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I have been an Edwards supporter for a long time.  I voted for him in 2004, in the Pennsylvania primary.  (Of course, by then, the race was over.)  Barring a Gore entry, which would have given me pause, I have considered myself a pro-Edwards Democrat ever since.  Why?  Because he has had the willingness to talk about poverty and fairness in a way that reminds me of Martin and Bobby.  (I won't say that nobody else has; Jesse did.  And I voted for him, once, for that reason.)  And Edwards has told the truth about the extent to which our system of government has been hijacked by moneyed interests.
With his having removed himself from the race, I have chosen to throw in my lot with Obama.  I wish to explain why now, because I think it is important to articulate why before Super Tuesday.
The title of this diary comes from a conversation I had with a Reagan supporter in 1984.  (More after the jump:)

I'm not going to lie to anyone here.  Hillary has always been a tough sell for me.  I am fully prepared to vote for her in November, if my party nominates her, because I vote for my party's candidate.  It wouldn't be the first time I had to "hold my nose".  And the last time I didn't vote for my party's candidate, 1980, when I was a Republican, I chose to leave the party shortly thereafter.  

Fellow Democrats whom I respect, including both of my siblings, have elected to go to Hillary as their candidate.  And I think that Jane Hamsher made a perfectly valid point in addressing one aspect of the reluctance to consider Hillary that some people have:

As I listened to my siblings, both highly intelligent and committed Democrats, explain to me why each of them were planning to vote for Hillary, in their respective Super Tuesday states, the voice of my old friend Dot kept running through my head.

Dot was a work friend of mine in 1984.  Died in the wool "working class" Democrat.  But she was going to vote for Reagan in 1984.  I liked Dot, thought she was an intelligent woman, and therefore I committed myself to changing her mind.  So I sat down with her at lunch one day, and asked her how she felt on about a dozen issues.  As I had hoped, her positions on each of those issues were different from Reagan's position.  So I pounced.  "Dot, you disagree with Reagan on every single issue we've discussed.  Why are you voting for him?"  She looked me straight in the eye, and said:

He makes me feel good about America.

And it was over.  Nothing else mattered.  She voted for Reagan.

I thought of that, while listening to my brother and sister yesterday.  I thought about it in the context of what Senator Kennedy shared with us yesterday.  Surveys tell us that the younger population of this country is trending in a progressive direction.  And that turnout is also up among young people.
(For example.)

Why does that all matter in who I choose to support?  Because of what Dot said to me that day.  Remember, Reagan didn't just win, he moved the country's compass to the right for over 25 years.  He captured that generation of voters.  However anyone may feel about the Clinton presidency, it is clear that whatever progress may have been made came in the face of a headwind, and that much was left unaccomplished because of that same headwind.

Obama gets that.  So does Kennedy.  We are sitting on an historic opportunity to move the country back in a progressive direction. And Obama knows how to communicate like Reagan did, appealing to the better angels of our nature.

I would have preferred that Edwards had carried that banner forward.  And he will, in some other capacity.  (I'm thinking Supreme Court Justice, but that's grist for a different diary).  But let's face facts.  Edwards was overwhelmed, not just by money, but by the unexpected wave of passion upon which Obama has been riding.  I have concluded that we would be fools not to seize the moment.

Hillary is the safer bet, I suppose.  But she will bring along with her people's expectations of her.  She can win.  But she won't sweep others up along with her.  (And, believe me, I have spoken to many conservatives who will consider Obama, if for no other reason than he's neither Hillary nor McCain.)

Let's not settle for just winning the White House back.  Let's win back the hearts of the nation.  As Dot showed me nearly a quarter of a century ago, once we have their hearts, they will trust us with their futures.

I will be voting for Barack Obama on April 22nd, in the Pennsylvania primary.  I urge my fellow Edwards supporters who are voting on Super Tuesday to join me.

Originally posted to aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 10:37 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a key point (6+ / 0-)

    With all of our back and forth about fighting vs. bipartisanship, we generally ignored a fundamental point:

    Nothing moves change forward like the ability to change the national mood.  People here dismiss that all too often as symbolism.  The GOP never dismiss it.  That is why they won for so long.

    •  In his endorsement of Obama, didn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snout, slksfca

      John Kerry make this point on an international scale, too?

      He said that MOST of the world will view America more kindly and respectfully just by showing we believe a black man can lead this country and the world.

      •  Yeah...but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, SlowNomad, slksfca

        It really does go beyond race.  

        Test yourself.  Imagine Obama as a white guy saying the same things, acting the same way.  Are you inspired?

        I sure as hell am.  

        •  Certainly - but my comment was about the INSTANT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          amount of goodwill from many parts of the world that have long been wary of the United States and for a good reason.

          I think Kerry made an extremely important point. That means MUCH of the perception work that any other Dem president would take YEARS or decades to accomplish a similar goal could be achieved within ONE DAY.

