Each major party candidate impresses in his own way. The presidency is all about leadership and Barack Obama leads by inspiration. John McCain is a command-and-control type as befits a decorated Navy fighter pilot and third generation Annapolis graduate.
Obama has eased himself into our awareness by introducing himself with 2 best selling books, a personal memoir writ in 1995 and a political policy text in 2006. His "big break" came when he was "discovered" by Executive Producer(?) John Kerry as keynote speaker for the 2004 Democratic National Convention. A star was born to rave reviews. It's easy to like Barack. He's a spell-binding orator, co-operative and non-confrontational, genial, deferential, "cool" and telegenic, a lawyer more prone to mediation than litigation, and easy on the eyes, ears and other sensibilities. He caresses the mind. He continues to be the White man's version of what the Black politician should be like. A lot has to do with his mask. Persons of color must somehow devise a mask to negotiate their identity with America's White society. Probably passive-aggressive to begin with, Barack chose the course of lesser resistance. Not to say that he's an actor or poseur. Not at all. He reached within himself and brought forward those pre-existing and genuine personality characteristics that would help him advance. The lengthy primary/caucus and convention season enabled more and more viewers and voters to see him in a presidential context, making it easier to vote for him on November 4.
Compare his national arrival with that of Sarah Palin. Rescued from obscurity in a daring raid by Machine Gun McCain, she initially shocked and awed a lot of people with her tomboy frontier talents and beauty pageant good looks. McCain - - the command-and-control guy - - kept her under tight wraps and carefully managed her public appearances. "Miss Congeniality" soon came under withering criticism for her inexperience, inability to lead, coversational ineptness and other perceived faults. Sister Sarah still struggles to recover.
Obama cast himself in his own drama and set his own stage. Palin was written into someone else's script and pushed onto someone else's stage (Johnny Mac). If Barack had sprung into political awareness as did Sarah, he wouldn't be where he is now.