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February 03, 2008

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TJ, thanks for this eloquent "closing argument" for Obama.

I appreciate how you kept it pro-Obama without naming the alternative. But I'd like to offer here a slight variation on a comment I posted at New West, mostly for those who are still considering a vote for Senator Clinton:

I've been to two Obama rallies now (and seen a dozen more on TV) and yes, there are elements of religious fervor and rock-star passion. But the bottom line behind Barack Obama's appeal is this: People are sick of the shit.

And this doesn't just mean the last seven years of GWB. It also means the eight years before that - of the intense partisan rancor and gridlock we've lived with now for more than a decade-and-a-half and, in some ways, since the 1960s. This is why we need a president who is too young to have personally had a stake in the 1960s, and who can forge a working bipartisan majority to break the gridlock and get the country out of the rut we've been in since Vietnam and Watergate, and since the Kennedys and MLK were killed. It won't happen with either Hillary Clinton or John McCain. Both are too symbolic of the "culture wars" we've been fighting for the past 40 freakin' years!

There's a great saying among Democrats: If you want the country to move forward, put it in "D." If you want to go backward, put it in "R." But with the choice many of us have tomorrow, too many Democrats are tempted to leave the car in "N" with a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Despite Senator Clinton's great accomplishments and intellect and the fact that yes, she would make history as the first woman president, nominating Clinton would be a ticket to leaving our nation in neutral. I do believe she could win, but by a small margin that would leave our nation divided. She'd drive a high Republican turnout among a GOP electorate that's otherwise uninterested in their candidates. She'd possibly attract one or more third-party candidacies that would split the vote and make a mandate - never mind a working majority - less likely.

The way forward is clear indeed. With the crowds and passion he's been inspiring in the reddest of the red states - and make no mistake, Boise is the campaign's Exhibit A - Barack Obama has the potential to win by a comfortable margin in November. He has the potential to put the 1960s behind us and to quiet - if not silence - the GOP noise machine and its media allies that have a stake in keeping us pissed off.

Obama is a hopemonger, but I hear grit and determination in his voice, and I know he will fight to make this a country that offers liberty and justice for all.

Congratulations to everyone responsible for what was a terrific event on Saturday morning. I really felt like this was something I could not afford to miss. The crowd was phenomenal. The energy in the arena was electric. And the response to the senator was something to remember. Thanks to Kammie and TJ for all their work behind the scenes. What a great day for our state!

In my capacity as Idaho grassroots coordinator for Bill Richardson I lobbied the campaign very hard to send Gov. Richardson to Idaho. A personal visit is something that gets noticed around here.

Sixteen years ago I was a coordinator at ISU for Bill Clinton. The weekend before the caucus I was in Boise for what was then called the Jefferson-Jackson Banquet and met Sen. Tom Harkin, who was running for president that year as well. Although by that time Clinton's nomination was a foregone conclusion, Harkin convincingly won the Idaho caucus that year; Clinton didn't even make threshold in Bannock County. That probably kept Harkin in the race an extra couple weeks. As I recall Harkin had a decent organization here (although nothing like Obama's), but the personal visit really sealed the deal for him. I related this story to the Richardson people several times. Had Richardson not dropped out, he might have done it. I still hope to get him out here for something in the future.

But Obama did come to Idaho, and wow. I'm glad I'm working with the Obama organization rather than against it now. I daresay the Idaho personal visit still means a lot.

Tim, just a slight correction - it's Kassie, not Kammie. They've done awesome work these past six months, and it was indeed a great event. And as Lane indicates, tomorrow night should be the big payoff. Let's hope it goes beyond Idaho!!!

If you don't know where your caucus location is, go to this link: http://www.idahoforobama.org/pages/caucuslocations.html

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