"But in the end, Obama wheezed across the finish line. He lost nine of the last 14 primaries, and although Democrats are uniting behind their nominee, there is a lot to make them nervous about Obama’s ability to beat rival Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee, in the fall.
Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton, says Obama still faces problems with swing voters in swing states.
"By virtue of having lost some of those big states and some of those very important constituencies that are important — Latino, white, rural, a lot of the blue-collar women’s vote — he can’t afford to not get those votes back in the Democratic Party. … Those fault lines have cost the Democrats, I think, seven of the last 10 presidential races," he says.
"If they open up and stay unhealed, then there’s no question that he ultimately loses," Panetta adds." Mara Liasson
If you think that smoldering resentment towards the trashing of the United States by the Bush Administration will necessarily elect Barack Obama to be president, then I think you are wrong. His appeal is more limited than his urban, liberal, coastal, and black admirers are willing to admit to themselves. The country remains very nearly evenly divided in basic sentiment no matter how much the Bush Administration and things like the "K Street Project" have angered many citizens.
Control of Congress is a different matter. "Throw the bastards out" is likely to be the thought of the day on 4 November. An even more strongly Democratic Congress is probable.
The presidency is another matter. Many Americans have been propagandized into seeing the president as a temporary king, the CEO of America, the father, the Commander in Chief. This last in spite of the fact that the president is CinC of the armed forces, not the United States.
As a result, many people think they are electing a semi-divine being to rule them from the Olympian setting provided by the White House, Air Force One, the Secret Service, etc. People going to meetings with POTUS (What an ugly term!) are told not to speak unless spoken to. The John Adams view of the image of the presidency has at long last prevailed. Will "court" uniforms come next? The presidency is thought by many to be effectively all-powerful. It is said the new president will change this, or that, or perhaps that. The idea that the presidency is limited in its power has become an unfamiliar concept.
As a result, the fear of electing the "other" is stronger than ever. This is a fear of consenting to rule by an alien being. Obama is a bit exotic, a creature of the intelligentsia, someone who does not seem inclined towards plebeian ways. He has a strange name. He has strange associations. His rhetoric is, if anything, too good, too skilled. And then, there is the undeniable blackness of the man.
Thomas Jefferson was a man for the people, not a man of the people. So was Franklin Roosevelt. Perhaps Obama would be the same.
Unless he manages to communicate that as a probability, I would rate his prospects as no more than 50%. He should choose a Vice-Presidential candidate carefully. That person will have to "translate" Obama to the men and women in whose hands his fate will rest. pl