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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Anxiety of Hope

posted by on December 11 at 12:49 PM


The Stranger sent Eli Sanders to Iowa on Friday to see the first event in the Barack Obama/Oprah Winfrey tour. Hours before Obama’s event tonight at Showbox Sodo, Sanders’s full report on Obama’s rise in Iowa and beyond is up on our website.

Representative paragraph:

Presidential campaigns are about the issues of the day, certainly, and these days there is no shortage of issues for the candidates to debate, chief among them the war in Iraq and its consequences. But for better or for worse, presidential campaigns are also, to a very large extent, about the stage presence and personal narrative of a given candidate—about the emotional bond these attributes create, or fail to create, with voters. Oprah knows she’s here not for a policy conference, but to up the wattage on Obama’s already electrifying stage presence, and to offer her voice—thick, dexterous, able to swing through more emotions in a minute than any political charmer I’ve ever seen—in the service of explaining Obama’s personal narrative as political destiny. Oprah is here to connect—and over two days she will connect Obama to voters in a bigger, more public way than has occurred for any other candidate this year: More than 29,000 people will attend the two Oprah-Obama events in Iowa; more than 8,500 will turn out in New Hampshire; and the next day in South Carolina, more than 29,000 people will show up at a football stadium to hear the two of them speak. At the event in Des Moines, standing in the center of the cheering crowd, I thought to myself: This doesn’t feel like presidential politics. It feels like a movement.

Later in the piece:

Being on the presidential campaign trail, even for just 32 hours as I was, is a bit like living in a fever dream. You’re landing, small plane shaking, passing over a snowy field in which someone’s done a few doughnuts, and you wonder if the circles, Os within Os, are some gift of an Oprah-Obama metaphor.

It’s a fantastic essay. The whole thing’s here.

RSS icon Comments


It will be neat to see him on Wednesday.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 11, 2007 1:07 PM

Obama is the One! He is Neo! How could I not have seen this before?

Posted by The Oracle | December 11, 2007 1:14 PM

does he have and R after his name?

then he's fine by me.

Posted by backwoods stupid | December 11, 2007 1:54 PM

does he have and D after his name?

then he's fine by me.

Posted by urban stupid | December 11, 2007 2:00 PM

this has all the makings of fine college journalism.

Posted by frederick r | December 11, 2007 2:08 PM

who did that cool caricature?

Posted by diana | December 11, 2007 2:47 PM


Posted by Lake | December 11, 2007 3:00 PM

I taste VOMIT at the back of my throat... Oh, here it comes!!!

Posted by Madge-YoursoakingINIT! | December 11, 2007 4:45 PM

Bareback Osama is a giant queefing DOUCHE BAG! Just like the marketing army that keeps Oprah in the right fashions, hair, make-up and diet, Obama/Osama is being marketed in a pretty whitified package! An army of writers and image consultants have now taken over... He has no soul- it has been sold to Oprah and her evil power/money hungry minions!

Posted by Madge-YoursoakingINIT! | December 11, 2007 4:55 PM

Did I miss the part where brother Barack kissed and made up to us homos for his the Donnie McClurkin preacher debacle of a few weeks back?

Memo to you, Barack. I'm still waiting for a real sincere kind of "I'm sorry."

Posted by TLjr | December 11, 2007 6:23 PM

Great essay, Eli. You made me feel as if I was there, both in the Hy-Vee arena, and out on I-80.



Posted by Steve | December 11, 2007 10:08 PM

It looks like they superimposed Bush's trademarked squint on to Barack's inspiring gaze

Posted by Chris in Tampa | December 12, 2007 12:16 AM

great article eli!

Posted by ann | December 12, 2007 12:24 PM

That picture is weird. I know it's a charicature and he's got big ears, but he's not Ross Perot, and he does not have a wandering eye. Jeez. You have to accentuate the defining characteristics - long face, wide mouth - when you do a charicature.

Posted by Phoebe | December 13, 2007 5:24 PM

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