Until November 2006, when the State House and Senate and the two congressional districts went Democratic, I followed Vermont politics much more than that of New Hampshire. I live right on the border, and the choice was easy. While New Hampshire elected a man with an unhealthy obsession with elephant rampages to the Senate, Vermont elected the man who gave the Democrats a majority from 2001 to 2003. While New Hampshire elected an ostensibly Democratic governor who refused to support progressive taxation, Vermont elected a Democratic governor who provided universal health care for kids and enacted the nation’s first civil unions law and got more frequently attacked from the left than from the right.
But the main reason I liked Vermont politics more was that they had Pat Leahy and we didn’t. Leahy was (and still is) a solid liberal, voting against the war, using his perch at Judiciary to derail nominations like Miguel Estrada and (for four years) Priscilla Owen, and standing up to Cheney strongly enough to be told to do the anatomically impossible. Also, he’s an insane Batman fan, and we need more comics nerds in high office. In short, he’s awesome; it became extremely common from 2003 to 2004 to hear Vermont residents wish aloud that Leahy had run instead of Dean.
So it’s personally pretty satisfying to hear the news that Leahy is endorsing Obama. He was one of my progressive heroes growing up, and he’s making the right call.