Our Democratic Primary fairy tales…
The Tale of Obamarella
Many have asked Barack Obama, “Why this ball? Why not wait?” His answer suggests 2012 (or 2016) will come well past midnight.
“At this defining moment, we cannot wait any longer,” he says of key issues like health care, education, and the environment. “I chose to run because I believe the size of these challenges has outgrown the capacity of our broken and divided politics to solve them.”
Of the negative characterizations thrown at Obama, those that seemed to linger in 2007 were inexperience and electability. Obama argued that his time outside of the Beltway was an asset, leaving him unaffected by Washington influences (be they lobbyists or pols). In his endorsement, Sen. John Kerry said he supported Obama not because of his years on this earth, but because of his sound principled judgement.
But the real question for Democratic voters was electability. Had you asked a Democrat at the end of 2007 if they’d vote for Obama, they’d probably have given you an emphatic “Yes!” But ask them if they were worried whether their neighbor would vote for him, and they may have hedged a little. Often, Hillary Clinton would stress that she had been “tested,” alluding to Obama’s cake walk to the Senate. After disappointing races in 2000 and 2004, the hurdle of a charismatic GOP candidate (be it grumpy old McCain or pastor Huckabee) left that word ringing in many an ear — tested.
And so, Iowa was the first test and Obama did better than pass, he broke the curve. Eight points ahead of Edwards and Clinton, Obama not only proved he was electable, but that he’d be able to bring in people who had never voted before.
If there was a reality check, a pumpkin at midnight, it was New Hampshire. With polls putting him leaps ahead in the second showdown, the competition had their concession speeches at the ready. Instead, Obama came in a narrow second. The loss didn’t take the momentum out of Obama, but it showed what was obvious — either candidate could be the next president.
After a key endorsement failed to bring success in Nevada, it’s up to South Carolina to prove the glass slipper fits. Blacks who make up nearly half of the Democratic voters will be watched closely to see if they not only come out for Obama, but if they come out in large numbers, suggesting a national movement in the run-up to Feb. 5 and, more importantly, November.
Economy: Middle-class tax cuts, universal mortgage credit, expedited tax returns, college and child tax credits
Education: Zero-to-five education, fully-funded education plan (anti-NCLB), increased teacher pay
Environment: Reduce carbon emissions, invest $150 billion in clean energy, double fuel economy standards
Health Care: Universal health care (not mandatory), advance research, fight AIDS globally
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