This Historic Winter
As you can see, further down the page, Steve and I had the same immediate reaction to last night's Democratic debate: the Democratic Party won. The Republican race is growing increasingly acrimonious, with Mitt Romney yesterday accusing John McCain of using "Nixonian tactics," while, by contrast, host CNN and others headlined the comity displayed by Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. This is great for the Democratic party, and helpful to both candidates.
As Senator Clinton said, in the debate itself:
So we have differences both at home and around the world, but, again, I would emphasize that what really is important here, because the Republicans were in California debating yesterday, they are more of the same.
Neither of us, just by looking at us, you can tell, we are not more of the same. We will change our country.
Big Tent Democrat concurs:
From the moment they walked out on the stage, an African American and a woman, the Democrats won. Whomever wins the nomination, whomever wins the election, Democrats won. And America won.
He referred to Eugene Robinson's comment, during the post-debate analysis, that the most electrifying moment came when the two candidates simply walked out on the stage. This is a new America and a better America. I remember the electricity in 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running-mate; those at the San Francisco convention said it was palpable. Everyone knew the ticket was doomed to lose to media darling Ronald Reagan, but having a woman on a major party's ticket was an achingly long-overdue revolution. That same year, Jesse Jackson won five primaries or caucuses. He won 13 in 1988. Even with the nation regressing, under the Reagan Administration, the Democratic Party was courageously moving forward.
This year makes the advances of 1984 seem trivial. Big Tent also referenced the withdrawal statement of John Edwards, when he announced he was getting out of the way of history. For all the subtle and not-so-subtle strains of racism and misogyny that have bubbled up, this past month, this nation will never look back. The next time there is a serious candidate who is African American and/or a woman, it won't even be an issue. That will be the greatest legacy of this historic winter.