It’s been interesting watching the MSM dissect the Clinton campaign with a whole range of experts saying why she will not be the Democratic Party nominee for the presidency. I would venture to say these are the same experts predicting a Hillary Clinton win a year ago.
It’s that which I have found remarkable today as Sen. Barack Obama becomes the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, rather than the very strong likelihood that Sen. Obama has won.
For months, the mainstream media have been promoting Sen. Obama heavily. One reason is that he is newsworthy to the left. More often than not, his race is used as the reason behind that promotion. In essence, most New Zealanders, and I would say most non-Americans who watched the news from the US, were left in little doubt that he would take the Democratic Party contest.
Image sells in American politics, and probably politics in many western countries. George W. Bush got people used to thinking about a Republican president in 2000 by forming his cabinet while lawyers battled Florida. When he did win, only diehard Democrats tried to tell the American people they had been hoodwinked. Everyone else awaited the January 20, 2001 swearing-in. Go back a few years and Tony Blair, too, gave an inevitable image of a Labour victory in 1997.
This time, Sen. Obama has done the same, and it has been a well thought-out campaign: his book, writing from a humanist perspective and admitting any faults that his rivals were likely to dig up; a consistent branding scheme (the use of the Gotham typeface, for example); and vagueness (to give his opponents less of a target).
On some of these aspects, Sen. Obama has ﬁelded a very different campaign. Only vagueness seems to be the common thread with other winners. A pre-campaign book was clever as well as admitting to things no other potential presidential nominee would, such as his having tried cocaine.
In fact, when he began getting speciﬁc after a challenge by Sen. Clinton, he actually lost traction.
I do not pretend to like all of Sen. Obama’s policies if I were to look at his voting record in the Senate, any more than I ﬁnd myself in accord with Sens. Clinton and McCain.
As a minority, I am glad that a racial barrier has been broken in American politics. Even though Sen. Obama is biracial, he has been branded an African–American through his father’s homeland, showing just how people are habitual pigeonholers. If by the quirk of genetics he had his mother’s skin colour, would his race have become such an issue?
That one matter shows how far his campaign has come, in a country that would not have fathomed a “black” president other than in ﬁction, in the form of Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert.
We can accept God being played by Morgan Freeman, but a black president?
While having huge African–American support, I totally understand the campaign Sen. Obama ran in terms of race: he plain didn’t mention it.
Any member of any minority in the world, whether that minority is black, yellow, brown or white, who has been brought up on the idea of hard work and dignity, would not make race an issue—with perhaps the exception of others making race an issue for him or her.
I think that earned Sen. Obama brownie points among many of the United States’ immigrants and people descended relatively recently from immigrants.
It ﬁnally proves so many of those lessons from our parents right: that if you work hard, you can become a leader.
Once upon a time, parents said that but knew that it would take a miracle for a minority to get there, whether we are talking about the US or New Zealand.
Barack Obama is proof not only of his own abilities, but he represents the hope that the presidency is no longer governed by skin colour, but by sheer hard work. That speaks to a large part of the electorate, including Caucasian–Americans.
In some ways this has allowed his policies to be overlooked, which is actually unhealthy for democracy. Americans need to be voting on who can bring them true honour and meaning. But just as Sen. Obama began attacking Sen. John McCain’s policies as he presumed himself the Democratic nominee, it will be up to Sen. McCain to reveal his opponent’s policy shortcomings.
However, it was not always in the bag.
Those same MSM experts seem to forget that Sen. Clinton, using a campaign that broke the rules on branding (a confused message and confused visual communications) got so close to Sen. Obama that it actually was a miracle she survived and gained as many votes as she did. Writing in a country that has had two successive female prime ministers and, at one point, women in the Governor-General’s and Chief Justice’s role as well, the gender difference means far less to me. What I saw was a clumsy campaign that had more traction than logic would allow me to admit.
Sen. Clinton’s progress was nothing short of amazing considering she did not play from the rulebook, and we brand consultants will have to at least acknowledge her case and say: anomalies exist in marketing strategy.
The question is now whether there is a Clinton vice-presidency, but Obama aides are dead set against it. Equally, Clinton aides would not want their senator cosying up with Sen. Obama.
If the Clinton image of “will say and do anything for the top job” is accurate, and as Sen. Clinton herself mentioned the possibility of assassination, I would not consider the senator from New York to be a vice-presidential nominee if I were Barack Obama. I might get “Arkancided” in the hope of her succession.
But right now, Sen. Obama has a Democratic Party to reunite and invigorate, something that Sen. McCain may have difﬁculty doing for an uninspired GOP. Sen. Obama has media visibility on his side, reaching internal as well as external audiences. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:53
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post:
NoteEntries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.
Individual JY&A and Medinge Group blogs
DonateIf you wish to help with my hosting costs, please feel free to donate.
Copyright ©200210 by Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved. Photograph of Jack Yan by Chelfyn Baxter.