Tony Blankley

With every passing week it becomes more likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party nominee for president. This thought, alone, should provide the strongest possible motivation to the Bush administration and the Washington Republicans to get their acts together so that the eventual Republican nominee for president doesn't start the general election campaign in too deep a hole.

The polls that show half the country saying they won't vote for Hillary should be discounted. At the election, the choice will not be Hillary or not Hillary -- it will be Hillary or someone else. And that is what the campaign is about.

I admit it is very early days in the nomination process, but Sen. Obama's and former Sen. Edward's campaigns are beginning to look just strong enough to induce the Hillary campaign to continually sharpen its skills (rather than succumb to the instinct to coast or sit on a lead). On the other hand, the candidacies of both Obama and Edwards may have fairly low ceilings, while the Hillary campaign has a solidity that should be able to grind on remorselessly to nomination.

Obama's campaign, at least to my eyes, seems more froth than substance. It was born of a ludicrously enthusiastic media launch. Without spending a penny, his candidacy was given -- by the media -- a plausible credibility that defied political reality. Lacking not only any relevant governmental experience, he also lacked any other professional experience (e.g. military, business) that the public has invariably looked to as alternative preparation for the presidency. At least since the Civil War, Obama would be the least experienced man elected to the presidency.

All he has are his personal attributes -- which are of mixed political value. Obviously he is attractive, intelligent, eloquent and charismatic. But America has yet to elect as president a black man, or a person who, in his youth was probably Muslim (according to the Los Angeles Times) -- which, unfair as it might be, will weigh on the minds of Americans given the unfolding world events of our time.

Nor is Obama champion for any deeply considered and held great issue of the day. His anti-Iraq war position is essentially perfunctory and -- in the fullness of time -- will be publicly indistinguishable from Hillary's.

The extraordinary excitement in, and size of, his campaign crowds are over-represented by young people -- who invariably are under-represented in the voting booths of both parties. He is a crowd-attracting curiosity -- and a delightful one. But losing presidential campaigns throughout our history have often been marked by large, enthusiastic crowds.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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