Jan 8, 2008

Trying to Figure Out the Obama and Clinton Campaigns

I have been watching with some interest the meteoric rise of Barack Obama to the front of the Democratic pack as the 20o8 presidential primary season unfolds. Simultaneously, I am scratching my head at what appears to be an implosion of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

What puzzles me is this: are voters turning out in droves because they buy into the hype about Obama, or are they simply tired of the Bush - Clinton - Bush - Clinton political refrain?

I will admit that I am a cynical political observer who has witnessed the rise and fall of a slew of "outsider" presidential candidates, from John Anderson (1980) to Jesse Jackson (1984) to Ross Perot (1992, 1996) to Ralph Nader (2000), all of which at least briefly tapped into widespread voter discontent. Yet the media hysteria over Barack Obama far exceeds anything I have ever seen.

I concede that Obama is a charismatic and talented orator, and that some of his recent speeches have evoked memories of certain acronymic American political icons like JFK, RFK, and even MLK. I have yet to se much in the way of specific policy initiatives from Obama, though, and beyond the repetition of the word "CHANGE," his campaign seems bereft of content.

Senator Clinton, on the other hand, has seemingly failed to ignite on the campaign launchpad, despite perhaps the most well-funded and experienced campaign staff. It is entirely conceivable that Clinton could reach Giga Tuesday with exactly zero primary victories, something that was inconceivable as recently as late November. Clinton aides privately hope that she gets clobbered by less than a double-digit margin today in New Hampshire.

So, the question before us is simple: is the Obama insurgency a legitimate threat to the Clinton-dominated Democratic machine, or will Obama flame out like so many prior pan flashes?


Hooda Thunkit said...


Funny you chose to write about Obama too ;-)

I (indirectly) questioned Oprah's involvement with his successful campaign to date.

microdot said...

Well, Oprah sure helped.

But I do believe you are witnessing a "moment" and ladies and gentlemen, I believe by the grey hairs in my goatee, that we are witnessing a "moment". I am standing here in Europe and watching through the filter of the worlds media, a phenomena that is beginning to transcend party lines.
I have a lot of French friends who follow American politics and they looked to Hillary as the logical next president and had no idea who Barak Obama was...you should see the French Press trying to do catch up.....

I found that my biggest trouble with believing that Obama could pull it off was the inherent racism in America and the fact that he was so foreign. But if it comes to a choice between a President Huckabee and his family who looks like an ad for the American Bacon "the candy of meat" Association and the extremely attractive Obama family...If America can elect Obama as president, perhaps it will begin to retrieve its fallen banner. He could do more to repair Americas totally trashed image in a short time just by who he is...

Beyond that, I do believe he is a truly charismatic person, he can and will make America proud as a leader.

It's change all right, how much change are you ready for!

Barb said...

I listened to his great oratory the other day and said, 'But what has he said? NOTHING!' Just the typical promises to end poverty, improve education, provide universal health care --a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage --o he didn't say the last.

I have thought that a car in every garage would be the best one --because people can hardly get to college or jobs without cars. My experience with the poor has been that they always lack reliable cars and today's jobs and schools demand it --as our public transit systems are so cumbersome --at least in T-town. You can't afford a car without a job and you can't get a job without a car --can't even get to the interviews. Like you can't get a job if you're homeless because you have no address or phone. We got our poor friend a decent used car one year --and her daughter wrecked it. Before that, she didn't look for a job, relied on welfare, couldn't afford car maintenance and ran her cars into the ground --and drove uninsured --as she is doing now. I get so tired of trying to help someone whose every spare dime goes to the movie theater with her where she buys the biggest popcorn and the biggest coke.

microdot said...

I'm not sure what that was about, but it seemed to boil down to, why help the poor because all they want is the biggest popcorn and the biggest coke.
More conservative compassionate logic at its finest!

Tim Higgins said...

Well we know a bit more today than we did yesterday, and with 20/20 hindsight we now know that Hilary Clinton has won a primary. This however, doesn't make either the Republican or Democratic pack any clearer, nor should it.

I think that we can all concede that Iowa and New Hampshire hardly reflect the national view; and the decisions of their voters, while interesting probably means very little. All of the discussion of momentum and stalling in campaigns is nothing more than the mouthings of political talking heads trying desperately to justify their salaries while usually getting it wrong.

I don't believe that any candidate has been forthcoming on the issues yet, but that's not unexpected in the political beauty contest being run. It will be interesting to see how the race develops going in to Super Tuesday.

steve said...

The poor would make good Soylent Green... hey wait a minute.. IM POOR. Nevermind that last comment.

microdot said...

Hey Steve, I don't know about Soylent Green, but I think I just discovered Soylent Brown:


I thought you would the person who could appreciate the implications.