Friday, August 29, 2008

The Next Big Thing(s)

I'm not in Minneapolis/St. Paul yet, but I thought I'd take the ol' blog out of storage, dust it off and warm it up for next week's big confab in the Twin Cities.

The big news has yet to move to Minnesota as the Dems and news media are still basking in the limelight that was history in Denver tonight: United States Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made his indelible mark on our national story as he accepted the Democrats' nomination as their standard bearer.

His nomination and acceptance, occurring on the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, marked his individual (and a collective) ascent to the top of the mountain King described. It was nothing short of incredible. For Democrats it was a glorious coronation, but for Americans as a whole -- regardless of political leaning -- it was the glorious fulfillment of promises made two centuries ago. There are plenty of reasons to disagree with Obama, but for a country still stung by the horrors and hurt of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and bigotry, the fact that a black person could be our next president says a great deal about our nation.

Now, as the Democrats bask in the afterglow, GOP stalwarts are bracing themselves for their presumptive candidate,U.S. Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz) choice of his running mate. Obama, obviously courting and utilizing a much younger group of supporters, attempted to reach out earlier this week -- in a somewhat technologically new way -- by sending out his VP choice announcement -- U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) -- via cell phone text. The joke today, playing off McCain's age was that "the message would be sent over a new, emerging technology called the "telegraph." All humor aside, the money seems to be on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the frontrunners.

Mitt Romney (top) and Tim Pawlenty

Extra: I heard a few weeks ago that the convention's overall theme would be "Country First." While I understand the underlying ideas and history behind the theme, I'm still struck by two things: first, it makes me automatically think of Country-Western music; and second, it seems old and the opposite of "lively." If the 2004 GOP convention in New York City was any indication, I'm sure the entire week will be "lively," but it's going to be tough for a political party represented by a wealthy/older/white man to shake its image as the party for wealthier/older/white men.

Extra, extra: Kathleen Parker writing at the National Review Online's "The Corner": "Jimmy Carter called Barack Obama a "black boy" during a chat with Jim Lehrer."

(Transcript) JIMMY CARTER: "Around the world. Around the world. And I think it already has sent a wave of approbation and admiration in many countries around the world, just knowing that this black boy who grew up with just a loving mother and grandparents — and that was about all he had to start with — does now have a chance to become the nominee of the Democratic Party for president."

I wonder what might have happened if a Republican had said that...

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