Interesting look at Barack Obama over yonder at FDL. Obama has become the Great White Hope (no pun intended – he is half-white, you know). Yet there is the experience thing and the leadership thing. Martin Luther King talked the talk really well — not unlike Obama. But he also walked the walk.

OK Democrats, deep breath. Despite Obama’s undeniable magnetism and star power, he’s not your guy. Not yet.

For now, Obama is a cipher, an easy repository for the hopes and dreams of liberals everywhere. He had the good fortune to run his first statewide (and nationally noticed) election against Chicago investment banker Jack Ryan, who dropped out because of a sex scandal, and then the brilliant performance artist (c’mon — you don’t really believe that guy’s serious, do you?) Alan Keyes. It’s easy to focus on lofty ideals and shining rhetoric if you don’t have an opponent and need never enter the muck of a competitive campaign.

But if Obama avoided being battle-tested in 2004 by the grace of God, it’s his own timidity that has kept his name clean since.

Given his national profile and formidable political talents, he could have been a potent spokesman for Democratic causes in the Senate. Instead, he has refused to expend his political or personal capital on a single controversial issue, preferring to offer anodyne pieces of legislation and sign on to the popular efforts of others.

Obama has led on energy reform and helped pass a landmark bill: the Coburn-Obama Transparency Bill which will create a public searchable database of public spending. The ramifications for government of this act will be astonishing when American taxpayers finally get a chance to see where their money really goes. Let’s give him (and the bloggers who helped) some credit for that.

It would be great to see this kind of leadership from Obama on healthcare, education and the “war on terror”.

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