Monday, February 04, 2008

Back Barack Tomorrow

I endorse Barack Obama and shall vote for him tomorrow. That can't be too much of a surprise to regular readers or Left Ahead! listeners.

You can volunteer for Obama here and donate to his campaign here.

The choice for Democrats this cycle has been confusing, but for far better reasons than the Republican conundrum. Over at the GOP, they are truly riven. Their philosophical, economic and policy differences have meant that no one candidate would appeal to most of them. Moreover, unlike the past two Presidential votes, any coalition members will be holding their noses and averting their eyes in supporting any one nominee.

On our side, the major problem is that the candidates are too similar. It will be far easier for Dems to unite behind a single nominee without lying to themselves.

It's worth noting that Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich had platforms that more Democrats agreed with than with those of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards. One recent example and expression of that was on NPR when they interviewed Democrats who took affinity tests online. An amazing number found they were most closely aligned with Kucinich's positions.

Unfortunately, voters did not see either Gravel or Kucinich as electable. In particular, Kucinich was by far the most progressive and visionary of all. There was the flake factor though. Even though he held the best set of positions, he expressed them so bizarrely that virtually no one believed he could get anything done if elected President.

At least he put the key issues out when the leading candidates lacked the courage to do so. At best, we'll hear those issues emerge in the campaign before November. He could have hit the sacrifice fly.

While Clinton allegedly is on course to skunk Obama here, she has recently clearly shown why we must support him. She has dug herself in firmly, proclaiming that she knows how to pull the levers of power and that he's just an idealist, a naïf.

Americans are ready for a real change. It is unlikely to happen with her Congressional private-club mentality. Instead, we are ripe for a change of state. Every generation or two or three, we have a chance to shift gears in a new kind of vehicle. We don't often do it for long, but we make progress as a nation in the process.

...a little naive is better than a lot cynical

Ironically, she is trying to make Obama's nuanced praise of Ronald Reagan into many things it was not. It is unfortunate that he dared present an idea instead of a literal and simplistic slogan when he said:
I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.
Obama doesn't agree with what Reagan did on that path, but Obama is smart enough to realize how it worked. For those of us savvy enough to hear the idea there, that should inform our primary vote. If you believe that Americans are really ready for that change everyone calls for, a little naive is better than a lot cynical. Vote Obama.

He speaks of bipartisanship to the derision of those accustomed to the GOP take-no-prisoners methods. He is offering a vision, a respite from scorched-earth politics. We take a different road from time to time, as we did with John Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, as well as that Reagan fellow.

Either Democratic candidate will aim to disentangle us from unnecessary and wasteful wars, absurd shifts of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the plutocrats, and efforts to add theocracy to our government. Voters who want revenge against Republicans should surely go for Clinton. Those who think we are at a moment for a better way of getting what we need and want must vote for Obama.

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