Saturday, August 30, 2008

Passing the Political Torch in the U.S.

This week at the U.S. Democratic National Convention the Clintons had to bite the bullet and cheer on rival Barack Obama, the man who surprised everyone with a defeat over Hillary. Hearing Bill Clinton say that Obama is the type of person the U.S. needs seemed so unusual. There had been a cooling off period since Bill's better half had to quit her unanticipated and long-drawn out battle. It almost did not seem natural for the Clintons to be up at the podium championing the candidate they reportedly barely liked, according to Hillary biographer Carl Bernstein. After all, Obama was powerfully endorsed by the lion, Ted Kennedy, and Jack's daughter Caroline. That was damaging to the Clintons since they admired the Kennedys since JFK. Even Jackie O said that Hillary was her favorite first lady since Camelot. As well, JFK Jr. supported Bill Clinton when he ran for the Democrats.

It was odd too to hear Bill & Hillary's support and unity speeches this week when you consider that only months ago their strategist Mark Penn had planned to suggest that Barack Obama is not fundamentally American. After that attack angle Obama probably decided against Hillary as a possible running mate anyway. Penn, according to Carl Bernstein, had a hand in writing both Clinton speeches this week, and they let it be known.

Despite their spite, the Clintons put on a brave and politically professional face this week. Not actually selecting Hillary had to be a final wound. Continuing to crusade for Obama will be a test of the the Democrats unity and the Clinton's inner strength.

Politics can be hurtful when it has to be. Bill Clinton would have liked his legacy to have been repeated at a level befitting a successful President, but because his wife was Obama's main challenger, he should not have expected too many accolades when that obviously would have been self defeating to winner Obama. Obama had indeed mentioned that under Bill good things happened in the country but his praise was understandably restrained.

In Bill Clinton's DNC speech this week he delivered a fairly convincing message of support for the historic candidate from Chicago. The Clintons now have to try to shine in their new roles as Obama promoters, though yesterday's Republican choice for Vice President, female Sarah Palin must have made Hillary think, "the same role could have been mine". A relative unknown, and inexperienced Alaskan Governor could potentially hook the second most powerful position in the U.S. Hillary will be speaking on Obama's behalf but she just might be biting her tongue much of the time given the shocking GOP VP candidate.

The Clinton's sincerity and how it is perceived by the public could be a huge factor in whether Barack Obama makes history as the first black President, or simply becomes history.


BNB said...

Obama's speech is on Youtube, quite impressive. I do think though that having Hil as a running mate would have made for a formidable pair. McCain picked a femme - he's at least got that right.

Charles Cheeseman said...

Saw it Thursday night and he hit the right notes, really impressive. With Hillary the team would definitely appear to be unbeatable. It was an interesting choice yesterday alright. The women vote angle with a female candidate could be good for McCain's campaign, but, it possibly could turn off some women as Palin does not have near the experience of someone like Hillary. Makes for some future drama in any case.