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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

559 Words on Barack Obama

(Editor's Note: Over at 1% More Conscious, I have been writing every Wednesday since March. For the summer, I've had an ongoing series about the seven candidates that have a chance at being our next President. Thus far, I've written about five of them and will be republishing those five this week.)

The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series

Barack Obama (Written on 7/18/07)

The man is setting records. Setting records is also known as being the first to do something. Now can he be the first non-white to ever be President? What a record that would be.

While he was pondering the decision to run for President, Barack Obama has made heads turn. He was as charismatic and electric of a candidate as there was in the race to the 2008 White House. His speeches are inspirational. But would that translate?

The numbers started rolling in. The potential of the Obama candidacy was realized and recognized after the second quarter fiscal numbers were released. He set the all time presidential fundraising record, in the process edging out Clinton who was supposed to be the top fundraiser. Equally important, Obama also broke the record for most donors in a quarter with over 250,000.

Despite the positive revelations, the Obama campaign has yet to see a turn in the polls. After the first quarter, he made a strong run at Clinton in the national polls, but never came within the margin of error. Since then, he hasn't been able to close the gap, and has lost a few points, placing him down at least 10 points in almost all national polls. Obama lost his momentum.

The reason Obama lost his momentum is the reason it will be most difficult for him to win the nomination. At the debates, Obama does not seem nearly as competent as Clinton. That's the word, too - competent. He's lackluster, shifty, inexact, and surprisingly inarticulate. Senators Clinton, Dodd, and Biden all sound much better equipped to be commander-in-chief. Senator Clinton especially has done a terrific job at the debates, making it difficult for Obama or John Edwards to cut into her lead in the national polls.

While Obama's base is as passionate as any, it might not be enough. The Obama supporters are fervent. They love their guy as much as any supporters love their candidate. However, you could say the same about Star Trek fans and their (our) beloved television show, and Star Trek didn't exactly win sweeps week.

Can Senator Obama steal away enough voters from those who currently support Senator Clinton? It'll be difficult. Obama, Clinton, and Edwards seem to be strong in the same demographics - namely minorities and the poor. Obama's skin color is undeniably a factor. Hillary Clinton's husband is overwhelmingly popular with the black community. John Edwards had made poverty the core issue of his since 2004.

Therefore, Obama will not be able to win the black vote just because he's black. In past years, a legitimate black candidate would not need to spend a dime in impoverished areas or other areas with a high level of minorities. The candidate could then reallocate those resources. But not this year. He actually has to concentrate on the poor and minorities just like the white woman and the white man he's running against.

Undeterred, Obama will do well. He appeals to voters of all races and incomes. If he wants to cut into Clinton's lead, though, he needs to shake things up. Look for a swing at Hillary in the next couple months... and not just one of these several jabs he's thrown. I'm talking about a right hook, which will undoubtedly be returned by the Clinton camp.

And that's when the fun begins.

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