Did Obama formulate a life plan?

Obama’s history is quite rightly being scrutinised. We’re hearing how he eschewed the immediate money of corporate and trial law. So I’m wondering if he emulated Michael Heseltine?

For those who don’t know, MH was a U.K. politician who sat down one day at university and mapped out his route to Prime Minister. He didn’t quite make it, but he was instrumental in toppling Margaret Thatcher.

BTW I’m really glad people are referring to him as young: it makes me feel young too.

Heseltine was the guy who went in to clean up the mess after the Brixton Riots in the early 80’s right? My brother-in-law was all mixed up in that mess, that’s the only reason I know the name. He’s spoke about Heseltine before.

As to your OP. I believe Obama is a planner an organizer, he’s someone who thinks about something, discovers what he wants and calculates how to get there. A real pensive fellow you could say. That’s what he portrays to me at least. You could argue that’s what he does best. Perhaps you could also infer that that’s the very reason he is where he is right now. I’d say a man like that - no matter his experience and personal fortitude - would make a fine president.

I dunno, in some circles I could say: I believe we’re going to find out!

Let’s recall spring of 2004. Obama has the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Senate race. The Republican nomination seems to be wrapped up by Jack Ryan. Then, suddenly, the Chicago Tribune reveals that Ryan tried to bully his wife into having public sex at a strip club. The Ryan campaign collapses. Obama cruises to victory without even having to try.

Because of this he can instead devote all his time and money to making a name for himself on the national stage, and that’s why he’s now closing in on the Presidential nomination.

But if Obama had Ryan’s downfall mapped out decades in advance, I’d be impressed, to say the least.

No way he could have predicted what happened in Illinois to get him into the Senate in the first place. I think Obama’s the beneficiary of some great fortune, mixed with some on-the-spot planning. It helps that almost everything he’s written in the past 10 years is about as true today as it was then, though. People can look over his stances and writing for his whole political career and not find much to contradict the same positions he’s taking now, and that’s partly because he’s still quite young in political terms.

I’m not sure what the debate is here. I suppose that you are asking, did Obama forgo a more immediately lucrative law career with the purpose of getting some appealing down home street time credibility in his future political aspirations? He was a bright star right out of the collegiate gate, and could have certainly had his pick of positions.

If it was a politically motivated calculation, I think Obama did it for all the right reasons, not for “show”. He put in his time and talent for what he saw as what to work toward, from the ground up, as a step to getting higher office to continue the same goals. He’s worked hard to get to this point, without a ready made position that many fortunate sons find easily. If it was a plan, it’s been pretty effective.

Purely an opinion with no basis on fact. I felt that John Kerry probably mapped out his career a very long time ago. Thats just how it seemed to me. I don’t get the same vibe from Obama. I think things changed for him after he won the Senate and then did the keynote speech. After all when he was in college how likely did it seem that a black man with a name like Barrack Obama would be a leading presidential candidate.

If I was the first Black editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review and I wanted to become President some day, I could probably think of about a dozen more convetional paths to the Presidency than he chose.

He spent 5 years as a community organizer before going to law school.

After law school he continued his community activities, he was a civil rights lawyer for another 5 years after he graduated.

Then he spent 8 years as a law school professor (at University of Chicago) and state senator of Illinois.

This is hardly the fast track to the Presidency.

I suspect he hadn’t seriously thought about the Presidency until he got the reaction to his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

I really doubt this was planned.
To be honest, I don’t think even he seriously thought he would get this far.
From the expression on his face as his crowds have become larger and larger, I think even he is amazed at how things have turned out.
It might already seem ages ago, but it was only a few months back that many just assumed Hillary was destined to become the next President of the United States.

Regardless of how this all turns out, I can guarantee you one thing:
There will be countless books written about this period of American politics.
Nobody, not even Obama, could possibly have foreseen this happening.

Perhaps that is the key to his success:
He is just as amazed at what is happening as the people who support him.

His path certainly was less planned than Hillary’s. I think if she ever would admit to it, we’d find out she was thinking about her own presidency before Bill started his. Her vote to authorize the Iraq war was calculated to make her appear tough enough to be commander in chief for her own White House run. At least any early moves that Obama may have done didn’t result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

How did he manage to get to give that speech?

An August 2007 Washington Post article, A Series of Fortunate Events describes it as follows:

On Tuesday they wanted a keynote speaker in the tradition of the great keynoters of the past: Barbara Jordan, Mario Cuomo, Ann Richards, “people who inspired hope,” as Donna Brazile puts it, “and not only inspired hope, but laid a framework for the party.”

There were a number of criteria as planners began proposing candidates. Youth was desirable, and freshness, and diversity. “We were trying to think creatively of the next generation of leaders,” says one campaign official. They came up with a list of Democratic governors that included Mark Warner of Virginia, Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Tom Vilsack of Iowa: solid choices, but a list that, as the official put it, “didn’t get us where we wanted to go.” Jennifer Granholm, the photogenic new governor of Michigan, was also on the list. And Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill, who had read some of the coverage following Obama’s primary victory, proposed Obama.

It was an appealing idea. Obama was known to be a speaker who could get a crowd going. He was a Midwesterner from a major industrial state, providing a demographic complement to Southerner Edwards and Northerner Kerry. But these things were also true of Granholm.

. . . .

According to an official involved, the decision came down to the fact that Obama, unlike Granholm, was still trying to win an election. Just a few weeks before the convention, it would emerge that Obama’s opponent, Jack Ryan, had tried to talk his wife at the time into performing public acts at a sex club. Ryan would eventually withdraw, and there was talk that some marquee Republican, possibly former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, would enter the race. The balance in the Senate was 51-48 in favor of Republicans. “We needed his Senate seat,” says the official. So Obama it was.

Thank heaven it worked out that way. My governor, Granholm, is a very poor public speaker and exudes no charisma.

Maybe this is a spot to ask this. When they say he was a community organizer, what exactly does that even mean? I’ve tried to look it up in various ways but nothing explains what it was he did.

You’re not the first person to ask. . .

It sounds like it’s basically getting people together to get the governments attention on what they want. Not at all a bad thing.

As with all candidates I agree with some of Obama’s positions and disagree with others.

Charisma comes and goes, If that were a deciding factor I would have liked Bill Clinton more than I did.

It is the above statement, wittnessed in a down right air of humility, that sways me to the Obama camp.

And, it is this humility that makes me believe that his preceeding career choices were genuine instead of part of a planned path to success.

Unless you count the “Lift one man up - lift every one up” philosophy of success as a predestined “plan”. As optimistic as it seems, it’s not terribly reliable. If this was the original plan then Obama took one of the hardest routes I can imagine.

That description of community organizer sounds like a helluva good grounding for anyone who wants to be President.

My description may or may not be even remotely correct. Was just a quick and dirty interpretation of the comments quoted by Shayna. But you’re right, if that was a decent description then it does sound like a good background for any politician.

Sounds like lobbying to me.

(I’m an Obama supporter, but I don’t think lobbysists, per se, are evil.)

It kinda depends on who you are lobbying for.