David Olive, writing in the Toronto Star, asks the question as to whether or not Hillary Clinton simply has too much baggage to ever secure the nomination or win the election for president. Two months ago in Paris, he spoke with a group of American tourists, including a few women who wanted a female president, but when Hillary’s name came up, they all rejected her as a choice. Ironically, notes Olive, despite having a more liberal voting record than Clinton, it is Obama who is viewed as the centrist candidate. “But, the same baggage that afflicted Al Gore in 2000 has sapped Clinton’s candidacy of excitement and momentum.”
Olive raises the point that despite being a woman, despite being very intelligent and well informed, Hillary Clinton blends into the background of the other white male experienced men running for either the Democratic or Republican nomination. On the other hand, despite Obama’s youth and relative lack of experience, he comes across as an agent of change, and a candidate who will end the divisiveness of the past two decades. The American people hunger for leadership that moves away from “them” and “us” towards one which seeks to unify a nation. Olive believes Americans sense there is something wrong not merely with their society, but with those leading it, and that is the spark plug which is the dynamo placing Obama to his victory.
Hillary Clinton still leads in national polls, she is among the best qualified and informed candidates in this year’s primary marathon, she had ideas, but, does she possess soul is the question. People respect rather than love her. People nod their heads in agreement as she goes through another one of her keen analyses of problems, but they do not feel warmth to her in their hearts. They do not sense her candidacy heralds a new beginning, instead, it reflects more of the same old anger and fury that has marked American politics since 1992.
In 1960, Richard Nixon was the candidate of experience, and lost to the young and charismatic Kennedy, in 1980, Jimmy Carter had experience and lost to the cliche spouting warmth of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, George Bush far exceeded in government experience the younger Bill Clinton, but it was the gregarious candidate who gained victory. The times they are a’changing and this year will witness the emergence of Barack Obama and the politics of hope and change as the winning combination for the presidency of the United States of American.