Biden-Obama 2008

Obama promised to pick a running mate who is ready to be President. By the standards of a liberal Democrat, he did just that. But the question remains: Is Obama ready to be President? His own running mate did not think so six months ago, but will surely change his mind now. It doesn’t matter. Facts are still facts.

Some, including in Obama’s party, have bravely suggested that he would not be where he is now, were it not for his race. He is in a sense, they suggest, the affirmative action candidate. There is arguably some truth to this. But the bigger factor is this: Celebrity. Obama is perceived as a celebrity. He’s new, he’s different, he’s not Bush, he’s not white, he’s not conservative, or even moderate …. he’s not the same as what we have known. He’s the negation candidate. He’s the man who’s not the man we’ve had up to now. Of course, so too would be the case with an Adolf Hitler, a Joseph Stalin or an Ayatollah. We haven’t had anything like any of these, either, as U.S. Presidents. Is negation all we need?

Because celebrity has become the most important thing in America, you have the more qualified candidate running as second mate and the least qualified candidate at the top of the ticket. Back in the Cold War, the presidency was taken much more seriously. The potential President was viewed as the man “with his finger on the button.” The reality hasn’t changed, but attitudes have. Would Obama even press that button to defend us? Does it even matter to most Americans any longer? We’ll find out in November. Or, perhaps during the next real crisis that hits America.