Friday, January 18, 2008

Here's What I Think.

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.


Lily's Mommy said...

I watched an interview with H.Clinton and Tim Russert and when she was questioned on her vote for the Iraq war, she kept saying "look at the context", until I wanted to reach into the tv and punch her. I think she said something like, she didn't vote for a war, she voted for military force. She's all about bending definitions to her advantage. I wonder where she learned how to do that...

I didn't dislike her before the interview, but I do now.

Steven said...

I know, I used to like her too. I liked her all through the impeachment nonsense. Long after I'd lost faith in Bill, I liked her. I thought it was shameful the way they were treated by the Congress. I was happy (as a former New Yorker) that she won the Senate seat, and I was even thrilled when it looked like she might run for president. But judging from the way she's running her campaign, it looks like a Clinton presidency would take us right back to the 90s, and the thought of that is really depressing.

Mike M said...

Thanks for the reminder regarding the war voting records...Yes, I remember thinking, "don't do that, this is all a big lie and the lie keeps changing. If it's clear to me, how can you sit there and pretend there isn't a scam being presented."

Yes and my John E. was right up there. Shit. Thanks for the thorn. Now I have to think, again. I'll probably still support him, but there will be some letter writing to his campaign- and I'll share the responses when they come back.

I just want a Democrat elected, is that so wrong. And you are right, my differences with Hillary are so, so many.

As always, thanks for making me think.

z. said...

My big beef with Obama is that in his justification of opposition to gay marriage, he explicitly references that his Christian faith tradition makes him belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman. I'd be okay if he said that the country's not quite ready for gay marriage, and that civil unions are a good step. But his reliance on "faith" to justify any position ends him for me.

I'm still pro-Clinton because, on my biggest issue (family planning and choice), she has a true, reasoned, well-articulated position which works, and it's built from experience. Also, why do people have such a hard time separating her from her husband? We're so busy not being racists with Obama that it seems to be okay to be misogynist and fail to see a woman as anything more than an aspect of her husband. It's very sad, and very annoying.

Steven said...

I don't like the religious argument against same-sex relationships either. But at least Obama's honest. (As I remember, Edwards offered the same justification for his objection to gay marriage too.) Has Clinton ever said that the reason she opposes gay marriage is because if she came out in favor of it she'd never get elected? What does she offer for an excuse?

But, as you know, marriage is not a priority of mine. Neither is abortion really, not right now. I think there are bigger, more urgent constitutional issues at stake now.

I don't think there's misogyny in my inability to separate the two Clintons for purposes of this campgaign. The reason I fear that they are a team, and that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be like a third term for Bill, is that she constantly refers to her experience as first lady as a reason to vote for her. I don't remember the exact quote, but she essentially said, "you get two for one." She refers again and again to her 35 years experience, most of which was as a first lady. The reason she was ever elected to any public office is that she's a political spouse. Much of the support she has comes from people who like her because they liked Bill. She has the same ties to big business that his presidency had. What else do I judge her on?