Sunday, October 22, 2006

BREAKING: Obama Considering Presidential Run

On this morning's Meet The Press (NBC), Illinois Senator Barack Obama acknowledged he is considering running for President in 2008.

WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday he was considering a run for president in 2008, backing off previous statements that he would not do so.

The Illinois Democrat said he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. He said he would not make a decision until after the Nov. 7 elections.


On Sunday, Obama dismissed notions that he might not be ready to run for president because of his limited experience in national politics. He agreed the job requires a “certain soberness and seriousness” and “can’t be something you pursue on the basis of vanity and ambition.”

“I’m not sure anyone is ready to be president before they’re president,” Obama said. “I trust the judgment of the American people."

This bit of political news has certainly brightened my day--hell, make that my entire year. When one considers the possibility that an articulate, erudite, and blazingly intelligent person might occupy the White House again, everything is thrown into a different light. Anything seems possible. Human beings are capable of amazing feats when they put their minds to things, and given the magnitude of the chaos, the depth of the disaster, and the far-reaching stench of the squalor into which the next president will be walking come January '09, a brilliant mind is going to be job requirement Number One.

Author, attorney, and fellow Harvard Law alumnus Scott Turow wrote about Sen. Obama when he was running for Senate in 2004:

Having known Obama since the inception of his political career, I have watched his rise closely. We are hardly intimates, but we are certainly warm with each other, and I have been a political contributor and supporter of his. No one in these circumstances would regard himself as unbiased (except perhaps Justice Antonin Scalia). That said, I have many friends whose company I savor whom I would not commend for service in the U.S. Senate. Obama, though, has matured in plain view. He has gone from someone impatient with the legislative process to an effective and respected leader in the Illinois Senate, and from a candidate who once seemed to be getting ahead of himself politically, and whose base in the black community was shaky, to a figure who appeals to voters of all hues.


Obama's biography is both intriguing and inspiring, an American story for the 21st century. The résumé detail that initially caught wide attention was his election in 1990 as the first African-American president (that is, editor in chief) of the Harvard Law Review, the premier legal academic publication in the United States. Banish any lurking thought of an affirmative-action wind at his back. Exams at Harvard Law School are graded blind, and Obama graduated magna cum laude (also unlike me.) He has taught for many years at the University of Chicago Law School, along with many of the country's preeminent legal scholars.

But academic excellence is only one part of his story. "Dreams From My Father" is a beautifully crafted book, moving and candid, and it belongs on the shelf beside works like James McBride's "The Color of Water" and Greg Williams' "Life on the Color Line" as a tale of living astride America's racial categories. No other figure on the American political scene can claim such broad roots within the human community. Obama is the very face of American diversity.

I am still a die-hard Al Gore fan and I'd love to see him run for--and win--the office that was rightly his in 2000. That said, I am nothing less than thrilled that Sen. Obama might run.

Imagine the bumpersticker: Obama '08--Now can we go with the smart guy?

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