Friday, March 7, 2008

Rock star Obama

By Leonard Doyle

Barack Obama has made the cover of Rolling Stone. Unfortunately his ascent to iconic rock star status coincides with one of the most difficult weeks in his still unlikely bid for the presidency. Rolling Stone's editor Jan Wenner compares Obama to Abe Lincoln.

The story The Machinery of Hope: Inside the grass-roots field operation of Barack Obama, who is transforming the way political campaigns are run was obviously timed to go to press just as Obama snatched the nomination from Hillary. As with many of the best laid political (and editorial plans) it was not to be.

Still it can't do much harm to have the endorsement of Rolling Stone & its editor Jann Wenner. 'Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do,' says Wenner, 'to summon "the better angels of our nature."'

Despite Obama's stumble while doing the Texas two step on Tuesday its a great piece of reporting, even if the gushing prose now rings a bit hollow.

What Tim Dickinson's piece explains very well though is that Obama's campaign has succeeded against all the odds not by attracting starry-eyed 'Kool-aid drinking' followers who place their faith in his message of hope, but 'by motivating committed activists who are answering a call to national service. They're pouring their lifeblood into this campaign, not because they are in thrall to a cult of personality but because they're invested in the idea that politics matter, and that their participation can turn the current political system on its ear.'

"We're seeing the last time a top-down campaign has a chance to win it," says the political maestro Joe Trippi fresh from running John Edward's underdog campaign. "There won't be another campaign that makes the same mistake the Clintons made of being dependent on big donors and insiders. It's not going to work ever again."

What do you think?

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