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Barack Obama And Richard Lugar

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In the true spirit of Donklephantism, the freshman Dem looks to the senior Repub for guidance on foreign policy.

Obama has struck up a professional and personal relationship with the Republican Chairman of the Committee, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. The two just returned from a trip to trip to Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, where they inspected weapons dumps and sites where WMDs and WMD-related materials were stored. They presented a report of their findings at an event attended by what Curry describes as the “foreign policy elite mandarins of past Presidential Administrations.” Obama got a thumbs-up from all in attendance both for his desire to learn and his quick mastery of the subject at hand.

And oh, the student then becomes the teacher?

It appears that Lugar is getting his share of influence from Obama as well. A couple of weeks ago, the two Senators joined forces to challenge Iraq rationales offered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Specifically, they asked fair but tough and embarrassing questions about the Bush Administration’s fallback plans should Iraqi factions ultimately decide they would prefer to split up rather than remain a united nation.

So, why is this important for the Dems?

I’ll give you one guess:

Many political analysts believe that rather than going far left and adopting an increasingly one note anti-Bush tone, Democrats would be better served to appeal to moderates and other centrists who have recently been voting Republican. In order to be taken seriously as a Party, these analysts argue, Democrats must produce candidates and leaders who can give credible tough talk regarding terrorism and foreign policy. They maintain this is necessary whether President Bush regains his current lost popularity or winds up going down in flames.

The nation seems polarized. At least our politicians do. But the fact of the matter is, we aren’t really. We just have a BIG issue where many people either fall on one side or the other. It’s an important issue, and it’s not the War on Terror. It’s the Iraq War, and it’s coming to a head now and well into 2006. In fact, it’ll probably be THE issue. But that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward now with other important issues and I predict that whichever party embraces the idea that this country needs to truly be unified will also be the party to field the next President of the United States.

I mean, McCain is one good example of a politician who seeks unity. When I do a “politics test”, I don’t agree with many of the things that McCain says. However, why is it that my most liberal friends say, “You know, I’d consider voting for him.” Because, more often than not, he doesn’t jerk us around AND he shows us a side that favors unity. That doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything, but it does mean he’s going to come out and give us a good explanation of why he’s doing what he’s doing. That still doesn’t mean I’ll vote for him, but will I consider it? Absolutely.

And I bet the same thing goes for a voter on the other side looking at Obama in 2016. Yes, 2016. He’s much too young to run in 2008, but he’s coming out of the gate with a moderate voice and a common sense agenda…two great traits. And I believe that as we follow him through the years, he will become the voice who can articulate strong positions to both sides and therefore find ways to build bridges between the party faithful. Now, he’s always going to be more in favor of policies that promote equality over order, but who wants to bet that Obama will seem much more fiscally conservative than Bush ever has?

In any event, it’s good to see this type of news about Obama. I’ll be following his career closely.