Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why I like Obama?

On the surface Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has many disadvantages and hurdles to overcome before he can become President. For starters his middle name is Hussein. His last name misses being Osama by one letter and his first name is pronounced Baraaaak...unpronounceable to many Red Staters and a good number of Blue Staters too.

Then he happens to be black and politically inexperienced (a 3 term IL Congressman and barely a 1/2 term United States Senator - he was elected in 2004). In addition, there have only been two Senators in the history of this country who have moved directly from the Senate to the Oval office (Warren Harding and John F. Kennedy). Therefore you can say that the odds are significantly stacked against him becoming President.......but still I like him. I really, really do.

He has a very sunny disposition - almost Regeanesque in nature. He is also an incredible speaker. He has that rare gift to connect with his audience that very few of our politicians in recent times have had. RR had it and so did Clinton.....that wonderul elocution that is almost otherworldly. He speaks in paragraphs not in sound bytes.

Then there is the gift of his unique lineage. Immigrants and many Americans will identify with and love his story. He is an African-American in the literal sense of the word. The product of a Kenyan and a Kansan (they met in grad school) who grew up in Hawaii, went to Harvard, was the President of the Harvard Law Review (first Black to hold that position) and taught law at the University of Chicago.

He is the first major black politician running for President who is also not a direct descendant of slaves. I think this may be appealing to white voters as he would likely not induce white guilt. His language is also (most refreshingly) of the post civil rights generation. He does not speak in terms of oppression and we shall (or we have to) overcome. He has overcome. He wants the corner suite, the crown, the room with the best view. He wants it because he knows its his birthright. He has broken through the glass ceiling. He is not Sidney Poitier in "Guess Who is Coming to Dinner" but rather the honored guest at the dinner table. An American before he is an African- American....Equal.

In both of his books Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope his story is both inspiring, genuine and open. He admits to expirementing with cocaine and being a lost and angry young man until he found his calling.

He was not in office when the Senate rubber stamped Bushs war in Iraq (he was opposed to it anyway) so he does not have to explain why he authorized the war like Hillary Clinton does. He can come out against the war boldly and without nuance. On the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history he was right and Hillary was wrong.

Is he electable? This is the 64 million dollar question. He is very Liberal. He is ranked as the 18th most liberal Senator in the United States Senate. This is of course problematic once the dirt diggers get out their spades and the fear mongers start to get creative with the truth.

What Red state can Obama win? Once again the other great question. Obama wins if Blacks in Southern states that are traditionally Red come out in droves and vote for him. Is it probable? I am not sure. Histrorically poor blacks do not vote but historically there has also never been a nationally electable black Presidential candidate. Therefore all bets are off. Obama could surprise us.

But first he has to win the nomination. I am not even sure he can do that because in order to do that he has to beat the Clinton machine. She can proabably raise 500 million dollars in the next two years. She has the smartest brain in politics working for her - a fellow by the name of William Jefferson Clinton. So these are the other odds that the young Senator must overcome if he is to prevail.

Either way the next two years are going to be exciting and long. Stay tuned.


Blogger beena said...

"I think there is a great hunger for change in the country‚Äďand not just policy change," Obama told U.S. News. "What I also think they are looking for is change in tone and a return to some notion of the common good and some sense of cooperation, of pragmatism over ideology. I'm a stand-in for that right now."

I had saved this for a scrapbook I keep. It says it all about Barack, but mostly reveals his authenticity. Unfortunately, in an era of Rovian/Swift Boat Politics, authenticity might not stand a chance. But I want to remain hopeful too. Let's hope we are underestimating his cunning. And underestimating the wit of the American people. Maybe, just maybe they will humor authenticity over spin and clout in 08.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Stewart_Colbert2008 said...

Obama is always a interesting topic, my .02 cents. His biggest hurdle to his nomination is;

1) Popularity among Af-Ams needs to be higher ie beat the popularity of the wife of the "First Black President" Bill. That's a tough ask. Bill has a number friends among black pastors and contacts in the black community. Blacks associate themselves with clinton. It's kinda of like the Indian Cricket coach who is an Aussie - indians trust an aussie over another indian. Same thing with Af-Ams they trust any white person with clinton lastname over a fellow black.
2) Come out with strong ideas on Health care and the war. Right now he has not done either but none of the other candidates who are all holding cards close to chest.

On the positive side he is the only person on both sides (apart from Brownback, who BTW is a big of a whacko) who can talk about religion and values easily and comfortably. That's his biggest Plus!

Obama looks to show how religion affects his conduct and being ala Bill Clinton or Carter. None of the dems want to or can do that, definitely not Hillary! Dems need to talk about poverty, environment and healthcare as strong moral values and win over conservative and religious minded independents. Obama is the only one who can do that but whether he will embrace talking about religion in his campaign is yet to be seen. In his book "Audacity of hope" he says he does not want to shy away from talking abt religion.

I'm sick of the right talking like as if God is a conservative! But Obama is definitely a breath of fresh air. My guess is he'll end up second to Clinton and may be on the ticket as VP candidate. I'll probably vote for him over the others but things could chg by primary time. Bill Richardson might be the dark horse, good candidate too with loads of experience esp. in Energy policy!


10:15 AM  

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