The differences between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are pretty arcane. The reality is that both candidates support the popular Democratic agenda that has emerged after eight years of George W. Bush's catastrophic presidency.
Can you believe the Democrats once seemed lost for an identity? Now, thanks to Bush, the Democratic Party is at the forefront of a focused agenda to: achieve universal health care, end the occupation of Iraq, combat global warming, reestablish the United States as a respected international leader, reverse the erosion of civil liberties at home, and make the economy work for the middle class instead of just the wealthiest.
The question: Which Democratic candidate—the brilliant but polarizing Hillary Clinton or the thoughtful and charismatic Barack Obama—is best suited to take on the conniving GOP? Just as important, which one will be best positioned to enact the Democratic agenda once he or she is in office? We believe the answer is Barack Obama.
If we were Republicans—which we're not—we'd be terrified about taking on a stadium attraction like Obama. Buoyed by his inspirational life story—a mixed-race kid abandoned by his father who makes it to Harvard Law and the U.S. Senate (with a stint as a community organizer along the way)—Obama's campaign will be powered by his goose-bumps oratory. "It is not about black versus white," he said in South Carolina. "It's about the past versus the future."
There's also the numbers. Obama appeals to the nearly 30 percent of voters who identify as independent. This is important given that "maverick" John McCain is the GOP frontrunner.
Scared that Obama's appeal to the center means he's going to sell out Democratic priorities? We were too. But all we had to do was look at Obama's Senate record (nay on the pandering flag-burning amendment) and his proposals (his Social Security plan extends the payroll tax to capture fatter incomes) to realize he's an SECB-approved liberal.
He has a 96 rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He's earned a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He wants to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and he voted against giving immunity to gun manufacturers, against the anti-labor Central American Free Trade Agreement, and for restoring habeas corpus. He's also against giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies who have spied for the White House.
Most impressive: Obama has been openly opposed to the invasion of Iraq since 2002 when he correctly warned that an expensive off-topic adventure would undermine the war on terrorism.
Electing Barack Obama would be a jump cut in American history—one the up-and-coming generation is clamoring for. Bush's ugly politics are a culmination of culture wars dating back to the 1960s. Hillary Clinton is a baby boomer. Obama, who grew up in the '70s, represents a chance to move on.
Certainly, the SECB recognizes the mind-blowing possibility of a woman president, but Obama offers a truly seismic shift. And no, it's not about race (although we don't underestimate the symbolism—to the rest of the world—of electing a black man after eight years of John Wayne diplomacy). It's about transcendence. Obama's talent lies in transforming Democratic goals into mainstream no-brainers. The strategy is disarming, and it's poised to make the Democratic voice the mainstream voice in America.