Monday, January 28, 2008

Caroline, Teddy & Me

Over the last few months, here at ABN, I sure have given it up for John Edwards. But those days are waning, as is Edwards' candidacy. Call this my transition period.

I tend to go for the edgy fighter, and this round with his pushing of a truly progressive agenda and his good ol' fashioned down home tone, John Edwards has been that fighter. But as we know, the edgy fighters tend to inspire passions but not primary wins. My enthusiasm for Howard Dean you know, but I've got a long history of going with the edgy fighter.

In '76, Eugene McCarthy was my first love of candidates, and he remained a hero of mine through several election cycles. Back in '76, I was anti-establishment, anti-normal, anti-government pork. Thus, Reagan was attractive, as well, in '76. I was swinging all over the red, white and blue political map. In 1980, by then seething at the ruinous Reagan revolution, I actually volunteered for and voted for the independent John Anderson. And in 1984, I was predictably a Gary Hart kinda guy. By then, we'd had a string of mild-mannered lambs, I felt, trying to carry the middling Democrats: McGovern, Carter, Mondale? I could have slept through those candidacies, with Dukakis to come. I needed more fire power, more risk.

And so John Edwards, whom I've seen as the Howard Dean of the 2008 election. And perhaps Edwards will play a role, even an inspiring and/or significant role in the politics of the future. But, as of just the last few days, I've joined the tide turning toward Barack Obama.

Caroline Kennedy, who is just a few months younger than I and on whom I've had a crush most of my life, elegantly and very simply endorsed Obama in the Sunday New York Times. And today, to much fanfare and with a commanding dose of "legacy", big Teddy endorsed Barack.

I also admire RFK, Jr, environmental lawyer for the NRDC, and he's sure edgy, getting edgier all the time (did you see his bile-spewing rant at Live Earth?), and he's supporting Hillary Clinton. Still, I think what Caroline and her "liberal lion" of an uncle have to say about Obama has won me over: we need Barack to inspire this nation and the world, in part by putting the Clintons behind us. And so now I see it: Obama IS the candidate to most inspire us to move forward. Hearing tell of the Bill Clinton skirmishes of late have had a lot to do with my shift toward Obama. It's just not the '90s, please! That's the past, and really, a lot of us want the future. The Kennedys have voiced it well: it is more about vision and inspiration than it is about resume.

I can't support Hillary Clinton because I believe she supports ongoing imperialist operations in the Middle East. And I was not a big Obama fan because, though he was against the Iraq war, he was not anti-establishment/anti-lobbyist enough for me, and I think Edwards is. But to support Obama is to go beyond the edgy/angry fringe to move the whole middle, and that 's making more and more sense to me.

Please, Barack, bring Edwards onboard in some capacity (actually, I think that is a done deal; Edwards is still in to best play the cards and deligates he's been dealt). And if Barack would like to offer Bill a prominent position in his administration, fine, but let's not have Bill living in the White House again.

Been there done that. Thank you John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Thank you John Kerry and John Edwards.

Barack here and now.


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