Being a Democrat has been extremely frustrating for the last few years. I've watched the party I support win the Congress, reflecting a stirring public indictment of the Iraq War. I've watched that same Congress proceed to do absolutely nothing to stop the war, sitting back in their armchairs while billions of additional dollars and thousands of troops have been poured into Iraq.
I've then watched that same party put forth two candidates for the presidency whose ideas on leaving Iraq are virtually indistinguishable, and subsequently search one another for flaws while the pro-war elephants in the room mount an attack.
It's easy enough to blame Hillary. I am struggling to find words to describe the situation that don't assign blame. Perhaps she is simply to blame. Whenever she finally decides to call it quits, that decision will be long overdue. I know that it is not in a politician's nature to admit defeat until the numbers are indisputable, but that attitude is going to result in four more years of the Republicans. It is time for Hillary to decide whether it is more important for her to be president or for a Democrat to be president.
Democrats are aching to unite around a candidate. It is clear from the 75,000-strong crowd that came to see him speak in Portland, Oregon last week that Barack Obama is reinvigorating a party that was left for dead after the blundering campaign of John Kerry. We are finally a party with a mission again, a party that wants change and knows how to go about getting it. The only problem is that we don't actually have a candidate yet. Every time we try to give Obama the reins, Hillary is there to slap the donkey until it kicks again.
Democrats need a candidate who will not pull the trigger under pressure. We need a candidate who will do what Kennedy did when his generals were aching to escalate the Cold War into an actual war. We need someone who can serve as a diplomatic leader to the nations of the world, and the other side of the aisle in his own government. Obama is all of these things. Hillary may be all of them too, but she's also one thing that Obama is not: a Clinton. Republicans scoff at Bill Clinton the way Democrats scoff at Ronald Reagan, and that makes Hillary a target regardless of what her policies are.
Ever since Obama won on Super Tuesday, there has been an energy among Democrats, building to the point where friends that I had no idea were even remotely politically inclined were joining me in celebration when Obama took North Carolina. North Carolina chose the nominee, and we were part of it. As soon as Hillary steps out and starts focusing on her run for Senate Majority Leader (hint, hint), this election is ours for the taking.
But we're Democrats. We'll find some way to blow it. We'll fumble the opening kickoff and spend the entire first half trying to find our rhetoric again. We'll let some stupid ad hurt our feelings to the point where we focus on it for an entire debate. We'll riot at the convention or let our chads hang. We'll find some way to screw it up if Hillary doesn't screw it up for us.
I sure hope I'm wrong.