Although blogger wouldn't let me in to say it right away, I'm pleased that my initial prediction (long ago revised) turned out wrong. Hillary Clinton's presidential campign is over. For the longest time, I thought she'd find a way to win. But in the end, the Democratic superdelegates said "no." Although I never bought her creative math for claiming she actually won more votes than Obama, I do believe that, in terms of electoral college math, she was probably the stronger general election candidate of the two. It seems to me at this point that the Democrats have picked the one nominee who might could lose, and the Republicans have picked the one nominee who might could win. But at this point, Obama still has an edge.
Forgetting that, for a few minutes, congratulations are in order. First, to Obama for successfully becoming the nominee. Other factors aside, less than 60 men (and still no women) have ever been the nominee of the Democratic party. That's pretty good company! Secondly, to Obama and all of us in this great country for proving that the days when a black guy can't win are over. If anything, Obama's race has been part of his positive appeal, not a negative. I don't see how anybody can fail to be happy about that (and if, in the end, he should happen to lose a fair fight to John McCain, I certainly hope we won't fall back on the tired old line that the country "just wasn't ready"). And finally, a collective sigh of relief--it seems that the Clinton years are finally behind us. I can't say I'll miss them. I have joked ever since the very beginning of this process that I was in the ABC (Anybody But Clinton) camp. I may worry a great deal about what will happen if either of the other two candidates wins. Either way, I'm going to have some serious policy disagreements with the president. But I won't start at the outset with the belief that our country's leader is low-class, shady, and dishonest. Not that McCain or Obama could not either one turn out to be a disaster--even a source of scandal. But either of them will start with a clean slate and a presumption of good character. I couldn't say that about a Clinton (and let's not forget, you always get two for the price of one).
There are, of course, serious policy differences between Obama and McCain. There are areas on which they are similar (immigration, global warming). But they are diametrically opposed on Iraq, on abortion, on taxes, on judges, on negotiations with Iran, and those are just the big ones. Wouldn't it be nice if this campaign were all about which of those choices were the best for the country? Sure, there will be talk of flip-flopping, of Rezko and Wright, of the Keating Five. That's unavoidable. But for now, I'm reasonably optimistic about what it'll feel like teaching the basics of this campaign during first term of next school year. I sure hope I'm right.