I could write the customary post about what this means to me, but I already did, when Obama clinched the nomination. It sums up my attitudes toward this occasion as well as it did toward that one.

I will add one thing, though. Just as I did when we clinched the nod, I feel a strong sense now of tribal solidarity with those others who fought for Barack when we were five points ahead of Edwards in national polls. June 3rd was a strategic vindication. The world thought we were absolutely bonkers in 2007 for not just hoping but truly believing that Obama would win it, that this rookie was so good that he would defy all expectations and defeat the Clinton juggernaut. We were right, of course, and the rhetoric we used to keep morale up and ourselves driven would be appropriated as conventional wisdom on cable networks and in newsweeklies. That felt damn good.

But today is an ideational vindication, which feels still better. Just as they laughed at our campaign strategy, the pundits laughed at Obama’s resumé, at his calls for direct talks with foreign leaders and strong action in Pakistan, at the very themes of hope and change. Now, experience is a non-issue, his foreign policy agenda is about to implemented (Lord willing), and there’s 24/7 effusive news coverage that takes hope and change seriously rather than as a target for mockery. We won the primary, yes, but we won an argument too. It remains to be seen whether Obama will succeed in implementing his (our) agenda; the stimulus seems a done deal, and health care is looking very promising, but I’m worried about climate change and a meaningful (i.e. troop presence in the four-digit range, if that) withdrawal from Iraq. But whatever the outcome, we’re fighting on fundamentally different turf than that of February 2007, turf significantly friendlier to progressive, and especially reformist, ideas. That couldn’t have happened without people in field offices in July 2007, trying to convince people that Hillary’s wasn’t a lock. So Dave, Lauren, Alex, Will, Sarah, Jack, Ali, Kristina, Leigh, Eva, Rob, Dan, Karina, Caroline, Jake, Tizzy and everyone else who was there in the beginning in New Hampshire and stuck it through – we won this. This one’s for us.

3 thoughts on “Inauguration

  1. Like everybody else, the inauguration made me very happy. However:
    strong action in Pakistan
    I also hope that Obama takes strong action in Pakistan. But I also hope that he doesn’t take the particular strong action that he promised during the campaign! What he said then is that we should attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan with or without the government’s permission. But it should be clear now that Pakistan itself is the real problem, not Al Qaeda in Pakistan. We should not pursue involuntary shock therapy for a patient with paranoid schizophrenia.

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