Learning the hard way

The Democrats in 2008 have a great opportunity to capture the White House for the next sixteen or more years provided they do not overly indulge in the euphoria of nominating a brilliant but inexperienced Senator Barack Obama at this point in time as the nominee of their party. The election is theirs to lose. According to Bob Herbert of the New York Times, the Bush Administration performance over the last seven years has been so pathetic on the domestic front: "The American dream is on life support." Not nor is America's image what it once was on the international stage. The Democratic Party obviously should not forget the lesson of history when it nominated back in the 1950's a detached intellectual in Adlai Stevenson from Illinois who lost to General Dwight Eisenhower. This was to be repeated again when the enthusiastic young Democrats and established progressive wing of the party supported the anti-war candidacy of Senator George McGovern in 1972 against Richard M Nixon. In general election of that year McGovern captured only the electoral votes of Massachusetts and District of Colombia. The enthusiasm of the young McGovern supporters is reminiscent of the anti-war stance of the present day youth so fervently supporting the candidacy of Obama. It's unfortunate but true that the young or fashionably called millennial generation has a notorious record of being absent from the polls as they were for Howard Dean in the 2004 primaries. The Democrats seem to have a very short memory in forgetting how the Republicans destroyed the war record of a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War as the nominee of their party, Senator John Kerry in 2004. One can only speculate what "swift boating" tactic of the Republicans awaits Obama once he is the nominee of the party. The Democrats once again may prove right the Russian historian Vassily Kliuchevsky, who wrote: "History teaches nothing, but only punishes for not learning its lessons." The Democrats in 2008 are faced with a conundrum in selecting from their two outstanding choices, one a white female and the other an African-American male. Both of them are intelligent, caring, and eminently qualified to occupy the White House. Although Senator Obama is leading both in the delegate and popular count against Senator Clinton, the question remains, can he beat the presumptive Republican nominee Senator McCain in November? Senator Obama has to fight on two main fronts, one because he is an African-American and the other his lack of experience in government as compared to McCain. Obama support is basically coming mainly from the young, the educated class of the party, and of course the African-American community. As Ta-Nehisi Coats wrote in The Nation magazine, the paradox of Obama's blackness is: "His utter invisibility as a black man to the thinking class." Furthermore to the intellectuals as William Saleton mentions in Slate: "Obama isn't exactly black." The record shows that the thinking class or the intellectuals do not win elections in the United States. One does not have to remind the cerebral folks that Bush was re-elected in 2004. The Democrats have to be realistic in that the elders and super delegates of the party must bring the rank and file in line to support a winning ticket. They should also not forget that from 1968-2008, a span of 40 years the Republicans have occupied the White House for 28 years. While the Democrats are polarised, the Republican administrations are quietly packing the judiciary with right wing activist judges. The next president most likely will have the opportunity to appoint as many as three judges on the US Supreme Court. Senator McCain has already declared that he would appoint conservative judges of similar judicial temperament as Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito. Senator Obama, though rather ambitious, must reflect on the consequences of his possible defeat in November to the Republican nominee. Most importantly, he will seriously set back an African-American from becoming president for decades to come. Furthermore, it would have an impact on a woman becoming president in the very near future. Obama should realise that Senator Clinton has won primaries in most of the major electoral states. Moreover, her experience as First Lady for eight years and as a two term US Senator from New York is formidable against any Republican nominee. He should also be concerned even where "purplization" of red states is taking place like Mississippi where approximately thirty-five percent of the population is African-American, Senator McCain still carries that state according to the recent polls. In the interest of the Democratic Party and more importantly the African-American community, Senator Obama should seriously consider joining forces with Senator Clinton by running as her vice presidential candidate in order to prevent another Republican take over of the White House. He should realise that he didn't do well in the borderline states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, which are crucial to capturing the presidency. Over the years, he will gain experience and also the country will be ready for an African-American to occupy the White House. Time is on Obama's side as he will be only fifty-four even after eight years of Clinton's Presidency. 

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