Barack Obama and the Making of a VP

You would have to be of living on another planet not to have noticed the oohs and aahs regarding the freshman senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.

Ever since his “coming-out party” in 2004 as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Obama has garnered much fawning praise, and is now considered as a contender for the White House in 2008.

Pardon me for sounding decidedly contrarian when speaking of  Obama’s presidential aspects, but I would sooner believe that Howard Dean had become the archbishop of Canterbury.

But what of Mr. Obama himself? Do you think he believes it? Well, he might upon seeing his name so celebrated after barely being sworn in on Jan. 4, 2005. On April 18, 2005, Time magazine designated Obama as one of “The World’s Most Influential People,” citing Obama as a “Leader and Revolutionary.”

On Oct. 17, 2005, writer Andrew Stephen of the influential British journal, New Statesman, lists Obama as one of “10 people who could change the world.”

Time magazine strikes yet again, with liberal soothsayer Joe Klein penning the Oct. 23, 2006, cover story that reads: “Why Barack Obama could be our next President.”

Further accolades include honorary doctorates from no less than four major universities, like Northwestern and Xavier. Why, there is even talk of canonization within the holy halls of the Vatican for Saint Obama.

And all this for a man who has barely reached the two-year mark in the Senate.

But on a serious note, the public knows much about Barack Obama. Well, let me rephrase that. The public knows about as much about Obama as the mainstream media allows. And what is allowed is as follows:

Barack Obama is young. He is energetic. He is oh-so-comfortably and confidently religious. He is “above” the usual party labels like “liberal” and “conservative.” He is handsome. And, he is black.

Now, it seems I heard a lot of these superlatives applied to another recent contender for the White House in 2008. With the exception of being black, former Sen. John Edwards was feted with much the same.

Edwards is back, and this time he brings his “two Americas” campaign without the baggage of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who inspired no one in 2004, and matters even less today. Edwards has learned a lesson, and maybe he will learn a few more in time for 2008. But more on that in a moment.

For all his media-trumpeted attributes, Barack Obama is a Senate “back bencher” who has done virtually nothing in the scant two years that he has been there. Aside from becoming the media’s present-day darling and poster boy for perceived political even-handedness, Obama has—so far—had an unspectacular career.

We have seen the media play kissy-face time and again—even to Republicans. Arizona senator and 2008 presidential wannabe John McCain was touted as a great “moderate and farseeing voice of reason,” but that was yesterday. Obama is today.

So why all this attention given to Obama? My guess has always been that he is a work in progress, and that work is the media’s making of a vice president. Maybe this is obvious to some, but far too many see Obama as presidential material, and brother, he just can’t fill those shoes as of yet.

It is preposterous to think that a man of no experience in a chamber consisting of 100 Senate-sized egos can snatch the presidency of the United States, overzealous media aside. Rather, put Obama with someone who has the money, organization, and seasoning to be a presidential contender.

Surely, everyone knows that I am talking about Hillary Clinton. Or am I? Hillary has all of the above in plenty, but also has something else aplenty, and that is considerable negatives.  While Hillary may attract the hard left vote (which she will get), Democratic Party legacy voters, and a sizable contingency of women voters, she will not make it without someone like Obama to dull her shrillness, and the polarization that a Hillary Clinton candidacy has inspired around the country.

Obama can mitigate this, and bring the minority vote home in a big way, as minorities will only see a minority, and not an unqualified candidate. Obama will attract new voters to offset what is sure to be a surge of other new voters simply out to vote against Hillary.

This puts two-year Sen. Barack Obama in a powerful position, possibly much more so than Hillary desires.

Without Obama, or someone so hubristically celebrated as he, Hillary Clinton may never get out of the primaries. If Hillary feels the pressure, and sees her poll numbers mired in the upper-30s to low-40s, it will be “vice presidential” running mate Barack Obama.

This can happen very easily, unless…

Unless that other once-upon-a-time media darling, John Edwards, is bold enough—or desperate enough—to take a risk here and take Obama and run with him.

The media will not be able to resist the temptation and desire to crown such a political duo as America’s “New Politicians.” Young, handsome, cutting-edged informed, and of course, non-partisan.  

The media hyperventilating will be of epic proportions. It would be as if George Clooney and Leonardo Dicaprio had come to inhabit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—intellectually gifted, of course. It might even be described as close to nirvana as America can get!

Well, it would be something like that.

Is Barack Obama presidential material? No. Will he declare as a candidate for 2008? No. Is he being thought of as a vital key for 2008, and the Democrats “triumphant and long-overdo” return to power in the White House? Indeed.

Obama may be an empty political suit to all who really take a moment to actually look at what he’s done, but he fits the bill quite nicely in this, the latest round of mainstream media kingmaking, or more personally put, the ornament that adorns the arm of Hillary Clinton, or John Edwards.


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