Politics surely makes for strange bedfellows. President-elect Barack Obama will officially announce on Monday his choice of New York Senator Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, a position that will make her the nation's, and the world's, top diplomat. It's an appointment that for some comes as no surprise, as some sort of Obama/Clinton marriage always seemed inevitable. But to others, this decision is sure to be truly unfathomable.
Just turn the clock back to early Spring, when the cries of "Hillary Should Quit!" first rang out. Do we remember how relentlessly Hillary was vilified for the next several months as nothing short of the anti-Christ by the legions of rabid Obama supporters who's overall sense of entitlement after a string of early primary and caucus wins left them anointing their candidate the rightful heir to the presidency?
I can't tell you how many emotionally-heated verbal slugfests I had with decades-old friends who argued that Clinton was not just ripping the campaign apart and ruining Obama's chances for winning in November, but was singlehandedly destroying the Democratic Party for generations to come. How dare this women stay in the race and create such political heresy, they shouted. But the winds of change swept through the election and Clinton was winning the big contests and gaining momentum, while Obama was losing steam. Bravely, despite the endless barrage of angry, derisive calls for her early departure from the race, Clinton pressed on right down to the very end, amassing a booty of 18-million supporters.
Cut to November 4th, the day Sen. Barack Obama created history by becoming the nation's first Black president, doing so in an electoral college landslide. Obama was also the first Democrat in decades to win traditionally red states such as Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina. His masterful campaign--perhaps the best-run presidential campaign in U.S. history--pulled together an impressive coalition of the young, old, white, black, Hispanic, male, female, catholics, Jews, affluent and the heretofore elusive "white working class." So much for the anti-Christ.
What a fairy tale indeed. Obama ended up not just winning, but trouncing his opponent, Sen. John McCain. And a month later, Hillary Clinton, his arch-nemesis and Judas-incarnate, was bestowed with the Secretary of State portfolio. And Hill's man Bubba's even agreed to play nice as well, restricting his various speaking, travel and financial/fundraising activities. It's just one big happy family now.
The moral of this story? As Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't over till it's over." And in the case of Obama and Clinton, it wasn't even over when it was over.