Saturday, February 02, 2008

Campaigning for Obama

February 5th is Super Tuesday when 24 states, including California, will vote or caucus in the Democratic primary. I am supporting Barack Obama in this primary and would like to see him as the party's nominee against the Republicans in November. My reasons are simple: he is an inspirational figure with a preternatural ability to motivate people, has demonstrated independence and excellent judgment in opposing the Iraq war from the very beginning and possesses a healthy intelligence, policy acumen and intellectual curiosity necessary for the job. The historic prospect of an African-American President of the United States of America is also an important contributing factor. He does not have many years of experience in Washington but Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times has laid out the best argument on why this is not as important as is commonly believed(his lack of executive experience would be a more valid criticism). He made a blunder by sounding naively hawkish on Pakistan several months ago but demonstrated sound temperament by learning from the criticism that inevitably followed and fine tuned his views.

Julie is a mother of one of my daughter's schoolfriends and is a Palo Alto neighborhood precinct captain for Obama. Knowing that I had already cast my absentee ballot for Obama she called me last night to ask if I would be interested in volunteering for the campaign and doing some door to door canvassing. I agreed and this morning, along with another volunteer, walked the streets of Palo Alto. In our hands we had a printed list of targeted registered Democratic and Independent voters. Our job was to try to get people to vote on Tuesday but also to understand their leaning and indicate them on our list. This would help identify probable Obama voters for volunteers managing the phone banks on election day. They could then call these people on Tuesday to get them to vote or even drive them to the polling stations if required. It was an interesting experience as knocking on the doors of strangers is never pleasant but it was made easier by the camaraderie of the volunteers and because many of the people we talked to had either already voted for Obama or were strongly leaning toward him. It will be interesting to see where the race stands after "Tsunami Tuesday" but it already seems clear that unless there is a highly unexpected result, the Democratic race will continue for several more weeks.

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