Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Counting Change

There's the feeling in the air that we could on the verge of something historic here, as Barack Obama pulls down the states--Washington State, Lousiana, Nebraska and Maine--and today goes into primaries in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. It is beginning to feel like excitement of 1968, when Robert Kennedy jumped into the Democratic primaries, fueled by young people desperate for a change, or 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt stepped in, also running as a candidate of transformation. Hillary in the meantime is saying that it is all a counting game--that the delegates of Texas and Ohio, on March 4, will be what she needs to carry her over the top,but politics is never simply about counting. If it was, Harry Truman would not have won in 1948.
It still isn't over yet and there are a significant number of people who think Hillary Clinton is the most qualified Democratic candidate, but numerous Democrats are making their choices on who they think can beat John McCain in the fall, and a goodly percentage of them have decided that Obama is that person.
At my daughter's elementary school yesterday, the principal told a gathering of young students that they might do well to pay attention to what was going on in the national political scene, that they were living in historic times. They are not too young to understand this. When I was ten years old, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon (by a hair) for the presidency and even my brother and sister and myself knew that he was something different than the grey old Eisenhower, the only president we had ever known. On the morning after the election, my mother opened the bedroom door and said, rather grumpily, "Well, your friend Kennedy won." For me, that morning was the beginning of the 1960s, an extraordinary era of change.

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