Where's my big plate of crow pie? - Curt Yeomans

One of the ways a person can show he or she is mature, and grown up, is to admit when he or she was wrong.

Boy, was I wrong about presidential candidate Barack Obama last year. On Jan. 5, 2007, I wrote a column entitled "CNN mistake shows why Obama won't be president." The column came on the heels of a goof made by CNN producers when they were putting together a promo for a show, which would discuss the search for Osama bin Laden. The promo, however, said the program was called "Where's Obama?"

In the column, I wrote about Obama's name, and how I believed it would be the thing that discouraged people from voting for him.

For the record, since a lot of people wrote in claiming I said Obama was a Muslim in that column, I never said what religion he practices. I said his name could create images of Islam in a person's mind. There is a difference, and I would appreciate it if people didn't put words in my mouth.

Any way, here is where I need to grab a spoon and dig into some crow pie.

I was wrong.

Really wrong.

The results from Super Tuesday proved there isn't a single thing stopping Obama from becoming president. There was the notion that Bill Clinton's popularity among Democrats would allow his wife, Hillary, to coast to the party's nomination. Of course, Hillary Clinton is no Bill Clinton. Heck, post-heart surgery Bill Clinton isn't even close to being like the Bill Clinton of the 1990s.

Obama has put himself in a unique position, while Hillary Clinton's campaign has bumbled and struggled to stay ahead in the delegate count. Obama has the chance to be to Democrats, what Ronald Reagan is to Republicans. Granted, Obama hasn't been elected to occupy the White House, yet.

I'm just saying that he has the chance to make Americans feel better about themselves after eight years of uncertainty, and fear. Reagan's lasting legacy is that he came in offering hope to America. He also got people to continue believing that things would get better. He made people proud to call themselves Americans again.

That is the place Obama finds himself in right now. He's offering hope to Americans, particularly young voters who are disillusioned by the politics of Washington D.C. The key thing which needs to be mentioned here is that he hasn't reached Reagan-like status yet. Obama still has to get elected, which he can do versus any Republican candidate.

If Obama is elected, he has to continue to reassure Americans that everything is fine. One of Reagan's strengths as president was that he stood up to the Soviet Union. He refused to blink in the face of the communist threat, and America came off looking strong and secure. Granted, the whole Star Wars thing was a misstep, but he made Americans feel safe.

Obama has to do that same thing. We already know terrorists have the ability to hit us on American soil. No one has forgotten about 9-11, or Oklahoma City. If Obama is elected, he has to be able to make Americans feel safe again.

Whether we went to war with Iraq for legitimate reasons, or not, it's in the past now. We did go to war with Iraq, and al Qaeda does have a presence in that country now. We can't make decisions about the present and the future based solely on disagreements from the past. I don't feel confident about someone who is presented with a challenge created by a predecessor, and comes up with a solution of packing up the toys and running away.

I don't care about what the reasoning is. I don't care about what lies were told in 2003. This isn't 2003 anymore, it's 2008.

The fact is al Qaeda is now in Iraq. I'm a moderate voter who will vote for whichever party's candidate comes up with a solution to the al Qaeda threat. That means the candidate has to have a permanent solution to get al Qaeda out of Iraq, has to be willing to go back to Iraq, if al Qaeda resurfaces in that country, and has to have a plan for creating permanent peace in Iraq.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to eat crow.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.