Late Friday afternoon I told a coworker that something might be wrong with me because I've yet to fall in love with Barack Obama. I like him, but I don't "like him - like him." I guess I should, right? We have this super smart guy who can hit a speech out of the park and make people feel warm and fuzzy inside, all while dreaming of a better tomorrow. It looks like some independents and Republicans are taking a look at him. That sure is something, I'll admit. And Caroline Kennedy endorsed the guy, for Christ sakes! I should be sitting in a Loop office somewhere, making phone calls right now for Joe Charisma, except for this one little thing.
I don't buy it. I can't help thinking that the Illinois State Senate to political rock star to presidential candidate is too big of a leap. I can't seem to stifle the incredulity that prompts a rolling of the eyes when I hear that Obama is different. Obama is going to change politics. Obama is a uniter. Experience doesn't matter.
Common sense dictates that it's impossible to get beyond a seat on a school board (especially in Chicago) without getting your hands dirty. Tony Rezko is evidence of that. And today's Chicago Tribune endorsement of Obama mentions Rezko with language that in my opinion, supports the perception of a few that the media has fallen for Obama.
"His assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strains credulity: Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fundraising for Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 -- more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases by the Obamas and the Rezkos."
Strains credulity? Obama lied to cover his ass, and will likely continue to do so, just like any other politician. And anyway, big deal. Hillary had her buddy Michael Hsu, except she's not running around the country like an earnest boy scout. So Obama, man up. Rezko is fair game.
Someone said last week that Bill Clinton needed to "chill." I agree. But Bill isn't the only one. We have to remember that something like just 15 percent of the electorate participates in primaries. General election voters are different animals and alot can happen before November. Is too much to ask for a collective deep breath among Democrats? And let's not forget that what the media giveth, it can taketh away, frequently without warning or cause. What will happen if they get bored or worse, with Obama? What will he have left to stand on?
For the last several months when people asked me who I'd vote for, I'd say somewhat half-heartedly, "Well, if I had to vote tomorrow, I'd vote for Hillary." Well tomorrow, is just about a week way, and I'm still there. I will vote for Hillary on Feb. 5th, because I think she'd be a better president.
I'll be honest and admit that I'm not quite over Bill Clinton, so he's a bit of a factor. She was First Lady, sure, but as we all know, not the kind who fussed over flowers and seating charts at State Dinners. She was much more than that, to the dismay of many, but that experience (even the failed health care overhaul) will be invaluable in another Clinton Whitehouse. And Senator Clinton, unlike Senator Obama, has done some real work in the U.S. Senate for her constituents, again giving her an edge in my view.
What's left to address is this issue of her likability. Perhaps I have my head in the sand, but I've always thought that what was at the root of most Republican anti-Clintonism was the fact that they possess this skill rarely found among Democrats--they know how to win elections. And after eight years of George Bush, I'll take their pragmatic no-holds barred campaign style over flowery speeches anytime.
Call me crazy, but I think this woman can do it.