1. Obama is creating Democratic organization where none exists. He's bringing more new voters into the party, and especially young voters who tend to be more progressive than older voters on the issues I care most about.
2. Having an African-American president popularly elected with broad support from different racial groups would create a narrative about racial harmony that would be incredibly powerful.
3. Obama draws support generally from groups that have not had power within the Democratic party. Having a candidate who did not depend as heavily on business for funding as past candidates have would be a huge plus. The Democratic party as it exists has given us the lopsided anti-progressive atmosphere of today's politics, and that needs to change. Will Obama do that? I don't know. But I suspect because his support comes from outside traditional Democratic power structures that he would be more likely to. And does it help that the national Democratic blogs I like tend to support Obama too? Yes.
4. Obama would represent an end to the Dyanstic Era. The Bushes have dominated Republican politics after Reagan. The Clintons have to a far lesser extent done the same for the Democrats since 1992. Although I think we're still far from as a country having dangerous monarchical tendencies, I wouldn't mind just a little more distance. Obama would obviously represent a cleaner break with that part of the past than Clinton would.
5. And finally, yes, I'll admit I'm enamored of Obama's speaking style. He clearly isn't able to translate it into debate prowess, but nevertheless I look forward to Obama's Inauguration and State of the Union speeches.
But it was tough getting here. I can totally understand why so many of my Democratic friends and family are supporting Clinton. Here's what I like about Clinton:
1. Personality. I have always liked her personally. She just seems like a genuinely nice and caring person. To a certain extent, I can recognize that it doesn't always translate across television. But I actually credit that more to media hostility than any personal attribute of hers. This is just my opinion of course -- I've never met her. I must say she's also a woman with a long and distinguished career in the Senate and as an attorney, who is made more human by her struggles with her family life that have been publicly played out. I find it fascinating that the first thing most people say they like or dislike about her has to do with her relationship with husband.
2. First woman president. While I don't think it would affect the nation's psyche to the same extent to have the first woman president as opposed to the first black president, that does not mean it wouldn't be profoundly exciting and glass-ceiling-shattering. I mean, it is about time. And it would break through some of the harmful gender stereotypes we all have internalized.
3. Partisan rhetoric, fighter. Man it would be good to stick it the Republicans -- make them feel defeated. And what better way than defeating them with the candidate they idiotically think is the least electable Democrat? I also love the way she talks about fighting and about being a progressive. Almost like John Edwards. I wish she took some more progressive positions on issues, but she sure talks a good game. Not all touchy-feely-togetherness like Obama, which is actually what I like least about him. I don't want to be brought together with Republicans. I want to smite their ruin on the mountainside and shove their noses in it.
That said, I'm supporting Obama, and I find the prospect of an Obama presidency to be exciting and transformative. Generally I feel like an Obama candidacy will be better at generating future nose-shoving opportunities, even if he personally is likely to be overgenerous in his graciousness when he destroys McCain in November.
Anyway, I happen to think either would make a great president. Neither candidate strikes me as a more progressive candidate than the other, which I find a bit discouraging in that neither candidate's victory over the other will be portrayed as a victory for progressives, but also encouraging in that both are actually awfully progressive. I like both personally. I also think both would make a strong Democratic presidential candidate. And I absolutely plan to vote for and support whichever candidate we pick as a party. What an exciting time to be a Democrat!