I also don’t buy into the whole “hope is here, and I’ll bring change, yup, I’ll do it, but I’m not telling you how yet, you’ll just have to wait and see” approach. Telling me you’re going to change things and giving me very little to go on to trust you, like any other politician, to do just that and change things for the better is worthless. I need the straight facts and not a sugarcoated feel-good version. I think it’s nice and all that Obama is a wonderful, inspirational speaker, but that’s not enough for me to get his vote. He has plenty of explaining to do on his end for his policies.
(Excerpt from a post by commenter SMD at John Scalzi's blog)
I'm hearing it everywhere these days. You've read it on dozens of blogs and message boards by now, you've heard people saying it in conversation, right? Yeah, the "Obama is the Chosen One Who Will Lead Us To Paradise" meme is getting old. But on the other hand, you just can't claim he's not a candidate with substance. Yeah, he talks about "change" and "hope" and such a lot without getting into policy-wonk shit in his stump speeches. So did Bill Clinton. So did Ronald Reagan. It's just good politico-speak. You know who did give speeches filled with policy-wonkery? Al Gore and John Kerry, and look how well that worked out. I mean, I'm a sucker for a good policy wonk as much as the next lefty intellectual - but that shit just doesn't play to the masses, y'know?
And here's the real thing: it takes all of thirty seconds and a few clicks, and you've got all the substantive platform issues you could possibly want from Barack Obama. Just go to www.barackobama.com, pick whatever your pet cause is from the "Issues" dropdown menu, and you're soaking in it.
Barack Obama on energy policy:
Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Obama's cap-and-trade system will require all pollution credits to be auctioned. A 100 percent auction ensures that all polluters pay for every ton of emissions they release, rather than giving these emission rights away to coal and oil companies. Some of the revenue generated by auctioning allowances will be used to support the development of clean energy, to invest in energy efficiency improvements, and to address transition costs, including helping American workers affected by this economic transition.
Barack Obama on foreign policy:
The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don't like. Not talking doesn't make us look tough – it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. On challenges ranging from terrorism to disease, nuclear weapons to climate change, we cannot make progress unless we can draw on strong international support.
Barack Obama on health care:
The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.
Barack Obama on Social Security:
Obama is committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. Obama will protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries alike. And he does not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age. Obama is strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security.
Obama believes that the first place to look for ways to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax applies to only the first $97,500 a worker makes. Obama supports increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security and he will work with Congress and the American people to choose a payroll tax reform package that will keep Social Security solvent for at least the next half century.
I think you get the idea. Look, I don't care if you agree with his ideas or not. That's not the point. You may disagree with every single position he holds, you may think he's not the right man for the job, you may think that Hillary is the right man for the job, you may want Hillary to be the one to answer the Batphone when Commissioner Gordon calls at 3 a.m., doesn't matter in the least. The point is that claiming that Obama lacks substance is pure, utter bullshit. His positions on every major issue that confronts the United States of America are right there, easy to find for anyone interested in them.