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Obama and McCain - your thoughts/opinions on the American presidential candidates

(230 Posts)
Earlybird Fri 25-Jul-08 13:32:05

Is Obama all charisma and no substance? Or is he a breath of fresh air politically speaking - offering hope for real change? Is he politically experienced enough to be president, or is he largely the X-Factor presidential candidate (huge momentum created by media adoration/hype but at some point the bubble will burst revealing a manufactured candidate?)

Is McCain too old, too conservative and/or too dull? All substance and no charisma - so doomed to fail with the media/public due to importance of image/soundbites? Or a man of experience and integrity who will guide the country with a steady and experienced hand?

As a Mumsnet member based in America, am curious to hear how the candidates appear to those who don't get their news through the US media. Am particularly interested atm as Obama is in the midst of his International tour.

bagsforlife Fri 25-Jul-08 13:39:56

Obama getting good press here at the moment. A lot of coverage of the speech in Berlin etc, but have noticed a few reports suggesting he is not as popular with the 'ordinary man' in the USA as he is here. My daughter has been in the USA at university for the past year and she is sure McCain will win (the general public in USA a bit 'suspicious' of Obama). I would say the press here are generally pro Obama but with reservations from the broadsheets, realising the way he is perceived in the USA. DD was appalled at what appeared to be censorship of the press in the USA. How do you find it?

Earlybird Fri 25-Jul-08 13:54:36

Hmm - what do I think...not sure, really. Obama seems the future, McCain seems the past.

I find it difficult to know what either candidate actually stands for, apart from the hype. There has been some coverage saying that their policy proposals are actually fairly similar, but the deciding factor may be which 'messenger' the American public 'likes' more.

Obama seems articulate, passionate, able to connect with the public. However, many don't trust him due to the handful of extreme/divisive characters who have been a large part of his past (minister, etc). Yes, he's separated from them now, but he was very close to them (and presumably influenced by them) for decades.

McCain, in contrast, seems old and dull. Many aren't excited by him but see him as a pair of 'safe hands' - one who might not make huge/sweeping changes (for good or bad), but won't be disastrous.

I think some people are wishing Hilary was still an option, and are sorry she's out of the race.

noddyholder Fri 25-Jul-08 13:55:52

Obama is very media friendly but i just can't take to him for some reason Don't trust him

bagsforlife Fri 25-Jul-08 13:57:13

Sorry what I meant was do you think the press is slightly 'censored' in the USA generally?

MsDemeanor Fri 25-Jul-08 13:59:06

Obama says nothing at all. It's all guff, hot air and platitudes 'now is the time. time for us all to forge a bright new future. time for the people to join together to get back to work, to fight those who would oppress us. Yes, now is the time. A new time, a fresh time. A time to put aside the past and look to the future...." ad infinitum.
McCain looks like a clapped out old man.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 14:02:49

i am an american and a minority american as well and i can tell everyone right now, there is no way obama is gonna win. it's a good effort and very pragmatic, but America is not ready for a President Barack Hussein Obama. the common American just won't be able to tolerate it. Not in texas where i grew up and not in maryland where i was born.

Earlybird Fri 25-Jul-08 14:04:34

Typically, the media is thought to be liberal and would therefore partial to the Democratic candidate Obama. Certainly, he is 'new' and 'fresh' and much more of an exciting story than McCain who is old school and sometimes referred to as a 'charisma free zone'.

Perfect example: Obama in Berlin speaking to huge crowd. McCain in Ohio at a German restaurant campaigning to the average man in the heartland. One story is obviously much more exciting and 'sexy' than the other - and the media creates and sustains the hype. Not sure if that is censorship though.

QueenMeabhOfConnaught Fri 25-Jul-08 14:05:13

MsDemeanor - LOL - just what I thought, I feel Obama is on a bit of a "Kennedy trip". I do like the look of him though and think he has potential for the future.

eandz, I think you are right - I can't see Americans voting for him, simply because of his colour.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 14:09:54

although i would love obama to win. if he wins i'm most certainly moving back to the democrats usually make education cheaper and more grants/scholarships are available to people like me.

Earlybird Fri 25-Jul-08 14:12:00

eandz - you may ultimately be right, but the polls don't currently support that assertion. Obama is slightly ahead in many places, and certainly has the momentum.

I think historically, you would have been right - that Obama would never be elected. But the demographic composition of the American public has changed dramatically, and it is no longer mainly a white/Republican/conservative country.

It will be very interesting to see which candidate gets the Hispanic vote - previously they supported Hilary Clinton.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 14:21:15

Earlybird- the same thing had been said about Kerry though. and i have no idea how bush won that one.

Although I really hope I'm wrong. I think Obama would at least clean up a little bit of the mess Bush has made and would definitely make a good jump on things as far as foreign policy is concerned.

I also wonder about the Hispanic vote, although I've noticed that the Black vote in the southern states is weary of Obama and the growing Muslim vote isn't very happy with Obama as of late. Obama's church situation has made others a little bit cautious of his ability to jump sides...but then again I only go home once a year so my information is more than lacking in current information.

