Well, not absolutely, not yet anyway. Neither is my friend Mark, who sent me an email with the subject nearly the same as the title to this posting, this link so I would see the video where he announced formation of a Presidential Exploratory Committee.
Mark tells me that “Don’t tell mama, I’m for Obama” is rapidly getting around as a slogan among Democratic insiders. Mama refers to Hillary. I favor putting his first name in the slogan as well because it gives the slogan a rhythm. You can also sing the line to the Tim Lehrer tune “So long Mom, I’m off to drop The Bomb”.
I like Obama for the fact that he would really help us out in Texas. We have lots of Black Democratic voters here who will fall all over each other getting to the polls to vote for him. This could be just the ticket to retake the state House. I also like Obama because everywhere I look I see that people think he is a coalition builder and can work with both parties.
Frankly, the only negative thing anyone has to say about Obama is his level of experience. He has only held political office since 1996. My friend Don likes to point out that by the presidential election year, 2008, he will have had just about the same political experience as Jack Kennedy. This intrigued me so I checked their CVs and he’s very nearly right.
Prior to becoming President in 1960, Jack Kennedy was Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts for 8 years. Prior to that he was Congressman John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts’ 11th congressional district. He served in that office for 6 years. Total: 14 years, all in federal legislative bodies.
Barak Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and served there until he won his US Senate seat in 2004. It was that year that he was vaulted to national attention when he gave one of the best keynote addresses I have ever heard. So by 2008, Obama will have served for 12 years in political office.
That’s only two years shy of Kennedy’s service but there are two things to point out: 1) Obama’s experience is at both the state and federal level – he has broader experience than Jack Kennedy had – and 2) Kennedy’s years in the Senate were punctuated by time that he had to take out for four spinal surgeries and recovery from them. I know, the second one is rather lame, but there’s that.
And consider this, in 2008, Barak Obama will be 47 years old. That’s four years older than Jack Kennedy was when he was elected in 1960.
Quite frankly the only thing that Obama lacks that Jack Kennedy had is a war record: Obama never skippered PT boats, never got stranded on a remote island in the Solomons, and never was played by Cliff Robertson in the movie that was made about it.
Finally, consider his “Star Power”. People talk about it all the time. Back in the Kennedy years, we used to call that "Charisma".