Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama wins South Carolina

In what is proving to be an interesting primary season, Barack Obama has won the race in South Carolina. Obama seems to becoming a fairy tale story in this election. And finally, it seems that news reports on Obama have stopped focusing on whether he's "black enough". I think SC proved that he's "black enough", because he got 78% of the black vote.

The Democratic side has been historic in that both a black candidate and a female candidate are running for office. For a time, there were (the best word I can think of this is:) "vibes" that the Dems were worried on whether the U.S. was ready to vote for black or female candidate. I think the primaries so far have shown that Americans are ready, because if they weren't, then John Edwards would be the leader instead of in 3rd place.

I think that Dems should stop worrying about such things, and instead concentrate on making their candidate likable enough regardless of their gender or skin color. Granted, there will be those that won't vote for Obama because he's black or Clinton because she's a woman, but such people are far, far, far in the minority as to be irrelevant when it comes to polls and votes. There's always going to be racists and sexists, but concentrating on them so much is only going to give them more influence than they actually have, much less deserve.

Last, I say that the Dems should work on their candidates' likability - regardless of who it is - because when it gets out of the primary stage and into the national stage, they will have to contend with the GOP candidate, who's going to be a white guy, apparently. As for myself, I won't be voting for either Obama or Clinton, because I don't like either one of them. And my dislike is based not on their race or gender, but because for one, they are both pro-choice.

For another, Hillary just comes across as a "say-anything, do-anything" total politician, who is nowhere as skilled as her husband Bill when it comes to hiding such tendencies. I liken the difference between them as that between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Obama, meanwhile, is saying a lot without saying anything. The speeches I've heard so far are vague and grandiose without getting into details. This actually seems to be par for the course for Obama, because he often voted "Present" when it came to voting for important bills. Voting "present" is a way of voting without actually voting yea or nay. How can he run the Oval Office with such non-committedness?

So far, they seem to be putting all their bets on their race or gender to get them noticed, but ultimately, that's only going to get them so far, because one's race and gender is something that one has no control over, and counting on "righting the balance" votes probably won't be nearly enough to get them in the White House. Eventually, it's going to come down to issues, and neither candidate has shown enough skill to demonstrate that they can handle the pressure of actually coming down to an actual stand on an issue.

If they keep that inability up, then they make it easier for the eventual GOP candidate to walk all over them. While the Dems are worrying about race and gender, the GOP - with its all white male candidates, is concentrating on the issues, and whoever emerges from the pack is going to have that experience working in their favor once things move out of the primaries and onto the national stage. If the Dems thought things are bad now with Obama and Clinton sparring, then they ain't seen nothing yet once this goes national and the evental Dem candidate becoming fair game for the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world.

Don't think that the conservative talk show hosts aren't also paying attention to the Dem bickering. No doubt they're taking notes as well, and they're going to be quite skilled at evading likely charges that they are criticizing Obama because of race or Hillary because of gender. If the Dems are counting on the race card or gender card to bail them out of criticism from conservative talk show hosts, then they are not playing with a full deck.

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