Obama's Oregon "problem"

T.A. Barnhart

Although a recent poll indicates Hillary Clinton with a 8-9% lead over both Barack Obama and John Edwards, among Oregon's progressive community, I believe Edwards has a current advantage over Obama. Of course, this assessment is based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but, like the Beach Boys in a different context, I do get around. And I think Oregon presents a unique problem for Obama — and a distinct advantage for whichever Democrat eventually wins the nomination.

Politics, especially national politics, is rarely about policy. Politics, like most thing that people value in life, is about beliefs; and beliefs grow from the stories we hear, learn and believe. One American example is that most of us are taught the story of Jesus, and most of us come to believe it to some degree. As Christians, the "story" becomes a truth, an article of faith. For Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and others, however, the story remains just that — a story. In the hands of some, like the "God hates fags" group, the story becomes a vicious threat. To some evangelical Muslims , the Christian story is a lie to be replaced by their own story — their gospel truth.

One of the lessons George Lakoff has been trying to teach Democrats, liberals, progressives and others who oppose the neocon apparatus, is that talking about policy rarely does much good. What is needed to convince an electorate to take a chance on one candidate or party over another is a compelling story. Call it vision, truth, values, whatever; in the context of an election, it becomes a story. (I believe it's always a story, but that's a form of post-modernism sure to get many otherwise rational people frothing at the mouth.) Democrats should have learned after 1980 and 1984 that the country doesn't really want to hear about policy or facts or even reality. The 50% of the electorate who vote want a convincing story. Reagan told them that story, and his stories produced two convincing wins.

Michael Dukasis brought competence and intellect to the 1988 campaign and got whupped by a man who could not speak a coherent sentence and whose career in public and private life was marked by being put into place by those who held the real power.

Bill Clinton brought competence and intellect to the 1992 campaign, stuffed them into a box, shoved the box into the closet and instead told a great story of living the American dream, his rise from humble po' boy roots. When he got caught cheating on his wife, he (and she) told another heart-warming story, of forgiveness and humility. To this day, despite his stupidity with Lewinski and a number of anti-progressive actions in office, he is still beloved by many. Why? Because he continues to be a part of the story of those in America who don't have power, who don't have wealth; the story of a boy from Hope continues to resonate in the minds and hearts of millions of Americans. Not to mention that under Clinton, things really did improve for many people in this country.

Here in Oregon, however, it is a different story (so to speak). We are freaks in Oregon. We not only care about policy, we pay attention to it. More than pay attention, we immerse ourselves in policy, involving ourselves in its creation and destruction. In a few months, Oregon citizens, and not the Legislature, will decide what policies the state will utilize in providing (or not) health care for children and the extent, if any, we will modify land use policy. The latter, of course, was put into place not by the Legislature but by citizens, Measure 37, another in a long line of policy decisions made by Oregon's policy wonk electorate.

We are not the only state to utilize the ballot initiative (or referendum, in the case of these two measures). Washington state has made major overhauls to transportation policy in this manner, and California's Prop 13 radically restructured the shape and nature of state government. But Oregon is a small state, 3 million people, and most of us live in close proximity to one another. We can meet and discuss these matters on a regular basis, and we do. Our legislature meets but once every two years, so policy discussions have focus as well as scheduled appearances in Salem. Advocacy groups have the ability to organize; hire one staffer in Bend, one in Eugene and one in Portland, and you can work most of the state. Trying pulling that trick in California or even Washington, with its out-of-control growth.

We have also in Oregon a proud tradition of citizen activism. We invented the ballot initiative (more or less) among other things. One of our Senators prides himself on holding a town hall meeting in every county once a year. Our elected officials know they cannot hide from the people, so they don't even bother to try (most of them). They pay attention to blogs, appear on talk radio, meet constituents in all manner of places; their staff are readily available. None of this necessarily makes Oregon unique, but taken all together, it creates a political environment of informed, active and policy-aware voters. Not all of us, but enough — more than perhaps anywhere else in the nation. (Note to readers: please do not defend your state. This is rhetoric, not an awards show.)

