There are many places to start a story. Maybe Martin Luther King. Or the first Kenyans in America.
Let’s start it with a game of blackjack. Jack Ryan (a disgraced politician) met Jeri Lynn Zimmermann, who later became Jeri Ryan, famous for playing a borg on Star Trek: Voyager, at a charity event. They divorced in 1999 and then in 2004, the records became public. Which did much to catapult one Barack Obama to Senate, because Jack Ryan was accused of frequenting sex clubs and the like. And is just one of the many reasons why Barack Obama is incredibly lucky.
In 2004, Howard Dean ran in the Democrat primaries. He lost early on, but he pioneered what I’m assuming is the new model for political campaigns. I view it as the media turning upon Dean by finding a good story to bring him down with.
Enter 2008. Barack Obama uses many of the plays out of the Dean playbook, adds a few of his own stunts, and builds one of the most impressive websites to enable grassroots campaigning ever.
The only Republican who is savvy enough to counter him is Ron Paul, who made a good showing but didn’t have Obama’s universal appeal. John McCain tries to “get” the Internet, but starts spamming people during the primaries. So I’ve been rooting for him to lose for quite a long time.
I once thought that if anybody wanted to get a person who was not white, male, and generally protestant, in the white house, it would have to be the Republicans. Especially given what happened when the Democrats ran with a female running mate in 1984. But Obama has done such an excellent job at campaigning that I’ve been proven wrong, and that doesn’t really bother me.
If you looked at McCain’s website during the later days of the campaign, you can see that somebody in his campaign realized that part of Obama’s power is his website. So they added all of the features that Obama had… the ability to have supporters conveniently phonebank, online donations, etc. This was a dumb play and I think all of that energy was wasted. McCain, at least the 2008 version, was not the sort of person who could run with like Dean and Obama.
The thing about the Obama website is that his campaign skipped out on a lot of roadblocks. He doesn’t need to gather the support of people with lots of money, he just needs a message that can attract a few thousand people with a lot less money to get started. He doesn’t need to do robocalls because he can bring people together online to call in person. He doesn’t need to spam because he can provide a message that’s exciting enough that friends will tell friends that they REALLY like Obama. I threw my support behind Obama largely because of my friend Scott.
The election has been totally nailbiting, not only because I had to worry about the Democrats snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but because I had to worry about states with electronic voting machines and dirty tricks. The ball is now in Obama’s court. He’s pulled off something that Clinton was the last person to pull off, in unifying the Democrat party. His message of Hope and sense of showmanship was enough to counter the Republican message of Fear and Jesus. I can only pray now that we voted in the man I think he can be into the White House. He can run for re-election solely on the support of people, not corporations and rich people, so he’s got a golden opportunity to make changes that America wants, not what big corporate overlords want. I’m hoping we can have a step back away from facism.