Lately it's been Barack, Barack, Barack and more Barack. Will he run? Should he run? Is he Dems greatest hope?
Everybody from Joe Klein to David Brooks to Timmy Russert to Eric Alterman have been either writing or talking about the guy. Or both.
I hear his book is fantastic. I heard his first one may be one of the best written political memoirs ever. I probably should read them sometime. I would like to get around to them. Why?
Obama is certainly and interesting guy. He's extraordinarily charismatic, bright and articulate. He draws the occasional Jack and Bobby Kennedy comparisons. People see and hear Barack Obama and they immediately are flush with two things. One is hope and the other is identification.
We all can find something about Obama which we can identify with. He has an uncanny ability to be everything to everybody and in an unthreatening way. Bill Clinton may have been charismatic, bright and articulate, he gave lots of people hope, but the Right considered him to be a major threat. The Clinton hatred has always been visceral. Obama is not like that. You can rarely find anyone, even in the blogosphere, who has a bad word to say about the guy, let alone an intense hatred.
For me, I watched Obama with great interest at the 2004 Democratic Convention. I am an American Indian, half-white as well, and one thing people should understand about all minorities is we have a sort of kinship with each other. I have a great reverence for Black and Hispanic leaders and historical figures. I identify with them. We care about the same issues, often live parellel lives. So when Barack Obama stepped onstage, I already considered him as sort of a fellow brother-in-arms.
Then he pretty much blew the whole country away.
Barack Obama will forever be remembered for that speech. It may actually be one of those things that a guy can never top. For those moments, he was everything our country and the world could hope for. He hit all the right notes, said all the right things and did it with great passion and energy.
Ever since he has been the fastest rising and brightest superstar in politics. And, you know, he for the most part has lived up to the hype. He can be frustrating for sure. Those of us on the Left get exasperated with his willingness to wrestle with issues. We wonder why he has not called for the impeachment of the President. We wonder why he has not yet leapt over a skyscraper in a single bound. Or bench pressed the whole world just for the fun of it.
The expectations for the guy are probably too much to ever live up to, yet I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing.
Because it gets back to hope.
When there are great expectations there is great hope. People of all stripes look at Barack Obama and envision a better way of life, a better country and a better world. He simply instills that in us. Almost irrationally. I find myself agonizing over a vote he has cast (voted for Condi, ugh!) or a statement he made that I do not agree with and then, I hear the guy speak and it is all over. I just keep thinking: "Wow, how great can Obama be?"
So I am saying he is going to run for president in 2008. And, you know, I may not even vote for the guy in a primary. I am much more in line to vote for somebody like Russ Feingold. I do not know at this point.
However, what I do know is this.
The stars are aligned for a candidate for so only so long. You get very few chances to truly step in and make a serious run for the presidency. If any chances. Right now, Barack Obama is at his peak. His reputation will never get any better. He is practically a walking God/Rockstar.
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