Earlybird Fri 25-Jul-08 16:09:03

eandz - how long have you lived outside the USA?

I know quite a few people who genuinely like Obama and want to see him elected. But most of them say they think he probably needs to spend more time in politics before becoming president. There is a great deal of sentiment that he would probably be a much better president in 2012 or 2016, with more political/governmental experience under his belt.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 16:55:39

I've been away for two years. I do go home once/twice a year depending on how badly I miss taco bell/target/family.

Obama is very likeable. I don't find him wet behind the ears like some might; purely on the fact that less credible/qualified people have been elected as president before. I do think that because America isn't ready for a non wasp for a president he might have to work a bit harder to actually get into office.

Saying this however makes me feel like pointing to McCain has run for president how many times? I don't want Obama to run soo many times that it feels like watching a dead horse being beat again and again. This is the closest McCain has ever come...

I really hope my gut is wrong about Obama winning because it would definitely do everyone a lot of good for a democrat to do what they do best (cleaning up after the republicans).

olyoly Fri 25-Jul-08 18:36:40

eandz- I have to agree with you about most Americans not being ready for a black president.

Personally, I can't warm up to Obama. I can't put my finger on it, but I would never let him watch my children. Does that make sense? McCain seems harmless enough, though definitely not interesting/exciting. But I would let him watch my children (hypothetically).

That said, Obama seems smart. Very smart. I am interested in seeing if Americans go with what is comfortable (my guess) or if they are willing to elect the first black president.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 18:59:11

i just saw your profile. i grew up in houston. and buy all my cars in dallas.

i really don't think America can rise to the challenge. Throughout all school (i went to three different uni's) debates the sentiment that condoleeza rice and colin powell are/were seen as ornamental installments always surfaced...(by the general public of course).

FeelingDeviant Fri 25-Jul-08 19:17:40

Press seem to be lapping up Obama here in the UK.
McCain seems like an old old man.

It's a long long way to November, but if I had to place a bet, it would be on Obama because he will take the swing voters. His policy on withdrawal from Iraq will also be attractive to Americans who see it linked to the downturn in the economy.
Anyway, that's how it all seems to me from this side of the pond.

Was working in the states during last election and was shocked at the 'censored' news coverage and razzmatazz. Couldn't take it seriously and was gasping for news outside the bubble.

eandz Fri 25-Jul-08 21:22:07

i've stopped trusting my fellow countrymen...after bush won the second time i realized there was something very wrong going on.

UnderRated Sat 26-Jul-08 02:18:39

Interesting thread

Olyoly, having seen Obama with his DDs, I think I would leave DS with him.

I would love to see him win but I am not convinced that he will.

Earlybird Sat 26-Jul-08 02:29:58

I am curious about Obama's family background. He had an African father, who played very little role in his life, and was mostly absent. He was mostly raised by his white Mum. Is she still alive? If so, I don't recall ever having seen her, or even a photo of her.

Interesting that he relates so much to his black heritage/identity when he had a mostly white upbringing. Anyone have any idea why that is, or care to hazard a guess?

UnderRated Sat 26-Jul-08 02:57:35

His family background is interesting. I think his Mum died in 95 or thereabouts. ime, African Americans are very proud of their heritage; all Americans are but I have several bi-racial friends who consider themselves to be black. I suppose, in a country where people are often judged by their appearance, it is natural to know about and relate to the part of you that other people notice?

One of the things that I like about Obama is that he has not only travelled but lived in very different places - Hawaii, Indonesia, LA, NYC, Boston and Chicago's South Side (which is like a whole other world). There are not many Americans who have lived overseas and I really think it has made him far more empathetic and understanding of other people and the way the world works.

olyoly Sat 26-Jul-08 03:10:49

Eandz- Houston? Very different from England! It must be nice to escape the summer heat and humidity.

olyoly Sat 26-Jul-08 04:51:39

So few Americans have lived or will ever travel overseas - do you think they put much stock in a President being worldly? It seems that many Americans see the rest of the world as incidental.

More worrying is the racism that still exists in much of the country. I met with an attorney last month regarding a will and he commented that in Dallas you are 'either rich or you are black'. angry Why would he make a racist comment to a near stranger???

One person's comment is not indicative of an entire nation's attitude, but I worry that we are not ready for Obama (regardless of his politics).

UnderRated Sat 26-Jul-08 05:09:58

No, I don't think you average American will care about their President being worldly at all. Which is a great shame. I was talking to someone the other day about living overseas and my experience of the USA. He said, "Oh, I understand how hard it must have been for you with the culture shock. I lived in Iowa for 2 years." And he was totally serious. As if moving 2 states away, to a different part of the midwest, was just like moving to a new country. Now, I know Iowa is rural and um, different, but it's not quite the same, is it?

Racism is rife. I have never seen such segregation or blatant racism as I have here. I was totally unprepared for this and will never get used to it.

Califrau Sat 26-Jul-08 05:41:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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