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I’ve been a conservative Republican since Ronald Regan ran for office back in 1980. I supported Bush I and Robert Dole against Bill Clinton. I supported Bush II against Al Gore in 2000.
My political views began to change when Bush rallied this country for war against Iraq due to the WMD threat. I listened to U.N. inspectors (at least one was a U.S. citizen) that said Saddam didn’t have any WMD. I watched the inspectors be discredited. I came to believe that Bush had better find WMD or his justification for war and my faith, as well as the country’s faith, in him would be sorely challenged. Well, we know the results of the war. No WMD.
But that is not the only reason my heart has changed. I was excited when Bush won and we finally had both a Republican president and a Republican Congress. I believed that finally we would see the government operate according to Republican/conservative ideals. Yeah, we got tax cuts that really help those who have managed to earn a lot of money and a couple of good Supreme Court nominations, but the Republican Congress spent money and ran deficits that are anathema to core conservatives. I’ve come to realize that when it comes to fiscal responsibility it matters little whether it’s a Republican or Democrat administration; they are going to feed the fat cats that got them elected, the hell with the people.
I sat out the 2004 election. I couldn’t support Bush and I could no longer support the Republicans in Congress who were unrestrained in their spending of money. As I viewed the new crop of candidates for the 2008 election, I was again disappointed in the Republicans. Not one candidate had a vision for the future, just a recycling of the same old themes that have brought us to this point in time.
And what did the Democrats offer but Hillary Clinton, some empty retreads and a political upstart, Barack Obama. It looked as though Hillary Clinton, of whom I had a viscerally negative opinion, or the same old Republican cliché candidate would be my choices for president.
Then Barack won Iowa and woke me up along with many others in this nation. Maybe we wouldn’t have to settle for the same old tried and failed politics. Maybe there was truly a possibility of change. So I listened to him. I listened to his speeches and I liked what I heard. I’m 56 years old, and here I was being transported back to my idealistic past, a past when I was instilled with hope and renewed belief in America. A hope instilled by Ronald Regan. I think that one of the greatest accomplishments of Regan was to renew the country’s faith in itself. I believe Barack just may be able to do the same thing – give us hope that Americans can be united, that we can work together, that we can overcome the obstacles set before us. Yes, he’s a liberal, but liberals do on occasion have good ideas.
Yes, I know I sound naïve, and yes, perhaps I am. I do know that we tried the Republicans, and they have led us into a massive quagmire with the war, the economy, education, immigration and health care. I don’t want more of the same. I don’t know if Barack can make a difference in the way this country does things, but I hope he can.
The next president will lead a country with difficulties the likes of which haven’t been seen in a long time. In order for this country not to fracture further we will need to come together and work toward a common goal. We will need to be united behind a vision of the future. We will need hope that things will get better. The next president will need to be able to inspire that vision, unify us and instill a hope for the future. The one candidate that I believe can do this is Barack Obama. That is why I am supporting him for president of the United States of America.
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