August 24, 2008


The Thin Man: Obama's slender record. (William Kristol, 09/01/2008, Weekly Standard)

Here is Obama's résumé: an Ivy League law degree, a few years of community organizing, seven years in the Illinois senate, three and a half years as a U.S. senator. Kind of modest. What has he accomplished in any of those jobs? Not much, not much at all.

Has he shown great courage in his political career? Has he shunned the easy path or broken with the conventional liberal pieties of those around him? Has he taken on his own party on a major issue? Nope.

Has he shown exemplary character? He has undoubted skills and abilities. He has always had great potential. But has he followed through on it? Is there a moment in his public life that one looks to and says: Agree or disagree, that was impressive?

His defining moment so far was his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. If one rereads that speech today, one sees more clearly the emptiness beneath the eloquence, the lack of substance behind the sizzle. But one paragraph does stand out:

Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. That man is John Kerry. John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and sacrifice, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

Leave aside whether John Kerry deserved Obama's encomia. Doesn't Obama's praise of Kerry highlight how thin Obama's own claim to leadership is? After all, Obama has done none of the things for which he praises Kerry. Is he ready to be president of the United States? I think a majority of American voters will conclude not. virtue of winning the nomination his resume is more impressive than Joe Biden's.

(*) Let us leave aside, for now, that the title of this essay is both racist and Red-baiting.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 24, 2008 12:58 PM
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