Note: I wrote this post two years before Obama became president.
Barack Obama (1961- ) has been an American senator of the state of Illinois since 2005. In February 2007 he entered the 2008 race for president. Among the Democrats in the race in 2007 he is second only to Hillary Clinton. He is the greatest star the American left has seen since Robert Kennedy 40 years ago.
Obama became famous in 2004 with the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.
- He is a good public speaker.
- He is not (yet) part of the political establishment. He seems like someone who could shake things up.
- He talks like a real person instead of someone who mouths political doctrine.
- He comes across as truthful and unafraid.
In short, all the things that Hillary Clinton is not.
- He is young and inexperienced. So was John Kennedy in 1960, but Kennedy had been in Congress for 13 years, not just two.
- He is black. He is half-white by blood and all-white by upbringing, but most Americans will see him as black because of the One Drop Rule. Like it or not, this hurts his chances among whites.
Some say he is a lightweight: form over substance.
Even though he is black, he won state-wide office in Illinois which is only one-sixth black. And even though he is inexperienced, he knew that war in Iraq was a horrible mistake back in 2002 and said so.
Obama’s political positions are squarely on the left. None of his ideas are new. It is not his ideas but his manner that wins people over. He comes across as someone who is straight and real.
For example, he smoked marijuana when he was young. So did a lot of people. But he does not tell an artful lie about it like Bill Clinton. He freely admits it. He also states his political views plainly, even to crowds that will not agree with him. People respect and trust that far more than the political double-talk they are used to hearing.
Few political figures understand both white and black America as well: he has lived on both sides as much as anyone can.
His mother’s family comes from the white people of Kansas, his father from the Luo people of Kenya. His parents met at university and married, but soon broke up. For the most part his white grandparents brought him up in Hawaii.
With his education (Columbia, Harvard Law) he could have made a comfortable living working for some large company. Instead he went to live in the South Side of Chicago, a poor black part of the city where the University of Chicago stands. There he got married and dedicated himself to helping the South Side as much as he could, in time becoming its state senator. Now he represents the whole state as a senator in Washington.
Obama lost an election to Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, but won against Alan Keyes.
- Barack Obama for President
- Obama’s patriotism
- His life (based mainly on his book “Dreams from My Father”):
- 2008 election
- Robert Kennedy
- Michelle Obama
- Race in America