Jan 20, 2009
On this historic day, I thought it would be instructive to look back on just how wrong some of the pundits were when Barack Obama (D) launched his bid for the presidency two years ago, including the embarrassing remark by an esteemed member of the self-described "Best Political Team on Television" (CNN):
"Illinois Senator Barack Obama's announcement this week that he's likely to enter the Presidential race adds a dash of glamour and excitement to the Democratic field. But all of his media attention doesn't change the basic truth of the 2008 primary contest: The race is between Hillary Rodham Clinton and everybody else."
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, Jan. 18, 2007.
"Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way [Obama] does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, unlike most of his predecessors, seems to have skipped through enough copies of 'GQ' to find the jacket-and-no-tie look agreeable. And maybe that's not the comparison a possible presidential contender really wants to evoke... Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread. Or is that threads?" CNN Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield, "The Situation Room," CNN, Dec. 11, 2006.
"That Sen. Barack Hussein Obama Jr. chose the day of 'American Idol's' season premiere to launch his presidential exploratory committee is nicely symbolic. If this were a contest about looks and style, Obama might have an edge. If it were a competition about which candidate is the best orator, he'd win. But it is neither."
Cal Thomas, Washington Times, Jan. 19, 2007.
"The country will simply not elect a novice in wartime... [Obama] only has to do reasonably well in the primaries to become such a compelling national figure as to be invited onto the ticket as vice presidential nominee... Then, if the Democrats win, he will have all the foreign policy credentials he needs for life."
Charles Krauthammer, Oct. 27, 2006.
Obama "is a black man with a Muslim name who would be seeking the presidency in a historically racist nation currently at war against Muslim extremists. One wonders if there is enough handsomeness, intelligence and charisma in the world to overcome all that."
Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald, Jan. 19, 2007.
"To the surprise of many whites and dismay of his supporters, Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton among black Americans by a 40-point margin in a recent Washington Post-ABC poll... The sad truth... is that Obama is being rejected because many black Americans don't consider him one of their own and may even feel threatened by what he embodies."
Orlando Patterson, Time.com, Feb. 8, 2007.
"What's a guy with only two years' experience in the U.S. Senate and none as governor, someone few outside his immediate family and the Internal Revenue Service ever heard of three years ago, doing running for president? And why is everybody--or anybody, for the matter--taking him seriously?"
John Farmer, The New Jersey Star Ledger, Dec. 12, 2006.
So, whose compass was registering properly two years ago? How about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich?
"Well, Abraham Lincoln served two years in the U.S. House, and seemed to do all right."
Newt Gingrich, "Meet the Press," NBC, Dec. 17, 2006, when asked about Obama's lack of experience.
"I do think every Republican ought to look at the reception Barack Obama got a week ago [during his very well-received first visit to New Hampshire]... The interest in him tells you something about Americans more than it tells you about him."
Newt Gingrich, Dec. 15, 2006.
P.S. - I almost forgot the most clueless prediction of them all, courtesy of Bill Kristol during his December 17, 2006 appearance on Fox News Sunday:
I think she's taking some risks in staying on the center, not going to left, which is intelligent. She can still beat the left-wing democratic candidates, I think. And then she's pretty well-positioned for the general election. So this is all good for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single democratic primary. I'll predict that right now.