Will anyone with a microphone ever ask Obama what qualifies him to be POTUS? NRO did the investigation that was sitting there waiting lo these many months to be done, and found that, surprise, Obama's ability to get people excited about Obama is all he has ever really accomplished. Unfortunately, he is very good at that, though. Tom, I am not a subscriber - are you able to forward me the article? Hopefully someone with a broader readership and whose name is not Hannity will pick up on the NRO piece, but I ain't holding my breath.
When it comes to lasting accomplishments, Obama's list isn't very long. His greatest hits seem to have been a successful effort to convince the city of Chicago to locate a jobs placement office on the far South Side and his part in a drive to push the city to clean asbestos out of a housing project in the same area. What else? A few other things; nothing big. [Through the course of my investigation] I got the sense that Obama's greatest talent was his ability to convince people to believe that it was possible to change things, not to actually bring about much change himself.
Obama has been selling the message of change since his organizer days. His gift, then and now, was to convince people to believe in him. Obama, not long out of college, didn't have much experience to qualify him to be an organizer. But he was black — a threshold qualification for this particular job — and he seemed able almost to work magic on those he encountered. "He didn't have experience," Augustine-Herron told me, "but he had a sensitivity that allowed us to believe that he could do that job."
In the media age, does personality trump policy? Is it more important to be a charismatic leader than to have a proven record of effective leadership? Do we hire now based on potential rather than performance? Is a well run campaign sufficient qualification for office? Interesting times.
My hope is that Obama is peaking, and that he can only become less popular, not more, as people get to know him. My fear is that he is so engaging that everything else matters less, and that compared to the awkward lump of porridge that is John McCain, and the lukewarmness he engenders among right-leaning voters, Obama's charm and rhetoric will shine too brightly to overcome. I especially fear this in light of the two or three appointments to SCOTUS that the next president will make.
But it's not a fear that is really fear, the kind that makes one noticeably afraid, not like a snake at the ankle or a crazed killer with knife aloft behind the refrigerator door.
I preferred being on vacation with no news. It was simpler. I like simple. Just the waves lapping at the beach and occasionally a bird snatching a fish, that was pretty good.