Column: Thank You, Democratic Candidates

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I’m on record publicly as having thought the long Democratic primary was a fine and useful thing, turning out Democratic voters in droves and giving Democrats essentially unfettered press coverage for our ideas and our values while Republicans were relegated to the background. Night after night, the candidates were speaking in town halls and train stations about how best to give sick people health care, how best to end the war. They were arguing with each other not about how little to give but how much, and in the face of that conversation, the Republican argument that we shouldn’t give a single inch much less two vs. four feet just faded in comparison.

Never was that more clear than on last Tuesday’s news shows: MSNBC cut away from Republican nominee John McCain’s lackluster speech attacking Obama to talk about the latest news from Obama and Clinton.

(An aside about that speech: Do not put people in front of green backgrounds on live TV and expect a generation weaned on computer generated images to refrain from laughter.

The whole time McCain was talking, I kept expecting Jar Jar Binks to walk up to him and say, “Yousa gonna be president?” McCain looked at best like a weatherman whose Super Power Doppler had failed.)

Perhaps the most important aspect of the drawn-out primary season, though, was the way it illustrated so perfectly just how neglected many people feel in America today. How they’ve longed for someone to represent their issues, their lives, their worlds, from Appalachia to Andersonville. The massive turnout among women for Clinton, among blacks for Obama, among the young and old for both candidates, showed a hunger to be heard that surprised even me.

A.

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