Barack Obama, Kennedy, And Camelot

Posted on January 27, 2008

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The senator from Illinois won big in South Carolina. Barack Obama, 55 percent; Hillary Clinton, 27 percent; John Edwards, 18 percent.

Four regions of the country have been heard from, and the score is 2-2. But Sen. Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama makes it seem like 3-2, advantage Obama. Never before has a presidential candidacy so strongly suggested the restoration of Camelot.

The preliminaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina failed to produce a clear front-runner in the Democratic Party. But voters in the early primaries did good work.

  • The minor candidates were shaken from the tree.
  • The Democratic contest was narrowed to two. (Four strikes and you’re out, John Edwards.)
  • A campaign theme has emerged: Change.
  • Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been seen, heard, and tested. (And Bill Clinton, too.) Their personalities and their positions have come into focus.

Barack Obama, now with Ted Kennedy’s blessing, sails forward to Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, with the wind at his back. (A week later, the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. primaries could turn out to be decisive.)

Voters’ attention has turned away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the potential for trouble from Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. That’s distant thunder. Up close, voters are hearing bad news about the U.S. economy — the housing bubble, the credit bubble, the wild stock market, a likely recession. The economic noise is close and loud. It signals not just a garden-variety recession, but very possibly an end to America’s privileged place in the world economy.

And what about the theme for this election year, change?

I’m thinking that change is spelled HOPE. Barack Obama represents an end to historic divisions in the country, a hope for One America.

Voters also hope for a future that is less dangerous and uncertain than the present. We want to be persuaded that Barack Obama will lead the people to a promised land without war and economic dislocation. We want to believe in Camelot. — Bernie Hayden

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