Sunday, February 03, 2008

Voting on Tuesday

My vote was going to go to John Edwards but since he's out...

I'll be voting for Hillary Clinton. Yes, I'm irked by her Iraq war vote but this is the woman who has understood the Republican attack machine from the very beginning. When she was first lady and she called out the "vast right wing conspiracy" she articulated something that's true in contemporary American politics. The Republicans have beaten a lot of our party's best with that machine. But they've never beaten a Clinton. When they tried to impeach Bill he not only stopped them but took down Newt Gingrich even while he was on defense.

Hillary understand that politics is war. Partisanship is not a bad thing. People are supposed to coalesce around the ideas that they think are important. Then people are supposed to disagree, loudly and proudly. I think calls for "unity" tend to lead to compromise solutions that satisfy no one.

I don't believe that Barack Obama has enough fight in him to deal with an angry, out of power, minority party that will have just enough representation to stymie everything. He'll try to reach across the aisle and he'll pull back a stump.

Hillary knows what she's up against. She knows you can't compromise with it, or play nice with it. Hillary's a fighter and I'm voting for a fighter in Tuesday's primary.

I also have to admit that I find Obama a bit... disturbing. His supporters so often seem in thrall. He's Messianic about his own candidacy. For example, he recently argued that if he's nominated he'd easily get the votes of Hillary's supporters but that if she's nominated the reverse isn't true. If that's what Obama's supporters are really like (him or nothing) then I'm a bit weirded out by Obama's supporters.

Let's face it -- the two are identical on policy. When they tried to articulate their differences during the last debate, they really had to stretch. So anyone who supports Obama but won't vote for Hillary has to admit that they're basically making a decision based on Obama's charisma. It's a cult of personality. Because of the issues were at stake here, than either candidate would be able to count on the other's supporters in the general.

Well, there you have it. I'm voting for Hillary. I hope she wins and I think she'll make an excellent president. She's really earned it, too. She's already made history as the first former First Lady to be twice elected to the Senate. She's ready to make history again.

The only difference between her and Obama is that she understands the other side and he doesn't get it. He's just too precious right now. Let's send him back to the Senate and maybe warm him up for 2016.

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At 11:49 AM , Blogger Jon E. said...

I haven't posted about my decision because I'm still waffling.

I think what you say about Clinton and her ability to play hardball politics makes a lot of sense. I think that the Carter presidency was four solid years of extending the hand of bipartisanship and retracting the stump of reality.

On the other hand, it's exactly Clinton's ability to suss out the political landscape that makes me pause. She's not naive enough to have thought that her vote on the use of force resolution wasn't a vote for war, and I don't think she's so naive that she took the President's sketchy case for war at face value. Which means that she voted out of political expediency. And that vote had HUGE and predictable consequences. And right now our government is broken (in large part because of that vote), and we'll need real changes made. And that will require political inexpediency. I'm not sure that Clinton has it in her. Or that Congressional Republicans have it in them to let her do what needs to be done.

On the latter score, Obama has less baggage and more charm, and with the proper strategy might be able to get some help from moderate Republicans on the most pressing issues.

So for me the crucial (and unanswerable question) is whether Obama is both charismatic AND tough enough to do the job? Or at least, is there a Lyndon Johnson whom he could run with who would be tough on his behalf? (Clinton herself?) If not, then your case for Clinton makes perfect sense.


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