Passion and Intelligence May Not Win Election

Vartanoosh Kiourktzian

America has finally been given the chance to elect a president who is smart and charismatic, no longer are they stuck making a decision between the lesser of two evils.

With Bush’s approval ratings at an all time low and Democrats being the majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, people are ready for a change. Democratic candidate Barack Obama has fresh ideas about the war, foreign policy and social security. Obama is passionate about the things he believes in. He speaks about real issues instead of distracting voters from the war and economy and does not focus on fluff issues such as gay marriage like President Bush has been doing. With all this said, does he have a chance at being the first bi-racial president of the U.S.? No.

Obama has many things working against him, one is his lack of experience. Despite being in the Illinois State Senate for seven years, Gallup polls from Feb. 16 show that 40 percent of people said his lack of experience would make him a bad president. Which is nothing more than a cop-out.

His opponents, the Republicans, voted for President Bush who only had eight years as governor of Texas under his belt. Bush has had the same amount of experience as Obama if not less. Maybe his daddy being former president somehow meant he knew more about running the country than his 2000 presidential opponent Al Gore, who served in the House for eight years, then as a senator of Tennessee until 1993 when he became Vice President under, Clinton.

Lets not forget John Edwards. Edwards will beat Obama in the primaries and not because he has better ideas and better plans for the U.S. but because he is the more traditional candidate of the two. He is a white male and was raised in a Baptist church. In a 2004 interview with Kim Lawton of Religion and Ethics News-weekly, Edwards said that since the death of his son in 1996, religion has been very important to him.

This religious aspect can be especially helpful when it comes to getting conservative votes. Edwards is almost like a modern day Kennedy and the people deserve someone like him, especially after seeing an inarticulate and tongue-tied president like Bush in office for the past six years.

Then there is the matter of Hillary Clinton. Among Democrats, she is perceived as being the most qualified and having the largest chance of beating a Republican candidate in the election. Despite Obama receiving a lot of coverage for being a minority candidate, the average American is much more likely to recognize Clinton’s name and photo than they are Obama, who is the least recognizable of all the major contenders.

Hillary Clinton also has the support of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who is still very popular. Clinton is currently ahead of Obama in the polls, with 40 percent of the Democratic voters support and 60 percent of voters from both parties that say she would make a good president, while only 53 percent believe Obama would make a good president.

She is currently ahead of her Republican opponents as well; she leads John McCain by a 52-46 margin and has a 49-48 point margin over Rudy Giuliani.

And what about minority voters? Is the color of Obama’s skin enough to ensure that he gets black Americans vote? Bill Clinton is extremely popular with black voters, so much that writer Toni Morrison, a Nobel laureate, in 1998 named him “the first black president.” Clinton’s popularity with black voters will be a big asset to his wife.
Many minority votes are also thrown out. In the 2000 election, 54 percent of the discarded votes in Florida were those of African Americans. In Ohio, 35,000 votes were rejected, a majority of them those of blacks. Obama should not take the minority vote for granted.

Unfortunately Obama is not only trailing his Democratic opponents but his Republican ones as well with 52 percent of registered voters, both democrats and republicans, saying they would rather vote for Rudy Giuliani.

If the race came down to Giuliani and Obama 28 percent of Democrats would vote for Giuliani. Recent Gallup polls show that many voters feel he does not have the best chance of defeating a Republican candidate in the presidential election and a staggering 40 percent of Democratic voters feel Clinton has a better chance, then Edwards with 27 percent and Obama coming in last with 21 percent.

Obama should just save his time and money, and run when voters believe he has a chance of winning. Now I’m not saying that Obama has no chance. You never know, pigs could fly.