ON THE BRINK
Editorial, Daily Inquirer, May 12, 2008
expected to do very well in West Virginia, Kentucky and , but even these victories will be short of the miracle the former first lady needs to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.– US Senator Barack Obama is about to make American history. Six more primaries remain in the nominating season, with US
Even if the large delegations from Politico.com) is still poised to top Clinton in every conceivable metric by : in number of delegates, in number of states, in number of superdelegates, in popular vote. It would be political suicide for the Democrats to choose an also-ran over the clear winner.and , two states which violated Democratic party rules, are allowed into the party’s convention in August, a demand Clinton is aggressively and loudly pursuing, Obama (according to a detailed analysis of the electoral math by
Obama as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States: This is a possibility that excites not only the American electorate (consider the millions of first-time voters in the primaries), but also the international community. To be sure, if Clinton were the Democratic nominee, her nomination would be as historic, and may generate as much excitement.
After eight years of the self-righteous incompetence of, the possibility that the United States-the world’s lone hyper-power, in the quaint language of the French-would elect his exact opposite is electric. That the same political process that created the second Bush presidency can produce candidates of unassailable quality tells us something about the regenerative powers of democracy. If the fundamental principle of democracy is that dissatisfied voters can “throw the rascals out,” then the principle works because “new blood” is allowed to reinvigorate the system.
In other words, a wounded democracy-even the United States, gravely weakened by the Bush administration’s unilateralism and its subversion of civil liberties-can heal and renew itself.
Since the mid-term elections of 2006, it has become clear that American public opinion has swung away from the Republicans. The party lost Congress; relations with key partners are strained; the public is solidly against the continuing occupation of Iraq-and Bush continues to plumb record lows in popularity (apparently, he is more unpopular now thanwas just before he resigned). One poll found only one-third of Americans had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the worst finding in a generation. Another poll found that the number of self-described Republicans was at its lowest since the time of President Bill Clinton.
This explains the kind of advice famous publicist Charlie Black, adviser to the presumptive Republican nominee, US, is dispensing. “Nobody ever gets elected president by running on their party label. The character, the qualities, the independence-that certainly allows him to rise over the party label. It is more important than usual to rise above the party label.”
This kind of advice will come as an irrelevance to many who see McCain, a decorated veteran and former POW, as inheriting Bush’s diminished mandate, in particular the calamitous conduct of the war in Iraq. It is on this issue where Obama has drawn the sharpest contrast with Mrs. Clinton; five years ago, the freshman senator fromvoted against authorizing the Iraqi invasion.
With a Democratic victory in November, many of America’s allies expect a decisive end to the presence of US troops in Iraq; perhaps a year-long phased pullout would be in order. By the same token, many allies expect a greater US engagement in Afghanistan-the other theater in the war on terrorism which the Bushinfamously did not provide a budget for. Economically, America’s commercial partners can expect a Democratic administration to mute the business process outsourcing boom (with adverse consequences for and the ). Whether Obama is a man the world can do business with remains to be seen.
Indeed, whether a Democrat will be the next president of the United States remains an open question. But the spurning of Bush’s divisive politics allows many around the world to indulge, even temporarily, in the audacity of hope.