From today's final debate before the January 3rd Iowa caucuses. Watch through to Obama's comment at the end of this clip. This is an extraordinary moment of grace from Obama; and he's no dummy: Iowans reward this type of generosity of spirit.
Barack Obama can win. The Republicans, who have been geared up to battle the Clintons one more time in '08, won't be as geared up to fight Obama.
It's true that Obama is green. It's true that he's no master of foreign policy. It's true that he's just a junior senator. It's true that his middle name is Hussein and his stepfather was a Muslim.
None of that matters. Obama can win. People who wouldn't vote for him because he is black or because of his middle name would probably vote Republican anyway. Obama speaks to our better natures, he reminds us all of the hopes we still harbor for our country, for what it can stand for, for the message we can send to the rest of the world. People will want to vote for him. They will not feel as if they must, or that they have to, or that this is the only way to oppose the Republicans (think Kerry, think Hillary Clinton).
Andrew Sullivan, with whom I rarely agree, put it best:
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.The Atlantic.
That's undoubtedly too simplistic and crude, but there's a great deal of truth in what Sullivan says.
I'm saddened that Al Gore did not run for President this year. It is a tragedy of historic proportions for America that Gore did not take office as President in January 2001. But we have a candidate for now, someone who will help take America to a new place, of engagement with the world. It's time to turn the page on the Bush and Clinton years. Bill Clinton was a great idol of mine at one time. But his recent comments, especially about supposedly opposing the Iraq war from the very start -- he clearly did not -- have started to bring back the memories of the failures and disappointments, the selling out, the pandering, and the triangulations of Bill and Hillary Clinton, round one. We don't need to go back to that again. And the Clinton campaign's recent despicable tactics of alluding to Obama's kindergarten ambitions and speculating about his teenage drug use, just confirm that Camp Clinton is very much playing the same old bullshit game again and trying to drag us all down with them.
The face of America to the world, for nearly eight years now, has been George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Imagine the pride we will all feel, how much taller we will stand, on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.
Barack Obama in 2008.