The hope factor

Travelling through Michigan this past Monday, the airwaves were aflutter with News about Barak Obama’s move towards the White House.

For several months, he and numerous candidates including Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have been crossing the country to gather votes for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton, viewed as the front runner early in the campaign, is now in the position of catching up to the amazing gains Obama made in Iowa and now New Hampshire.

The K-words were common place in the state-side interviews we heard. References to John F. Kennedy were flowing and the other word we kept hearing was hope. They talked about Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The ability to captivate an audience is not easy, and all three of those gentlemen certainly could speak.

Commentators there and columnists here recognize Obama’s engaging charisma is catching on, but then they ask a pertinent question – how will he conduct business with so little experience. The fact is, it probably doesn’t matter.

The United States finds itself today at a crossroads. The economy is not good and indications suggest a Recession has begun. Overseas wars are wreaking havoc with the economy and taking their toll in human lives. Trade imbalances and a weak dollar are hurting the country and its workers.

For two elections, the country’s voters have essentially split the vote down the middle meaning half the people are for the present government and half are against it. That precarious position has worn on the public, so it will be interesting to see how the vote pans out later next fall.

Another interesting factor in this election is the establishment is not seen with the same confidence that it has been previously. Young voters are skeptical about there being advantages to being in the loop, so to speak. Knowing how to get things done or who to talk to seems irrelevant to them.

On the other hand, older voters are not yet keen to hand power over to someone in their late 40s. Despite Obama’s successes to date in politics, law, and writing books, he is deemed to have little experience that would aid him in dealing with foreign affairs. Unless he can demonstrate he is a quick study, there are enough conflicts in the world to keep a seasoned president busy, let alone someone stuck learning on the job.

We will watch the contest with interest to see how the Senator from Illinois fares in the final analysis. Will Obama’s hope be victorious over others’ plans?