The truth is that Obama's attraction consists in large part of his sheer novelty. Hillary Clinton would be a formidable nominee -- as would Gore, Kerry, Biden and most of the other possibilities. But they have all been around since God was a child, whereas nobody ever heard of Obama until practically yesterday. Moreover, he is one of those rare black politicians who take their cue more from Bill Cosby than from Jesse Jackson. (We must, he has said, "eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.") White Americans can be forgiven for being swept off their feet by an African-American who combines genuine charm with an apparent determination to bring the races together in support of principles on which we can all agree. But that's not quite the same thing as saying they are ready to install him in the White House. Obama's background is astonishingly variegated: He father was a Kenyan (whom he barely knew), his mother a Kansan who subsequently married an Indonesian. The family lived in Hawaii, then Indonesia -- where Barack went to both Muslim and Catholic schools. (Have I mentioned that his middle name is Hussein?) He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
All in all, he's quite a guy, and I predict a brilliant future for him in American politics. Hillary could do far worse than make him her running mate. Later on ... well, we'll see. But I do not expect to see him being sworn in as our president in January 2009.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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