To the supporters of John Edwards

posted 31 January 2008

You have run an excellent campaign. You have taken standard election issues like poverty and healthcare, too often ignored, and pushed hard to make them real for the electorate again. And now with John dropping out of the race, you have an important choice: whom, of the remaining two democratic candidates, can you trust? Who will keep those issues in focus and make real progress on them?

I say that candidate is Barack Obama, and you should vote for him.

I could talk about the way Barack Obama has worked with the underprivileged in Chicago, try to make some kind of tortured analogy to say that really they're the same kind of guy. But that would be disingenuous of me and insulting to your intelligence. They are different candidates, and that is why you were supporting the other guy.

But what is true is that Obama is the candidate who really cares, sincerely cares, about changing what is wrong with this country. He's not in politics to beat the Republicans, or to fight the political battles of the 1970s yet again. And like John, he is not in debt to big corporate backers, but nor is he some anti-corporate reactionary. He's in politics to change the world for the better: that's not a campaign slogan, that's actually the only motivation I can find.

Admitting that I sincerely believe the candidate I support genuinely believes in making the nation and the world a better place is hard. Just saying it makes the cynic at the core of me uncomfortable. But that's really the Obama magic: he is, no matter how deep you dig, the real deal. Guys like him turn up only once a generation, and ours is here now.