Obama ’08?

Barack Obama is weighing a Presidential bid in 2008. Obama is probably one of the nation’s best orators, he’s got a life story that’s nothing less than amazing, and he’s a polished, credible, and strong candidate. However, Obama is also a died-in-the-wood statist liberal. As an orator, he’s by far the best the Democrats have. As a politician, he’ll face a much harder challenge than the token opposition he faced with Alan Keyes’ disastrous run in 2004.

Obama is one of those candidates who is certainly a potential Presidential candidate, but whose policy credentials are iffy at best. In terms of sheer star power, Obama has what it takes. In terms of policy chops, he’s a lightweight. The Democratic far left is hoping for someone, anyone to be the anti-Hillary, and Obama is about their best shot. However, Obama has never had to run in the scorching light of a national campaign, he’s never had to be under the intense pressure that it creates, and he’s never had to articulate a policy position beyond his own admittedly incredible life story. Having a great biography isn’t enough to win the White House, and I’m not sure that Obama has the policy chops to pull it off — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he wouldn’t be a formidable candidate for any GOP challenger to beat.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg has some interesting thoughts on a potential Obama run.

3 thoughts on “Obama ’08?

  1. The “far left” — who that is — is hardly lining up behind and Obama run. Those who support an Obama run are more likely to be less involved in the political process or those who who are tired of the same old politics and want to see a fresh voice.

  2. The conventional wisdom about Obama is that his youth and inexperience will stymie his prospects in a “post-9/11 world”. That conventional wisdom is wrong because, for all of the domestic and foreign threats facing our nation, 2008 is poised to be the most superficial, unserious election of modern history. It will the “all Jesus, all the time” election, particularly if Obama is the Democratic nominee, where gratituitous religious overtures will cannibalize the entire campaign. Get ready for months and months worth of awkward campaigning at churches, black and white. Get ready for mindless quotes of scripture sprinkled into every campaign speech. Get ready for Bob Schieffer and Charlie Gibson to waste a minimum of 20 minutes of scarce Presidential debate time grilling the candidates about their faith….at the expense of their views on jobs, health care, education and foreign policy.

    And the cruel irony for the Democratic nominee, whether he/she is Obama or Hillary, is that all of this bending over backwards to accommodate “values voters” will be for naught, just as it was for John Kerry in 2004. The national Republican will continue to distribute literature to every state south of the Ohio River warning voters that a President Obama would seek to outlaw the Bible. Evangelical leaders and the Republican National Committee that carries water for them will continue to tell the faithful that Barack Obama represents the “Democrats nominating a candidate that is more hostile to people of faith than any candidate in its history.” And every attempt to appeal to the self-proclaimed pious will be viewed as phony and artificial, even though the Democratic candidate is likely to frequent a place of worship than the Republican candidate, as was the case with Kerry and Bush in 2004.

    None of this is to say that Obama wouldn’t be a good candidate for President. My personal opinion is that he doesn’t have the experience necessary to command such a position of authority, but I’d vote for him in a second over whichever Republican runs against him. Ultimately though, Obama’s star will fade under the scrutiny of a national campaign. He could very well have a downward trajectory of popularity that McCain or Giuliani would inevitably have if they were the Republican nominee.

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