Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shillary - Still Not Gracious After All These Years...

The Clintons just don't get it - we, and in that collective pronoun I am referring to progressives, liberals, democrats (both yellow and blue dog), independents and a smattering of not-too-closed-minded republicans, are sick and tired of the politics that divide us. We want a uniter and we like what we see in Senator Barack Obama. I have always admired Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg who this morning endorsed Senator Obama in the NYTimes writing that "I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans." She is, of course, referring to the man of the hour, Barack Obama.

Those of you who have been following my take on the political scene will recall that my initial objection to Senator Hillary Clinton centered around her "electability." As a resident of oh-so-red Oklahoma and a frequent visitor to even redder Indiana, I have seen first hand the kind of wrath that the right-wing reserves for the Clintons, and my fear has always been that the only true danger that lay before the Democrats in November is the prospect of a mobilized right-wing base. And I have maintained all along that no candidate can mobilize that base like Hillary Clinton, but last night after a week of questionable campaign tactics - many of them demonstrated by Senator Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, I found yet another reason to support Hillary's opponents. Senator Clinton's utter lack of graciousness and her obtuse denial of the voice of the voters in South Carolina turned me off in a way that I will not soon forget. The fact that she had her husband deliver her not-really-a-concession speech, and then she gave less than a second or two to her incredible drubbing in her own speech that was delivered not from South Carolina, but rather Nashville, Tennessee, was to my eyes and ears not just a shocking lack of courtesy, but also a demonstration of poor sportspersonship that left a bitter and ugly taste in my mouth. In short, the more I see of the Clinton team on the campaign trail the less I am inclined to support them, EVEN IF THEY DO MANAGE to GET the NOMINATION. I know, I know, that kind of attitude could leave the country in the hands of a president McCain, and I vowed early on that I would work my butt off for whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be, but I'm just saying, I may not work with such enthusiasm if the nominee turns out to be Hillary Clinton. The more I see of her and her husband during this race, the less I see them as agents of change, rather they are looking more and more like the same old, same old, politics as usual, of which I believe a majority of the country is sick and tired.

In stark contrast to Senator Clinton's snarky little Nashville speech, was Senator Obama's magnanimous speech that once again reminded me of the grand oratory that has been so sorely lacking in an American leader for the last eight years. In his speech, he spoke to the people's hunger for unity and true vision and leadership that we have gone without during the Bush/Cheney years. He spoke eloquently of an America and a wider world community of which I am once again eager to be a part (rather than a world in which travellers abroad are inclined to tell locals that they are Canadian, rather than American, in order to ensure a more positive reception).

I have officially joined the Barack Obama camp, although I still have great admiration for John Edwards, and I truly appreciate his contribution to the debates that have thus far formed this campaign. His message of "two Americas," his tireless effort to remind the better-offs that there are still those who go to bed hungry and under bridges in this great nation, his unflinching stand with unions and working people, and his ongoing reminder that the middle class is dying in this country and the enormously tragic consequences that that demise will have on our land as a whole, are all important and vital issues that the Democrats neglect at their peril. I would love to see an Obama/Edwards ticket, but I fear that Mr. Edwards having already accepted the running mate position in an unsuccessful campaign is unlikely to go down that road again.

See Frank Rich's column in today's NYTimes: The Billary Road to Republican Victory

Here's a link to coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama: Obama Ready on 'Day One,' Kennedy Says (Washington Post, January 28, 2008)

Toni Morrison Endorses Obama for President

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