A Finale, Finally

Hillary Clinton is ending her campaign.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is ending her historic bid to become the first female president and will back rival Barack Obama on Saturday, capping a 17-month quest that began with the words “I’m in it to win it” with a more humble plea for party unity.

The only degree of uncertainty was how. Clinton is exploring options to retain her delegates and promote her issues, including a signature call for universal health care.

Now, that, I can agree with.

A day late, and $10 million short…

MSNBC

Hillary Clinton will be doing on Friday Saturday what she should have done gracefully last night — dropping out of the race for President, and endorsing Barack Obama.  Apparently Hillary spent quite a bit of time on the phone today with angry Democrat members of Congress.

“We pledged to support her to the end,” said Representative Charles W. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

Heh.  The end is now.  Buh bye, Hil.

Bye Bye Hillary – Opinion

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There is no love lost here. Throughout my blogging on the primary campaign I was obviously anti-Hillary. Not specifically pro-Obama at first, but he increasingly gained my interest and then my admiration. At the start of the campaign I would have strongly favoured Al Gore, in a way I still think he would be the perfect man for these times, but he chose not to run. Seeing the kind of flak Obama got from the Clinton camp, I don’t blame Al Gore at all.  I guess he knew what was coming.

I used to be very impressed by Hillary Clinton and thought at one time that she was actually superior to her husband.  I was sure she could have been a President and wasn’t, only because she was a woman. I have amired her speech at the memorial service after 9/11 a wonderfully emphatic speech. I admired her for being so hard working and focused on the issues at hand and the problems to be solved. I admired her for being able to curb her ambitions in the interest of getting things done. My sympathy was entirely hers to lose.

And she lost it first about Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s ambition got the better of her and badly screwed up her judgement. Her “stay the course” mentality that reminded me so much of George W. Bush’s inane stubbornness in the face of a botched war added to my resentment. Her refusal to admit to a mistake, her apparent disregard of the suffering this war brought and her apparent lack of empathy for the victims, topped it off.

Then she lost it in the campaign. Her arrogance during the first part of the primaries, not campaigning in states she didn’t think were important in the final tally. What about their “every single vote”? Her attempt at changing the rules in mid game. Her lies about Bosnia and sniper fire. Was it her being so stupid or did she think everyone else was? Her secrecy about her schedules as a First Lady and her tax returns, which again reminded me of the current White House.

Her very poorly and much less than profesionally led campaign, left me flabbergasted. This is what I would never have expected from a Clinton who puportedly had an overwhelming political machinery at her fingertips. Was that the effective, hard working Senator I used to admire? She didn’t even have her finances under control, nor Bill, nor much of anything else.

And, when it became clear she had lost it, she really dug deeper. Her ill disguised attempt to stir up racism. “Hard working white Americans” as opposed to what? Lazy coloured people??? And finally the “assassination” insinuation. Did she believe I would believe that was misspoken. Politicians of her ilk almost never misspeak. They don’t utter a single sentence on the campaign trail that isn’t vetted and practised in a closed environment before. There are more examples of primaries that have been contested into the month of June than just Bill Clinton’s and Bobby Kennedy’s. This very successfully created a discussion about Barack Obama’s safety and was deliberate to instill doubts in voters if their candidate would even live to see the general election.

These primaries upended most of the impressions I started out with. The strong candidate, the inevitable candidate, had clay feet after all. And the young inexperienced candidate grew more and more presidential with every challenge he faced and finally matured into a  formidable opponent to John McCain. The seemingly neverending story of the Democratic Primary 2008 has a happy ending after all.

I am sure you can find more reasons, why Hillary Clinton has lost the respect and the admiration of, not only foreign bystanders like me, but many Americans, feel free to add those in the comments section.

Good Morning from Europe – A historic day indeed

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We’ve known for a while that the Democratic primary campaign has a clear winner. Thanks to Senator Clinton’s perseverance, however, it is only now that we can focus fully on the task that matters: The Presidential Race 2008. But today is meant for celebrating a historic event. The US Democratic Party has, for the first time, elected an African American as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. This is obviously making headlines in Europe, too.

The Times sees Senator Obama’s win as a sign of America as a land of opportunities:

Details of the delegate count no longer matter. This moment’s significance is its resounding proof of the triusm about America as a land of opportunity: Mr Obama’s opportunity to graduate from Harvard and take Washington by storm; the opportunity that the world’s most responsive democratic system gives its voters to be inspired by an unknown; the opportunity that outsiders now have to reassess the superpower that too many of them love to hate. (read more..)

The Guardian is more focused on the task ahead:

Five things, and he needs to start on them quickly. First, Obama needs to redefine himself. Think back to the candidate who gave that powerful announcement-of-candidacy speech in freezing Springfield, Illinois, in February 2007, or the candidate who galvanised the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Day last November. (read more..)

The Independent relives the “epic struggle”

After an epic five-month battle that has transformed American politics, Barack Obama claimed the Democratic nomination last night, continuing his extraordinary quest to become the first African-American president in his country’s history.

It was the most important milestone yet, in the meteoric political journey of Mr Obama, the son of a black intellectual from Kenya and a white anthropologist from Kansas who only four years ago was an almost unknown state senator from Illinois. (read more..)

The Telegraph is more thoughtful than enthusiastic:

ST PAUL, Minnesota. It appears this night is not quite the triumphant crescendo Barack Obama expected and would have liked. CNN and NBC have called the South Dakota primary for Hilary Clinton – a shock result that underlines the problems he has among rural voters and will increase pressure for her to be on the ticket. Obama had key Democrats in South Dakota, most notably Tom Daschle and Senator Tim Johnson, on his side but still did not pull off a win despite early opinion poll leads. He appears to have won Montana. (read more..)

Der Spiegel tells us this story from St.Paul:

Brandon Banteh, for example, drove for four hours to St. Paul. Once here, he waited four hours in a line to get in. “I’m more excited than I have ever been before in my life,” the young academic said. He took Monday and Tuesday off from work, “and if Obama needs me in the fall, I am ready to take more days off.” An older white woman stands smiling next to him, nodding her head rapidly. An Iraq veteran pats Brandon on the shoulder and explains to a reporter why he only trusts Obama and why the Democrats need to pull together.

The young black man. The Iraq veteran. The older woman. It’s the spectrum of the coalition that Obama must forge between now and November to win. John McCain will be a formidable opponent, and Obama has lost a lot of his shine in the fierce primary battle against Clinton. But Banteh didn’t want to ruminate too much on that. “Regardless of the outcome, the US will be changed forever,” he said. (read more..)

Die Welt from Germany:

In securing the delegates needed to lock up the nomination Tuesday, Obama completed one of the most remarkable U.S. political campaigns in memory. A first-term senator, unknown nationally four years ago, Obama toppled one of America’s most powerful political families. Clinton, seeking to become the first female president, had long been seen as the inevitable nominee.Obama’s nomination is also a milestone for a nation where, just decades ago, racial discrimination was widespread and many African-Americans had to fight just for the right to vote. (read more..)

This is what some of Europe’s newspapers think and the tenor is similar across the board. It is a historic moment, but the task ahead is not easy for Barack Obama. I wish you all a good start into your days, stay healthy and safe! Cheers form Europe!