Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whose "Change" Glass Has More Water?

Observations from the Democratic Party Primary Elections

From the Desk of Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey
MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) February 20, 2008 - I’ll start with the obvious: she's a superbly intelligent woman, phenomenally driven to succeed, extremely aggressive, and politically savvy to the maximum. She knows the issues. She's been elected twice to the United States Senate.

Hillary Clinton is a serious woman who wants to be elected president - in a serious way.

However, and this is just my opinion, her ambition has turned into more than a little desperation, and even belligerence, in the face of the electoral tidal wave that is on the verge of capsizing her presidential dream boat.

That wave, of course, is Barack Obama.

As I write this short essay, Senator Obama, on February 19, won the Democratic primary elections in Wisconsin and his native state of Hawaii. That makes ten straight primary election victories for him, with the huge battleground states of Texas and Pennsylvania looming in the immediate future.

Most political pundits now openly say that Senator Clinton must win one, if not both, of these primary elections if she expects to win her party's nomination for the presidency.

Clearly, huge numbers of new voters have been energized by this heavyweight political slugfest between two worthy opponents. That, for me, is all good.

But what is not all good is the rhetoric from Senator Clinton, and her surrogates, suggesting that she is tested and true, and that Obama is devoid of political substance and somehow "over his head' in this race leading up to, arguably, the most important American presidential election in the last 50 years.

Does Senator Clinton bring many decades of elected public service to the contest? Has she served in a presidential cabinet? Has she directed a significant corporation or not-for-profit organization?

No. What she brings to this contest is the same thing that her rival brings; namely, loads of intelligence, confidence, relentless ambition, and tons of campaign contributions.

But I suspect that, with all of her acumen and attributes, if her name were Hillary Rodham Smith, and she did not happen to be the highly visible spouse of a popular, two-term former president, her race for the Democratic party nomination would be non-existent.

Senator Obama, a relative newcomer to the cauldron of national politics, has offered promises of change on the campaign trail. And while he might lack decades of experience in elected office, he brings an apparent willingness to challenge the old social class configuration and policies that form the bedrock of the mess that currently calls itself a national government.

Like Senator Clinton, if he is elected, his initiatives will be challenged by the powers that be. But also, like Senator Clinton, he will surround himself with smart, able people who just might help him engineer the political changes that many people in America seem to be demaning.

If Hillary had arrived on stage with loads of personal political success or experience, independent of her family relationship with Bill Clinton's administration, then her derisive dismissal of Obama’s "empty rhetoric" for change might have struck a more responsive chord within me.

But she runs an almost imperial campaign, supported by the illusion that she served as a former co-president of the United States of America.

It might be wise for Senator Clinton to stop throwing stones at the glass house of Obama's relative lack of experience, or the rhetorical emptiness of his promise to "change" America. Her own record of public service might suggest that she really doesn't have the rocks, or the slingshot, for that kind of personal assault against her rival.

* This essay should not be construed as an endorsement of any candidate by the writer or by MAS Freedom.

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