At this point, Obama is very likely to be our next President. And I pity him. He was already going to inherit a hard, thankless job even before our economy imploded. Now he’s going to take office, like Thomas Carcetti, under a withering financial burden that will likely hobble most if not all of his policy ambitions, at least for the first couple of years. (And unlike Carcetti, he won’t have a still higher office he can ascend to, for better or worse.) Even if he proves up to the challenges of the Presidency, he will probably become unpopular as his Administration is saddled with the twin impossibilities of “fixing” the economy and Iraq. He will almost certainly face a tough reelection campaign in 2012. (Though, if the Republicans continue to self-destruct, who knows?)
But for all that I’d much rather have him in there than McCain. This isn’t a time when we can afford to stick the shit job to the other guy and hope for a better hand of cards in four years — if there ever is such a time.
And there remains also that ray of hope — that Obama really will be All That. A unifying figure. An inspiration. Someone who can capture the popular imagination and motivate all of us to work together for a better America. I won’t be voting for him expecting any of that, but at least he has it in him to be that guy, if enough people decide to let him. If he wins I’ll be open to it. Both he and we will need all the help we can get.