Jay Reding.com

The ESPN Candidate?

I was wondering why Barack Obama was ESPN, but was at a restaurant and couldn’t hear what he was saying. However, apparently Obama’s performance got quite a stellar reaction. Right now Obama is being touted as the anti-Hillary, the candidate that the Democrats think can win over the electorate in a way that Senator Clinton cannot. That’s almost undeniable – even without the sound, Obama looked comfortable and seemed like he was having a good time. The guy’s charismatic, for sure.

Obama’s problem, as John Podhoretz points out is that Obama’s appeal comes from his personality, not his politics. Politically, Obama’s as liberal as they come on nearly every issue. Right now he gets to ride high on the anti-Hillary bandwagon, but Podhoretz also points out that getting into a bruising battle with the Clinton smear machine isn’t in his best interests. Why bother when he can knock out Hillary in 2008 and set himself up as the leader of the Democratic Party in the next Presidential cycle?

I agree with Podhoretz. Obama’s not a dumb man. He could beat Hillary, to be sure, but he’s suffer a hell of a lot of scars in the process which would tarnish his superstar image. He has a long and very successful political career ahead of him — why waste that when he can keep his powder dry and wait until his nomination becomes the sort of coronation that Hillary expected?

Barack Obama will almost certainly be one of the superstars of the Democratic Party, and his oratorical skills are some of the best the Democrats could hope to have for a leader. However, he’s also an adept politician, which is why I don’t think we’ll see a serious Obama run in 2008. He’ll fan the flames, but when he has the opportunity to see 2012 fall right in his lap, he’s smart enough not to let that get out of his grasp.

Whenever Obama runs, the Republicans better have one hell of a candidate ready to run against him, because Obama’s going to be a difficult person to beat, even with his liberal policy record. He’s one of the people who has the style necessary to connect with the American people, and that’s golden in politics. Even if he bows out of 2008, it won’t be because he can’t win, but because he knows he can, and he doesn’t need to rush to take the Oval Office if he so chooses.

6 responses to “The ESPN Candidate?”

  1. Mark says:

    “He has a long and very successful political career ahead of him — why waste that when he can keep his powder dry and wait until his nomination becomes the sort of coronation that Hillary expected?”

    Remember Mario Cuomo? It’s a tough call for Obama. His time in the spotlight won’t last a decade. A new “next big thing” will have been discovered by then. And if Obama’s appeal is ever to get elected nationally, it’ll be in the outer space environment of 2008 where an electorate is desperate to get out from under the Clinton/Bush dualing dynasties. Will the same be true in 2012 or 2016 when he has a long Senatorial record of “flip-flopping” for the opposition to exploit? I’m not convinced.

    “He’s one of the people who has the style necessary to connect with the American people, and that’s golden in politics.”

    You’re right about this. Image is everything in Presidential elections, and Obama has tremendous appeal for independent voters. On the other hand, he’s not battle-tested in a street fight. In the Illinois Legislature, he was easily elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic district in Chicago, and then drew a virtual bye into the U.S. Senate once Jack Ryan dropped out. Will voters see an entirely different Barack Obama (who is far less appealing than the one we know) when the heat of a national election dogfight lands on his doorstep? The Dems had better hope they don’t find out the hard way.

    Furthermore, what red states can Barack Obama win? I’m not seeing Brian Williams declaring on Election Night 2008 that “Georgia goes for Obama”. Or even Missouri for that matter. In the end, his down-the-line liberal political ideology will undo his bipartisan outreach efforts, and his urban political background will likely further diminish his nominal red state appeal once its sufficiently scrutinized.

    Those are early concerns of mine regarding an Obama nomination. While he’s probably not ready for primetime, he might marginalize himself by waiting. Nonetheless, if it truly comes down to a Hillary vs. Barack nomination process, I’d take Obama in a heartbeat.

  2. zzx375 says:

    “Will voters see an entirely different Barack Obama (who is far less appealing than the one we know) when the heat of a national election dogfight lands on his doorstep?”

    I think Mark has picked the major question regarding Obama.

  3. Aaron B says:

    Well lets say this. Americans are desperate for a presidential candidate who is not seen as a Washington establishment fixture, or a cccccpower hungry conniving politicrat. I think people will be surprised to see that voters might be more interested in folks like Mike Huckabee, Tom Vilsack, Barack Obama and Rudy Guliani. All folks who are generally not seen as career, partisan washingtonians bent on holding power.

  4. Kate says:

    Senator Obama is not as charismatic as everybody thinks he is. Check out his announcement interview on Meet the Press from late Oct/early Nov.; not that impressive really, as several commentators have noted. While he is undoubtedly one of the finest orators in politics today, his hype will overshadow his other abilities within the next year easily. Still, it’s fun to watch Senator Clinton sweat.

    What do you think about stories saying Mayor Giuliani may possibly run as an independent? Would you still support him if he did? I agree that Governor Huckabee could generate interest for Republicans (though at this point a nomination looks unlikely) just because he’s got a great personality and is hilarious; check him out on the Colbert Report from this summer.

  5. M. Murcek says:

    I’m not that interested in Obama one way or the other, but the spectacle of watching Hillary! go critical (as in thermonuclear) upon losing the 2008 nomination would be soooooo sweet…

  6. I am voting for Barack Obama. As his detractors says he has no experience. The way this country is now being run, does it matter? But the main reason is I realy liked his ESPN promo for the Chicago Bears from a NE Patriot fan.