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It's up to Barack and Hillary and You and Me

Democrats are going to change the world this November, and it will be a beautiful thing as the two factions of the Democratic party start to come together and coalesce forces, joining hands and joining purposes, moving forward together... united -- a singular mission at last.

It won't be easy, but it won't be all that difficult either. We're all Americans, and most of all -- we're all Democrats. We may have disagreed on the path we should take to get to the White House, but both sides of the Democratic party are committed to winning the keys to the White House this November.

We'll need to start in places like Maryland's Allegany County:

In Western Maryland's Allegany County, where Barack Obama got less than one-third of the vote in the state's Feb. 12 Democratic primary, Bill DuVall knows his neighbors harbor misgivings about the man who appears likely to be the party's presidential nominee. "A lot of the talk I have heard hasn't been positive," said DuVall, business agent for a carpenters' union and chairman of the county Democratic Central Committee. [...]

As Obama moves within reach of the Democratic nomination, the Illinois senator faces the challenge of a general election that will hinge in part on his ability to suture intra-party rifts exposed by the primaries.

I don't believe that it's solely up to Obama. No question he needs to reach out and welcome former Clinton supporters into the camp - but the job isn't his alone. Hillary Clinton should, and I'm confident will, reach out as well and help pull together Democrats, helping to unite the party.

But it will take more than Hillary and Barack's efforts. It will take all of us Democrats reaching out to heal the divide that'll really drive this process forward, and help it to reach its fullest potential.

And the lesson we learn as we Democrats reaching across our own internal divide will inform and guide us as we continue to reach out to independents and Republicans as well. Let's not coalesce Democrats for the purpose of waging war on Republicans -- let's learn from the process of gathering and healing our own internal rifts and turn those lessons towards reaching out and healing the greater divides that still separate all of us Americans, red and blue, old and young, rich and poor, black and white and yellow and brown.

The process we follow and the results we achieve in the near term healing of the Democratic party can and should be extended as far as possible, reaching out to all Americans.

We Democrats, sharply divided for quite some time, will find the common ground and eventually stand united. The lessons we learn along the way should be applied towards healing the divides across party lines as well.

The tasks before us our daunting, but the potential is monumental. We, the people, have a golden opportunity to rebuild this nation and help our leaders set a new course for democracy worldwide. That work begins today, and it starts with you and me.


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Comments (6)

I think you give them too much credit for common sense and an ability to do the proper thing, Lee. I think the politics they've indulged in over the last 7-8 years has poisoned the pool to the point where they're thinking 'just retribution' will be the order of the day. This is a chance for things to CHANGE - it remains to be seen if the radical left will allow it to happen.

But you know something? If the Democrats do win the White House, I'm hoping like anything that they'll not make a hash of things like Carter did. I'm afraid I'm not seeing anything but the same-old same-old promises, with a fresh coat of paint and pinstripes. No matter how much you wax it up, clean the upholstery and shine the glass and chrome, then tout it on the used car lot, that ol' Yugo ain't gonna speed up any.

But I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Lee Ward:

So you think us Democrats are just putting lipstick on a pig? I'm not going to say you're wrong, because that's just words -- and I've had my fill of politicians' promises too.

Lots of things are different now versus 1976-1980. Look a the speed with which we process information and news and form opinions - and feed back those opinions forcefully to the powers that be. Our country is a lot less "top down" than it was back in the late 70s.

Look at the way Barack jumped through hoops to make matters right in regards to Wright. Yes, he jumped through the wrong hoops once or twice before finally throwing that theological and racial luddite under the bus, but he did eventually do the right thing.

Today politicians can't get away with things as easily as even five years ago. It's the potential outcry of pubic opinion that has kept the Bush administration from invading Iran, for example.

That's a new "power" in the equation that wasn't there in 1976, and it wasn't there in 2003 when we invaded Iraq either.

[British PM Tony] Blair said the actual trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final opportunity" to disarm itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and coalition officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace. [whitehouse.gov]

Tale a look at where public opinion was back then:

In a January 2003 CBS poll, 64% of Americans approved of military action against Iraq. 63% wanted President Bush to find a diplomatic solution rather than going to war with Iraq, and 62% believed the threat of terror would increase if war was waged with Iraq. [CBS]

Given those poll numbers, if the same situation were to present itself today I don't think BushCo would have invaded Iraq, and I know Obama and Clinton wouldn't have -- and I don't think McCain would either-- even though he wants Republicans and swing moderates to believe he would at this stage in the electoral process.

So it's a game changer regardless of who wins. And I don't think this 'new democracy' (for lack of a better name) would let mistakes be made in other areas either. If Barack is elected and heads down the wrong path on health care, for example, I think public opinion will turn him away towards a better solution.

So 'we the people' have more say now than we have had for at long time. That's what's different now.

But if US government that is more responsive to majority rule concerns you -- well, that's a concern if a Democrat gets into the White House -- yep -- and not as much a concern if McCain wins. McCain might let the wizards behind the curtains run the show for another four years, and public opinion won't mean squat with McBush in the White House.

Lee -

Had a nice reply for you - then IE ate it when I tried to search for "Yugo Racing". Oh, well. I'll try to reconstruct a version.

"So you think us Democrats are just putting lipstick on a pig? I'm not going to say you're wrong, because that's just words -- and I've had my fill of politicians' promises too."

I don't like the 'lipstick on a pig' analogy - a pig has value from top to bottom, whether there's paint on its kisser or not. A Yugo, however, has no redeeming value (aside from jokes) once it breaks down. Shine it up, and it's still a Yugo. (The Yugo's a slightly classier comparasion, to boot.) There's just little to nothing NEW on the showroom floor. "Hope" and "Change" are nice, shiny chrome... but what's under the hood?

