I normally don't agree with conservative hack Dick Morris, but he actually wrote a logical op-ed for The Hill.
Those who deride Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) lack of experience and criticize the broad generalities and banalities that festoon his best-selling book miss the key point: His inexperience is an asset because he enters national politics as a blank canvas on which he can paint whatever he chooses. With only two years in the Senate, he is less like a politician running for president than like a general — think Eisenhower in 1952 or even the abortive candidacy of Colin Powell in 1995 — or a businessman, like Ross Perot in 1992.
It’s not that he doesn’t have a record. It’s that the record doesn’t really matter because it is so short. His Senate tenure is so abbreviated that he can be whatever he says he is, not just as a political contrivance to get elected, but genuinely to articulate a philosophy and make it his guiding principle both while seeking office and serving in it.
Obama has the opportunity to embody the emerging consensus, a broad national agreement reached from observation of trial and error over the past half decade. The bloody futility of our efforts to build a nation in Iraq have left us still committed to aggressive efforts to hunt down terrorists but determined to extricate ourselves from the mire. The effectiveness of our homeland security efforts and our concomitant horror at instances of mistaken imprisonment and unnecessarily intrusive government investigations have led us to demand a balance between aggressive investigation and protection of civil liberties. We want terrorists caught, interrogated, and locked up, but not tortured or sadistically humiliated.
Obama’s book reflects an intuitive grasp of this emerging consensus even if his voting record does not signal his agreement with it.
So we wait for Barack Obama to define himself. If he runs to the left, he will be a worthy successor to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. If he runs to the center, he might be a successor to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He might just make it to the White House.