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Michael Barone
Michael Barone
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Young Voters Should Take Another Look at Obama


Dear Young Obama Voter,

Congratulations. You have truly changed America. Those of you under 30 voted 66 percent to 32 percent for Barack Obama, an unprecedented margin. Your elders 30 and over voted for him, too, but only by a 50 percent to 49 percent margin. You converted a 2000-like margin to a solid majority and added significant numbers to the Democratic majorities in Congress.

You voted, as your candidate and our president said, for Hope and Change. But I ask you to consider whether the policies that the president has proposed and in some cases pushed through really amount to that.

I ask you to examine them through the prism of a book published in 1999, when most of you were too young to vote: "The Future and Its Enemies," by Virginia Postrel (an Obama voter, too, by the way). Postrel assesses policies based not on whether they are liberal or conservative but on whether they are dynamist — promoting or leaving room for change — or stasist — tending to freeze institutions and people in place.

By my reckoning, the Obama policies are more stasist than dynamist. The unions' card-check bill, which he backs, would effectively abolish the secret ballot in union elections and impose mandatory federal setting of wages and work rules after 120 days of union-management negotiations.

Centralized mediators would determine your pay and work rules, modeled perhaps after those between the United Auto Workers and what we used to call the Big Three automakers. They have 5,000 pages of work rules. Don't change that light bulb — you have to wait for the right union guy to do it. Is this the way to enable you to exercise creativity and initiative in your work?

Then there is the cap-and-trade bill to address what we are told is man-caused global warming. Noble intentions here. But it means paying more for electricity in the meantime for a very distant goal. A similar law in California is threatening blackouts. Renewables sound great, but the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. How is holding down economic growth going to help you to shape your future?

And there is health care.

The intention here — Obama said it back in 2003 and hasn't denied it since — is to send us down a road that leads to government-provided health insurance. His latest trial balloon is a centralized medical procedures board that would decide what treatments the government would pay for and wouldn't.

This would inevitably stifle innovations in drugs and medical devices — stasism, not dynamism. Centralized government isn't fast on the uptake. I've lived nearly 10 years longer than my grandfathers did because I take pills that didn't exist when they were alive. Don't you want the benefits of innovations and discoveries, like tailored genetic treatments, which don't exist yet? Freezing health care is stasist, not dynamist.

Let's take a look also at foreign policy. You probably didn't like the Iraq war very much, although you might have noticed that we are headed for victory there now — with Obama's help, I should note. But I suspect that you do want America to be a force for good in the world.

That leads me to wonder whether you were dismayed when Obama responded with stony indifference to the people in the streets of Iran protesting a fraudulent election and demanding freedom and democracy. Some called for the end of a regime that subordinates women and executes homosexuals, things I'm sure you don't like at all. Although Obama eventually indicated some sympathy, he seemed to regard those demands as a nuisance getting in the way of negotiating with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.

The foreign policy experts call this "realism." I call it statist. It leaves America standing not for hope and change, but for the status quo and despair.

I am sure that you find it inspiring that America elected its first black president (I do, too). And I am sure you appreciate Obama's openness to alternative lifestyles, although you may have noticed that he, like George W. Bush and unlike Dick Cheney, opposes same-sex marriage.

The larger point is this: You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?

Your friend and admirer,

Michael Barone

Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




3 Comments | Post Comment
So sorry for you after reading your editorial. I could just see you getting all puffed up on how you're going to change everyone's minds on Obama. Your bad...seriously. After the last eight years of crap, excuse us for thinking this guy is amazing. Pretty much that's your fault for putting in office the " Village Idiot". My friend, a devout Republican, told me eight years ago that I was right, Bush was a moron. He said and I quote, " But the Republicans aren't' idiots and they are going to totally use him". Well that worked out well. Eight years with NO functioning brain cells in the White House!!!!!!!! A trillion dollar fake war and thousands of dead Americans not to mention thousands of dead Iraqs'. How about an economy in the toilet and when asked Bush said he didn't know it was that bad. He was and is the laughing stock of the whole world in his shit kicker boots!

Democrats on the whole are NOT racists so it was no big deal that this brilliant guy was black. Enter the Republican reaction to a black president and we have a whole new movement of White Supremacists. You were disappointed in his reaction to the Iran riots. They said he did the absolute smartest thing by saying it was horrible and butting out. You would have probably wanted a Bush Fake War scenario. Sorry Mike not enogh soldiers! They're all dead or maimed.

My son and his wife and my daughter and her husband are all registered Repubs and they all voted for Obama. This even though my son is one of the ones Obama wants to tax as he makes well over $250,000 thousand a year. My sister and her attorney husband are all Repubs and voted for Obama. All of them said that they would all remain Repubs but NEVER vote Repub again. They said it's the best. They can say the worst things against the Repubs and no body says anything cuz they're "Repubs"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry Mike but don't look for the young ones in 2012. They're far more savvy than you give them credit for. They''re all repulsed by the Becks, Limbaughs, Coulters, Ingrahans, Reillys. Somebody stop me please cuz I could go on al lday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment: #1
Posted by: peggy sloan
Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:11 PM
Dear Mr. Barone,
I find your article "Take another look at Obama" quite intersting from a certain point of view. From the look of your picture, I am about your same age and ethnicity.
Your addressing the "Dear Young Obama Voter" to me opens the door to the Social Dominance Theory of In-Groups versus Out-Groups. You write your article as if you are speaking for the youth or young Obama voter, but in fact speak for yourself and your social group identifier of, white, middle age, male. Of course there are other identifiers of your social group, but youth is not one of them. I counted at least eight times you wrote on different issues, but always insinuating as if you spoke for the young voter who voted for Obama. I have to admit that this is a "slick" approach, but one that I at least noticed.
To me you did little to hide your position, one that I believe represents your "Social In-Group", but at the same time you came across under the guise of supplanting the feelings and thoughts of young Obama voters.
This is a "sly" piece of journalsim that to me reveals your "in-group indentifiers" and their accompanying biases and the projection on to the "young Obama voters" Out-Group and your biased view of them.
Larry Coonradt
Comment: #2
Posted by: Larry Coonradt
Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:49 AM
Re: Larry Coonradt
Mr. Coonradt. I was a student of yours in the 2001 Human Services class at los pinos. If this is the same Mr. Coonradt, would you e-mail me at:
Comment: #3
Posted by: matthew
Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:49 AM
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