Making history together

OBAMA and Hillary campaigning together marks the beginning of the Democrats' new campaign strategy, one that understands the momentum once again filling the Republican campaign. Obama's proud ear-to-ear smile as he boasted the made-history-together aspect of his battle with Hillary was only partially justified.

As much as the Democrats had reason to appreciate an interesting though exhausting contest - first woman hopeful versus the first African American hopeful, the entire exercise's relevance does not rise beyond the primaries, a land left far behind on the presidential roller coaster. If anything, the enduring duel exposed fault lines in the Party's groupings and left the Democrats notably weaker than not long ago, when Republicans' own antics had all but already written off a return to the House in '08.

Interestingly, it is owing to one of the more admirable aspects of the American system that even the most hostile confrontation can find the most convenient, and lucrative, after-life in a marriage-of-convenience friendship, a show off of Washington's political value-added in dollar terms. From the looks of it, Obama will consider it politically prudent now to help shoulder Hillary's debt burden so she can utilise the summer in more productive activity than raising money to avoid bankruptcy. With one in five of Hillary's followers threatening to go to McCain and the party's traditional blue-collar working class support base seen to be backing his opponent, Hillary's input might be the shot in the arm the Democrats seem to need right now.

The intricacies of the presidential race make it easy to forget how much this outcome is likely to matter to the rest of the world too. Obama's victory is likely to initiate a complete U-turn from the Bush administration's policy on Afghanistan and Iraq. McCain, on the other hand, comes loaded with "bomb-Iran" baggage. Incidentally, that could also imply further chaos if an Obama lead in the run up prompts a strike on Iran by the outgoing administration, leaving behind a chaotic world for the newcomer.

As the two parties lock horns and the final battle begins, one of the things Americans are debating most seriously is its future as a superpower. Economic recession is coinciding with waning global political influence, and the far more ominous prospect of its superpower status vanishing over the hills of Afghanistan, on its own model that bled the Soviets. The Republicans believe a way out will present itself if the day of reckoning is delayed for now, while the Democrats' concerns are more focused on halting the hardware and human-resource haemorrhage, not to mention tax dollars. It is the uniqueness of the prevalent setup that gives the made-history quality to this year's election, a fact Obama will do well remembering, especially since he hopes to be the main lead in the drama.

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