For a long time, before 04, before 00, I had been hoping a candidate would emerge who would speak the truth, and speak it in a way that you didn't need a deep knowledge of the intricacies of government to understand. All I had been hearing was bullshit and half-truths from both sides. I didn't like the "finger-to-the wind" aspect of the Clintons, or the passionless quality of Gore, or the phony strength of Kerry.
I wanted to see another Great Communicator, but one for our times, one who could inspire people to get off their asses, and take responsibility for the direction of their country again. I've seen way too much apathy over the last 10 or so years, too much thinking politics doesn't matter anyway. But it does, to every single one of us, and if the majority won't make decisions for themselves, the minority will, and they'll make them in their favor.
When I first saw Obama at the 04 convention, I thought...he'll be our next president. But it was kind of a joke, because it seems like the keynote speakers always go on to be the next candidate after their party looses, like it was for Clinton at the 88 convention.
But I didn't think that much of him after that. When he became a candidate, I started paying attention, and I liked what I saw. Articulate, passionate, clear-speaking, connective. And with a vision for the future I agreed with. He was the underdog remember. That was supposed to be Hillary's year, and she had all the backing, and the power-brokers with her. If Obama runs the country like he ran his campaign, I think we'll be just fine.
This is a man who doesn't cower in the face of criticism. His response to the Wright sliming, the speech he gave on race, was nothing short of brilliant in my eyes. He said things, true things that have been needed to be said, and that most other politicians wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole. That absolutely sealed the deal for me.
The man is cool, calm, collected. A big contrast to McCain, who really lost a lot of his shaky support with his "campaign suspension" drama. Which wasn't necessary, and wasn't a suspension. Knee-jerk reactions are not what we need right now.
He is not perfect, and anyone who thinks he is kidding themselves. I don't fall into that camp, and I truly doubt many people do. But I believe he has the qualities necessary in this time of multiple crisis, where a steady, thoughtful, and strong leader is a requisite.
He has an uphill battle though. The republicans want to destroy him, the progressives think he's caving in, the economic crises worsens every day, and we may not be out of it by the time the next elections roll around, and that will be his biggest test. Anyone who thinks we'll be out of this in 2 years is delusional, or just doesn't know how the economics work. And this my friends, is the real reason no republicans are voting for the bill. This is political posturing ahead of country. This is why I have such disdain for the republican party of the last 18 years. Power first, country second. Wait...make that third. Profit is second.
But a truly good president can rise above that, and THAT is what I mainly see in Obama. THAT is the quality I think he has...the one to cut through the bullshit, communicate to the American people in a way that assures them we are on the right path, inspire them to work hard and do their part, to not give up, but to keep their eyes on the better life ahead for all of us. Yes, part salesman, part magician, part card-shark...but it's only snake-oil if you don't like the medicine.