Friday, January 11, 2008

Switching Gears

Well, the party's over for Bill Richardson, and it's too bad. Yesterday he drooped out of the race. I wish he'd stayed in till Super Tuesday, but that was pretty unrealistic. He was the best qualified candidate with the best ideas. He's been governor, a congressman, a cabinet secretary and and arms negotiator. He represented as much change as Obama and had three times the experience of Hilary. And he was doomed from the start. It's a pity.

And, I'm willing to say it: we have had in this election a woman, a black man and an Hispanic man all of whom had a real shot at being the first president from their respective groups. That's pretty cool.

Now I'm going to admit something: both my first choice in this campaign and my first choice in the last campaign (Dean) were governors of relatively conservative states who, as governors, had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. That's not *why* I supported them, but it was part of it. I trust all of the democrats to do a good job on ending the war, shoring up the budget, and restoring dignity and respect for the rule of law to the oval office. But I trusted Richardson and Dean to stay away from people's guns and to support sportsmen's rights. It's not the top thing on my agenda, but when the top five things on my agenda are covered by all the candidates, I have the luxury of getting personal with my vote.

Now I don't know. Last time, when Dean dropped out, I voted for John Edwards in the primary. Now I'll probably do the same. He's saying better things than the others in terms of labor, and he's endorsed by some of he sporstmen's groups. But Obama is so amazingly inspirational, and I've always felt loyalty to Clinton. Now that my first choice is gone my second choice will be real hard. Who represents the greatest change? Who will lead in the best.

Here's the most amazing thing: three of my favorite Conservatives, on a pundit and two of them good Friends, all of whom are or at least were staunch republicans, and backing obama. That Andrew Sullivan, the gay conservative columnist, has left the Republican party shouldn't be surprising. They parochially ran him out on a rail with their opposition to gay marriage. But it amazed me that Hanna's dad was supporting Barak Obama, and I was completely floored the other day when I found out that JP was too. And they all had the same reason. He was the biggest change. They believe him when they say he wants bi-partisanship, that he wants to stop fighting the battles of the sixties, that he wants to shake up Washington (remember, that was Regan's battle cry as well). As JP put it "Look, my party doesn't deserve to win the White House again after what they've done with it. I expect to be screwed by a democrat. At least with Obama I stand a chance to be screwed in a totally new and different way."

And all three of them are agreed that when the world looks at Obama they will see something and someone completely different from what they have always seen before.

Are we ready for it? I mean, I know I am: but after slavery and Jim Crow and lynchings and Selma and Martin and Malcolm, can we really elect a black man president? I remember watching him at the convention in '4 and thinking "God! I hope he runs!"

Still a tough choice, but a good dilemma to have.


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