How Obama Won—and May Win
"I mean, you got the first mainstream
African-American who is
articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking
guy. … I mean, that`s a storybook, man."
Thus did Joe Biden
famously describe his rival for the nomination,
Barack Obama, to The New York Observer, a year
Biden, however, thought Obama might not be able to
win the fall election, as he is "a one-term, a guy
who has served for four years in the Senate. … I don`t
recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a
forced to apologize, but was dead on in discerning
Barack`s strengths as a candidate in the primaries,
which might prove weaknesses in the fall.
A new face in the game, Barack opened with three
opposed the Iraq war, the defining issue in a party
that had come to detest the war. He was an
African-American. Thus, as the hopes of millions
rose that he could be the first black president, there
were surges of black voters whom he begin to sweep
Lastly, Barack is a natural, a Mickey Mantle, a
superb political athlete like JFK, who has looks, charm,
youth and a speaking style that can move crowds to
cheers or laughter.
Barack was thus able to unite the McGovern
wing—young, idealistic, liberal, anti-war—with the Jesse
Jackson quadrant of the party, black folks, and defeat
Hillary`s coalition of working-class Catholics, women,
seniors and Hispanics.
As of today, by the traditional metrics of national
politics, Democrats should roll up a victory this fall
FDR`s first in 1932.
Bush`s disapproval is near 70 percent, and 80 percent
of the country believes the nation is on the wrong
course. Unemployment is rising. Surging
food prices compete for the top story not only on
business pages but front pages, with home foreclosures
and the housing slump. Family incomes of Middle
Americans have ceased to rise, as millions of their best
jobs have been
Yet, national polls show McCain-Obama a close race,
and the electoral map points to critical problems for
He seeks, for example, to target Colorado, Nevada and
New Mexico. But in all three the Hispanic vote may be
decisive. And Barack was beaten by Hillary two to one
among Hispanics, and between these two largest of
America`s minorities, rivalry and tension are real and
Barack must hold Michigan and Pennsylvania and pick
up Ohio or Virginia. Yet, his weakness among Southern
and working-class whites and women is remarkable. By two
to one they rejected him.
After his string of primary and caucus victories in
February, Barack proceeded to lose Texas, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Indiana, then West Virginia by 41,
Kentucky by 35, Puerto Rico two to one and South Dakota
by 10. That last one Barack was supposed to win.
The longer the campaign went on, the more reluctant
Democrats seemed to be to embrace his nomination.
What is Barack`s problem?
Middle America knows little about him, and much of
what they know they do not like. When West Virginians
were asked what they knew about Barack, a plurality said
Rev. Wright was his pastor. In Pennsylvania, a
goodly slice of Democrats knew Barack had said they were
"bitter" about being left behind and were
clinging to their bigotries, Bibles and
By June, resistance to Barack`s nomination in the
party that he now leads was extraordinary, stemming from
a belief that he is too naive to be commander in chief
in wartime and too far left, and does not like or
understand Middle America or its values.
"He is not
one of us."
And if Barack cannot erase this hardening perception
in the American mind, he will not be president.
Democrats may talk of making the economy the issue
this fall, but Republicans are going to make Barack the
issue. Story line: We cannot entrust our beloved
America, in a time of war, to this radical and exotic
figure who has so many crazy
and extremist associates.
Barack`s problem is thus Reagan`s problem.
As the country wished to be rid of Jimmy Carter in
1980, so the nation today wishes to be rid of Bush and
his Republicans. But America is apprehensive over a
roll of the dice, in Bill Clinton`s metaphor.
With his persona, Barack may be able to do the
same—in the debates. The problem is that he had two
dozen debates with Hillary and, by the end of the
primary season, five months after it began, he was still
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.