Friday, February 16, 2007


Senator Obama’s long awaited announcement finally came to pass last Saturday. It had been scheduled for the day before, Friday, but the blanket coverage by the media of the death of Anna Nicole Smith didn’t leave a single camera free to cover his event.

It sort of reminded us of Governor Dean’s announcement in Burlington, Vermont nearly four years ago except that Dean didn’t equate himself with any past presidential icon or parade his ethnicity. But the hoopla and the crowds with store bought and home made banners and signs were the same.

Both were given the rave reviews of “Rock Star”, attracting huge, adoring crowds; both kissed and introduced their families; both tastefully thanked the crowd for their good taste in candidates.

Both established home town roots with all the accolades given them by said home town. Both were striking, energetic, testosterone charged figures who obviously wanted to be top banana.

Both loudly proclaimed that they had been against the Iraq war from the beginning; both neglected to state that they were not in Congress when the vote came up so they did not have to make that choice.

Both emphasized how the people were key in making a new America. Both claimed to be a “fresh face”, unspoiled by Washington ways and politics.

“You have the power”, thundered Dean. “All of you must work together with me to make changes in our government”.

Obama called himself the transformer and with the help of the people he would transform the way America is governed. “The ways of Washington must change.”

There were disturbing incidences in Howard’s presentation. Some obvious, like the negative signs; others were recollections of things charged by recent press releases from the opposition – aptly named, baggage, from his years as Governor.

Barac’s staff set the stage to illicit the historic ghost of Abraham Lincoln, with ample architectural references to his presidency as the Great Emancipator.

Barac, himself, reflected Lincoln in attire and form as well as within his speech. He compared himself as “lanky” and invoked other references to Lincoln that were favorable comparisons.

All this was good political stagecraft to promote his appeal to the patriotism of the elderly voter and ethic minorities. No foul in leading with one’s strength.

But he should have omited the bits that made many of us wince, as he lapsed into a style we associate with pastors in both Black and White American Christian churches. He can prove he is “A Christian” in other, less intrusive, ways. We’ve all had enough of God running the White House – now we yearn for an intelligent leader.
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