Obama is well-tested


This blog has never hidden its preference for Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries and the belief he was qualified to be president. It has always been my conviction that his time was now or never. He would not get a second chance. He was up against an outstanding crop of candidates–with Hillary Clinton undoubtedly the most formidable. Back then, I argued Obama had to be tested and had to win on merit. Hillary certainly made him earn it and, in so doing, made the Illinois senator a far better candidate. She bested him in most of the debates but he became a smarter and stronger debater in the process. We observed this as he won all three debates against McCain according to post debate polls.

All along I believed that McCain was by far the best Republican challenger because of his appeal to independents and the fact that he was so different from Bush. The fact that McCain’s campaign has been less than spectacular should not take away from Obama’s carefully executed campaign strategy. Through it all–highs and lows, victories and setbacks–Obama has shown a coolness and a grace under pressure that is now resonating with the electorate.

This has been a very long and arduous campaign. It is far from over and the votes still have not been counted. But Obama has probably conducted the best campaign in American history. It’s important to consider where he was when he first announced his intent to run back in February 2007 and the obstacles associated with being the first African-American to seriously challenge for the presidency. Obama also found himself running against the vaunted Clinton organization, as well as the Republican attack machine. And yet, he now finds himself leading in national polls and nearly all the battleground states. It is fair to conclude that Obama has been tested–and he passed it.

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Obama is well-tested

  1. Well, it’s no secret eh?

    As to the notion that Obama is well tested – quite right. The man has been on a non-stop gruelling battle for the Oval Office, for what: the last how many years? (If it isn’t years, it only feels like it and I’m sure he’d agree). Along the way, Obama has swatted aside candidates from both parties who had, oh how shall I put this, better pedigrees.

    Now assuming he does win the White House, doesn’t anyone here in Canada have that deja vu feeling about the guy: doesn’t his campaign remind you of Paul Martin’s seemingly singular push for Prime Minister followed by a “what do we do now?” government?

    After all, to date, I still don’t know what Obama stands for. I sincerely hope an Obama presidency isn’t remembered for him being “present”.

  2. Ian2:

    “After all, to date, I still don’t know what Obama stands for. I sincerely hope an Obama presidency isn’t remembered for him being ‘present’.”

    What exactly do you stand for as you sit at your keyboard and stroke?

    And McCain? What does he stand for?

  3. As a conservative, I appreciate your candidness and wish your fellow journalists were so upfront.

    “But Obama has probably conducted the best campaign in American history.”

    It better be, for all he spent on it. (That’s not meant as a dig either – the fact that he raised so much is a credit to him as well.)

  4. “After all, to date, I still don’t know what Obama stands for.”

    You might try a) reading his platform or b) listening to the frenzied chants of “Change!” that his myriad supporters have been uttering for nearly two years now. Yeesh.

  5. Steve M: It’s not just fundraising, though they have done that efficiently and with enormous succss (as compared to the McCain campaign, siphoning off RNC funds to pay for airtime since they’ve spent their own campaign money on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe), the Obama campaign also has one of the best GOTV and volunteer operations in recent history (even better than Bush in 2004). Not to mention the campaign’s complete control, with such little drama or leaks.

  6. “Not to mention the campaign’s complete control, with such little drama or leaks.”

    The fact they’ve been ahead for so long (again, to Obama’s credit) helps with the little leak or drama. Everybody loves being on a winner and nobody wants to rock the boat. It’s when campaigns are in the pull-the-goalie stage like McCain’s that cracks increase.

  7. No leaks, indeed, and a co-operative climate in the public mood. Turns out Palin’s wardrobe cost considerably less than the convention’s one-night-only Temple of Barack ($5.3 million, it says here: http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2008/10/13/daily43.html) but either the McCain people don’t know how to make that point stick or the public’s mind is mostly made up, anyhow.

  8. “But Obama has probably conducted the best campaign in American history.”

    That’s easily the most risible sentence I have read this morning. It’s not difficult to run a capable campaign when you opt out of public financing, which Obama promised not to do, and instead take private money from donors of unknown provenance.

    It also helps when the overwhelming majority of the msm are in the tank for you and will do anything to drag you across the finish line. I wonder what quid pro quo the msm are expecting if Obama wins. Will their be a bailout? Introduction of the ‘fairness doctrine’?

    More than 70% of the American electorate think reporters/opinion writers are heavily biased toward Obama and the msm will expect something in return for the loss of any remaining credibility they had.

    “and the belief he was qualified to be president.”

