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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Obama, un démocrate en difficulté

by Jacques Coubard

Obama: A Beleaguered Democrat

Translated Tuesday 21 August 2007, by John O’Neil

United States. The African American candidate’s positions are dashing the hopes of organized labor and anti-war proponents. Hillary Clinton is readily overtaking him according to recent polls.

Has Barack Obama already lost his race to become the Democrats’ candidate following the Presidential primary election in September 2008?
This campaign, which started a year in advance, just suffered a setback which is likely to be crippling.

Obama’s proposition about intervening militarily in Pakistan has caused a controversy which may well damage his campaign. He said it would be a possibility if President Pervez Musharraf were unable to control the Taliban in his country "who attack and kill US soldiers" in Afghanistan from Pakistan’s border regions.

Barack Obama’s step toward a most fanatical White House strategy in proposing to bombard the border tribes and to send two additional brigades in Kabul amounts to losing much of the support that he had gained up to now among Democratic voters. He had gained this support by setting himself apart from his close rival Hillary Clinton who voted for the war in Iraq while he had opposed it. In fact, she has always refused to disavow her approval.

The polls, taken after Barack Obama’s statements and his response to the challenges made by the six other democratic candidates, put him far behind Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton, who invokes her past experiences at the White House, immediately reacted by describing her opponent as "naive and frankly irresponsible." She has benefited from rejecting the comparison which Obama makes between her proposals and the Bush-Cheney policy by recalling that she has been for a progressive withdrawal of US troops.
She has also given priority to a more energetic diplomacy to find a solution to the problems with Iran, Syria and North Korea whose projects remain obscure. This is a common characteristic for these two media champions.

They each present themselves as the best defender of national security yielding to an opinion that remains under the influence of Bush’s politics of fear.

But Senator Obama is also showing weaknesses in the Democrats’ traditional constituencies: the working class and the Blacks. The two groups are the most reluctant to give him their support in the polls. The former, for his lack of will to putting an end to the gift of tax cuts for the rich and boosting purchasing power, knowing that a Democratic candidate will not make it without the financial and activist support of the unions. The latter because during his career as a senator he has not demonstrated a particular concern for the Blacks who are socially discriminated against. Mr. Trotter, a black leader in Chicago said Obama has often been viewed as “the white man in blackface.”


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