Column: Obama's Global Appeal Trumps Smear Tactics

This story was written by Etse Sikanku, Iowa State Daily

There's a very good argument that Barack Obama is well on his way to clinching the Democratic nomination. Now, I'm no mathematician, but supposing the Florida and Michigan votes are disregarded and nothing dramatic happens to sway superdelegates away from Obama, this may very well become reality. Should it materialize, the man who lost his first contest for a seat in the Illinois legislature may be turning history on its head.

There are many reasons why Obama's success is iconic. He will become the Democrats' first black nominee and potentially the nation's first black president. But even before his meteoric political ascent, Obama achieved other significant feats. During his law school days at Harvard, he became the first ever black president of the Harvard Law Review. When the people of Illinois sent him to Washington in 2004, he became only the third black person since reconstruction to be elected to the Senate. Along with the media frenzy that has been associated with his run for the White House and his unusual personal story, Obama has come upon criticism from several quarters, both home and abroad.

Only a day after he announced his candidacy, Australian Prime Minister John Howard aimed straight for him when he signaled that a victory for Obama will mean victory for Osama. Howard said: "If I was running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats." Obama dismissed Howard's criticism as empty rhetoric, calling it 'flattery,' before going on to say "If he's gunned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them up to Iraq."

During the early part of his campaign-well before the brouhaha over Wright-gate-it was common to find right-wing bloggers over-reaching themselves to paint Obama as a Muslim.

Others, such as Geraldine Ferraro, believe that Obama is only succeeding because of his race.

Both Clinton and McCain have often said Obama's campaign is being run on "empty promises" or "empty rhetoric" Every single fight between Obama and Clinton has been about who can best serve the needs of the American people and unify them.

But no one need doubt Obama's abilities. There is no denying the fact that America has gone through some of its hardest years under the current president. Of all the candidates in the race, I sincerely believe that Barack Obama is the one who can rectify the destructive abyss that this country has been plunged into. For instance, he opposed NAFTA, which he has always maintained was "oversold" right from the beginning. Looking at his campaign policies, his support for fair trade, his experience as a community organizer and his personal background, Barack Obama stands out as the best choice for America at this time.

Overall, he has a genuine concern for the hardworking people of this country, which will inform his policies and actions as president. Internationally, he's more favorably viewed than any of the candidates, with a city in Japan supporting his candidacy and songs being composed in other parts of the world, such as Ghana and Kenya, in his honor. Such cordiality will help restore America's reputation, which has been patently battered on the international scene. Some Americans complain they don't know much about him, but his freshness and distance from Washington will make him a great agent of change.

By any measure, Clinton and McCain are clearly outstanding alternatives for president, but what America does not have is time. This country is in the midst of one of its worst economic, foreign policy, and constitutional crises. America cannot afford to wait.

I don't, for a moment, tink that Barack Obama is a prophetic messiah, but this much I know: he's the best suited to the lead the nation at such a time.