Monday, August 13, 2007

The Obama GQ Cover Story

(image via uiuc)

Ryan Lizza's 8,000 word Obama GQ coverstory (Thanks Ben Smith of Politico) arrives with this long, and telling, quote, which says so much -- figuratively and literally:

"Obama’s aides, too, often fret that his fame is diminishing him. They struggled for weeks before deciding to agree to let him grace the cover of this magazine. 'Frankly, I could do with fewer cover stories generally,' David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist and adman told me during a recent visit to his Chicago office. 'He’s an incredibly magnetic and also photogenic person, and so he lands on the covers of a lot of magazines. And that had its utility at one point, but it can get overdone. This is a really profound guy in many ways, and you don’t want him trivialized.'

"The balancing act is not always easy. Just a few years ago, observing a major presidential candidate as he greeted supporters in one of the early primary states was a staple of campaign coverage. In the case of Obama, those days are over. He moves inside a cocoon of Secret Service agents, and his campaign rallies regularly attract thousands, making him seem as distant as a rock star at a stadium show. I’ve interviewed and traveled with Obama numerous times since early 2004, just after he won his improbable Senate-primary victory in Illinois, and I’ve experienced the same mix of conflicted reactions as voters like Kara Asmussen: genuine excitement about discovering a politician you actually admire, followed by skepticism and a realization that Obama, who earned his political education in Chicago’s tribal wards, is more of an old-fashioned pol than you think. Michael Kinsley once said of Bob Novak, 'Underneath the asshole is a nice guy, but underneath the nice guy is another asshole.' One way to describe Obama is that underneath the inspirational leader who wants to change politics—and upon whom desperate Democrats, Independents, and not a few Republicans are projecting their hopes—is an ambitious, prickly, and occasionally ruthless politician. But underneath that guy is another one, an Obama who’s keenly aware that presidential politics is about timing, and that at this extremely low moment in American political life, there is a need for someone—and he firmly believes that someone is him—to lift up the nation in a way no politician has in nearly half a century."

Is it just The Corsair or does it seem that perhaps Obama -- who has run thus far one of the most interesting insurgent campaigns against a frontrunner in a Democratic Primary since Robert Kennedy against LBJ (For further reference, see Obama's Hollywood cash-stash)-- might just setting the ground for a future run. Sure, there is the possibility that Hillary could stumble. And, yes, sure, there is the possibility that the oodles of campaign cash raised on the Left Coast might make a difference Damn that mischiefmaking "copper-top" Maureen Dowd). And, Yes, if Edwards wins Iowa and Nevada it erodes the inevitability of a Hillary campaign and opens South Carolina -- with it's large African-American Democratic primary electorate -- like a hot peanut, separating it from Clinton's kung-fu grip.

All of these variables are entirely possible.

And in a perfect world, where September 11th never happened, Obama might have won the nomination. But post-September 11th, in a dangerous world, The Corsair is not particularly sure the fickle American electorate, hugely Security-conscious will go with a young and untested -- in terms of International relations -- leader.

Time will tell.

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