Despite Mr Obama being substantively unoriginal when compared to the other candidates on the Democratic left in policy terms; and in spite of a lack of administrative experience (or possibly because of it) he has distinguished himself by appealing to the nobility of the American soul with his polished oratory. He looks and sounds a leader - and not the prosaic technocrat personified by Mrs Clinton. New Hampshire tomorrow appears set to deliver him the momentum required to take the nomination.

And yet the Democrats have never taken the White House in modern times without a southern white Anglo Saxon protestant as candidate, bar John Kennedy - and that was a bitter campaign and result bearing comparison, arguably, even to the Gore/Bush 2000 contest.

Now the party is on the cusp of presenting a candidate widely described in the world’s media as 'half-white' (and Mr Obama's marketing men seem to have decided that is vote winning commentary). Mr Obama is, more precisely, an American Kenyan (via Indonesia) raised mainly by mid-western (Kansas) grandparents in Hawaii. But why confuse matters.

Perhaps mindful of his unusual background, as well as US electoral history, a nascent strategy appears to be an eventual Obama / Edwards ticket. This conclusion of the scribe's sits on the basis of the last Democratic debate in which John Edwards, a Carolinian, sided with Mr Obama and began a move intended to ultimately nudge Mrs Clinton into campaign oblivion.

Still, the scribe uses a model that suggests John McCain would beat that ticket. For sure, this model has never had to weigh such unprecedented Democratic factors before. And there remains the assumption that Mr McCain becomes the Republican nominee. But on that count, at least, it is a stretch to imagine a campaign-broke quasi-preacher, or a liberal New Yorker viewed with antipathy in the south, or another Governor of Massachusetts not liked by his own side there instead.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that a President Obama would be a resounding rejection of what the US has historically decided upon for the White House; and it would indicate a change in racial attitudes and relations, particularly in but not limited to the south, that would be startling in its pace. Audacity of hope, indeed. And give the man his due if he coined that himself.

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  1. Macro Man // 1/07/2008 03:33:00 PM

    Interesting to note that Paddy Power has already paid out on an Obama nomination. In some ways, Mr. Obama is a candidate straight from the Kennedy/9Bill) Clinton mold...a youthful, eloquent candidate who doesn't fit the prevailing notion of a 'typical' candidate. And given the disenchantment that all and sundry seem to feel with respect to the US political system at the moment, I am not so sure that issues even matter. Or put another way, issues may matter even les than they usually do.

  2. Charles Butler // 1/07/2008 04:16:00 PM

    Aren't we quick!

    The most desireable Dem ticket would be Edwards/Barack. I mean, they do have to win an election here, not just inform Hillary that she is not bigger than the party.


  3. Macro Man // 1/07/2008 07:48:00 PM

    Is Edwards attractive to anybody? I'd have thought he'd be tarred with the "tort lawyer" brush, a cohort that is unappealing to most voters, I should think.

  4. RJH Adams // 1/07/2008 08:12:00 PM

    Edwards is as attractive and qualified as any of the others. The Wa Post site has clear 2008 coverage

    which includes a link to Edwards' litigation record:

    Would most voters with those details of corporations defeated crucify him politically?

    His is an interesting story, personally and professionally, and his candidacy is worthy. To a non-American anyway.

  5. "Cassandra" // 1/08/2008 04:59:00 PM

    CB Said
    "The most desirable Dem ticket would be Edwards/Barack. I mean, they do have to win an election here, not just inform Hillary that she is not bigger than the party."

    I do agree with Charles here, as well as Rawdon's take on Edwards. Speaking as a realist - not as a sexist or racist - it seems to me that America is not ready for the black-looking guy with a middle-name of Husein, and forename that is unspellable even to a good speller, nor do they yearn for the b1tch with PMS that reminds ever middle-aged male voter why they play poker, [fill-in blank: golf, go the bar, seek oral sex from their overly-enthusiastic intern] to excess, while conjuring an irrepressible image (to many middle-aged female voters) of themselves on a very very BAD day which also seems terribly un-electable in modern America. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Golda Meir, Mrs Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, even Angela Merkel had all PASSED that difficult volatile disagreable somewhat irrational phase into the realm of "wise matron", or in Mrs Thatchers case, crazy old opinionated coot who'll thwack upside your face with her hand-bag if you're not careful, in the case of Mr Scargill, or the Argies, if you deserve it.

    Mr McCain is America's answer to Konstantin Chernenko, while the rest of the republicans are saddled with a very real cat-fight between moderate mormon tolerators and loopy-but- dominant evangelicals that is reminiscent of the tory's fatal implosion over "Europe" that ushered - no rolled-out the red carpet - for "New" Labour.

  6. RJH Adams // 1/08/2008 07:51:00 PM

    Lol - now that's what I call a comment.

  7. "Cassandra" // 1/08/2008 08:14:00 PM

    I'm reading Campbell's "The Blair Years" at the moment, so I'm knee deep into calling like I see it. Now where's Mandelson...?!??

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