Talk about your premature speculation -- still, I'm becoming convinced that Barack Obama will be our next president. What about his inexperience? As long as he doesn't have any Gerald Ford moments on the campaign trail, I think Obama will answer those doubts. He is the only candidate opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning, and, assuming things continue going south in Mesopotamia, that should work to his advantage. Obama cuts a commanding presence; style over substance, perhaps, but when has that been a detriment? And it's not like his opponents (on the Democratic side) are that experienced. The ones that are (like Biden and Richardson) don't stand much of a chance. The Hillary factor. Fifty percent of Americans don't like Hillary. I suspect that number will grow the more they're exposed to her programmed campaign. Being Bill Clinton's wife is not enough. I think you'll see Obama trounce her in New Hampshire, a la McCain over Bush in 2000. But whereas McCain lacked the resources -- and any establishment support -- to maintain his momentum, Obama should have no such troubles. He's running neck-and-neck in fundraising and has picked up some key endorsements, including some former Clinton backers. He's new. Hillary certainly can't say that. Nor can Edwards. Obama represents a sea change -- in philosophy, appeal and approach -- from Bush and the dreaded "politics as usual." Young people will flock to his campaign in numbers that will make his opponents drool. Even Bushies have been seduced:
John Canning has impeccable Republican credentials: He was a Pioneer, one of President George W. Bush's top fundraisers. He's the head of a leveraged- buyout firm. He's the deputy board chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Now he has given the maximum campaign contribution, $4,600, to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
And he's not the only one. He's black. That's no longer a drawback. The people who would not support an African-American candidate aren't going to vote for a Democrat regardless. And they'll be vastly outnumbered by an increased black turnout that'll go overwhelmingly to Obama. Moderate whites will be intrigued by his inclusiveness; he's more Colin Powell than Al Sharpton. The Sally Field factor. Outside of the rube caucus, Americans want to be liked. They're bothered by the low opinion the rest of the world has of us right now, justified or not. How best to change that? Electing Obama, a black man of Kenyan heritage who opposes the war in Iraq and seeks to build global consensus. In many minds, he would be absolution for Bush. But isn't he too liberal? He'd certainly be the most liberal White House occupant ever, but I don't think he'll run that way. And I doubt he'd govern that way. Look for him to follow (Bill) Clinton's lead, running as a centrist and governing center-left. His voting record may speak differently, but ideology isn't going to matter as much this go around. The Republicans are divided. No matter who's their nominee, don't expect him to be embraced partywide. Christian conservatives aren't going to be mobilized like they were for Bush (43) and Reagan. Giuliani would likely be the only one who could beat Obama, but he'd be hurt by a smaller turnout of the base. Fred Thompson? Craggy old white guy vs. attractive young black guy -- who do you think wins? Bet on Will Smith, er, Obama. Have I convinced you? I've convinced myself. This isn't an endorsement, but a reality check. Barring unforseen circumstances (and there's never any of those), Barack Obama will be America's 44th president.