Saying it was time to change the widespread practice of diverting small business contracts to "some of the largest corporations in the world," the American Small Business League gave Barack Obama the nod on Tuesday. It struck the Agenda as a surprising move, in that ASBL prefers to focus not on the forest of government but on its fetid undergrowth. In fact, according to ASBL Communications Director Chris Gunn, this is the first time the organization has ever endorsed in a presidential campaign.

But like a surprising number of Americans, the ASBL's Lloyd Chapman seems to be mesmerized by the junior senator from Illinois. "In my life, I have never been more excited about any politician than I am about Barack Obama," he said in the organization's announcement. "I believe that he holds the key to a new future for all Americans. I believe that with Sen. Obama in the White House, Americans are going to be more proud of this country than they have ever been in their lives." Ewww. Investing Obama with the mantle of that kind of change strikes me as delusional as it is fashionable -- pour you another Kool-Aid, Lloyd? The praise is not completely unfounded: the ASBL points to "Sen. Obama's record of rising above the influence of big business lobbying." But while Obama refuses money from registered lobbyists, he's happy, as a Los Angeles Times report makes clear, to take contributions from their partners, not to mention the clients who hire them -- a loophole large enough to drive a truck full of money through.

In all, it is a slender reed of hope. Still, the ASBL did get the candidate on the record about contracting. "It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants," Obama said, according to the statement. You couldn't really expect a liberal Democrat to say otherwise, but it is the first time in my (admittedly casual) reading I've seen anything at all from Obama on the topic.