7:13 PM, Sunday, November 2nd, 2008:
I have never believed in government. I grew up with a step-father who was at the Kent State shootings and you can imagine how his view of things shaped me. Government didn't work, politicians were crooked and having faith in any of it was foolish. That view has never changed in my entire life. I always voted Libertarian as a "none of the above" option (until 2004 when I had to vote Kerry as a "none of the above" to George Bush). Even during the primaries this year I really didn't believe Obama was that different. I connected with him emotionally and knew what he meant to our standing in the world if elected - so he had my support. At no time did I believe he could really change anything. However what I've witnessed this year has not only impressed me, it has shown me that anything is possible. And for the first time in my life, that means a functioning government.
The greatest thing about observing presidential campaigns are that they really do function as mini-administrations. Several people within the campaign usually end up with roles in the administration, and they're under presidential type scrutiny. It leads several campaigns to crack, to in-fight, to lose members, to lose volunteers, to lose support, to lose money, to go negative, to leak information... take a look at both Hillary and McCain's campaigns for literally hundreds of those examples. In an interview just 2 months after his announcement, Obama was asked if he had the leadership qualities to be president, and he responded:  "Watch how I run my campaign -- you'll see my leadership skills in action." A ballsy thing to say that early because nearly every campaign is pretty chaotic and frantic, but he knew something we didn't: he was different. Moreso than any candidate who has ever run.
-1.5 million volunteers. Are you freaking kidding me.
-3/4 of a billion dollars raised with over 3 million different donors. All the McCain campaign can do is try and paint this as a negative, because the truth is - that's spectacular. Through the help of the internet he changed American politics forever. Now if you can't inspire and organize? You're not running for president.
-Understands the Internet like no politician in history. Imagine an administration and government run with the tech saavy of google and facebook. McCain doesn't know how to send an email. Bush actually called it "the internets". Obama knows it, understands it, and uses it. More efficiently and with such astounding competence that they may have to "change the rules" of campaign finance. Unreal.
-Not one leak. Think of the amount of things we know about the McCain and Clinton campaigns because of pissed off staffers.
-Not one story about any blow-ups. His temperment isn't for show. If it was, we'd know.
-Consistent theme the entire campaign. You listen to his early speeches, to his latest "closer", he's always been on message and doesn't waiver.
-An organized get out the vote effort unmatched. You see these early voting lines? I didn't even know you COULD early vote except for absentee ballot until Obama, and I actually follow this shit.
-The Primaries. While HIllary was resting on her name, Obama got his volunteers focused on the caucus states and his "every state counts" strategy won him the nomination, even though her name won her the bigger states. Probably the most brilliant political story I've ever witnessed.
-The General. Stretched the electoral map so wide that McCain is forced to spend what little money he does have playing defense. Brother had to campaign in his home state of Arizona. 'Nuff said.
-Didn't attack. Any idea the amount of things he could've thrown at Hillary Clinton? Had she won the nomination, believe me, you would've. I believe Clinton actually means scandal in Swahili. Obama stayed cool, stayed on message. Drove many supporters nuts for not being more aggressive (including me), but he said - no, he wouldnt' do it. In the general, McCain has thrown everything at him but Obama has stayed cool. Is it because McCain is scandal-less? Nope, it's because Obama really has been above that. The only caveat was one commercial about The Keating Five when the economy melted down and in their defense, they were both bank scandals and so incredibly relevent it couldn't be avoided.
-The Race Speech mid-campaign. There has never been a bigger show of leadership in the history of campaigning. Every single candidate before this man would've swept this under the rug. He made Wright BIGGER with a 40 minute speech teaching us about race and it ended up making Wright a non-issue in the general. Wow. He also wrote that speech. Wow x2. Watch it. Seriously, please, please, please even if you watched it 6 months ago - knowing what you know now, watch the risk he took and how incredibly he spoke for every single person in this country. That guy, right there, could be our president. It boggles my mind even 2 days away.
-Hardly any gaffes. Other than Biden's "tested" comment (which is why I believe he's locked in the campaign's bathroom right now) there's been nothing. The "bitter" comments when he didn't know he was being recorded certainly qualifies, but only because he should've known that there's never privacy during a campaign. But publically? Almost nonexistent. Even with the surrogates! That's unheard of. There isn't enough room on the internet to list the McCain campaign's gaffes even in the last month.
-Instant response time. It took John Kerry almost a week to respond to the Swift Boat Ads in 2004 and I believe it cost him the election. This time? Instant. Obama responds to McCain's speeches or ads, literally minutes after they're made in his speeches. It is uncanny to watch something highlighted on CNN, and then turn to an Obama rally an hour later and have Obama mention it. They redefine "well-oiled-machine."
-A crisis during the campaign (economic) handled perfectly. He spoke to advisors, learned as much as he could, calmly proceeded to make the right steps as a Senator and came off presidential in the process. McCain went apeshit, cancelled his campaign cancelled the debate, made a serious situation into the mst tranparent political move we've seen in modern history. He even pissed off some Senate Republicans during the proceedings to boot. Sweet holy hell man.
