Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why Obama?

The essay below does NOT fit the mold of a Seeing Greene installment. I post it here in order to achieve distribution. Feel free to disregard it. On the other hand, feel free to rebut, augment, denounce, salute....

Dick May

Because he has the best chance of winning the presidency, and because he has the best chance of being a successful President, Barack Obama would be the Democratic Party’s best presidential nominee.

That assessment, or hunch, stems from appreciating Senator Obama’s two advantages over Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and any other conceivable Democratic candidate: breadth of support, and absence of deep-seated animosity.

Mr Obama would get every vote that any other Democratic nominee could get from regular Democrats. He also would win—as opinion surveys, primary elections and caucuses have already indicated—a larger share of votes cast by independent (no-party) voters. He would surpass any other prospective Democratic nominee in support from disaffected, Bush-despising Republicans. He would pick up votes from people who define themselves primarily as Christians. He would win an overwhelming majority of votes cast by African-Americans and would attract a record rate of turnout by African-American voters. Similarly, he would win a substantial majority of votes cast by young voters and would evoke a record rate of turnout by young voters.

Thanks to the breadth as well as the scale of his electoral support, Mr Obama would be extraordinarily well placed to implement the changes that all the Democratic candidates have advocated. Adding greatly to his leverage, moreover, would be the public spirit generated by the character of his campaign. Thanks to his rhetorical emphasis on reconciliation, harmony, salutary change and hope—themes that other candidates have sounded, but less credibly—a President Obama would commence his White House occupation with a precious stock of good will, coming from both sides of the partisan divide.

Crucial to the success of a President, says Ted Sorenson, who was President John F. Kennedy’s chief speechwriter, is ability “to mobilize people, inspire them, galvanize them, arouse them to action.” Barack Obama’s manifest ability “to inspire and excite an audience on the campaign trail” is “one of the reasons” to believe that “Obama would be a success as president.”

By way of contrast, Hillary Clinton’s ability to win the November election, as well as to govern effectively, is hampered by widespread, deep-seated animosity. She leads the field in “negatives”: professed disagreements with her policies, along with adverse assessments of her character. And that aversion is not counterbalanced by manifest enthusiasm, as distinct from respect and admiration, on the part of her many supporters.

The hostility is the product, in no small measure, of diligent cultivation by “conservative” Republican operatives. It is nonetheless entrenched and based on long exposure. As commentator Frank Rich says, “Clinton-bashing is the last shared article of faith…that could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate.” “With conservatives,” adds conservative commentator Rich Lowry, Senator Clinton “is caught in an inescapable trap of acrimony.” When she makes a “liberal” move, that reveals her underlying “Eurosocialist” proclivities. When she does a “moderate” thing it supposedly reveals an underlying poverty of principle. Her candidacy would be regarded by “conservative” ranters as a renewed license to smear.

For Republicans, the nomination of Hillary Clinton as Democratic presidential candidate would be, as conservative columnist George Will says, an electoral “gift.” And even if she were to win the election, her presidency would be crippled. Senator Clinton would not be able to draw strength from the popular sentiment that, as commentator Nicholas D. Kristof says, is inspired by Barack Obama: hope that his election “would heal divisions at home and around the world.”


leathej1 said...

I agree. He possesses the one electric quality that all other candidates lack - the ability to inspire. In our present state of foreign policy and domestic economic uncertainty, the one thing people want most right now is hope.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Dick. We had an open house at CGNYfor Obama, and I was happy to see the diverse crowd that attended.
Mr. Obama has a different vision for this country, and I believe that's the meaning of his message for "change"..that old school politcs no longer work, we are in a new world, and we'd better wake up to that fact.
Mr. Obama also shows another strange trait....he seems to actually CARE about our country, and has unconventional ideas for getting us back on track....what's wrong with trying to unite this country, and give us pride in being Americans again?
My only problem is: with what he will inherit, how will he undo the last 8 years of the Bush Administration?

Anonymous said...

Having a black President would not bother me ,But Obama is half White ? So why is everyone saying a Black President???How many people don't even know his Mother is White ??