We Can Hope, posted February 13, 2008 at 06:24 PM
Thank you, friends and family, for your comments on the last couple of entries here. I'd like to offer my thoughts on where the Dem primary stands and give a few links to other material that might be of interest.
Obama didn't just win three more contests on Tuesday--he won them by huge margins, and he erased all the arguments that the Clinton campaign has been using to divide up the electorate into his supporters vs. hers. The Clinton camp has been saying various states Obama's won don't count because they have caucuses instead of primaries or because they have large black populations, or because they're red states, or whatever. Bullshit. ALL the states matter, as is obvious by the fact that the longer Obama's winning streak continues the more disarrayed the Clinton machine appears. They're flailing now, with money woes and staff changes. There's still time for them to stage a comeback, but with every passing day Obama's strength builds. He won Tuesday's races across demographics--including strongholds of Clinton's such as Latinos, women, and working class whites.
Identity politics suggest we should think about whether a black man can be elected in this country, or whether women should be prioritized over blacks in breaking down the White House door, or whether it takes a woman to clean up a man's mess, or whether it takes a Clinton to clean up a Bush's mess. I think every one of these arguments is off the mark. This election--and I mean both this primary and the general election--need to be about changing direction. Everyone, including all but a small minority of Republicans, agrees that the Bush administration has gotten the country off track. The war rolls on, the economy is busted, civil liberties are at an all time low, Big Oil profits are at an all time high and so are gas prices. Even the Republicans are looking for a change of direction. McCain clearly represents "more of the same." He owns this war, he owns the surge, he's flip-flopped on Bush's tax cuts. Clinton represents "getting back on track." She wants to revert to the pro-corporate high-flying days of her husband's administration, with budget surpluses, reasonable foriegn policy, and entrenched power in the establishment. She's a bridge back to the 20th century. Obama represents "moving on." His rhetoric is post-partisan, he wants to appeal to everyone (not just 17 swing states), and he wants to show the American people that progressive values and policies are indeed well within the mainstream views of so much of the electorate.
Take a look at this interesting piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette written by a black reporter about Gov. Rendell's assumption that white Pennsylvanians won't support Obama. It's like Rendell is saying "I dare you to vote for Obama." Not the best election strategy for Clinton I should think. The answer to this is Iowa, Maine, Kansas--lily white states who all went for Obama.
After his Virginia/Maryland/DC win, he gave a speech in Wisconsin that knocked my socks off. It was a general election speech, with McCain squarely in the crosshairs. He's strong on specifics and in inspiration. And he will beat McCain more easily than Clinton will. In fact, all of Clinton's biggest arguments fall apart against McCain. Experience? He's got more. Military expertise? He's got more. Ready on Day One? So is he. Change from GWB? Yup, the media's anointed him a "maverick" (that's a total fabrication, but then the media is one of the biggest problems in American politics). And on two of the issues where the Republicans are WAY out of step with the American people, McCain holds the Democratic view: no torture, and fair immigration reform. Given that 50% of the public already hates Clinton, and given that the media adores Maverick McCain, she actually runs the risk of losing to this bozo. She's got age and smarts on her side, so I think she could pull it off, but it's a risk.
Here's the amazing Wisconsin speech. Take the time to watch it start to finish. It's inspiring:
Obama, on the other hand, isn't arguing about levels of experience or military expertise. He's arguing about the future vs. the past. He's arguing about sound judgment, and whether the president will make the right decisions on Day One. Independents and moderate Dems and moderate Republicans who hate Clinton will consider him. The majority of Republicans who want the war to end will consider him. And poor people--even those who've been tricked in the past by the GOP to vote against their economic interests in favor of regressive social issues like gun control and abortion--will hear Obama's argument about the bad economy being a slave to the costs of this misguided war, and they will like what they hear.
Okay, enough of me. Let's turn to Mom! My mom's written response to the 2004 election fiasco inspired great love from my readers--one of them commented, "Marie Zaza for President in 08!" (Yay! It's not too late to put a truly progressive woman in office!! Write her in!!)
Mom, I hate to turn your own words against you, but what you wrote 3-1/2 years ago is so prophetic that it just has to be read again in the context of the Obama vs. Clinton primary race:
Democrats need to start over and they need a national strategy. The "blue state strategy" doesn't work, and in my opinion never will. Why should any national candidate write off most of the country and expect to win? It just leaves too much to chance. It seems that we are at the same place as in the past, but with new problems to overcome. Hopefully, there will be someone in the near future who will reach national prominence and change the direction of America. We can hope and take care of each other until that happens.
Hope, Mom. We can hope. Yes, we can.