November 04, 2008
"The most consequential election of their lives"
Posted by Gordon Smith

So says Katharine Q. Seelye, jumping the gun with a video retrospective on the election.

In January 2007, after our debate at the University of Chicago Law School, Kent Greenfield and I talked politics. At the time -- a year before the Iowa Caucus -- Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination, but I thought she would be hard-pressed to prevail. Her negatives seemed too high. Though she ran a stronger race than I had imagined she could, I told Kent that I was intrigued by Barack Obama.

Now, almost 20 months later, it's hard to remember what a longshot Obama seemed at the time. Truth be told, I wasn't predicting an Obama victory, just saying that I thought he could be good for the country. While we all knew that the War in Iraq would play a significant role in the election, we didn't anticipate the importance of the economy as an issue. And, yet, despite the enormity of these issues, the major issue in this campaign from the beginning has been race. Race is the reason this has become "the most consequential election" of my life.

But race is not the reason I remain impressed with Obama after all of these months. I have come to respect his mind and his values, even though we disagree on many issues. While many people I esteem fear an Obama Administration, when I stood at the polling station earlier today, I chose to hope. For the first time in my life, I voted for a Democrat for the office of President of the United States because Barack Obama convinced me that he could change the world for the better. Indeed, if I am reading the images on television correctly, he already has.

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