Barack Obama and the West
Barack Obama made his official announcement for the presidency today in Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois. (Text here). Many in the crowd must have thought of Lincoln, but also of Martin Luther King and the youthful John F. Kennedy. I remember seeing JFK in a motorcade in Illinois in the campaign of 1960. That was a year before Barack was born.
Another Chicagoan’s words come to mind when thinking about the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the words of Daniel Burnham, the famous architect:
Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical plan once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and daughters are going to do things that will stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon, beauty. Think big.
Barack is not making small plans, and he has the magic.
And how will Barack play out in the West? Barack Obama does not fit the stereotype of an Easterner, an elitist, or a member of the establishment; whatever you may conceive those things to be. He doesn’t fit any stereotypes at all. But if I had to describe his style, the words that come to mind are from the poet Genevieve Taggard: natural, American, sweet and easy.
Above all, Barack is a candidate who can transcend boundaries. He can transcend race and party and region. He is not running as a man of color, or as a liberal Democrat, or as a blue-state Senator from the Midwest. He is running as a candidate for Americans of all races, parties, and regions. And that will appeal to a lot of Western Democrats.
Your Personal Note:
Obama's decision to skip the Carson City forum should concern some Western Democrats. Northern Nevada fits the profile of Western Democrats. Someone in Reno fits in much more with someone in Colorado, Montana, Washington, etc. Las Vegas has become a suburb of LA. If Obama isn't willing to talk to Western Dems, we should start to question whether or not he can execute a western strategy.
Posted by: nvupnorth | Feb 20, 2007 12:20:14 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)