Why, then, is this a problem for Obama? After all, his website is full of policy positions. As the campaign has progressed, he's become more detailed about what his administration would pursue. He doesn't cover the minutiae of every policy — I have no idea if he would check the brakes of the Mexican truckers being let in by Bush to ensure they are safe enough for American roads, but I do know he would not arbitrarily open up the borders in that manner — but between what he has announced, what he's done in the past, and his general statements about his vision for America and his administration, I think any reasonable person can draw a decent, and accurate, conclusion about the policies an Obama administration would pursue.

However, I'm not sure I'd call Oregon's progressive policy freaks "reasonable." I mean, what reasonable person pays that much attention to policy in the first place? We have a new season of tv shows to watch, and with all the channels, think of all the great shows we miss. We have Greg Oden's knee to mourn and curse (oh, Brandon Roy, deliver us from evil and the gloating of Seattle/Oklahoma City, fans). Policy is something that takes time, thought and commitment to follow. But life is just too busy and then we're so tired at he end of the day — why would anyone in their right mind pay attention to all the information that is needed to understand policy issues?

Nonetheless, that's what progressives and many others here in Oregon do: pay attention. They care about policy, and they care about politicians who give good policy. When you look at Oregon's leading Democratic officeholders, you don't see many flashy operators. When's the last time an Oregonian was elected on excitement alone? Bud Clark? Peter DeFazio may come close, but he's still as wonkish as anyone in Congress; the man knows his stuff. And I would term his support tenacious rather than excited. Yes, elections still are won and lost on the 30-second commercials and the bullshit ad campaigns about people like poor Aunt Dorothy English. But Oregon still has an incredible number of hopeless romantics who insist on fighting their elections based on policy statements.

But we are a long way from an election, and that's John Edwards' current advantage among Oregon's progressives. No one in this race does policy in the way he does, and it just seduces the hell out of so many lefties. His combination of shirt-sleeve compassion and lawyerly detail lights stars in the eyes of Dems looking for the right person to oppose Hillary's corporatist, non-progressive platform. Add in his wife, the second most charismatic person in the entire campaign after Obama, and you have a compelling reason for progressives in Oregon to support John Edwards. I've spoken to many people who support Edwards, and the reasons invariably involve his stand on the issues.

But these are early days, and as too many know, Oregon's vote is likely to matter little. If we get to May 20th and the earlier primaries did not pick a winner but divided the wins, then we (and Kentucky) may yet matter. Are you holding your breath? I'm not. In November 2008, in a tight race, then we may matter; and every penny a candidate receives, from whatever state, also matters.

And it's always important to remember that we vote for more than president. We'll be trying to run Smith's ass out of DC, possibly defeat the religionists who continue to try to strip basic civil and human rights from our fellow citizens, and elect a worthy successor to the 2007 Legislature. We may not matter when it comes to the final national tally for president, but all the work we do on behalf our those candidates will have a trickle-down effect. We are working to build the strongest possible coattails for the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is.

I believe Obama has sufficient policy strength that, when added to the story he tells of a united America, will overcome both Hillary's name-recognition and Edwards' policy sexiness. Yes, Edwards has his own story, but his career path — trial lawyer — does not really care the same emotive value as Obama working with displaced workers and conducting voter registration drives after finishing Harvard Law School. Obama has the greater story appeal, but that isn't necessarily going to be good enough in Oregon. In Oregon, we want more.

We're policy kooks here in Oregon. Pinko wonks. We want to know just what the hell our politicians are going to do. We want to be partners in the creation of policy. Call us crazy, but we actually believe in and practice participatory democracy. How much that helps or hurts any particular candidate, we'll find out down the road. But for now, I think that is a damn good story in and of itself.

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    I am loving the whole concept of "policy sexiness."

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    hmm... policy positions...

    this is (one of the reasons) Steve Novick would make a replacement for the ever elusive Gordon Smith. "Policy sexiness" make him (and Edwards) natural fits for Oregon.

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    this is (one of the reasons) Steve Novick would make a replacement for the ever elusive Gordon Smith. "Policy sexiness" make him (and Edwards) natural fits for Oregon.

