Sunday, September 16, 2007

Obama needs an ace

Generating enthusiasm for change isn't enough. To beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama will have to make

So went the warm up act last week, when I saw Barack Obama speak in San Francisco to an adoring crowd of thousands. It was my first US Presidential rally, and a fascinating look at the fervour of American politics. The crowd yelled back their "Bama!" with unbridled vigour. And this was at lunchtime on a week day.

Americans retain a desire to believe in their leaders that apathy and cynicism has gnawed away in most other western democracies. Outsiders like me will always feel a little uncomfortable with the cult of personality this tends to generate, a willingness to transpose heroism onto their leaders - which goes all the way back to George Washington. On the other hand, such faith in democracy and in those who seek to serve as leaders is refreshing, especially given the deception of the current Presidency. If, as Billy Bragg has sung "cynicism's such a cop out", this crowd was all-in.

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