Earlier this winter, I was surprised to find out that many longtime Democrats in Hunterdon County----people that I had worked with for years on local, state, and national campaigns had declared their intention to not support Senator Barack Obama, if he happened to become our party’s nominee. Of course, this was back in December/January. I tossed it off as so much nonsense from the Clinton supporters. Their sense of “entitlement” was palpable back then, and it finally turned uglier this week.
When Senator Clinton finally held her campaign ending ‘event’ the other night declared her campaign over, and officially endorsed Obama, some fireworks began again in Hunterdon amongst the Democrats. More than a few of those Democrats acted as if they were entering a “period of morning”, and pseudo-seriously asserted that if Obama did not choose Hillary for his running mate, they would ‘place a McCain sign” on their lawn. Now, these folks were by no means ‘soft-core’ Ds. These were as hardcore as you can get.
After going through being yelled at on Main Street for not supporting Hillary and then being called ‘un-Democratic’ at a Democratic dinner for supporting Obama, I thought I had seen it all.
To me, Senator Obama is ‘America’. He is what the Republicans tell us Americans should be: Raised by a single mother, he represents the ultimate ‘melting pot’ American as he bi-racial. He picked himself up by his own bootstraps, and went to Harvard. He is an accomplished, articulate, very bright man. Those who have long Washington resumes of ‘experience’ lack his judgment, intelligence and grace under pressure.
I first met Senator Obama a few years back, at a campaign rally for then-Senator Jon Corzine running for governor. I was chosen to be on stage with many other New Jersey residents because we ‘looked like a cross section of New Jersey’. I guess I was there represented all Jewish males who are ‘paunchy, balding and personable’.
I happened [by the luck of the draw] to find myself standing next to Barack Obama. While the rally got under way, we began chatting about the similarity between New Jersey and Illinois with regard to state issues. Obama had been a Illinois state senator, before running for the US Senate. We agreed that the two states shared several issues in common----an up state/down state and urban/rural dichotomies; spiraling property taxes; and urban sprawl. I found him a bright, articulate guy. And I thought to myself, that that man will run for president someday.
My advice to the Clinton supporters: get over the loss, there is too much work to be done. Your party needs you.