Rick Klau blogged about Howard Dean as a hot political candidate way before anyone else was talking about it. Then, of course, Rick got involved in his candidacy and helped out with some of the web stuff that was at the core of Dean’s success. Now, Rick has turned his attention to helping Barack Obama (Democrat) become Illinois’ next U.S.senator. In addition to helping with fund-raising, Rick is helping Mr. Obama with his weblog.
I think it was Rick who first made me aware of Barack Obama, and I have to say I’m very impressed with what I’ve learned so far. I highly recommend the recent New Yorker article on Barack Obama by William Finnegan: The Candidate – How the son of a Kenyan economist became an Illinois Everyman. Here’s a teaser excerpt:
People in Illinois seem largely unaware of Obama’s long, annealing trip into their midst, although they often remark on his unusual calm. Now forty-two and a state senator, Obama emerged, in March, from a raucous primary as the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate. In a seven-person field, he received a remarkable fifty-three per cent of the vote—he even won the “collar” counties around Chicago, communities that supposedly would never support a black candidate. And everyone recalls that, as the votes were being tallied at his headquarters on Election Night, he seemed to be the least agitated person in the place.
Obama started out as a community organizer, and then he wound up becoming a lawyer. This is the part of his background that I find really interesting:
Obama left organizing to attend Harvard Law School, and in 1990 he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Abner Mikva, a five-term congressman from Illinois who was at that time Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, tried to recruit Obama as a clerk, a position considered a stepping stone to clerking on the Supreme Court, but Obama turned him down. “He could have gone to the most opulent of law firms,” David Axelrod, a longtime friend who is now Obama’s media adviser, said. “After Harvard, Obama could have done anything he wanted.” What he wanted was to practice civil-rights law in Chicago, and he did, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting-rights legislation for a small public-interest firm.
Very interesting guy, and no doubt someone with a bright political future. Too bad he isn’t ready to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. President. Stay tuned…