I see this a lot. And usually “The Reason People Voted for Obama” is followed by things like “is he’s black” or “they were won over by his celebrity”. It seems that people who did not want him to win and did not vote for him are certain of the reasons that people did vote for him. And the reasons pretty much come down to insulting people who voted for Barack Obama as “blinded by the light.”
Now, I don’t assume everyone who voted for George Bush was stupid. In the second time around, his opponent was John Kerry, who struggled to rise about the hits he took. Bush’s side simply did a better job. Kerry was not inspiring, I had a hard time believing he would successfully fix what was wrong. So, I made a “devil you know” choice in 2004. Of course, maybe a Kerry/Edwards win would have saved Edwards from becoming one of the great political douchebags of our time. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I am… ambivalent about my vote in 2004. People had many reasons to vote for Bush… they loved war, hated gays, hated the poor and loved big oil… (okay, maybe I am being overly sarcastic here)
I also do not presume everyone who voted for McCain was afraid of a black man being president.
But I didn’t vote for Barack Obama because I thought he was some Messianic Flawless Politician who would successfully keep all his campaign promises. I mean, seriously people, things will interfere with an administration’s goals. Obama said he would work towards bi-partisanship. And George Bush said he was a uniter, not a divider. Bush was going to bring our nation together. Turned out he could not do it.
But here is the point. I did not vote for Barack Obama because I was blinded by anything. I did not vote for him out of some misguided notion that he would not make any mistakes or would never do something I disagree with. I would have preferred he not try and push on health care reform while we needed to get the economy stabilized. I would have rather he focused on things like Guantanamo, DADT and DOMA.
But I voted for Barack Obama, in large part because John McCain had a meltdown. The hints were there when they tried to hook Democratic women unhappy with the treatment of Hillary Clinton by taking on Sarah Palin as a running mate. Palin has one great skill, pandering to her base. But other than that? She was a one note, not ready for the big leagues politician. She speaks in empty rhetoric (Pitbulls and Mama Grizzlies are more empty and vapid than “Hope” or “Change”. Those are two words with concrete meaning).
McCain seemed to try and recapture his fire, and I have spoken of his admirable traits and lamented what happened to them after losing in 2008. But if his total meltdown in September of 2008 was a sign of things to come (and, shock, it was), I lost faith in the man. Plus, he seemed to be interested in carrying on much of the Bush policies (another issue I have with Obama’s Presidency so far). I mean, it was great he condemned water-boarding and all… but he did not seem to be putting forth an argument that he would heal what ailed us as a nation (to get all Glenn Back on you).
So, no, I was not blinded, I voted for Obama because he was the better choice. I still believe that, finding both the post election McCain and Palin sorely lacking in the leadership department. Unless Twitter and Facebook postings a leader make.
I am sure there were people who voted for Barack Obama simply because he is black. But then, I know people who voted for George bush simply because “he’s a Christian”. Some people vote for symbolism. The rest of us weighed the options and chose the candidate we found least wanting.