(presidential dap = coolest thing ever)
As I sit here watching CNN (MSNBC shifted to Dan Abrams for the hour, ugh), I can’t help but laugh at the irony of one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest surrogates, Lanny Davis, attempting to carry the “it’s not over till we say it’s over” company line, only to be drowned out by the sound of workers breaking down her stage from earlier in the night. Sorry Lanny, it is, in fact, over.
Now that Barack Obama has secured the nomination of the Democratic Party, I’ve already had a few discussions wondering “where do we go from here?”
My allegiance should be crystal clear with the name of this blog, but for the record, I’m a huge Obama supporter. Without posting the laundry list of reasons why, the bottom line is that I agree with virtually all his policies, including his positions on what I deem to be the major issues in this race (the war, our economy, the environment and alternative energy sources, education, universal health care, and women’s rights). Combine those beliefs with his charisma, candor, intelligence, humility, compassion, humor, and just all around coolness, and he’s the perfect candidate for anyone involved in our hip-hop culture (see above dap and watch this). As I used to always discuss with an old friend of mine in college, there are people in this world who “get it,” and those that don’t. Barack most definitely “gets it,” and now he’s got the nomination as well.
The Obama/Clinton race was truly historic, on a multitude of fronts, most notably the incredible voter turnout and how even with such a large number, it was still almost split exactly down the middle (though there remains some debate over the popular vote totals from Michigan and caucus states, including WA). While all the newly registered voters clearly bodes well for the Democratic Party come November, it’s also left us in this uneasy position where a lot of Clinton supporters are extremely disappointed she lost. Some, in states like West Virginia and Kentucky (surprise, surprise), have even threatened to cross party lines and vote for John McCain if Obama is the Democratic nominee.
These people have a choice. They can either be idiots, or racists…whichever title they’re more comfortable wearing. Simply put, Obama and Clinton share virtually identical platforms on every possible political issue. How they carried themselves in this campaign and the personalities they revealed, however, are different issues. Regardless, McCain’s values lay in direct opposition to what the two Democrats believe. McCain is pro-life and will appoint a Supreme Court Justice that would overturn Roe v. Wade to make abortion illegal. Obviously, and in my opinion, sanely, Obama and Clinton believe in a woman’s right to choose. McCain has famously stated he’d be fine keeping troops in Iraq “for a hundred years,” while Barack and Hillary have both proposed carefully planned phased withdrawls (note to conservatives – a “phased withdrawl” is not “surrender” or “retreat” as you continue to claim). The differences go on and on, running the gamut on everything from gas prices to taxes to diplomacy.
Without placing a value judgment on which belief system is right or wrong, if you believe one thing and vote for someone who believes exactly the opposite, you’re an idiot. If you’re doing that because you don’t want to vote for one candidate based on his skin color, you’re a racist. Actually, if you’re a racist, by definition, you’re an idiot too. So feel free to wear both hats, congrats. In this election, there’s absolutely no reason a Clinton supporter should vote for McCain over Obama. It’s completely illogical, and no clearer admittance of one’s own racist prejudice. For these people, we don’t even need you in our political process in 2008. If you’re going to hold on to the ideas of the last century, please stay there. Don’t come with us in the 2000′s.
Now, for the thousands, if not millions, of Hillary supporters who are threatening to sit out this election because she’s not the nominee, their decisions are more complex and positions more tenuous. These are the people causing consternation in the Obama camp at this very moment, as Barack tries to decide who should be his running mate. Clinton could end this rather easily by enthusiastically endorsing Obama, urging her followers to rally around the party’s nominee, and then campaigning vigorously for him over the next few months. Her supporters would initially be disappointed, but by November, almost all of them would compare Obama to McCain and realize how clear the choice is.
Unfortunately, Hillary knows this, and wants to force her way on to the ticket. Even after the final buzzer has sounded, my tv’s CNN Ticker reads: “Obama Makes History…Clinton Does Not Concede.” Word? I’d love to see this strategy employed in Game 1 of the NBA Finals tomorrow night. Whoever loses between the Celtics and Lakers should just remain on the court after the game is over and refuse to acknowledge the contest has ended.
Reporter: “Kobe, the game’s over. It was hard fought & you played well, but you lost. 100 to 92.”
While some of us on Obama’s side may think she’s delusional at times, she clearly knows what she’s doing. If she can raise the pressure by flaunting her legion of support, she might convince Obama to make her his VP. Right now, I think it’s an option he has to look at very closely. The vast majority of Obama voters would like to see him turn the page completely and pick someone new, without all the baggage that Clinton possesses. Many of us have lived our entire lives with either a Clinton or a Bush on the ballot (and watch out for Chelsea in the near future). Barack himself stated that “this election is about the past versus the future.” Picking someone like Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Richardson, Jim Webb, or even Hillary supporters like Evan Bayh, Ed Rendell, or Wesley Clark, would be a much cleaner break with the past than adding the Clinton name to the ballot.
That said, the people who are voting for Obama will almost assuredly remain loyal, perhaps begrudgingly, if selects her. Combining the two sides would absolutely demolish any chance of McCain keeping this election close, let alone winning it. The Democratic support is too high, and the Republicans’ approval ratings are too low. It’s clearly time for a chance, and this would ensure that Obama becomes the next president.
If he doesn’t pick her, then Barack has to spend the next 5 months battling McCain on one front, and trying to remind Clinton’s base that it’s clearly in their best interest to vote Democratic on the other. Sure, it can be done. He can do it, and I think if he selects another VP, he will still win the election. Sadly, it’s just a much higher risk than playing the safe bet and uniting the party with the “dream ticket.”
This election is too important to lose. We cannot survive another 4 years of wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on an unwinnable war (try shooting ideas with bullets…it doesn’t work), when we desperately need that money here at home. Not to mention the fact that the war itself was illegal and we’ve killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Speaking in strictly economic terms, what do you think would have happened if we invested all the war money on researching and developing alternative sources of energy? I wouldn’t be paying $4.25 a gallon, that’s for sure. You never know, perhaps we’d all be driving electric cars right now. Just think how bad our economy would be if we continued to throw money into a war that hasn’t made us any safer and has spawned a generation of people who hate us for killing their families and destroying their cities. It’s a scary thought, and if it happens, I’m moving to Canada. But naw, for real.
So what should Barack do? Where do we go from here? I just ranted for 1,300+ words, and I still don’t know what should, or will, happen. Either way, [Tank from the Matrix] these are exciting times![/Tank]
Just remember that we’re only half way there. Yes, we can.