Waiting on Stage Left Again

While Warren, Harris, Booker, and Biden are bruited as potential Democratic candidates in 2020, there may be a surprise candidate being groomed right now.   Barack Obama's trajectory from the Illinois state Senate to the Oval Office in four years is instructive.

In March of 2000, Obama was a state senator in Illinois, a post he had since 1996 with virtually no political recognition.   What he did have is a sterling résumé:  an eight-year scholarship to Occidental College, a transfer into Columbia University, a post-college job as a "community organizer," acceptance into Harvard Law School, and editorship of its law review.   The actual academic records remain secret.   There is no essay from college and no single article from the law review where he was editor.

In his first foray for national office, he attempted to unseat popular Illinois representative Bobby Rush (Illinois-District 2) in the 2000 Democratic primary.   He lost.   But he gained the interest of David Axelrod, a cunning political strategist.

In 2002,  he  tested the political waters with a carefully scripted speech opposing the Iraq war, calling it  "a dumb war ... a rash war ... [a] cynical attempt to shove ideological agendas down our throats."

He was careful to avoid the pratfalls of radical pacifism: "I don't oppose all wars.   My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army.   He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka.   He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.   I don't oppose all wars."   He often revisited that speech in his campaigns.   [Editor's note: Obama repeatedly botched the location of the camp his grandfather – or was it a great uncle? – allegedly helped liberate.   It was the Soviets who "first entered" Auschwitz.]

A new opportunity presented itself in 2004, when  incumbent Illinois Republican U.S.  senator  Peter Fitzgerald decided to retire, and Obama entered the primary race for the Democrats.   His only real challenger was Blair Hull, a businessman and philanthropist.   David Axelrod's former employer, the Chicago Tribune, leaked a court-sealed divorce story that Hull's wife had sought an order of protection against him.   Hull's campaign tanked, and Obama won.

That summer, he was chosen to give a keynote speech in support of the presidential candidacy of John Kerry and John Edwards on July 27, 2004.


YouTube screen grab.

It was a pedestrian speech:  "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.    The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats.   But I've got news for them, too.   We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.    We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states."

It was a speech of platitudes, but the prime-time messenger was an articulate young black American state senator from Illinois, and the audience and media swooned.   A star was born.   He was ready for prime time.

He returned to Chicago to oppose Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat.   Ryan also had a sterling résumé: Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Business School, and after earning millions on Wall Street, he retired to teach high school in the low-income inner city.   However, Ryan's divorce custody sealed records were leaked by the Chicago Tribune, with lurid allegations of sex clubs and infidelity.   Ryan denied all allegations, but the media ran with the sordid tale, and Ryan resigned.   Obama easily bested Alan Keyes, who stepped into the campaign to replace Ryan, and became the junior senator from Illinois.

By mid-2006, New York Democratic senator Hillary Clinton had prepared her campaign to make history as America's first female president.   Her victory seemed inevitable, but former senator Harry Reid (R-Nev., 1987-2017) had other thoughts and persuaded Barack Obama to enter the primary race for the White House.   Obama formally announced his candidacy on  February  10, 2007.

The fixers went to work, airbrushing his radical-left proclivities and the mentoring of radical communist Frank Marshall Davis and his association with terrorists and a viciously racist minister, Jeremiah Wright.    

Five months later, on June 7, 2008, Obama became the Democratic presidential nominee when Clinton dropped out of the race.   In the final count, he garnered 2,275 delegates, and Clinton had 1,978.

His challenger was Republican senator John McCain, who led in early polls, but on September 28, 2008, the  Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.68 points in one day.   Until 2018, it was the largest one-day point drop in history.   It was not – repeat: not – orchestrated by David Axelrod, who had been busy trying to find damning evidence on John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Six weeks later, Barack Obama became America's first black president, with Senator Joseph Biden as his vice president.   He won 365 delegates and 69,456,89 popular votes.

How did a man of such meager achievements win the highest office in the land in four years?

One short answer is that he was carefully groomed with a carefully scripted biographical narrative that was in the works long before his announcement in 2007.

As Angelo Codevilla explained:

[T]here was never anything silly, nor light-hearted, nor casual, about Barack Obama's efforts to keep the public's eyes from the basic facts of his life, from birth to his candidacy for president.   On the contrary, this opacity is a deliberate policy.   Why?   The presumptive answer, absent testimony from those involved, is to ensure that real facts interfere as little as possible with the image and narrative that he and his associates have carefully crafted for him.   Distinguishing between reality and that narrative would require above all a skeptical attitude, sure to be characterized by Democrats and the media in the most derogatory terms.

Somewhere out there in Congress or state houses, there is someone – most likely but not necessarily a woman – being scripted for a run in 2020 or 2024.   The fact that Beto O'Rourke lost by only 3 points is evidence that the nation is always ready for "change."

Think of a Democrat like Tulsi Gabbard,  an Iraq War veteran and the first Hindu elected to Congress (Hawaii, District 2).   She is a liberal endorsed by Bernie Sanders, who often ruffles "progressive" feathers.   She's met with Donald Trump, and she would not march in the anti-Trump women's rally.   Her views on foreign policy, immigration, and gun laws run contra current progressive cant.

Among the newly elected Hispanic women, there are some interesting and classy newcomers.   One is ultra-liberal  Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico, District 2,  whose most prominent ad was "Vote for the person, not for the party."

Too soon to tell, but two facts are irrefutable.   The GOP becomes complacent after victory, and the left never rests in its efforts to fundamentally change America.

