How did he do it? It was partly about him, but mostly about her. Many have remarked that in the identity politics world of the Democratic Party, the first credible black candidate trumped the first credible woman candidate.
That is largely true, but it is not a phenomenon of Democratic Party alone. Americans as a whole are eager to give their support to blacks who manifest aspirations of racial harmony. Consider the last 25 years. The most popular comic: Bill Cosby. The most popular athletes: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods. The most popular talk-show host: Oprah Winfrey. The most popular general: Colin Powell. Obama demonstrated the same holds true in politics.
Yet a freshman senator with an ULTRALIBERAL voting record does not win the nomination without deep weakness in the competition. Obama became the chosen instrument for those who fervently wished to prevent the Clintons from coming back. In this race being the not-Clinton was as important as being black. The fact that surprises me is that Obama won with almost NO experience...He was in the Senate approximately 1 year when he began his Presidential campaign.
From Letterman's Top Ten
Top Ten Messages Left on Barack Obama's Answering Machine
10."It's Eliot Spitzer - let's get some girls and celebrate!"
9."John McCain here, I...crap, I forgot why I called"
8."This is Al Gore, don't make the same mistake I did and win the popular vote"
7."It's John McCain again. What is this some kind of machine that answers the phone?"
6."This is John Kerry; are you interested in a subscription to 'Sports Illustrated'?"
5."You've just made a powerful enemy of The Pantsuit Manufacturers of America"
4."It's Randy Jackson. Your last speech? Little pitchy, dawg"
3. No number 3 - writer stuck on plane with Scott McClellan
2."Hillary calling; I'm still prepared to offer you the Vice President position"
1."Oprah here; I helped you get the nomination now will you help me get rid of Dr. Phil"