Candidate’s inexperience minus

Barack Obama is one of the more promising presidential candidates to come along in the last few years.He’s easy on the eyes, speaks well and claims to be a moderate. He sounds like a shoo-in. However, it’s likely there’s more hype than substance to this presidential hopeful.

Obama’s voting record is very short and, from what we have seen, has been extremely liberal. An independent, liberal, political organization, Americans for Democratic Action, gives Obama a 95 percent liberal rating, which matches Sens. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

His Illinois and U.S. Senate votes show almost unquestioning support for unions, abortion and gay marriage.

Among his campaign contributors are George Soros, People for the American Way, pro-abortion groups and teachers’ unions. This support makes it unlikely that Obama would be able to change his positions without angering his Democratic base in the primaries. And good luck trying to get votes in Red States with a pro-abortion stance.

Also, Obama is still on his honeymoon with the press. The newspapers seem more concerned with the swooning crowds around Obama than the candidate himself. And that means Obama-mania will probably be alive and well in the press for at least a few more months.

But at some point that lack of a long public history could present some problems for the senator. Inevitably, the “Who is Barack Obama?” stories will come. And, since Obama has a small public record, the press will probably make up whatever they want – for better or for worse.

Young presidents do not have the best track record. The list of presidents in their 40s include Bill Clinton (impeached), Ulysses S. Grant (scandalized) and John F. Kennedy (shot).

When I bring up Obama’s relative youth, 46, and his short time in the Senate, those concerns are usually addressed by something like, “Well, Kennedy was young.” What the statement fails to take into account is that Kennedy was not a good president. He launched a failed invasion of Cuba, philandered with other women and nearly let the United States be annihilated in a nuclear holocaust. Kennedy’s story should caution voters against electing inspiring, but inexperienced, politicians to the presidency.

One factor Obama enthusiasts continually point to is his race.

Obama was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white, Kansas mother. This gives Obama a racial and cultural identity profoundly different than any former president. However, while this may be thoroughly exciting to white people, I suspect the black community may not be as enthusiastic as white Democrats expect. Obama has what was fundamentally a white, middle class upbringing, which distances him from the typical black experience. Again, this works great for white voters because it arouses no feeling of racial guilt, but black voters may not connect with him the way most Democrats expect.

A new face on the political scene is a welcome change, especially after the rabid partisanship of the last eight years, but I hope voters will be cautious about who they choose to support in the next election. Obama has some promise, but I suspect he will not be the cure-all Democrats expect.

Tyler Fultz is a senior history and political science major from Indianapolis.