I swear, Byron, I'm putting you in my will. Thank you so very much for this introduction. If I am ever given the opportunity to meet this man, I'm going to mention you. When I see the future, I am so encouraged. Thank you, sugah. You're a real dear.
Barack Obama is the natural successor to the late Paul Simon. While neither was born in Illinois, both embraced the state with such enthusiasm that it's easy to forget they grew up in the Pacific rim.
Both Simon and Obama made names for themselves in the state senate and used it as a launch pad for higher office.
Obama, like Simon, is an intellectual and makes no apologies for it. But both men have been blessed with the common touch and never permitted themselves to remain cloistered in ivory towers.
They could both be thought of as progressive populists. While highly principled, neither has considered himself to be "above politics". They've been known to kick butt when the situation demanded it.
It is rare that history is so seamless. But the passing of Paul Simon and the rise of Barack Obama in a matter of weeks, makes me think of that JFK phrase, "the torch has been passed."
If there are any other Illinois voters out there, please join me on Tuesday in casting a vote for hope.
BTW, I hope that Houston gives me a cut from that will too.
When is the Illinois primary? Isn't this going to be an open seat? If so, I assume we are going to pick it up.
It's a GOP open seat (Pete Fitzgerald decided not to run again because saw the writing on the wall) and it is pretty much the one sure pickup the Dems have this year (though Colorado, with all GOP heavyweights declining to face Salazar, may also become a sure thing). Illinois has become a solidly Democratic state and the state GOP is still suffering from the wreckage George Ryan left behind. Their top Senate candidate is ANOTHER Ryan, this one named Jack whose main claim to fame is being the ex-husband of former "Star Trek" and "Boston Public" hottie Jeri Ryan. Ryan's little more than a sacrificial lamb. Basically whoever wins the Dem primary is likely the next Senator.
I like Obama too. He seems like one hell of a candidate and I want to see an African-American face back in the Senate. He's very smart and ethically-straight (something Carol Mosely-Braun had trouble with, about the only reason she narrowly lost to Fitzgerald in 1998). He'll make a great Senator, perhaps turning out to be an heir to Paul Wellstone (both were college professors).
The primary is this Tuesday, March 16th.
Polls are open in IL from 6 AM to 7 PM.
I'll be working as an election judge in suburban Cook County for the primary. So I'll be casting an absentee ballot within the hour for Obama.
This is the Dems best chance for a pick up in 2004.
He'll make a great Senator, perhaps turning out to be an heir to Paul Wellstone
Wellstone was indeed a great senator. But Obama, like the late Sen Paul Simon (see above), is more of a pragmatist. That's an essential trait for success in Illinois politics.
The Illinoisians I know are fired up about Obama, and it's showing in the polls. He's gonna be an absolutely fantastic Senator.
I've actually met Obama on several occasions. He is even more impressive in person than the press coverage--magnetic, well-spoken, smart, straight-forward, no nonsense, no bulls---. As my friend who just made her first political contribution ever said of him "he's the only politician EVER who does not make my skin crawl." He was my state senator in Chicago and I voted for him in his run for congress against the ineffectual Bobby Rush. It makes me wish I still lived in Illinois, just so I could vote for him again. This is a bright shining moment for the country as a whole, a great hope for ethical, principled, and progressive leadership.