Well, since now is the time to divulge our feelings about the man, I’ll join the fray. I think Obama is a compelling and attractive political figure. He’s got charisma. He’s legitimately bright. I thought his 2004 Convention speech was outstanding. I disagree with Myrna about the David Caruso comparison because it doesn’t take into account the fact that there is an enormous yearing out there for a black president (as opposed to a successful Irish-looking actor with an Italian last name). This yearning is largely bipartisan among political elites and in much of America as well. Of course, Republicans want the first black president (or vice president) to be a Republican and Democrats want a Democrat. Personally, I think it’d be great to have a black president. Though that doesn’t mean any black candidate would be good for America.
Regardless, my point is that more than anything media elites just really want a “moderate” black guy or gal in the Oval Office (more than they want a woman). One can almost hear Katie Couric’s heart palpatating over the prospect. I think the mainstream media would give an Obama candidacy tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in free media and serve as firewall against negative campaigns. I agree with Rich that Obama should run now, in part because Senators get stale very quickly and politicians should always seize their moments (I’m talking strategy here). But also because I don’t think Obama can afford to wait for another “minority” to get the nomination and win. If Hillary runs and wins. Obama’s prospects plummet. If Hillary runs and loses Obama’s prospects plummet. The Democratic Party won’t throw up two identity politics candidates in a row. If Condoleeza runs as VP and wins, the novelty over Obama evaporates as well.
One last point about Obama. If he were a Republican, the left would be vicious about his “Oreoness.” He grew up in Hawaii. His father was an African, not an African-American and Obama’s life story has almost no interaction with traditional American black culture until he launched his political career. His mother is white. His name gives the impression that he’s got some radical Afrocentrist credibility. But the truth is, it’s just an African name. I don’t hold any of this against him. Why would I? But, I think the double standard he benefits from is just one of the things he’s got going for him.