Fresh Paint
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Skip the Senate, Send Him to the White House Right Now
The Candidate: How the son of a Kenyan economist became an Illinois Everyman.

My heart hasn't stopped pounding since I found my copy of the New Yorker in the mailbox today. Barack Obama is wonderful. Some excerpts:
Kirk Dillard, a leading Republican senator from the Chicago suburbs, looked chagrined when I asked him about Obama. “I knew from the day he walked into this chamber that he was destined for great things,” he said. “In Republican circles, we’ve always feared that Barack would become a rock star of American politics.”
Abner Mikva told me, “Barack is the most unique political talent I’ve run into in more than fifty years. I haven’t been this excited about a candidate since Adlai Stevenson first got me into politics.”
The universal explanation for [late IL Sen. Paul] Simon’s near-universal popularity is “integrity,” and this spring I heard the word a lot from people discussing Obama. It refers to consistency and incorruptibility, but also to a refusal to resort to smear politics.
The sight of big white corn farmers proudly wearing big blue “Obama” buttons and lining up to shake his hand is, I must say, slightly more striking.
Jan Schakowsky told me about a recent visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her “Obama” button. “He jumped back, almost literally,” she said. “And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a ‘b.’ And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’”
Two weeks ago, after a poll showed Obama leading statewide by sixteen points, Jack Ryan hired a new media consultant, Scott Howell—a development that, as the Chicago Sun-Times noted dryly, “could change the tone” of the Senate race. Howell, a Texan, is best known for having worked on the 2002 Senate campaign of Saxby Chambliss, in Georgia. Chambliss, in an upset, defeated Senator Max Cleland, a popular veteran who lost both legs and an arm in the Vietnam War.
This last comment explains why Ryan has been stalking Obama. However, the dems know the truth about Ryan's divorce and have threatened to reveal details if the Ryan campaign gets ugly. Please, God, let it not get ugly. People in IL hate the republicans so much, I don't think they'll let one get elected this year. If you don't know anything about this man, here's a good introduction.

On the painting front, yes indeed, I did go out painting, did a little 9 x 12 inch thing. Will put a link to it up here later. But tonight is American Idol night, if you haven't heard. Later.

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