And I have mixed emotions. Sure, Barack Obama has won the Democratic presidential nomination fair and square, he is a better orator, he does offer more likelihood of real change and a culture shift in Washington, and he is my preferred candidate for President of the United States. On the other hand, I feel fairly bad for Hillary. Neither the traditional conservative media outlets nor the liberal media outlets have done her any favours over the course of this gruelling and increasingly bitter campaign. One needs only to consider the nasty photographs published of her in the press over the past six months to realise that the world’s mainstream media, whether concertedly or implicitly, had it in for Hillary Clinton all along. Obama has been gifted a “cool candidate” framing by the media that has elevated his campaign to a degree that it is hard to quantify. One wonders what the result would have been if the media had ripped into both of the Democratic candidates equally over the past six months.
She would have been a pretty good President, despite it all. Of course, if Obama loses to McCain in November, this whole overblown, melodramatic saga is going to make Democrats and their supporters across the United States (and the globe) look and feel pretty stupid. The Democrats have certainly had the better and more competitive of the two nomination races. Now they really have to make it happen in the race that actually matters.
Of course, part of me will still not believe that the Democratic nomination race is over until I see Hillary Clinton utter her concession direct to camera. She has been nothing if not dogged and determined throughout, and for that she deserves high praise.
The presidential race in the United States has quickly boiled down to a couple of candidates for each party: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democrats, and John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Republicans. For the Republicans it would seem that the outcome is a foregone conclusion, with McCain running with far greater momentum with Romney through recent state ballots. Contrastingly, I don’t think any of us watching is too keen to put their neck out in relation to predicting the Democratic nomination. From all reports, the margins are tight, and recent results which have run massively contrary to prior polling (e.g. New Hampshire) make one pretty sceptical of market research just at the moment.
For my money’s worth (and I have an extremely dubious track record on such matters), I am tipping Hillary Clinton to do better out of Super Tuesday for the Democrats than Obama. My preferred choice is of course the latter, but I just have a funny feeling that while Obama is pulling in young voters left, right and centre, he is not doing quite so well with the older, establishment set within the Democratic party. The recent comparisons of Obama to JFK and his endorsement by Teddy Kennedy seem at first glance to be real coups for the Obama campaign, but we mustn’t forget that Kennedy no longer represents what we might call the mainstream Democratic establishment. One imagines that a decent number of hard-nosed Democrat voters would have sensed alarm bells going off when Kennedy, with his controversial take on modern politics and his high profile, backed Obama, who has less political experience and less global political connections than his counterpart. The Obama campaign team have attempted to turn this inexperience into a positive by taking an anti-establishment, anti-insider approach to the media markets, but this may ultimately prove hurtful to the campaign, as it appeared to be in some respects for John Edwards who was even more aggressive on this line.
I guess we’ll find out one way or another soon enough. If we do eventually end up with a third Clinton Administration – my one frivolous hope is that Clinton hires Obama and his team for writing and delivering her speeches. If we are talking about the craft of language and the ability to inspire people with words, I don’t think there is any doubt that Obama knocks Clinton, her husband, and the entire bevy of Republican candidates right out of the park.