One day after the race for the Democratic presidential nomination effectively ended, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa threw his long-awaited endorsement to the winner, Barack Obama.
Harkin told reporters, according to several news accounts, that his sensitivity to the passion displayed by backers of Hillary Clinton, including his wife Ruth Harkin, prompted him to withhold judgment until judgment was dressed in its jammies and in bed.
Other analysts, a.k.a. me, say Harkin actually supported Clinton all along but was too afraid to say so after Obama won a historic caucus victory. What would the fired up kids say if Tommy H joined that square Tommy V on the magic bus back to the 90s?
And you remember what happened to poor Tom last time around, when he was stuck at center stage, with nowhere to hide, on caucus night ’04 while his anointed Dean screamed. That’s what hasty judgment gets you, buster.
Of course, all of this calculating is necessary to outwit whats-his-name, the formidable GOP nominee.
And I say better late than never. Harkin also announced other tardy but still crucial endorsements — Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson each received Harkin’s backing, posthumously of course. He also endorsed the internal combustion engine, the airplane, Hawaiian statehood, manned spaceflight, classic Coke and the digital computer.
And in a related late development, U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell has now agreed to debate challenger Ed Fallon.