Remember a few months ago when I said I would probably support Hillary Clinton or John McCain because of their "experience." Sometime in February, I changed my mind.
The McCain option was just for fun: I think the Republican "revolution" of 1980 has long run its course. I mean, to what elderly statesman would McCain appeal to be his secretary of state? Alexander Haig?
With Clinton and Obama, perhaps it all came down to how they ran their campaigns. Hillary's suffered from infighting, debt, and a husband who just couldn't help but utter an expletive or two. The stereotype about Hillary -- that she would do or say anything to win -- was driven home to me by her fuzzy delegate math and arguments about which states should count and which ones shouldn't. Plus, I could never put my finger on why she wanted to be president, other than that she wanted to be president.
I must admit, the "entitlement thing", that, by somehow being a former first lady and senator in her second term she was "entitled" to the nomination, deeply annoyed me. The Clintons market themselves as electoral powerhouses, but Bill only got 43 percent of the vote in 1992, and owed Ross Perot many heartfelt thank yous for that one. Meantime, the DLC-led Dems, epitomized by the Clinton presidency, went on to lose congressional election after election from 1994 through 2004. Thanks for the memories, guys.
What I sense swayed others to Obama was that they could cut the Clintons out of the equation. There would be no rings to kiss, no misplaced expletives to suffer. Instead, they could all make a deal with the young, charismatic leader who managed to escape "Preachergate" relatively unscathed. Joe Biden could be secretary of state, John Edwards attorney general. Maybe Bill Richardson could be vice president. It's the kind of big-wig deal making that last went on, oddly enough, back in 1980, when the interests of Bush, Kissinger, Haig, et al., all coincided with that sunny optimist and his dish full of jelly beans, Ronald Reagan.
So, in a way, that is what we are voting for in this election. The leftovers of Nixon-Ford-Reagan-Bush-Bush, or a semi-new constellation of leadership. We'll see how the general election plays out, but I understand why so many voters responded well to the theme of change.
* By the way, Obama isn't the first person "of color" on a major party presidential ticket. Herbert Hoover's vice president, Charles Curtis, was half Native American. He also was the last vice president to sport a mustache.