THE TOP 12 REASONS TO NOMINATE BARACK OBAMA
1. Clinton's support base has been the rank-and-file democrats. Obama's strength has been more from independents, the young, and new voters. Turnouts have been up significantly, mostly from the new voters and independents going for Obama. He is inspiring these people to participate. That is significant. Come the general election, it is the independents and new voters that will decide the thing. Hardcore Democrats are going to support the Democratic candidate, regardless. Obama is the more viable candidate in November.
2. Obama has a slick, organized, professional campaign. That bothers some people. It is also the only organization that has matched Hillary's Democratic machine candidacy. And just 4 years ago Obama was an unknown state senator. What does that tell me? It tells me a lot about his leadership and organizational abilities. Putting an organization together that is this good, this focused, this effective, in such a short period of time is quite a remarkable accomplishment. It says the candidate is a good judge of character and attracts qualified people. It says he puts the right people in the right jobs, and inspires them to be their best. It says he makes decisive decisions in short time frames. These are important attributes – Presidential attributes. The sidelines are now crowded with qualified, intelligent, candidates (Edwards, Richardson, Biden, etc.) who could not accomplish this. Conversely, Clinton inherited an organizational machine that has been around for years, supported by the heaviest of Democratic heavy hitters. Outside of not completely screwing things up, she has proved nothing riding the steamroller.
3. We could elect the first black president. What a huge, huge, deal that would be. Just as America's greatest novels, Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, have race as the core theme, so does America the country. What a monumental, exhilarating, and most excellent moment is on our horizon.
We could also elect the first woman president. But how much will it count if the first woman president is the wife of a former president? Isn't this an asterisk moment? Hillary would be the first woman president like Barry Bonds is the new home run champion. (Yes, but.) And wouldn't Bill's role be discussed in every major decision of Hillary's presidency? A Billary presidency would be robbing the woman's movement, delivering an asterisk rather than the first, actual, legitimate, woman president. Also, I don't think gender is quite the American core theme that is race. Fear of Flying doesn't rank with Huckleberry Finn. For me, Obama would be the bigger, more thrilling moment.
4. Obama was demonstrably against the Iraq war from the start. In a 2002 speech he described it as a "rash war", which would lead to "an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs and undetermined consequences." I'm not saying he was a prophet. I had the same concerns, as did millions of others. Remember the pre-war marches and demonstrations? That the administration was bound and determined to go to war was clear. It is hard to believe that Hillary did not see this. (If she didn't, shame on her for being dense.) I think she did know the score, made a terrible vote for political purposes, and bears some responsibility for America's most immoral foreign policy disaster. I can neither forgive nor forget on this one. 23 other senators had the courage and good sense to vote against the Iraq Resolution. No excuses when the question is war.
5. Clinton's team of foreign policy advisors is dominated by people who believed that waging pre-emptive war on Iraq was the right thing to do. Richard Holbrooke and the like. Clinton's approach seems to be that she can be just as big a hard-ass hawk as anyone. The overwhelmingly majority of Obama's advisors thought the Iraq War was a mistake.
6. Obama quit smoking this year. That is significant for two reasons. First, it means that until recently he used to smoke, which establishes the fact that he is not quite the prissy moralist he seems to be. To my mind that's a relief. Secondly, his wife, Michelle, said he could only run for President if he quit smoking, and so he did. That's a sign of negotiating skills, mutual respect, and working within an alliance. Gotta love it.
7. America's reputation around the world has crashed under the Bush administration. I hate that; it is an awful fact, and we should want our reputation restored. Of course, the surest first step toward restoration would have been to vote the Bush clowns out in 2004. Drat. The next best first step would have been impeachment. Drat and alas, no stomach for that. Our last remaining best first step: Elect a black man with the name of Barrack Hussein Obama. If it restores our global reputation but a little, it will be fun to confuse the hell out of people on all continents. "They elected who?" translated into 100 languages.
8. With regard to fundraising (as of 3rd quarter report):
- 25% of Obama's fundraising has come from individuals giving less than $200, 14% of Clinton's fundraising has come from individuals giving less than $200
- Donations from lobbyist groups favor Clinton by 7.4 times: $77k (Obama) to $567k (Clinton).
To the extent a candidate is beholden to his contributors, who do you prefer here?
9. The following tale is revealing. In 2006 Hillary was in a Senate race that was nearly uncontested. She continued to raise money for that campaign, and socked away $10 million from that race to be used for future (presidential) elections. In 2004, Obama also found himself in a Senate race that was nearly uncontested. Using his new-found fame, Obama went out of state to raise money and campaign for other Democrats in tighter races in 2004, banking less than $1 million to his future campaigns. Who do you want leading the Democratic party on this score?
10. Progressives question Obama's centrist, non-committal approach to policy. For the record, his reputation in Illinois and Chicago, as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, and academic, was as a progressive leader. He moved to the center when he entered the national stage. I don't know how he would govern, but that is his background.
11. More than ever, the Republicans will need to distract, to feature mud-slinging over substance, anything but their abysmal record. So what skeletons are in what closets? Are you kidding me? Whitewater, Paula Jones, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Monica, there are so many skeletons in the Clinton closet, it's a Halloween party. And who knows what Bill has been up to the last 8 years. If the Republicans want to turn the election on distractions (and they always seem to want to), a Clinton candidacy is their dream come true. The country does not need that ugliness. I am not saying Hillary has done anything wrong, just that me and a few million other Americans would be on suicide watch if we had to suffer through the gruesome spectacle her candidacy would provoke. As for Obama, well, one of his schools when he was a little boy was a Muslim school. And he knew a sleazy landlord. I think that is about it.
12. It is correct and proper that the Baby Boom generation step aside and get out of the presidential way. The generation of Vietnam and Woodstock has had two presidents - Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It is sad and puzzling to consider how badly they blew their chances. At this point, Hillary Clinton seems to be the Boomers' last second "Hail Mary" pass. But they are down by two scores. Give it up – take a knee. It is the decent and hopeful thing to pass the presidential torch to a younger generation. It is Obama's time.