For Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the stars certainly seem aligned.
Seventy percent of Americans consider the economy in a recession. Two-thirds consider the war in Iraq a bad idea. A new Gallup Poll shows Obama leading presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain 46 to 44 percent. And the ratings for "American Idol" fell 10 percent. Given all this, plus a swooning, pro-Obama media, what's a Republican to do?
Guess it's time to look on the bright side, and find something positive about the possibility of a President Barack Obama.
I called Margaret, a Republican friend who lives in Chicago. Do me a favor, I asked her, and attend a prayer service at St. Sabina -- the church led by Father Michael Pfleger. YouTube star Pfleger, as a guest of Trinity United Church of Christ, called Sen. Hillary Clinton a white supremacist, resentful of the ascension of Barack Obama. Pfleger yelled that Clinton felt entitled because she felt, as he put it, "I'm white!" He also preached that any white person with a "401(k)" or a "trust fund" needs to surrender it -- presumably to blacks -- or consider themselves part of the problem. Rumor had it, I told Margaret, that Rev. Jeremiah Wright was expected to attend St. Sabina's upcoming prayer service.
She agreed to go. Take a Bible with you, I suggested, so no one will think you're a reporter. And should security refuse to let you in, scream, "I'm black!" Now, she's white, but still …
At St. Sabina a security team did, indeed, stand in front of the church, warily eyeballing newcomers. They stopped Margaret, despite the Bible in hand. She was about to scream as security shooed her away, "I'm black! I'm black!" But, she admitted, she was afraid that they would think she was deranged and call the authorities.
"Mission aborted," she dejectedly e-mailed me. But she did go back to the church after-hours, and sent an attachment of photos of her dog with the church in the background. Cute dog.
Don't feel too bad, I told her, because I find myself warming up to Obama's message of change and hope. To lift her spirits, I offered a few examples.
Obama rejects the Bush my-way-or-the-highway "cowboy" foreign policy. Obama repeatedly said he wishes to meet with enemy/thug leaders without preconditions. But wait!
He now says only if he decides to meet in the first place. And if he decides -- to which he may not -- he'll do so without preconditions. And if he decides not to, his decision will have been made without preconditions, unless, of course, he decides to meet after all -- but only without preconditions. And if he decides not to meet, he'll make that decision without any preconditions, just as he would make the decision to meet without the precondition of no preconditions. But if he decides to meet, without preconditions, he'll do so solely when, where and if he decides to -- without preconditions.
Unlike President Bush, who "neglected" the Israeli/Palestinian peace process until the waning days of his administration, Obama intends to immediately get on it. Last week, he told America's Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- America's leading pro-Israel lobby -- that he supports a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the sole, undivided capital of Israel. (The Bush administration, currently in negotiations with the Israelis and Palestinians, hasn't taken a position on this thorny issue, preferring the parties to negotiate between themselves.) After Obama's statement, the Palestinians immediately cried, "Foul!" and said there would be no discussions with that stipulation! Hamas, the Palestinian terror group, called him no different from Bush. Thus, with this demand, a President Obama threatens to derail talks from the very beginning. But wait!
The next day, Obama said that, well, "obviously" the issue of Jerusalem should be decided by the Israelis and Palestinians -- adopting the same position as "cowboy" Bush.
On deterring Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, Obama accused the Bush administration of "saber rattling." Obama's Web site calls for aggressive diplomacy, but mentions nothing about a military option. But wait!
He told AIPAC, "Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel."
What about Iran's Revolutionary Guard? When Sen. Clinton voted to declare the Revolutionary Guard a terror organization, Obama criticized her, and deemed the vote irresponsibly militant. But wait!
He told AIPAC that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is, indeed, a terror organization. So why did he vote otherwise, and attack Clinton? Well, said Obama at the time, it was an unnecessarily belligerent move. But apparently, now they are terrorists because, well, it isn't as belligerent to say so today as it was to say so yesterday.
That's more hope and more change. So, I told Margaret, here's hoping you find this hopeful. If not, I'll change it.