After New Hampshire
Last night was bittersweet for me. It was wonderful to see a man I respect with all my heart and soul win another great and important victory in New Hampshire. I remember the night eight years ago when my grandfather and I - stuck in traffic in Manhattan trying to get to the New York victory party - heard on the radio that we McCainiacs had managed to beat back Bush in the Granite State. Last night's victory was slightly less personal for me (I didn't spend my Christmas break this year trudging through the snow getting petitions signed so that McCain could be on the primary ballot), but no less exhilarating. Our positions on the issues may have diverged a bit since 2000, but I continue to believe, strongly, that he'll make a great and effective president of the United States. I hope that this win can propel him forward to Michigan, South Carolina and beyond.
My delight at McCain's win was tempered only by my disappointment that another man I greatly respect, admire and have high hopes for didn't manage to eke out a matching victory. The speculation as to just how the polls all had the Democratic race so wrong will continue for days, but in the end the only thing that matters, as the candidates themselves say all the time, is the poll taken at the ballot box. I was sad - very sad - that Obama didn't win in New Hampshire, but as today has progressed, I've come around to thinking that maybe this will be good for him. Rather than being stuck in the media-created "frontrunner bubble" now, Obama can refocus, spend some time fleshing out his policy proposals, rest a bit, and be prepared for Nevada, South Carolina and then Tsunami Tuesday on 5 February.
This election is about hope. It's about the hope that we can somehow rise about the meaningless and unproductive partisan games that have plagued us for so long, and work together to make progress on the issues that we do and must face as a nation. During a lunchtime discussion today I told some coworkers I'd like nothing more this November than to have to make a really hard decision between two candidates who both seek to unite us rather than divide us. I suspect I wouldn't be the only one having to make that tough choice.
Hope springs eternal. The campaign is young.