Friday, May 09, 2008


There's been a great deal of loose talk lately about who Democrats will and won't vote for. We have more new people registered to vote than we've seen in a generation, and they're Democrats almost 2 to 1; and yet, the word is that if "their candidate" isn't the eventual Democratic nominee, they won't vote at all. Or they'll vote for McCain. "Hillary's voters" can't possibly vote for Barack Obama. "Obama voters" will never vote for Clinton.

I'm sorry - this is childish. Of both groups. The goal here is to put the Presidency of the United States, and as much of the Congress as possible, in the hands of the Democratic Party, thereby removing it from the hands of the Republican Party which has done so much appalling damage over the last 7 years. And if the Democratic Party can hang together, they can do this; Democratic turnout in every primary has been more than twice the Republican vote.

The problem, of course, is that for the first time in U.S. history, a major political party has two candidates who are both minorities: a black man and a white woman. (I still find it bizarre that women, who constitute just over 50% of the population, are considered a "minority", but let's not get into that just now.) This provides endless opportunities for mud-slinging: if you vote for Obama, it's because you hate women. If you vote for Hillary, it's because you're a racist. And it's regrettably possible that both of these accusations are true in some cases: America's bigots (few of whom have only one prejudice) have been given a rare opportunity to decide out whom they dislike the most.

Both candidates have more to offer than the "first". Both candidates are intelligent, talented, and determined people. Despite Senator Clinton's insistance on her "experience", they actually have about the same amount of national experience: a few terms in the Senate. As Mrs. Clinton, she may well have been in the White House when momentous decisions were made; but I'm sorry, I don't count pillow talk with Bill as "experience in government," and the only time she actually tried a major project (health care reform), she blew it. She appears to have learned from the experience, but don't give me any guff about her foreign policy expertise. She doesn't have any more than Obama does. In both cases we are banking not on experience, but on native ability and smarts.

The symbolism of "the first" is causing the trouble. We can elect "the first woman president" or "the first black president" - but we can't elect both. The zealots on both sides are determined that their "first" shall be the one, to the point that they're demonizing the other "first" as a mortal threat. Materially assisted by Senator Clinton's strongly negative campaign, I might add; it's true that I support Senator Obama, but I believe it to be an objective fact that she has slung more mud than he has.

What really worries me is the possibility that the people who can't bring themselves to vote for the "wrong first" will end up causing the election of the first 71-year-old President. And we bloody well will be in Iraq for 100 years.


  1. Barack Obama is such a tired and old-fashioned populist Democrat. If he weren't half "Black" I don't think anyone would take him seriously. A close friend of mine said recently, for the first time in his life he had "the chance" to vote for a Black President. Huh?

    But that's the same racism we've been battling for 200 years. John Updike once said he was embarrassed to admit to such homely PC sentimentality, but he always got a lump in his throat and a tear in his eye whenever he saw Black people on TV. But, brilliant as Updike is, and as well-meaning and decent as others who think like this may be, it doesn't make political sense to vote the color of your skin.

    When he needed to ingratiate himself to the negro ghettoes of South Side Chicago, Obama was a Bible-thumping parishioner who clapped and cheered when the Reverend Wright demonized White America. But when that little compromised maneuver became an embarrassment, Obama rebuked his "friend" and disavowed the old reverse racism. Obama's a slick politician, as disdainful of his "own people" as he is of White America in general. If he's nominated, I predict McCain will win in a landslide. Not only because so-called "lunchbox" voters will distrust him and "dis-" him for racist reasons, but because he's a sitting duck for the Republican strategists. The Right has always been terrified of Clinton. Which is why they're overjoyed with Obama. Even the smashmouth radio jocks like him.

    He's the perfect sacrificial lamb. And it couldn't happen to a less deserving candidate.

  2. Anonymous6:27 PM

    The Republicans clearly believe they can destroy Obama, but they believe a lot of strange things. They are in the process of getting their asses handed to them, including in special congressional elections in Louisiana and Mississippi where they thought tying the Democrat to Obama was a surefire winner. It was - for the Democrat.

