“I would say at this point that he still has that magic.” – Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL.)
Magic. Star power. Balls. Whatever one calls it, Barack’s got it. And yes, he is Black enough. But, alas, this champion of ethics reform (ethics? out of Chicago?), recently deemed a “rock star” by the unsurpassable political mind of George Clooney, still trails in the polls.
The latest Rasmussen Report shows Obama garnering 23% of the support for the Democratic nomination to the 39% of a certain “liberal” New York senator. For once, the Democratic Party is actually less divided than the GOP. Yet a question remains as to whether either of the forerunners will survive the primaries. The party as a whole finds both candidates unelectable; an astonishing 54% say that a Caucasian male, most likely John Edwards, being nominated is likely, if not inevitable. Is it possible, that in the year 2008, the country’s mainstream progressive party, faced with presidential hopefuls including a woman, the country’s only Senator of African descent, and a Latino governor (New Mexico’s Bill Richardson is of predominately Mexican heritage) with a résumé longer than H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed al Khalifa’s monogram, would still choose the WASPy male personal injury attorney?
So, in these times of doom, gloom, and intimidating statistics, what is Barack up to? At the moment, the whole of his campaign workers is keeping busy with the “Countdown to Change”, organizing in the early primary states of Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Maintaining its grassroots philosophy, the campaign relies heavily on the contributions, both organizational and monetary, of individual volunteers around the country. Barack continues to sit down to quiet, official dinners periodically with members of his constituency, generally chosen from those who have made small contributions to the election effort.
Meanwhile, he’s been remaining highly present in the media, recently writing a hard-hitting article for the New York Daily News on his plans for Middle Eastern foreign policy, including the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act he introduced to Congress in May. The near-constant stream of debates has continued, including the AFL-CIO debate in my hometown of Chicago a few weeks past, during which Obama’s opponents continued to attempt to undermine his readiness for the presidency. Most arguments were easily deflected on his part with grace, although even his most die-hard supporters grow a bit weary of Barack reiterating the fact that he voted against the war, unlike his opponents. When the strong corporate and lobbyist ties of a certain “feminist” were mentioned, she attempted to avoid the subject by smiling at the audience and saying, “So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I’m your girl.” My girl? Really, Senator Clinton? I was under the impression that you’re 59? Isn’t that a little old to be making public statements befitting a 13 year old running for captain of the junior high cheerleading squad? Go red! Red white blue!