The big question of Barack Obama’s campaign has always been whether his high-flying rhetoric could ever produce real results. Sure, he could create crowds visible from space, but during the summer—when his polls flattened and his backers got nervous—political elites wondered whether he had peaked. He was the girl you dated, not the girl you married, plenty of political analysts told me.
Not any more. In the campaign’s first test, Obama has beaten two tough opponents by a healthy margin. For a candidate promising to create a movement—an “army for change,” as he calls it—a victory like this not only helps his political prospects in the upcoming primaries. It substantiates a key element of the theory of his candidacy, that he can mobilize people behind a movement. [complete article]