    The take needs to be that the next president of the United State will be, for the first time, either a woman or a black, either of whom will make a superior president, as opposed to a duplicitous shape shifter who is in reality more neocon than Bush, and not a bit wiser or more geopolitically knowledgeable. McCain ain't gonna win in a landslide. He ain't gonna win at all. Even Wall Street has figured that out.

    Meanwhile, since Obama will be the nominee, it will be in Hillary's hands to bring her followers back into the Democratic fold, which she will do. She has fought so bitterly because she knows this primary race is not just for the Democratic nomination, it is for the White House. And she has fought so ruthlessly because that is what she has come to know American electoral politics as. She is, in effect, fighting the last war. And she might possibly believe that only she, not Obama, can beat McCain, because that would have been true pre-2006. But the times indeed are a'changing. My central question continues to be Have they changed in time?

    Anonymous David

  3. My problem with Obama isn't that he's wrong on the issues, but that he doesn't have the force of character to bring about any real changes. Weak Presidents, like Carter, or Bush I, leave no positive legacy, because no matter how good their ideas may be, they are outmaneuvered and defeated on all the issues. Obama would become, if elected, an immediate lame duck. He'd inherit all the fallout from the Republican years, with a long economic correction, and would be despised and pilloried as a result. We saw that happen with Carter. Personally, I find nothing inspiring about the man. Short on substance, long on slick phrase-making. He ought to have waited another 4-8 years.

    Hillary's career is over. She knows it. We know it. Even if she goes back to the Senate.

    The nomination was hers to lose, and she lost it. I've never been too fond of her, but she wasn't a poh white girl looking for patronage, she really believed the stuff about national health care and keeping jobs in America, etc. I'm not so sure Obama believes in anything, except his own ambition.

  4. What annoys me about Hillary is the way she tries to rewrite the rules when her situation changes. Don't tell me she wasn't in on the Democratic party decision to strip the Florida and Michigan delegations, because I won't buy it. But, now that she's behind in delegates, with no mathematical possibility of winning that way, she's trumpeting the fact that she's ahead in the popular vote - which isn't a legal way to select a president under our current system. I don't expect her to give up, because she's as stubborn as a blind mule; but she looks like she's grasping at straws. I wonder if she realizes it.

  5. I also am sick of the childish behavior. Right now it is escalating on the part of Hillary supporters, but probably only because they are seeing that she can't win and are in denial about it. To read certain Feminist, pro-Hillary web sites you get the sense that Obama must be a serial rapist when it comes to his views on women. It is just insane. I'll be so glad when this whole election is over.

    It is just plain STUPID to let McCain win. Any woman who purports to be a feminist who votes such that the LEAST feminist candidate wins is an idiot. While I'm not thrilled with Hillary Clinton, I'd still never have voted for anyone but her if she won the nomination. Despite all of the crap she's pulled lately that makes me think she's probably not very fit to be president, I still know she'd be far better for the country than having McCain in there.

  6. Have you seen today's latest?? Hillary is now comparing Florida's election to Zimbabwe's.

    This is completely out of line. The headline describes her as "desperate" and I'm afraid that's what it looks like. It is also a gross insult to this entire country. I've been following what's going on in Zimbabwe and believe me, the comparison is completely outrageous.

    I'm sorry - Hillary Clinton has just lost whatever respect I had left for her.

  7. Well, all you Obama dreamers are going to have your day in the sun.

    As I've predicted elsewhere, I see McCain in a landslide. They'll be talking about it for years. "But all the polls showed Americans wanted 'change'!"

    But when Obama gets his "save the people through higher taxes and more government" speech all revved up, you can watch middle America scurry for the exits. Happens every time. Corporate America will pour enough money into McCain's coffers to overwhelm the opposition. There aren't enough Hollywood Stars to make up the difference.

    I may be going out on a limb, here, but I'll risk taking the heat if I'm wrong.