It started at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on February 10, 2007.
One of the most unlikely presidential candidates in modern times, a junior Senator from a very blue state, announces that he’ll entire the race for the Democratic nomination.
Nearly everybody in the media says it’s too early for this guy. Especially since he’ll be going head to head with a highly popular former First Lady who has heavy institutional support and deep pockets.
He’s got time.
Best to wait another 4 or 8 years.
Besides, it’s not his turn.
But don’t tell that to his supporters, who are younger, motivated and don’t believe the media’s predetermined script. They feel that there’s something different about this guy.
And slowly but surely his consistent and steady message of hope, change and unity begins to resonate. He captures Iowa. Then ties in Nevada. Then wins South Carolina. The unlikely candidate begins to out-raise, out-organize and out-wit his fellow Democrats at nearly every turn. They’re simply no match for his message and methodical 50 state strategy.
Then on to the general election where one of the most respected moderate politicians in the past 30 years tries to paint his opponent as dangerous and ends up looking like the unreliable one. Republicans can’t make anything stick to this guy. It becomes obvious that 2008 is a year for change.
Eventually America decides to deliver a massive win to the junior Senator from Illinois, with some red states turning blue for the first time in decades. The message is sent. Americans want fundamentally new leadership.
And so today we begin to turn a corner. And it’s my sincere hope that this time we’ll finally be able to put pragmatic solutions that can bridge political divides above the partisan rancor and ideological purity that has torn us apart. So far all indications point to the new President delivering just that.
No doubt that there will be slip ups along the way, but I have more faith than ever that President Obama isn’t just a bunch of fancy talk and empty promises. Case in point, his transition has been a decidedly centrist affair, and we’ve just recently found out that he’s reaching across the aisle to his opponents to seek their counsel on his cabinet picks. This signals a distinct change from Washington’s standard operating procedure and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue. After all, if Obama has shown us anything, it’s that he is consistent above all else.
But remember…we’re part of this equation too.
To everybody in the moderate blogosphere and beyond, today marks a unique time when we can seek to redefine our discussions and restore a sense of civility and common purpose to the collective conversation. This will be part of our sacrifice. To put away the snark and the name calling and the back biting.
Obviously we’ll still have many disagreements, but the manner in which we differ can oftentimes be the most important part of the discussion.
In any event, I hope everybody is enjoying this historic day and I look forward to the debate in the years to come both on this blog and elsewhere.
Let’s move this country forward together.