International Writers Magazine:
A Middle East Viewpoint
The world is
watching Barrack Obama, the up-and-rising African-American Senator
as he bids for the highest office in the land of dreams. Regardless
of conservative negative attacks against him, as spread by a conservative
media machine that strengthens by the day, he is clearly taking
average voters by storm and at a whirlwind pace that is promising
to be a new domestic era for America.
Former White House
Lady and Senator Hillary Clinton on the other hand appears limping at
the electoral altar, with her personality and charm and astute intellect
failing her for the first time. She is possibly ready to admit defeat
for the democratic nomination to run for the next president of the United
States in early 2009.
Barack Obama on the other hand appears to be sailing through an electoral
and party-politics machine that demands nothing less than candidates
with style, flair and political charisma. Hes is a series of firsts
in American politics as he could very well be on the way to taking the
Democrats nomination for the presidency, a massive breakthrough in the
countrys race relations, seconded only if he becomes Americas
first black president.
This would certainly speak abound for changes in the American structure
of power with the chickens coming home to roost after years of black
disequilibrium in the social, political, economic and cultural system.
But will corporate America pay heed to Obama even if be comes to power?
It will be a strong moral victory regardless of the fact with the first
time an African-American at the apex of structure of power of the most
powerful country in the world. But slowly does it for Obama is yet to
gain a foothold on the electoral ladder to the presidency.
Right now, and at this intermediate stage, it appears match, set and
game for Obama who originally came from Kenya, and made it up the greasy
pole, first as a respected law professor and then a member of the US
With him winning 11 straight primaries in the wayward drift of the congress-like
politics, many, including their supporters, are saying the Clinton team
is ready to throw in the towel and submit to the inevitable, despite
the 700 staffers and the $100 million spent on the campaign, with campaigners
including Hillary saying it is just not working this time around.
This is the feeling all around including in the top-dog press and in
many of Hillarys campaign insiders who believe Clintons legacyBill
Clinton is one of the advisersis causing deep national fatigue
and people are uneasy about bringing them back into the White House.
Many of the Americans today clamor for Obama, a new, hip, dynamic face
and voice who is giving the people new hope for a better world with
some observers saying they are reminded of former president Jimmy Carter
when he ran for president after the Nixon-Kissinger-Ford debacle in
the mid-1970s where Vietnam and Watergate put Americans' off politics
Today the similarities are eerie as the current Bush administration
follows a distinctly distasteful occupation in Iraq having stretched
its leg from Afghanistan and established its presence in the Gulf. While
foreign affairs dont have much of an impact on domestic politics,
the fact is many Americans are looking for a kind of leadership that
will bring their boys out of the Iraqi quagmire, and re-introduce some
kind of a semblance of order to their lives that has been shackled by
talk of death and amputations of soldiers coming back from duty.
Obama is coming across as somebody with a new look and someone who wants
change and meaning. His fresh face is supported by whites as well as
blacks and Hispanics, drawing people in their tens of thousands as he
did in Dallas, Houston and Austin were 15,000, 18,000 and 20,000 attended
respectively to cheer him on to go on to be elected to run for president.
In contrast, and although her campaign advisors told her shell
win big on long, hard knuckled experience and panache, as opposed to
Obamas political immaturity, who has been in the US Senate under
three years, they are now scrambling to eat their words.
At her rallies and primaries, shell be lucky to have few thousands
in the audience to come and listen to what she has to say, a pity because
in her time Hillary Clinton was voted one of Americas top 10 lawyers,
and an effective speaker at making her case.
Times may have changed for her and her husband, who in his day, in the
1990s was someone you loved to hate but could not. In his days, Bill
Clinton had a sophisticated PR team and the best of speech writers,
coming across as a friend of the people. Maybe Hillary should have rehired
them all. But these are different times for national American politics
that is longing for change on many fronts that have become inextricably
But are we reading too much into this and painting an almost romantic
picture based on the choice of the people and what they want whilst
underplaying the role of tradition, corporate America, the single-super-power
and its media. There is a very real and deep-seated campaign going on
to smear Obama among the conservatives and even liberals like Hillary
who are jumping on the bandwagon of mumbo-jumbo diatribe of questioning
his patriotism as an American and a Christian.
While the smear campaign is still in its early stages, nevertheless,
it may be somewhat effective in the long run. Playing on the Osama Bin
Laden card, Obama is being labeled a Muslim, while an internet site
suggests he is a Muslim intent on destroying the United States, as if
he could, or he wants to.
Everything he says, including his gestures and actions are being interpreted
negatively in one way or another and conservatives this time are harping
on the fact that he may or may not have put his hand on chest during
the National Anthem!
Having been a Senator Obama is part-and-parcel of the American system.
To have his credentials questioned this time around also speaks abundance
about the push-and-pull of a political system that believes change is
ultimately for the worse.
Asmar Feb 27th 2008
The writer, based in Jordan, is a media consultant and the Responsible
Chief Editor of Jo Magazine, a monthly in Amman and served between 1993-1003
as the Managing Editor of The Star English weekly in Jordan.
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