02/26/08 — Placate politics: Here’s a shock — Hillary Clinton is right to challenge Obama

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Placate politics: Here’s a shock — Hillary Clinton is right to challenge Obama

Those who see the upcoming presidential election as about more than simply a beauty contest ought to be ready to scream at their televisions as they watch the debutante dance that has become the Democratic race for the nomination.

But they also might have seen a glimmer of hope when candidate Hillary Clinton seemed to take off the gloves this week.

Contrary to what some people seem to think, being an historic candidate does not give Barack Obama a free pass from answering real questions about his stance on issues.

In other words, it is not enough that he is a nice, young, handsome black man who has already broken an historic color barrier.

If he wants the job, he is going to have to earn it.

After what can only be described as a nauseating display of false amicability, with Hillary announcing that she was “honored” to be in the race with Obama and that “we would be all right” no matter what happened, the other historic candidate is getting her back up.

Now, she wants some substance to all those rainbows, flowers and Coca-Cola commercials.

And she is dead-on right.

It is patronizing and silly to treat Obama in any way other than the manner we would treat any candidate who deigned to seek the nomination to be the president of our United States.

The fact that his election would be historic in not enough of a qualification for him to take the seat in the Oval Office.

And he should not want it to be — not if he truly believes in equality and a shift in how society views those from different races, sexes or backgrounds.

Obama should be the first person inviting questions and answering them. He should be ready with ideas and not just speeches.

And if he is not willing to provide that access and information, Clinton should demand it — just as others have forced her to defend her positions and votes.

There should be no placating.

There should be no easy pitches.

This is a position of tremendous responsibility.

There is no room for a candidate who cannot clearly answer questions — or for someone who won’t ask them.

Published in Editorials on February 26, 2008 11:03 AM