13 January 2008

For the Democrats: Obama

With my first choice - Sen. Joe Biden - having bowed out of the Democratic nominating contests, I have decided to throw my support whole-heartedly to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. I have tried to look at the remaining viable candidates with an open mind, but on each evaluation Obama comes out on top...each time far and above Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards.

After seven years of fascist-Republican rule under George Bush and Dick Cheney, the United States (indeed the WORLD) is in need of a tremendous reset moment; a sort of knocking down of the old evil empire, and a new, younger, progressive model put in place. And a simple change of party will not do the trick.

Thus, Hillary Clinton is the wrong person for this cycle. She is extremely qualified and would make a superb president in a different era. But in 2008 her candidacy is not the new blood so desperately needed around the globe. The fact that between 48% and 51% of the country will not vote for her is not the proverbial step forward that America needs. The partisan wars of the 1990s do not need to be replayed as we try to head off the coming domestic fiscal crisis and regain our international stature at the same time.

With a heavy heart I say, I am sorry Sen. Clinton...this is not your moment.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has the potential to provide the Democratic Party with the 21st Century version of Ronald Reagan: An intelligent, natural leader with the ability to bring independent voters - and some moderate Republicans - to his side and form a coalition government that will move America forward, on a progressive agenda, after several years of taking too many steps in reverse.

Many on my side of the political spectrum say that the unity argument is bullshit; that, if we are lucky enough to win the White House this year, we should govern as the Republicans have...no holds barred...screw the other side...don't give in to the Republican agenda one iota. And after 16 years of Republican games, that argument makes sense to me...on the surface. Deeper down, it's not that black and white.

What Obama offers is a progressive agenda combined with a courtesy and conviction that would numb the sting disenchanted Republicans might feel if they decided to cast ballots for the Democratic ticket - just as Ronald Reagan was able to bring a slew of angry Democrats to vote Republican in 1980 and 1984. Reagan didn't alter his conservative agenda, but rather took the fangs out of it, thus making many Democratic voters comfortable enough to vote Republican.

Obama is this cycle's Reagan, only on the other end of the political spectrum.

After the debacles of Iraq and Abu Ghraib and Katrina, Obama is the candidate who can make us proud to be Americans again.

In order for anything to happen in Washington over the next few years (namely, reversing much of the damage the Bush team will leave behind), the next president will need a large coalition in the Congress working in lock-step with the White House. The junior senator from Illinois is our nation's best bet to win a large majority of the popular vote and provide coattails down ballot in congressional races.

Hillary Clinton would be a nightmare. Not her, specifically...not her politics...not her governing style...but rather, the result of the election. On the slim chance that she were able to eke out a presidential victory, I bet American voters will move down the ballot and put Congress back in the hands of the Fascist-leaning Republicans. Gridlock once more. Nothing gets done. America's stature diminishes further.

Before you start piling on...It's unfair to Hillary by any measure. HUGELY unfair . But it's time for Democratic primary voters to look at the political realities. Too many Americans think negatively of Sen. Clinton, and those opinions are deeply rooted in 16 years of some of the worst partisan politics and Republican attacks in recent memory - and those opinions are not going to change. If the Clinton team really sat back and thought about it - if they really loved their country - they would realize that her candidacy at the top of the presidential ticket this year could very well keep America in the hands of an oppressive Fascist-Republican government until, at most, 2019.

A third (and possibly fourth) straight presidential loss could be devastating to the Democratic Party; and over all, America can't afford that.

As for John Edwards...well...his "two Americas" candidacy is grounded in a tremendously passionate platform. But it will not win him the presidency.

Moreover, this little 2004 tid-bit from Kerry campaign manager Bob Schrum says alot about the motivation of Edwards:
Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling...
Yeah...but...really, no. Edwards is not the candidate we need for '08.

And so, for the sake of the Democratic Party...for the sake of the United States of America...for the sake of the globe...I will cast my California primary ballot for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.