The Un-Sure Thing
When you're making real history, it's difficult to live up to it with mere words and promises.
The forum created for Obama actually looked like THE forum. With it's giant columns, it resembled a Roman temple from which an oracle would reveal his vision of the future.
But in the end, it was the same old same old: More money for teachers. More jobs. No outsourcing. Affordable college. Better healthcare. Lower taxes for the "middleclass." And, of course, "We" are patriots too.
Obama accused his Republican opponent of being out of touch, clueless and wrong. Fair enough. But for a candidate who promises to transcend the old politics, the old ways, all this stuff is as old as the seven hills of Rome.
Maybe the problem was the setting. No one, short of a real rock star, could have succeeded in that setting. That Obama could draw such a crowd (85,000 people) is amazing in itself. But did he deliver the rhetorical goods? Did he manage to connect with the voters he needs to win this election? Not last night.
He was out-performed by just about every other important speaker at the convention, from Hillary, to Bill, to Biden to Kennedy to his wife, Michele. Obama's speech was essentially the same one he's been giving for the last six months. There were no surprises. No memorable moments.
Last night was the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. In a very real way, Obama's mere presence on that stage, is King's dream (and ours) coming true. A man of African-American heritage being nominated and having a real shot to become the next president of the United States.
Now, he has to win it based on the content of, not only his character, but his ideas, judgment, record and experience. It is in these areas that Barack Obama becomes a tough sell.
His ideas and voting record, skimpy as it is, reveal not only a liberal but a very liberal politician. His judgment will continue to be questioned on matters large (the war and the surge) and small (his past associations with a radical black preacher and white domestic terrorist from the 1960s) until Election Day. His experience when it comes to governing or running anything is slighter than slight. It is virtually non-existent.
In an election year where the Democrats have every advantage, they nominated a candidate who can be easily (and accurately) portrayed as too young, too raw, and too liberal for many Americans to vote for.
Every candidate has their flaws. Hillary had plenty. So does John McCain. But the voters, at least, know them. Obama remains a cypher, a hollow man. He can talk the talk but is there any there there?
As a basketball player, Obama likes to stay on the perimeter and shoot 3-pointers with nobody guarding him. That doesn't win presidential elections. To win the Oval Office you've got to be able to take it hoop; to take contact and score in traffic.
The Dems nominating Obama is like an NBA team drafting an 8th grader. He could be a great one but it's way to early to tell.