Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pressure mounts on Obama 2008 Presidential Run

Yet another Inside the beltway voice [Washington Post’s political blog] tells us that Senator Obama will have to consider a run for President in 2008, with a warm-up coming this Sunday as Senator Harkin’s special guest at his annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa [just a five hour drive from Chicago]. Remember-- former state senator Barack Obama has already spent some time helping elect state legislators in Iowa. How’s that for being on top of things.

After watching Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) closely over the last few months, we've grown more and more convinced that he will come under significant pressure to at least consider a run for president in 2008.
Whether it's Obama, Gore, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold or someone else, we are convinced that a candidate who has opposed the war since its inception could make a serious run at the nomination. Clinton has almost no weak spots, but her unwillingness to call for a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq has angered liberal activists, who are actively looking for an alternative [See The Fix].

Come on, now, tell us something we don’t already know.

First, Barack Obama qualifies as a more consistent, articulate liberal than Hillary, making him a little more suitable to Democratic activists than Senator Clinton. Second, although not yet calling for a timetable for withdrawal, Obama’s very early, vigorous, articulate opposition to the War in Iraq [at least six months before the U. S. took military action] will satisfy the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party [as Howard Dean loved to put it] in a way that Hillary never could on the Iraq War.

More generally as to the appeal and likelihood of an Obama 2008 run for President, as I wrote [See here] almost two months ago:

Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn is certainly right in his argument that there are more liberal senators or senators farther to the left than Obama, but that hardly means Barack Obama is not a liberal [as Zorn contends]. Even Zorn's colleague at the Tribune, Elleen Warren, noted two years ago that Barack Obama is "quite liberal". And, for a Professor of Political Science [Melissa Harris Lacewell] to be “taken aback by the notion that Obama is liberal,” is nothing short of astonishing. [Emphasis Supplied]
Well, Barack Obama is in the fortunate position of being able to run without running-- at least for now. Senator Obama has a barebones, nationally oriented, skeletal organization set up to raise money for such things as training people in the political process, etc. Ever since his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in July, 2004, Obama has been a national figure, invited to help Democratic candidates raise money through-out the country, receiving something like three hundred, or so, invitations per week to speak.

Senator Obama is building a strong base of national support and attracting followers who continue to transcend race, geography, political party and ideology, albeit with a few, slight bumps from time to time. He is as good a speaker as you will see, and he connects with audiences, large and small.
So, Barack Obama is in a very good position. He oozes talent, style and charm. He has a great command of the issues. He knows the right people and the right people keep wanting to get close to him. And, most importantly, for a while, Senator Obama can do virtually all the things that a candidate for VP or President should do, without having to say he is running for President. At some point, he will have to make a decision. Knowing Barack Obama, it will be a cautious, well thought out decision.

Obama's decision will depend on the perceived strength of Hillary, Edwards, Kerry and perhaps Gov. Bill Richardson [D-NM] or someone of that type [Ed. Note: add Mark Warner, former Virginia Governor]. It will also depend on how well his national organization is coming together, and perhaps on how well received he is in Iowa and New Hampshire [Ed. Note, add South Carolina and to a lesser extent Nevada, both of which are now in that first window of the Democratic Presidential Primaries/caucuses]. Unless one of the above referenced contenders becomes a prohibitive favorite or his nascent national organization fizzles in the next eight months, Senator Obama will give it a shot by March, 2007. …

Even if Senator Barack Obama falls short, and doesn't become a candidate for President, he will have a good shot at being selected as the VP candidate and thus would be on his way to the Presidency. Not bad for a skinny kid from the south side of Chicago, with a funny sounding name. [as he used to describe himself] Not bad at all. [See here]

And, to watch a precursor of a possible Obama-McCain 2008 match-up, go here, which includes the exchange, below, as well as a link to the video of discussions with Senators Obama and McCain:

Jeff Berkowitz: One last thing... In a July 22nd Wall Street Journal op ed column [Nobel prize winning economist] Milton Friedman is interviewed and he states that he agrees with you that it was a mistake to go into Iraq, but he says, once there, it’s important that we succeed. Now I know you’ve said before, that we can’t just get out of Iraq, though you vigorously argued against getting in, but as of July 22nd, 2006, is it still the case that you think it is important that we succeed in Iraq?

Senator Barack Obama: I think that it is important for us to stabilize Iraq. I think the measure of success should be that there is not an all-out civil war. That there are not terrorist bases inside Iraq. That there has not been a melt-down of Iraq that draws its neighbors into escalating conflict. That should be our criteria. And, I think that can still be accomplished, although it is getting tougher and tougher, because increasingly what we’re seeing is sectarian warfare as opposed to insurgency as the primary source of instability.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at