Barack Obama is considered by many to be a frontrunner for the Democrat nomination for President in 2008. He hasn't announced yet, but he's making the rounds as though he is. And when that happens, there are bound to be people who will run against him, even at this early stage.
But is Barack Obama getting undermined by his own party? Judging from what has happened so far, it's entirely possible. First, New York Times columnist/terminal PMS sufferer Maureen Dowd went after Obama for his inexperience and, of all things, his ears. Now, sections from his first book where he admits to doing cocaine are surfacing. There are also rumors of a potentially illegal land deal. (Gee, where have I heard that before...)
As much as this sounds like black helicopter stuff (or to be politically correct, African-American helicopter stuff), I'm thinking it's not a coincidence. Whenever something like this happens this early in the political process, one has to wonder who benefits.
The Republicans? On the one hand, it would eliminate a potentially popular and persuasive candidate. On the other, it would look too much like a political hit because it's too obvious. Not to mention, the Republicans are still reeling from November's elections. To do something like this requires much more foresight and planning than the GOP has shown recently.
The Democrats? Not quite as obvious, but not the right answer either. Democrats are just finding out how polished Obama is as a candidate. He's no slouch and can really make an impact early on. Plus, there is an anti-Hillary sentiment within Democrat ranks, so I doubt Democrats as a whole would turn on Obama.
But individual Democrats might. Joe Biden, Al Gore, and John Kerry are out because few people are even paying attention to them these days. Dennis Kucinich? Definitely not. John Edwards? I don't think the kids he channels would let him do it.
When you peel away the layers, only one person stands to gain the most from Obama being out early, and that's Hillary Clinton. She has worked hard to get positioned just right for the nomination, including making sure the DNC has her faithful or those who could be replaced by a Clintonite in key roles. Obama poses a serious threat to her dream of being the first female President. And don't thnk for a moment that she's not above doing it.
The seal on this deal came from an upcoming New York Times interview where Hillary is asked about Obama's chances in the 2008 race for Democrat candidate. She said she likes him and thinks he has a good shot to go far, but that he would fade early. Was that a statement of opinion or a shot across Obama's bow? If taken by itself, it could be just a statement of opinion. But when put into perspective, Obama may feel what John Kerry did in 2004 with the Swift Boat Vets.