Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sen. Obama's chances are growing . . .


. . . as a major conservative voice concedes

Today I awoke to a rather surprising column in my local newspaper. Written by the Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer -- a Bush-era conservative if there is one -- the column was accompanied by a full-page picture of Barack Obama confidently and reflectively looking skyward. The headline in big block letters read 'Plausibly Presidential.' The sub-headline indicated that 'Obama has limited experience, questionable convictions, troubling connections. But he has a first-class intellect and temperament, and that may get him elected.'

The column starts this way:

Krauthammer's Hail Mary Rule: You get only two per game. John McCain has thrown three.

After praising McCain's support for the 'surge' and his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate ("Her subsequent fumbles have taken the sheen off of that play, but she invaluably solidifies his Republican base"), he finds fault with Sen. McCain's handling of the recent economic bailout plan. Mr. Krauthammer then turns his attention to Sen. Obama:

In the primary campaign, Obama was cool as in hip. Now he is cool as in collected. He has the discipline to let slow and steady carry him to victory. He has not at all distinguished himself in this economic crisis -- nor in any other during his national career -- but detachment has served him well. He understands that this election, as in 1980, demands only one thing of the challenger: Make yourself acceptable. Once Ronald Reagan convinced America that he was not menacing, he won in a landslide. If Obama convinces the electorate he is not too exotic or unprepared, he wins as well.

Did Charles Krauthammer really compare Sen. Obama with Ronald Reagan? Well then, how does he stack up with Gov. Palin?

Like Palin, he's a rookie, but in his 19 months on the national stage he has achieved fluency in areas in which he has no experience. In the foreign-policy debate with McCain, as in his July news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Obama held his own -- fluid, familiar, and therefore plausibly presidential.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said of Franklin Roosevelt that he had a "second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament." Obama has shown that he is a man of limited experience, questionable convictions, deeply troubling associations (Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Tony Rezko) and an alarming lack of self-definition -- do you really know who he is and what he believes? Nonetheless, he's got both a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament. That will likely be enough to make him president.

I am deeply impressed by Mr. Krauthammer's concession. It is evidence marking the end of the media campaign.

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