There needs to be a new discussion in this country about what constitutes readiness for political leadership. Ever since Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his vice presidential candidate, the GOP has loaded television stations across the nation with both Democrats’ and Republicans’ quotes about how Obama is not ready to lead the country…

But in reality, how substantiated is this claim?

First of all, there is a huge difference between leadership and office. Leaders not only know how to tap into the relationship between power and ideas, they can use this knowledge to greatly influence civil society. On the other hand, an office is simply a puppet station designed to keep society running in case great leaders come around. As all of us should realize, Washington is full of great officials, yet short on great leaders.

In my opinion, all this whining about Senator Obama’s youth and short term in national politics really says more about the whiners than it does about Obama. They’re just pissed that he’s been able to achieve in a few years what took other Washington politicians decades to accomplish: clench the Democratic nomination to the Presidency.

Look at McCain, for example. With all those years of service, with that great reputation of being a war hero, with all of that bipartisan work and long years of inter-party bridge-building, this so-called “maverick” had to wait until he was over seventy years old before taking the GOP nomination. Now the Republicans want to use his experience as proof that McCain will be a better president. But this doesn’t follow at all. (Think of all the many crimes against humanity that have been committed by party-endorsed, citizen-elected and fairly “seasoned” politicians.) Instead, there seems to be a more simple reason why people are quick to question Obama’s readiness: sheer jealousy.

And this jealousy isn’t limited to the Republicans. There are many Hillary Clinton supporters who were pissed their candidate lost the primary. They complained that Hillary was more electable and that she had received as many or more votes as Obama. As evidence, they pointed to the fact that Hillary won the vote of the party’s backbone—that is, blue-collar Democrats, older Democrats and the “big” states like California, New York and Pennsylvania. And all of this is undoubtedly true.

The problem, however, with the “pro-Hillary” argument then, and the very similar “pro-McCain” readiness doctrine now, is that Obama’s very success demonstrates their conclusions to be wrong. For precisely the reasons that are raised by Clinton and McCain supporters, the evidence demonstrates Obama is more ready to be president than anyone else on the national stage. Think about it. The fact that he, in a relatively short period of time, grew from a Chicago community organizer to the national political arena suggests he’s more of a leader, not less. The fact that he won the voting count despite losing many white, blue-collar Democrats indicates his voting blocks, not Clinton’s, were the political backbone of this Democratic primary. And even more so, the fact that Obama won more delegates than Hillary while losing all the states with the highest delegate count should make his election feats more remarkable, not less. And the list goes on… he’s only forty-six years old; he’s African-American with the middle name of “Hussein”; he’s lived on multiple continents; he’s published two books while expanding his career in politics, etc. and he STILL has been able to master and ultimately gain control of the United States’ Democratic Party machine!

Taken together, what all this suggests are three absolutely critical things: first, that if winning elections is any indication of leadership potential, Americans believe beyond a shadow of doubt that Obama is ready to lead; and second, if other politicians doubt Obama is ready to lead, he or she really secretly thinks those millions of disagreeing Americans must be naive as hell; third, and most important, it conveys the notion that Americans are tired of good politicians in Washington. There are definitely times for good politicians, but there are also times for great leaders. Whether or not Obama will change Washington has yet to be seen. But one thing’s for certain. When he says to his supporters that “our time for change has come,” their massive response does just about everything except the one charge constantly labeled against him: suggest that he’s not ready to lead. Quite to the contrary, he’s so far led all his opponents to abandon their campaigns for the presidency. And unless you’re willing to say he’s a charlatan and demagogue, the obvious truth is that — even if not the greatest president — Obama has already made his mark as a great leader.