If I were a liberal Democrat tasked with finding the ideal candidate to take back the White House in two years, I would try to find an extremely intelligent, well-educated individual with a fresh face, an articulate voice, a charming manner and no political baggage.
This person would be male and a member of a minority group.
He would not yet be a household name, but would be in a position to become one. He would be in his forties, not unlike John F. Kennedy in 1960 or Bill Clinton in 1992. He would come across as the only candidate talking about new approaches to old problems. He would have the ability to get lots of press without appearing to crave the spotlight.
Most important to the liberal extremists who run the Democratic Party, this man's moderate demeanor would successfully belie his leftist political ideology.
In short, this dream candidate would be exactly like U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL.Barack Obama is a savvy, charismatic, articulate liberal who could very well be the Democratic Party's best hope for recapturing the White House.
His background is intriguingly diverse. Born in Hawaii in 1961 to a black father and a white mother, his early education took place in the most densely populated Islamic country in the world, Indonesia. He holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
His impressive performance as a speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention made the party's presidential nominee, John Kerry, seem dull by contrast.
In case you missed Sen. Obama's flawless performance on Meet the Press (his performances are almost always flawless), his appearance will no doubt be lauded as "refreshingly frank," and as "not politics as usual." Asked by NBC's Tim Russert to define what makes a great president, Obama said that a great president causes the people to think differently about their country. He then used two Republicans and a Democrat as his examples: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.
Barack Obama is the anti-Hillary Hillary. His positions on the issues of the day are every bit as radical and leftist as hers.
The difference lies in his ability to sell it. In an age when political baggage can kill a candidate's chances of success on the national stage, Hillary Clinton is dragging around overloaded steamer trunks filled with negative poll numbers. Obama is encumbered by no such weight. Should he decide to seek the presidency in 2008, he will have served as a U.S. senator for a mere four years, preceded by two terms as an Illinois state senator. Yet he comes across as wiser than his experience would suggest. He answers coyly to Russert's question, "Are you ready to be president?"
"I don't think anyone is ready to be president until he becomes president," Obama replied.
Clearly, Obama is beginning to think he is ready. But let's take a look at just where he stands on a few of the key issues.