Barack Obama — a bridge to the past

Barack Obama channeled Bob Dole today. Asked by a seven year old girl why he wants to be president, Obama responded: “America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”

It was not that long ago (yesterday probably) that Obama was running for president so he could usher in a new day, enabling America to fulfill the unmet promise of a nation that in the past has fallen so short of his, and his wife’s, expectations. Now he wants to restore us to our former glory.

Perhaps, he can do both, since the laws of contradiction do not apply to messiahs. Or perhaps Obama has no answer, other than egotism, to the question of why he’s running for president.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin says that Obama’s statement is not a gaffe; rather it is a theme of his campaign, and logically must be. For why would America need Obama if things weren’t deteriorating?

But at its best, Obama’s campaign message is that America is a great but seriously flawed country that has been making major progress in overcoming its flaws. The fact that America is ready to nominate and elect Obama proves this. America must now take advantage of this moment so that Obama can take us to the next level. In this telling, Obama’s rise is the culmination of the great American march towards a perfect Union.

The notion that Obama is running for president because we’re not what we once were is antithetical to this theme — the one that launched Obama and has sustained him.

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