When then Senator Barack Obama was campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination against then Senator Hillary Clinton, one of the more interesting moments was the Clinton ad questioning whether Obama was ready to lead the country, whether he was up to the task when the phone rang at 2 a.m. in the White House.
Later, after he won the nomination for the Democrats, his Republican opponent, John McCain, questioned Obama’s experience. He said that, unlike Obama, he knew the world leaders and that he would be able to sit down with them to tackle world issues.
And, McCain, for a time back in September, seemed to have convinced a majority of Americans that he was better suited to the job. He was actually leading in the polls. He and his shallow running mate, Alaska governor, Sarah Palin.
It wasn’t until the economy began to tank and when McCain “suspended” his campaign saying he was going back to Washington to address the crisis and then we saw him seated at the table looking like a deer caught in the headlights that the tide began to turn in Obama’s favour. Obama looked and sounded like the leader who seemed most capable of taking charge of the crisis.
Since then, we have watched Obama tackle one issue after another with cool confidence in spite of increasing opposition from the Republicans who were asleep at the switch for most of the eight years of the previous administration and who are largely responsible for the destructive era of wasteful spending and greed that has brought the United States almost to its knees.
With all that has happened, especially over the past few months – the sub-prime mortgage fiasco; the home foreclosures; the meltdown on Wall Street; the fall of the Big Three automakers; the increasing unemployment and, overall, the crisis of confidence in the economy worldwide – would have Hillary Clinton or John McCain, as president, be as effective?
During the past week Obama made his first official visit to Europe as President. At the G-20 summit in London, England, he wooed the world leaders with his charm and honesty. Commentators and long-time observers say this is the first time they have seen so much business concluded at a summit and they are giving Obama much of the credit.
In France, later in the week, he was welcomed by America’s NATO allies as well as the people among whom his popularity is even greater than it is at home.
The star, though, is, without doubt, his wife, Michelle. What an amazing asset she is. And just to think it was not too long ago that even her patriotism to America was being questioned.
But, what is this fascination with her wardrobe? She is so much more than a beautiful woman or a fancy dresser. She is a well educated and highly intelligent woman. She is also warm, passionate, caring and so very down to earth.
America has a powerful leadership team in Barack and Michelle Obama and if there were any doubts before, this trip is sure to dispel them.
We are not out of the woods yet. Far from it. But, we are now more confident than we were just a few short months ago. With very good reason.