Why has a man with such a meager public record emerged as this mega-celebrity? The answer lies partly in the kind of society we have become—one that feeds on celebrity like locusts on crops and creates stars out of nothing but bright lights and hype. But also, in this new America, multicultural fluency and ethnic fluidity suddenly have become colossal virtues.But is that all there is?
Obama has generally voted with his Democratic colleagues—for withdrawal from Iraq but not for a deadline, against confirmation of the two most recent Supreme Court nominees, for stem-cell research, against a flag-burning amendment—avoiding positions that seem particularly risky. But eventually, if he is to justify the aura of greatness, he will have to compile a record that makes him stand out—one that will also make him more vulnerable to attack.He's on the short list for Vice President, and if the Democrats need him he won't have the time to prove himself. If he were wise, he'd be reluctant to take that path, but it looks like he believes his own press.
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