Is it possible for a candidate to make it all the way to the White House by just looking good, sounding good and by being new at a time when the public is simply unhappy with the old?
History, our own and others', says yes. Many elections, and revolutions, have turned power over to skilled, ambitious politicians who have little new to offer other than just being different.
At a time when there is good reason for Americans to be ticked off, the cost of such an outcome will be high.
Simply from a black perspective, the cost of such an outcome will be high.
One fourth of blacks are entrenched in poverty at twice the national average, and so far we have not a single reason to believe that Obama has a clue, or even an intention, about seriously dealing with this problem.
The senator's campaign Web site, for instance, says practically nothing about education. Nothing is more central to the future of those one in four blacks living in poverty than education.
New regulations just announced under No Child Left Behind will triple the number of children in special-education programs that can be given easier tests than those generally administered to measure educational progress. The fact is that most of these kids, with supposed learning disabilities, are minorities.
Their real disabilities are coming from broken homes and being sent to public schools that have no chance of serving their unique needs. The hard and sad truth is that now we have another reason to push these kids aside while we measure how middle-class kids who come from healthy homes are doing.
Inner-city public schools are feckless, hopeless disaster zones. The chances that government bureaucrats will fix them and serve the needs of poor kids from broken families are zero. What will happen is that more and more will be swept under the rug, as in these new regulations, and that the situation of the one-quarter of blacks entrenched in poverty will become increasingly dismal.
As astounding as Obama's fund-raising success is, it is equally astounding that he has been able to do it by being virtually indistinguishable from Clinton on issues. And how he can run as a breath of fresh air without putting a single new, creative idea on the table.
How about vouchers for inner-city schools, senator? Americans, black and white, need steak, not sizzle.