better place. And, he has a realistic and accurate perception of the political atmosphere in Washington. There are too many trivial things keeping us from tackling very un-trivial issues. Obama knows that and he isn't afraid to point it out. That is perhaps what most appeals to conservatives about him. His ideas are what appeals most to progressives. And, politically speaking, he is very far left.
In the interest of space, I will address just a few key issues he mentions. He is pro-immigration. He points this out by discussing an encounter with a Latino family on the campaign trail. It was touching and sweet, but the issue of illegal immigration and the national security threat it poses (and the accompanying economic drain) was left open. I don't know what he would do to secure our borders. He believes in the threat of global warming and wants to eliminate our addiction to foreign oil. Sounds great. But there wasn't much detail about how he would do it and how it would affect us, the voters, except by saying that he would stop government subsidies to oil companies and spend more on researching alternative fuels. He believes in government sponsored health care and described how he wanted all Americans to have health insurance. Again, it sounded wonderful, until he described how he would pay for it. It sounded incredibly familiar - by "rolling back" the Bush tax cuts on the top 1% of wealthy Americans. That's when he officially lost my vote. Either he is lying, or he simply doesn't understand just how expensive this sort of plan would truly be. The average Australian pays 49% income tax for their government health care. Hillary Clinton's plan in the 90s would have called for at least that much. I don't believe Obama is a liar, so I'll chalk it up to a simple inexperienced underestimate. Either way, I feel Barak Obama would raise my taxes significantly. There wasn't much about the war on terror and the global threat of Islamofascism. The omission was quite troubling.
All in all I'm glad I read the book. I've read many books on Hillary Clinton and, compared to her, Obama is a far better choice. I disagree with him politically on just about every issue, but I share his concern for America's future and his genuine love of family and country. He is a decent person with true intent. I wouldn't have a problem trusting him, unlike most other Democrats in the race, but I do have a problem with his ideas. As much as I respect him, I simply don't think his plans are the best course for America.