Monday, January 22, 2007
From The New York Daily News…
Obama’s the elephant hunter Dems need
By Stanley Crouch
During a recent stint as a guest on a radio talk show, the question was whether or not Sen. Barack Obama would become the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 2008.
It seems to me that if Obama does become the candidate, it will be because the donkeys have not lost their minds to the extent that they would think that Sen. Hillary Clinton could possibly get to the Oval Office. Why? No matter how far in the background he tries to keep himself, Bill Clinton is too large a shadow, there to remind the astute of the Lurleen Burns Wallace story.
In 1967, Wallace followed her husband, George, with a run for the governorship of Alabama. With Alabama governors not allowed to serve consecutive terms, Lurleen and George admitted frankly that if Lurleen was elected, George would continue to make the administrative decisions. The apparent purpose of Lurleen’s candidacy was to make sure that her husband's segregation policies stayed in place. She won with 63% of the vote.
Whether or not they are getting along on good terms, Hillary Clinton cannot expect voters or the opposition party to take her on her own terms. This will hold her back. The separation from her husband’s reputation as gun-shy may have been the deepest reason for initially supporting the Iraq invasion, and it may have been her biggest mistake, because now, as she changes her position, Clinton will appear to be making decisions with a wet finger in the wind.
Beyond that, we must remember this is more a media age than a human one and the TV cameras do not love Hillary Clinton, who seems brittle and self-righteous on video. In person, however, she has extraordinary charisma. That is why her campaign for senator of New York included running all over the state. I don’t know if a whistle-stop presidential campaign will work for a candidate in our time.
Obama, on the other hand, is not only good-looking but gains power on television, which probably has as much to do with his attraction to the liberal moneybags of Hollywood as anything else. He also has a very good-looking wife and has made an obligatory confession about his earlier drug use, which in our time of talk show redemption should not work against him.
That Obama is the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from the Midwest should not hurt him when we saw even lifelong redneck Strom Thurmond speak of praying with big, black Clarence Thomas and his blond wife before his Supreme Court confirmation, as if race and miscegenation were issues Thurmond had never thought about. Now is another time.
What of Obama’s lack of experience and his apparently favoring almost anyone who will give him money? The experience factor will not work against him because he appears to have a sort of optimism that does not put him at odds with the many factors that need to be improved to ready this nation for global competition. The acceptance of money from interests opposed by environmentalists will not be an important issue.
But above all else, I think that Obama is actually positioning himself for the race in 2012, which may be an open sky of possibility if the Democrats lose in 2008. That is a defeat he would share, because there is little doubt that Obama will be the second half of the ticket in 2008 if someone else becomes the presidential candidate.
By 2012, however, he should have gained experience in Washington, be an even bigger fund-raiser and be perfectly ready to take down whomever the elephants have to offer.