Barack Now?

So with Mark Warner dropping out last week, Barack Obama's book coming out Tuesday with an Oprah boost, and with Richard Greene's good post yesterday, it seemed like a good time to review the bidding on 2008.

The polls show John McCain at the top of most heaps, but I am confident that McCain's own "stay the course" mentality on the war makes him vulnerable. So who should Democrats and Independents really get behind?

Ideally, as I have written here, the Democratic Party's two titans Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would work out whatever issues they have and run together. Gore's national security credentials and positioning on the last two Gulf wars earns him the clear nod for the top slot - that plus he did sort of win the popular vote in 2000. Realistically however, this scenario isn't happening anytime. Which would be a shame, given how the historic stakes we face on war and global climate cry out for an Al-Hillary-Bill Kumbaya moment.

If Gore or Hillary both don't run, or they run hard against each other, or if they fail to see the strength and logic of running together, my sense is that voters will start looking for something more fresh from the shelf. Call it the sour cream rule of candidate shopping.

In this environment, Barack Obama is more than OK by me. Yes, he's young but as this draft Obama for President site suggests, Barack is older than JFK was and sometimes "leadership can't wait." No war waffling issue for this candidate: Obama stated on Meet the Press on July 25, 2004 that had he been in the Senate he would have voted against authorizing Bush to go to war - a continuing if boring hurdle with the press and some primary voters that Edwards, Clinton, Biden and Kerry will face forever. Can't win because he's an African-American? That logic may be right but we'll hear this same argument in 2016 as well, at which point I fear that Barack will have slowly morphed into a consummate Washington insider. So why not go now when the gut still has all the right instincts intact.

What's the fallback if we don't see Al-Hillary or a dynamic fresh face like Obama or an interesting Republican breakout like Chuck Hagel (friends and flamers, tell me why I don't like this Nebraskan running as an independent?)? Then I'd fully expect to see more grassroots-netroots-campus-My Space-Facebook-YouTube calls for folks like George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Bill Gates, Robin Williams and Oprah to run. Let's not forget that half of America doesn't vote because of the slim political pickings they get served every four years. Who can blame them for trying to update the script of that wonderful other Frank Capra film, Meet John Doe. Hell, some crazy people even tried to run actor John Cusack several years ago which took off on college campuses.

But remember one of the biggest choices that the public will be clamoring for -- Oprah -- is saying she won't run. Two weeks ago on Larry King she was asked about it and said point blank that she wants her Senator, Barack Obama, to run. Tomorrow's show with Barack (taped weeks ago I'm told) may fuel more calls for BarackNow.

Which sounds good to me.