- Electability. Polls show that Barack beats John McCain in more states than Hillary. For whatever reason, Senator Clinton has a large group of people (approximately 47% of the electorate) who would never vote for her, regardless of opponent. Whether the anti-Hillary sentiment is fair or not is beside the point. She's the weaker nominee because of it.
- Restoration of "soft power." Obama's message is particularly well suited to restoring respect for the United States abroad. This is the "soft power" that lets diplomacy work.
- Gay rights. Obama is the only candidate who regularly uses the words gay and lesbian in front of nongay (even potentially hostile) audiences. His gay rights positions are somewhat better than Senator Clinton's.
This is especially true in an area that I care a lot about-- the Uniting American Families Act that would give binational same-sex partners the same immigration rights as straight couples. Senator Clinton supports this bill "in principle" and cites the concern of fraud (which would be no more likely than with straight couples). Senator Obama supports the bill without qualification.
Clinton wants partial repeal of DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act]. Obama is for full repeal.
Most of all, Obama's legislative history of supporting unpopular minorities like prisoners gives me more confidence that he will act on gay rights issues. The Clintons' track record here is poor. We remember who put DOMA and "don't-ask-don't-tell" on the books in the first place.
- National unity. Senator Obama appeals to independents and Republicans in a way that Senator Clinton does not. After the divisive Clinton-Bush years, we need to come together as a nation to solve our pressing economic, social and international issues. The Clintons are polarizers. In that sense, they are the perfect complement of the Bush/Rove machine. If we've learned anything from these decades it is that you can't govern effectively with a 51% majority. You need to bring people together.
If you live in state that has not already had its primary, please participate. This is an important election year.