It starts with the endorsement gained from the daughter of the late JFK. Caroline Kennedy has given her support to Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination, as recorded in her OP-ED piece at the New York Times:
OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.
It continues with the endorsement of her uncle:
Senator Edward M. Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama for president tomorrow, breaking his year-long neutrality to send a powerful signal of where the legendary Massachusetts Democrat sees the party going -- and who he thinks is best to lead it.
Kennedy confidantes told the Globe today that the Bay State's senior senator will appear with Obama and Kennedy's niece, Caroline Kennedy, at a morning rally at American University in Washington tomorrow to announce his support.
That will be a potentially significant boost for Obama as he heads into a series of critical primaries on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Tomorrow's expected endorsement comes after a week of the Clinton camp taking hits from key Democrats for their campaign tactics, and the involvement of Bill stumping for wife Hillary.
This comes as a hard blow for Team Clinton, as they were hoping for the coveted Kennedy clan's backing. The Clinton's, one will recall by going back to the first Presidential campaign for Bill in the 90's, was based on the concept of his being the heir apparent for the JFK legacy. And thus the attempt was made. I'll refer back to my analogy from last night: JFK could be said to have ridden into office on the back of a gleaming white stallion, Bubba rode in on an Arkansas ridgeback mule. JFK was a charming, intellectual, appealing gentleman, Bubba was...a bubba. Jackie was the epitome of the first lady: classy, charming, and intelligent; Hillary was the antithesis of Jackie: brazen, brassy, bossy, and with an agenda of her own.
I dare say we are seeing the blooming of that agenda into fruit today.
I don't agree with Obama politically. I disagree with his views on the war, on our troop deployments, and a host of other issues. I will say, however, that I do find him to be a likable individual, and that goes a long way with winning the hearts and minds of the American public. Hillary has always been challenged with a likability deficit. Obama doesn't have that problem.
There is much back and forth about the involvement of Bill Clinton in Hillary's campaign. I've heard more than a few commentators on both the right AND the left making comments about how that Bill is not acting as a former President should. On the one hand, I can definitely agree with them, he's NOT acting in the manner of a former President. On the other, we have no precedent for which to determine this situation, other than the back and forth husband then wife then husband administrations of the Governor's Wallace in Alabama some years back. That's hardly the same thing, as former Governors are expected to slip into the sidelines and play the part of consultant and goodwill ambasadors instead of active participant as former Presidents are.
I don't think there is any doubt that all Bill Clinton has done is show that he himself is licking his chops hungrily at the prospect of returning to reside in the White House. His barrage of assaults on Obama, the bringing up of the race card (Bill DID run on the concept of being the first black President, after all. Obama will actually TAKE that title should he gain the Presidency, although he was leaving race OUT of the equation). It is obvious from South Carolina that this did nothing to help the Clinton campaign, but hurt her badly in Saturday's Democratic primary there.
The Kennedy clan endorsement means a huge boost for the Obama camp and a bitter blow for Team Clinton. It's almost like a Papal nod to a crown prince in medieval Europe. What remains to be seen, as with the Papalcy of Europe throughout the centuries, is exactly how much influence the Kennedy endorsement actually brings to the Obama camp today; how much power do the Kennedy's still wield. THAT is going to make a difference at the convention.
Until then, it's still looking to be a slugfest for both front running Democrats, with John Edwards in the background far enough behind so as not to have his hair ruffled by the wind of swinging punches.
All in all, it's going to be interesting.
Once and Always, an American Fighting Man