Monday 23 Nov 2020 | 20:05 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Nov 2020 | 20:05 | SYDNEY

Is Obama special?


Sam Roggeveen


7 January 2008 10:49

In December I cautioned scepticism about Barack Obama:  '...the mythologising of political leadership has its dangers, none more so than when real leaders inevitably fall short, we are bound to feel badly let down.' Since his victory in the Iowa caucus, it's getting harder to resist the 'pull' of the Obama campaign. But the logic of my December post still holds. Even if you agree with his ideas, it is nevertheless wise to be sceptical (though not cynical) of what a candidate like Obama could actually deliver — he is, after all, just a man. Still...

What stops people from buying into that mindset, and what leaves them open to the promise Obama represents, is the possibility that he may be The One. It is more likely that Obama would make a good president than a great one (yes, these are very shaky categories, but they serve the present purpose), but perhaps voters really are ready to take a chance and go for greatness rather than settle for Hillary's obvious competence. Seen in that light, Bill Clinton's statement that backing Obama would be like rolling the dice starts to look like an invitation rather than a warning.