Obama and the race factor
Mark Ambinder ponders the appeal of Barrack Obama:
I asked David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, to explain the Iowa victory, and he said, “People wanted change.” Well, yes. Maybe that’s where Axelrod’s curiosity ends, but mine goes deeper. For example: there is something about the Clinton brand that a younger generation of Democrats does not buy. Younger votes in Iowa did not choose Hillary Clinton. There is something about Obama’s appeal that eluded previous process-oriented reformers (Babbitt, Hart, Tsongas, Bradley). It’s not just his race — that seems to me to be a marker for liberals of generational change. It’s not just the amount of he’s raised. It’s not that he’s a man of the world.
Much of it is his race, let’s be honest. The moment Obama won his Senate seat, people were talking about his presidential prospects in an excited way they wouldn’t be were he white. Not that there’s anything unfair about this. I mean, for three centuries being black held you down in America. It’s only poetic justice that finally, being black helps you. Combine the race factor with his youth, charm, looks, beautiful family, and unequaled speaking style, and it all puts the sizzle back in politics in a way that hasn’t been done since Bobby Kennedy’s day.
When you put all this up against a candidate who is widely loathed by millions of Americans (unfairly in my view, but my view doesn’t change things), it’s no contest.