Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Now that the dust is settling on the election and the Obama transition team is moving like quicksilver to put a new cabinet team in place, we can only hope that the Obama Administration runs as brilliantly as his campaign. This fascinating Adam Nagourney piece at the NY Times provides a window on the ups-and-downs of the race from inside the Obama team, so impressive from bottom to top. The article ends on a note about race:

In Mississippi, Stuart Stevens, a longtime political strategist who had worked for both Mr. McCain and Mitt Romney in the primaries, was surveying polling data for a Republican client. He was picking up on an unexpected shift for Mr. Obama, even among white voters. As he put it in an interview: If a house is on fire, the owner does not care what color the fireman is.

“He transcended race,” Mr. Stevens said. “At the time of crisis, it became particularly irrelevant.”

Back in Washington, Mr. Belcher, the pollster, was finding something similar. Mr. Obama was showing strength even among white voters Mr. Belcher had identified as having racial biases. It was a phenomenon captured in a photograph he shared last week of a homemade sign with the Confederate flag. It read: “Rednecks for Obama. Even we’ve had enough.”
The historic nature of this win cannot be understated, although it took someone who did transcend race through excellence of skills and temperament -- a political Jackie Robinson -- to do it. It's the fulfilling of the promise of America, the enfranchisement of a people, per this Toles cartoon. It understandably makes African Americans cry, for the sacrifices of the past having now led to the possibilities open to their children. It fills a child of a segregationist politician with gratitude. Per Joe Klein in Time, it opens up a fresh, beautiful path for America, based on its deepest values:
Obama's victory creates the prospect of a new "real" America. We can't possibly know its contours yet, although I suspect the headline is that it is no longer homogeneous. It is no longer a "white" country, even though whites remain the majority. It is a place where the primacy of racial identity — and this includes the old, Jesse Jackson version of black racial identity — has been replaced by the celebration of pluralism, of cross-racial synergy. After eight years of misgovernance, it has lost some of its global swagger ... but also some of its arrogance. It may no longer be as dominant, economically or diplomatically, as it once was. But it is younger, more optimistic, less cynical. It is a country that retains its ability to startle the world — and in a good way, with our freedom. It is a place, finally, where the content of our President's character is more important than the color of his skin.
Oddly enough, the ugliest words since last night seem to be coming out of the mouth of the unlikeliest, Mr. Ralph Nader. While his anti-corporate sentiment is part of his self-defined job, his use of a racist term is shockingly tin-eared and demeaning to the President-Elect. Say that again: President-Elect.

I like it.

CNN did a cool video covering the campaign, to the tune of the best campaign song choice of all time:

Signed, sealed, and to be delivered on January 20, 2009.

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