    Heh! Well, speaking as s supporter of both Novick and Edwards, I think you may have a point, Colin. One of the things that drew me to Steve was his deep engagement with the issues and the fact that he has obviously been thinking about them for a long time - he has articulated some very thoughtful positions, and even in those instances when I don't agree 100% with him, I understand and respect the process by which he got to where he is, and I'm OK with the disagreement. Public policy is hard. Smart public policy is even harder, and at the Federal legislative level, where there are so many moving parts, it is at a whole additional level of complexity.

    And, yes, part of the appeal for me is the depth and breadth of Steve's analysis and critique of Gordon Smith's record, and why Smith has to be replaced. Some people around here seem to be complaining about this as "negativity" or even "partisanship," but I believe that people need to be given a reason to turn an incumbent out of office, as well as an indication of why the challenger would be different / better. Steve understands that as a challenger it is his responsibility to offer both, and does not shy away from either.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    What difference does it make when our primary has no effect on the nomination?

  • Garrett (unverified)

    Michael Dukasis brought competence and intellect to the 1988 campaign and got whupped by a man who could not speak a coherent sentence and whose career in public and private life was marked by being put into place by those who held the real power

    While I'm not going to be a George Sr. apologist I think you have fallen into the trap of comparing Sr. to being like his son. I don't think they could be further apart. I think Sr. is a very intelligent man and can't remember him stumbling over sentences. I think you also forget about his public and personal resume which I think more than qualified him to be the President. While I disagreed and still disagree strongly with his policies I think you and forgetting the difference between Sr. and Jr.

  • winter (unverified)

    I think this article puts a bit too much faith in Oregon's mythical "progressive community" as a single entity capable of characterization. And I think the danger here is an implication that speaking in stories will not be effective with Oregon's progressive community - that we need to speak in terms of policy.

    The M37 debate serves as a perfect example. The M37 election wasn't about policy - it was about a story. And that story was all about government invading our private property rights. Now that story swayed lots and lots of moderates as evidenced by the poll numbers. I would argue that the tide turned on M37 after the story turned into one about big business looking for a land grab, which is definitely contrary to Oregonians' values.

    That example shows that the Oregon's "progressive community" consists of lots and lots of moderates as well as "pinko wonks." And those moderates as well as many other folks in the state can and are swayed by a good story that speaks to their values and belief systems.

    In Oregon, our value systems are unique, and we have our own unique mythology and icons. The candidates that best speak to the unique Oregon experience will win the elections.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    You're right. Most of the electorate is not operating at a rational conscious level. Research has shown that again and again. Reagan is a case in point. His story of a restoration to a mythical past that never existed, a "shining city on the hill" was a winner. Even though on the issues most of the public disagreed with him, they loved the image and the story he projected.

    Maybe Obama can weave such a story. Problem is, that's a story for the general election. For the primary Hillary's story is a restoration to a time of relative peace and stability in a competent Democratic administration, with leadership that is respected. That sells. Edwards has a populist story of the little guy and gal who are downtrodden, taking back Washington from the from the corporate powers and right wing snake oil swindlers. Obama's story in the primary is not selling. He has the greatest potential to transform politics and be a healer to this country. But he needs to convince Democrats that he is a real progressive who can fight and win their cause.

  • JohnH (unverified)

    If your analysis were correct, Kucinich would win by a landslide. Dennis is on the right side of most every policy issue.

    Obama does have a clear advantage over the other leading contenders, however. Unlike them, he had the good judgement not to support the war at the outset. Unlike them, he was not gullible and had no need to claim that "he wuz misled," or that "he never thought that the President would actually use his authority to use military force."

    Unfortunately, Obama seems to be falling into the Democrats' "powerlessness" trap, and he needs to avoid it to be credible. Supposedly Demmocrats need 60-67 votes to stop the President. Increasingly that is getting exposed as a crock. Their "powerlessness" is leading to a widespead feeling of betrayal among voters--witness the Democratic Congress' 14% approval rating.

    To win, Obama must show his strength of character and take some more risks on Iraq and Iran. He must avoid the 'gullible weaklings' trap that besets other Democrats. No offense to sheep, but Democrats by and large have painted themselves into a corner where they are perceived as nothing more than a bunch of bleaters.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    What is needed to convince an electorate to take a chance on one candidate or party over another is a compelling story.

