Douglas MacKinnon

Barack Obama has labeled himself the "change" candidate. In doing so, he may well be replicating the failed campaign of another change candidate.

In 2006, far-left, ultra-wealthy Ned Lamont decided to challenge Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut for the Democrat nomination. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Lamont was the product of a prestigious secondary school and Harvard University. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Lamont predicated almost his entire campaign, and reason for being, on just one issue: his uniformed and naive opposition to the war in Iraq. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Lamont eagerly sought and received, the blessing of radically left organizations like MoveOn.Org and the Daily Kos. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Lamont was a political neophyte with almost no relevant experience. A neophyte who, because of his ideological opposition to the war, was blindly embraced by much of the mainstream media in search of biased political champions who could inflict rhetorical wounds on the hated George W. Bush.

At the time, in endorsing unknown Mr. Lamont over the well-known, and highly respected Mr. Lieberman, the left-leaning New York Times openly admitted "this race is not about resumes." In other words, to advance their obvious agenda, the leadership of the editorial page decided that experience, knowledge, and true accomplishment, were irrelevant to the task at hand. In that same endorsement, the New York Times said, "Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart." OK. He "seems" smart. Clearly, it did not matter to the Times if he were smart or the useless scion of inherited wealth passed on to him by his grandfather and father. The only criterion that mattered was that he walk in lock-step with MoveOn.Org, the Daily Kos, George Soros, and others on the fringe-left, who spoke with one voice against Iraq and President Bush.

Like Mr. Obama now, much of the media, Hollywood and the liberal intelligentsia fell in love with Mr. Lamont. As many of those voting in the Connecticut Democrat primary were themselves far-left, that support helped to make a difference. Mr. Lamont went on to defeat Mr. Lieberman in the primary and become the darling of the left...for a moment.

Solely because of one issue, an untested, inexperienced, bored rich guy was able to defeat a man, who, just six years earlier, had been the running mate for Al Gore. By any measure, that same parallel works quite nicely when describing and trying to understand, the meteoric rise of Mr. Obama.


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is former White House and Pentagon official who spent three years working in a Joint Command.

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