My good pal, J, doesn’t think much of Barack Obama. Today she sent me a New York Daily News opinion piece by Charles Krauthammer, Time for a Rude Awakening, basically calling Obama a cult leader who is weaving a spell on poor, easily led, gullible Americans. (Hmmm…I think we’ve just been through seven years of that.)

I want to share what I wrote my pal (with a few edits):

Hi J!

I can certainly understand there are many questions about who Barack Obama really is and what he can do for us. We should absolutely ask these questions about any candidate who might be our president, no matter how long he or she has been in the public eye.

What bothers me about the Krauthammer piece is that it feels like he is playing what I’ll call the cult card. Turning passion and excitement and a feeling of hope that is drawing young people to vote in record numbers into a bad thing by giving it a scary label. That’s an old political trick.

I would guess that he and the Daily News have their own political agendas. They do back Hillary after all. Could they be playing the only card they’re comfortably allowed to play, the cult card?

Now that doesn’t mean Hillary might not be the better candidate. She might. Although I back Obama, I think Hillary is great too. But, to me, it feels like they are using fear to make us afraid of Barack Obama. Fear of hope??? Labeling a gifted orator as dangerous because they say he smacks of religion and cult-like vibes? Oh pullease!

Krauthammer didn’t even make any effort to dig deeper in this piece. He didn’t say anything about the many policy solutions you can find on Obama’s website nor his intelligence nor the kind of life the man has led nor that he is not averse to rolling up his sleeves and digging in with the people around him to get things done – as he has in Illinois.

He is a leader in the best sense. He can inspire a crowd, and he can also inspire those he will work with to help solve the many problems we have.

Not that I am saying Obama is perfect nor that he won’t have real obstacles to overcome. Lord knows he will have huge ones that won’t all be solved in one year – or even one term. But I am voting for a leader. And a leader does inspire.

And speaking of leaders, unlike McCain, a good leader doesn’t cave to every political wind. Barack has shown us that he is not one to easily cave. He stands by his principles, even if sometimes they don’t make the best sound bytes. But he also works with others to find solutions.

On a slight tangent, did you read what McCain just did? He just voted, in effect, to support waterboarding – after just this past November reaffirming that he finds it reprehensible. And this happened (surprisingly!) right after he met with a group of ultra-conservatives who coincidentally just gave him their support.

Clearly, we have a lot more to fear than a man with passion who gets people excited about believing in government again.

Now, I know in politics no one has all the answers. Who knows? Maybe you and Krauthammer are right about Obama. I hope not, of course. But I sure am willing to take a chance on someone who at the very least can get people involved at a level we haven’t seen in ages.

Fear not…we’ll hold his feet to the fire as we would anyone. One thing about most of us is that we can see pretty quickly when an emperor has no clothes. In this case, at least, he has a brain.

With love,

Ronnie Ann