That is part of what Obama, out of all the candidates brings to the table. I liked John Edwards too. I think he is a good person and has broadened the debate to focus on poverty and the working class. But Obama has a chance--a chance to do something beyond that. To be cliched, voting for him is a vote for some kind of optimism. Bush has taught us for the last 8 years to vote out of fear--fear of what the terrorists will do, and what the Democrats might do. (I can't tell you how many conservaives have suggested as much--they understood that Bush wasn't great, but what Kerry or Gore might do was terrible. Sure, Bush might torture and ignore a Hurricane, but Kerry might have, gasp, addressed climate change.)
Andrew Sullivan, in Goodbye to All That: Why Obama Matters suggests that the country has been divided over that Baby Boomer generation's central conflict of VN. That certainly was true about 2004's election:
"At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce."Clinton plays to that divide in a way that her husband, I think, didn't as President--though he certainly has as potential First Husband. McCain is still a legacy of that generation and is more likely to continue failed Republican policies. Obama, whatever you think of his policies, has a chance to return us to something approaching a normal political debate where conservatives and liberals can debate the merits of proposed taxation policy.