So black people and indeed minorities the world over now have a new role model that inspires us to achieve the seemingly impossible.
I know there are many wannabe baracks out there so I have decided to compile a a list of steps to follow if you want to be the next political superstar.
You dont need to thank me for this and it’s completely free!….if you do manage to win an election using these steps, just gimme a shout out at your inauguration ya?
Pay Attention to History
Those who do not pay attention to history will always always repeat the mistakes of the past. Guaranteed.
When Barack began his campaign last year, he always began his event with something like the following
‘I am here because of what Dr Martin Luther King called the fierce urgency of now…’
You have to understand history because it has a way of repeating itself.
In 1992 or 2000 Barack may not have won the election but a combination of factors made 2008 the right year for such an audacious bid.
For example; It’s always very difficult for Senators to win elections in America due to the way the public views congress.
The last time a Senator won the Presidency was when JFK won in 1960.
However, uniquely in 2008, the 3 main candidates were all Senators [Obama, Clinton, McCain]!
What might have happened if the Republicans had chosen someone like Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney as their candidate?
Who knows? But the inexperience card would have been played harder against Barack for sure.
This for me is the most admirable quality about President-Elect Obama….the fact that he seems to study history very seriously and seems determined to avoid the mistakes of the past.
In Nigeria, the speaker of the house of reps, Hon Dimeji Bankole appears to be guilty of this sin already. Just a year after taking over from his predecessor who went down in a storm of corruption, he too is now at the centre of another corruption mess involving Peugeot 206s and double paying VAT.
Ignore the past.
Make the same mistakes.
Hire Experts with a Proven Track Record
You have to seek out people with a proven track record of achieving the kind of vision you have.
When Barack needed a campaign strategist, he hired David Axelrod.
David Axelrod is a political consultant who’s an expert at selling black candidates to white electorates.
He masterminded the election of Deval Patrick, the good looking and Harvard educated current black governor of Massachussets who campaigned on a theme of hope and change to get elected [sound familiar?]
David Axelrod knows the business and throughout the campaign even when things werent going so good, the message stayed the same and the plan didnt change in response to the ‘latest’ event.
There’s no doubt that Michelle Obama has a formidable intellect. I have watched her in a couple of serious interviews and she always hiolds her own.
If you are going to run for high office, your wife automatically becomes fair game for the press and you can bet some sly journalist will be trying to trap her with some trick question or the other.
You need a wife who’s comfortable in public on her own and has enough intelligence to stay on message…always.
If you are a guy thinking of running for office and you are married; this is not an excuse to chase your wife away!
A woman can be totally transformed with a little encouragement……so give her all the encouragement you can.
Go to School….Good Schools
A quality education is worth whatever price you pay for it.
Barack took out student loans to go to Columbia and Harvard and he only managed to pay off the loans when his books became best sellers.
A prestigious degree will catapult you into a select league and is in itself a ‘qualification’.
It doesnt matter if you dont learn anything there [Bush went to Yale and Harvard], just go.
Save, borrow, beg or steal to raise the money….but go.
Be A Good Husband and Daddy
Did you see the way his daughters lit up when he came on screen after Michelle’s speech at the Democratic National Convention?
I dont care what anyone says but those girls love their daddy.
How many votes was this worth? I honestly cant tell you but when you are running as a minority candidate, you have to look as normal as possible to the majority so they can trust you.
Dont neglect your family for the sake of your political career, somewhere along the line it will come back to haunt you.
Again this is like the first step. You gotta read a lot of books on as wide a variety of topics as possible.
You dont need to be an expert on everything but you must know enough not to look like a fool in case you are asked off the cuff.
The respected Conservative columnist David Brooks met Barack on the floor of the US Senate one day and out of the blue asked him what he thought about Reinhold Niebuhr.
And he recieved an assured answer that was really impressive. David Brooks never openly admitted it but he was won over that day.
Journalists and writers are generally intellectuals or they like to think they are so they are bound to be impressed by someone who’s in some ways similar to them.
To win an election you will always need the press on your side.
There’s no point staying too long in a position that has no relevance to your long term goal.
Barack was elected to the US Senate in 2004 and he started campaigning for President by 2006 effectively.
For the purpose of the US Presidency a career in the senate is a bloody waste of time.
The reason why senators dont get elected often is because after a few years in the senate you are bound to have voted for some bills or laws that will turn to be unpopular and come back to haunt you.
You then have to spend precious time defending and explaining why you voted for a particular bill.
John Kerry was effectively destroyed in 2004 when the Bush campaign played a clip of him saying ‘I actually voted for it before I voted against it’.
He was labelled a flip flopper after that and it stuck.
Tom Daschle told Barack in his first year in the US Senate to go ahead and run for President because there was no guarantee the opportunity will present itself again.
Imagine he didnt heed the advice…….
Stick to your Plan
If you have got a plan, stick to it.
If it’s a good plan it will bear fruit.
One characteristic about Barack’s main opponents was they were constantly changing tactics when something didnt work as they planned it.
Hilary suddenly became a gun advocate and beer drinker when she got to Ohio and McCain was changing tactics every day depending on the weather or whatever.
Barack by contrast was always the definition of cool….never ruffled, never angry.
If you dont believe in your own plan, why in the world are you running for President??
Encourage Debate and Cream off The best Ideas
You gotta have enough confidence in your own intellect to not be afraid of an open debate around you.
When Barack was a law professor at the University of Chicago, his students noted that he was fond of asking questions in class intended to provoke serious and sometimes heated debates.
He would then sit back and watch while the students would argue over all the details, only occassionally asking questions to stoke the fire again.
Why didnt he just impress his opinions on them?
Because he was smart enough to know that no matter how good a piece of legislation looks on paper, it will always have unintended consequences [lawyers am I lying?].
So the only way to form a good opinion is by listening to all the possible arguments for and against.
This leads me to my last point [for now]
Curb Your Enthusiasm
On your way to the Presidency, dont be too strong in your support or rejection of anything.
Elections are always in the center…..no use being too far left or too far right.
You have to come across as a moderate person always.
Even if you disagree with a particular policy dont be too vehement about it. Wait until you win and you have the power to implement your ideas then you can lead in whatever direction you see fit.
The only thing that Barack was openly and strongly against was the Iraq war and he built his career on it.
That was a gamble because if the war had been a success he wont be President-elect today.
I guess after all this you also need luck….loads of it.
Finally; you are either smart or you are not.
Barack is very very smart and intelligent.
If you are not smart, I hate to burst your bubble but you aint gonna be President.
If you follow the above I am certain you can become President too but if you fail, I accept no responsibilty.