      •  And a woman will not be viewed (0+ / 0-)

        in the same way?  The world, composed, you know, of over 50%, may think a woman as the leader of the free world is a sign of forward progress and will not have the world view us more kindly and respectfully?

        Clearly, Hillary Clinton was and remains a greatly admired figure in the rest of the world (regardless of how much the right wing have trashed her for 15 years and sadly it has been bought by many on dkos in one of the worst displays of acceptance of neocon bias anywhere)!  One of the reasons has been her years of dedication to make things better for the most oppressed group of people in the world...women.

        •  We know that either Hillary or Obama will (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          raise the popularity of the US, simply by not being Bush.

          And the sad truth is that the right wing framing matters.  The group which needs to be recaptured, independents and (some) "Reagan Democrats" buy the framing.  Hillary cannot recapture those people.

          Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

          by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:05:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know this because ???????? (0+ / 0-)

            Hillary cannot recapture those people.

            Sorry I do not believe in blanket statements of fortune tellers.

            A big chunk of the Reagan democrats are dead and buried.  Many, many of them were like my father......duped by the "I want to feel good about America" meme of 1980.  They were angry because of what Iran did with hostages.  Sadly most of them were ignorant of "Blowback" and how Iran was paying back years of the Americans supporting the puppet Peacock Throne, which with training from Americas learned how to tortune, imprison families in Iran that were against their dictator.

            Most of the Reagan democrats learned the hard way that they were being screwed as Reagan destroyed unions and all the things they worked for.  But they remained ignorant of his connections to dictators all over the world.

            I am not sure if I want the liberal party of this country that decried the evil doing of the state to be county on those who have no problem with imperialism.

            •  I know this because of the conversations (0+ / 0-)

              I have been having, for months, with conservatives.  This is what they say to me:

              "I'm not really enthused by any of the Republican candidates.  I can't stand McCain.  I'll probably stay home on election day.  Unless Hillary is the Democratic candidate.  Then I'll have to vote for the Republican.  I have to admit, Obama intrigues me."

              I want those people to stay home.  If they stay home, it helps the other progressive candidates on the underticket.

              Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

              by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:27:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  You think many don't know that Bush2 came about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          BECAUSE of the protection Clinton gave to Poppy Bush?

          People in other parts of the world KNOW more about IranContra and BCCI and CIA drugrunning than many Americans do.

          They likely are fully aware that Reagan AND Bush1, as well as Bush2 have been protected by the Clintons.

          Why should they believe that Clinton2 will hold Bush2 accountable for his crimes of office when Bill protected Bush1 throughout the 90s?

          You think they don't wobder WHY the powerful Bill Clinton supported and defended Bush throughout the last 7 years on his terrorism and Iraq war decisions?

          Ever hear of CNN International, where Larry King Live is a top rated show INTERNATIONALLY?

          How did that THREE WEEK Defend Bush book tour of Bill's work out for Dems, anyway?

          •  Most people in the oppressed areas of the world, (0+ / 0-)

            most women who are struggling to feed their children, and who have been aided in saving their children from starving to death, don't watch CNN.  And they KNOW what Hillary Clinton has done.

            You can site all the articles you want.  I do not believe Hillary had anything to do with protecting the Bush family.

            Hillary, not Bill, is running for president.  Any part of that you don't get?

  •  Very thoughtful. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, aravir

    I find myself agreeing with much of what you have written here.

  •  Yes, the "feel good" candidate (0+ / 0-)

    sounds much like "the one I want to have a beer with candidate".

    It takes a woman ... Hillary Clinton will kick ass instead of triangulating with Republicans.

    by Gabriele Droz on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 10:55:52 AM PST

    •  Isn't that the sad truth? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gabriele Droz

      But if they want worldwide respect, choosing Hillary (despite what Kerry says) would be huge.  She is admired and beloved outside the US.  Fortunately the rest of the world has not bought into the tabloid right wing frames used against Hillary.  Unfortunately too many on dkos have bought those right wing lies.

      •  Who will Hillary carry forward with her? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This is about moving the progressive movement back into the mainstream of American thought, just as Reagan moved conservativism back into the mainstream of American thought.  I don't believe that Hillary can do that.  

        Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

        by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:01:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "mainstream" of America (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gabriele Droz

          for years, all the way back to the 1950s, has been about conspicuous consumption and greed.  It was the reason the 60s happened.  People found out how America was willing to rape, steal and pillage from other countries as long as we had a visions of American that made us feel good about ourselves.

          Do you even know why Hillary Clinton is admired and respected throughout the world?  Because she has cared about poverty all over the world?  Because she has particularly carried through on programs here and around the world, that benefit the most oppressed people in the world.

          For Hillary it is has never been about "being an icon" of getting things done.  She got things done and that is why she was so respected in the minority community of this country, and in some of the most oppressed areas of the world.

          Who will Hillary carry forward with her?  Millions of people in this country and around the world who have read her record on working for civil rights, for end to oppression going back to her days in college.

          Maybe Hillary's speeches won't make you feel better about being an American but Hillary's work has made people worldwide feel better about being able to feed and care for their children.

