Is Obama more surprised than anyone he is President-elect?

First off I am very pleased he won.

That said I was reading a New York Times article detailing his run to this point and it got me wondering if, when Obama decided to run, if he really had any thought that he’d actually win. To be sure he has the burning desire to be President as any candidate must. Yet considering he is a first term Senator and a relative unknown (albeit with some celebrity as a politician) and faced with an heiress-apparent with a massive political machine in Clinton I cannot help but think his choice was a strategic one to set the basis for a future run for President.

No doubt he started his campaign and did his level best to be a serious contender. He was playing to win from the get-go. But that makes sense even if he did not expect to win. He wanted to keep his celebrity high, gain power in the Senate as an up-and-coming sort and stay on the public mind’s radar and a serious campaign suits that goal. Then, in 2012 or perhaps 2016, he could make a shot at it and be considered a serious contender right out of the gate.

He is an unlikely story and he is no dummy and must have been aware of that. I am sure he is thrilled but I suspect sometime today he had a private, “Holy shit! I can’t believe I did it!” moment.

Or am I just making stuff up?

I remember the day before Clinton won, when it seemed sure he was going to, and he was asked how it felt to be on the verge of the Presidency. And he hesitated for a second and said, “It’s an overwhelming feeling” and you could tell he meant it. I’m sure Obama has had a few “HFS, what do I do know?” moments.

I’m sure he knew it was a longshot, but he and his people came up with a winning strategy. If he was just out there to be Evan Bayh (don’t I look like I could be a vice president?), I don’t think they would have planned so well.

I thought he said that this would be his only try for the Presidency?

Call me crazy, but when I saw Barack and Michelle on stage at the end, I was thinking, “Hey, baby, there’s gonna be some Presidential action tonight.

Well seems odd to toss your hat in the ring on a long shot that, by all appearances, seemed impossible (mainly overcoming the monster that the Clinton machine was perceived to be). Even so once deciding to try anyway it makes sense to plan well. A joke campaign would likely be more harmful than not running at all.

Compare the work Obama’s people did in figuring out the process in caucus states and such, and compare it to Clinton’s people, who seemed dumbfounded to learn Texas even had a caucus, and were left with nothing to do but complain about it. He could have gone out with a pretty simple strategy of running an upbeat and positive campaign on his biography, and that would have attracted some notice and made him a very likely VP choice. I’m sure he’s had many moments where he’s been surprised he got so far so fast, but I think he entered the campaign planning to win.

That’s certainly a wittier version of my own thoughts, which consisted of, “Dude, he is so getting laid.”

As he’d stated this would be his only run for the White House, I believe he was going all out from the start. If he didn’t think there was a very good chance of winning, he wouldn’t have done it now. He would have waited, until he felt the chances were better. He put together a very good campaign that’ll likely serve as a blueprint for others to follow in the future.

He may have had a few “holy shit, I can’t believe it’s working” moments, but in every word and deed he has expressed a sureness and confidence that he would win. I noticed a few weeks ago that generally when he talked about the presidency he didn’t talk about “if I was president I would”; he said, “as president I will.”

Eh…since when do politicians keep to things like that? Of course he would say that as he does not want anyone to think, “Well, I’ll vote for the guy in the future after he gets a few more years in Congress behind him.” He wants people to think it is now or never if they like him.

Had he failed in his bid this go around I seriously believe he’d manage to talk himself into trying again.

I don’t think he would have talked Michelle into a second bid.

I certainly noticed this in his speech last night. He presented himself on stage last night as someone who wasn’t at all shocked to be there. I don’t want to call it arrogance, but he had a sort of cool confidence that was like “Come on guys, you and I all knew this would happen.” For someone who’s supposedly wet behind the ears and has no experience, he’s already acting like he’s been on the job for years. He’s definitely ready on day one.

I agree he is presidential in demeanor. And I do not mean to suggest he secretly harbors doubts.

Nevertheless candidates always talk as though their election is a foregone conclusion. Par for the course (certainly I can think of times when McCain would say something such as, “When I am president I will…”).

Heh. I thought they’d just come from some.

When he began running and for most of 2007 Obama was probably realistic enough to know that a victory wasn’t the most likely outcome. However after Iowa and certainly after he won a long string of victories in the primaries he must have realized that he had a good chance of going all the way. So he has had a lot of time to adjust to that rather intimidating prospect. Given what we know about his temperament I bet he is quietly confident about his ability to do the job and with good reason IMO.