Last night history was made in the U.S. and I watched. Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination after a long and hard campaign against Hillary Clinton in the prmary season, becoming the first person of colour to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. The political face of the the country changed last night and I think it changed for the better. The world-wide reputation of America is a little better this morning.
But will it stay that way? Now that the campaign will switch to a national campaign, the attention of the U.S. electorate will switch to McCain and Obama. Here is Senator McCain's speech from last night in New Orleans - the first shots of the national campaign have been fired and they were awkward at least in my mind:
Senator McCain's speech was a one of "I am good and my opponent is wrong and has crazy ideas", a typical old-style political speech, the same old, same old. He praised Hillary Clinton and took shots at Obama, a blatant attempt to win over disgruntled Clinton voters. Looks like the gloves are off. Now for something completely different - Barack Obama's victory speech from last night - it was conciliatory, upbeat, focussed on his new approach and started the national campaign off on a positive note:
But for me the last word, and the one that highlights for me what U.S. politics are all about is Hillary Clinton's speech from last night - she does not concede and say she will carry on. Is it to be part of the "dream" Obama/Clinton ticket? Is it because she says she won the popular vote even if she didn't win the most delegates (a system that I have always found odd), or is there another motivation? Either way, it is time for the Democrats to figure out that Obama is their nominee and that they need to get behind him if they hope to win the White House in the general election.
It's going to an interesting time from now until November, for the USA and the world...