    What the electorate and, especially, Obama and Edwards supporters need to read is Walter Karp's book, "Liberty Under Siege." The first half deals with Jimmy Carter's presidency during which Carter was essentially a president without a party since the oligarchs of the Democratic Party and their cohorts in Congress never accepted him and spent their time undermining and stabbing him in the back. It would be a good bet that if Hillary doesn't get the nomination and Obama or Edwards is elected president, then the DLC and the replacements for the Senate and House leaders who worked Carter over will do the same to whoever is elected. Pelosi may be more attractive than Tip O'Neill, but she has shown she can be as vicious as the Boston bully. Chances are Obama may be less vulnerable than Edwards since he probably has a political machine and a faction of the Democratic party behind him; whereas, Edwards comes up short on political experience and support among the establishment.

    This is also a reason I support Steve Novick. He is clearly not a puppet for Chuck Schumer and the DLC and is more likely to represent the people than others favored by the party leadership.

    A problem for Obama and Edwards is partly of their own making. Both are splitting the anti-Hillary vote. This may also explain the candidacy of Bill Richardson who has his connections to the DLC. He can also siphon anti-Hillary votes from people who aren't persuaded by Obama and Edwards. Biden and Dodd? They are members of the DLC and are most likely there to be the attack dogs for the party's choice, Hillary, just as Lieberman and Gephardt worked over Howard Dean to beat back his challenge to the then-party candidate, John Kerry.

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    We don't need a healer. Or at best it's secondary or tertiary.

    We need a repairer, and somebody who will be willing to work with the other branches of government to restore the proper balance. Someone willing to give up power illegitimately seized for her or his office.

    I am pretty sure Senator Clinton is not that person. I am not sure if either Senator Obama or Mr. Edwards is either.

    But Obama makes me nervous if he puts "healing" above undoing the Bush legacy as much as possible.

    "Healing" on the basis of the current status quo, making it the new normal, would be a disaster.

    For Obama, does healing = non-partisanship = not criticizing the Bush legacy vigorously because "too partisan" or "divisive"?

    It is pretty hard for me to get a line on how he wold respond if asked about the choice between healing and repairing, because most of his supporters here just talk about "healing."

    If any Obama supporters can help me out as to whether you think he'd be willing to be confrontational enough if needed to fix what George has broken, & if so, why you think so, I'd appreciate it.

  • Miles (unverified)

    We need a repairer, and somebody who will be willing to work with the other branches of government to restore the proper balance. Someone willing to give up power illegitimately seized for her or his office.

    The only way the balance of power gets restored is when Congress grows a pair and demands it. No president, no matter who they are, is going to voluntarily give it up. Congress has the power to do this now, they are just choosing not to play hard ball because of the political implications. Our entire checks and balances system is based on the idea that each branch will seek power for themselves, and thus check the other branch. The only reason Bush has gotten away with everything is that the Republican Congress (out of party loyalty) and now the Democratic Congress (out of fear of accountability) aren't demanding the power back.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    Chris, you want evidence of Obama being a "confronter" and not just a feel good guy? Well I won't try to post the links as I keep screwing that up (sorry folks) but Senator Obama seems to be doing more confronting than anyone.

    Today he spoke to a large group of executives on Wall Street. Did he try to suck up to them? No, he basically lectured them about what they are doing wrong, here's a snidbit:

     NEW YORK (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told Wall Street investors Monday that several of them have been too focused on their own gain at the expense of struggling Americans and echoed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's call for a "reappraisal of values."
    Obama prides himself on delivering tough messages directly to the source, and his address at the NASDAQ Marketsite was another example. He said a "what's good for me is good enough" mentality has crept into parts of the business world while working men and women toil longer hours and still struggle to pay for health care, tuition and taxes.
    "If we are honest, I think we must admit that those who have benefited from the new global marketplace - and that includes almost everyone in this room - have not always concerned themselves with the losers in this new economy," the Illinois senator said.
    "The danger with this mentality isn't just that it offends our morals, it's that it endangers our markets," Obama said...
    "I am asking you to join me in ushering in a new era of mutual responsibility in America," he said. He said he believes Wall Street leaders want to be part of building a more just nation, but they haven't been asked before.

