by highway 61, Sun Oct 12, 2008 at 10:17:27 AM EDT
I've been lurking around MyDD since John Kerry lost in 04, but today I thought I'd introduce myself. My name's Dan and I'm a Democrat. And I'm damn proud of it. I'm a milk drinking, whatever-happens-to-be-running-this-week driving, NASCAR watching, salmon eating, progressive populist liberal. I'm not sure what exactly that says about me and my politics, but that's the format all the cool kids in the political world are using to describe themselves and others these days, so I thought I'd better start off with that. If you'd care to indulge my biographical ramblings, I'll tell y'all a bit more about myself, how I came to vote for Obama today, and why I'm fired up to win this thing.
I grew up in Burlington, Iowa, which sits in the southeast part of the state right on the Mississippi. My dad has a little farm and through most of my childhood years worked in the Case backhoe plant in town. He's still a member of the UAW. I still remember being too young to read, holding up signs and walking the picket line. Like most hopeless addicts I picked up politics at young age, taking notes on the Lieberman-Cheney debate even though I was only 12 or 13. (Yeah, I've got it bad.) I knocked on few doors that year, but I really got my feet wet in '04 when I did some voter contact volunteering for the Kucinich campaign before the caucuses, and then John Kerry in the general. Kucinich may be a vegan and look more like the Traveling Gnome than JFK, but you know where the man stands and who he's fighting for. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I even knew what a vegan was before Kucinich ran, but I digress. While I was disappointed when Kerry lost, I was mainly just more fired up to get Democrats elected in '06. One thing I'm glad I learned early: Politics isn't about particular candidates. If your candidate loses in the primaries it's not the end of the world, you just hope that their involvement helped shape the debate and pushed the party in the right direction. And if your party's candidate loses in the general, you get mad as hell and work twice as hard next time.
Which brings me to the '08 election cycle. Which started back in '06 if I'm not mistaken... Anyhow I remember watching C-Span in my senior year of high school (05-06) and excitedly calling my mom into the living room every time Barack came on and saying, "That's Barack Obama mom, he's probably gonna be the first black president. In 2016 or 2012 if we lose in `08." (Hopefully I'll be half right.) And every time I'd have to coach my mom through pronouncing his name, but after a while she got it down. I ended up becoming an early supporter of Edwards. I liked Obama, but as I said at the time, "Marshmallows and rainbows aren't policy issues." I thought Obama was too vague and too soft and cautious with his rhetoric and policies on the economy and health care. He still pisses me off from time to time when he does things like easing back his criticisms on NAFTA and telecom immunity. But the fact of the matter is I think my fellow Democrats picked the right candidate and a dang good one too. You don't become president by agreeing with me on every single thing. You do it by doing what Barack Obama's been doing: Running an effective campaign. When the economy took a nosedive I was sitting in my living room, annoyed as hell, wondering, "When is he gonna hit McCain with Keating?!" This is why his campaign staff gets paid the big bucks and I'm still in college. Rather than being knee jerk they waited for McCain to hit and then used Keating hit back.