Cold Water for the Obamarama Parade

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The latest upheaval for voters to fathom is the sudden emergence of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois as a promising presidential candidate.

Forgive me for pouring at least a little cold water on this development. Despite the media circus surrounding his first baby steps into a possible candidacy, there are a few other considerations:

  • No sitting senator of either party has won the presidency since 1960–almost a half century ago. John F. Kennedy was that senator, and he had served three terms in the House and was already something of a national figure.
  • Obama has captured headlines with a fresh face, a skill at speechifying, and appeal as a smart African-American. But he has little experience to back up those credentials.
  • Obama is already eyed as a formidable test for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and we in the press love a good fight. However, he would start out tens of millions in dollars behind her with not nearly the same name recognition.
  • If the senator announces formally, some of the glow around his halo will fade almost immediately. His rivals will make sure of it if there is the slightest mar in his story.
  • Any legal American citizen at 35 or over can run for president, and this year there seem to be a lot of takers or folks thinking "why not me?"

    But any serious candidate is going to have to raise between $30 million and $40 million in the next several months to get into the contest with any real campaign apparatus. Others could be dreaming or in it for their own agendas.

    Obama can probably raise sufficient cash as the anti-Hillary, but he will not be the only one. And I'm certain he knows that his rock-star status will end when he utters the words "I am a candidate for the Democratic nomination."