Only Obama can bring a new beginning

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By Rick Howell

As you receive your Bulletin this week, we’re in the midst of the Democratic National Convention, where, on Thursday, Sen. Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech as the party’s presidential nominee.

This will be the crowning moment for the man who will carry the banner for all of us who want a clean break from the scandals, lies, wars, and right-wing extremism of the last eight years.

If it were possible for two people to utterly ruin a country, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have almost done it. Now, in just a few months, we will be able to choose a new path and show our rejection of all things Bush/Cheney.

It’s clear that that’s what most Americans want. If Republicans themselves were to be strapped to chairs and given truth serum, most of them, too, would probably say that the current regime has been a disaster for the country and a likely political death sentence this year for their party.

Before this week’s convention, Obama was in Virginia. His appearances in Martinsville and Lynchburg were announced only days before they were to happen. Tickets to the events were quickly dispatched; and the places where he spoke were filled with supporters.

Don’t expect Obama to pull his campaign out of this state in September like John Kerry did in 2004. He has offices and field operators all over the Old Dominion, even in places like Martinsville and Danville. Anyone who doesn’t realize that he has a very serious chance of carrying Virginia hasn’t been paying attention.

In fact, Obama can win in some other states, such as New Mexico and Colorado, that have previously gone GOP in presidential races. A victory here or in any of those states is likely to win the election itself. He may even carry the vote in some surprising places.

Quite simply, our country needs to be redeemed. We need a leader who understands that what has happened over the last eight years - the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, tax cuts for the rich, “pre-emptive” war, the shredding of our Constitution, the fight for torture, it’s such a long list of wrongsee. - is exactly the opposite of what America should be about.

The decline in the economy has reminded us again that rich Republicans like Bush and Cheney (John McCain, too) live a lifestyle that totally isolates them from what most Americans are going through now at the gas pumps and in the grocery stores.

George W. Bush may have proved the old saying that, in America, anyone can grow up to be president. But he’s also shown that a person with an average intelligence is likely to be overwhelmed in the job. Yes, it’s true. People want to feel that someone smart is in the Oval Office. Obama fits that requirement beautifully. Even conservative columnist George Will has called him “refreshingly cerebral.”

When Obama leaves Denver and the campaign takes its most serious turn after Labor Day, he will literally carry the hopes of millions with him. We expect his message to resonate with enough people so we can put the final nail in the coffin of the last eight years, and start all over again.

A McCain victory would not only continue many of Bush’s policies, but it would reward the political party that gave us George W. Bush. Republicans have to be held accountable for the choice they made in 2000.

Enjoy the speechee.you’re probably looking at the next president of the United States.

Rick Howell, a Bedford native, is a member of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee, and can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.