Warning...political opinions appear throughout the following book review. If you're likely to be irritated by the discussion of politics in this previously politics-free blog, don't read the post below. And please, no "gee Joe, why did you have to go off on a political tangent like this? I used to like your blog..." comments. You don't have to read this! Consider yourself warned.
After reading John McCain's Faith of My Fathers a couple of years ago I thought I'd found my candidate for the 2008 presidential election. But as the war in Iraq has dragged on I've become increasingly concerned that McCain will be more of what we've already had too much of over the past 7+ years and, without sounding too cliche, it's time for a change. Btw, that's coming from a guy who twice voted for George W. Bush...a decision I've grown to deeply regret.
So how about Obama's The Audacity of Hope? Has he won me over through his New York Times bestseller? Not necessarily. As I read this book I could see any of the candidates saying much of what's presented here. I didn't find any one thing that jumped out at me as the key reason why I absolutely must vote for Obama. The book is well written and I feel it gave me a glimpse of the man, his life, family, etc., but I'm hard-pressed to say it's a vote-getter.
Obama is clearly an extremely bright man and I'm in tune with his thoughts on investing in education, technology and a health care system that provides for the needy. Then again, who wouldn't be?! If you close your eyes and think about it, doesn't that sound like any one of the other candidates talking...from 2008, 2004 or perhaps even earlier? To be fair, the book was originally published two years ago and the political landscape has changed a bit in that time. Anyone interested in studying Obama's stance on the latest and greatest issues would be better served by visiting his website or following his blog.
I definitely feel this book was a worthwhile read. It added some depth to the superficial candidate dialog and bickering that makes the six-o'clock news every night. It's hard to believe we have seven more months of this ahead of us...
P.S. -- At this point, Obama probably has my vote. But that's as much the result of my lack of interest in the other candidates as it is my heartfelt support for Obama. While that's not exactly a ringing endorsement, I don't think he'd be any worse than the guy I voted for the last two times.