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Thursday, January 20, 2005


Obama in '08? I don't think so,1,3759698.column?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 20, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
Color me singularly unconvinced by this weak article by Eric Zorn which seeks to argue Obama will run for the Presidency in '08. The only good point is that the longer the Senate record, the weaker the candidate. Maybe it's my Hillary bias but I just don't see Obama as ready for prime time yet. He's an amazing speaker and articulates precisely the vision of Purple Nation that I want to see, but is pretty untested in an electoral sense - I mean, beating Alan Keyes doesn't exactly give Karl Rove night sweats.

full article below the fold for your analysis (trib is reg. reqd).

'08 reasons why Obama will run for president

Published January 20, 2005

"I am not running for president. I am not running for president in four years. I am not running for president in 2008."

--Barack Obama, Nov. 3, 2004

Oh, but he will.

And here, for your Inauguration Day reading pleasure, are the top 8 reasons why the new junior senator from Illinois will change his mind about '08.

1. He can't be sure when the bloom will fade.

Sure, Obama is a huge celebrity now, an eloquent, charismatic embodiment of the best the Democratic Party can offer. But The Next Big Thing multiplied by Overexposure plus Time equals Yesterday's News.

Momentum like he has now is a powerful commodity, and there's no guarantee--not even much chance--that he'll still have anything like it in 2012.

2. The Democratic field appears weak.

Hillary Clinton has come out on top of every survey I've seen in which pollsters ask Democrats whom they'd like to see atop the ticket in 2008.

But I suspect this is the name-recognition factor at work, and that when primary season rolls around, Democrats will see her as a poisonously polarizing figure who will build a bridge back to the 20th Century and those dreadful Clinton Wars.

Other names mentioned along with Obama include John Edwards, John Kerry, Al Gore, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Joseph Biden, Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner, Russ Feingold, Evan Bayh, Harold Ford Jr. and Bill Richardson.

Among average Democrats, Obama's is the only name that doesn't tend to provoke either a yawn, a puzzled look or an anguished cry of, "Please, God, not again!"

3. The Republican field looks weak too.

Vice President Dick Cheney is out of the picture for health reasons, so unless he resigns and someone else takes his place, the 2008 presidential election will be the first since 1952 in which an incumbent president or vice president isn't running.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani might be formidable in the general election but is too moderate to survive the GOP primary process. Sen. John McCain's time will have passed. Ahn-old can't run because he's foreign-born.

There's talk of Bill Frist, George Pataki, George Allen, Mitt Romney, Bill Owens, Chuck Hagel, Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush, but it doesn't leave Democrats crumpled in despair and resignation.

4. Another shooting-star, hope-for-tomorrow politician is coming up behind him in the Democratic ranks.

Four years ago, Obama was a little-known state senator still licking his wounds after taking a 30-point thrashing in a 2000 congressional primary.

And though we don't know who he is today, four years from now, some currently obscure but brilliant young man or woman will be the talk of Washington and on everybody's short list for the 2012 national ticket.

The brass ring may also still be there for Obama to grab in 2012, but ...

5. A long voting record in Congress has a way of muddying the track for presidential hopefuls.

We're often reminded that, though many have tried, only two men in history--Warren G. Harding, in 1921, and John F. Kennedy, in 1961--have moved directly from the U.S. Senate to the White House.

A big reason seems to be that the legislative process demands significant compromises and yes/no votes on often complicated proposals--all of which opponents then twist, chop into misleading sound bites and throw back in your face during campaigns.

6. The chance might not present itself again until 2016.

If another Democrat wins the presidency in 2008, that person will likely run for re-election in 2012. In 2016 Obama will only be 54 going on 55, but reasons 1, 4 and 5 above suggest he won't be as attractive a candidate.

7. He'll have the money.

Obama is the Midas of fundraisers these days, and his spokesman Robert Gibbs says his campaign fund still (already) has roughly $600,000.

8. He'll want at least to lay the groundwork for future national races.

Win or lose, making friends in Iowa and New Hampshire and testing himself in the early caucus-primary season against tougher challengers than Alan Keyes won't hurt Obama's long-term prospects. His political style is well-suited to small-state races.

Gibbs denied again Wednesday that Obama will run in 2008.

Don't you believe it.


He'll want at least to lay the groundwork for future national races.this sounds the most plausible.

let me offer though that our first-past-the-post and mega-sized electorate, and its growing diversity, is leading to a perpetuation of the vanillization of presidential candidates. for example, if you want to count only racism, i would not be surprised if a white candidate would do better than a black candidate in the context of latinos & asians. similarly, a white candidate will do better than a latino candidate among blacks (see the los angeles mayoral race). additionally, 20-25% of americans have been catholic for about 50 years. yet JFK is the only catholic president.

i guess you could say that obama can transcend, but we'll see.

a counterpoint to this issue is that in some ways it might be easier for minority candidates to do well in states where minorities are a relative nonfactor. so, doug wilder was elected governor is less black virginia rather than south carolina or mississipi. ron sims was a relatively uncontroversial mayor of seattle, a city where asians are the main minority.




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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.