The "marble ceiling" that has kept women and people of color out of the highest offices of leadership in the land is crumbling, at long last. Much of the 2008 speculation has centered on Sen. Hillary Clinton and wondering if America is ready for a woman to be elected President. But long before 2008, Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi will ascend to third in line of succession to the Presidency. If conservatives are going to use the potential of Speaker Pelosi as a scare tactic to rally their base, then they will have to accept her election as an undeniable statement by "The People's House," that we are ready.
Breaking the marble ceiling may be about more than just women in 2008. Since most marble (in DC at least) is white, this historic moment now has pundits offering an arcane and false choice between America being ready for Madame President or a President of Color? Why not both?
Illinois Senator Barack Obama is one reason Democrats will regain the majority this midterm election, his pitch perfect message and American Dream story is one of healing, intelligence, faith and grace at a time of GOP dissembling, war, and vulgarity.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the GOP bunker buster for marble ceilings, is caught up in some ugly policies right now, but could easily be on a short list as a running mate for a GOP Presidential candidate in 2008, given her diplomatic experience and electoral vote rich home base of California.
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The 2006 midterms are signaling an end to politics as usual, and the dawn of a bright new progressive era for all Americans, not just a privileged few. What we witness now is the truth in the adage "its darkest before the dawn," as this era of scandal, manipulations, deceit, war, greed, and lies comes to an end. With it, as tidal shifts tend to do, moderate Republicans will be washed away.
The GOP of November 8 will become the creation of Dr. Rovenstein who thought he could manipulate the radical right, but the marriage of convenience between social and economic conservatives is ending in a bitter divorce. The extremists will get custody of the party and the Commander in Chief will be a weakened lame duck that the far right isn't sure if they trust any more. The GOP of November 8 will be one of the most radically extreme political parties in history with the loss of many moderates — a party more in the image of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback than Arizona Senator John McCain.
The question is not if the voters are ready for women and people of color in the highest leadership posts. The question is whether the politics of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can call Democrats to higher plane, where their lives as a woman and a person of color create a genuine politics of healing, not a reliance on a politics of division that pits one against the other.
Clinton and Obama can truly demonstrate leadership by ensuring that 2008 not be about false choices about who or what we are ready for, but about the potential for extraordinarily talented leaders to come together. They both recognize this as a pivotal moment in humanity's journey and both have the potential to restore America's image as a beacon of hope in the world, not the dimly lit night vision goggles of fear offered by the Bush Administration
So as progressives ride the wave toward the midterms ever cautious, permit me a little dream: If McCain can win the nomination in the new GOP of Brownback, with social conservatives eager to remind Republicans who put them in power, what a wonderful match up this would be: McCain/Rice v. Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton — 2008 simply won't wait, because we the people, being created equal, have waited long enough, and progressives know what must be done in 2006 to begin this long awaited evolution.