Friday, March 21, 2008

Three Quick Thoughts

1. In terms of endorsements, I think Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama is a pretty big one. I don't think it's big in the Al Gore sense where suddenly public opinion will really start coalescing unanimously around him. There's still a lot of work to do on that front. Rather, I think it's big in terms of super delegate psychology. Remember, Bill Richardson has been widely speculated to be in the running for the vice presidency. He also has a lot of ties to the Clintons. That he would throw his weight behind Obama indicates that he believes Obama is going to be the one who wins. Again, not a hugely compelling argument in an election, but in terms of shifting super delegates, this counts as a big plus.

2. In preparing to endorse Obama, Richardson is quoted as saying, Obama will be a "historic and a great president, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad." In saying so, he's touching on a point that I've made earlier, that Obama represents the chance for a truly transformational presidency, rather than just a transactionally skilled presidency. As Joel Klein writes in Time Magazine, the big question is whether or not 2008 will be a big election or a small election. If either of the Democrats is elected, it will be a historic election, at least for a while. But once the buzz of first __________ president dies down, what then? If it's Obama there's a chance for more. If it's Clinton, the demographic change in the White House is all we get.

3. Lastly, in the news of the weird file, it seems that Obama's passport file was looked at by unauthorized contractors on at least three separate occasions this year. While it's tempting to chalk this up to more privacy invasions from the Bush administration, I don't really know what's going on here. Hence, news of the weird.

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