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Stephen Elliott Headshot

It's Official, I Also Endorse Obama

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I took my time deciding on whether to publicly support Barack Hussein Obama for President of the United States. For starters, I didn't know if I could trust him. I'm from Chicago and ten years ago a friend of mine got burned on a bag of skunk weed on the South Side, not far from where Obama was teaching law classes. Admittedly, this was northeast of Hyde Park at 63rd and Cottage Grove, outside of Harold's Chicken Shack, and I'm not saying Obama had anything to do with it, but Obama knew where he was living and who he was associating with. Obama might not live in a rough area, but he lives close to one.

Further, I was concerned about Obama's economic policies. He wants to tax people who make more than $250,000 and give tax breaks to what he calls "the middle class." People throw around the term "middle class" like it applies to everyone. I don't know what that means to those of us sharing one-bedroom rent-controlled apartments. John McCain wants to give more money to the rich. That may not help me, but at least I get it. The man has ten houses; he's talking about himself and his friends. Where I come from we always chose loyalty over integrity. It's the code.

When I saw John McCain speak recently he promised to win the war in Iraq, and then use the "surge" to win the war in Afghanistan. The problem is the war in Iraq is unwinnable. It's part of the larger war on terror. We missed our chance to sink a trillion dollars into Afghanistan and turn Tora Bora into Switzerland. What McCain was talking about when he promised to win in Iraq is magic. If McCain were able to do such a thing he would be the last wizard. How often do we get a chance to elect the most powerful person in the world to the most powerful position in the world?

Yet there are things about McCain I just can't accept. He's against socialism but promises to save social security and medicare. His wife's a former drug addict who insists she's loved America every day of her life, but her father made all of his millions bottling Belgium Beer. McCain's economic team is full of the evangelists of bank deregulation. I might have already hit on this, but in Chicago you always watch the person with the money. You count the money when they leave and you count the money when they come back. Deregulation is based on trust, and trusting people holding large sums of money is ridiculous. Deregulation is a mantra for the greedy and the foolish. My father used to say if you sit at a poker table and you don't see the mark, you're the mark. If you're in favor of deregulation and you're not rich, you're the mark.

I like Barack because he believes in talking with people. Last night, in Miami, John McCain said he wouldn't sit down and talk to Hugo Chavez adding the Venezuelan leader to a long list of enemies he's not speaking to that also includes the Prime Minister of Spain. Someone once complained to Winston Churchill about the endless discussions of the United Nations. "Better talk, talk, talk," he replied, "than war, war, war." On the other hand Churchill was a colonialist who hated Gandhi. But what I'm saying is I want a candidate who sits down with the world. We've already gone to war with "terror" and lost, it's time to try not going to war. It might hurt our pride but there'll be a lot less suffering. For me, the most desirable trait in a president is that he doesn't get us attacked. I mean, remember that big mouth kid that was always getting smacked around by football players three years older than you? You wouldn't put that guy in charge of your group because then, when he started insulting all the meatheads, you would also be in line for a beatdown. It's OK to hang out with the big mouth at your home or in some other enclosed space, but on the schoolyard it's best just to stay away from that guy because you know one day someone's going to shoot a missile up his ass.

I'm also supporting Barack because he's the only candidate who's not George Bush. Plus, he's almost absurdly cool. What sealed it was when he went out in blue jeans and a leather jacket and gave a speech in Pennsylvania. That picture, on the cover of the New York Times, is one of the coolest photographs of any candidate, anywhere. That same day John McCain cancelled a rally because of rain. I want a rain or shine president who is also a rockstar. Someone who inspires those around me to make sacrifices, even if I don't always make sacrifices with them. Finally, it's important to me that the President of the United States is smarter than me. And if the president dies, on account of being old, I expect the Vice President to be smarter than me too. I want a President who understands plumbers, but I don't want a plumber as Secretary of State.

Barack is supported by Allison Winfield, who I met at the Obama rally in Sunnyside, Florida. Allison's hot enough to melt a Ben and Jerry's ice cream truck on the north pole. At that same rally a group of women screamed from the back bleachers, "We love you Obama!" Barack raised his hand, looking straight ahead, and said, "I love you back." It was a Shaft moment.

In other words, I've spent as much time as allowed and gathered all the information. I've read the Drudge Report and Talking Points Memo. I've seen Matt Drudge swinging in seedy gay clubs near South Beach and Josh Marshall bleary eyed wearing sweat pants at the Democratic Convention. I've come to the only conclusion available to me. For those undecideds left in the American hinterland, I invite you to join me. Make up your mind! Walk the rainbow with me to the polls this Tuesday!

- Stephen Elliott