Jun 29, 2008

June 3, 2008: End of the Slugfest, Unheralded Achievements, Opportunities Lost

The long slugfest between Barack and Hillary ended last night with the country being presented with yet another set of ‘bookends’, this time Hillary winning in South Dakota and Barack prevailing by similar margins in Montana. South Dakota went for Hillary 55-45%, 54,000-43,000 votes respectively; Montana reversed the tables voting for Obama 56-41%, 102-74,000 votes respectively. The long slog through the primaries presented the nation with Barack Obama winning the majority of pledged delegates chosen by primary election or caucus becoming in the process the putative Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

On this night, Hillary and John McCain would have none of it. Hillary, in her ‘victory’ speech in South Dakota, did not even pause to acknowledge her opponent’s triumph in Montana, much less his historic achievement. Instead, focusing on her victory here and in Puerto Rico last weekend and falsely claiming victory in the contest for most votes cast, which includes the muddled contests in Florida and Michigan, she touted herself as the real winner. Ignoring the only votes that matter — the delegate count —s he pledged to carry her fight all the way to the convention. McCain, for his part, said nothing concerning the historical achievement of his fellow Senators, but instead focused on the mundane.

This campaign has been beset by a series of lost opportunities. As noted earlier in this narrative, the victory by Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, marking the first victory by a woman in a contest for President in an open primary, went unheralded, not only by Obama, but the mainstream press. Many more victories were to follow, but since the opening bell at Iowa, Hillary has never led in the delegate count. For all intents and purposes, this race has been over since Super Tuesday when the Empire proved unable to dispatch the young Jedi — a verdict confirmed by a string of victories throughout March. As the campaign progressed, or rather regressed, each Clinton victory served only to buoy the hopes of those who sought to reach a different political milestone by breaking through a different set of barriers. The truth is that both candidates succeeded, and in their success, were blinded to the achievement of the other. As a result, the emergence last night of Barack Obama as the nominal nominee of his party, a milestone in the history of this republic, went uncelebrated by at least half of his own party. Such are the politics of this Generation of Swine.

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