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I'd like to thank Or for his arguments in the last post. This is an important debate to have. We need to discuss these issues so that we can choose a nominee in 2008 that reflects our values and our hopes and who is able to lead not only our party to victory but our country into the future. I do not believe Senator Clinton is the person to do that. I have looked to the rest of the primary field and I fail to find an alternative either. Evan Bayh is too cautious, Mark Warner is severely inexperienced, John Kerry is old news, John Edwards lacks gravitas, Wesley Clark is too new to politics, Bill Richardson doesn't inspire, Tom Vilsack is too boring, Tom Daschle is nuts to run, Russ Feingold is creating a perception of radicalism, and Joe Biden has been in the Senate far too long. This does not mean I will not eventually throw my weight behind any of these candidates. One of them will probably be our next president, or at least our nominee; but I fear that we as a party have an opportunity, presented to us by the failed policies of the conservative movement, to do something more than win an election. We have the chance to win in the battleground of ideas. Let me elaborate further.

Democrats are too timid. We lack a spine. There is no reason we shouldn't call for universal pre-school, universal college, universal health care, a balanced budget, and a concerted effort to eliminate poverty in our nation and around the world. Our policies are not unpopular with Americans; they're unpopular with corporations. I have not seen a single poll showing that the American people think that only the rich should get treatment for illness, that only the children of CEO's should go to college and pre-school, that only a few should have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

The reason I have called on Senator Obama to run is because he is the only person who I believe deeply cares about and understands these issues and the people affected by them, and the only person I believe has the ability to effectively communicate our values as a party. If this is too early, then maybe Senator Obama will fail. Maybe, like Ronald Reagan, who ran in 1968 after two years as governor, he will run again and again until he wins (Reagan ran again in 1976 and 1980 before being elected to the Presidency). But I am not calling for Senator Obama to run because I want him to eventually be President, I am asking him to run now because we need him to be our President.

Our country is in serious pain. I hear it on my dorm floor. Conservatives scream at me for wanting to kill babies, for destroying religious freedom by allowing deviant homosexuals to marry, for depressing the morale of our troops in Iraq by calling for them to come home, and for wanting to take away the "hard-earned money" of CEO's making $7 million bonuses so that poor kids can go to college. They call me a racist for supporting affirmative action simply as a temporary solution so minorities can seek their potential until we fix our broken educational and economic system. On race, religion, political affiliation, gender, age, sexual orientation, ideology, and nationality, there are enormous divisions in our country. It saddens me that we fail to look to the long-term and address dangerous problems like global warming, anti-Americanism in every continent, growing global poverty, HIV/AIDS, the financial insolvency of Medicare (while Social Security is very solvent for at least three generations, I will post on this later, Medicare will be insolvent in the next decade), the unnerving effects of globalization, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the problem of the uninsured and the undereducated. We need serious leaders committed to tackling these tough issues now, who have strong principles but who are willing to compromise to achieve good ends, who can challenge and inspire our nation to sacrifice a little self-interest for the common good, who will once again make the United States the moral and political leader of the free world, and who will debunk all the myths and lies about politics by demonstrating to the American people that our elected leadership genuinely cares about helping others and serving their communities.

Senator Obama is that man. He is the product of an interracial and international marriage (his father was Kenyan, his mother was Kansan). He used drugs as a teenager and got involved with gangs. But he also went to college (Columbia University) and law school (Harvard, where he was President of the Harvard Law Review, the first African-American in the position) because he worked hard, played by the rules, changed his life around, and believed in the American Dream. He was a practicing Muslim in his youth, and converted to Christianity, and is as devout as any evangelical. He moved to Chicago and New York after law school, not to seek big money, but to help the little guy by being a civil rights lawyer and then creating a voter registration initiative that registered 100,000 people in 1992 in Chicago. He has lived the lives of Americans from all walks of life and understands the issues that we all face. But through all the pain (his father left the country when he was two and Obama never saw him again), he never lost hope; even with a "funny name," this skinny kid is a United States Senator from the Land of Lincoln. In all the poverty that he has seen, he still believes that anyone in America can get ahead. With racism and intolerance subtly permeating every institution in our country, Senator Obama sees a world where African-Americans stop viewing intellectualism as "white" and where white people become better by working with and learning from their black friends. Senator Obama is the embodiment of the American character and the country needs him to lead.

Or makes good points about the political ramifications of Senator Obama's age and experience in comparison to other "lucky" Presidents like Wilson and Carter. But the winds are changing, and Senator Obama has only beaten the odds and pulled major upsets (he was running fourth in the Dmeocratic primary polls in Illinois until the primary and won a decisive majority in a large field). Senator Obama, even before the GOP changed candidates and the sex scandal with Jack Ryan came out, was ahead of his opponent by 22 points, before he was well-known. Senator Obama stuns people; he stuns me. I still believe in an America that challenges the conventional wisdom, embodied by Charlie Cook (whom I think is brilliant), and surprises the world. We have a choice in our party in 2008; do we want to win an election, do we want to defeat the Republicans, do we want to govern effectively, or do we want to change the world for the better? I want to do all of these things, and I strongly believe that there is no one in our party better suited than Senator Obama to accomplish them.

Maybe it is too early for Senator Obama, and maybe he will fail. But maybe he won't, and maybe we will see an America again that amazes us all, and makes us believe in miracles again.