Kicking off the “Not Spencer” series on the 2008 election is Howard from The Web Pen Blog.
We all get tired of the election season — the stunts, the ploys, the twisted words, the lies, the horrible ads. I can’t wait to get past it as well. Mostly because I’m looking forward to looking back at how a junior Senator from Illinois could bring so much passion and interest back into the political realm to millions of Americans. Here in Denver, Colorado, his charisma and ability to make people believe that he really will try to bring about change in our government looks to bring him the state’s nine electoral votes. The first time Colorado has gone blue since 1992. Barack Obama is popular out here. Very popular. Hugely so. He won the Colorado Democratic caucus 67 – 32% over Hilary Clinton.
Quite a large number of people showed up for that caucus as well. In 2004, 15,000 people voted in the Colorado Caucus. Four years later, we have two extremely viable Democratic candidates who excite voters to the point of causing an extended caucus process. The final tally showed eight times more people voted in 2008 than 2004 and over two-thirds of them voted for Obama. People all around me of all ages and tones couldn’t wait to be part of the political process — something that was as inspirational as one of Obama’s speeches. It was official: Colorado loves Barack Obama.
Listening to Senator Obama in front of a group of people is inspiring. There is no other word for it. There has been no Presidential candidate who has delivered the kind of speeches that enliven the masses in my lifetime. All the great mouthpieces had been assassinated around the time I was born — JFK, Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy — so the only examples are from old footage I have seen over the years. Barack Obama has given me the chance to empathize with those that heard these other oratories generations before mine. I finally get to feel what they might have felt. And it feels great. For the first time in years, I’m energized about an election. I have a candidate I believe has to win. He is a candidate that comes at the right time. After eight years of cronyism and corporate sponsorship of government, here is a candidate who has barely been tainted by Washington, comes out of no where and wants to turn more of America’s focus back to its own citizenry.
So why am I so excited for all of this excitement to be over? Win or lose in November, it’s what history will say about the 2008 political process that I’m curious about. I’m interested in what those who have more historical knowledge than I have to say especially about the inspiration factor of Barack Obama. Give me some theories and opinions on his charisma. Give me some fodder for my own observations so I can incorporate them into my own psyche. In other words, I’m looking forward to looking back on what could very easily be a moment of change in history that will be well remembered for generations.
I’m cautiously hopeful at least.
The “Not Spencer” series continues tomorrow with a political cartoon from frequent commenter Grace.
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You bring up such an interesting thing about this election, Howard. It really is an exciting thing to know you are alive and aware when real history is being made. It’s not often that something is so monumental that we can sense that while we’re in the moment.
I often find myself wishing I had been born in various other (past) time periods because I wish I could feel the electricity those world-changing events that happened. But here we are!
I also wonder how McCain’s campaign will be judged by history for trying to paint Obama as a scary, black, anti-American terrorist during these last four weeks of the election season. I do not think, after the passage of time, that McCain will be judged positively. What a coward.
I have to agree with you on McCain current tactics. It’s sad that McCain can talk about issues (albeit somewhat vaguely) at the debates, but allows his campaign dirty smears. There have been several pundits who sincerely think he’s embarrassed by what the campaign is doing right now, so why he lets them continue is beyond me. I did try to make light of it yesterday on my blog anyway. :)
Yes, I don’t think history will look kindly on McCain or even most of the last 8 years.
McCain is in such an insanely horrible position – the issue of the day is the economy, but he can’t win by talking about it, so he has to aim to distract voters. That makes him look little.
Also – I truly believe that regardless of the outcome the choice of Palin will end up being viewed as costly to McCain, and that choice will end up defining his candidacy. When he had the choice to choose someone of substance, he chose sex appeal. To me it’s hard to get past that.
My biggest fear is that history will show just how ingrained racism is in American society. It sickens me to know that there are people out there who agree with Obama on the issues, but are unwilling to vote for him because he’s black. Watching the focus groups on CNN after the debate was a sobering reminder of how stupid we are as a society. There’s no way in hell McCain would be anywhere near Obama in the polls of Obama were a white man with with a run of the mill caucasian name.
Good points all around, Howard. I share the cautious optimism and the excitement about history being made, yet constantly find myself wishing there was a way to have campaigns in this country without the lowest-common-denominator ploys and horrible ads.
[All I kept thinking while watching the debate was, “Isn’t there some kind of computer algorithm that could filter out any line (from either side) that’s already been used ad nauseum in their horrible ads, and just let us hear the smattering of new info?”]
The McCain camp’s current tactics are truly embarrassing. While even seeming to realize he has to appeal to the moderates and near left (ie attempting to steal the mantle of “change” and playing up the “reaching across the aisle”,) he simultaneously continues to allow all of the ridiculous racist fear-mongering stuff. I trust that there are many sensible and tolerant folks who are pushed more firmly into the Obama side with every middle-name joke and racist comment they hear, so I hope to God we find out on November 4 that they outnumber those drawn into the racism and fear-mongering.
Howard just wants it to be over so I’ll stop giving him a hard time about volunteering. ;-)
Well put post, Howard. I’m very much looking forward to the end of this election season, too.
I’m looking forward to a good result, yes, but I’ve been chafing at the persistence of some of the ugly rumors and advertising. If the McCain campaign engages in suspect behavior by, say, talking about how exotic and scary Obama is, pundits might call him on it. But too often they’ll balance it out by claiming the Obama camp guilty of ageist rhetoric because they criticize McCain’s actual behavior and record.
On the other hand, I think radiocynic is on to something with the hope that more moderate voters will be swayed away from McCain by some of the extreme tactics. I know a few people for whom that has already happened. I just hope the dog whistle tactics sway more people the right way than the wrong way.