Time flies in presidential races, it seems like yesterday that a good friend of mine met with Barack Obama about running the online portion of his campaign. He didn't want the job after the interview, sensing, correctly, that Obama was centrist, maybe even centrist-right and my friend is more of a Democrat.
I remember the exact quote so well: "If he ran as a true Progressive, he'd run away with this thing."
Now, we are anticipating the announcement of Barack Obama's running mate and the rumor mills were churning and turning and then the water seemed to settle down when Evan Bayh's name came up a while ago. I am pretty good at watching tea leaves inside the party and at this point, it would shock me if Bayh was not the VP nominee.
I, like millions of Americans, will learn about Barack's choice via text message, standard rates apply, and when I get that text, if it's not Bayh's name, it will be someone equally centrist, maybe even further right.
Howard Dean grabbed and held dear to the technology of the day in 2004 because he had no choice; he had no legacy power or mainstream media to help him, so he went outside their web to the Internet where a thousand points of support gathered together and propelled him to the front of the race.
This time around, all of the top six who ran for the Democratic nomination used the technology of the day to far greater lengths than the Kerry Campaign did in 2004, but none really captured the outside in, the power of the people inherent in the technology and that's a shame.
In fact, the more Barack Obama uses the technology, the clearer it is that he has not captured the soul of the party and now he fails to ignite the passions of the left.
Does it date to when he threw General Clark under the bus? Or when he flipped on FISA, or guns, or Iraq or Public Financing? I actually think it goes back farther than that.
Hillary Hatred was a very real blinding rage that consumed so many Democrats. Anyone But Her became I love Barack. We overlooked his lack of experience, his policies, his love of Joe Lieberman. The warning signs were there and those, like Taylor Marsh or Kristen Breitweiser, who suggested we look at those signs, well, shouted down is far too polite a term for what they endured.
Barack is the nominee, and our country will be far better off if he wins versus John McCain. Like many, however, I am more interested in beating McCain and helping Congressional Candidates. McCain is very dangerous, I have said this for months, and he understands one fundamental political reality that Obama has missed so far.
McCain does just enough to keep his "maverick" label slightly in tact. He did do McCain-Feingold. He did stand up on Global Warming. He did turn down secret service protection earlier this year.
His positions don't stand up to any scrutiny but he understands in the broad media narrative world we live in, every so often, you have to throw the narrative a bone.
Barack and his mantra of change remains boneless. When he opted out of Public Financing, he could have said he would change the law to be $100 maximum contribution for all Americans, real public financing.
But he didn't.
With Iraq, the economy, global warming, anything, Barack needs to show there is some reality to the rhetoric, he hasn't done so yet.
And if he picks Evan Bayh, the son of a political family, the ultimate legacy politician, a supporter of the Iraq War, a centrist / centrist right politician and if it is Evan's name that comes through the phone that day to you, it will mean that once again, change is how you talk the talk.
But when you walk the walk, it's the same old path.