I’ve been woefully under-engaged with the Democratic presidential campaigns, but last night I got a free ticket to Barack Obama’s Broadway fundraiser, which seemed as good a place as any to jump in.
Until now I’ve been cynical about Obama. I assumed he was this year’s Howard Dean, and I found Dean heartbreakingly disappointing during a Bryant Park rally back during the last election. Dean just didn’t seem fundamentally different from the rest of the politicians I’d heard in my life. Sure, he was against the war, but that came across as good luck — a nice prop in his masquerade as maverick.
But Obama, man…
He put up a damn good fight against the cynic in me. He sounded different, like a dreamer, and I shouldn’t be embarrassed to say that I might have been a little bit inspired. (How’s that for a stream of qualifiers?)
An example of Obama’s freshness: in speaking about the morale in America he said, “They’re willing to try anything. Even a black guy named Barack Obama.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but that struck me as pretty edgy for a presidential candidate to say. The obvious comment: “Americans don’t care about race.” But for the sake of humor and — most importantly — honesty, Obama noted his blackness AND America’s racist tendencies. Maybe I’m super-jaded, but that struck me as bold.
I have little knowledge of his positions on “the issues,” but based on last night — surprisingly — Obama might have my vote to lose.