I got a great response to my Iowa post in an e mail today. My response to which seemed a good post script to it. So here's most of what I wrote back:
I am also leaning toward Obama. The problem will be, if he has the political skills to avoid what happened to Carter, who thought by telling the truth to his fellow citizens and firing some CIA and other intelligence organization bad apples, his problems were solved.
But "Americans" (in quote because I don't like the way those of us in the USA monopolize a term that could equally apply to Canadians, Mexicans, and various Central and South Americans) didn't like the truth. And all the fired rogue intelligence agents did was join with some cohorts still in the intelligence agencies to make trouble for Carter, including the Iran hostages, who, as we all know, were not released until Reagan took office so he could get credit, and it was the rightwing CIA agents who had been fired by Carter who made all that possible and went on to wage the secret war in Nicaraqua etc.
Bill Clinton was not only intellectually brilliant, he also was an incredible politician. he made some missteps, especially with the military, but the rightwingers could never get around him or undermine him the way they could Carter. Which is why they were so happy when the Monica thing happened to finally have a pretense to get rid of him (the Whitewater debacle turning out to have no legal standing at all, otherwise the Clintons would still be behind bars, especially after the rightwingers really got control of all branches of govermentl under Bush junior).
Hilary is definitely smart enough and has the political skills, combined with her husband's and their network, to keep the rightwing from undermining her presidency the way they did Carter's and tried to do to Bill's but failed, even after Monica came along. If Hilary were elected president, they would definitely try to undermine her, and pounce on every misstep of hers. But as we know, she makes very few, which is what makes her so much less inspiring than Obama, because she seems to be playing it safe, which comes off as sometimes stilted or pandering or old school.
Obama may truly have the best shot at changing things, because of the inspiration he generates as an African-American who does not use the race card to guilt out white Americans, but rather symbolizes finally growing beyond playing race cards at all, and because he is very smart and has the experience of a grass roots neighborhood oragnizer who knows how to create networks of regular folks, and how to speak for and to them without condescension or smugness.
His problem will be, as I said in an earlier post, getting too caught up in the details as well as the philosophy of reform. It was trying to micromanage the details that got Carter in trouble, and it was longwinded wonky explanations of reform positions that torpedoed Gore's winning by a larger and indisputable margin, and sometimes got in Bill and Hilary Clinton's way in terms of winning converts to certain reforms, like their plan for universal healthcare, etc.
So as it now stands, like I said, any Democrat would be better than any Republican, I believe, and I could easily vote for any of them still in the race (though Richardson, despite his experience and positions I mostly agree with, has seemed way too lackluster to accomplish much on the international stage of most powerful position in the world).
Among the Republicans, McCain remains the least offensive from my perspective, despite disagreement on some important policies. I have no doubt that his own war experience would keep him from saber rattling or from unprovoked attacks on other nations, for instance (despite his support of "the surge").
And after him, Huckabee, though he scares the bejesus out of most of my friends because of his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. But his populist and compassionate statements on several economic issues, including immigration (which is a social and cultural issue as well, but has been de facto handled the way it has been for economic reasons obviously) make him more palatable than the rest of the republican field after McCain.
And even Romney wouldn't be the worst Republican to win, though I doubt he has a chance anymore. But Thompson and Giulliani would be as dangerous and possibly as damaging as what we're trying to get away from in the present administration.
It'll soon be a lot clearer.