I did not originally support Senator Barack Obama for president primarily for one reason. I didn’t think he could win. I simply did not believe, perhaps I would not let myself believe, that the same electorate that twice put the likes of George W. Bush into the White House would elect this young, one-term African-American Senator to the highest office in the land notwithstanding his obvious political gifts. I thought the Democratic Party should play it safe and nominate someone like Senator Joe Biden, someone capable, qualified and non-controversial.
But Senator Obama has changed the game. He is bringing millions of new participants into the political process. It is now very clear that if Senator Obama wins the nomination there will be an entirely different, and more representative, electorate in November of 2008. They won’t be the same folks who elected Bush. Instead, there will be millions of new voters, including more people of color, young people and others who did not see their own lives and struggles reflected by the recent nominees of the Democratic Party, whether it was Clinton, Gore or Kerry. Senator Obama has changed all that. He has electrified and involved exactly the groups whose participation is needed, and has been needed for so many years, to change the way our federal government works. In short, Senator Obama is breaking through the cynicism that, more than anything else, has crippled our political process. We can take our government back from the big money interests who now own it if, and only if, enough of us believe it can be done and participate in bringing it about. Senator Obama is in the process of making that happen.
Standing in the way are the Clintons, Bill and Hillary. I’m sorry to see how they have tarnished their reputations and legacies in this race. For many, Hillary’s seemingly happy attempt to smear Obama during the most recent presidential debate (“we’re just getting started here,” she chuckled gleefully at one point) was the last straw. For me, the last straw was Bill’s decision not to resign after he crippled his administration, and along with it the progressive agenda of the Democratic Party, after his stupid escapade with Monica Lewinsky. Let’s remember the Clintons were prepared to destroy her reputation, too. Only a soiled dress prevented that. Had Bill Clinton done the right thing and resigned Gore would have become president, almost surely won re-election, and our nation would have been spared the misery of the last eight years. Instead, the Clintons put their personal needs and desires above those of the Democratic Party, the nation and their own supporters. It was about them, when it should have been about us. Not surprisingly, they are doing it again. It is time for them and for Bill in particular to step back from the center of the national stage. In time, if Hillary really is as brilliant as many who know her say she is she could emerge from Bill’s shadow and become a formidable political force on her own. That hasn’t happened yet. But it could. I, for one, would be happy to see it.
In the meantime, though, there is only one candidate remaining in the race this year that offers our country the new birth of idealism and involvement it so sorely needs. And that candidate is Senator Barack Obama. He has my vote — and my prayers.