Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Democratic Campaign Turned Back to Where It Should Be Tonight

And where the campaign should be on the priority of replacing Republicans in the White House. Democrats, no matter who they place their faith in, need to keep their eye on the ball. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic voters mobilized in historic numbers while Republican turn-out declined. Because of Hillary's win, Obama can no longer claim that he is the only Democrat who can motivate and mobilize unusually high numbers of voters to the polls. The reports I'm hearing say that late decision-makers in New Hampshire broke Hillary's way. Rather than concluding that Democrats benefit from Obama's ability to pull in voters, I believe that Obama benefits from a Democratic electorate fired up to take the White House.

Democrats are turning out in droves not because of personalities, but because of purpose. And that purpose includes some important social issues largely ignored by Republicans in power and by Democrats in Congress.

Read me right: this is not an endorsement of Hillary, but an endorsement of a seachange in the American electorate in a fired up progressivism. Hillary overcame a double-digit-Obama-lead and conventional wisdom in both the mainstream media and the "alternative" blogosphere (even locally) that Obama would cruise. His campaign was caught looking past New Hampshire to South Carolina and his "viability" with African-American voters; and New Hampshire Democrats, both young and old stepped in and let the Party and the political wonks know that it should not take them for granted.

At the end of the night, the Democratic race is just about where it needs to be: Obama is young and should have to face sterner trials than coasting in Iowa if he wants my vote (a lack of experience equals a longer row to hoe); Hillary--in her own words during a speech tonight just as remarkable as Obama's last week--listened to others and in so doing discovered her own voice and perhaps more of her human side, which might make her a candidate worthy of my vote; and if a fading Edwards can somehow manage to come back from seeming oblivion, then he may just deserve my vote. A horse race is what this should come down to, and I feel much better with my choices now going into our primaries in February than I did after Iowa.

Thank you, New Hampshire, for keeping us honest.

UPDATE: Like I was saying:
It is important that the Democrats have a bruising, tough, no holds barred contest. Get all of the dirt and problems on the table now. If not, let there be no doubt, the Republicans will be more than happy to dredge up every piece of trash they can throw at folks. Obama has not yet been truly tested. Let him be tested now. Hillary and John have been through the battle. They are proven vets. No surprises come September for them. We cannot honestly say that about Obama.

This is not a slam of Obama. I am seriously worried about the stars in the eyes of Obama acolytes. We can't afford to give him a pass just because he is an inspiring symbol.

UPDATE: Just discovered that Enclave got linked over at the Wall Street Journal. Here's a screen shot of the end of WSJ reporter Laura Meckler's story on the New Hampshire results:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! I was worried when I read the thread title that you were endorsing Hillary, but from a staunch Obama supporter I am still glad that he will have to face tougher scrutiny. I was afraid that if he won according to the NH entry polls that there was going to be some severe national backlash for the very reasons you described. And I agree that yes I do like all 3 Democratic candidates a bit better after last night.

    Go Obama! Go Democrats!!!