The remarkable thing about this election is that there's a candidate I really respect and admire, unlike every other time, when it's been two vaguely repulsive figures. Back in 2000, Gore was too sanctimonious and Bush seemed like an amiable dunce. Go for the dunce! What could possibly go wrong? In 2004, I had recognized the error of my ways and was looking forward to voting for Howard Dean, who was like a "West Wing" fantasy come to life (plucky Northeastern governor comes to Washington) yet I ended up voting for John Kerry, who looked and acted like one of those dour talking trees in "The Wizard of Oz."
This time around, I hitched my star to Obama way back in April 2007, and boy, have I been pleased with how that turned out. From the stunning victory in Iowa to the soaring convention speech to his cool, professional demeanor in the debates against grumpy old Senator McCain, he and his campaign have had remarkably few missteps. Not only do I see Obama as an inspirational figure in America -- a symbol of progress and a bellwether of great things to come -- but McCain, for whom I voted with passion in the 2000 Virginia primary, has done a thorough job of losing my vote: The selection of Governor Palin by a man who promised "country first." The constant drumbeat that the city where I live and the region where I grew up is not "the real America." A wholehearted embrace of smear tactics and strategies designed to appeal to our worst impulses and fears. An acceptance of the right-wing ideologies that he fought so long against. And the introduction of Joe the Plumber to the national scene. Every time I read "Joe the Plumber" I hear it in the chirpy cadence of a parrot voice. Thanks a lot, John McCain.
So, in the spirit of these final few days, as everybody hunkers down and all the newspapers and magazines put their cards on the table in one last appeal for wisdom and clear judgment, here's my own, the first official presidential endorsement in the history of this blog.
Take it from your old pal Mike the Lawyer: vote Barack Obama for president.