Barack Obama for President

Barack Obama for President

I was for Obama even before he announced his candidacy.

In my few quiet moments this weekend, I was thinking about the election. My mind drifted to 2005 when I said Barack Obama was going to be President of the United States. I really didn’t think it would be this soon. I privately thought at the time that Hilary would beat him handily in the primaries, she’d pick him as her VP, and they’d stroll into the White House. He’d be the inevitable candidate for 2016.

I am quite happy my timeline is wrong.

Over the two-plus years I’ve watched Obama during this election season, I have been impressed with everything. That isn’t to say, I’m unimpressed by John McCain. I think he is an honorable man who served his country with dignity. I just wish McCain of 2000 was running instead of this grumpy old man.

I’m voting for Obama tomorrow because he represents my ideal president. He’s intelligent, listens to both sides of an argument, presents good ideas about foreign policy, taxes, education, and the economy, embraces science and reason, engages with both friends and enemies, eloquent in a way a president hasn’t been in decades, calm and cool when being attacked from all sides by a multitude of ridiculous claims and will immediately change international relations and domestic concerns for the better.

Barack Obama beat the Clinton machine. He’s going to beat the Republican machine. Can you imagine this guy with the funny name and different look coming out of nowhere to beat two of the most well-known politicians in America? Sure, domestic and international events helped Obama, as well as the worst president ever with George Bush, dragging down the Republican brand. However, Obama did it with the most progressive 50-state initiative ever conceived and internet-driven donations that generated more money than I would have ever imagined and pushed a bottom-up and people-first approach to politics. Still, it was Obama and his team that out-strategized Clinton and out-strategized and out-performed McCain. He out-campaigned them both with a ground game that was second-to-none. I think the turnout for this election is a testament to the Obama/DNC belief in a 50-state strategy.

My friends who are Republicans say they are voting for McCain. They will hold their nose and be resigned to being on the losing end of things this year. Some will shrug their shoulders and move on with their lives. Some will do ridiculous things like continue to listen to Limbaugh and Hannity when it will be obvious the country is tired of the rhetoric of hate and division. I predict those regressive commentators will continue to become marginalized. I’m just going to be happy not to internally roll my eyes when talking or thinking about our president.

I will not only be voting for Obama, but I will be voting against the current incarnation of the Republican party. There are conservative values I admire, such as a strong defense and immigration issues, but for the most part, I can’t stand the religious crazies who have infected the Republican brand with their bigotry and anti-intellectualism. The religious right, at every turn, has attempted to block progressive thinking. They are seeing their power diminishing with every vote for a forward-thinking President and forward-thinking initiatives such as same-sex marriage. I will be happy when the Dr. Dobson’s of the world are relegated to fringe areas and can be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

By the way, I don’t mind true debate over issues. I hope moderate Republicans will come to the forefront of the party and reject the failed policies of the Bush/Cheney/Rove years. I look forward to seeing more bipartisan policies that reject the hatred and ideologues of the past.

What’s truly sad is John McCain hitched his horse to the GOP of Bush/Cheney/Rove, Limbaugh/Hannity, and the Christian fundamentalists’ crowd. It certainly helped him in the primaries when Republican voters were trying to figure out who, out of all the terrible candidates, would emerge. Unfortunately, the association hurt him in the general election.

I like John McCain, but his presidential campaign was one of the most poorly organized, wrong-headed affairs since John Kerry. I said in 2004 that if McCain would have jumped parties and become Kerry’s vice-president, he would have been a true maverick and probably attained the highest office he was ever going to achieve. Alas, he chose not to go down that path.

Speaking of Kerry, his campaign could be boiled down to “anybody but Bush.” McCain’s campaign can be boiled down to “anybody but Obama.” Both of those ideas are losing strategies. McCain’s campaign never disassociated itself from the going-down-in-flames-coattails of George Bush. His was a scare campaign when Americans were well-versed in scare tactics and would not fall for it again. Besides, Clinton had already thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Obama, and he took it in stride, fought back when needed, and simply campaigned even stronger.

The real reason McCain is losing and is likely to lose Tuesday was his first major decision as a presidential candidate: choosing Sarah Palin as his vice president. It was obvious the Palin pick was a last-minute choice, blatant pandering to the religious arm of the GOP, and a transparent attempt at swinging women/Clinton voters over to McCain’s side. I told my Republican friends after the pick that I felt it certainly shored up McCain’s Republican base, but I was unsure if her appeal was going to translate into votes from undecided voters.

Palin possesses an attractive face, but the vacuum behind her eyes was apparent in her disastrous interviews. She can give a good speech, but she doesn’t seem to understand anything she’s saying. It’s like she learns the phonetics but not the meaning behind her words. The McCain camp was wise not to have her conduct a press conference, it would have been a failure of epic proportions.

For undecided voters, it became increasingly clear she was a puppet. Pull her string, and she’d deliver the party lines and nothing else. After Tina Fey effectively voiced everyone’s real concerns that she’s supremely unqualified, I figured she would ultimately fade into obscurity. The fact the GOP has embraced this imbecile says more about the party than about this ambitious joke of a candidate.

What’s even more striking is Obama nor his supremely qualified VP pick Joe Biden ever attacked Palin directly. They never had to, she self-destructed all on her own. If she becomes the standard bearer of the Republican party in four years, and I sincerely doubt she will, the real attacks on her will begin, and I expect her down-home folksy charm will fade. It probably won’t matter. I have a feeling she will be the scapegoat for the Republicans on Wednesday.

McCain, choosing her without really knowing much about her, killed his campaign. She is proudly ignorant, much like George Bush, and she simply destroyed McCain’s credibility as an experienced leader who makes good decisions.

I was for Obama even before he announced his candidacy. In 2000, I would have been pleased if McCain won. Sadly, that brand of McCain is gone, and I’m left with a cranky old man and his beauty queen dumb blonde by his side. My vote is not only one for progressive, forward-thinking but against the wrong-headed, war-mongering, politically motivated, and the opportunistic Republican party.

I expect I won’t be the only one voting that way.