The extravaganza brought to the Middle East by the flying Barack Obama show hit the ground just long enough for the Democratic presidential contender’s campaign strategists to show their hand.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s observers watched with interest how the smooth stage management was dedicated to simple but compelling objectives.
The entire crew works round the clock to stage performances and schedules as frames for the candidate’s remarkable gift of oratory and props to enhance his presidential image.
The content of his appearances and encounters is of secondary importance.
The well-rounded phrases and spellbinding presence yield little quotable substance although they inspire.
And behind the scenes, our sources report there is more amiss than meets the eye.
Anthony Lake, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser and candidate for secretary of state if Obama is elected, landed a bombshell in the course of the Middle East tour: He dropped out of the campaign. Aged 69, he disclosed that he had recently married and preferred to spend time with his family to becoming secretary of state.
In another drastic change of life, Lake revealed he had converted to the Jewish faith.
His decision to drop all aspirations in a prospective Obama administration tied in, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Washington sources, with another campaign misfortune: Hillary Clinton’s backers and donors have not come over to the Senator from Illinois.
McCain wants a Democrat as running mate
Their rationale is simple.
Both Democratic and Republic political activists agree that the next president will have to contend with an economic catastrophe of such dimensions that there is no way he can achieve headway in a single term. Therefore, the candidate elected in November 2008 cannot expect to be returned for a second term because he will be campaigning from the depths of a hopeless economic mess.
This opens the door for a second run by Hillary Clinton in 2012.
According to our sources, Obama has not turned to Richard Holbrooke following Lake’s withdrawal, although he is qualified for the post of secretary of state by his experience as a former ambassador at the UN and architect of the Dayton Agreements which ended the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.
Neither does Obama seem interested in Senator Joseph Biden.
He seems to be holding out for a fresh face with novel ideas, who will act as counterweight to his rival the Republican Senator John McCain’s choice of prospective vice president.
According to the scuttlebutt reaching Obama’s campaign headquarters, McCain is casting about for a distinguished Democrat for his running mate, rather than a member of his own party.
In the meantime, the Democratic senator’s two senior Middle East advisers are at daggers drawn. Daniel Kurtzer, former ambassador in Egypt and Israel, is a veteran of the Obama campaign, while Dennis Ross, President Clinton’s special Middle East envoy and Oslo Accords negotiator, is a newcomer.
The trouble is that Obama named Ross to the top slot as Middle East adviser without informing Kurtzer. Officials in the region are therefore forced to deal with both because they do not know which is really in charge.
Is Barack Obama practicing Lincoln’s team-of-rivals idea for his cabinet? Or is he just unable to make up his mind?