Bill Maher says that nowadays, a successful presidential candidate has to be a fresh and unfamiliar face. If you wait too long, then something will happen than will tarnish your image and make you unsuccessful
This is not a new theory. Matt Taibbi, in a prescient article back in 2007, wrote about why Barack Obama was an appealing candidate to so many people.
I’ve been on the fence about Obama for more than two years now, ever since his breakout performance at the Democratic convention in ’04. When I saw that speech — an iconic piece of inspired nonsense/political showmanship, one that set flashbulbs popping like Michael Jordan’s virtuoso 1988 dunk contest performance — I knew right away that he would be the Democratic presidential nominee someday, perhaps even in the next election cycle.
[H]is entire political persona is an ingeniously crafted human cipher, a man without race, ideology, geographic allegiances, or, indeed, sharp edges of any kind. You can’t run against him on the issues because you can’t even find him on the ideological spectrum. Obama’s “Man for all seasons” act is so perfect in its particulars that just about anyone can find a bit of himself somewhere in the candidate’s background, whether in his genes or his upbringing. You can be white, you can be black, you can be Christian, you can be Muslim, you can be from the American heartland or from Africa… you can even, according to his book The Audacity of Hope , worship Norse Gods or bury your relatives according to Hawaiian rituals.
In this sense [of sounding fresh and profound when spouting clichés] he’s exactly like Bill Clinton, who had the same gift. He is exactly what is meant by the term bullshit artist.
There is however a real danger in making your first foray in national politics be such a high profile one and that is that this will also be the first time that the national media will go into overdrive looking into every aspect of your past life and what they dig up may cause problems. This is what Sarah Palin found. If you are an old, familiar face, you may not be so exciting but your skeletons have likely been exposed and dealt with.
So being new on the national scene can be a two-edged sword. You really need the Goldilocks balance: new enough to be interesting but not so new that your past throws up unwelcome surprises.