Sunday, 27 January 2008

If I were American, I would vote for Obama

Congratulations to Barack Obama, who won by a mile in yesterday's South Carolina primary. I still think that Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency, but Obama would definitely be my choice.

Obama's victory speech had shades of Martin Luther King - it was inspirational, presidential, upbeat yet dignified; reaching out to all communities. His theme of offering change will strike a chord with a wide range of Americans and indeed reminds me of Bill Clinton's successful campaign back in 1992. Clinton's experience as Governor of the backwater that is Arkansas was questioned, just as Obama's is today. Yet Clinton then, like Obama now, offered an energy and a charisma that all the other candidates in this year's race lack. You can't have everything: the longer a candidate spends in Washington, the less credibly can they offer something new.

You can't ignore the race issue. In a land of opportunity, it would show that a black man from a fairly ordinary background can aspire to be President. That is the right message to send. Electing Hillary would show that a woman can... cling on to her husband's coat tails, letting him have the first shot at being President before using his influence to help propel her into his old job. It doesn't, or at least shouldn't, do a damn thing to imply that any other woman would stand a chance.

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