Duel on the Road to the White House
The Democratic National Convention was colourful as well as electrifying. Speaker after speaker stating emphatically the need to elect Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States. A compelling case in this respect was made by Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and President Clinton among others.
It is indubitable who stole the show. Having been out of political office for almost eight years, President Clinton has lost none of his flair, charisma and political clout. His ability to inspire and connect with millions of Americans set him apart. He had a tough time trying to speak. He was cheered and applauded by the crowd in a way that showed how popular he is even after all these years of absence from active politics, leading one to wonder if it was another convention with him as the presidential candidate once more.
However, he managed to calm the crowd down after persistently pleading for more than two minutes for them to calm down. He then went on to deliver one of the most powerful and compelling cases for the election of Obama as President. He made the case why “change” was the only alternative to restoring the American dream and America’s leadership in the world. President Clinton stated “…our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened”.
The Republican Convention followed with the first major appearance by Governor Palin since being selected by McCain as his running mate. The choice of Governor Palin was made to inject much needed momentum and tilt the elections in favour of Senator McCain. The new Republican sensation Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate is nicknamed Sarah Barracuda. This clearly shows that she is tough and would not be pushed around. It would have been interesting to see her debate Senator Clinton. Many people would rather have loved to see that debate than that between Senator Biden and Governor Palin or Senator Obama and Senator McCain.
If no one remembers a word or a line from the Republican Convention, no one will forget the line by Governor Palin that “… the difference between a hockey mum and a pit bull lipstick”. Obama used the term “lipstick on a pig”. A powerful and effective political ad portraying Obama as a sexist was circulating. The man known for his mastery in his ability to extricate himself from serious situations which would likely have halted the smooth progress of most politicians was again under fire. The political ad combining beautifully what Palin and Obama said and the accusation of sexism seems to portray Obama as sexist or misogynist and implicitly suggest to woman to turn away from voting for him.
It further portrayed Governor Palin implicitly as a victim of a very dirty political campaign thereby insulating her from any more serious political attacks. This will offer her a brief breathing space and with the elections weeks away it will be very difficult for serious political attacks against her to come from the Obama camp for fear of making the sexist label to stick and affect his campaign. It remains to be seen how Obama and his strategists handle the Palin effect.
“The road to the White House” seems to be too close to call. As November approaches the campaign will become fiercer and more heated. The resilient candidate and the strategy which is bought by the American people will definitely carry the day.