Sunday, June 18, 2006

Don't overreach, Barack

My favorite senator, hell, my favorite politician, Barack Obama, is the subject of a Washington Post story today about his national appeal and the heavy requests on his time. The gist of the article is that Obama should consider running for president in 2008.

I love Obama, but I believe 2012 is his year, not 2008. Here's why.

First of all, he is so scant in national experience, and so lacking in executive experience, that to run so quickly for President would only hurt him. This is an extremely intelligent, gifted, and humorous man who would only be damaged by an early run. It would be far better of him to follow the Kennedy example and wait to be reelected to a second term in the Senate before going for the presidency. This gives him a chance to build his experience level, to have more meaningful involvement in legislation and national issues. Now, you have to start running two years before the actual election, giving Obama 18 months in the Senate, not nearly enough time to have an impact.

Furthermore, Obama is a true uniter, far beyond the meaning given that word by our current president. He doesn't seek to unite parties, he seeks to unite people, to break down the walls. As a mixed-race man with an odd name, he's dealt with a lot, and fought through it all. He has a natural grace with people one-on-one, as I saw recently on Conan O'Brien. His 2004 convention speech was magnificent, so much so that I wrote this:

In probably 8 to 12 years, this guy could and should run for President. He has presence. He has compassion. He has energy. He has desire. He has the blood of America running through his veins, a mixed-race guy who has been breaking barriers. If there is going to be a black President, it'll be him. I cannot wait to see what he does in the Senate, because I think he'll tear the house down. He's totally different from most politicians, because he isn't so much political as he is pragmatic.

I'm still impressed today. There is nothing this man can't do if he tries, but I simply believe he would be better off with more national experience, or he should run for Illinois governor in 2010 so he can have executive experience. Senators aren't great for presidential runs because they are usually older and long-winded (Dole, Kerry, Tsongas, etc.), but Obama would be an exception, like JFK, because of the force of his personality.

The article is a good read, and I'm happy to see the man get his attention, but as today marks Father's Day, I was even more excited to see the fact that he rejects Sunday appearances because that's his family day. That's the most important thing of all.


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