At approximately 8:59pm tonight Kiether Oberman on MSNBC interupted John McCain’s speech from somewhere in Louisiana to announce that Barack Obama would have enough delegate votes to be considered the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. It is now a little after 10pm and Barack is making his way to the podium to address the crowd in St. Paul, Minnesota. I feel a quiet sort of satisfaction as I listen to his speech, and yet a small but persistant nervousness. I suppse part of me a hesitant to celebrate too much, to be too optimistic. But perhaps that is all to the good. Because though the primart is effectively over, the race for The President of the United States has just begun. And anything can still happen.
I watched Hilary’s speech and there was no concession in it. That is certainly not news by now. It was a little bit concillatory, a tad bit congratulatory, but mostly it seemed about leverage. She wants to be VP. That news has been leaked all day long today, a tactic the Clintons’ used often when Bill was in the White House.
Hilary wants the VP because now, now, now she sees it as possibly her only way to become president. My immediate visceral reaction is no fucking way! Not after the bullshit she has pulled in this campaign. But another part of me, perhaps a slight more mature part, says, no, wait. It is something that needs to be considered. For surely if Hilary is not the Pres. than she has to be on the short list of VP. Although I can’t really agree with those who would say that Hilary would be on anyone’s short list. Well, that may be true, but before this year she would never have considered it, because she has long had her sites on the Presidency. So much so that she assumed that it was pre-ordained. That it was simply a matter of formality. And it was that mind-set that lost her this race. She simply was not prepared. That is why she is not accepting the nomination tonight, and Barack is.
I wont’ say right now that I would not vote for Barack if he selected Hilary as his running mate. That would be reactionary, even foolish, the kind of thing a spoiled little kid would say. But I’ll admit that is what I want to say. That is the inflexible standard that I want to set for my vote, for what it is worth. Not much, I know, but still. This is all to say that right now I think it would be a mistake for Barack to pick Hilary as his running mate. And I know the arguments for why he should. Still, I want to resisit it. I want to believe that Barack can win over those constuincies of Hilary’s, enough of them anyway, to win this without her on the ticket. And if she were truly a team Democratic player she would support Barack no matter what. But I’m not sure she can. No one pouts like a self-entitled, solipsistic Baby Boomer in the face of grave disappointment.
But there is plenty of time before a VP has to be selected. Right now is the time to celebrate this historic moment. A black man has been nominated by a major party to run for the Presidency of the United States. And much of that is due to a whole new generation of voters and volunteers and contributors. Mellinnials. They made a huge difference in this race and will continue to do so. And as always seems the case Generation X seems to have been shunted to the margins. Who talks about them in this race? Not many, if any at all. Shit, most won’t let you call Barack a GenXer, even though he is. Generation Jones may ass. Barack is X. And he is going to make a kick ass president. And it doesn’t matter what label you affix to him.
I’ll concede that Hilary’s speech was eloquent and inspiring at times, but it doesn’t touch Barack’s speech, doesn’t match the energy, the enthusiasm. Someone said that Hilary’s speech was in a basement where there were not TV monitors and no reception for cell phones and blackberries, which, the assumption is, keep people from getting the news of Barack’s win. And yet Chris Mathews made the point that these people aren’t stupid, aren’t living in a bubble. They know. Perhaps they do. But there is a difference in “knowing” and having it reported to you. Who knows?
Oberman and Brit Hume are talking about what a huge upset this has been, Barack winning over Hilary. Just a short while ago it was strongly presumed that HIlary would be the candidate and Barack was this newcomer that very few people knew. And how communication technology has played a role in what has happened. This is a point brought up in the book that I am reading, Mellinnial Makeover.
It’s late and I should get to bed soon, but I just want to enjoy this moment a bit longer. And think about what may happen next.