Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Bohemian (CA) recommends Barack Obama

There are about 3 hours left before the South Carolina polls close.

The Bohemian, an alternative newspaper covering the North SF Bay Area in northern California is recommending Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.

Say You Want a Revolution?

Recommendations for the Feb. 5 California State Primary

Former president Bill Clinton made a surprise trip to U. C. Davis on Jan. 15, where some 11,000 college students crowded the campus' new athletic center to hear Clinton, the J.F.K. of their generation, re-envision the American Dream. The Clinton campaign had offered less than 24 hours to organize the event, hoping that a rough handful of 1,000 people might attend. That the total number was some 11 times their expectations speaks exactly to what young voters, and American voters in general, are rapaciously thirsty for: vision, leadership and even that workhorse of the current media blip, change.

Clinton spoke extemporaneously for over an hour that night, reminding the crowd who Americans are and what America is supposed to be. Were most of the students there that night—raucously repeating Clinton's name, screaming in adulation and stomping the floor like he is a rock star—Hillary supporters? An informal survey of the crowd says no. Televised news stories say no. Newspaper interviews say no. Blog entries after the event say no. They were, by and large, Bill Clinton supporters, buoyed aloft by childhood memories of a larger-than-life politician whose mistakes are filmed in haze when compared to his successes; who, as a leader, spoke regularly of hope; who reminded citizens of our noblest goals. And they are absolutely thirsty for such leadership today.

Many of those still on the fence about the Democratic presidential candidate are attracted to Hillary's "Ready to Go" slogan. There is a sense of childlike calm in thinking that since this mess is so big and so deep and so tall, someone who's been there before can clean up it, all. And have Bill there to help her do it. ("Billary!" was a consistent bellow from the college crowd.)

Hillary knows Washington, she knows the players, she knows how the sausage gets made. As you'll read in the argument below, that's exactly what's wrong with her.Given our current circumstances, it no longer seems wise to worry if the next president already knows how to find the washroom on the Oval Office floor. The right team can direct the president there.

The president, rather, needs to have an acute vision and leadership, ideas and values that match the highest principles. As wonderful as Bill Clinton is in hindsight and as ready to go as Hillary Clinton undoubtedly would be, we're recommending away from dynasty. We're recommending toward the future. That's the best vision. —Gretchen Giles

Proposition recommendations written by Gretchen Giles, Traci Hukill, Eric Johnson, Steve Palopoli and Paul Wagner.

Democratic Primary: Barack Obama

Obama has the vision to return the U.S. to itself

Bill Clinton and Al Gore erected a bridge to the new century. George W. Bush bombed it. We need to rebuild it.

If Barack Obama is elected, it will send the world a message that this is a new America: not the monocultural, aggressive, ugly America that we occupy this very moment, but one that is hopeful, forward-looking and engaged with a diverse planet. Hillary Clinton is less well-equipped for that job. For all of her strengths, she is essentially a policy wonk, with more scars than accomplishments from her Washington years. Failed health care initiatives, as well as her votes on Iraq, should give voters pause. Her condemnations of disgraceful national practices like water-boarding and extraordinary rendition came only after she was pressed on the campaign trail, when she could have been a leader in the Senate opposing the administration's conduct.Obama has been such a leader. The clarity of his ideas is rooted in the depth of his convictions. Even more important in this bleak political landscape, he has shown an extraordinary ability to inspire a broad range of Americans.

Obama has been primarily responsible for the rare buzz of excitement surrounding the 2008 primaries. This is often attributed to his prowess as a speechmaker, but it's a mistake to think of Obama as merely a great orator. Ever since Obama first captured the national spotlight with a show-stopper of a keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, what's electrified voters is the power and clarity of his ideas, and the sense that people get, when listening to him talk, that he is speaking the truth.

In a debate a few weeks ago, NBC's Tim Russert asked the candidates to describe the moment that they decided to run for office. Obama's response was by far the most memorable. He said he has struggled with the decision: "The most important question was not whether I could win the presidency," he said, "but whether I should."

At the same time that he is connecting in a heartfelt way with the people who hear him, Obama is putting forward some simple and powerful ideas. At the center of his campaign—as everyone knows—is the simple and profound notion that American politics is in need of a revolution.

"It's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most," he says, "it's the smallness of our politics. Obama's promise is that he brings a vision, that he is a true leader. When he says, "I will bring the country together," he is talking once again about building a bridge. Americans know in their hearts that this is exactly what needs to be done if the country is going to be able to more forward again. It's a big job, and we believe Sen. Barack Obama can do it. We recommend voting for Barack Obama. —E. J.

South Carolina Primary - January 26th - Find your polling location.

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