Folks… not one of the Republicans running for president has lit this fire. Instead of an inspirational candidate, the GOP field is invoking an unnatural affection for Ronald Reagan. Reagan is dead. People want to know where we are going in the 21st Century, not about a dead president from the last century. The American people want to be inspired in a serious, hopeful way. Not watch the rise of Barack Obama – and see it tainted by the rise of a White, Middle Aged, Southern Baptist former Preacher and Governor from Arkansas.

If you grew up in the Old South, then you know exactly what I am talking about. I called Iowa “Whitey’s Last Stand” for a reason. Iowans have never elected an African American man to any major office – but – in the Democrat primary, Barack Obama was a clear winner. He garnered more votes than the Top 3 Republicans combined. Hope matters. An understanding of the average person matters. Despite my differences with Obama on policy, I absolutely believe he is the genuine article. Obama is the most authentic guy running – so far – and that’s why he’s winning.

2008 isn’t just about change. It’s about authenticity.

There are a lot of younger consultants and activists who haven’t yet had their moment, that moment where the candidate they have toiled for takes the stage, delivers a speech that moves cynics to tears – and lifts up the spirits of our nation’s children at the very sound of his voice.

The night of the Iowa Caucuses, I listened as a 12 year little girl declared “He speaks from the heart, I want him to be my president.” Then I heard David Gergen on CNN noting that Obama speaks from the heart.

I’m not saying you should vote for Obama. I am saying that Barack Obama gives Americans permission to be hopeful again. And after you review his record, make a decision. Republicans and Democrats alike, must elect nominees who represent the BEST of what each offers. And if the population is energized – that is a great thing.

Obama is that guy for the Dems. I don’t know if, or who, the Republicans have that will find a way to inspire us. But thanks to Obama, there is always the audacity of hope.

— Media Lizzy