Editor’s Note: Often it’s hard to assess genuine turning points. Sometimes what looks important one day fades into irrelevance a week later; other times, history-changing events occur and are missed in the rush of daily events.

In this guest essay, former congressional staffer Brent Budowsky – a backer of Barack Obama – argues that the May 6 results marked a crushing defeat for a long-running era of political negativity and manipulation:

The voters said no to the most phony and fraudulent proposal in memory for a gas tax cut that would never happen, that would profit the oil companies that Senator Clinton falsely said she was fighting with it, that would do nothing for the people she falsely claimed she was helping with it.

The most reprehensible and shameful aspect of this gas tax fraud was that it was the cheap exploitation of people who are hurting, and fearful. There is nothing lower in politics than exploiting people who are hurting, trying to deceive them. The voters said no.

The voters said no to the politics embodied by the shameful ABC debate of Gibson and Stephanopoulos that was nothing more than an oppo research festival.

Voters said no to the Tim Russert “Meet the Press” that insulted them last Sunday, that wasted time with more than a dozen questions about Jeremiah Wright rather than a serious discussion of national issues. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “US Media Trivializes Campaign 2008.”]

The voters said no to the insider pundits who pontificated about what a brilliant and clever tactic the gas tax fraud was, about how Hillary is on a huge roll and Barack looked broken and on his heels only hours before he won a crushing and devastating victory.

Soon, as I predicted some time ago, Hillary will withdraw and the superdelegates surge will reach a juggernaut pace that has already begun.

Soon, there will be new talk about 2 million Obama donors that will rise to 3 million. There will be talk of a historic voter registration program that has already been approved and will exponentially strengthen democracy and build even more voter turnout, voter excitement and voter enthusiasm.

Soon, there will be talk about a Democratic landslide throughout the Congress as Democrats come together and coordination begins between the presidential and the congressional Democrats.

Soon, there will be talk about the outpouring of enthusiasm around the world from good people everywhere ready to begin a new day of American world leadership based on the great role we have played in the past.

It was the night they drove old Dixie down, the night the old politics ended, the night a great new era in American politics truly began.

The battle now begins in earnest. On Tuesday, May 6, 2008 the Rubicon was crossed.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.

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