Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Republican I could vote for (and did)

I grew up in a Democratic, liberal household. Living in Providence, RI, in the '70s and early '80s as a kid, I participated with my parents and their friends in repeated efforts to get a Democrat elected Mayor (my first experiences going do to door on behalf of a candidate). Of course, these efforts consistently met with failure again and again at the hands of the well-connected Prince of Providence until he was undone by something right out of a game of Clue (Hmmm...I'll say it was Buddy Cianci in the living room with a cigarette, an ashtray, and a fireplace log).

The first election I was ever able to vote in was the '88 race between Dukakis and Bush the Elder. Needless to say, my support for Snoopy in the Tank wasn't a rousing success. So basically, my electioneering and voting efforts were miserable failures until 1990 when I voted for a winner for the first time.

And he was a Republican. And it was OK.

Arne Carlson, the man I helped elect Governor, was a moderate Republican. On a statewide, rather than national stage, he was Minnesota's answer to John Chaffee, another Republican I could and did vote for, back when the concept of bipartisanship actually meant something and wasn't just a campaign slogan about "reaching across the aisle". I remember thinking that Carlson was a decent man, one who we could trust and who I could vote for because his beliefs, goals, and platforms seemed reasonable to me. It didn't hurt that I along with most of the students on campus loathed the incumbent Arne sought to unseat.

Anyhow, I hadn't really thought much about Arne for many years (your first winning vote doesn't necessarily hold much resonance as the years go by) until today, when news broke that the former Governor was splitting with the Republican establishment and endorsing Brack Obama. In doing so, he declared:

"Sen. Barack Obama arrived on the political scene as a wind of freshness, unity and idealism. He saw America as it could be if we reached across all divides. This long, grueling campaign has revealed a remarkably disciplined and focused leader who has the potential to become a truly great president."

Way to go, Arne. You've got my vote again.

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