May 30, 2008


Obama: a man of no substance: He launched his political career in 1995 with a candid memoir, and kickstarted his presidential bid with a ‘political treatise’ stuffed with embarrassing personal anecdotes. Obama takes the politics of personality to a new low. (Sean Collins, 5/30/08, spiked)

It’s easy to forget that only five months ago the chances of Barack Obama becoming president were pretty slim.

At the beginning of the year, Obama trailed Hillary Clinton in the contest for the Democratic Party nomination by what appeared to be an unsurpassable margin: in the first week of January 2008 he received only 24 per cent of support in national polls, versus 44 per cent for Clinton. But in a matter of weeks - by mid-February - Obama had caught Clinton, and soon after he grabbed the lead. Today he is ahead by 10 percentage points over Clinton, and with a majority of pledged delegates he is almost certain to win the nomination. Moreover, polls show Obama leads John McCain and thus is now the frontrunner to be the next President of the United States.

Even saying that Obama is the frontrunner is something of an understatement. For many, he is believed to be a politician unlike any other in recent memory. He is pathbreaking, holding out the possibility of being the first black president. While politics is often perceived to be a dull affair, Obama is widely talked about in terms of his personal qualities, especially how cool he is – good-looking, smooth, self-assured, hip, and with a wry sense of humour. And he doesn’t just win votes, he attracts tens of thousands to his rockstar-like rallies. In short, he’s not just a candidate, he’s a phenomenon.

Obama’s campaign is very much run on the basis of who he ‘is’, his personal story, more than any plans on how he would lead the country. In that regard, Obama has been able carefully to craft his public image by writing two mega-bestselling books, Dreams from My Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006), both of which are highly personal. And it appears he has used his books to establish a connection with supporters; Obama says people ‘feel they know me through my books’.

Previous candidates for president have presented their biography and tried to spin it to their advantage, but few have focused so much on their own personal background.

...while it may not have been possible to anticipate how completely the activists in the Party would go for him, his Identity and the capacity of black voters to determine primary outcomes in a number of states in the Identity Party had folks talking about him as a serious contender before he'd even won the senate seat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 30, 2008 4:46 PM

There's a guy running for President this year whose personal story is more awe-inspiring than any candidate in the past half-century. Luckily for the Stupid Party, he's our candidate.

Posted by: b at May 30, 2008 5:02 PM

The people who have read his books are the committed voters in the Democratic Party. They are not the committed voters in the Republican Party, nor are they the vast majority of voters who spend their reading time on something other than a current politicians' book.

He is the candidate from Hype, and hype wears thin after a few months; the long primary season should kill that. And worse, his friends and mentors won't shut up, probably because they have never been called out for their bigotry before.

Posted by: Mikey at May 30, 2008 6:09 PM

He's the next JFK. But Joe Sr and Daley Sr aren't around to get those dead Chicago votes

Posted by: AWW at May 30, 2008 6:21 PM

OJ is right. Obama isn't running on his personal background - he's just using it as a backdrop. He can't run on background, because he doesn't really have one.

But the media puffers will blow for all they are worth, because their "backgrounds" are probably just as vapid.

And listening to Father Michael today on local radio was amazing. Pfegler (sp.?) is a wannabe, a guy in a black suit who wants to rap and would probably sing about ho's and shooting cops if he thought he could get away with it. Listening to him smooch up to Calypso Louie was something. Don't these guys know that Farrakhan, apart from having zip in the theology dept., was totally exposed probably 25 years ago?

Posted by: ratbert at May 30, 2008 6:32 PM

To the contrary, Obama is loaded with substance, it is just that he must hide it to get elected.

He's likely thought through exactly how he intends to move American radically to the left, and he'll have Dem Majorities to do the heavy lifting for him.

It is possible for him to win, and should he do so, he will have learned from Clinton's mistakes. As the Dems work to drag the nation rapidly to the left, Obama will be holding back on the leash, appearing "centrist" in the process.

When he nomintates the radical left to the bench, the Republican idiocracy in the Senate will NOT use the filibuster, if indeed they are lucky enough to even have that many seats.

Keep whistling gents. I hope you end up being right.

Posted by: Bruno at May 30, 2008 8:41 PM

And he's running to Nixon's Left.

Posted by: oj at May 30, 2008 8:51 PM

But the media puffers will blow for all they are worth, because their "backgrounds" are probably just as vapid.

A Coast Guard does more good in a week than Tim Russert could dream about. That is community service.

Posted by: Mikey at June 1, 2008 12:54 PM