I conclude that the Obama boomlet tells us more about us as a nation than it does about him as a candidate.
We are desperate for somebody in whom to believe.
We have been here before.
In 1976 Americans were depressed by Watergate and Vietnam and desperate for fresh leadership. Answering their call was Jimmy Carter, another bright and articulate candidate from the hinterlands with little experience.
I ask you. Do you still feel good about voting for Jimmy Carter as president?
(I should hasten to add that I'd vote for him for ex-president in a jiffy. He's been one of the best ex-presidents we've had.)
Obama might make a better president than Carter did. But before I buy the car he's selling I'd like to take it out for a spin first.
Over at the interesting and stimulating blog, Progressive Historians, I have been taken to task by Nonpartisan for ridiculously implying that the bosses of old may have made sounder choices in the selection of presidents than The People do today.
Well, then the fight is on.
Say what you will about the bosses they only considered pols for the highest office who had experience. (Yes, yes, I know what you may be inclined to say: The experience consisted of taking bribes, paying off the special interests, etc. etc.) Look through the list of American presicdents selected by bosses and you'll see they almost all seemed"presidential," meaning they had experience in handling high stress positions in important organizations IN ADDITION TO OTHER IMPORTANT VIRTUES.
I have said before and I will say again that the bosses at least did not base their selections on the color of the hair of the candidates (though always on the color of their skin) or on their ability to tell a joke with the timing of a Johnny Carson.
I don't want the bosses back. Good riddance, we've done with boss politics. (Sort of. The new bosses are the rich guys who can bankroll campaigns in the primaries and the media anchors who decide which candidates are worth covering and which aren't.) But the bosses took the selection of presidents seriously. (Ok, ok, not with Harding's selection but he's the worst of the worst presidents.) I am nostalgic for the kind of seriousness with which they approached presidential politics. People today generally do not take politics seriously enough to inform themselves about the candidates' real strengths and weaknesses. Instead they go with their gut. Their gut reaction is shaped by 30 second commercials that are shallow and misleading.