A little over 4 years ago I watched President Elect Obama give a speech to the Democratic convention. It was one of the only truly inspiring modern political speeches I've heard.
He was intelligent but not condescending.
He was hopeful but not naive.
He was optimistic without indulging in blind optimism.
He was someone who could captivate an audience with his message. Not with fear but with constructive, froward thinking, policies.
He was someone who could mix good old fashion political rhetoric with substance.
The bitter disappointment of the 2004 election was a stark reminder of how incompetent the democratic party can be. At the time I felt like the front runner for 08, Hilliary Clinton, was just as flawed of a candidate as John Kerry. Both of whom I admire as Senators but both of whom I believe had far too much political baggage and perhaps far too much confidence in their own self importance to do what it took to win an election.
What makes Obama interesting as a politician and a leader is his ability to shift gears from rhetoric to policy. He is someone from the first moment you hear him speak it is clear his mind is working away at a topic on multiple levels. Obama the politician is racing Obama the intellectual to meet a common goal. Obama the pragmatist follows behind taking his time to get there, double checking his facts, challenging himself on the details of policy. Ultimately they all meet somewhere to become the Obama we all know. A man who seems to effortlessly approach a problem from a dozen different angles. Carefully surveying every detail and calculating the best solutions always remembering to strike a balance between politics and policy.
I've heard people ask what has Obama done to prove he is ready for the Presidency? I can only point to his history of always exceeding expectations. Always being among the smartest guys in the room. And, of course, his brilliant campaign -- perhaps the best ever run. Beating not only the ugly political machine in Chicago but taking on the even bigger and more powerful political machine of Hilliary Clinton and ultimately taking great care to defeat an aging war hero who was just too many years past his prime. All this while organizing one of the best ground games in the history of politics. He understood Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. He understood his message was universally appealing if only voters could stop and see him as more than the candidate who was "Not George W Bush" or "Not the guy who hates George W. Bush" All this with a persistent backdrop of racism and dangerous radical right wing hatred. The simple fact that Obama has been able to consistently step up and get the job done is all the proof anyone should need to feel comfortable with him as President.
As for Sen. McCain... I would like to be as respectful and humble to him as President Elect Obama has been but I will never forgive him or his party for the terrorism thing. It's unacceptable. It's un-American. It's worse than anything Joe McCarthy ever did, worse than anything Richard Nixon ever did. The story of Sen. McCain is incredibly depressing. He should have known better. He should have found a way to control the radical extremists in his party. If anything happens to President Elect Obama, you have blood on your hands Sen. McCain. The only thing you could do to redeem yourself in my eyes is to resign from the Republican party and try to build a moderate conservative party in this country. If say 5-10 GOP senators renounced their membership to the Republican party I think it would create a tidal wave effect. We need some true choices in this country. 3, 4 maybe half a dozen major political parties. The dangerous right wing extremists should be a lunatic fringe group who gets no support from any legitimate political candidate in this country.
Congratulations to President Elect Obama... I didn't think I'd see this in my lifetime. It's a wonderful day to be an American.