Barack Obama’s unlikely rise to the presidency can literally be traced back to a single speech — the one he gave in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention, which announced him as a contender to a national audience.
Such was acknowledged during the Democrat primary race of 2008 when the eventual loser of that contest, Hillary Clinton, (sound familiar?) summarized the extent of her opponent’s qualifications by saying, “Senator Obama has a speech he delivered.”
The dismissive statement was a reference to the obvious. So green was Obama that even the liberal steadfast Huffington Post blogged at the time about “Obama, The Rookie.” Obama’s resume for the presidency was slight to say the least. He was an Illinois state senator, won a U.S. Senate seat and served in Washington D.C. for about 140 days, declared his candidacy for the presidency and started campaigning.
Could the scenario play out again? If reporting from the Sacramento Bee is anywhere near on track it very well could.
Kamala Harris is a California state senator who is a young, well-spoken, clean (to use the words of Joe Biden), light-skinned black-American with no detectable inner-city dialect (to use the words of Harry Reid) who may be eyeing the prize:
“Now’s the time prospective presidential candidates start taking the subtle but crucial behind-the-scenes steps that get them noticed by the political intelligentsia, and Sen. Kamala Harris is quietly following the script.
Female, liberal and undeniably bi-racial. Sorry Elizabeth, but she’s got you there.
She’s making speeches to key national constituencies. She’s due for an appearance at a Washington think-tank panel full of chattering-class presidential favorites that the national media will be reporting and analyzing, probably for days. She’s been fundraising for colleagues and making sure that she is forming relationships with key national reporters.
They’re all boxes that prospective presidential candidates routinely check. It’s a chance to ultimately convince insiders they’ve got the gravitas and the fundraising chops to be taken seriously.”
But if ‘rookie’ is a term appropriately applied to Obama, Harris must be a minor league rookie. Rookie benchwarmer. She’s been an elected legislator since…gulp…2017! Yes that’s right, she has held political office since January (just four months) and already has Democrats salivating at the potential.
“…speculation is not going away, not with the absence of a clear Democratic presidential frontrunner and the party desperately in search and in need of a new generation of leadership.
“A lot of activists in the party would love to see a new leader step forward,” said Roger Hickey,” co-director of the progressive strategy group Campaign for America’s Future.”
Harris is being closely watched.
“Looking forward to see how she performs as a senator, I think that the sky is the limit for her,” said Jaime Harrison, associate chairman and counselor of the Democratic National Committee.”
The similarities to Obama’s run-up to the presidency are striking. Let’s face it, Obama had one shining moment, a speech at the 2004 DNC, prior to that he was a complete unknown.
“What every new presidential hopeful needs is an early defining moment.
President Barack Obama’s was his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. Harris’ was her energetic performance in a prominent speaking role at the Women’s March on Washington, a rally that attracted worldwide attention and had an estimated crowd of a half a million people. She instantly became a favorite of liberals, and followed that with remarks at an immigration rally at the White House and a podcast with former top Obama adviser David Axlerod, the architect of Obama’s out-of-nowhere 2008 campaign.
Harris’ rollout accelerates this month. She was the keynote speaker at last week’s National Democratic Institute’s Madeleine Albright luncheon, a prominent Washington event hosted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group. She’ll give the May 13 commencement speech at Howard University in Washington, her alma mater.
Days later she’ll join a host of others floated as presidential wannabes, including Warren, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York in a speaking role at the Ideas Conference, a Washington gathering seen as the liberal equivalent of the Conservative Public Action Conference, a traditional testing ground of GOP presidential hopefuls.”
An unknown hyper-partisan, hyper-liberal bi-racial American from a solid blue state and finally someone not a member of the Democrat octogenarian club. Yes we’ve read this script before and tragically had to sit through the ensuing horror movie. Twice.
Foolish is he who does not learn from the past. Republicans had better not underestimate or sleep on this one.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]