Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at 11:50 AM

UPDATE: It’s TIME: Run Obama run

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Last Summer, after it became clear that her ties to the quagmire in Iraq made her unelectable, I abandoned my crusade for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to run for president of the United States in 2008. Then, in October, after a number of his closest advisers persuaded me that – despite his coy demeanor – he was planning to run, I jumped on Senator Barack Obama’s (“I think he can”) choo-choo campaign train.

But over the past two months, Obama’s train has grown so big and gathered so much speed that people are now talking about him, not as the candidate who could, but as the one who would be, the next president of the United States. And his remarkable apotheosis in this respect was consummated last weekend when an unprecedented gaggle of reporters followed him to the bellwether state of New Hampshire to cover his keynote address at – what was heretofore – an uneventful fundraiser for the state Democratic Party.

But, where no one was surprised that he dazzled the sold-out crowd with his Audacity to Hope speech, everyone, including reporters, seemed in awe of the excitement he generated even at local coffee shops and bookstores.

Indeed, here’s what veteran party strategist Charles Campion said about witnessing the political deification of Barack Obama:

In all my history, nobody’s ever had a crowd this big, this early.

For his part, Obama has been keen to at least pretend that he’s not buying the hype – insisting that he’s surprised, and that his wife is positively baffled, by it. All the same, he is clearly fulfilling a yearning on the liberal side of the American political divide for a credible anti-Hillary candidate.

But, with his telegenic appeal, Ivy-League education, bi-racial and intercontinental background – which makes him the personification of America’s multicultural aspirations, and his precocious (even prescient) political skills (he predicted today’s state of affairs in Iraq with uncanny accuracy), it’s not at all surprising that Obama is being greeted everywhere like political royalty:

He had the true spirit we’re looking for….I do hope he runs. I haven’t been so excited by omeone since JFK, when he was campaigning when I was 10 years old.

[Kathryn Frieden, a physician from New Hampshire]

Meanwhile, Obama’s political adversaries (most notably die-hard operatives from the Hillary camp) have already begun spreading negative stories about him. And I suspect these fellow Democrats are behind the perverse dirty trick to exploit anti-Muslim bigotry by purportedly outing Obama’s middle name: Hussein. But the way Obama addressed this would-be liability will not only disabuse most people of their cultural ignorance, but also erase any lingering doubt that he has the temperament and smarts to be president:

It would be one thing if my name was John Hussein Smith, then this might be a real problem. When you are already starting with Barack Obama, you know, let me put it this way. If my name is going to be an issue, than I don’t think my middle name is relevant.

Now, stay tuned for the “keep your black paws off our white women” ads that worked so well against Harold “call me” Ford in Tennessee (see Related Article below).

Finally, apropos the JFK reference, it behooves anyone who supports Obama to consider the grave concern he and his family must have that he may emulate the Kennedys by getting assassinated: either like Bobby – as he’s poised to be elected, or like John – at some point during his presidency.

After all, this prospect loomed as such a clear and present danger that no less a hero than former Secretary of State Colin Powell – who was as celebrated a potential presidential candidate in 2000 as Obama is today – decided the risk to his life was too great to run….

Nonetheless, I hope Obama has the courage, ambition and desire to heed this historic calling. Because, as new convert Jeff Hughes declared so authoritatively in New Hampshire on Sunday:

Right now it’s his opportunity, his time.

Related Articles:
It’s TIME: Run Obama Run!
Black Ford vs. White Corker in Tennessee: Who’s really playing the race card?


  1. Kira September 6, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Sorry to disagree with you, Tony, though I feel Senator Obama deserves this special place in Oprah’s heart and mind. If she didn’t interview Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his Democratic campaign opponent, why would Oprah invite Governor Palin on her show at this critical late date in the campaign? Quite frankly, she continues to be shielded from having to experience the indepth vetting of others and, therefore, should not have the exposure that the Oprah Show would provide her.

    Oprah made the right decision!

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