A friend of mine recently said to me that he thought Senator Barack Obama was an empty suit. Peggy Noonan agrees with this assessment in her column “‘The Man From Nowhere’: What does Barack Obama believe in?”
Noonan’s critique of Obama as a politician is withering:
He is uncompromised by a past, it is true. He is also unburdened by a record, unworn by achievement, unwearied by long labors. What does he believe? What does he stand for? This is, after all, the central question. . . He doesn’t have an issue, he has a thousand issues, which is the same as having none, in the sense that a speech about everything is a speech about nothing. And on those issues he seems not so much to be guided by philosophy as by impulses, sentiments. . .
Sen. Obama spent his short lifetime breathing in the common liberal/leftist wisdom, which he exhales at length. This is not something new–it’s something old in a new package. And it is something that wins you what he has, a series of 100% ratings from left-liberal interest groups. . .
But again, what does he believe? From reading his book, I would say he believes in his destiny. He believes in his charisma. He has the confidence of the anointed. He has faith in the magic of the man who meets his moment.
He also believes in the power of good nature, the need for compromise, and the possibility of comprehensive, multitiered, sensible solutions achieved through good-faith negotiations.
But mostly it seems to be about him, his sense of destiny, and his appreciation of his own particular gifts. Which leaves me thinking ‘Oh dear, we have been here before.’ It’s not as if we haven’t already had a few of the destiny boys. It’s not as if we don’t have a few more in the wings (source).
Whether Noonan proves to be right in her estimation of Obama, we’ll just have to wait and see. What is certain, however, is that Obama’s star is shining much brighter than the woman who had been considered the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton. This will be a race to watch.