Unlike many lefty bloggers, I jumped on board the Obama train almost from the beginning. I was swayed by his intellect, his ability to give a spine-tingling speech, and furthermore I thought him to be the only candidate strong enough to defeat Hillary Clinton. I knew most of the candidates were too weak to win across-the-board support and Obama's moderate stances would appeal more to the voting public than the unabashedly left-leaning candidates. For the first time in my voting career, I was proven right.
Today, I feel like reflecting back upon this exhaustive campaign cycle in an effort to note where we've been.
Obama securing the Democratic nomination for President didn't seem likely for a while, I must admit. I volunteered for his campaign in the summer of last year, back when the Junior Senator from Illinois was still relatively unknown and thought by most to be an afterthought to the Clinton Restoration. I was assigned to be crowd control, instructing people to line up properly and then escort them into the Atlanta Convention Center, where they would stand to observe a procession of speakers and celebrities, eventually culminating with the main attraction. Though Barack Obama had recently received the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey, from the Senator's body language, it was evident that he wasn't particularly encouraged by showing as a distant, but respectable second place.
After the singer Usher, an Atlanta native, was finished talking and the smitten screams of women had subsided, Obama stood up to speak. The backdrop was a series of large American flags, hanging vertically towards the stage. Obama came on to a round of thunderous applause and gave an excellent speech. After it had subsided and the crowds had headed out, he shook hands with all of us volunteers. Handlers pushed him quickly from person to person and he only lingered a few seconds with each of us. In trying to leave the building, Obama found himself corned in a dead end at the back of the room, a room without an exit, and he made a few caustic, sarcastic comments towards his staff in response. Perhaps he was just tired. Perhaps he doubted that this, his first run for the Highest Office in the Land, would accomplish much of anything besides padding his nest for subsequent runs.
In those days, much of the liberal blogosphere was united behind Dennis Kucinich. I agreed with most of Kucinich's After the first few caucuses and primaries, some peoples' allegiance shifted to John Edwards. Many feared that if nominated, and then elected, Obama would govern from the center-right, neglecting the base in the process. These fears came to the forefront again a few months later when it was widely perceived that Obama was drifting to the right in an effort to combat his characterization as a far-left liberal. But, as a fellow blogger has pointed out, the contrast with the largely dysfunctional McCain campaign has allowed Obama to spread his wings and espouse a more liberal philosophy. Whether this stance will be adopted by Obama if he wins the right to take the Oath of Office remains to be seen.