Rich Galen

  • Talk about a bandwagon. The Popular Press' campaign on behalf of Barak Obama isn't so much a political bandwagon as it is the whole Rose Bowl Parade complete with huge floats, marching bands, military units, pom-pom girls, and cloggers.
  • Newsweek had Obama on its cover this week, and Tim Russert gave him half the show on last weekend's Meet the Press.
  • All this, keep in mind, barely two weeks out from a mid-term election which - because the Dems appear to be doing well - has been proclaimed THE MOST IMPORTANT MID-TERM ELECTION since Pope Clement VI whose term fell amid the start of the Black Plague in Europe.
  • Obviously, the Popular Press has decided it knows what is going to happen on November 7 and, having reported the outcome as established fact, has moved on to the 2008 President cycle.
  • On Meet, Tim Russert asked Sen. Obama:
  • You've been a United States senator less than two years, you don't have any executive experience. Are you ready to be president?

  • Then later, during the panel, Russert said:
  • The last sitting United States senator was John Kennedy, who was also criticized for not having executive experience.

  • Which got me thinking about the election of 1988 and specifically the Vice Presidential debate between Senator (and Democratic VP nominee) Lloyd Bentsen and Senator (and Republican VP nominee) Dan Quayle.
  • Quayle, who was 41 at the time, was being criticized as not having enough experience to be "a heartbeat away from the Presidency." Quayle was coached to respond that John F. Kennedy had also served six years in the House and eight in the Senate prior to running for President, so Quayle's experience as exactly the same as Kennedy's.
  • Bentsen was coached to respond with what is probably the most famous debate zinger in US political history:
  • I served with Jack Kennedy;

    I knew Jack Kennedy;

    Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine;

    Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.

  • Time will tell whether Barak Obama will be a Jack Kennedy, a Ted Kennedy, or someone else. What we do know is that most people can not withstand the withering scrutiny in the spotlight of a Presidential campaign.
  • A Democratic strategist agreed with me when I suggested that Clinton Spin Machine would test that theory by privately feeding out "Did You Knows" about Obama within 48 hours.

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at