Monday, October 23, 2006

Another Two Cents on Senator Obama's Presidential Tease

A lot has been made of Barack Obama's tease this weekend about possibly throwing his hat into the ring for 2008. I think it is a good move, both in terms of his chances to get elected and in terms of his ability to govern.

The line frequently heard is that he is too unseasoned. He needs more time in the Senate to mature. I must confess, I'm not sure what that means. Perhaps the problem is that at this point, he's insufficiently co-opted by the establishment. Maybe it's that he hasn't had enough time with big money lobbyists, another half a decade or so would fix that right up. More time in the Senate is supposed to educate him about what? The process? Foreign affairs? These are things he can only learn in the Senate? Is it that he needs more connections on Capital Hill to govern effectively, lest he be another Jimmy Carter? Please explain to me what a term and a half would give him that he is now lacking. It sounds to me like the Republican line that nominated Bob Dole.

I think it is a good move for him politically because his star can shine no brighter than it does now. He has nowhere to go but down. The longer he waits in the Senate, the more he gets tarnished with votes against bad bills that have nice things for grandmothers packed in so that he can be portrayed as a hypocrite whenever he says he loves his grandma. He is near or at the zenith of his possible popularity, so waiting would only harm his chances.

I think he would be good for the Dems and good for the country. His nature would do wonders for the campaign. His lightness is the opposite of Hillary's heaviness. The dour nature of Democrats after decades of getting our heads handed to us could be transformed. He is not a magic bullet for the party's ills, but he is a smart man who does seem to care. Yes, he has been wishy-washier in the Senate than many of us would prefer. But people grow into the Presidency in ways one does not in the Senate or any other position. He seems to be starting from a good place to grow from. I see no good reason that Senator Obama should not run.