Here is a debate in the Senate featuring Rice & Obama that is much more convincing than Obamamania for me. As with Andrew Sullivan (whose site featured a link to this video) I personally believed in the progressive argument for getting rid of Saddam. The Paul Berman argument if you will. See this later Berman article in Dissent as well.
At the time I thought that doing the right thing for the wrong reasons (or straw man reasons) was OK.
I also thought that ideology did not affect competence. Where the fuck was my usual skepticism?