After much soul searching and researching of the issues, I've picked the horse I plan to back this primary season: Barack Obama.

You may wonder why I've chosen him, and not my long time favorite Wellesley sister, Hillary. Here's a list of some of the reasons I'm supporting Obama:

1) He had the courage to say that he would meet with leaders from countries such as Iran, North Korea and so forth. The days of burying our heads in the sand and pretending that ignoring these guys is some how punishment for them are over. Open dialogue and diplomatic channels are critical if we want to sincerely combat global terrorism. The Straits of Hormuz almost resulted in another Gulf of Tonkin incident, largely because of our self-imposed diplomatic silence with Iran. I want our leader to acknowledge the power of diplomacy and pledge to use it, not our military, to restore America's power in the world.

2) I'm not a big fan of playing the "electability" game, since I think that's how we got stuck with a milquetoast candidate in 2004. However, it's foolish to think that a Hillary nomination (fairly or not, since "fairness" has never had much to do with American politics) won't mobilize and energize the conservative base. I think Obama has more appeal with "purple people" (a.k.a moderate independents), and this base will be key in winning the election. You have to win in the purple states. McCain has the potential to steal these states if we aren't careful.

3) On most of the major issues - universal health care, the environment, economic stimulus, education, women's rights, etc - he's right where I want to be. I also support Hillary's positions, but think that on these issues, they're close enough to each other that it sort of negates my preference for one or the other. However, this will become more relevant when we go to the general election and the policy differences of the candidates becomes more pronounced.

4) Less established with The Party. I cautiously hope that he will be inclined to enact true reform in the Beltway, since he's less beholden to lobbyists and the Establishment party members than Hillary, who is the definition of an old school insider. I'm hoping this translates to a break from the "same old politics as usual".

5) I want to believe in a better America. Obama gives me that hope. I want a candidate to inspire me. I want the feeling that this video makes me feel.

All of this is not to say that these are the only high points I see. Nor is it to say that I've rejected Hillary completely. Like I said, many of their differences in their policies are largely semantic. I'd be thrilled to support Hillary. I just feel more strongly about Obama right now.
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