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Read "Barack Obama Inc.: The birth of a Washington machine" in this month's Harper's magazine. It may change your mind...

Posted by Emerson | October 24, 2006 5:38 PM

Yikes, I just received that issue last week and was looking forward to reading it.

Posted by Hannah Levin | October 24, 2006 5:43 PM

He's a good speaker, a quality that tends to get my hopes up. Unfortunately, if his back-and-forth with McCain was any indication, Obama lacks the courage of his own convictions. McCain made Barrack his bitch.

Posted by Caveat Emptor | October 24, 2006 6:09 PM

Still, he looks a lot like Harry Lennix--definitely a plus.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | October 24, 2006 6:09 PM

Well, he's still a little green - but definitely the type of guy we need in the whitehouse.

The title of the Harper's article is a little more sensationalistic than the article itself, which generally shows him in a good light. The article does point out numerous ways he's been manipulated by the Washington system. The closing line is a chiller: "What's the price of a starry-eyed idealist?"

Posted by david | October 24, 2006 6:56 PM

What's Obama actually done yet? He's been a senator for, what, two years and we're appointing him the lord and savior of the Democratic party? Put down the kool aid and take a few breaths.

Posted by Wells | October 24, 2006 7:05 PM

The Harpers article shows him in ultimately a mixed light -- it is largely positive, but the question looms as to what price you pay to be effective in Washington. It is difficult to wrangle, and shall always be so.

But it is a good quote, that.

Posted by Howie | October 24, 2006 7:10 PM

Well, Obama is, from what I understand, a moderate, so he's not going to appeal to everyone, but he's articulate, interesting, and engaging. Good stuff.

I think the Dems are excited to have an interesting candidate for once rather than a Zzzzzz....I mean Al Gore seems sort of interesting now, but that's 'cause he's not running.

Posted by well | October 24, 2006 7:24 PM

"I inhaled — that was the point."

Best line ever. He's definitely got my vote now.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 24, 2006 8:08 PM

Moderate, attractive, and articulate a good candidate does not make.
Particularly when he goes back on pretty much many important promises he makes.
The white house does not need a "rock star" to be in there.
I think he's a man of really really poor ethics, particularly on the immigration/"border security" issue (um, i've NEVER read/heard/seen of a terrorist risking his life by crossing a rive and then a desert on foot for 3 days, but that's just me and my opinion on how poorly this issue is masking what to me is blatant xenophobia).
An example of his poor and pathetic ethics: The Mexican community in Chicago supported him, loved him, and made him Grand Marshall of Mexican Independence Day parades and all. He said to support immigrant issues, and all those pretty words this articulate man says. Well, when he voted in favor of the "security wall" the Mexican community called him a traitor (justifiably so, I'd say) to which his "people" replied, "A traitor? Psh, that's too silly of a statement to even deem a response. No comment" (paraphrase of mine).

So, love Obama? I hope he does not ever ever receive more power (though, yea, in the 2 years in congress he's done little).

The democrats need to not be so needy for a likeable, good looking and articulate guy in the White House that all of his ethics suddenly not matter. We still need to have good character standards--which this man DOES NOT have.

Posted by sofia | October 24, 2006 8:14 PM

I realize Obama is a bright, good-looking, well-spoken, likable one-man melting pot. But can anyone name one courageous position he has taken or one creative, cutting-edge proposal he has made?

I'm not quite willing to give him credit for opposing the Iraq invasion from the get-go. Why? Because it's a lot easier to take a position like that when you're a state legislator in Illinois than when you're in the U.S. Senate.

Posted by cressona | October 24, 2006 8:20 PM

Sofia on Barack Obama: a likeable, good looking and articulate guy.

Me on Obama: a bright, good-looking, well-spoken, likable one-man melting pot.

I swear I did not read Sofia's words before posting my own. And actually, I was going to write "articulate" but settled for "well-spoken" if only because "articulate" is considered implicitly racist in some PC circles.

Posted by cressona | October 24, 2006 8:26 PM

I agree with Sofia and Cressona on Obama's personal attributes, but with 2 years in the senate and the blatant racism in america at this present time, his chances for winning the presidency will be slim going up against some old white daddy republican figure like McCain or Frist.

Posted by the black hand side | October 24, 2006 8:42 PM

I'd like to see Obama elected VP in 2008 and run for Prez in 2016, assuming we find someone better than John Kerry for '08. I can't think of who, though, beyond Gore.

Posted by unpaid intern | October 24, 2006 9:06 PM

Cressona, can you elaborate on the well-spoken v. articulate debate? I've never heard that before.

Posted by JTroop | October 24, 2006 9:44 PM

Interesting...never noticed that before.

I think articulate is used for anyone someone has low expectations of (women, people of color, young people, newbies, etc..)

No one would say "Wow, Warren Buffett (or Bill Clinton or Tom Brokaw, etc.) is so articulate." However, I could see the phrase "articulate, young man".

It's possible people just have really low expectations of politicians (thanks, GWB) in general so we describe one who is well-spoken, we call him "articulate" rather than "normal".

Posted by goggle | October 24, 2006 11:01 PM

There are some contexts when calling someone articulate does make sense without assuming the person will be inarticulate because of race. In Obama's case, it might be that you just don't expect politicians to be very articulate, especially unseasoned ones like him who have done next to nothing. I don't think that's usually what's going on, though, because usually people are thinking of him particularly as a distinctively black politician who speaks in a way that mainstream voters will see him as like them (as opposed to like a lot of black Americans who do not speak the way he does). But if it's a contrast with the politicians who constantly put their feet in their mouths or who don't do a very good job of defending their positions, it's not necessarily a problem. To avoid misunderstanding, ideally someone saying this should make sure they give contextual clues about which contrast they have in mind, or black people will tend to hear it the way I discuss in my post.

Posted by Jeremy Pierce | October 25, 2006 5:18 AM

Oh, I should say one other thing. Obama is no moderate. He's done hardly anything as a senator, but what he's done has been toward the left end of the Democratic party. His voting record in state legislature makes this even more clear. Comparisons to Dick Gephardt are apt. He uses moderate language sometimes, saying things most black politicians would say in black groups but not in mixed groups (think Bill Cosby and the criticism he's taken for holding black people accountable for some of their own problems). He uses religious language in exactly the way Republicans do when they get called theocratic by the paranoid left, and he gets away with it because he's black and a Democrat. But those are just language issues. His actual views on policy are toward the left of the center of the Democratic party.

Posted by Jeremy Pierce | October 25, 2006 5:22 AM

It will be impossible for Obama to live up to the unreasonable expectations that people have heaped upon him. He's flying into the sun.

Posted by watcher | October 25, 2006 9:11 AM

I'd rather have a former pot smoker as president than a former coke whore.

The shakes and control of the world's largest military is NOT a good mix, as we have learned the hard way.

I wouldn't consider Obama a good candidate for '08. Get back to me in '12 or '16 and we'll see how he's done. If so then I'll be for him. Right now he's just too new.

Posted by monkey | October 25, 2006 9:34 AM

Before you all go weak-kneed over Obama, please see Maureen Dowd's column in today's P-I: "Barack Obama: Celebrity or candidate?" or the NYTimes. Yes - he's cute, but probably not the cure.

Posted by QUEL DOMMAGE | October 25, 2006 11:04 AM

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