It's endorsement time in "As Far As You Know," what with the Connecticut presidential primary now just a few days away. I have resisted declaring a favorite thus far, preferring to approach the race with an open mind, and watching the campaign unfold.
Frankly, each of the Republican candidates is pretty seriously flawed, so the GOP is a non-starter for me at the presidential level in 2008. Moreover, the Republicans have had eight years at the helm and . . . well, let's just say the current administration won't be remembered in history as one of our finest moments as a country.
Some of the Democrats in the race that I found most attractive--specifically John Edwards and Connecticut's own Chris Dodd--have already abandoned their campaigns. So my choice is now between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. There's lots to like about Senator Clinton; she has consistently outperformed expectations on behalf of the people of New York and has proven herself a far more effective U.S. Senator than her critics--who are legion--have given her credit for. I've seen her in person and she exceeded my own expectations as well. Moreover, she has been a savvy and resilient campaigner. I'll certainly support Clinton should she win the nomination. But my vote next Tuesday will be cast for Barack Obama.
Our country surely needs a break from the possibility of a quarter of a century of Bushes and Clintons trading terms in the White House. That's just too much politics as usual. But as a colleague of mine pointed out to me the other day, that's not enough of a reason not to vote for Hilary. And she's right. I am supporting Obama because (1) he has the best chance to put the Executive Branch under Democratic control after the disaster of the past eight years--he will be more electable in my estimation; (2) he embodies a message of change that will reposition America's role in the world in a fundamentally positive way (and having traveled the globe a lot in recent years I can testify that this is a development we desperately need); (3) he has already shown an ability to engage and inspire Americans who have largely been turned off by politics, especially young people; and finally, (4) he has the temperament, the commitment, and the intelligence to be an effective president.
Today's editorial page in the Los Angeles Times sums it up pretty well:
In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long--a sense of aspiration.
In short, Obama is the best person for the job.