Today's Tom Friedman op-ed, entitled Help Wanted (Times Select subscription needed), talks about one of the strongest reasons for an Obama presidency:
it is his potential to repair the broken relationship between America and the world.
He ends the piece with:
Which brings me back to Mr. Obama. I believe that what has propelled his candidacy up to now — more than anything — is that many Americans have projected onto him their hunger for community, their hunger for a president with the voice, instincts and moral authority to make it so much harder for foreigners to be anti-American or for Americans to be anti-one-another.
I don't know too much about Obama yet and so I haven't made up my mind about Obama vs Hillary (or any of the other Democratic candidates). I saw Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention back in 2004, and he was incredibly inspiring! The kind of "inspiring" that you want in a leader. What I don't know about him yet is whether he has enough experience and knowledge to do a good job. Certainly the caricature of him is someone who doesn't have enough knowledge. I realize that these caricatures are just that; each of the Democratic and Republican candidates are hampered by their own caricatures. I hope to learn more about him over the next year.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton seems totally on top of policy issues and seems to know her stuff inside out. I saw her talk here at Google (she was interviewed on stage by Eric Schmidt), and I just got the feeling that I agreed with all the policy points and priorities she made, and that she was incredibly knowledgeable. But, and this is the unfortunate part, I didn't find her particularly inspiring.
Is it more important to be competent and knowledgeable or to be inspiring? Can't we have both?!