Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One more prediction and a call to action

I just sent the email below to my Obama email list.  In it, I confidently predict that historians will judge Obama to have been one of our top half-dozen greatest Presidents, but in order for this to happen, he will have to be the greatest education President (admittedly -- and sadly -- not a very high bar!).  I define this as follows: Obama needs to do for education reform what Bill Clinton did for welfare reform, by taking on entrenched interests in his own party to reform a horribly broken system so that it better serves the millions of people who desperately need it to work.
The single most important decision President-elect Obama will make in this area is picking his Secretary of Education because -- let's be honest -- with so many urgent priorities (the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, healthcare, etc.), Obama himself isn't going to have the time or political capital to spend on education reform in the early part of his first term, so the Secretary of Education is going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting.
But he/she won't be able to do it alone.  Reforming our schools will also depend on all of us continuing to be involved to keep PUSHING.  As Obama has said many times, "power does not concede easily", so take a day to relax and then let's get back to work!
Words can't describe how fired up I am, so I won't even try.  You know the feeling...
Not to do too much of a shameless victory dance, but I want to establish my credentials before making one more major prediction:
-- More than four years ago on June 7, 2004, an hour after I first ever met Barack Obama, many months before pretty much anyone outside of Illinois had ever heard of him, I sent the following email to 100+ friends:

A few years ago, I said that Cory Booker would be our first black President.  I was wrong -- he'll be our 2nd (only because of his youth).  I met the first tonight: Barack Obama, who is running for the Senate in Illinois.  He is strikingly similar to Cory -- young (42 vs. Cory's 35), brilliant, eloquent, visionary and able/willing to cut across political lines.  For example, most Democrats are afraid to take on the teachers' unions and support charter schools and school choice, but Obama (like Cory) champions this issue.


After hearing him speak, answer some tough questions and meeting him, I'm convinced he's the real deal.


He won the primary by 30 points in a 7-person field and is currently 22 points ahead of his Republican opponent.  If elected, he would be only the third African-American to take a seat in the Senate since Reconstruction.


This is NOT a solicitation to give money to his campaign -- rather, an FYI.  I'm sort of embarrassed that I hadn't heard of this guy...


Below is his bio (from his web site, and an Op Ed in the NY Times about him from last Friday.

-- Nearly two years ago, when Obama declared that he was running for President, I compared him to a small growth company with extraordinary potential and said that, while his odds were long, he was the only candidate in either party that had the potential to win in a landslide.
-- Earlier this year, I predicted that the housing market would get much worse, triggering a big economic downturn that would turn a close race into a landslide for Obama.
-- On Sunday (, I made the following predictions: 
After meeting him for the first time (the same day I'd ever heard of him, in fact), I predicted Obama's presidency 4 1/2 years ago, so I'm now feeling my oats (that's a joke!) and am making the following (serious) predictions:
A) Obama wins in a landslide on Tuesday, by wider margins than generally expected, thanks to the remarkable ground game, fueled by hundreds of thousands of highly motived volunteers -- see stories below from two of them.
B) The economy will be awful for the next two years, the fiscal realities of which will force Obama to scale back his plans for tax cuts and spending initiatives.
C) Obama will provide a steady hand and the economy will start to pick up in years 3 and 4.  Bush will be blamed for the recession, yet Obama will get the credit for the recovery, which will lead to an even bigger landslide win four years from now.
D) Americans will so appreciate Obama's leadership style -- and become so comfortable with a black President -- that the route to the White House will be paved for Cory Booker, who will become America's second black President (maybe not in 8 years, but within 16).
So (drumroll please), what's my latest prediction?  That historians will judge Obama to have been one of our top half-dozen greatest Presidents, for reasons outlined in my blog post from February 2007, What percentage of your support for Obama has to do with him being black? ( and in the article I sent around yesterday, Obama Will Be One of the Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents (
For this prediction to come true, however, he's going to need all of our help, so take a day to relax and enjoy this magnificent victory -- and then it's back to work!
Best regards,

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