The results in Iowa knocked me for a loop. I did not expect Obama to win, especially not by the amount he won. I definitely did not expect Hillary to come in third. These amazing results have made me realize something: I am rooting for Obama.
I thought I was on the fence. I thought what really mattered to me was whether the person who becomes our nominee is "electable." And I was nervous about both Hillary and Obama in that regard. Hillary because of all her baggage and the fact that so many Republicans hate her guts; she would mobilize their base like no one else. And many Democrats, including myself, have trouble feeling all warm and fuzzy over her.
I was nervous about Obama for two reasons - his "inexperience" - and let's face it, his race. I was afraid too many people in those Red states would consciously or subconsciously not vote for him.
So that left Edwards. I like his message, admire his dedication; I do think he is sincere in his populism, and I am impressed by the strength of his marriage and the way he and Elizabeth have gotten through hard times together.
But something was holding me back. Maybe I wanted this year to be different, a year when we got someone other than a white, Anglo-Saxon male from a southern state into the White House. Nothing against them, but it's been done to death.
So I was on the fence.
But these results have given me hope - the audacity of hope, to coin Obama's own phrase - that perhaps this country really is ready for an African-American president. That perhaps his so-called inexperience equals an idealism and ability to inspire that have not been seen since Bobby Kennedy. That perhaps it's more important to have ideals and principles than understand how to get bills through the Senate. That perhaps it's more helpful to have lived in other parts of the world and understand other cultures outside of our country than to have years of experience wheeling and dealing in the insular world of Washington or being governor of a state that hardly represents the world at large.
Obama gave a great speech at the end of the evening - you can see it here if you haven't already seen it posted on someone else's blog. He sounded presidential. He sounded inspirational. He sounded as if he could go the distance.
I realize it is a long slog ahead and anything can happen. But I think I've found my candidate. No one is perfect. But if we want change, I think Obama will give it to us.
I know not everyone will agree with this - some feel he is going to be as beholden as Hillary to those who support him. But I just have this feeling about him that I don't have about Hillary. I think he'll try to stick to his principles.
I may be wrong. But we never really know how a person will act until they are in the White House. As Bill Clinton said, it could be a roll of the dice. But sometimes we have to roll the dice in order to win.