Almost one year ago I made a bet with a friend that the final Democratic ticket would end up being Clinton/Obama, and so far I have not seen anything that alters that prediction.
Since I am a dedicated progressive, this ticket does little to excite me. To a point.
We have the opportunity to elect the first woman POTUS. It ought to be a moment of unrivaled enthusiasm. Except I have difficulty overlooking a first term in the US Senate where she spent more time with the GOP caucus as with her Democratic collegues. I have difficulty overlooking the warmongery, the votes for the Patriot Act, the excessive defense spending. Not to mention her willing participation in the erosion of our civil rights as Americans.
What's the alternative?
We have the opportunity to elect the first african-american POTUS. In ought to be a moment of unrivaled enthusiasm. Except that I do not get inspired by flowery rhetoric and professional speechmaking. Other than the fact that we have another opportunity to elect an african-american, the inspirational part escapes me. I was a delegate and volunteer for Jesse Jackson in 1988, so I've seen a truly inspirational leader in action.
For me, deeds and a plan are far more important than rhetorical skill. I have a difficult time overlooking what is in fact an unremarkable record in the Illinois State Senate, and two undistinguished years in the US Senate. Where's the qualification? In Jesse Jackson, the Democratic Party had a candidate that could move masses through action and deeds, as well as rhetorically. You can't eat a speech, and words don't create jobs. And when a candidate for POTUS from the Democratic Party begins rally's and speeches with blatant religious grandiosity, my eyebrow goes up. The First Amendment is an important part of what makes Democrats NOT like Republicans.
Both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are caretakers of the corporate structure, and very few, if any, of their policy positions differ from one another in any meaningful way. In a very weird way, they are far far more alike than not.
The other alternative lurking about is obviously, Ralph Nader and/or Ron Paul. You would think that the 2000 election provides enough reason to avoid going down that road again. No matter how well intentioned, and truly progressive, Ralph Nader is.
Ron Paul just gained his first double digit victory of the season. In Maine. Where they reported near record low Republican turnout. When is this just going to end?
That leaves only one dark, and disturbing alternative left. Mitt Romney/John McCain. Is this what the angry mob really wants? Really? Because that is precisely what could happen. For anyone to suggest that there is no difference at all between the two sides, no matter WHAT our personal feelings toward Clinton and Obama are, needs to get a clue.
I take very little solace in knowing that in the end, this is what we will be looking at. During the past few weeks I have made calls from coast to coast talking to an incredible array of people. There is a tsunami building across the country, and it is aimed directly at the forhead of the GOP. The losses the Repugs face in Congress will be legendary, and that will be the opportunity for true reform. That is where the real heavy lifting to create a progressive future for our country will be. The potential majorities in both bodies will leave any remainging GOP sirens irrelevant.
What the leadership in the House and Senate do with those majorities, whomever they are, is an argument for another time. The point is, crushing the Republican Party, neoconism, supply side voodoo economics, unbridled corporatism, and all the rest of the unsavory laundry list that makes up that party's crimes is far more important than our own personal, individual feelings. Let us worry about progressive purity next year, when the scourge of right wing demogagery has been flushed down history's toilet.
There are a host of reasons to shake one's head over how our political system selects its leaders. Or doesn't. The stakes are just too high. We must end the war, we must confront global warming, we must start creating jobs and reforming our economy, we must keep fighting to enact universal single payer health care. So many musts.
A Clinton/Obama ticket has the potential to be a juggernaut that unites the Democratic Party and energizes voters to destroy the right wing neocon movement once and for all.
It seems to me, no matter what misgivings we may have about Hillary and Barak, its a damn sight better than more right wing Republican rule.
And that, it seems to this progressive, is something we should all agree on.