"Our country is a lot less "top down" than it was back in the late 70s." - and that's a good thing, I think. However, you're familiar with the saying "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"? There's a lot of political action groups who've figured out how to get a LOT of grease - and that means influence and power within the party. I, for one, am amazed at how a very vocal minority can essentially grab hold of the Democratic party. It worries me - because they will not listen to the vast unwashed.

You mentioned Obama listening to the people re health care...

There, I think you're making two unwarranted assumptions. First, that the media will report without bias on what Obama has planned. And second, that the explanation will be both simple enough that Joe SixPack will be able to follow all the pertinent points, and comprehensive enough to cover the pertinent points. (The media doesn't exactly have a great record lately of giving out unbiased info, and people are noticing. NYTimes and other papers have had severe cuts in subscriptions...)

There's a third assumption - that he'd actually CARE if there were objections. My memories of the Hillarycare debacle might well be faulty - but I recall her NOT listening to anyone, and putting bogus numbers on cost out to boot.

(By the way, If Barak gets into office, AND he really decides to press the health care issue, I can see him pulling a Hillary and NOT listening to critics on the things he KNOWS are the things that should be done. (You might look at Bush for examples of selective deafness, too.))

However - I can also see Obama getting into office and folding when he faces resistance on any issue at all. His voting record, I understand, seems to be pretty, um, indecisive. He also doesn't seem to have much of a record on really getting anything done. I might well be wrong on that, however. I do think he's gotten more done than Kerry, for what it's worth.

His foreign policy statements, though, give me the shivers - does he really believe that dictatorships are open to reasonable debate? That thugocracies will stop oppressing their people simply because he asks them to? OPEC will ramp up production, because he asks?

Well, who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Hmm. You know - come to think of strange things, I don't believe I even heard of Obama prior to this election cycle. (Not too surprising, since I don't live in Illinois.) Which makes me wonder - how did someone with so little practical experience or time in office get so high up in the food chain so fast? It doesn't seem to have been talent, or drive - it's more like he's being pushed. Who's doing the pushing?

The cynic in me thinks he's gotten so far, so fast due to an "Anybody But Hillary" faction in the DNC that saw him as the only candidate who had the potential to beat her in the primaries. And that they'd take a chance on losing the Presidency in '08 over having Hillary as President...

Which makes me wonder - who's puppet is he?

Sorry for the ramble - it's late, and I wanted you to have a reply on this. I agree with you on the game changer part. It remains to be seen whether it's a game where we all can win something - or whether a lot are going to lose so the government will have more to 'give'.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

So do they really race Yugos?

There's just little to nothing NEW on the showroom floor. "Hope" and "Change" are nice, shiny chrome... but what's under the hood?

Hope and change are under the hood. That alone will be enough to win the election, I suspect. McBush is offering us four more years, and Americans won't stand still for that.

Choosing Huckabee will help McCain a tad, but only a tad. He's still Bush redux - he's as much as promised that as he panders to the base.

"I, for one, am amazed at how a very vocal minority can essentially grab hold of the Democratic party. It worries me - because they will not listen to the vast unwashed."

Well -- I'll just point again to the example I used above. With 63% of Americans calling for a diplomatic solution to Iraq pre-invasion BushCo went to way anyway. He listened to the minority viewpoint, and Republicans cheered.

I don't think you'll see the same with Obama. I really don't. He's much more of a centrist, moderate -- consensus builder than that. enough so that it pisses me off because I think the progressive agenda will get tosses aside to a great extent -- I've been saying that for months.

Look at the differences in health care plans for Obama and Clinton. Obama's is much more moderate.

"I don't believe I even heard of Obama prior to this election cycle."

He made big news witht he 2004 Dmeocratic election keynote address. He was a rising star back then, but not well known -- true.

I don't think nefarious sources are behind him. I think that witch of a wife is pusjhing forward more than anyone or anything else.

But she's no more of witch than Cindy "It's my money so F*ck off" McCain -- so let's call that a draw, eh?

"It doesn't seem to have been talent, or drive - it's more like he's being pushed. Who's doing the pushing?"

Look at his ability to rally people? It's an amazing talent, unmatched in US politics for several decades.

"The cynic in me thinks he's gotten so far, so fast due to an "Anybody But Hillary" faction in the DNC that saw him as the only candidate who had the potential to beat her in the primaries."

I disagree - he's self-made. He's simply outperformed all others. Give him his due, he earned it.

JLawson:

"So do they really race Yugos?"

Hard to believe - but do a search on "Yugo Racing". (Don't go to the first one, however - it crashed my browser.) There's even some on dragstrips.

"He's simply outperformed all others."

Doing what? Admittedly, he's gotten the votes, and he's a practiced, charismatic speaker - but that doesn't mean much. I'm not impressed with speaking ability and the tendency to get your audience to swoon. I'd much rather see substantive, real, actual stuff he's managed to change. And there doesn't seem to be much of that.

"Hope and change are under the hood. That alone will be enough to win the election, I suspect."

Maybe... but you're talking paint and chrome polish there, not substance. But I guess we'll see in November. I'm thinking there's a long time between now and then - and I don't think Barak can keep the shine up.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Doing what? Admittedly, he's gotten the votes, and he's a practiced, charismatic speaker - but that doesn't mean much."

It means he'll win the election as long as he doesn't screw up. There's more to Obama than that, but that's enough for now.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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