Friday, August 22, 2008

The Obama Enigma

I began an earlier post asking, "Who is this Barack Hussein Obama?" ("Obama is All About Obama.") Today, Peggy Noonan, always gracious and judicious, sees Obama losing in November because the American electorate, that broad middle, is asking the same question and coming up with a blank. David Brooks ("Where's The Landslide?") ventured down this road in search of an explanation for why The One We Have Been Waiting For is stalling and rolling backwards.

In "They're Paying Attention Now" (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22, 2008), Peggy presents the American mind this way:

It's hard for our political class to remember that Mr. Obama has been famous in America only since the winter of '08. America met him barely six months ago!...This is what they see: An attractive, intelligent man, interesting, but—he's hard to categorize. Is he Gen. Obama? No, no military background. Brilliant Businessman Obama? No, he never worked in business. Famous Name Obama? No, it's a new name, an unusual one. Longtime Southern Governor Obama? No. He's a community organizer (what's that?), then a lawyer (boo), then a state legislator (so what, so's my cousin), then U.S. senator (less than four years!). There is no pre-existing category for him. Add to that the wear and tear of Jeremiah Wright, secret Muslim rumors, media darling and, this week, abortion. It took a toll, which led to a readjustment. His uniqueness, once his great power, is now his great problem.

And over there is Mr. McCain, and—well, we know him. He's POW/senator/prickly, irritating John McCain.
Under those conditions, how can someone win election to the American presidency?

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