Monday, February 04, 2008

Finding Voices for Obama

After her win in the New Hampshire primary, a victorious Hillary Clinton told her supporters "I found my own voice."

That was before she lost her own voice to her husband as Bill pushed her to the sidelines in South Carolina to defend his legacy, and coincidentally Hillary's candidacy, with eye-bulging, finger-waving, race-baiting vehemence.

As Hillary lost her voice in South Carolina, and the primary, she also lost her right to maintain the fairy tale that she could control Bill and was a woman who could lead. A sobered Democratic Party saw a replay of the painful Billary soap opera with an out-of-control Bill and weren't entertained.

Now other voices are rising to drown out Hillary's faux voice.... "Michelle, Maria, Caroline and Oprah on the Hustings in California" (NYTimes).... in support of Barack Obama.

Even though the NY Times endorsed Hillary, Times editor Andrew Rosenthal had a cautionary tale to tell. In California's U.C.L.A. basketball arena "four extraordinary women put on the best campaign rally I've seen in 20 years of covering presidential politics."

Caroline Kennedy, who brought along her uncle Sen. Ted Kennedy, delivered the message.... "step out of your lives and into this moment in history".... before introducing the surprise Obama supporter of the evening, Maria Shriver, the wife of Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who recently endorsed GOP candidate John McCain.

Oprah Winfrey urged the excited young crowd to see this campaign, with the two front runners, a woman and a black man, as a moment when they "are free from the constraints of gender and race".... to support the best candidate.

But, even with all of this star power, the person who stole the show was Michelle Obama who found her voice... "she was intellectually powerful, even fierce at times, in making her political arguments.... she also allowed herself to offer the full-throated praise of her husband that she avoided in earlier stages of the campaign. She spoke about his character, about his ability to lead, and aimed squarely at the criticism that his resume is too thin."

Michelle spoke about Obama's time in the Illinois State Legislature as better than "serving in Congress or as governor because it made him understand the impact that federal laws have on ordinary Americans."

In the end, it's these ordinary Americans who must find their voices.... "yes we can!"

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