Marc goes inside the candidate's head:
In private, Obama likens himself to Reagan, according to some of his friends. He believes that the very act of Americans choosing to elect him would amount to the biggest foreign policy advance of the past 20 years, would immediately change the way, say, a young boy in Lahore views this country, would crush the propaganda gains of radical Islam since the end of the first Gulf War, would heal the scar that serves as a reminder of America's original sin (slavery), would directly engage the mass Muslim world in a way that no one who voted for oil or empire could, and ... you get the idea.
Okay, so this is ridiculous and overblown and self-serving, but ... it isn't totally wrong. To the extent that the President isn't just the leader of our country, but the face of America and our chief overseas PR man - a role that Reagan and Bill Clinton both played well, and that Bush has displayed little facility for - Obama is probably the most attractive candidate in either party's field. (So long as he stops talking about bombing Pakistan, of course.) This is not the sort of consideration on which elections should turn, but neither is it worth dismissing out of hand.
Update: Larison, as is his wont, prefers to emphasize the negative.
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