Not Ready for Prime Time?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jun 10, 2008 9:27 AM
As this New York Sun piece points out, Barack's VP vetter, Jim Johnson, "took at least five real estate loans totaling more than $7 million from Countrywide Financial Corp. through an informal program for friends of the company's CEO, Angelo Mozilo."  Both Mozilo and Countrywide have been deeply implicated in the sub-prime meltdown of recent months.

Of course, as the piece notes, this fact may inhibit Barack from making as much political hay over the subprime lending mess as he otherwise might.  But there's another problem that plays into a weakness of the Obama candidacy.

The selection of Johnson is yet more proof that this may be a candidate and a campaign that's just not ready for prime time -- or else, it's another troubling indicator when it comes to the candidate's judgment.

This doesn't seem like a Jeremiah Wright situation -- where Barack stuck with the controversial preacher out of personal affection.  Rather, it seems clear that in selecting Johnson, someone(s) in the Obama camp didn't do his/her/their homework.

The point is that such mistakes are to be expected when one has a candidate (even more, a president) who is inexperienced.  Remember, it was just the last Democratic convention when Barack, newly nominated to run for the U.S. Senate, was the featured speaker as an "up and coming" figure in the party -- he hadn't even been elected to federal office yet.  Just four short years ago.  At the very next convention, he'll be the party's nominee.

My guess is that Barack didn't even expect to win the nomination.  Like Bill Clinton in 1992, he thought he'd run, gain some national visibility, and bide his time for the future.  And here we are.

Given all this, is it entirely unexpected that such errors will occur?  If he's elected President, let's just hope they'll be limited to staffing matters like this one.