What campaigning politician is this journalist describing?
"’Arrogant,’ scoffed the radio host. Even his body language signaled he was slumming. During a debate, in the dank basement of a park field house, he sat with his lanky legs crossed, chin cocked at a heroic angle. He wasn't even trying to conceal his impatience with a mere state Senate peer, or with this grungy necessity of campaigning.”
Well, maybe the “lanky legs” gave it away, but this was Barack Obama way back in 2000 when he was running for senator in 2000. That’s the only race he has lost.
McClelland covered Obama back then. His article is instructive for any of us who are trying hard to “win” a client, cause or friendship.
Notes McClelland, “As even one of his admirers put it, ‘He was a stiff,’" as compared with a recent description by “one besotted scribe, “"tall, fresh and elegant."
Here’s my favorite passage in McClelland’s excellent article:
"’There is a tradition of politics that says we are all connected,’ he said. ‘If there is a child on the South Side who cannot read, it makes a difference in my life, even if it's not my child. If there's an Arab-American family who's being rounded up by John Ashcroft without benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties. Black folks, white folks, gay, straight, Asian -- the reason we can share this space is that we have a mutual regard. That's what this country's about: e pluribus unum. Out of many, one.’"
“That was the mission statement of 21st-century Obama. As a black candidate, he'd been too inhibited, too embarrassed, to force out phrases like "our community." Finally, he was comfortable in his own skin, now that he'd accepted that the skin was half-white. Obama wasn't born to be a voice of black empowerment, like Rush or Jesse Jackson.
It's not just a racial thing. It's generational, too.
Confrontational '60s-style politics are not his bag. But as a multicultural politician, trying to find the unified theory of ethnic politics, he was rolling like Tiger Woods at the Masters. The aloofness was gone as well. Very intently, he laid out his plan for a federal Children's Health Insurance Program.”