Saturday, 10 February 2007

Obama kicks off his campaign


Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, standing before the Old State Capitol, where Abraham Lincoln began his political career, announced his candidacy for the White House on Saturday by presenting himself as an agent of generational change who could transform a government hobbled by cynicism, petty corruption and “a smallness of our politics.”

“The time for that politics is over,” Mr. Obama said. “It is through. It’s time to turn the page.”
Still, for all the excitement on display, Mr. Obama’s speech also marked the start of a tough new phase in what until now has been a charmed introduction to national politics. Democrats and Mr. Obama’s aides said they were girding for questions about his experience in national politics, his command of policy, a past that has gone largely unexamined by rivals and the news media, and a public persona defined more by his biography and charisma than by how he would seek to use the powers of the presidency.
And in his speech here on Saturday, Mr. Obama, trying to offer himself as the grass-roots outsider in contrast to a member of a political family that has dominated Washington life for 15 years, presented his campaign as an effort “not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.”

“That is why this campaign can’t only be about me,” Mr. Obama said. “It must be about us. It must be about what we can do together.”

Charismatic senator from Illinois intends to capture the hearts and minds of Americans with his reform and progressive-minded politic... elect him President of the United States — would that be what a hypothetical classified Obama-for-president ad would look like? There have been countless articles on how Obama has 'turned American politics upside down' and on how he views moderate reform as a better move than no reform, albeit large, progressive, reform needed in America will have to wait for now. There is Obama 'hope', Obama 'revolution', hubris about Obama, Obama's Myspace, his Wikipedia article, his website, Obama buzz, Obama Messiah Watch, Obama votes, Obama critics, Obama freshness, Obama rivalry, readiness for the Obama presidency — there's Obama everything.

When it comes down to it, America is probably not ready for Barak Obama, his politics, his identity, or him in general. Pundits will cite lack of experience, too. I am going to wait until the 2008 race actually heats up — because, contrary to the massive buzz and press coverage, it hasn't yet — before I make predictions of my own.

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