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FEBRUARY 20, 2008    

Fired up? Ready to go?

LIst of presidential candidates, 1972-2004It was in the middle of a previous nasty, ill-conceived war that I first voted for President of the United States. I voted for George McGovern, the "peace" candidate, in 1972. He won only in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia for a grand total of 17 electoral votes to Nixon's 520.

Since then I've voted for another peace candidate without a snowball's chance in hell (Eugene McCarthy, 1976), a decent man who was a mediocre president (Jimmy Carter, 1976 and 1980), and Democrats who basically were the lesser of two evils. Bill Clinton was an exception, but Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry had little to recommend them other than they weren't Republicans.

What's been most frustrating to me for the past two elections has been the Democrats' total lack of a clear vision for America to counterbalance the cynical, greedy politics of Bush-era Republicans. So along comes Barack Obama with a vision, one I can share virtually point for point, and yet I still feel kind of undecided. This was on my mind a lot yesterday, and I think it's time to decide.

Obama '08 buttonI'm for Obama, lack of experience and all.

I'm afraid he may be too naive and untested to negotiate with the Chinese, North Koreans and Iranians. I know that being a good person doesn't necessarily make anyone a good president (see Jimmy Carter). I'm a little concerned that his youthful good looks are getting him more support than he deserves in our media-driven culture.

But I'm voting for hope rather than for a guaranteed continuation of the pragmatic wing of the Democratic Party.

I actually believe that Obama means what he says in terms of the overall way he will deal with national and world politics. On the specifics I don't think any candidate will live up to all the statements and promises he/she makes during the campaign. But with Hillary I have no doubt that she will do whatever it takes to further her political career. She's a survivor, and I give her credit for that. But that makes her vs. McCain the lesser of two evils, and I'm really, really tired of that choice.

Michelle Obama is speaking at CSU tomorrow, and I'm thinking about going. I'm not sure why a speech by any candidate's spouse should be significant—it's not who we're voting for—but this is a way of getting closer to the energy that Obama generates wherever he goes, and I have to say I'm curious to see what it's like. It's been a long while since I've been enthused about any presidential candidate, and I'm not sure I'm ready to start chanting along with the crowd.

Stay tuned. More to come.

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