Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama Makes History

From the New York Times:

Senator Barack Obama claimed the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday evening, prevailing through an epic battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in a primary campaign that inspired millions of voters from every corner of America to demand change in Washington.

A last-minute rush of Democratic superdelegates, as well as the results from the final primaries, in Montana and South Dakota, pushed Mr. Obama over the threshold of winning the 2,118 delegates needed to be nominated at the party’s convention in August. The victory for Mr. Obama, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white Kansan mother, broke racial barriers and represented a remarkable rise for a man who just four years ago served in the Illinois Senate.

“Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America,” Mr. Obama told supporters at a rally in St. Paul. “Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America.”

In a speech to supporters in New York City, Mrs. Clinton paid tribute to Mr. Obama, but she did not leave the race. In a speech more defiant than conciliatory, she again presented her case that she was the stronger candidate and argued that she had won the popular vote, a notion disputed by the Obama campaign.

“I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected,” Mrs. Clinton told supporters. But she paid homage to Mr. Obama’s accomplishments, saying, “It has been an honor to contest the primaries with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend.”

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton talked early Wednesday morning by telephone. He congratulated her and renewed his offer to "sit down when it makes sense for you," according to a spokesman for Mr. Obama, Robert Gibbs.

Mrs. Clinton responded positively, Mr. Gibbs said, but added: "There are no plans to meet tomorrow."

So it's over.

The Dem nominee will be Barack Obama; but in her remarks last night, Hillary didn't make a concession speech.

She said:

Now, the question is: Where do we go from here? And given how far we’ve come and where we need to go as a party, it’s a question I don’t take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.

But this has always been your campaign. So, to the 18 million people who voted for me, and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. I hope you’ll go to my Web site at and share your thoughts with me and help in any way that you can.

And in the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.

This is a strange sort of dance.

It's not over until the lady in the pantsuit says it is.

On Tuesday night, the lady in the pantsuit did not say it's over yet.

She has to consult and think and determine where to go from here.

I think it's a mistake for her to string her supporters along if she really has no intention of taking her fight to the convention.

If this is just a planned slow-motion exit from the race, it's a bad plan. It's not fair to give her supporters the impression that she's not giving up if she already has. It will only prolong all the bad blood and divisions within the Dem Party.

When you look at the numbers, this has been an incredibly close race. That has to make it harder for Hillary supporters and Hillary herself to let go. It has to be hard for Hillary to know that super delegates, so many old friends and past allies of her husband, chose not to give her the nomination.

They see Obama as the stronger candidate and the savior. I don't get why they do, but they do.

We're told the selection of Obama is historic. The media and elected officials keep reminding us that for the first time a black man has secured the nomination of a major party. I wonder how many voters look at Obama and think "black guy."

Question: Are we supposed to care about skin color? I thought we weren't supposed to concern ourselves with something as superficial as that. I thought the content of one's character was what mattered.

Question: Did the Dems chose a nominee for president or a black nominee for president?

Question: Are the Dems ready for a woman to be their nominee? I guess the answer is no. They had their chance and they went with the black man. You might say that Hillary coming up short had nothing to do with her gender, that America would embrace a woman as president. But if Hillary had edged out Obama, would the story be that America isn't ready for a black president?


Anonymous said...

I think the tension is between taking to the convention, or beginning an independent campaign. Should she fight for the nomination with a DNC that stole votes from her, or honor her voters with an independent bid.

Mary said...

I doubt that Hillary would run as an independent.

Democrat leaders would promise her anything to prevent that from happening.

I think right now Hillary is trying to pacify her supporters.

She doesn't want to alienate her supporters by giving up and giving in; yet she can't turn the Democrat Party completely against her if she intends to run in 2012.