Barack Obama is a formidable candidate for President. And he’s our candidate: a Democrat, a liberal, and a progressive; intelligent and mature with a Chicago-style political savvy.
He’s teamed up with professional politicos who are running an awesome campaign to capture enough votes to become the 44th President of the United States.
Without a doubt, he is emerging as the strongest and most attractive candidate of the 2008 Presidential race. He has been able, during this time of financial upheaval and national uncertainty, to show America a true consensus persona, highlighted by calmness, thoughtfulness, and reliability. A persona which outshines and outmaneuvers his grandstanding opponent.
Barack has established himself as the all-time political fundraising champion. Campaign donations, which began online with a deluge in small increments, are now closing in on $500,000,000.00. (For those who are blinking their eyes over that many zeroes, just read it as 500 million dollars.) Opinion polls are moving in his direction. Blue States are becoming Bluer. Battleground states -- such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- are moving from toss-up to “leaning towards Barack.” 2004 Red States -- Colorado, Virginia, Indiana, North Carolina and even Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska -- are now in or moving towards the toss-up column. The sense is growing that not only has Barack crossed the threshold of public perception as being Presidential, but that the tide of public opinion and support for him as President is moving in his favor.
As summer began, Barack had a challenge. Hillary Clinton had conceded and Barack debated John McCain. His main goal: introduce himself to America. Then came the Democratic National Convention. Barack was nominated by acclamation and his acceptance speech was stellar. Barack was definitely not an angry, young Black Man.
What American learned was that he is a gifted orator and a reasoned debater. A candidate with an overview and an inside view. ‘Hood smart and Harvard educated. Able to lead, to listen, and learn. A born and bred middle-American coupled with a proud African heritage. A devoted husband and father. A family man with a world view. As American as apple pie.
Barack has proven that he not only knows what needs to be done, but how to plan and achieve the goal. He is solidifying his position as a superb political tactician and strategist.
John McCain has not been able to gain traction. He has tried mocking and belittling Barack, claiming Barack was a “celebrity.” Such buffoonery. This backfired on McCain’s campaign when the public saw it as both juvenile and bizarre. Next, John played the experience card. Again, a losing hand. Trying to run as the candidate with superior experience only showed that John was really the consummate Washington insider, a close cohort of George Bush. (He then undermined, probably unwittingly, any value of “superior political experience” by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.) He then tried to show he could tame Wall Street and solve America’s economic mess. He made the pretense of stopping his campaign and rushing back to Washington, vowing to not even debate unless a solution was found. Such a sideshow. He ended up only proving that he has bad judgment and, while he could huff-n-puff, no one paid him any attention.
And now comes the final 30 days. And what is John McCain going to do? Well, he’s going to take off the gloves, we’re told. No telling what we might now find out about Barack. Barack’s “shadowy past.” His connection to all things evil. We are already being told that Barack has a history of associating with domestic terrorists. And I’m sure we are going to be reminded that Barack hates America via his past association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And we will be reminded that Barack has special hidden hate for white Americans and that he has ties with Islamist religious extremists.
How does a viable and qualified candidate - ahead in the polls - deal with such hate, fear, and anger?
First, stay on message, the message of hope and the message of change. Answer back and hit back hard. Keep reassuring all voters that with your steady hand, intelligence and vision the way forward for America will be found. Remind the voters that John McCain and his Republican friends - if they had their way - would be investing Social Security Trust Funds in the stock market. Remind voters that the Supreme Court is just one vote away from a conservative majority. Remind America that we less safe at home because of the war in Iraq. And remind American that George Bush endorses John McCain.
It’s time to turn the page on eight years of George Bush, the worst President in American history. It’s time to elect Barack Obama President.
Carl Matthes is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Eagle Rock for over 40 years. He is a former president and a current Board member of Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance. He is a former columnist and a current advisor to the Lesbian News, the oldest lesbian publication in America. He was editor of the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) newsletter and a former GLAAD National Board member. He has also been a Board member of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Articles by Carl: