Fellow Columbia ’83’er [yes, on THIS blog, it IS always about me] Illinois’ junior senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President from the state capitol in Springfield, the situs of Lincoln’s “house divided against itself” speech to a crowd of onlookers and supporters… and we’ll be damned if Obama’s message wasn’t largely of the same theme as many of Lincoln’s… we’d better come together, we’d better end a lot of the pettiness of our current political era… that sort of thing.
While I doubt that Barack is going to reach back to his college class for campaign staff [no, I didn’t know him; indeed, no one I know knew him, which is interesting, given that (1) the class size was only around 800 gentlemen– Columbia’s last all male class, and (2) like mine, Barack’s major was political science, specifically international politics; I understand that was a transfer student, he lived off-campus and he kept a low profile]… he enters the 2008 race as the second giant in the race (the first being a former First Lady, with whom I share a birthday and now a state– see above re: “it’s always about me”). This already separates this race from that of 2004, when a group of dwarves vied for the Democratic nomination. (A third Democratic giant will, in my peculiar fantasy, announce his candidacy while accepting a Academy Award in a few weeks… but I digress.)
Most of the blogosphere applauds the third or fourth place guy, John Edwards (one of the dwarves from last time) for hiring two of our own, but then left blogistan is not at all necessarily pleased with the backpedaling “apologies” of those concerned… Let’s just say that as a fourth-place guy (third if Gore isn’t in), Edwards should either show some backbone and take some chances (and let his new hires stand up and be proud of every God damned word they ever wrote)… or he should, quite frankly, get out of the race. But… that’s not how things are done, apparently, at least thus far.
Anyway, Obama (unlike Edwards) remains the shiny new [Lincoln] penny of this race: we still know very little about him, but he continues to impress. Despite his lack of experience, this does seem to be his moment, if he’s going to have one. George W. Bush has, in the last six years [with two to go] left a sufficiently large train wreck where the Presidency used to be so that it looks pretty good that the electorate (except Dixie, of course) will be willing to consider either a woman or a man of color, like never before. Indeed, being a Democrat will be a huge advantage in the next cycle… Well, that’s what I think anyway. Meaning, the time for Barack Obama may be right now.
Assuming he survives the onslaught of smears and attacks he can expect from both his fellow Democrats and from the right… we may be watching the stuff of political magic. Or, he may prove to be a political flash in the pan. Right now… it’s still magic, though… as Mr. Smith Obama goes to Washington…