Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Obama Phenomenon

An AMAZING Op Ed by Bob Herbert in today's NYT:

I expect that African-Americans, under those circumstance, would view his campaign with almost religious fervor. All those questions about whether he's black enough would be history. Mr. Obama would be perceived by many as within striking distance of the presidency, and there will be very few blacks in favor of stopping that train.

However this election turns out, Mr. Obama can be credited with a great achievement. He has drawn tons of people, and especially young people, into the political process. More than anyone else, he has re-energized that process and put some of the fun back into politics. And he's done it by appealing openly and consistently to the best, rather than the worst, in us.

I think he's right and that we'll see a HUGE swing of black voters to Obama (also on this topic, see the article below from the front page of today's NYT: "Daring to Believe, Blacks Savor Obama Victory")
January 5, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Obama Phenomenon

Manchester, N.H.

The historians can put aside their reference material. This is new. America has never seen anything like the Barack Obama phenomenon.

I was surprised all day Thursday, before the results of the Iowa caucuses were in, by the apparent serenity of the Obama forces here in New Hampshire. The stakes were enormous, but the campaign staff members and volunteers seemed as cool as the candidate.

The students, veterans, middle-aged moms, retirees and others working steadily to make Barack Obama president seemed to accept as fact that the country is ready for profound change and that their job is to help make it happen.

"We've been busy knocking on doors, making phone calls, inputting data and basically just spreading hope," said Kathryn Teague, a 19-year-old who has taken a year off from Keene State College to work in the campaign.

There is no longer any doubt that the Obama phenomenon is real. Mr. Obama's message of hope, healing and change, discounted as fanciful and naïve by skeptics, drew Iowans into the frigid night air by the tens of thousands on Thursday to stand with a man who is not just running for president, but trying to build a new type of political movement.

By midnight, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd had been chased from the race; John Edwards was all but literally on his knees; and the Clintons were trying, for the umpteenth time, to figure out how to remake themselves as the comeback kids.

Shake hands with tomorrow. It's here.

Senator Obama's victory speech was a concise oratorical gem. No candidate in either party can move an audience like he can. He characterized his stunning victory as an affirmation of "the most American of ideas — that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it."

Mr. Obama has shown, in one appearance after another, a capacity to make people feel good about their country again. His supporters want desperately to turn the page on the bitter politics and serial disasters of the past 20 years. That they have gravitated to a black candidate to carry out this task is — to use a term I heard for the first time this week — monumentous.


Post a Comment

<< Home