And so it ends today, maybe
Montana and South Dakota vote today, the final two states and territories in a Democratic primary campaign that has ranged from the Caribbean to the South Pacific and thousands of small towns in between.
Hillary Clinton is still making noises that she wants to stick around -- how long is the question
-- and Barack Obama is looking to putting the finishing touches on, finally, by securing the remaining uncommitted super delegates.
How much damage has the Democrats' famous penchant for circular firing squads done to the likely nominee?
Unlike previous Democratic nominees, Obama is not finishing with a racer's kick
. Potential weaknesses have been exposed, as have the inevitable gaffes and "scandals" of who knew who when and what he did about it.
Call me a fool (you wouldn't be the first), but I think the battering Obama has taken from the Clintons will have made him stronger.
The problem with working class white
voters -- as Hillary saw fit to point out -- is real. It is also unsurprising. But let's think for a second. Based on the stereotypes the media love to create about voters, is this group any more likely to vote for her over John McCain in a general election?
By exposing the problem during the primaries, Obama can now devote the resources to deal with it. And if, as she claims, Clinton will work hard on his behalf, the damage can be undone.
The same holds trues for all the idiotic guilt by association garbage -- from Jeremiah Wright to Bill Ayres. Do you honestly think the party that brought you Willie Horton and Swift Boat Veterans for "The Truth" is going to change its stripes as it faces electoral annihilation?
McCain, as you may recall, has his own pastor problems
. And lobbyist problems
. Not to mention being saddled with the worst possible label -- Republican -- in an election that is a referendum on the disaster of George Bush and his congressional enablers.
Faced with these unappealing problems, the mud is going to flow long and deep. In a twisted favor, Clinton did Obama a favor by starting the flow early.
The long slog has obscured the reality: millions upon millions of Americans have become engaged in the presidential process as never before. Especially young voters who hitched their wagon the Obama's star.
The patently obscene amounts of cash raised by both Democrats came in large measure from small donors, not fat cats. People have had enough and want to take their country back from a team that has wrecked its moral standing in the world along with the economy.
More than 80 percent of American voters think this country is headed in the wrong direction. Obama's key message -- change -- resonates loudly. And history will judge that George Bush's six years as Texas governor, a job he never finished, did not make him fit for hold the nation's highest office.
So call me an optimist
, but there are some rose petals amid the glass shards on the road that leads away from the end of the primary season.
Labels: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton