President-Elect Barack Obama… man, those are some of the happiest words this blogger recalls typing in some time. Without doubt, the organization mastery and the near-perfect pitch discipline of his campaign prevailed in both a seemingly never-ending primary challenge from Hillary Clinton (take heart, ladies; our very next President may well be a woman), and then, a seemingly mad sprint-since-Labor-Day against John McCain (old white dudes, you’ve finally got some competition…).
But it didn’t just happen since August. Indeed, it didn’t even happen since January and Obama’s primary roll-out (though, the fact is, the battle-testing that Hillary put him through got the organizational machine honed up for the general election.)
But somewhat forgotten in all this headiness, perhaps (though not by Al Giordano, of course) is the vaunted, yet all-too-often maligned “50-state strategy” of none other than Howard Dean.
Here is an archival entry by DNC delegate (and former AmStreet blogger) Jenny Greenleaf, outlining in part Dean’s vision then in proto-form, as he positioned himself to be DNC chair, shortly after the debacle of the 2004 election. And in less than four years… the seemingly unthinkable (in a good way!) has not only happened, but dramatically so. The whole nation is now engaged in these presidential campaigns– not just Ohio and Florida, though they too get their share of attention; those in “blue” or “red” states can engage in a nearby swing state, and what were once solidly “red” yesterday may be voting for Obama tomorrow, or in any event, the massive registration drives may help down-ballot races even if the Presidency remains a holdout. Times they are a changin’.
While we can savor this victory… and for the millions of us invested in it, I strongly suggest we do… we have to stop and remember that it was years in the making. And as we spend the next few years of hard work rebuilding and repairing what the Bush Administration and Republican sado-capitalist Neo-Victorian ideology has wrought on us, we must remember how fragile everything we hold dear is, and maybe we’ll learn to actually respect freedom and justice and progress because of just how hard they really are to achieve.