Thursday, February 07, 2008

Celebrating the election so far

by shamanic

In case you're wondering why I blog, it's because my friends have interests outside of politics, so I have to vent these thoughts out somewhere. Since you popped by, I figure you've self-selected in to these ramblings, and anyway, you can always scroll down if they don't appeal.

Today I've been thinking about the improbability of Barack Obama having fought the Clinton brand and the Clinton machine to a draw at this point in the election. Remember that as recently as October, I was writing here that Obama was folding his tent and his high mindedness was evidence of an inability to scrap effectively.

He's shown himself to be capable of giving, and more importantly of taking, an elbow here and there. He's also demonstrated the patience of a chess master. Whether these are his qualities or that of the team he's assembled I have no idea, but either way, it speaks volumes about his abilities if he becomes the nominee.

And yes, before I turn to my reflections about the Clinton campaign, I fully own that I am an Obama supporter and that I was proud to cast my ballot for him the other day in Georgia.

On the Clinton side, I have been surprised to find her far more engaging and talented than I would have anticipated prior to the race. Her encyclopedic comprehension of policy is overwhelming, and I have no doubt but that the people of New York are thrilled by her representation in the Senate. She's a brilliant woman who has been far more successful in this race than I expected a year ago, and she's a talented pol who's willing to pull out all the stops to achieve her ends. If you're on her side, this is a great thing. If you're not -- and my hesitation with Clintons is that I'll never really know where they stand until they're standing that way -- you get to face the full brutality of a no holds barred fight unexpectedly.

And then there's us, the electorate. After, what, 18 months of announcements and expectations and polling and a clear desire on the part of everyone to get past this horrible Bush administration already, we've finally been able to speak in contest after contest, region after region, state after state, until nearly half of us have had our say now. And we've rejected media assaults on displays of humanity in New Hampshire, rejected a vigorous insertion of racial narratives into the campaign in South Carolina, and seen an African American candidate win Alabama and Georgia's Democratic delegates with a lot of support from white southerners.

I have no idea how this race is going to play out, and neither do you, and neither does Chuck Todd, but I know that so far this election is shaping up to be every bit as historic as it was billed. Whether we end up with a brokered convention, a back room deal, a delegate floor fight, a Clinton-Obama ticket, an Obama-Clinton ticket, or some other outcome, here in the aftermath of Super Tuesday I think we should pause for a moment and reflect on what we've accomplished as Democrats this year. On a truly amazing primary battle where our worst impulses have been shunned and the best of us brought out -- under the guise of our candidates -- in our hopes for a better future.

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