Facing the drag of disappointment…

The following excerpt about Obama’s defeat in New Hampshire from today’s Guardian

Barack Obama conceded victory in the New Hampshire primary election late last night by offering his supporters a stirring speech that promised to forge ahead with his “new American majority”.

Waiting more than three nail-biting hours while returns from across the state trickled in, more than 1,700 supporters swung from elation to dejection as returns showed the Illinois senator gaining ground, then losing it against winner Hillary Clinton.

A hoarse Obama took the stage shortly after the Associated Press and CNN called the race for Clinton. His appearance instantly re-energised the crowd.

The last line explains why Obama should be the next president. His concession speech was good too – maybe to be expected.

It was an incredibly surprising defeat that has left everybody, particularly his supporters, perplexed. If he was half the leader that people hope he is, then he surely would have floundered to find the right words in response to what happened. Game on.

Some might say substance won over style. I disagree. The Clinton political machine won in New Hampshire. What Obama needs to do now is work out how he can prise the female, Democratic core vote away from Hillary, and for this he’s going to need to offer something not only more specific, sure, but also distinctive. Interesting to stay tuned on this one.

What touched me most through the New Hampshire primary was not Hillary’s faltering answer in the diner, nor Obama’s amazing smile and clear pleasure at the support he receives, despite the defeat. It was the gentle, physical tenderness shared by Obama and his wife, and with the two colleagues, on the podium when he stepped up to congratulate Hillary. There’s something about the guy that brings tears to my eyes – for example, his responses in interview about his absent father.

Incidentally, I like his adoption of a ‘Bob the Builder’ pose, ‘Yes we can!’ (Bob the Builder was a very successful children’s series in the UK, where Bob the Builder says, ‘Can we fix it? Yes we can!’)

If he’s as good as I think he might be, Obama should have a bit more magic up his sleeve. Let’s see.

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2 Responses to “Facing the drag of disappointment…”

  1. archana raghuram Says:

    Great post and a great link Dr.Frank. I see you are really impressed with Obama, so am I. But the only thing that worries me about him is his lack of experience. He is an unknown quantity, who ever leads America has influence over not just his country but over the whole world
    The world cannot afford a fiasco like Bush again. Mrs.Clinton has lot of experience and her husband has been good for US & the world, by and large. We know where we stand with Mrs.Clinton.

    Having said that, I do hope Obama wins and more importantly, makes a good President.

  2. drfrank Says:

    Thanks Archana. There’s a lot of euphoria about Obama that’s affecting people beyond the national borders of the USA, and I can understand the concern about relative experience. It’s one that will be pivotal to this election: Clinton, her professional career, and her years at a president’s side; McCain and his Vietnam heroism; and Obama’s experience as a (neo-)African-American and rising Ivy League and political star.

    The Clintons know Obama is presidential material, and I’m sure they would be supportive of his candidacy one day in the not-too-distant future; if only, for them, it wasn’t this time round.

    Their dynastic boat is being severely rocked. Personally I think anybody who can do this to the effective political machine that is the Clinton brand has the requisite clout to lead America. I would imagine George Bush wouldn’t dare to try what Obama is doing: i.e. inspire. Certainly Obama has single-handedly influenced the rhetoric of the presidential election on both sides of the main political dividing line.

    For a perspective that you may find insightful, read Andrew Sullivan’s article on the Obama/Clinton toss-up: https://sumptuous.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/healing-the-rifts-in-america-and-beyond-andrew-sullivan-on-the-presidential-election/

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