Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fighting despair

Andrew Sullivan offers a little perspective and encouragement for the Obama-faithful:

So many readers seem to be feeling it. I have too. But remember what we're dealing with here: last fall, no one gave Obama a chance. It was always a very long shot. When I wrote that Obama piece, Clinton was ahead by at least 20 points and it wasn't budging a jot. Every pundit also expected the classic Clinton-Giuliani set-up for 2008: the perfect boomer red-blue battle. It didn't happen. The Republicans, from a smaller and demoralized base, gave us McCain. And the Clintons have lost the mathematical chance of winning the nomination by any fair means. The change has already happened.

Obama is a freshman senator; he is 46 years old; he is African-American; he is a liberal - even if he is very gifted in talking to conservatives. He has taken on the biggest brand and machine in American politics, the Clintons, and won. If you didn't think this would be an uphill struggle, you've been deluded. Of course, race will not go away; it will come back again and again and again. Of course, generational resistance will not go away: Obama is a big leap for the over 50s for all sorts of reasons. Of course, the usual Rovian tactics will be used against him - brutally. He does represent real change - culturally, politically, and in terms of global politics. Politicians who represent real change do not win easily; they usually require a real crisis to rise. That's how RFK and MLK emerged - in crisis, after being smeared (sometimes with a grain of truth) and finally assassinated. That's how Reagan and Thatcher emerged. We forget how their chances were considered flimsy for so long.

Obama is still in this; and the Wright fiasco gives him a chance to remove this cloud and address it again. He has the most votes, the most states, the most money, the most new voters and the most delegates and the most Senators on his side. This is no time for a failure of nerve - on the part of the Obama team or his supporters.
The only way past this is through it. And it's not just up to Obama; it's up to those of us who see him as a vehicle for real change.


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