Obama has won remarkable symbolic victories as the first black nominee of a major party and someone who has risen so quickly to such prominence and to have attracted such enthusiastic support. His accomplishments are that much more remarkable for his truly unimpressive track record and his lack of qualifications prior to 2004.
The questionmark which is the Obama campaign will ultimately come down to whether the American people will buy the slick talk or see through it to the emptiness beneath; to whether they will mistake the symbol for the substance and vote without thinking. If they do then Obama will win.
Obama reminds me an awful lot of another Democrat who made great speeches just about a century ago, William Jennings Bryan. Just like Bryan he was a lawyer for social causes. Just like Bryan he is charismatic and a great speaker. Just like Bryan he has very little real experience. And ultimately he fits one critic’s description Bryan perfectly: “Like the Platte River, he’s six inches deep and six miles wide at the mouth.”
That’s not what I want in a president no matter how many great speeches he makes.