August 28, 2008 - Issue 288

The Week We’ve All Been Waiting For:
When Hillary Becomes a Full "Team Player"
Between the Lines
By Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, PhD
B Columnist

The Democratic National Convention began this week, amid the hyperbole of the Joe Biden selection as a running mate and one in four Hillary supporters stating that they would not vote for Barack Obama because she was never considered. It is not a position that Black America is unfamiliar with. We did the same thing 20 years when Michael Dukakis passed over Jesse Jackson in Atlanta. Dukakis needed an extraordinary turnout to beat Bush that November. He didn’t get it, largely because Jesse Jackson didn’t fully engage himself in Dukakis’ campaign.

Jackson had stated that the Dukakis campaign only wanted him to “pick black votes” (as in pick cotton) rather than to incorporate Jesse’s socio-economic change platform for urban-dwellers (poor blacks) and rural residents (poor white farmers). It was an election that Democrats weren’t supposed to lose, after eight stifling years of Reaganomics.

Now, after eight (more than) stifling years of being “Bush-whacked,” the Democrats face another “must win, can’t lose” moment. The party is split in half and is being headed by the most exciting candidacy the Dems have had in almost fifty years. And they’re running even with a less competitive, less exciting, less imaginative GOP candidate. However, the only way the Democrats will win is if the Democrats come together. As big a week as this is for Barack Obama, it is a bigger week for Hillary Clinton. Will she really help to bring the party together?

Let’s not get too lost in the subplot. This is the moment we’ve all waited for. The expectation that the Obama campaign will somehow implode, or explode, on some events unexplained or unexpected, is great. Even when Barack does it right, the pundits find a way to critique it - but they can never say - he gets it. All they can say is, “but, he could’ve, or he should’ve…” Whether it is his fundraising, his foreign policy tour, or his Vice Presidential process, all they can say is, “damn.” Finally, all they can really criticize him for, is being “too good,” “too rationale,” and get this one, too popular. Yes, he was even criticized for being “too large.” How can you be too large in a popular election when numbers is the name of the game?

Still, Barack hasn’t tripped over himself, hasn’t faded in the polls, hasn’t failed to deliver, and most importantly, with Hillary desperately waiting in the wings, hasn’t caused the Democrats to re-think their choice for party nominee. This week, Barack Obama is making history as any major party’s first Black nominee. So, where does that leave Hillary and her supporters? It is now the moment of truth for the Democratic Party. Do they really want to win, and will they do what’s necessary to win? That is what we are all waiting to see.

Tuesday night was the night Hillary had her moment in the sun. It wasn’t her final bow, and it darn sure wasn’t a patronization of the moment. Now, will the Democrats take off, or will they limp to the finish line in November? For a party who has been known to shoot itself in both feet, this is not something to be ignored.

Clinton ended the roll call vote with a motion to nominate Obama by acclimation. She has asked her supporters to support Barack Obama. Bill Clinton has asked Hillary’s supporters to support Barack Obama. Now, we can choose to be a part of destiny or we can (try and) get in the way of destiny. Hillary is now an important part of history, making her roll call motion with the whole world watching.

This week, we have seen on which side of history Hillary Clinton chooses to stand. And now, we’ll see if the Democratic Party is truly a team ready to win an election in November. Either way, congratulations to Barack Obama on making history this week. Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is Click here to contact Dr. Samad.


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