    This is nothing new for Obama. A few months ago he got up in front of the automakers in Detroit and lectured them on how they need to do better with their fuel efficiency standards, here's a snidbit of the May 7th speech confronting them:

    "It starts with our cars - because if we truly hope to end the tyranny of oil, the nation must once again turn to Detroit for another great transformation.

    "I know these are difficult times for automakers, and I know that not all of the industry's problems are of its own making.

    "But we have to be honest about how we arrived at this point.

    "For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars. And whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel efficiency standards, the auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent the very reform that could've saved their industry. Even as they've shed thousands of jobs and billions in profits over the last few years, they've continued to reward failure with lucrative bonuses for CEOs.

    "The consequences of these choices are now clear. While our fuel standards haven't moved from 27.5 miles per gallon in two decades, both China and Japan have surpassed us, with Japanese cars now getting an average of 45 miles to the gallon. And as the global demand for fuel-efficient and hybrid cars have skyrocketed, it's foreign competitors who are filling the orders. Just the other week, we learned that for the first time since 1931, Toyota has surpassed General Motors as the world's best-selling automaker.

    "At the dawn of the Internet Age, it was famously said that there are two kinds of businesses - those that use email and those that will. Today, there are two kinds of car companies - those that mass produce fuel-efficient cars and those that will.

    "The American auto industry can no longer afford to be one of those that will. What's more, America can't afford it. When the auto industry accounts for one in ten American jobs, we all have a stake in saving those jobs. When our economy, our security, and the safety of our planet depend on our ability to make cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars, every American has a responsibility to make sure that happens.

    "Automakers still refuse to make the transition to fuel-efficient production because they say it's too expensive at a time when they're losing profits and struggling under the weight of massive health care costs.

    "This time, they're actually right. The auto industry's refusal to act for so long has left it mired in a predicament for which there is no easy way out.

    "But expensive is no longer an excuse for inaction. The auto industry is on a path that is unacceptable and unsustainable - for their business, for their workers, and for America. And America must take action to make it right."


    And did I tell you about his father's day speech in South Carolina? He was speaking to a crowd that included a lot of folks from broken families. Did he kiss up to them? No, he confronted them too and lectured the men in the audience on the responsibilities of fatherhood which he told them don't end upon conception, that you don't prove your manhood by siring a child, that you prove it by being a father.

    So can Senator Obama confront people? You betcha, he's been doing at all along. You can read these speeches and watch the videos on barackobama.com or youtube.

  • Ted (unverified)

    A very complicated issue, since you're citing ethology as a premise for the appeal of political dogmatism. However, the greater question is why does the electorate need the good story and reject policy discourse? The Republican side, in my opinion, has always been one that believes in a ruling class and the story is fronted so that policy initiatives that wouldn't necessarily appeal to the masses can be pursued. Speaking as a progressive, I believe that even though people are born into this world with different advantages and disadvantages (in personality, intellect, physical attributes, financial opportunity, etc), all men are basically created equal and should have the chance to participate in a democratic, constitutional system. This is basically the same philosophy that is outlined in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

    So by yeilding to the competition to sell the voters a better story than the other party, you change the emphasis from informing on policy to playing the political game. Whatever short term advantage there is, the nation moves further away from the principals upon which it was founded and the issues are increasingly framed by the competing stories instead of the hard facts upon which optimal policy decisions must be made.

    We see this problem taking place with Iraq right now. Both parties have taken to arguing over when the Iraqis are going to stand up and take responsibility for themselves, and the debate is one of whether or not American military presence helps or hinders the abilities of the Iraqis to do that. The politically acceptable stories have completely replaced the facts--that the Shiite-Sunni conflict is centuries old, they didn't ask us to bomb them into democracy in the first place, and the only solid plans the Western establishment had were to secure and privatize the oil fields after the invasion.

    If you take the high road and say the masses need the appealing story to vote on and then once we, believing ourselves to be benevolent lefties, get into power we will do the right things by them, then we become the ruling class that is anathema to our Constitutional principals. I think what is needed is a candidate unlike any the Democrats have--somebody with the oratory skills of a Mario Cuomo in his prime who can communicate policy in a way that invokes passion and that people can personally relate to. I don't think Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich, etc have that leadership ability.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    The Republican side, in my opinion, has always been one that believes in a ruling class ...

