Editorial: Obama’s historic ascent
Are we on the verge of something truly different ” or just more business-as-usual politicking with a new wrapper?
On the first question, the answer is clearly “yes.” Barack Obama is clearly a different presidential candidate, given that the previous 43 were all white men. We’re confronted with the happy notion that a black man can rise to the top post in the land at the same time his race remains an issue ” at least in the historic sense and, in the minds of some, probably in a deal-killing way. Plenty may be more concerned with Obama’s shade of blue rather than black. It’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out.
With Obama finally clinching the Democratic nomination after a long, grueling primary season against Hillary Clinton, it’s tempting to think this could truly be a transformative election come November. True, we tend to freight every presidential election with “most important ever” labels, but this year, Americans are particularly unhappy and seem to have a clearer choice than ever before: keep things pretty much as they are with the venerable and aged McCain, or roll the dice with a relatively inexperienced young newcomer with a strong message – and not much else.
With faith in the Republican party at all-time lows, it’s tempting to think McCain doesn’t have a chance. But don’t count him out yet ” a lot can happen between now and November.
The question we will need an answer to over the next few months from the two candidates is how willing they are to move away from the partisan status quo that has all but frozen Washington over the past 14 years. Is McCain really the “maverick” who can swim against these stiff currents using his years of Beltway experience, or is it the new guy, less tainted by the whole thing, who can free us from the muck? Are either of them up to it?
One thing seems sure: Americans are weary of the poison partisanship, deadlocked Congress and imperial presidency of the past eight years. We are looking for something different, and we’ll be listening closely to both candidates, trying to hear something that will assure us one or the other will do something different and truly lead once he reaches the Oval Office.
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