Sixteen years teaches many lessons.

If I suddenly became my 19-year-old self from 1992 again, I’d be ecstatic that Senator Barack Obama is now the Democratic nominee for president. The message of hope change would resonate, and I’d be ready to cast my ballot in his favor. The idea of adapting to changing realities and discarded discredited ideas would appeal to me. My actual 19-year-old self from 1992 supported Jerry Brown (ah, the joy of idealism), but once Bill Clinton became the nominee, it was easy to rally behind him. Sen. Obama is no different.

My almost-35-year-old self in 2008 knows better. I’ve come to loathe Bill Clinton. He was, is, and always will be nothing more than a politician. He has very little redeemable character that he’s shown to the public. After sixteen years, I suspect that’s solely because there’s nothing redeemable to show. It doesn’t matter. I’m no longer interested in the freak show spectacle necessary to find out. I’ve become more cynical aware.

I won’t pretend that, should he win the presidency, Sen. Obama will eventually devolve into the mess that is Bill Clinton. I think Sen. Obama is little more than a politician, but Bill Clinton is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I hope. Still, Sen. Obama is not a political messiah. I doubt he is a statesman-incarnation of the founding fathers. Leadership is advocating for facts. Sen. Obama demonstrated earlier this year that rhetoric allegedly necessary to win in an election about change and truth is not beyond his arsenal. I don’t respect that. If he’s disappointing my reasonable expectations now, I can’t act as though he’s qualified to be president. He will disappoint if/when he’s president. Even the parts of that that are preferable also happen to be inevitable. Things are inevitably going to change stay the same.

In his defense, I think Sen. Obama is less unqualified to be president than Senator John McCain. If I planned to vote for one of these two men, it would be Sen. Obama. I hope he wins. But it won’t make a difference. Our national two-party partisan psychodrama isn’t going anywhere. I will retract if I’m wrong, but Senator Obama will play a part in that over the next 4, 8, or more years.