I’ve got a serious man-crush on Obama. I swooned during his Meet the Press interview – my girlfriend was getting jealous – and couldn’t help but yelp when he announced that he is considering a run for president. (Given his candid non-denial, I’d be surprised if he didn’t run. You don’t flirt with Tim Russert if you’re not serious about following through.) Watching Obama flash his telegenic smile, I suddenly sympathized with all the baby boomers who still wax nostaligic for RFK. Here is a man of pure potential, an eloquent speaker come to save us from an impossible war.
That said, I realize Obama has no executive experience, and very limited senatorial experience. But I think neither of these qualifications matter. First of all, I’m afraid Bush has singlehandedly disproved the CEO model of president. Being in charge of the Texas Rangers and the state of Texas was clearly not very helpful when it came to leading this country. I think Obama said it best: “I’m not sure anything prepares you for being president.”
As for his limited service as a senator…isn’t that a good thing? I fear that if Obama stays in the Senate too long he’ll end up like Joe Biden or John Kerry. He’ll learn how to dither and pontificate, but forget that Americans don’t care about the procedural minutia. He’ll have another thousand difficult votes to defend. After all, part of Obama’s allure is that he didn’t vote on Iraq. As Richard Cohen notes:
I want Obama to run because he would come into the race with no baggage on Iraq. Not from him would we hear excuses about how he was misled by the Bush administration into thinking there were weapons of mass destruction there. Obama not only was against the war when he ran for the Senate but he can claim — as could the 21 Democratic senators who voted against the war resolution — that it was possible to accept the “facts” at the time and still see that the war was unnecessary, if not downright stupid. It just makes me wince every time I hear John Kerry or John Edwards or Joe Biden or Chris Dodd or Hillary Clinton say they were misled, fooled, lied to or some other version of seduced and abandoned — otherwise they would have voted the right way. This is disingenuous.
So while I’m daydreaming, I may as well tell you about my dream ticket. It’s got a zero likelihood of every happening, but it’s still fun to contemplate. First, Colin Powell realizes he’s not actually a Republican. Then, Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Then, Obama asks Powell to be his VP. Powell accepts, and shields Obama from charges that he lacks foreign policy expertise. The McCain-Frist ticket loses to the Obama-Powell ticket in a landslide.
Update: Noam Scheiber says it better.