Friday, November 28, 2008

The confidence of Barack Obama (part 2 of 2)

<< Continued from Part 1 of 2

Barack Obama's confidence has gone through 3 different arcs:
1) Announcing his Presidential bid with only 2 years national experience.
Whilst detractors might be galled that Barack would run for President on such a thin resume, the bid was a perfect storm of good fortune, timing and a sense of history than a product of youthful conceit.

Good fortune as he was given passage after delivering a show-stealing speech at the DNC Convention in 2004.
Barack Obama Isn't Not Running for President by Joe Klein
The effortlessly charismatic Obama has been besieged by people urging him onward and upward ever since his terrific keynote address at the Democratic Convention in 2004... some high-powered money people (Democrats), have surveyed the potential 2008 field and found it wanting...
Timing in that Obama correctly identified a window where voters would not only forgive a candidate for having little Washington experience but might actually value it. Voters were signaling a desire for a change in Washington, an end to the partisan gridlock, "inside the beltway" thinking and corruption. They were looking for "outsiders". Perhaps an end to the Bush/Clinton merry-go-round. They also wanted a change from the type of thinking that led to the Iraq occupation. Enter Obama.

Lastly a sense of history. Obama has frequently evoked Abraham Lincoln, almost to the point of imitation. The Lincoln template is a fruitful one for Obama, he opposed an "unnecessary" war, was a one-term Chicago Senator, a Republican (Obama, a democrat paints himself as post-partisan). He presided over a "house divided" etc... It has been a useful shield.

2) By challenging Democratic favourite Hillary Clinton, Obama didn't "wait his turn"
A Democratic candidate was always better positioned to win the 08' Presidency after the disapproval and disenchantment of Bush/Republican reign. This meant that his biggest challenger for the Presidency was always Hillary Clinton. A formidable albeit polarizing contender, someone with established, monied support and an extremely high national profile. It would take a confident outsider like Obama but more importantly the confidence of those within Democratic circles to topple a renowned name rooted in the party. Handily the rationale Barack had to run for President was perfectly pitched to usurp Hillary
Obama starts to punch his weight, leaving Hillary on the defensive - The Independent (UK)
"I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s," he said. "I don't want to pit red America against blue America..."

on the opportunism he says was behind Mrs Clinton's support for the war in Iraq, he said: "When I am your nominee, my opponent won't be able to say I supported this war in Iraq..."
3) The "Annointed One" "Measuring the drapes" in the General
Obama's undeniable popularity and overwhelming favouritism to win the Presidency was turned into a negative during the general election. It was strategically necessary for Obama's republican opponents, in the interests of a media that needed a "tight race" to justify attention and largely helped by Obama's own ostentatiousness - The Berlin rally and the cringeworthy Presidential seal. The forwarded memes included "Obama to good for Applebees", "presumptuously meeting with world leaders", and "measuring the drapes" and...

VIDEO: The Annointed One bringing light to the world (Gerard Baker)
Whilst this appeared as cockiness to some, it was in keeping with Obama's selling point of preparedness and court vision that had served him well during the campaign and hopefully converts into steady leadership in office.

Ultimately, like Bush, Obama's "confidence" will only be tested and judged once it hits the wall of reality.

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