Since it is Super Tuesday 2, I thought I would revive my series by making the case for Barack Obama. The case for Obama comes down to one word - optimism.
By this point in the political game, just about everyone has heard the primary criticisms of Senator Obama. He is long on style and short on substance. His rhetoric of "hope" and "change" isn't coupled with a workable plan to effect change. For all his talk of bipartisan and a "purple America," his voting record is decidedly blue (especially when compared to the decidedly purple record of John McCain). And when pressed to delineate actual accomplishments, his supporters are simply unable to do so.
So why isn't Barack Obama a flash in the political pan? The answer is simple - he makes us feel good about being Americans. Americans love to feel good about being Americans. Call it patriotism or a superiority complex, but Americans are drawn in by the characters and stories who reinforce our national pride. The Miracle on Ice. Ronald Reagan. The Dream Team. The First Gulf War that we won in like 14 minutes. Even September 11th. In spite of all of our partisan bickering, deep down, we do really want to come together as one.
Barack Obama is the first politician on the American landscape since Ronald Reagan who has been able to tap into this sentiment. President Bush did so in the aftermath of 9/11, but his obscene inability to repeatedly articulate a compelling vision of American exceptionalism squandered that.
When Senator Obama asks us to believe, when he encourages us with Yes, we can, how can we not hope? Could a video like this be made with a speech by John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, or Mike Huckabee?
Barack Obama doesn't just express the greatness of America, he embodies it. In and through him, America can make restitution for her past sins. We can show the world and prove to ourselves that we are great enough to overcome our own past short-sightedness and inconsistencies. Senator Obama gives us the opportunity to close the door on a painful past and begin to look again with optimism to a great future.
If I was going to vote for Barack Obama, it would be because he makes me feel optimistic about my country and proud to be an American.