The Al Smith Dinner

It was a delight to watch and laugh along with the barbs visited by John McCain and Barack Obama upon each other at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City last Thursday night.

In the midst of a long and very stressful campaign, particularly in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, we got to see the human side of both candidates and to enjoy the funnier side of the events that have been transpiring. 

It is particularly appropriate that this annual political event commemorates the life and contributions of Alfred E Smith, the four term Governor of New York, and 1928 Democratic nominee  for President, who was also the first Catholic nominee for President, setting a new milestone in American politics, although he went on to lose in a landslide to Herbert Hoover, who proceeded to preside disastrously over the Great Depression.  This led to the destruction of the Republican majority and the beginning of the Democratic Party advantage in party registration, which has lasted  from 1932 to the present day. 

The modern Democratic party dates from the election of Franklin D Roosevelt in 1932 and his promotion of the New Deal.  Now, three quarters of a century later, an African American President may face the same challenge that FDR faced back then and a lot will be expected from him, with progressivism and liberalism again on the rise after a generation and more of Reagan conservatism.

May we wish Barack Obama good fortune as he marches on to the election in sixteen days and a post modern future!

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