Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Only Voice That Matters

Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 382

Tonight is caucus night in Iowa. After a full year of campaigning, speeches, debates, rallies, endorsements, house parties, phone banking, canvassing, ad buys, robocalling, polls and punditry upon punditry upon punditry, tonight the voters of Iowa finally have their say.

For a full year in advance of your voting tonight, people have been telling you what this campaign is about and who the frontrunners are. But tonight, forget Matthews, and Russert, and Stephanopoulos, and Yepsen. Forget ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC. Tonight, they don't matter. Tonight, they listen to you. As an Iowa voter, here is what I say to the pundits, and to my neighbors and fellow caucus-goers across the state tonight.

Tonight I stand with Joe Biden. All of our candidates on the Democratic side are good candidates, committed to moving our country forward once again after the fear and drift of the Bush-Cheney years. Tonight I stand with Joe Biden because after meeting all the candidates, examining their records and proposals, and weighing who is most likely to prevail against the Republican nominee in the fall, I have come to believe that Joe Biden is not just one good candidate among several, but the best candidate, and by a wide margin.

Name recognition is not experience. Money is not leadership. Celebrity is not vision. Where other candidates have voiced a commitment to ending the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has crafted a plan, and then worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Senate to see it pass overwhelmingly. Time and again throughout the campaign, Joe Biden has been proven right on issues ranging from Iraq and Pakistan abroad to civil liberties and the rule of law here at home. And the other candidates have recognized this, saying time and again "Joe is right," and "I agree with Joe."

And, in talking with other voters across Iowa, I know many of them agree with Joe, as well. Again and again I've heard, "I really like Joe Biden, but I'm going to caucus for someone else because they have a better chance at winning Iowa." Although I strongly disagree about Biden's chances in Iowa, I understand why people have said this. It isn't easy to buck the influence of millions of dollars of advertising and countless polls and pundits. To Iowa voters who feel they would prefer to vote for Joe Biden tonight, if only they thought he could win, I say this.

Your heart is with Joe Biden, but your vote is with another candidate whom everyone says will do well in the caucuses. If that is true, if other candidates are somehow destined to do well regardless, then what do they need you for? If that is true, then go with your gut. Follow your heart. Stand with Joe Biden tonight. Because tonight no one can tell you what to do. Tonight all the pollsters and pundits await in silence for the sound of your voice. Tonight they listen to you. Listen to your heart; that is the only voice that matters tonight. Tonight, stand with Joe Biden.

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