Monday, January 14, 2008

Political Blogger Says 'Barack Obama is like a 2nd generation Fil Am'

Excerpts from interview with political blogger Dean Jorge Bocobo
Mornings@ANC, January 7, 2008
Host: Ricky Carandang

Ricky: Iowa is a small state. But it is all that significant?

Dean: Iowa is important for people who aren't very well known... no track record. Iowa can be an introduction to the nation, and I think that Barack Obama has certainly done that.

Ricky: Donors begin opening their pockets more aggressively.

Dean: That's right, since Iowa, both Obama and [John] Edwards have made significant gains in their contribution.

Ricky: New Hampshire is a smaller state...

Dean: It's a little bit like Batanes islands. But New Hampshire is an important state, because it's the first real primaries. If you win twice in a row, or lose twice in a row. There's momentum down and up.

Ricky: It looks as if Obama is set to win New Hampshire. Clinton is the establishment candidate. She can bounce back?

Dean: She certainly can, and she shows a lot of strength. But what happened in Iowa, the decision axis there is between the new and old, rather than blue and red, or the black and the white. Those were the traditional axis. Bill Clinton may become some kind of a problem.

Ricky: Out of nowhere comes Mike Huckabee....

Dean: The common thing between him and Barack, they are both crossover candidates. He's called an ironic evangelist. He's not your fire and brimstone. His position on evolution is controversial, but he's a lot more acceptable. The same thing can be said of Barack.

This is the front page of the [Philippine Daily Inquirer] after the caucuses. But I think many people don't realize Barack Obama is not your typical black president, he's not just black, he's black and white. His father was a Kenyan student who met his white mother in Hawaii where he was born. Barack Obama is actually closer to the immigrant tradition of American. He's like a 2nd generation Filipino American. Barack Obama is closer to that type of politician.

I think when Americans listen to him, they don't hear Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. He's a crossover candidate in that sentence. The most important issue is not necessarily race. That makes him a more potent candidate; he's talking about what Americans want to know.

Ricky: He's not a confrontational candidate. He's not making it a race issue.

Dean: Well, the Clinton campaign has accused him of acting white. I think it's very important, we have to be thrilled with something like this. Some Filipino right there now could be the next Barack Obama. We have the talent, we have the kind of people who could be Barack Obama.

Are the Americans ready for a black president? If you take into account the crossover appeal, that he'll give inspiration. He's a formidable candidate.

Every successful president harkens back to his immigrant routes. What that meant to be able to come to America and become president. We in the Philippines need to look at these candidates in terms of what it does for us.

Ricky: Looking at Obama, Huckabee, they are looking at the outside for change. Agree?

Dean: Clinton said today, she's been for change all along. Everyone's for change. It's really whether you win in November. That's the real thing. The races have narrowed where the sentiment is, "you have to beat the other guy."

Each side has to really calibrate now what their position is. That's the reason why Barack needs to move to the right of his party. Hillary has a lock hold on the institutions of the party. Obama has got to pry open the independents. A lot of Americans are independents. They want real change, and a change in the sense that they can see in the end to what the promises are.

Ricky: What about the Republicans? They've had a lock.

Dean: I think the Republicans are going to have a very different time. Their race isn't narrowing. Huckabee is not doing well in New Hampshire. Mc Cain will take New Hampshire. Mitt Romney is too chiseled. I think McCain will go all the way to Super Tuesday, and that he will be the nominee.

I'm going out a limb: McCain and Barack. Hillary is going to make a strong showing. John Edwards has a bright future. He can even become the Vice President. He can become the spare wheel.

Ricky: Does this mean anything to us Filipinos?

Dean: It should serve as an inspiration for our own Philippine Americans there. One day, we will lead that country. They should throw their hats in the ring now.

(Interview from ABS-CBN Interactive)