It’s true that the politicians change but the messages often remain the same. We get the same kind of promises every two years, and neither party does a satisfactory job of delivering on their promises. I am as cynical as the next person. But Barack Obama has emphasized two main themes in this campaign that, more than anything, explain why he is winning and favored to be the next President of the United States. Here they are:

“I don’t want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.”- Barack Obama

“The votes hadn’t even been counted in November [2006] before we heard reports that corporations were already recruiting lobbyists with Democratic connections to carry their water in the next Congress. That’s why it’s not enough to just change the players. We have to change the game…The truth is, we cannot change the way Washington works unless we first change the way Congress works.”- Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, embodies the mindset that got us into the war and famously said that she takes money from registered lobbyists because they are ‘real’ Americans.

We have the Clintons’ long record of public service to judge them by. Obama, by contrast, can only be judged by his brief service in the Senate, and the campaign team that he has put together. We don’t know for certain that Obama will not fill his administration and the DNC with people no different from Terry McAuliffe, Lanny Davis, James Carville, Paul Begala, and Mark Penn. What we do know is that Clinton’s team thinks that our wing of the party (eggheads and African-Americans) is an embarrassment that can and should be taken for granted. When Paul Begala said that he doesn’t need “some asshole from Vermont” telling him how to run the Democratic Party, he was talking to more than Howard Dean…he was talking to eggheads everywhere.

When this campaign started, my heart was with Sen. Dodd because he was taking on the administration on a number of issues in a way that earned my support. But my brain was truly undecided between John Edwards and Barack Obama. All I wanted was someone that would take over the party from McAuliffe, Penn, From, Begala, and Carville. Whether it was Edwards or Obama was mostly immaterial to me. But only Obama offered a real chance to change the mindset that got us into the war in Iraq (Edwards co-sponsored the authorization).

But Obama has impressed me not only through his success, but through the type of people he has attracted to his campaign. The professional people make very few mistakes and often make brilliant moves that I would never thought of. And the volunteers are smart, thoughtful, and optimistic. It’s a sharp contrast to the hard-edged bitterness, tone of victimization, and racist overtones I see coming out of the Clinton camp.

For me, at least, the Obama campaign is much better and much more than I originally gave myself the right to hope for. And the last thing on earth they should do is turn the Naval Observatory over to the people surrounding the Clintons. That would not only undermine the spirit, but the accomplishment of the Obama movement. People went to work for Obama to change how Washington works and end the mindset that got us into the war in Iraq. You can’t accomplish those two goals by implanting them in the office of the vice-president.

Obama needs a running mate that reflects his values, and the values of his followers. So, please, enough with the Dream Ticket talk. That ticket would be a nightmare.

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