Inside the Obama machine

Mike Dorning and Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau, write a fascinating account of the inside workings of the Barack Obama political machine since the Senator took office. This is first rate journalism, honest and unbiased as can be. Obama with no blinkers on.

A picture emerges of Barack Obama as an intelligent and strategic aspirant for the presidency, in it for the long haul, not wanting lightning to strike too soon.

Dorning and Parsons begin with an account of a strategy meeting held in February 2005, with Obama staff and advisors. Frankly recognizing that his resume is too thin, Obama worked out the steps to assemble the career building blocks that would make him a contender for the nomination in 2012 or 2016. The plan called for a methodical rise building needed credibility at each step. This meant avoiding the limelight at first..

And Obama started off following the strategy, turning down media opportunities and laboring in the political vineyard, raising money for others. He deferred to older and wiser senators and set to work serving his constutents in workmanlike fashion.

But then, as we all know, he "succumbed to the buzz enveloping his political persona and decided to run for the presidency".

It seems that Obama shifted strategic gears last Fall, when the success of his book and the enthusiastic crowds he drew on the book tour apparently persuaded him that he was more than an interesting freshman senator. He began receiving lots of advice from old and new friends that he needed to run for president now. The burgeoning anti-war wing of the party needed a pure leader, unsullied by a vote for war.

So a new strategy was put in place. Dorning and Parsons write:
In his second year, Obama began to make use of the bully pulpit that had been at his disposal all along.

He dotted his 2006 calendar with a few high-profile speeches, including one on energy policy and a well-received address on the role of faith in politics. In addition, he used his second book, "The Audacity of Hope," as a broader platform for national policy ideas.

In keeping with the original game plan, staff members spent nights and weekends scouring the chapters as they rolled in, looking for potential political pitfalls -- a vetting committee Obama didn't have when he published his earlier, more provocative memoir.

For instance, when Obama was seeking to name someone as the epitome of left-leaning politics, an aide urged him to use a House member instead of a Senate colleague. So the book names now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), though Obama's voting record is similar to hers.
There is much, much more of great value in this long article. I have only skimmed the surface. If you want to know more about Senator Obama, this is must-reading.
hat tip: Ed Lasky