I have said it before and I will say it again: Barack Obama's closest political forebear is Richard Nixon. In the 1950, Richard Nixon a Senate race against Helen Gahagan Douglas that presaged many of the tactics Senator Obama uses to achieve his ambitions.
Nixon was the political darling of his Party especially, identified as a rising star by older Party members who wanted a "tall, dark - and yes - handsome" young person to be at the vanguard of post-New Deal conservatism. (See Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image, by David Greenberg at pp. 28 - 30.) In 1950, he broke into the U.S. Senate by defeating Gahagan Douglas, a prominent woman in New Deal political circles prior to her successful runs for Congress (member of the national advisory committee of the Works Progress Administration and of the State committee of the National Youth Administration in 1939 and 1940; member of the board of governors of the California Housing and Planning Association in 1942 and 1943; appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a member of the Voluntary Participation Committee, Office of Civilian Defense; appointed by President Harry S. Truman as alternate United States Delegate to the United Nations Assembly)
In 1950, Gahagan Douglas was a successful Congressional officeholder (elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-ninth, Eightieth, and Eighty-first Congresses (January 3, 1945-January 3, 1951)) when she decided to run against Richard Nixon in the 1950 California Senate Race. Via sexist smear tactics and McCarthy-style innuendo, Richard Nixon won the race. Richard Nixon achieved his Party's immediate objective, winning a Senate seat for a conservative cold warrior. Nixon went on to bring the country one of the most corrupt Presidential administrations of the twentieth century and a full-blown Constitutional crisis. Whatever his accomplishments (and Richard Nixon did accomplish some positive things: opened diplomatic relations with China; he expanded Medicare and Social Security programs for senior citizens), Richard Nixon began and ended his political life as the thug that he was. That thuggery paralyzed the country during the Watergate era and tested to the limits this country's commitment to the rule of law.
Helen Gahagan Douglas was the first to call him Tricky Dick.