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Tenacity of Hope, Failure of Fear
by Terry Michael
All victories are not created equal.
Barack Obama’s thundering triumph in Iowa, capped with one of the most inspirational speeches in the modern history of presidential primary politics, is being undervalued by a media that collectively wants a continuing death match with the vaunted Clinton, Inc.
And a press corps that has never understood the ultimate appeal of Mitt Romney as a general election candidate is way over-stating the modest success of Mike Huckabee’s one-hit-wonder in Iowa.
Not only was Obama a giant slayer. His victory makes it clear 2008 will be even more about hope than it already is about change. Democrats won’t nominate a cold, well-financed set of calculated issue positions, literally married to the past. Voters seek in a national leader either a strong father figure, or, in a feminist 21st Century political era, a warm mothering president. Hillary Clinton is neither. Barack Obama is both. The race for the Democratic nomination is over.
Hardly worth a footnote is the second place finish of the self-styled trial lawyer for the middle, and sometimes underclass. John Edwards got as good as he’s going to get in Iowa, for a tired populist message about one-size-fits-all, industrial era, central government wealth re-distribution. That has no traction with a 21st century information age electorate that seeks desktop-empowered choice in both their bedrooms and bank accounts.
The Illinois senator’s victory both settles the Democratic contest and informs the Republicans’.
Romney now fills the press’s come-back-kid narrative, a successful businessman with appeal to anti-tax Republicans in neighboring New Hampshire, where the lagging indicator of the Republican Party, evangelical Christians, have no influence. Christian conservatives are a heavy weight for the previously plump preacher from Arkansas, not a divine blessing.
Now that Obama has defined the November election, there’s no way Republicans can nominate the fear-mongering antithesis of hope, Mayor Mussolini-in-drag, Rudy Giuliani. Nor will they embrace the stubborn stasis of John McCain, when the war in Iraq will still be at center stage this Fall.
Mitt Romney, with a hopeful Reagan-esque smile show-cased with his Olympic game face Thursday night in Iowa, will be the last man left standing -- even if he loses narrowly in New Hampshire -- in a party with no choice but to nominate its own best bet for hope and renewal.
Director of the non-partisan Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, Terry Michael writes personal opinion at his “libertarian Democrat” blog, www.terrymichael.net.