Twice today, I read posts, one linked by Instapundit, the other on Powerline which pretty much “get at” my take of Obama, a basically decent guy with very far left views. Maybe I haven’t yet come to dislike him (despite his evasive speech on race) because he reminds me of a certain type of lefty I dealt with in college.
You’d often find these guys in the library reading articles in a great variety of news and opinion magazines, making sure at least to skim the conservative ones to familiarize themselves with their ideas. They would always talk to me when we bumped into each other on campus, ever eager for my take on the latest controversy at the college or event in the world.
They would show up when conservative speakers came to campus, either asking intelligent (but pointed) questions and sometimes even engaging the speaker in heated (but civil) discourse after his talk. (As I noted in the first post in this “series”.) Sometimes, they would invite me to events of liberal campus groups, even small discussion groups, ever eager to include me in the conversation or otherwise solicit my opinion.
While these students held some pretty extreme views and thought mine similarly out of the mainstream, they were always decent, always civil. And so it seems is Senator Obama.
In the first article I referenced, Michael Barone takes note of the candidate’s “habit of stating his opponents’ arguments fairly and sometimes more persuasively than they do themselves.” Just like those liberals I knew in college.
Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff points out, “other conservatives who knew Obama at Harvard have recalled that Obama treated them well” adding that he takes the Illinois Senator “to be a basically decent person who, other things being equal, will generally treat people on the other side of the political and ideological divide well, but who finds increasingly, as he moves up the ladder, that other things are not equal.” (Make sure to read Carol Platt Liebau’s piece which Paul references in his post.)
Contrast that with the way the brusque treatment his rival for the Democratic nomination often offers her rivals and political adversaries.
While I could never support Barack Obama for president, these two pieces remind us why he has become such a compelling candidate for so many Democrats. He may have a record that is far to the left and a flair for dodging tough questions, but he has shown a willingness to understand his adversaries’ ideas. I would just rather see him leading a seminar at a university than serving as chief executive of the greatest nation on earth.