Monday, January 28, 2008

Obama’s Day

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the vision of a wide swath of the Kennedy clan, on stage to throw their considerable legacy behind the campaign of Barack Obama is surely worth more than those thousand words for the Obama campaign and as the events of the day would show, a good number of words less for the camp of Hillary Clinton.

On a day that normally would be reserved for the President of the United States, the State of the Union speech was upstaged by a proclamation of endorsement held earlier in the afternoon. By the end of Monday night, the final state of the union speech of George Bush was already in the remainder bins, a largely forgettable tract of past endeavors, many of which have offered little in the way of accomplishment as he wanders down the final lap of his eight year presidency.

While the Bush address was all about the past and more of the same for the future, many were talking about a different future and the name most associated with the forward gazing belonged to Barack Obama.

By any measure for the presidential candidate from Illinois, Monday must have been one of his most remarkable days ever in politics. Obama was probably still basking in the glow from yesterday’s remarkable op-ed piece in the New York Times by Caroline Kennedy, as the sole surviving member of the fabled Camelot compared his bid for the nomination to the ideals that her father held close to his heart, a rather public declaration from someone who has been a very private and non political person over the years.

From that astounding political moment, he moved on to today’s barn burner of a speech from her Uncle Ted, the long time guardian of the Kennedy mystique in Washington, all was good for Team Obama.

Calling upon the memories of his fallen brothers, a personal remembrance he rarely uses in political matters, Kennedy highlighted that for him, Obama offers the best hope to carry on with those long ago held dreams of his brothers John and Robert. It was a historical declaration that could very well make for a turning point in the Democratic path to the nomination.

While the Senator from Massachusetts has been frequently marginalized politically over the last few years, his speech Monday at American University seemed to reinvigorate Kennedy, it touched on all of his core beliefs, his dreams for his nation, the shared losses of the people and the now always present theme of a hope for a better day.

Evoking a call for change, Kennedy shot down many of the very critiques that the Clinton camp had launched in the last few weeks at Obama, mostly through the strong willed former President who seems to have become the attack dog for Mrs. Clinton, a strategy that now seems to have not been very beneficial for her campaign.

In fact, some pundits say that it’s that very insertion of an angry Bill Clinton into the fray that sent the old time firebrand Kennedy persona over to the Obama barricades, weary of the unbridled spite that seemed to be spewing from the former President, who suddenly seemed to take on the identity of cranky old man Clinton.

While he continued to proclaim his friendship and respect for his fellow Senators Clinton and Edwards in Washington, his political support won’t be delivered to either of their doors, nor it seems will a good portion of the support of the A list of Kennedy’s.

The Obama candidacy which received a huge (though expected) boost with the South Carolina primary victory on Saturday, pushed that success on through the weekend. Propelled by one of the most passionate speeches delivered yet in the US primary season, Obama energized his forces and enthralled his opposition in both parties with his powerful declaration that change is coming, hope is coming.

With the massive vote count of next Tuesday’s Super Tuesday primary and caucus votes to come, this is a key week for the Obama campaign, and with the Kennedy dynasty providing their unequivocal support it will certainly provide another shot of adrenalin, a spur to the stampede if you will, of supporters looking for a hope for the future.

If you’re Hillary Clinton there’s not a thing she can do about this, (well maybe send Bill off to a less visual locale and take away his microphone) but to circle your wagons and get back to work and try to get back on message.

The pull of momentum is a powerful tide, since Saturday night, the flow of the political waters is raising the Obama boat to faster waters, if the Clinton camp isn’t careful for the remainder of its campaign, those waters very well could swamp them and leave them adrift in the political seas.

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