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Sarah Miller Asks Obama Exactly What I Would If I Could

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Photo of crowd at Los Angeles debate in January by shredded77 via Flickr

Last Friday, Sarah Miller's Open Letter to Barack Obama in the LA Times Opinion section caught my eye. Got me thinking. Had me nodding my head. I'm not the only one, as the comments on her letter are getting heated. As an Obama supporter, she raised some concerns about his seeming inability to be concrete and clear about how he is different from Hillary Clinton. In short, Sarah Miller asked Obama to be specific so that people could know why they were behind him, other than wanting radical change in how our country is run.

Hope is an empty diversion without substantive, original arguments on issues. When will you discuss rebuilding New Orleans? Can you offer creative thinking on the Iraq war as it currently exists, instead of just reminding people you opposed it years ago? Why don't you demonstrate a respectful, nuanced view of the Middle East instead of referring to the "the terrorists," as you did in a recent debate? How do you envision the United States' role in Africa's many dire problems and conflicts? How do you plan to fix our decrepit infrastructure and invigorate the economy in just and environmentally responsible ways? Will you argue for the value of a well-regulated, domestically produced food supply, favoring produce over commodity crops, for our safety and environmental health? What are your positions on international trade agreements? Do you have creative ideas for generating more affordable housing in our cities? And how will you handle the responsibilities of the presidency when you can't unite and persuade, as will inevitably happen sometimes?
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I agreed with Miller's points. Bravo! I thought. This is exactly the kind of letter I would have written to Obama if I'd thought of it first. She asks him the very questions I would ask him if I had the chance. I was sure, though, that last night's debate would change all that, rendering her letter both effective and no longer needed. I fully expected Obama to lay it all out there and be clear on his big plans, rather than just seducing with big speeches. I was wrong.