Barack Obama Is the Nominee, Hillary Clinton Concedes And An Old, Boring But Potentially Lethal John McCain Waits In the Wings
That was some warm up act.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's gladiator epic, which lasted for more than a year, will be officially over when she endorses Obama and suspends her campaign on Friday. Everyone said it was to the Republicans advantage that their field of weak candidates didn't continue to soften each other up, instead rolling over for John McCain once it became obvious Ron Paul wasn't going to set the party aflame.
The Republican nominee was reduced to a mere sideshow as everyone was captivated by a "David versus Goliath" opening act that became "The Tortoise and the Hare" which eventually gave way to "Bravehart"-meets-"The Godfather."
It might turn into "Brian's Song," if we get lucky. Only I don't want Clinton to die of cancer. I just want everyone to get back on message. No curse words and crying. I only want smiles and back slaps. Good game! Shake hands!
I think the press will miss this his-and-hers Clash of the Titans the most. Clinton has her die-hard Clintonistas, the 42nd president of the United States and her own Evita-esque undertones. Obama has his enthusiastic, adoring fans, youthful zeal and Dr. Feel Good politics. Whereas John McCain is old.
That's all the press has talked about when they actually talked about him.
How he was old.
Looked old. Sounded old. Sometimes appears clueless. Even during that horrible speech he gave last night, hoping to get a pinky finger on some news coverage, he continued to demonstrate that if it weren't for the "benefits" of his own race and gender he would be politically DOA.
Last night the press had Hillary's "don't cry for me" defiance, Obama's name being engraved in the history books and an old man who, as James Carville pointed out, was the youngest person in a room full of even older people.
The man doesn't give good TV. Or speeches. Or anything that involves talking. And he tries to Spackle over his flaws by invoking puckishness. You can't be a 71-year-old imp. You can't just shrug your shoulders and bat your eyelashes in the fleeting hope I will remember a damn thing you said before Clinton and Obama's speeches. Everyone seethed over hers or praised his, but what did people say about McCain's speech other than the immediate reaction of CNN pundits crowing how bad it blew, then everyone deciding to block it out altogether. They went on with Wednesday's news as if it never happened.
There's this saying that any press is good press as long as they spell your name right. What does no press mean?
That's why it's so strange for Obama to be the presumptive Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton, no matter how you feel about her, was a worthy opponent. You didn't just forget what she said. You analyzed it and dissected it and maybe blogged about it. And no matter what the press says, they'll be staring out at the moon tonight singing "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face."
They're devastated. But they'll try to hide their pain by finding some new crazy pastor to rave about.
Clinton was a Herculean challenge. People are still trying to catch their breath. To go from watching a modern update of "Julius Caesar" to a cheesy summer comedy starring Will Smith and Walter Matthieu's reanimated corpse seems a bit of a let down.
And by let down, I'm hoping it will be easy. Disco dancing easy. That it will be like sitting through Zoolander with McCain as Mugatu. Everyone goes home happy and Michelle Obama is the first black First Lady of the United States.
Alas, the likelihood of this turning into Zoolander with Obama sauntering up to the White House while Frankie Goes to Hollywood blares in the background is highly unlikely. McCain being the last white man standing gives him the edge he needs to make up for the fact that two-thirds of his voting base hates him, he's for the war and was there the day McKinley was shot. This would have ruined the chances of any other candidate, but he survived that mad dash for "not crappy" to make his way out of the Republican finals. Now the only thing that stands in his way is a healthy, youthful, handsome, intelligent, charming, popular, eloquent ... black man.
McCain probably likes his odds.
But he shouldn't get too comfy hoping America's racist past will do all the heavy lifting. Barack has boldly gone where no black person has gone before, surpassing what I and many others ever imagined. Still dumbstruck, I can't offer much perspective or opinion on where we go from here because there is no historical data to draw back on. We've crossed the Rubicon, folks. We don't know what's waiting for us on the other side. That's both glorious and horrifying all at the same time. The sort of moment where those who were reluctant to get on board have no choice now. His winning made the decision for them. Just like the avalanche of superdelegates who came to put him over the top the minute the primaries were over. If you didn't come over with them it doesn't matter.
You're with him now.
This win didn't come easily and the presidency won't come easily. If you believe the Clintons, and you shouldn't when it comes to the following, Obama had a charmed run with the press. I'd argue that he's had a charmed run with some of the press. His charm has not benefited him on FOX News where almost every manufactured scandal revolving around the Obama campaign on TV emanated from.
Sure. There was made up stuff on the radio and the internet, but FOX was the only network to start putting those defamatory statements on air a year before everyone else. Back when other media outlets were still trying to have a little class and only ask if he was "black enough."
Apparently, you can only take so many treaties from Sean Hannity fans DEMANDING to know why CNN isn't covering Obama's secret ties to everything from Black Liberation Theology to radical Islam.
So many times I wanted to say to Hannity, "Which is it, Sean? Is he a whitey-hating Christian or a Muslim Extremist? Which one? Which one!"
That said, I think we should enjoy this moment of history ... then get back to work. Because while we've made it through pre-season, season and semis, we still have a final to get through. While the Democratic Party has proved it can move from being the racist scourge of black America to nominating a black man as their presidential nominee, America still has some work to do. And, sadly, we can't get everyone into diversity training.
Therefore we should remain vigilant, be aware, be realistic and acknowledge that nothing is certain. We've never been down this road before, so we should be proud. But we can't spend too much time admiring the view. There's an old man out there smiling and batting his eyes, practicing how many ways he can say, "I completely condone that malicious and hateful act, my friends. That has no place in the campaign I am running for president."