The big issue many people have with Barack Obama is that he is unproven, that because his resume is so short there's too much we don't know or can't anticipate about him, that we could elect him and something horrible might happen that we never imagined. Or he could turn out to be another charming politician that we pin all our hopes on and he lets us down, turns out to be incompetent or dishonest. Like Jimmy Carter, like Bill Clinton.
Though I get exasperated with people who say he's all inspiration and no policy when all it takes is a Google search to find reams and reams of policy (try his campaign website for starters -- maybe this stuff is not on CNN, but it's not hard to find), even so, he is young, he is light on government experience. The benefit of the doubt is not something that it is usually wise to give to a politician. I get that.
I like to think that I like him, that I believe in him, because I've done the research, because I'm paying attention, because I'm smart, because I have superior intuition, but I don't discount the possibility that I like him because I have no choice.
I will not vote for Clinton or Edwards. They both voted to authorize the war against Iraq. It's as simple as that for me. They supported an immoral war. They claim they didn't know what they were doing when they cast their votes, that they had no idea Bush was lying. I knew Bush was lying. Millions of people protesting in the streets knew Bush was lying. So, not only did they fall on the wrong side of the question, they did it for cynical, political reasons and then lied about it. I can't vote for somebody who would lie on that scale, about something so big, so important. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Iraq.
Every once in a while I soften on Edwards, because he talks about poverty in a way that no one else will, and we need to have that discussion in order to solve so many of the problems we talk about all the time and can't figure out how to solve: bad health care, racism, obesity, drugs, poor education. But I would not vote for Hillary Clinton, not in a primary, not in a general election, not for president of the P.T.A. My memories of the nineties are too fresh: Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, NAFTA. I know she's not Bill Clinton, but he'll be right there beside her. They are billing themselves as a team. No thanks.
I'm willing to see if Obama really can change the way we govern ourselves. There's always a chance he'll flop. But I don't see that I have any other choice. If Clinton is the nominee, I will still vote. Voting is an obligation I take seriously. But I'll write somebody in.