Going to the show

Dateline: Sun 24 Feb 2008

After voting two times for George Bush for president, it's time to make amends. Barack Obama is my personal choice for recovering Republicans. On Monday, I'm driving to Cincinnati to spend five days with his Ohio campaign.

Sen. Obama is speaking at 2 p.m. Monday at the University of Cincinnati. I hope to discover firsthand what the fuss is all about, although I think I already have a good notion. The man has been an inspiration since he catapulted to national prominence in 2004, delivering an eloquent keynote at the Democratic convention. Yes, words do matter.

Still, journalists by training and inclination are skeptical, although, I hope, never cynical. Is Obama too young, too inexperienced, too untested? Is he too liberal? Too idealistic? Too soft? Too purple, in a nation of red and blue states? Too good to be true? A rock star?

These are the basic questions one expects to confront while volunteering for his campaign, although I'm sure many will be wrapped in specific concerns or complaints. I do not have all the answers. But simply reading the man's biography -- go to Wikipedia when all else fails -- indicates that the young senator is solid, highly accomplished, altruistic, decent and very bright.

But to hell with the resume. Like everyone else who admires him, I fall back on what I know in my bones.

He speaks of an America in which we wish to believe. He gives us hope that we can come together and make a difference. And to paraphrase the columnist/analyst Eugene Robinson, since when is it a bad thing to have hope for your country?

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