    I am still waiting for an Obama fan to explain exactly why he’s qualified to be president after being a Senator for only two years. If Obama wins election, which he probably will, he will be the least experienced president ever.

    There are going to be lots of interesting stories about Obama’s campaign in the years to come and few of them will be flattering. I think the stories about how much money his campaign has accepted from people abroad and, as well, obviously fake domestic donors will be the most interesting.

  9. Tested by what standards?

    Certainly not by other presidential candidates of yesteryear,

    and certainly not compared to Hillory or McCain.

    That there is a hoard of media hanging outside of Joe the Plumbers house for having the nerve to ask a single tough question,

    while Ayers walks around freely unencumbers by pesky journalists, as an informed “educator”, speaks volumes.

    That you stand among your fellow journalists in virtual unanimity of praise for THE ONE,

    puts a lie to your contention,

    and exemplifies everything that is wrong with today’s (now failing) media.

  10. Money is not the secret to a good campaign – that’s ridiculous(although it does not hurt).

    One of the most striking things to me about all of this – and it will depend on how Nov 4th and the next 4 years turn out – this could represent a shift in how Democrats think about politics.

    Obama has spent time where modern Democrats have feared to tread. He seems to see this as not just an election but as a chance to beging changing the modern landscape in the US. He does not accept the notion that a middle-lower class rural voter is automatically Republican. He sees that in a state where 60% of people vote one way (and is considered a stronghold) that 40% of people vote the other way – and that there is room to change a lot of people’s minds.

    This might just be a function of the times / the Bush administration. But I think Obama is seizing an opportunity and that it could be the beginning of a shift in the landscape.

    We’ll see.

  11. I think it’s so cute that people think John is a journalist. Proof of how much a guy can accomplish in his life and people still have no idea who he is, or how to use Google.

  12. And what of this money?

    The right leaning blogs have discovered that Obama has disabled his online credit card security features.

    The systemization of donor fraud. No address matching and phony names are allowed.

    And millions upon millions in odd numbered donations ($40.68) that are almost surely the result of currency conversions.

    The media: not a peep.

    Yet headline after headline of the tragic “scandel” of Palin ……gulp…. wearing nice clothes.


  13. jwl:

    If the worst that Obama has going for him is that:

    – he has only been a US Senator for 3 1/2 years (vs. your claim of two)and that he has been a legislator at the state or national level for almost 12 years representing a district in Illinois that has more people than the entire state of Alaska (you forgot to mention that)
    – That (people think) the media favours him
    – That he changed his position on campaign financing and that he is receiving fraudulent donations

    Yes, if that’s those are the worst characteristics about Barack Obama, then I’m afraid he’s won.

    You write: “I am still waiting for an Obama fan to explain exactly why he’s qualified to be president after being a Senator for only two years”

    Would you prefer Ted Kennedy or Ted Stevens (“the internet is a series of tubes”)?

    Obama has judgment and the ability to listen to the facts before making a decision – and basing the decision on the facts instead of his gut.

    This is not my opinion – but the opinion of many of the Republican and Democrat heavyweights who have endorsed him.

    And one last question for you: You continually rave about Sarah Palin who has less than two years of relevant experience – why is she qualified to be VP? In your mind is she also qualified to be President?

  14. Paul,

    he’s an author on one of Canada’s largest online formal media publications. Last I checked Macleans was still in the media business (or has Macleans changed its business model to online pizza delivery and not informed the rest of us).

    I don’t need to Google that which appears right before my eyes.

    How nice of you to come by and play defence with the levying of technicalities,

    while ignoring the substance of our concerns.

  15. Scott B

    I am glad that you think subverting fund raising laws is nothing to worry about but there will be plenty of people who disagree when they learn more about it.

    Obama gets credit for being Senator for two years only because once they launch a presidential campaign, Senators disappear from Congress. That’s true for all Senators, not just Obama.

    It is irrelevant how many people are within a district. If it wasn’t only senators/governors from Cali, NY, Texas, Penn, Florida would be eligible to run. Besides, Palin has executive experience while Obama doesn’t, and I would think that would be important qualification when running for an executive position.

    The best you argument that you can come up with for your man Obama is that he can listen. Wow, that’s a pretty low bar you set there. All presidents base decisions on their gut feelings. It’s not like a math problem, with only one right answer, when a president has to decide whether to attack Iran or not to stop them from producing nuclear weapons.

    I think it would have been much better if both Palin and Obama would have waited for 2012 at least. However, I think Palin is more qualified to be VP than Obama is to be Pres. I don’t take Obama’s fans seriously when they earnestly argue Palin isn’t qualified but Obama is because he can ‘listen’.

