Monday, January 28, 2008

Ted says Yes We Can

As expected Ted Kennedy has given his endorsement to Barack Obama today -- standing with his niece Caroline and his son Patrick (D-RI).

Here is a brief clip from the LA Times account:

In a rousing speech at American University, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) called Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois, a leader "who can lift our spirits ... who has the power to truly inspire and make America great again."

While Ted Kennedy was offering his support to Obama, Bill Clinton further denigrated himself by casting Obama as simply the "Black Candidate" -- suggesting that he hadn't done anything different than Jesse Jackson. Excuse me but Obama's coalition is much larger, Jackson didn't win Iowa or come in a close second in New Hampshire. But this seems to be the Clinton strategy, divide and conquer -- quite Rovian, don't you think?

Wake up Democrats and smell the roses!!!! On February 5th stand up to politics as usual, politics that divides us against one another.


Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

I had tears in my eyes, especially with the presentation by Caroline Kennedy, who is so shy and who doesn't like public spotlights, but did this anyway because she wanted to endorse Obama. Teddy's speech, while not in Obama's own league (or even Bobby's at the height of Bobby's powers) was still incredibly powerful--and cut the legs out of every single ONE of Hillary's talking points. (Except healthcare. I'm betting that Teddy pushes Obama here.)

Teddy has said he will campaign for Obama, especially in heavily Latino/a areas in the West, including California. Also in getting Labor support. Both are key: Obama doesn't have to win the majority of Latinos--but does have to split them in much better proportion than he did in Nevada. I think he needs a minimum of 35% of the Latino/a vote in states like CA in order to stay in the race. Similarly, he needs more "lunchbox Dems" and older Dems--for whom Teddy is a hero--which have previously been going to Hillary.

Of course, not every Kennedy is going for Obama. Fmr. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (Bobby's daughter; Caroline's cousin) is a strong Clinton supporter. And this would cancel out if Caroline and Patrick were the only Kennedy's supporting Obama--but Teddy's endorsement is VERY powerful. (BTW, I once thought that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend would become our first woman president, but I guess that time has passed.)

Mike L. said...

I'm getting excited! Feb. 5th can't get here fast enough.

Michael Westmoreland-White, Ph.D. said...

Actually, Mike L., I could wish for more time--or fewer states. The compressed schedule and huge number of states voting at once favors Clinton, I'm afraid. Especially since she intimidated so many public officials into very early endorsements last year when she was crowned the frontrunner before she even announced. The Clintons, as the whole world now sees, hold grudges. This had been known by those in politics for years and the word went out--"If you endorse someone else and we win, don't expect to get anything you or your constituents want."

Kennedy's endorsement and Obama's momentum takes some of that fear away--but the compressed schedule makes it hard for any insurgent to beat the establishment candidate (ask John Edwards). The rest of us are counting on you Super Tuesday states, especially California, to at least keep Obama close enough to Clinton in delegates that we can do our part later.