Sen. Barack Obama becoming the apparent Democratic nominee to face the GOP’s Sen. John McCain for the presidency Nov. 4 has grabbed the headlines for its historic significance and rightfully so.
Even members of Republican George W. Bush’s administration have taken notice of the historic first of an African American as a major party candidate. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who herself made history as the first African-American national security adviser, the second to hold the State job, and first female African American to hold it, remarked: “The United States of America is an extraordinary country. It is a country that has overcome … a couple of centuries of trying to make good on its principles. And I think what we are seeing is an extraordinary expression of the fact that ‘We the people’ is beginning to mean to all of us.”
While it would seem that Obama’s “first” would take the blush off of the McCain campaign, perhaps not. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Rice’s predecessor, Colin Powell, was the first African American to serve as secretary of state. Republicans can point to those advancements as examples of a new Republican Party, which is the “Party of Lincoln,” after all.