La captura de Saddam no cambia nada Por Bill Press
Tribune Media Services
A president named Hussein
By Bill Press
During the 2004 Illinois
Senate campaign, I asked a friend of mine in Chicago if he'd host a reception
for a fellow talk-show host who was running in the primary. When he told me he
was already supporting another candidate, I laughed out loud.
"Are you serious?" I wanted to
know. "Barack Obama? Nobody could ever get elected with that name. Especially
not after Sept. 11."
Needless to say, I was wrong
then. As are those naysayers who insist today that Barack Obama could never be
elected president because his middle name is "Hussein." President Barack Hussein
Obama? Why not? I'd trust him more than George Walker Bush.
Even though Obama was greeted
by 170 reporters on his maiden voyage to New Hampshire -- a reception not even
John McCain enjoyed in 2000 -- the Illinois Senator still faces an uphill
battle. On his way to the Democratic nomination, his middle name is the least of
the hurdles he must overcome.
Inexperience is number one.
How can he be taken seriously, critics ask, when he's only served in the Senate
for two years? Actually, they've got it backwards. Running for president, the
less time served in the Senate the better. Not only has no incumbent senator
been elected president since John F. Kennedy in 1960, but -- as we learned with
John Kerry -- the longer you're in the Senate, the more votes you have to defend
or explain. My advice to Obama: Get out of the Senate as fast as you can.
Second big hurdle: Hillary
Rodham Clinton. She's clearly the front-runner in this race and, I believe,
invincible. But if anyone can derail her, it's Barack Obama. His candidacy is
largely fueled, in fact, by Democrats who don't believe Sen. Clinton can win the
general election. I think they're wrong. But as an alternative to Hillary, Obama
has emerged as everybody's second, if not first, choice. And with good reason.
Obama's a rock star. He's
young (only 45), articulate, handsome and, unlike most politicians, comfortable
in his skin. In many ways, he's the American success story. Son of an African
father and American mother, he graduated from Harvard Law School and was the
first African-American to head the Harvard Law Review. He served eight years in
the Illinois State Senate. He's authored two best-selling books. And, more than
any elected official today, he can electrify a crowd -- as he demonstrated at
the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
Seeking to end the political
ugliness that has torn us apart, Obama told delegates and the nation: "The
pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red
states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them,
too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal
agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League
in the blue states and yes we've got some gay friends in the red states. There
are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported the war in
Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes,
all of us defending the United States of America."
For those who say Barack Obama
doesn't stand for anything, I say: Read that paragraph again. National unity,
bringing Americans of all stripes back together in common cause, love of God and
country. Hard to beat that for a political platform. And, after the divisive
politics of Bush, Cheney, and Rove, nothing America needs more.
But, of course, Obama has one
other obstacle in his path. Did I mention that he's black? After the recent
experience of Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee, it's very much an open question
whether Americans are ready to elect our first African-American president.
I believe we are. Americans
may, in fact, be more ready to vote for a black president than a female
president. But, in the end, the success of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will
depend not so much on their gender or skin color as on the kind of campaigns
they run and the stands they take on the issues, especially the war in Iraq.
Things may change. But if the
election were held today, the next president of the United States would be
either the first woman, or the first African-American, in history. How exciting
Bill Press is host of a
nationally syndicated radio show and author of a new book,
"How the Republicans Stole Religion." His email address is: email@example.com.
His Web site is: www.billpress.com.
© 2006 Tribune Media Services,