Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Barack's big night
Last night, Barack Obama went "over the top," securing the support of more than 2,118 delegates to become the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic party. In doing so, he has overcome obstacles that many have said were insurmountable.
For one thing, he overcame the vaunted Clinton political machine that has been running the Democratic party for the last 16 years. You know this gang; if not by name, at least by association with the triangulation policies of the (Bill) Clinton administration: Terry McAuliffe, Lanny Davis, Harold Ickes, Rahm Emmanuel, et alia. This is the old gang that arose to wrest political control from George Bush the Elder, largely by co-opting slightly more palatable versions of his policies. This gang was well entrenched, with massive funds and formidable corporate and political connections. In spite of their failures in the 2000 and 2004 national elections, they still clung to the levers of power within the Democratic party. To defeat them, as the Obama campaign has now done, is no small feat.
Secondly, and most importantly, Obama has overcome the ugly, invisible barrier of racial bigotry. He is a black man and he is the Democrats nominee for President of the United States...let that thought sink in.
As recently as four years ago, I would never have believed a development like this was possible. His victory is resounding, positive reassurance to the world that this country is not the backwards, redneck hotbed of violence and hatred that it has seemed for the last seven and a half years. Granted, in Appalachia, ignorance and racial fears are still prevalent, but...well, you know what Dick Cheney has to say about Appalachia, don't you?
John McCain came on to deliver a befuddled and befuddling speech last night, as election returns came in. He spoke to a very small crowd (I estimate it was less than a thousand people) in Kenner, Louisiana. Apparently aware that he is perceived as being angry, he did his best to smile during the speech, appearing more like a grinning death's head than as a human being. The anemic response his somnambulent audience gave his whiny pronunciations only pointed up the trouble he is facing.
Especially when you compare McCain's pity party to the rousing, fired up event that Obama gave in St. Paul, Minnesota, before some 18,000 people. And the speech itself was mesmerizing. The man can cast a spell. But judge for yourself...
This is our moment.