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.

Like Mr. Lamont, Mr. Obama is basically a one-trick pony. In spite of his risky inexperience, gerrymandered and racially diverse liberal newsrooms, decided to devote hours of television time and barrels of ink to Mr. Obama at the expense of highly experienced, long-serving Democrat candidates like Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Why?

One reason is human nature. As America’s newsrooms slant continually more diverse, liberal, and younger, it’s natural for those reporters and editors to cover and write about those who look and sound like them. While not a favorable trend for older, white male politicians like Messrs. Dodd, Biden, or even Lieberman, it’s proven magical for Mr. Obama. So much so, that he is the odds-on favorite to capture the Democrat nomination.

Then what? Does he go on to make history as he sweeps into the White House, or does he follow the election model of Mr. Lamont? A model that proved, that while Lamont had the fanatical backing to secure the Democrat nomination for the Senate among a relatively small pool of voters, when Mr. Lieberman refused to be driven from public service by the far-left and mounted a challenge to Mr. Lamont as an independent candidate in the general election, the voters of Connecticut took a deep breath, cleared their heads, assessed the empty resume of Mr. Lamont, and then overwhelming re-elected Mr. Lieberman.

How broad and deep is the support for Mr. Obama? If he does secure the nomination, America will take time to pause. When it does, millions of voters will finally focus on the election. When they do, many will come to the conclusion that Mr. Obama is an illusion. A projection on a screen of a politician that does not exist. In the face of the hype and not ready to turn over the Oval Office to an illusion, millions of voters will dig deeper and discover a man with no experience who wants to add $900 billion to their tax burden, socialize medicine, and strip our military and intelligence services of the tools they need to monitor and defeat the terrorists poised to strike into the heart of America.

When such needed reflection takes place, Mr. Obama will be exposed as, not an agent of change, but as the national Mr. Lamont.


Douglas MacKinnon

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

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