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Thoughts on Voting

"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

America Finally Gets it Right!


In 1968, I worked on Bobby Kennedy's campaign and had the honor of meeting him the day before he won the California primary -- and was assassinated. This occurred just two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King and threw a dark cloud on a movement of peace, hope and social justice. Last night, the dreams of Dr. King and RFK took one step closer to reality with the stunning upset victory of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois over the "inevitable candidate", Hillary Clinton, who demonstrated a glaring lack of class in ignoring his historic victory.

Senator Barack Obama's stunning upset victory makes him the first African-American presidential candidate in American history, and came after Senator Clinton started out with $100 million in her war chest, over 100 Super Delegates in her pocket, and a 40 point lead in every state. Nobody stood a chance against the Clinton machine. In fact she planned to spend all of her money to steamroll her opponents and end the race by Super Tuesday, February 5:

Why couldn't she close the deal? Senator Obama entered the race with no money, but a lot of talent and HOPE, and a belief in himself and the people of America. His amazing organizational skills led to the most impressive political victory of modern times over an organization that had been established for over 20 years. If this had been "Survivor", an analysis would reveal that Mrs. Clinton had been outplayed, outsmarted, outfoxed, outmanaged, and outfinanced.

We salute Barack Obama on his historic victory and wish him success in November and beyond.



"Senator Clinton's speech last night was a justifiably proud recitation of her accomplishments over the course of this campaign, but it did not end right. She didn't do what she should have done. As hard and as painful as it might have been, she should have conceded, congratulated, endorsed and committed to Barack Obama. Therefore the next 48 hours are now as important to the future reputation of Hillary Clinton as the last year and a half have been.

I am disappointed. As a long time Hillary Clinton supporter and more importantly, an admirer, I am sad that this historic effort has ended with such a narrow loss for her. There will be the appropriate "if onlys" for a long time to come. If only the staff shakeup happened earlier; if only the planning in caucus states had more focus; if only Hillary had let loose with the authentic human and connecting voice she found in the last three months of the campaign. If only. If only. I have written many times on this site about the talents of Hillary Clinton and why I thought she'd make a great President.

After last night's final primary, she was only about pledged 100 delegates behind him. Ironic that after not wanting to make the decision for so long, it was in fact, the superdelegates who made the decision. But I guess they did so for another reason. It just isn't her time. It is his time. It's a new day that offers a freshness to our party that many have longed for. We felt the rush of new voices and a new energy in the Congressional sweep of 2006 and the sweep continues. It has been an organic shift. And a healthy one.

The life's work of Bill and Hillary Clinton in partnering with so many African Americans uniting our purpose and promoting our mutual issues is as responsible for Barack Obama's success as our first African American nominee as anyone. And yet, that joy is being denied for them by themselves. It is so sad.

So, I am also so very disappointed at how she has handled this last week. I know she is exhausted and she had pledged to finish the primaries and let every state vote before any final action. But by the time she got on that podium last night, she knew it was over and that she had lost. I am sure I was not alone in privately urging the campaign over the last two weeks to use the moment to take her due, pass the torch and cement her grace. She had an opportunity to soar and unite. She had a chance to surprise her party and the nation after the day-long denials about expecting any concession and send Obama off on the campaign trail of the general election with the best possible platform. I wrote before how she had a chance for her "Al Gore moment." And if she had done so, the whole country ALL would be talking today about how great she is and give her her due.

Instead she left her supporters empty, Obama's angry and party leaders trashing her. She said she was stepping back to think about her options. She is waiting to figure out how she would "use" her 18 million voters.

But not my vote. I will enthusiastically support Barack Obama's campaign. Because I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat."

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