Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has finally clinched it for the Democrats, after the longest priimary season in history, after twenty debates with his opponent Hillary Clinton, after raising more money than any presidential candidate in history--and it's about time. Primary fatigue has set in in the last month with almost everyone I've spoken to, Democrat or Republican, who feel that it is now time for the two parties to turn their attention to each other.
Obama still has some house-cleaning to do re Hillary Clinton, who is now letting it be known that she will accept a vice-presidential nod. It is not often two such bitter rivals make up in this fashion. JFK and LBJ did it in 1960, although LBJ told a woman friend at the Democratic convention that “One out of every four Presidents has died in office. I’m a gamblin’ man, darlin’, and this is the only chance I got.” (One hopes this is not Hillary's calculation.) To me, anyway, it would seem foolish of Obama to place Hillary in this role, even if there are some fairly decent political reasons for doing so.
Almost lost in all of this so far is the fact that Barack Obama is now the first African-American major party nominee for president in American history. Once he shakes the first woman ever to get close to that job, this fact will become more and more important and will work in his favor, hopefully galvanizing Democrats to come out and vote in record numbers (which they have been doing so far in the primaries). Barack Obama will need these record numbers. Despite the dismal record of the current Administration, he is far from a shoo-in--in fact, part of Hillary's refusal to quit is that she understands that sheis definitely the better candidate against John McCain. Obama will be open to charges of inexperience, of being soft on terror, of being unable to even pick the right church to attend. Race will become an issue, although you won't see John McCain himself bringing it up.
However, Obama has a lot going for him as well. McCain is much older, allied with the Bush fiasco in Iraq--despite his current attempts to scamper away from it--and not well-loved by large portions of his own party. It may indeed be, as Barack Obama has been saying since February of 2007 and said again last night in St. Paul, time for a change. It is certainly at last time for a general election rumpus the likes of which we have never seen before. Let it begin.....