It's a fair piece, if obviously tilted toward Romney and against Obama. This much is very clear, though, and I've been struck by it myself. I can't find anyone who is Obama's peer who dislikes him. In fact, the legions of Republicans and conservatives who positively love the guy is almost unnerving. Money quote:
In my previous professional life, I had reason to be in contact with dozens of Barack Obama's classmates at Harvard Law School. When he entered the presidential race, I dusted off my Rolodex and began making some calls to get the off-the-record skinny on the Democrats' potential savior.
The results surprised me. Regardless of his classmates' politics, they all said pretty much the same thing. They adored him. The only thing that varied was the intensity with which they adored him. Some spoke like they were eager to bear his children. And those were the guys. Others merely professed a profound fondness and respect for their former classmate.
Even more interesting was what wasn't said. In dozens of conversations, not a single person said anything negative about him, and some were hardly the senator's political fellow travelers. Also noteworthy is that virtually everyone seemed to know Obama. Usually people who have such a high profile on law school campuses have their detractors. Obama apparently didn't.
But Dean thinks Obama's campaigning has fallen flat, and compares him unfavorably to Romney. For my part, I hear only good things about Romney's character, and I don't disbelieve them. There's something extremely nice about Romney - and in this, he is not atypical of many Mormons I have come across. But the idea that Romney has been planning what he wants to say in this race for years is silly.
Romney's politics have been completely retooled these past five years to cater to the Christianist base. He has changed political identity far more completely than Obama. Romney has also failed in any real way to generate donor enthusiasm, certainly compared with Obama, and has nothing like the online support. He has largely bought his own lead in Iowa and new Hampshire through personal funding of ad buys. His campaign performances have been lack-luster, and his occasional utterances moronic. The idea that an intelligent response to the detainee issue is to "double Gitmo" is silly. Romney's description of his foreign policy is a third-grader's, compared with Obama. A man who has no grasp of the different challenges of Wahhabist terror and Shiite Tehran is still in need of training. He panders so blatantly and wildly he sometimes says things that are worthy of a total fool. But like Obama, he is not indecent and not nasty. Which is to say he is much better than Giuliani, even though my views on the social issues are closer to Giuliani than to Romney (as of November 2007).
I wouldn't be terrified for the future of the Constitution if he became president. I would if Rudy were on control.