Obama Elected First Black President!

18 05 2008

Snook already blogged our politicians writing books about themselves, as power of story about power of story. Here and here for example.
Today’s New York Times adds even more power of story to Obama’s power of story-telling:

Mr. Obama’s story first surfaced publicly in February 1990, when he was elected as the first black president — of The Harvard Law Review.

. . .Written at a time when Mr. Obama says he was thinking less about a career in politics than about simply writing a good book, it leaves an impression of candidness and authenticity that gives it much of its power. . .“The book is so literary,” said Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who teaches autobiography . . .“It is so full of clever tricks — inventions for literary effect — that I was taken aback, even astonished. But make no mistake, these are simply the tricks that art trades in, and out of these tricks is supposed to come our realization of truth.”

More here about Harvard Democrats like Obama and religion as power of story:

The great strength of the liberal ideal has been its capacity to encompass modern ambiguities by, to borrow Isaiah Berlin’s phrase, shifting foot to foot…. Acknowledging distance between God and humanity is not a denial of values or a cowardice about faith. Hesitation to say, “This is the truth, we have received it from Amos,” is not a failure of nerve; it is hard-won wisdom. This shifting from foot to foot has been the virtue of liberalism, and the left should be wary of abandoning it for conservative-style conviction.

WaPo’s David Broder channeling Shelby Steele last fall, described Obama’s story power as “iconic Negro” a la Sidney Poitier:

. . .a focus group of liberal, middle-aged and elderly , , , female voters, when shown a videotape of Obama speaking in his 2004 Senate campaign. Asked whom Obama reminded them of, the answer was “Sidney Poitier.”

(Yes! I vaguely sensed that Barack Obama reminded me of some appealing classic “teacher” movie role from my own childhood story, now I remember — Poitier and his shy grin peeling an orange for lunch in “To Sir With Love”)

Finally, iconic pictures have such power of story that one really can be worth thousands of words, thus thousands of votes.

Take this one for example, via Liza’s Culture Kitchen: