In all the euphoria surrounding Sen. Barack Obama’s meteoric and unlikely rise to become a viable candidate for president of the United States, one factor is almost entirely overlooked. It is the assistance George Bush gave to the effort, without which there would surely be no black candidate on the 2008 ticket.
Yes, Obama brings many of his own personal assets to the event: his eloquence, his reasoned and equitable positions on many issues, his hoped-for independence from corporate and lobbying influences, and his charismatic personality. But all these assets would not have allowed Obama to rise to this position had it not been for the dire straits we are now experiencing from the sad stewardship of the Bush administration.
The worst and sickest parts of the Washington scene have existed for decades, in a clearly nonpartisan way. But the eight years of the Bush administration seem to have distilled those problems and extended them to the nth degree. The result: what many have described as the worst administration in modern times – if not in our history. Whether it be rampant influence peddling, unfairness in the application of taxes, corruption, the attack on civil liberties, the funk we are experiencing in the economy, or the now-known deception of an unwarranted war – all have contributed to a condition so dire that the country is willing to embrace a person and solution without primary regard to race or gender. Thus comes Barack Obama.
Given “normal” times, with “normal” issues and “normal” candidates, Obama would not have stood a chance. Why reach out to an unconventional candidate, when conventional ones are available to conduct business as usual? Obama’s voice would have difficulty emerging from that kind of scenario – plus he carries extra baggage of race, inexperience, and the inane rants made by some obscure minister years ago. But now people are hungry for his message, which he delivers with style, panache and clarity. His time is now, regardless of his race! And he owes much to George Bush.
Bush accelerated the process
Surely some day, we probably would have elected an African-American, or a woman, or a man or woman who was not a WASP. But the Bush administration has accelerated that process, probably by decades at least. For that (and probably only that) we should be grateful to the way Bush has mismanaged our country.
Note, Americans have not said yet that they’re ready to elect Barack Obama; only that they are willing to have him as a viable and legitimate candidate The rest of that story is yet to be told – and it is not clear how much more Bush can help him in that effort.
Thus far, he does seem willing to assist. Even as a lame duck, he has stood stubbornly by his egregious decisions; he is unable to cover his deceptions with the continuing revelations of his perfidy; and his administration continues to display ineptness, plus a careless disregard for civil rights. These actions may yet keep driving America into electing their first African-American president.
Even with Bush’s help, however, wild cards abound. Will deep, embedded racism show its ugly head in the privacy of the voting booth? Will Americans return to the illusion of greater national security from an ageing war hero? Will the “swift boats” come out again with their lies and damaging personal attacks? All these are legitimate concerns as we head into what will likely be an ugly and unsavory election. But for now there is a unique and rare opportunity to elect an unusually gifted and charismatic man who apparently can make a difference in America’s future. And for that we should say: “Thank you, Mr. Bush.”
Myles Spicer, of Minnetonka, has spent his entire business career as a professional writer and owned several successful ad agencies over the past 45 years.
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