Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Can rhetoric win the nomination?

Barack Obama is in triumphalist mood this week. In an email sent round his supporters he claims:

"The most extraordinary and deeply humbling result is the people -- more than 258,0000 of you -- who have taken ownership of this campaign. A number that big is a thunderclap over the political process. It means our campaign has more supporters than any campaign in history at this point in an election, and it’s a wake-up call to our current politics. It means ordinary people are coming together in unprecedented numbers to take back their government. It means you are defying the pundits and Washington insiders, rejecting their cynicism and negativity, and embracing the hope that we can change things for the better. It means we are building a movement so big, so deep, and so personal that our collective voice is undeniable."

Rhetorical certainly, bravado to an extent, motivational speak definitely. But perhaps the words are not empty as Obama has raised $10 million more than Hilary Clinton and is perhaps pushing their campaign towards a more negative tone according to one Iowa press report. Bill Clinton, the man tasked with telling his wife's story during her campaign, declared her: "the best qualified non-incumbent I have ever had a chance to vote for president" but avoided making any criticisms of his wife's opponents saying he liked them all.

I guess the question is will Obama's triumphalism act as a bandwagon that will propel him into the run-off or will Hilary Clinton's claim to be the "best qualified and experienced person" win the day. As Obama's campaign has developed it seems to have adopted an almost evangelical style as opposed to the serious issue based campaign of Clinton; the big question is, if it is a straight fight between the two, which style will be seen as most attractive among Democrats and which will be seen as the best to compete against the Republican nominee which seems to be former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani or John McCain (all of whom are underdogs in a straight fight against Obama according to one poll. Guess the big question first is what sort of leader the parties want and then the same question will be turned over to the American people.

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