Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Rare Quality of Magnanimity

The U.S. Presidential race is hotting up but I like Michael Gawenda’s report on the good grace in which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have conducted themselves over the weekend:

“HILLARY CLINTON and Barack Obama hugged and he even planted a kiss on her cheek as they stood together on a stage in Selma, Alabama, the scene of the infamous Bloody Sunday civil rights march of 1965.”

Electoral campaigns can quickly get dirty with candidates putting in the knife or knocking others down in the quest for self-promotion. But Gawenda, the Sydney Morning Herald Correspondent in Washington D.C. noted today, not only the enduring charisma of Bill Clinton but his wonderful magnanimity:

“But the show-stopper was Bill Clinton, who stepped forward to make his first speech of his wife's campaign to loud cheers. He was just "bringing up the rear because the good speeches have been made by Hillary and Barack Obama", he said. Ostensibly in Selma to receive a civil rights award from the city, he said: "I don't think former presidents should get any awards because the job is reward enough. I am just happy today. I am happy to be in Selma any day."

“No one watching Mr Clinton could fail to see that he remains an extraordinary politician, with a charisma that makes everyone feel he is speaking just to them.”

“Mr Clinton, who the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison once described as America's first black president, remains incredibly popular among blacks, a southern boy who understood - and still does - black hopes and dreams.”

"Isn't it a high-class problem we have", Mr Clinton said, smiling at his wife and searching around for Senator Obama who was standing behind him. "Who to vote for when we like them all so much."

Source: Michael Gawenda, 'Charismatic Clinton remains the star of the show with blacks,' Sydney Morning Herald, March 6, 2007.

Image: Bill Clinton