A lot of things had to happen in order for Barak Obama to become President of the United States.
Obama's campaign was cooly and confidently controlled by the candidate and David Axlerod, but the circumstances surrounding and leading up to it were not. Here's a little list of some of the things that had to happen in order for Obama to stand atop this historic peak.
-1991: The end of the Persian Gulf War.
One year before Obama began teaching Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, George H Bush stopped short of invading Iraq and taking down Hussein. If Bush had actually gone into Iraq it would have likely create a simliar quagmire to the one his son created. This would have changed the entirety of the Clinton administration, and would have opened and closed the political window that Obama had to enter the national political stage on that issue. Also, W would not have had an excuse to re-invade, and indeed would be much less likely to even win a republicna nomination.
-Nov 1999: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
This was the law that repealed the depression-era rules and regulations that did things like prohibiting a bank holding company from consolidating with other financial companies. This basically allowed any finanical institution to merge with any other type of financial institution, and was one of the root causes of the mortgage meltdown. This act is still in effect today. If the meltdown had not occurred, McCain may have caught Obama in the waning days of the election. He had closed the gap in the polls in important swing states based on the "Celebrity" and "Naieve" attacks, but in the end the financial meltodown and McCain's close ties with Gramm were decicive factors in Obama's presidential win.
-Nov 2000: Obama loses his campaign for the House.
If Obama had won this race he would have had a much longer road to public prominence. The political clout of a US Representative is dilluted greatly by the number of representatives in office. His loss in this race set up his successful Senatoral run in 2004.
-Sept 2000: Bush defeats McCain in the Republican primaries.
In the same election cycle where Obama lost his election to become a house representative, John McCain was Bush's only realy competition in the Repblican presidential primaries, - along with Steve Forbes (who was going to have a hard time selling the flat-tax plan to America). If McCain had prevailed, its likely that he would have won the general electoin and that the attacks on 9/11 still would have occured. That said, McCain is less likely to have filled his office with the types of incompetant sycophants that GWB did. He may still have invaded Iraq, but it would not have been under the tutilage of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, and he would have likely sent a larger ground force initially to the conflict. It's really pretty difficult to overstate the degree to wich GWB F'd up that Iraqi conflict, which was a major factor in Obama's win over Hillary in the primaries. Even a wrong-headed war pursued with some degree of comptetence would have left Obama's window that much more closed in '08.
-Dec 2000: Commodity Futures Modernization act of 2000
This is the "Enron Loophole" that deregulated the trading and allowed for the creation of derivative securities and single-stock futures. Bill Clinton signed this legislation in late December of 2000 after GWB had already won the presidency. It is this legislation that allowed Enron to rob little old ladies in California, took down Grey Davis, and set the stage for the economic collapse that occured in Oct 2008, just before the presidential election. The Enron Loophole still exists, and will continue to plague our economy until it is rectified.
No doubt there are countless other examples of things that had to go exactly right in order for Obama to have his historic run both come about and succeed. This list is really meant to highlight the political decisions that people before him had to make in order for this to come about. If any one of these things didn't go the way they did, we'd be looking at someone different coming into the whitehouse right now.