“They said this day would never come” is one of Barack Obama’s favorite sound bytes. I’ve heard him recite it in person twice, once in Austin in 2007 and again in San Marcos just a few months ago. In 2007, he was referring to the fact that he was a black man raised by a single mother and seeking the highest office in the land. In February, he was fresh off several primary victories previously viewed as Clinton strongholds and unknowingly just days away from his overtime caucus win in Texas. But last night, he proclaimed it as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.
Even while people commended his campaign and expressed pride that our nation had come far enough to consider a black man for president, they largely talked about him as a novelty. Hillary Clinton was the all-but-certain-nominee.
They said Obama’s day would never come. He could never overtake the “Clinton Machine.” He was too young, too inexperienced, too black, too white, too smart, too foreign, too different. Too bad no one seemed to care. Instead of alienating voters with his “otherness,” Obama brought loads of first-time voters into the process. His so-called “inexperience” with politics produced a highly organized, efficient campaign that consistently surpassed both McCain and Clinton in fundraising. And now that he has clenched the nomination, outcries of inadequacy are echoing across the blogosphere and the mainstream media.
He “needs” Clinton on the ticket to win in November. He can’t do it without her. Really? Because the last time I checked he just did. Despite all odds, he went head-to-head with Clinton and won. Although current polls suggest otherwise, Obama can beat McCain in a general election. The longer Obama is on the ground, meeting voters and making speeches, the better he does. While McCain has had quite the head start, I am confident in Obama’s skills. I can’t wait to see the two of them in a debate. While Clinton certainly deserves a place in Washington for all the support she has garnered in the last 16 months, to say Obama needs her is a stretch of the imagination at best.