Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Obama starts with 2 strikes against him in 2008 race

Some good points in this article:

While mainstream media have seemed intrigued by, but not obsessed with, the senator's heritage, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the extreme right blogosphere. There, one seldom reads any reference to Mr. Obama that does not make pointed reference to his middle name: Hussein. Then there are those who observe that only a single consonant separates his surname from the first name of the al-Qaida leader who launched the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It is such nakedly puerile slander that your first response is to laugh. Then you remember how that same blogosphere managed to turn the war hero John Kerry into a "traitor" and the Texas Air National Guardsman George W. Bush into a war hero - and it seems much less funny.

Barack Obama is a black man with a Muslim name (though he is not a Muslim) who would be seeking the presidency in a historically racist nation currently at war against Muslim extremists. One wonders whether there is enough handsomeness, intelligence and charisma in the world to overcome all that.

For my money, Mr. Obama's signature asset is not his brains, his looks or his magnetism. Rather, it's this: He seems reasonable. Though unabashedly liberal, he does not come across as a prisoner of ideology. He seems a man who can be persuaded by logic. It's an attractive trait, made more so by the fact that we have seen it so rarely in government in recent years.

The question is whether it will be attractive enough to offset concerns about inexperience and transparent appeals to xenophobic fears.


Obama starts with 2 strikes against him in 2008 race

January 21, 2007

President Obama?

No, not yet. But the intention of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois to move toward that goal seems clear with last week's news that he is forming an exploratory committee to raise money toward a possible White House bid next year. Count me among those who regard it as a foregone conclusion.

Strike while the iron is hot. Isn't that what the axiom says? And whose iron has ever been hotter than Mr. Obama's? The man is a combination plate of handsome, intelligent and charismatic that has his supporters giddy. On the other hand, the battlefield of presidential politics is littered with the bones of rock stars for whom the giddiness of supporters was not enough. John B. Anderson and Ross Perot come to mind.

There are two obvious pitfalls facing Mr. Obama.


Post a Comment

<< Home