On July 4th CBC The Passionate Eye presents Dreams of Obama, a PBS Frontline documentary made before Barak Obama became the 44th President of the United States. This program should be an easy sell for the network: everybody is interested in Obama and it’s the 4th of July. It is also a very well made documentary that will interest both political animals and casual observers of American politics.
Dreams of Obama is a bit eerie in that we all know how the story ends: Obama becomes President. It begins with Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, moves on to his entry in the U.S. Senate before going back to the early days of a young man getting involved in very local Chicago politics with a very clear goal in mind. He decides going to Harvard law school is the best way to achieve some of his goals.
The documentary is based on interviews with people who knew Obama back then and excerpts from some of his books. It reveals a tougher, very politically savvy man who is not afraid (or above) playing by the dirty rules of local politics.
Obama did not stay in the U.S Senate long enough to feed an hour long documentary so this is replaced by some minutia about his years in Chicago and his various campaigns. You do get to see hints of some later speeches and the Yes, We Can chant.
The 08 campaign gets very little attention here, giving this documentary a rushed feel. It was after all originally aired on PBS just in time for the inauguration.
Dreams of Obama airs July 4th 2009 on CBC Newsworld The Passionate Eye at 10 P.M.