Friday, February 08, 2008

Quick Thoughts

- Romney's last campaign speech was his best. It was classy (or at the very least intelligent) of him to read the handwriting on the wall and realize that it was a mathematical impossibility for him to gain the nomination. His withdrawal positions him well for future involvement in the conservative movement.

- There's word today that former RI Republican Senator Linc Chafee, now an unaffiliated voter, may vote for Senator Obama in the 4 March Rhode Island Democratic primary. People are, for some reason, surprised at this. I'm not (perhaps because if I voted in an open-primary state I would have done the same thing). Chafee did not vote for President Bush's reelection in 2004 (he wrote in George H.W. Bush), and has been an outspoken critic of the handling of the war in Iraq (he was the only Republican to vote against the use of force in 2002) and against the rightward lurches the GOP has taken. Good for Chafee, I say.

- New polls bear out what I've been saying for quite a while: Obama is the stronger Democratic nominee against John McCain than Hillary Clinton. The reason is simple: "independents tilt toward McCain when he is matched up against Clinton But they tilt toward Obama when he is matched up against the Illinois Senator."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Worth the Wait

Last night some friends and I stood in line for three and a half hours, outside, in Boston, on a chilly February night. Why? To hear Barack Obama. The candidate held an election-eve rally at the city's World Trade Center last evening - it was supposed to start around 8:30, but we didn't even get through the doors until nearly 10:30 (or home to bed until nearly 1 a.m.).

When we got off the T and took our place in line, the queue was probably already a quarter of a mile long or more (two hours before the event was scheduled to begin). Within a half hour or so, the line behind us snaked for blocks (I have no idea how many people there were, but it was pretty incredible to see). We finally began inching forward as the Secret Service herded small groups of folks through metal detectors - and by inching, I mean inching.

It was cold, it was dark, it was getting closer and closer to bedtime, and still we stood on the sidewalk - not knowing if we were going to by among those who actually got into the venue or would be among the unlucky who simply wouldn't fit inside. And yet people were happy, excited, talking amongst themselves and to their neighbors about the shared experience. We stood in front of a couple who had brought their 7-year old out to see her first political rally - and I have to say, of all of us in the vicinity I think she was the only one who never said a word about being cold or wanting to go home. The crowd skewed very young, which impressed me (now they've just got to get out there and vote today!).

Eventually I guess the Secret Service gave up, as we were all allowed to enter the hall through a side entrance. The room didn't offer an optimal speaking arrangement (not very many people could see the speakers), but the crowd stayed fired up and excited as the hour of the main event finally drew near. Governor Patrick, then Senators Kerry and Kennedy spoke briefly before Obama took the stage - Kennedy roared out a big old "HELLO BOSTON!" and really wound up the crowd in anticipation of the candidate. Obama, clearly exhausted, gave a slightly modified version of his stump speech - I was surprised his voice was hanging in there after the last few days, but he sounded good, sounded positive and sounded ready to see what today's results bring.

When we left to head homeward last night, my legs were tired, my mouth was dry, I wanted to sleep (and knew full well that the alarm wasn't going to sound too friendly at 6 this morning). But then I thought of Senator Obama and knew that whatever my complaints, they could be nothing compared to the stresses and strains he's faced over the last few weeks and will continue to face as we move forward. He and the other candidates put themselves through hell to ask for our support - the least we can do is go hear them when we have the chance.

Was it worth it? You bet. It's not every day that one has the opportunity to hear (and spottily see) the governor, two senators, a presidential candidate and 10,000 friends, all ready for a new kind of politics, a new way of doing things, and a new vision for America.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Tuesday Endorsements

Any regular readers (if I still have any) will almost certainly not be surprised that I'm endorsing John McCain and Barack Obama in their respective contests tomorrow. These are the only two politicians who have ever truly inspired me (McCain eight years ago, Obama now), and while I have policy disagreements with each, I would be happy with either of them in the White House.*

McCain's counterparts in the Republican race do nothing for me, and the tactics used by the Clinton campaign during recent weeks have done little to suggest to me that she can offer this country the change that we so sorely need. There's a reason this election is drawing more young voters than any in recent memory - we want change, we're hungry for inspiration, and we are ready to find our voice. We are sick of "That Can't Be Done" - it's time, at long last, for "Yes, We Can." McCain and Obama offer a hope for practical solutions to the problems America faces, rather than just more of the same.

*If the election were held today and I had to choose between the two, I would vote for Obama in the general election. And I hope I have that chance in November. But I will always respect and admire Senator McCain, and it was for him that I cast my (absentee) primary ballot. Tonight, however, I'll be joining umpteen thousand others at Obama's rally here in Boston.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Yes, We Can"

Check it out.