Time for Obama to Grow Up


A few months ago I went to a luncheon on New York’s Upper East Side and saw Michelle Obama speak, without notes, without hesitation.

Her husband was at that point still the underdog in the Democratic primary race, but the excitement in that room was palpable–and his wife lifted it further. She talked for almost an hour. You could have heard a pin drop. She concluded with the line, “Dream with me,” and you know how the story ended.

So imagine the excitement of many of those same people when they heard that Barack Obama would be appearing in New York next week–until, that is, the arrival of an email headlined “Exciting New Guest Next Week!”

Ooh, I thought. Al Gore?

I read on. “Senator Clinton” is to be the “exciting new guest” at the “Victory Fund” dinner and a Women’s Unity breakfast.

I wanted to vomit.

I thought the Unity stunt had ended, thankfully, in a painfully stilted mangle of matching blues last weekend in Unity, New Hampshire. Obviously I was wrong.

Actually, Barack Obama is also wrong, and someone needs to tell him so. Now that he’s got all those seasoned Clintonites on deck, maybe one of them can deliver the news: He doesn’t need to be entouraged–especially by the woman who went on 60 Minutes and said he’s not a Muslim, “as far as I know.”

America knows that in front of the cameras the Clintons and the Obamas have kissed and made up, but America is not stupid. We know this is performance politics and that Hillary, ultimately, had no choice but to endorse and commend the candidate who beat her.

For her, appearing with Obama is the beginning of her third political act, but also a reminder that, in her mind, her second act never really ended. It’s still her party and she’s still crying and she can if she wants to…

But for him?

Isn’t it time that the guy who suddenly seems to be shifting positions, who has seemed to have lost direction and his sense of self in recent days, re-found his voice, marched to the center stage, and belted out a monologue–alone?

If ever we need to be reminded why Barack Obama is the nominee, who he is, what he is capable of, and what he is capable of making us be, that time is now. He needs to grow up fast into the position he fought for.

Only an adolescent needs “mama” Hillary Clinton by his side. V

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