Thursday, March 20, 2008

Turning the Tide (again)

This seems to be the season for political rebirths, or at least redirections. First, it was John McCain swooping into the Republican nomination. Then it was Hillary Clinton's stubborn refusal to lose a big state and just end the whole thing. Now it's Barack Obama who's making his comeback.

I know the newshounds among you may point out that as he's been leading the entire time, it's a a little hard to argue that Obama is making a comeback now. But I'm not talking about delegates or states or popular votes. I'm talking about in hearts and minds. I have to say that the last few days, for me at least, have led to a big comeback in those areas.

I don't want to give the impression that I was starting to lean toward another candidate or anything like that. However, I had noticed in myself a decrease in passion for my candidate of choice. I still wanted him to win, but I was much less convinced that he would win and felt my enthusiasm for the whole campaign starting to diminish. Given the national poll numbers during this time, I can only assume that I wasn't alone in this.

But after the week he's having, I'm back and better than ever.

First, there was his tremendous speech on race in America. Talk about reseizing control over a story. After days of being battered about his pastor and months about being battered about race in general, here was Obama defying the conventional political wisdom to tackle the race issue head on. And what a job he did. A clear, eloquent, insightful, and (of course) hopeful analysis of where we are with race and where we can go. Just in time to remind me how badly I want this guy to be president. Especially given the current administration, an Obama presidency would be a masterful change of direction.

Speaking of changes in direction, yesterday Obama pulled another masterstroke with his speech commemorating five years in Iraq. Once again, he took on a big controversial issue. This time he just shredded the opposition viewpoint ("there is a security gap in this country -- a gap between the rhetoric of those who claim to be tough on national security, and the reality of growing insecurity caused by their decisions") and articulated a new vision for what American foreign policy can and should be.

For me, about three days ago will be the high water mark for the Hillary campaign and for my sense of despair (maybe malaise is more accurate) for this election. In two speeches in two days, Barack Obama turned that around. This is the man who should be president.

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