      •  Totally agree. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm a naturalized European myself, and am well aware of the international fondness for the Clintons.  Almost everyone in the world, except for the self-destructive Americans, want to see another Clinton presidency to bring sanity back to international policies.  This country seems to be on a self-destruct mission as far as I can see.

        It takes a woman ... Hillary Clinton will kick ass instead of triangulating with Republicans.

        by Gabriele Droz on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:05:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  However we may feel about that, (0+ / 0-)

      it does actually matter.  

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 10:59:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Really ...??? (0+ / 0-)

      because for me ... this 'feel good candidate' would make me proud to be living in the United States .... THAT is what he does for me ...

  •  You do get (0+ / 0-)

    that his meme, "He makes me feel good about America!" is the same rhetoric used by Reagan to get elected.

    (Some) Americans seem to think if we feel good about ourselves, and can act like folks winning the superbowl screaming "We're #1" to the rest of the world, then it "restores us."  All during the 1950's Americans felt "good about America" despite the fact that we were propping up dictators all around the world, and screwing other people out of resources so we Americans could concentrate on accumulating wealth.

    And Reagan brought that back in the 1980s...with his "It's morning in America again" he duped people into believing "greed is good" while propping up the likes of Pinochet in Chile, the right wing terrorists in Central American.

    Making you "feel good about America" strikes me as a shallow way to choose a candidate.  

    •  do You feel good about America (0+ / 0-)

      right now?

      i WANT to feel good about America ... i REALLY do ... and You know what, i think that there are a couple hundred million people inside AND outside of the United States that want to feel good about America again too ...

      •  I want to feel better (0+ / 0-)

        about what America does and has done in the world as well as here.  Feeling better about "America" in this nationalistic fervor scares me.  No, I don't think it is a good thing.  I think it is basically egocentric boasting.

    •  Of course I get it (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not saying that I feel that way about Obama.  I am simply acknowledging the reality of what I see happening.  Consider it as shallow as you like.  But why should I accept negative Republican political tactics, which I see Hillary's camp using, and reject positive Republican tactics?  That used to be our meme ("Happy Days are here again").

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:10:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, in your narrow vision, (0+ / 0-)

        you have refused to acknowledge anything negative from Obama's camp.  Whether you are willing to be fair minded or not, the truth is there.  Obama has been every bit as negative.  Condescension is negative.  Arrogance is negative.  Sexism is negative.  His campaign as engaged in all these things.

        •  You are misreading what I'm saying (0+ / 0-)

          I have seen baloney coming from both camps.  Remember, until yesterday, I was an Edwards supporter.  Neither of these folks is my first choice.

          But it matters more when it comes from Hillary's camp.  Why?  Because it feeds into the frame that the right wing has spent 20 years constructing.  The fact that the right wing has not yet filled that slate for Obama means he has a much better chance to build his own framing.  That may not be fair, but it's true.

          Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

          by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:22:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And do what are saying is (0+ / 0-)

            that you think is is fine for democrats to let the right wing define our candidates?   Because I have news for you.  Whatever they have been doing to Hillary, they will do to Obama also.  It's how they work.  But that only works when liberals give the right permission to lie, spin about and frame OUR candidates.  

            Sorry I won't do that ever.

            •  No, that's not what I'm saying. (0+ / 0-)

              But you can't ignore the effect that 20 years of framing has had.  Do I think the framing of Hillary is (always) fair?  No, of course not.  And, if she's the candidate, I will fight tooth and nail against it.  But Obama has shown that the positive framing he has chosen for himself resonates.
              Hillary's self-framing of competence has been tried before.  Does the name Dukakis ring a bell?

              Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

              by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:32:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And if you buy the framing for Hillary (0+ / 0-)

            whose to say that others won't buy it for Obama???

            •  Which framing am I buying? (0+ / 0-)

              It's not about what framing I buy.  It's about where I want to spend my energy this election season.  I want to spend it in an offensive mode, not a defensive mode.  I chose the most aggressive candidate in Edwards.  I choose the next candidate most likely to be able to sustain an offensive posture.

              Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

              by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 11:34:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm old enough to remember Gerald Ford's jingle: (0+ / 0-)

    In his doomed (but close) race with Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford's campaign had a jingle that went:

    I'm feeling good about America.
    I'm feeling good about me.

    ..and when they sang me...the music went da da da the same time that they put up "President Ford".

    ...oh shit...I am soooo old...somebody tell me I'm still sexy...

  •  PA Primary (0+ / 0-)

    Please don't go to the polls until April 22nd.  PA has a late primary.

  •  Politics / Elections aren't about "feeling good" (0+ / 0-)

    Hillary: "Wait a minute... wait a minute... Let's have a reality break!"

    by Palladio on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 12:14:17 PM PST

    •  Tell that to every one who (0+ / 0-)

      was like my friend Dot, and voted against their own interests.

      I assume you remember Happy Days Are Here Again.

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 12:24:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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