Democratic and Republican Debates

Jan 31, 2008 Published under Leadership, United States

Seems like Obama and Clinton learned the lesson about the public’s displeasure with so much acrimony and negative attacks, and their debate tonight was remarkable in positive energy, congeniality and professionalism.

With all their differences, Obama and Clinton lifted each other, which was inspiring and energizing.  When Wolf Blitzer asked his last question, whether they would consider a joint ticket, he was tapping into the dream ticket many Democrats cherish.

That said, when I speak to my friends and family in Texas, I realize that prejudice is still deep and we have a long way to go before middle Americans will be ok with a President whose middle name is Hussein.  The rumors that he is a "Muslim" have gone deeper than anyone would imagine – they have really permeated into Americans’ assumptions.  To me it is sad and embarrassing that this would be an issue anyway, and it shows how far we have to go.  But it may very well kill Obama’s candidacy.

On the Republican side, the vitriol between Romney and McCain was painful to witness.  I am biased against Romney, but McCain did not handle this well and allowed him to get the better of him.  I have heard from many Republican strategists for different candidates that Romney just gets under every of the other candidates’ skin, so McCain is not alone in disliking him.  But that is not an excuse.  If McCain is going to inspire Presidential confidence, he has to rise above recriminations and petty hatreds.

If McCain gets the nomination and goes against Clinton or Obama, it will be a hard-fought fight where all candidates have a lot to contribute to America and to the world.

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