Saturday, January 05, 2008

Obama the first African-American President?

Barack Obama’s stunning victory against Hilary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses last Thursday night is the talk of the international press. That a black man defeated the establishment candidate in a primarily (95%) white state and the fact of a record turnout of Democrat voters suggests that Americans are seeing the need for fundamental change.

Interestingly, former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee gained support from religious conservatives to stage a victory over Mitt Romney in the Republican race. Huckabee was, like Obama, an anti-establishment outcome. Insurgencies are occurring on both sides of US politics.

Obama’s victory shows that the boundaries of race in US politics have dissolved – an amazing outcome given that slavery was abolished in the US only 148 years ago. Ignoring the partisan issues associated with Obama’s candidature (I think his policy on Iraq amounts to abandoning a people who have turned on the terrorists and who desperately need support) the outcome here is, in itself, cause for celebration. It is noteworthy that Obama is addressing issues facing mainstream America not civil rights concerns. His speeches do not contain much content - most US political speeches do not - but he is a passionate performer who will go over well in the US. He is charismatic, carries an aura of authenticity and carries none of the baggage of disappointment that characterises recent US presidential politics. Clinton in comparison, is a boring hack who represents establishment politics.

In the overall scheme of things the events in a small state like Iowa might not seem important but they do set the tone for the remainder of the US presidential campaign.

Now on to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary where early polls favoured Clinton and McCain. But those polls were taken well before the Iowa vote. The would-be Clinton dynasty is on the line in New Hampshire and support is turning against her. Yes, it couldn’t happen to a less pleasant person.

Barack Obama has a good chance of becoming the next US President. I think he will because I don’t believe Huckabee is electable and I cannot see who will stand up to oppose the calls for renewal by Obama? It is clear that Americans are disappointed with establishment politics and the current presidency. Obama is seen as a solution.


Mark U said...

You've got to keep in mind that the people that voted for OBama are registered Democrats that care enough resister and then turn up to vote. If Obama wins the Democrate nomination, there will be enough god-botherers, racists and conservatives to combine to make sure Obama won't be president.

A former Baptist preacher can hardly be described as anti-establishment, but I don't think Huckabee will win the Republican nomination. Their best chance against Obama is McCain or Guilliani, who I think could eventually beat Obama.

hc said...

Mark, I meant that Huckabee was not the candidate sought by the Republican Party machine.

I think Obama might end up getting elected president because he sounds untainted and without baggage.

Mark U said...

Various muck-rakers are laready putting around accusations that Obama is an ex-Muslim - with the implication that he has only become a Christian out of political convenience. Expect more mud to be thrown against him if he gets the nomination. A negative campaign based on unsubstantiated accusations will trigger the required response from the religious right, racists and conservatives. My prediction is that almost any Republican will beat Obama. If the Democrats want to play it safe Edwards is probably the best choice.

derrida derider said...

I groaned when I read these results. On one side a great speechmaker with no qualifications or experience beat an admittedly stodgy but massively competent candidate. On the other an inexperienced religious bigot beat experienced (albeit seriously flawed) heavyweights.

Surely the travails of GWB should have taught the Yanks that an attractive personal manner is no substitute for actual policy competence and administrative ability?

Rabee said...

My guess is that a McCain-Lieberman ticket will be hard to beat in the GE.

So I'm hoping for a Romney win in NH.

Guy said...

I think you might be right Harry. If the Obama locomotive steamrolls through New Hampshire, there may not be any stopping it. From what I've heard, despite the obviously ideological gap, he is the kind of Democrat some Republican voters would consider voting for.

I also think the Republican field is pretty underwhelming at present.

Anonymous said...

One trip to Senator Obama's official website is all it takes to confirm he offers absolutely nothing new (discounting various shades of gray.)

That fact, coupled with his win in Iowa and projected win in New Hampshire is all one needs to know about American politics.

Still, I will offer up the following experience. Please keep in mind that I've voted Democratic for the past 34 years and have never voted for anyone who wasn't a Democrat.

I recently reworded Senator Obama's healthcare plan and posted the main points on a very liberal forum where he is highly regarded.

The result?

I was virtually slaughtered by people who consider him "their" candidate.

Be afraid. Be very afraid--of American voters.



Anonymous said...

people dont take in mind the amount of things that black and white people have done in this world. all they think about is colour

Anonymous said...

I would hope that Americans have finally reached the place where the best candidate, regardless of color will be our next president. This election will be a great test for just how far American has really bridged the gap between black and white.