Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What no democrat would dare to admit:

Has the damage been done.

Twelve months ago, Obama seemed like a Golden Adonis –someone who combined the best of Aristotle with handsome movie star qualities, like a debonair William Powell, somebody who you not only respected when he said he was going to change the world, but somebody who left you gawking. He looked right. He said everything right. And inside our temples were beating because he had a mythic quality about him that reminded us of all our best. Another iteration of Martin, Bobby, or John.

We wondered, was he the one? Was he the one going to lift us out of seven years of government for the rich and privileged? Was he the one to right the wrongs?

You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to get that feeling.
It seemed so evident at the time.

How could anyone be better? How could anyone elucidate the limitations better? How could anyone combine so many desirable qualities in one body?.

Not only did he intend to end the war, he never voted for it! He was a genuine deux ex machine!—someone or some thing that comes along in the third act to bring the kind of change you couldn’t even imagine.

He was simpatico with everyone—a nice guy who didn’t seem to have a mean bone in his body.

But a lot can change in the course of a primary—especially a mean and vindictive one where winning proved more important than party unity.

Since March, I have seen Obama attacked every which way from Sunday….

And all of the attacks were designed to diminish him.

After all, it was the only arrow left in Hillary’s quiver. She couldn’t him through debate; she couldn’t beat him through her “experience” which left many of us questioning the factuality of what she said.

But the honest way wasn’t enough.

So the Clintons turned to anything they could.

They were sure to point out that even Jackson could win South Carolina. It was no big deal. The more subtle interpretation was that he was no mythic creature; that all blacks were virtually the same.

Then there was a party stalwart who said that he wouldn’t have gotten this far if it weren’t for his color.

It didn’t stop there; it only kicked off.

The Clintons tried to use guilt by association.

Not for what he did, but what his Pastor did.

He was even accused of being associated with a noted Chicago real estate felon.

Then it was the old racism card.

And a vicious appeal to “blue collar, working class people who went to church ever Sunday.”

And a pitch to the Jews indicated that he was associated with Reverend Farakhan, an explosive charge still remembered from the days of the Rainbow Coalition and not readily dismissed by Jews….

What else? Obama wouldn’t wear a flag—the sign of a traitor, of course.

And he was tagged with his wife’s remarks about finally feeling what it means to be an American.

And finally the Clinton’s admitting to staying in the race til June, well, because that was the time Bobby got assassinated.

What did that mean? What dark thoughts was she really harboring in her own mind?

And why many intelligent folk just dismiss a lot of these charges, one has to wonder how much of it has stuck.

In questioning those I know, I see a remarkable change in attitudes.

Where people had a natural predisposition to vote for Obama, now they are beginning to question their own judgment.

One has to ask how many of these specious arguments will haunt Obama in the days and weeks ahead leading up to the election.

Now, Hillary is running around saying that only she can win among whites.

What she doesn’t mention is that only happened after she poisoned the well.

Sure, Obama probably should have done a better job of defending himself against this kind of sordid attack; but he didn’t. He’s too decent a guy. And he won’t stoop to saying the obvious….

But the damage may have well been done.

Will Obama now be able to lead the party of the democrats?

Will he have the respect and opportunity to reverse the attacks that have perhaps stuck to him unfairly?

Will McCain decimate him with Hillary’s words?

Can there be a fair election?

And has Hillary cared more about her own career than the future of the party?

I don’t know.

But as I see it, there is a changed atmosphere out there.

I don’t feel as hopeful as I did just six months ago.

There is blame to be placed on the party elders for allowing this kind of politics, more reminiscent of republican tactics than democratic emphasis on the issues and the character of the candidate to create a winning tide.

It is depressing to say the least.

Clearly, the questions raised will not be answered immediately. One thing we have seen is a calcification of the views of both sides.

There is anger among many that runs deep.

Whether it can be surmounted is a question yet to be answered.

And whether Americans can find it in their hearts to erase their own doubts and come together is still to be tested in the crucible of the election.

The only thing I am sure of is that what was a sure-thing, is now very much in doubt.

I hope the democrats win.

But as of now, I’m not even sure that they recognize how tenuous this race has actually become.

Les Aaron
The Armchair Curmudgeon.

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