Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Russell Shaw Headshot

Enough With Obama Already: We're Electing a President, Not A Personality

Posted: Updated:

Major kudos to Senator Barack Obama for his sharp, even brilliant mind. His combination of wonk and people skills. His level of candor, and ability to sound unscripted yet on point.

And there is much to be said for his life story and, to be frank, his ethnicity, winning him, and the nation he would govern, some sorely needed affection in much of the world.

I know where the temptation to embrace his candidacy comes from. He doesn't sound wooden and scripted like Hillary, or John Kerry was in 2004, or Al Gore was in 2000.

Given Obama's unscriptiness, his words come at us with a healing breeze from his book, from the political wonk tv shows, and from late night tv.

He's only been in the Senate for two years, and won't even have served a complete term by 2008. More important, he has little executive experience, no track record at being able to forge or at least develop, policy decisions based on complex and multiple inputs.

I'll tell you someone the Dems could nominate who does have the experience. That would be popular New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Valuable gubernatorial executive experience running a growing and complex state? Right where he is. Valuable national executive experience? Was Energy Department Secretary under Clinton. International diplomatic experience? Was the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. During his 14 years as a Congressperson, (as compared to Sen. Obama's two years).he garnered significant foreign policy knowledge.

And if we must look for ethnic cachet? Half Latino, fluent in Spanish with a father of Mexican extraction born in Guatemala, he's got plenty of that. When Clinton needed someone to talk to Fidel Castro, it was Richardson who he sent.

If- from my mouse to the Goddess' ears- Richardson is elected President, then maybe he should offer the clearly brilliant and supremely talented Barack Obama a Cabinet level position. Already well traveled on official missions in much of the world, Obama could be Secretary of State and a damn good one. That would be a perfect burnish on a record of experience he could campaign on in 2012. Or 2016.

But not in 2008.

Not yet.

Register To Vote