Thursday, February 07, 2008

Obama's breakthrough among whites

A historical perspective from William Saletan, with a few, very important stats:

It was possible to argue, as Clinton implicitly did, that Obama's ceiling, like Jackson's, was limited. Obama hadn't cracked 40 percent of the white vote anywhere. He hadn't even cracked 37 percent. Pundits theorized that John Edwards' presence in South Carolina helped Obama by splitting white support that would otherwise go to Hillary Clinton. The theory implied that in a two-person contest, Obama still wouldn't draw much white support.

Tonight's results crushed that argument. Even if you don't count Obama's caucus victories in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, and North Dakota, he shattered his previous white-vote ceiling in 11 other states. In eight states, he crossed the 40 percent threshold. In Connecticut, he tied Clinton among whites. In California, he beat her. In Utah and Illinois, he won commanding majorities.

I don't mean to oversell what Obama accomplished tonight. It's easier to ascend from the 20 percents to the 40 percents when you've got only one opponent left. It's easier to climb from 30 percent to 40 percent than from 40 percent to 50 percent. And it's easier to win support from white Democrats than from white Republicans. But when you look at Obama's numbers tonight and compare them to Jackson's numbers 20 years ago, you're looking at a sea change. This is not a diversity-training exercise. It's a nationwide primary to choose the next president of the United States. The American color barrier, at its highest level, is collapsing.

That's been a central theme of Obama's campaign all along. The message of South Carolina, he suggested in his speech tonight, was that "maybe we don't have to be divided by race and region and gender." But that message didn't come from South Carolina. It came from California, Arizona, Connecticut, and the other states that voted Tuesday. And with those votes, an aspiration is becoming a reality. No matter whom you support for president, that's a victory worth celebrating.

Monday, February 04, 2008

YouTube - Why Lorna Switched from Clinton to Obama

Short, to the point, powerful endorsement from a leading prochoice advocate. It's about integrity.

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - washingtonpost.com

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - washingtonpost.com
Stunning editorial by Michael Chabon. After all the ink that has been spilled over this election it may seem pointless to post yet one more endorsement, one more argument asserting why one should support this candidate over that one. But Michael Chabon's essay is well worth reading if for no other reason than its rhetorical conviction and beauty.

But the most pitiable fear of all is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say "pitiable" because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. If we do fight for Obama, work for him, believe in him, vote for him, and the man goes down to defeat by the big-money machines and the merchants of fear, then what hope will we have left to hold on to?

Thus in the name of preserving hope do we disdain it. That is how a phobocracy maintains its grip on power.

To support Obama, we must permit ourselves to feel hope, to acknowledge the possibility that we can aspire as a nation to be more than merely secure or predominant. We must allow ourselves to believe in Obama, not blindly or unquestioningly as we might believe in some demagogue or figurehead but as we believe in the comfort we take in our families, in the pleasure of good company, in the blessings of peace and liberty, in any thing that requires us to put our trust in the best part of ourselves and others. That kind of belief is a revolutionary act. It holds the power, in time, to overturn and repair all the damage that our fear has driven us to inflict on ourselves and the world.