Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dodd Goes Obama

I got a supporter email this morning from Senator Dodd with "Barack Obama for President" in the subject. Of course I knew what the message was about, but I was surprised by the impression I was left with after reading through the entire letter.

Senator Dodd didn't say anything particularly new or eye-opening, but he didn't just repeat the Obama talking points in his endorsement as Ted Kennedy did last month. Instead, Dodd subtly applied a few of the key points from his own presidential campaign and spoke about how Obama possessed them too. Dodd touched on national service, the current economic crisis, and, as a clincher, argued that Democrats have to come together now around a nominee and prepare for the general election:

And while both of our Party's remaining candidates are extremely talented and would make excellent commanders-in-chief, I am throwing my support to the candidate who I believe will open the most eyes to our shared Democratic vision.

Put simply, I believe Barack Obama is uniquely qualified to help us face this housing crisis, create good jobs, strengthen America's families in this 21st century global economy, unite the world against terrorism and end the war in Iraq - and perhaps most importantly, call the American people to shared service and sacrifice.

That is why I believe the time has come for Democrats to come together as a Party and focus on winning the general election. The stakes are too high not to.

After Super Tuesday I was frustrated with what I read as the Obama campaign's attempt to claim victory in the nomination and subtly suggest Hillary abandon her run. Now I am starting to pick up on a nagging feeling that Ohio and Texas will and should be the final test for Senator Clinton; even if Hillary Clinton can win in Pennsylvania (which I think she can), I will start to resent her continuation of the battle with Obama. If Texas AND Ohio don't both pick up on whatever message the Clinton campaign has now, then it's over.

From a larger perspective it's rather unfortunate that such a tight election should be considered so close to finished by the end of February, but if moving on to the general election is the most important thing for the Democrats this election, then it's hard to make a case for dragging out the primary season any longer.

I would still rather see Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee and the next president, but Dodd's endorsement this morning is personal for me. Here's a guy whose campaign stood for ambitious environmental, national service, and educational initiatives, and whose recent career has been focused on restoring Constitution protections and opposing wiretapping and torture. In short, I respect him. With Dodd's endorsement today, I no longer feel a wide division between my political and personal beliefs and those of Obama.

People often discredit endorsements as having little potential to shape the way voters think, but Dodd's endorsement today speaks to me strongly, just as his candidacy did.

(all photos: 2008 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

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