President Obama

 

To those — to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

– President-Elect Barack Obama

Even going into last night, I had concerns. Would the alleged “Bradley effect” rear its head? Were the pollsters completely wrong?

They were not.

I believe that Barack Obama has the potential to be one of the great presidents of American history. The way in which he has energized the nation with his message of hope is nothing short of amazing. On an historic night, he was gracious, inspiring and firm…giving a speech to 125,000+ onlookers in Grant Park in Chicago and showing that hope always trumps fear.

I watched that speech with tears in my eyes. This is something that people will remember for a very long time. We’ll tell future generations about watching this election and I feel blessed to be a part of it.

I am looking forward to the next few months as President-Elect Obama puts together his transition team – a team that he has stated will be bi-partisan and contain very few hold-overs (most believe that one of the only hold-overs will be Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense). Whomever he brings in, the administration has many challenges ahead, the first of which is carrying the energy and inspiration of the campaign into true action as well as reaching out to those who were strong McCain supporters.

Either way, it’s an exciting time.

It’s Not Over Yet

The latest Gallup poll has Obama up 11 points over John McCain. Many pundits are saying that now that he’s broken the 50% mark, that it’s all but a done deal…our next president has been chosen. The trend of the line certainly can’t be encouraging to the Palin-McCain campaign, who has amped up their rhetoric in tying Barack Obama to 60’s era domestic terrorist William Ayers.

The interesting thing about this character-questioning approach is that it started before the debate on Tuesday (which was overwhelmingly called for Obama, despite being John McCain’s choice of venue), yet McCain didn’t mention it once in the Town Hall Meeting. This is surprising since it’s all we are hearing from the Palin-McCain stump.

Despite McCain’s claims that he would run a respectful, clean campaign, those around him felt a different approach would be more successful. The bottom line is that on issues, the Palin-McCain ticket is getting crushed. It may be somewhat unfair to attribute the financial meltdown to solely John McCain, but the Republican principles of deregulation have certainly contributed to the mess we are in. Now, you could certainly place blame on the other end of the spectrum, to Congressional Democrats who leaned on financial institutions to write riskier loans and mortgages so more people could afford houses. It’s nice in principle, but with the pop of the housing bubble, that turned out to be a pretty bad practice.

Barack Obama for PresidentUltimately, one major reason that I’m voting for Barack Obama is that now that both campaigns have “gone negative”, the stark difference is that while the Palin-McCain campaign relies on merely asking questions and lobbing accusations, Obama’s ads show the stark contrasts in policy, not merely relying on sunny music over the approval of message, but an actual political pitch.

The reason I am not certain this election is just over yet (although FiveThirtyEight.com has Obama winning almost 350 Electoral College votes), is that I’m not convinced we’ve seen the Palin-McCain campaign go nuclear. I’m not sure what that might involve, but I’m hoping it doesn’t happen – not because I’m convinced that it will work, but because I believe that John McCain is an honorable man and I’d like to see the country come together after this election, rather than being unbelievably divided. Only 25 days left.

The First Debate

We finally got tonight what we’ve been waiting for – the first presidential debate in a race that has been going on since 2006. It almost didn’t happen, but it did and it lived up to the hype.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain performed very well during the first debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS, although both of them fell short in a couple of areas.

Here are my thoughts:

  • The following phrases should be banned from future debates: “my friends”, “Main Street vs. Wall Street”, “Henry Kissinger”, “change”, “maverick”, “reform”
  • Obama agreed with McCain far too much.
  • McCain can’t look Obama in the eye.
  • Neither candidate knows enough about the bailout bill to speak with any authority on it.
  • I don’t understand the CNN debate scorecards.
  • There wasn’t a clear-cut winner, so the win goes to whomever you were supporting before the debate. You could make the argument that the tie goes to Obama because McCain’s advantage in this race has arguably been foreign policy.
  • The Vice Presidential debate has the potential to be very ugly if Katie Couric’s interview of Palin is any indication of how she’ll answer questions.
  • I wish that I got as many text messages discussing the debate as I do during crappy Chiefs games.

The true race for the White House is finally on. And just in case you were wondering, I am still planning on voting for Barack Obama.

Finally the Race is On

Up to this point, I’ve waited a while to comment on the presidential race of 2006-2008. Up to this point, both parties have been posturing and positioning and jockeying and not saying much of anything. There have been lots and lots of debates (and I’ve watched some of them), but up until the Iowa caucus, much of the rhetoric has been pretty boring – more laying tracks than talking about issues.

Saturday night’s back-to-back Republican and Democratic debates on ABC News were the best so far. The format – which basically involved Charles Gibson asking questions and then sitting back and letting the candidates respond in an organic, almost discussion-like manner. I loved watching it. Alli and I watched all 4 hours of the debates and they really were fascinating. It was almost as if all of the protective plastic of politics had been peeled back and for once, people started to answer questions honestly.

Of the Republicans, it was nice to see John McCain show some fire. Giuliani was much more cogent than I’ve seen him in the past. I felt like many of them seemed to take some shots at Mitt Romney and it began to look like they are threatened by him. I still am not down with Huckleberry and I’m convinced that Fred Thompson does not really want the nomination, but his results in Iowa forced him into focusing a little more on his campaign. Ron Paul continues to separate himself from the rest of the group. When the New Hampshire results come in, we’ll learn a little more.

Of the four Democrats, I thought that their “random” seating assignments were more than appropriate. John Edwards won that debate hands down. He separated himself from the rest of the group more than he has in the past and by aligning himself with Obama, he’s poised to make a serious move in the coming weeks and months. I think that an Obama-Edwards or Edwards-Obama ticket could be formidable come November. I like Bill Richardson, but I don’t really like his cozying up to Hillary, who I still can’t stand.

No one has won my vote yet. As the field is whittled down, it will be easier to make my decision. I have people I’m leaning toward right now. I’m hoping to have a better idea before the Kansas Republican Caucus on February 9 so I can participate.