Hints About Obama as President, and Candidate

The big question about Obama has been over his lack of experience, with most of his experience coming from his years in the Illinois legislature. The Wall Street Journal looks back at those years and finds some elements which might indicate he could make a good President. He’s described as a “lawmaker of lofty, liberal rhetoric who nonetheless pragmatically accepted bipartisan compromises that won over foes — and sometimes left supporters dissatisfied.”

Now that he is running as a presidential candidate, after just two years in the U.S. Senate, most clues about what style of politics he would bring to the White House are here in Illinois’s Statehouse

Mr. Obama wrote in his recent, best-selling memoir that it was in Springfield that he learned “how the game had come to be played” between Democrats and Republicans: “I understood politics as a full-contact sport, and minded neither the sharp elbows nor the occasional blindside hit.” The Obama campaign’s tangle this week with that of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton shows a willingness to engage in intraparty spats, as well. Yet he also wrote that through his state Senate years he “clung to the notion that politics could be different,” less combative, more bipartisan. He has put that notion at the heart of his presidential bid.

Illinois Republicans recall Mr. Obama as a committed liberal of no singular achievements, yet one they could work with to pass ethics, welfare and death-penalty revisions. “He’s unique in his ability to deal with extremely complex issues, to reach across the aisle and to deal with diverse people,” says Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard. “If he surrounds himself with good people, I wouldn’t lose any sleep with him as my president.”

The ability to work with the opposing party while still maintaining liberal principles could be essential for a Democratic president to accomplish their goals. First he would need to get elected. Bloomberg looks at his strategy of using the netroots:

Obama, 45, is relying on a grassroots effort aimed at online activists — what political operatives call a “netroots” strategy — to help him compete in a primary race that may come with an entry fee of $100 million. Clinton, 59, has already locked up many of the top Democratic business leaders and activists known as “bundlers” who can use their networks to gather maximum contributions from individuals.

While Obama is sometimes compared to Howard Dean in using the internet, this strategy was also used successfully by John Kerry:

Senator John Kerry raised about $80 million on the Internet. That helped him compete with the deep pockets of President George W. Bush, who in 2000 became the first party nominee to raise $100 million for a primary campaign, thanks to big-money bundlers.

1 Comment

  1. 1
    janet says:

    Good post! No doubt Obama is highly capable.

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