Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eloquent, and Anything But Empty

Today's headline in the Washington Post is Wisconsin Voters Give Obama Decisive Victory. Senator Obama continues to make toast out of Senator Clinton. Senator McCain is leveling his aim on Obama, claiming that Senator Obama offers an "eloquent but empty call for change." Get prepared for Clash of the Titans, Part II.

Of course, this could all change in two weeks in Texas and Ohio. This campaign excites me, and yes, gives me hope that real change can be made to heal our political institutions and bow them to the will of the people. I'm gratified that the three people left standing are Obama, Clinton, and McCain. I think Americans have a clear choice in the remaining Democratic primaries, and I'm happy that the Republicans chose sanity over disaster.

In the first round, Senator Obama clearly has a TKO, if not a knock out. His organization, his campaign, and his rhetoric prove his ability as a candidate. Whether he can maintain his momentum all the way through the convention and to November is this year's political mystery thriller, but he is an impressive candidate that the others have underestimated to their chagrin.

Senator Clinton has turned nasty. In a normal election year, it would be hardly noticed, but it is such a counterpoint to Obama's campaign that it underscores a huge difference in style. Style is important this year. Senator Clinton not only has to walk the walk, she has to talk the talk, and she appears incapable of fashioning a rhetoric that's believable or sincere. If she is to remain in the race, she has to score a couple of homeruns in Ohio and Texas. Senator Obama is moving into her constituencies. Her bases are shifting away. In the spotlight of Obama's rhetoric, her campaign appears mean spirited and old school. Indeed, blue collar unionists, women, and hispanic voters deeply desire change in a broken system. I think many Democrats are coming to the view that Senator Clinton is part of the problem.

Now, Senator McCain is talking about Senator Obama's "...empty call for change." I have to question whether McCain has been watching the Illinois Senator. The American people are not responding to an empty call for change (or they would have voted for Dennis Kucinich). The American people are responding to the challenges of this generation: to end a disastrous war, to build a just peace, to bind a weary world's festering wounds, to care for the weak among us, to bring justice, compasssion, and opportunity to a broken political system. Only one man in this campaign talks that talk. We may not know now whether Senator Obama can walk the walk, yet, but millions of Americans have listened to his talk and are betting that he can.