Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why Obama Won: Notes on What Now

Contrary to the media pundits’ views, Obama did not win the election of president of the United States because he’s Black. He didn’t win because this is a ‘Democratic Year.’ Obama did not win because McCain made a poor choice in his vice-presidential candidate. Obama also did not win because of his rhetoric of hope and change.

Obama won because, as President Clinton has said, he had the better ideas.

Now it’s time to put those ideas to work.

With Democratic gains in Congress, Obama can theoretically make some headway on many of his strong proposals. But, do not expect his presidency to function in a fundamentally different way from previous presidents. From a management perspective, much will be the same (i.e. slow Washington progress at addressing real problems).

In other words, I wouldn’t expect much substantive in his first year, though a focus on the economy and healthcare are likely to be key issues he champions.

Now that we’ve voted, it’s time to listen and offer suggestions. We must listen to Obama’s ideas and how he plans to make them reality. We must offer suggestions candidly – don’t be afraid to write an Obama White House staff member, or Congress member to offer input.

We can begin by going to and writing a letter for potential inclusion in a serious book project edited by notable political scientists coming out in April 2009.

With Afro Sheen in the West Wing, African Americans, particularly, have good reason to be proud. I can only hope we channel that pride into constructive energy to bring about substantive change we need.

Many have worked hard for this victory – now the real work begins.

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