As the Democratic and Republican Conventions have begun, most Americans are going to get political overload as they are inundated with a media blitz by the U.S. presidential candidates and the inane trivialities of our media-driven political process. Since I don’t watch television, I am somewhat immune to most of what goes on. But, I am still very much interested in how this election turns out.
One reputable source of background material has been the BBC. They have released part one of a two-part audio documentary series timed for the conventions called “The Presidential Contenders,” profiling Barack Obama and John McCain. I listened to part one on Obama and it gives an interesting, unhyped portrayal of Obama in his earlier years, especially during his rise as a State Senator.
About his leadership style, a former poker buddy from his Illinois State Senate days made this telling statement about how he plays poker:
“He was a very conservative card player — a good card player, a good poker player. He did not tip his hand. He did not take chances. What he did was win most of the time – I can tell you that…. He doesn’t take a lot of chances. He feels very confident that when he makes decision, he has the best option and never lost focus on what the objective was.”
The overall picture? Obama is a sometimes straightforward, sometimes wily, sometimes ruthless individual with the confidence/arrogance to overcome setbacks. His desire to win may often determine whether he is straightforward, wily or ruthless, depending on whether things are going his way.
He was NOT always a great orator — more boringly professorial early on — but he has perfected his method. His greatest gifts are his intelligence and his reputation as a listener.
I highly recommend listening to this mp3 recording. It clocks in at just over 20 minutes. Click below to listen. When part two on John McCain is available, I will post it.