    As Biden said about his potential boss, “I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job-training.”

  16. “one of Canada’s largest online formal media publications”

    This blog post has had a grand total of 225 page views, as of 2 minutes ago. (Mine sometimes get fewer, especially when I write about jazz.)

  17. “And millions upon millions in odd numbered donations ($40.68) that are almost surely the result of currency conversions.”

    This is among the laziest conservative smears yet: it’s well known that the easiest way to make sure your blog got “credit” for driving donations was to have your readers append a certain amount of cents to every donation. Daily Kos was 01, TPM was 22, etc…

    Not to mention that, of course, just as many Republican donations were not rounded to the whole dollar. Yeesh.

  18. So, if a presidential campaign is sufficient preparation to be president, does that mean all presidential candidates are, by definition, qualified?

  19. he has been a legislator at the state or national level for almost 12 years representing a district in Illinois that has more people than the entire state of Alaska (you forgot to mention that)

    Governor/Mayor (even of a smll population) carries with it a lot more responsibility than legislator. A Governor/Mayor actually has to make the tough calls, whereas a legislator just has to follow the party line and stay out of trouble. The fact that Obabma can take two years off his real job as a Senator so he can run for president proves how inconsequential that job is.

  20. hoosierhoser, could you name me a 20th C presidential candidate – apart from W (who didn’t really run his own campaign) and Perot (who just bought his way onto the ballot) – who was not qualified to be president? Even Reagan, who was probably the least qualified of any of them, did decently well (no major screw-ups related to his lack of experience, at least). Gerald Ford doesn’t count, obviously.

    Apart from his having survived a gruelling 2-year campaign without ever, even once, losing his cool, Obama’s main qualification, IMHO, is his background. He’s been around serious people who take policy seriously for his whole adult life. He has lived and breathed politics for many, many years – not like we random commenters do, i.e. from the outside, but from the inside, i.e. Harvard Law and the Daley Machine. He’s not some newbie, and it’s been blazingly obvious in the way he’s defeated all comers, including Clinton and (now) McCain.

    This election is so over that it’s hardly worth typing things like this anymore, but I guess opinion will out.

  21. Steve M: “A Governor/Mayor actually has to make the tough calls”

    Namely, racking up $20 M in debt for your little town ($3000/resident).

  22. Jack,

    That debt was almost all from the new sports complex that the townsfolk voted for.

  23. “I think it’s so cute that people think John is a journalist.”

    Guilty as charged. I assumed MacLean’s didn’t let just any schmoe have a blog here.

  24. I must admit, I did too.
    Googgle taught me many things.

  25. Archangel,

    I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Obama. He is an extraordinary orator and has drawn enormous crowds to his events with his main message of Hope and Change (that one’s for you Jack!). I’m very impressed with his organizing prowess.

    Conservatives bleat about his record in office – recording “present” for so many votes. Without understanding all of the complexities of the local issues, I find this “mercurial” in that I’m unsure whether he is sending a message to his fellow legislators or simply dodging something he doesn’t want on his record.

    The party platform, like so many we’ve seen from politicians (Red Book, The latest fashions from sweater-wearers etc.) doesn’t mean much to me. I’m more interested in the man and what he really intends to do with the levers of power.

    Events will shape an Obama presidency (Bush & 9/11) – how will he respond? Will his policies and decisions be a positive for us here in Canada?

    Whatever happens, he will be fascinating to watch.

  26. I couldn’t agree more that this was Obama’s year, as he is the one who was bet fit to meet the demand for change, maybe Hillary’s year could’ve would’ve and should’ve been 2004.

    However I must disagree on John McCain being the best fit republican candidate, as I believe someone like Mitt Romney would’ve been much more of a viable candidate even more than Obama concerning the economy, and let’s not forget being a former republican governor in Massachussets he’s more in the middle than McCain. Even Rudy Giuliani would’ve been a tougher challenger, as the state of New York would probably have been a swing state, and he would also have posted great numbers among catholics, and wouldn’t fit the profile of a typical 90% of the time pro-Bush voter.

    It’s just that Giuliani, Romney and Huckabee were known for their good and efficient policies within their constituencies whereas McCain was known across the country, thus he won by default.

  27. To many of you to name:

    Georgie “Boy” Bush has the most relevant experience; he was the Governor of Texas and has actually had the President’s job for two terms. It doesn’t appear to make him qualified for the job. Thank all that is holy that there are term limits!

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