-And finally, the VP pick. From the vetting to dominating the news cycles leading up to and announcing the pick - Obama made a boring pick exciting. As well he also made the right pick to govern. Joe Biden won't hold back with Obama and that'll be the biggest help as he starts his administration. McCain made a knee-jerk decision with someone he'd only met once in his life and who couldn't stand up to a freaking google search. I'm so sick of people saying the media is being hard on her. Maybe if the McCain campaign HAD been hard on her, they wuld've realized what a disaster she was. Forget more cracks in the glass ceiling, that woman has repaired HALF of it. An absolute insult.
These facts have literally changed my idea of how a government can be run if the right person is leading it. Most exciting of all is the embracing of the internet and what that could mean for the future of our country. I've been on the internet for 15 years now and it has revolutionized every aspect of my life. If even a fraction of that can be applied to the government I believe we actually can solve some of these problems. It's an evolutionary crossroads that may make the years before Obama seem almost archaic. More than anything, it makes the policies of "bigger government" that Obama professes, not drive me crazy like they have in the past. Because big is only a problem when it's inefficient. Not one thing about Obama is inefficient and in turn he's made me believe that if anybody can pull it off, he can. And then there's the candidate himself:
-Blazingly Intelligent. Maybe it's just because Bush is, well, Bush - but after reading his books and watching countless interviews his breadth of the issues is actually challenging to keep up with. He's a constitutonal scholar and went to Harvard Law.
-He's committed to alternative energy. And I mean committed. He said and has repeated we will not only be off foreign oil in 10 years, we're gonna rebuild our economy AROUND alternative energy and green jobs. I thought he was completely full of shit but now? I actually think he's gonna do it. He has no ties to oil. He has no reason not to literally mandate that this happens.
-He's pro-science. How sad is it that this has to be a character trait? How the fuck could you be anti-science? He understands that those "stupid grants to study fruit flies" that Palin made fun of were part of the research for ALZHEIMERS and something tells me Obama will take that into consideration. What an outrageous gaffe that was from Palin. She makes me sick.
-He's pro-technology. Hell, he understands what the word means. You say technology to McCain and he probably thinks of the Apollo missions. Seriously. I mentioned the internet and what it meant to his campaign but really, sit for a second and imagine a government that had the ability to use the organizational power of the internet to solve problems and work better. Strike that, imagine your office or business NOT using the internet and how well your shit would run. Exactly.
-He puts the best at each position. Every single person around him, is not only an expert at what they do... most are regarded as the best. Far smarter than him and he's brilliant. You can say what you want about his ego, but I believe ego is putting a fucking horse trainer in as the head of FEMA and putting your GODDAMN SECRETARY up for the MOTHERFUCKING SUPREME COURT! AHHHHH. HOW HAVE WE MADE IT for EIGHT YEARS1!?!?!?!4@#^((*!
-He's positive. If any party should be using "Fear" as a tactic it should be the democrats. Yet every time Obama mentions the economy or the other disasters of the past 8 years he actually downplays them like a father would downplay his kid fuckin' something up. Paraphrasing: "This is the worst crisis since the depression, but the greatest moments come from hard times. That's the American Spirit." Meanwhile McCain who should be offering hope after such a ridiculously bad 8 years, simply points to Obama and fear mongers. "He's gonna hurt you!" You don't hear many ideas, you don't feel hopeful... at best you feel doubtful. Or at worst you feel HATEFUL because he's a baby-killing muslim terrorist. We don't need that.
Now, everything I've said has nothing to do with policy. At all. As I mentioned before I don't really agree with a lot of his domestic priorities (other than alternative energy, which, duh - anyone without ties to oil see that), but the leadership he has shown the last 21 months is breathtaking. We've lacked a true leader for so long. So don't choose on policy. For once choose on competence. Voting blindly your whole life for one issue, like abortion for example, hoping the next president will make it illegal is really nearsighted. If Bush couldn't do it, what makes you think anyone could? If you want less abortions get involved with education, adoption - help lower the unwanted pregnancies in the first place, don't just bitch a lot and vote for people that oppose abortion yet kill and maim people all over the world daily for "peace". Common sense people.
And of course all the other stuff I said when I first saw him still applies. He's the realization of the civll rights movement, he's staunchly against the Iraq War and quite simply, I like him. But everything above is why I actually believe in him. And I have never believed in a politician in my entire life. Even if you disagree with his policies, consider the above points and tell me that it's not somewhat refreshing to imagine someone like that operating our government. Now, will he?
It makes me sick that these will be the last words I write before we know what happens Tuesday and I'm completely schizophrenic about it. On the one hand, every sign points to a landslide. Over 350 in the Electoral College. 353-185, and around 7% nationally (probably 53%-46%) if you follow all the trend lines and take into account the outrageous early voter turnout. However we'd be completely naive to act like this is a normal candidate that can follow normal trends. He is a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. Those undecideds? They're scared. And when Obama fills his cabinet with Al-Quaeda members and gets sworn in on the Khoran everyone wants to be able to say "I knew that shit." (sigh). That level of stupidity can't be polled. And youth turnout in early voting is low. Annnnnnnnnd the battleground states are tightening with each day - McCain ahead in 3 just today. It's all terrifying to me. I will be alone on election night, no IMs, no cell. My gut tells me he'll win, my heart tells me to curl up into a ball. The importance of this election can't be underestimated and now that I actually believe he could change this country? I mean really transform it? My anxiety level is off the scale.
I want this to be over. No matter the line, no matter the weather - VOTE. Every vote adds to his mandate if he wins even if you're in a state as safe as mine.