    So, too, do the leaders of the Democratic party who have essentially ignored the people who want an end to the war on Iraq and impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

    So, too, do what's left of the old guard tradition of union bosses.

    So, too, do the people who believe anything and everything that their parties' (Republican and Democratic) leaders say.

    So, too, do the masses that take as gospel whatever comes out of the mouths of the Limbaughs, O'Reillys, Falwells, Coulters and other demagogues.

  • yann123 (unverified)

    I live in California and I too ,look at policies! Help us get John elected in California!! Join One Corps- Sonoma for Edwards and send me an e-mail!

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    WTF, everytime Matthew Sutton posts a link including an atttempt at including a link, he screws up the entiure thread by not properly closing the link tag.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)

    That Matthew Sutton is an arse!!

  • Marcia S (unverified)

    I agree that Edwards would likely be a better president than either of the front-runners (and I like Kucinich best of all). But I can't get excited about the Dem primary for one simple reason: Clinton IS going to win. I just hope she's way ahead of the Republican in November so I won't have to actually vote for her.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    If the current math holds, Hillary will not have the votes to win the Primary early, in most states she polls at right around 30%, that's not enough. So, Oregon's Primary could easily be a big deal, it's not nearly as iffy as posited.

  • Paul Revere (unverified)

    There's something about Obama I don't like - his view about war. Same with Hillary. Both will get us into a war with Iran and sustain the funneling of large amounts of money to the military industrial complex. I think Mike Gravel is right. Many of the Dem candidates are scary.

    I am very wary of Hillary becoming the nominee. I chair a Central Committee here in Oregon and I fear greatly the possibility that Hillary will get the nomination. If she does, I will be at odds with the state and national Democratic Party. My personal support of Hillary will likely be near zero, and I will focus my efforts on the local, state and U.S. Senate races -- which are very important to me.

    There is absolutely no doubt that Hillary will be far better than any of the Republican nominees. However, I will find myself in the same position as in 2004 -- I supported John Kerry because he was the lesser of two evils. Hillary represents corporations and she represents war. I don't like either. I will end up gagging trying to promote Hillary, so I think it will be best for me to just simply avoid speaking her name if she is the nominee. I prefer some of the other candidates -- Edwards or Kucinich -- but I will not be advertising my preferences among my fellow Dems because of my leadership position. I just have to wait it out and hope for the best.

    Between Obama and Clinton, I prefer Obama, and I may feel more comfortable promoting his candidacy if he wins the nomination, but, as before, it will end up becoming a situation of choosing between the lesser of two evils. That's not how I like my choices to be.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    What difference does it make when our primary has no effect on the nomination?

    I think this is one reason i'm not as excited as many about the presidential race. The Party will have chosen the nominee long before Oregon goes through its emotions and i fully expect the state to tilt blue in the General.

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    hey Thom! good to see you.

    but i agree with Chuck: given that we have 3 strong front-runners, and Hillary's support is not that strong, we could easily go thru the primaries before ours and find no one has wrapped up anything. in that case, every state will count. and i have to repeat what i said in my post: the presidential race is not the whole enchilada. it's the dog, yes, but it's got a great big tail. and that tail is what will make so much long-term difference: the Senate, the Oregon Legislature, ballot measures and more. even just establishing that America is opening up more and more to the progressive message -- that will not happen if we go "aw hell" and do nothing until the end of the general campaign. creating a progressive nation is what i believe underlies the Obama campaign, and he acknowledges (as did Dean) that his victory means little without the on-going participation of grassroots Americans of all stripes.

    Hillar has nothing won but a msm pr campaign. and those same people will again go "wtf" when Obama's numbers roll in after the quarterly reports. we're just at the start of it all.

  • Gtrant Schott (unverified)
    <h2>Obama has a NATIONAL problem, and that is that he has been stuck at 20% since he annnounced. Actually he climbed to 30% briefly, but fell back after the debates strated. I saw Obama in PDX two weeks ago and thought that this speech was good, but nothing like the expectations that I had based on the adolation of his fans. Unlike Edwards, Obama doesn't seem to ahve a clear message, other than "we need change." Aside from his big bank account, Obama seems to be going nowhere.</h2>

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