While Warren, Harris, Booker, and Biden are bruited as potential Democratic candidates in 2020, there may be a surprise candidate being groomed right now.   Barack Obama's trajectory from the Illinois state Senate to the Oval Office in four years is instructive.

In March of 2000, Obama was a state senator in Illinois, a post he had since 1996 with virtually no political recognition.   What he did have is a sterling résumé:  an eight-year scholarship to Occidental College, a transfer into Columbia University, a post-college job as a "community organizer," acceptance into Harvard Law School, and editorship of its law review.   The actual academic records remain secret.   There is no essay from college and no single article from the law review where he was editor.

In his first foray for national office, he attempted to unseat popular Illinois representative Bobby Rush (Illinois-District 2) in the 2000 Democratic primary.   He lost.   But he gained the interest of David Axelrod, a cunning political strategist.

In 2002,  he  tested the political waters with a carefully scripted speech opposing the Iraq war, calling it  "a dumb war ... a rash war ... [a] cynical attempt to shove ideological agendas down our throats."

He was careful to avoid the pratfalls of radical pacifism: "I don't oppose all wars.   My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army.   He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka.   He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.   I don't oppose all wars."   He often revisited that speech in his campaigns.   [Editor's note: Obama repeatedly botched the location of the camp his grandfather – or was it a great uncle? – allegedly helped liberate.   It was the Soviets who "first entered" Auschwitz.]

A new opportunity presented itself in 2004, when  incumbent Illinois Republican U.S.  senator  Peter Fitzgerald decided to retire, and Obama entered the primary race for the Democrats.   His only real challenger was Blair Hull, a businessman and philanthropist.   David Axelrod's former employer, the Chicago Tribune, leaked a court-sealed divorce story that Hull's wife had sought an order of protection against him.   Hull's campaign tanked, and Obama won.

That summer, he was chosen to give a keynote speech in support of the presidential candidacy of John Kerry and John Edwards on July 27, 2004.


YouTube screen grab.

It was a pedestrian speech:  "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.    The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats.   But I've got news for them, too.   We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.    We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states."

It was a speech of platitudes, but the prime-time messenger was an articulate young black American state senator from Illinois, and the audience and media swooned.   A star was born.   He was ready for prime time.

He returned to Chicago to oppose Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat.   Ryan also had a sterling résumé: Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Business School, and after earning millions on Wall Street, he retired to teach high school in the low-income inner city.   However, Ryan's divorce custody sealed records were leaked by the Chicago Tribune, with lurid allegations of sex clubs and infidelity.   Ryan denied all allegations, but the media ran with the sordid tale, and Ryan resigned.   Obama easily bested Alan Keyes, who stepped into the campaign to replace Ryan, and became the junior senator from Illinois.

By mid-2006, New York Democratic senator Hillary Clinton had prepared her campaign to make history as America's first female president.   Her victory seemed inevitable, but former senator Harry Reid (R-Nev., 1987-2017) had other thoughts and persuaded Barack Obama to enter the primary race for the White House.   Obama formally announced his candidacy on  February  10, 2007.

The fixers went to work, airbrushing his radical-left proclivities and the mentoring of radical communist Frank Marshall Davis and his association with terrorists and a viciously racist minister, Jeremiah Wright.    

Five months later, on June 7, 2008, Obama became the Democratic presidential nominee when Clinton dropped out of the race.   In the final count, he garnered 2,275 delegates, and Clinton had 1,978.

His challenger was Republican senator John McCain, who led in early polls, but on September 28, 2008, the  Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.68 points in one day.   Until 2018, it was the largest one-day point drop in history.   It was not – repeat: not – orchestrated by David Axelrod, who had been busy trying to find damning evidence on John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Six weeks later, Barack Obama became America's first black president, with Senator Joseph Biden as his vice president.   He won 365 delegates and 69,456,89 popular votes.

How did a man of such meager achievements win the highest office in the land in four years?

One short answer is that he was carefully groomed with a carefully scripted biographical narrative that was in the works long before his announcement in 2007.

As Angelo Codevilla explained:

[T]here was never anything silly, nor light-hearted, nor casual, about Barack Obama's efforts to keep the public's eyes from the basic facts of his life, from birth to his candidacy for president.   On the contrary, this opacity is a deliberate policy.   Why?   The presumptive answer, absent testimony from those involved, is to ensure that real facts interfere as little as possible with the image and narrative that he and his associates have carefully crafted for him.   Distinguishing between reality and that narrative would require above all a skeptical attitude, sure to be characterized by Democrats and the media in the most derogatory terms.

Somewhere out there in Congress or state houses, there is someone – most likely but not necessarily a woman – being scripted for a run in 2020 or 2024.   The fact that Beto O'Rourke lost by only 3 points is evidence that the nation is always ready for "change."

Think of a Democrat like Tulsi Gabbard,  an Iraq War veteran and the first Hindu elected to Congress (Hawaii, District 2).   She is a liberal endorsed by Bernie Sanders, who often ruffles "progressive" feathers.   She's met with Donald Trump, and she would not march in the anti-Trump women's rally.   Her views on foreign policy, immigration, and gun laws run contra current progressive cant.

Among the newly elected Hispanic women, there are some interesting and classy newcomers.   One is ultra-liberal  Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico, District 2,  whose most prominent ad was "Vote for the person, not for the party."

Too soon to tell, but two facts are irrefutable.   The GOP becomes complacent after victory, and the left never rests in its efforts to fundamentally change America.