Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rock My Vote

I don't remember ever voting in a Presidential primary before.

I have voted in primaries, of course -- I've voted in every election I've ever been eligible to vote in. But since the Beaver State's primary typically happens long, long after the candidates for both parties have been signed, sealed, and delivered, the Presidential portion of the spring ballot is always a bit of a dead letter. It has apparently been quite unmemorable.

This year, however, is different. This year, the party with which I am affiliated -- I am, for my sins, a registered Democrat -- still has an actual choice of candidates in the running. Zowie! My vote will count! In theory!

But here's the thing: in this year, of all years, I do not have a strong preference between the candidates. It's not that I'm apathetic, and it's not that I'm dazzled, but just that I think either of my choices would make a perfectly adequate executive.

Gentle Readers, I stand before you an undecided voter!

Well, undecided but leaning to Clinton, who has articulated a potentially workable healthcare policy. But essentially undecided.

So, here's your big chance to influence an actual voter whose actual vote is still in actual play! As well as literally dozen of his local readers! Let me know why I should vote for the candidate of your choice!

A few clarifications:

1) No, I will not automatically vote for the candidate who gets the most or best comments here. That would be illegal, not to mention unethical, not to mention dumb.

2) I will not necessarily announce who I end up voting for. Sanctity of the ballot box and all that.

3) I may ask pointed follow-up questions.

4) If this subject turns out to be popular, interesting, and/or amusing, we'll revisit it on Saturday. Otherwise, we'll just let it fade away like another Forgotten Land....


The Calico Cat said...

Since you asked...

While I do not "prefer" Hillary over Barak, in my opinion, Barak just sounds good - he is a pretty picture, not a whole package. I have heard things & they make me think "Does he know how it is supposed to work?" (CUBA) & I think that he is getting the Oprah vote & I have to stand against the Oprah effect. (Not that I am anti-Oprah, I am just anti - "EVERYONE" running out to buy "X" because she mentioned it on TV - which turns into everyone voting for Barak because she supports him - not because they like what they hear from him.)

Cartophiliac said...

FWIW, I am a Hillary supporter. The primary reason is that I think she is better prepared to lead the country.

The reason I'm doggedly sticking with her is that I'm sick and tired of the misogynistic Hillary bashing... first from the Republicans, and now from Obama supporters (not the campaign itself, but from BO supporters I am surrounded by...)

Mostly, I'm sick of the arguing. Even though Ohio has already voted, I'm still seeing arguments going on like this:


Nichim said...

I am a registered Independent, but I am seriously considering letting go of that stance to register as a Democrat so that I can vote in this primary. And I figure that since Barak's rhetoric is what has stirred my heart out of apathy and isolationism, I might as well vote for him. I agree with many who have said that he is an elitist who is out of touch with much of America, but so am I, and I, like much of America, would like the opportunity to vote for someone who shares my values. I think Hillary probably would fight very hard for many of the things I wish my nation were providing for me, like freaking health care, and maybe get them or die trying. But I can't forget my reaction to a Hillary supporter I heard on the radio, who asked something like "What does charisma have to do with the ability to govern?" Really a lot, I thought, really a lot. The president doesn't have to do everything his or herself, fighting tooth and nail in the trenches. As an American, I am starved for leadership I am willing to consider believing in. I've never had it, my whole life. Barak has inspired a lot of people who didn't think they could be inspired to give a shit about America any more, myself included (though it's desperately hard to admit). So maybe I will change my registration and vote for him. Maybe I won't, though. It's a commitment. Like many, I harbor the fear that I won't be able to stand having my idealism crushed by the powers that are.

d said...

i think we all know how i feel about this. right?

so, i'll just say, decide whether you want more of the bush/clinton/bush/clinton bullshit this country has suffered under for the past two decades or if you want change.

is obama ready to lead the country? who knows. is anyone who gets elected to office? was w? i doubt it. look at how well he ran his grassroots campaign and how poorly clinton has managed hers. if clinton can't manage to run a campaign properly without all of her important staff members bailing on her, can she run the country?

is everyone who talks poorly about what a kind of fundamentally awful person clinton is misogynistic? no. plain and simple, regardless of her gender, she's a dirty politician. she plays by the old d.c. rules. obama at least tries to stay above the fray.

Rebel said...

I tend to agree with d on this.

I want a woman President so much - you have no idea. But I don't think Hillary is that woman.

Yes, she has a clearly articulated health-care plan, but remember how it was a spectacular failure when she tried to put it through the first time? If that's her strongest selling point... it doesn't sell me on her. Mostly I think she's carrying a ton of baggage from the first Clinton administration (and his name is Bill - ba dum bum). And then of course, she voted to support the war in Iraq.

I was paying attention, I read transcripts from the UN Weapons inspectors reports, it seemed pretty clear to me that Iraq was not a threat worthy of going to war over. But she voted to go.... and look where we are now.

Nope, I'm ready for something new. I've read Obama's book, I've read some of his positions online, and I like what he has to say. He's not *just* an orator, he's bring up subjects that have been swept under rugs & reduced to sound-bites.... things that we as a country really need to talk about. Like racism, like poverty, like our complete lack of a coherent foreign policy.

To me, Clinton = more of the same, Obama = a chance to actually move the country in a positive direction.

That said, if she wins the primary, OF COURSE I'm voting for her for Pres.

Rebel said...

Oh and I don't think that critiquing Clinton amounts to misogynism any more than critiquing Obama amounts to racism.

They're both grown-ups, and they're running for the highest office in our land. They should both be able to stand up to heavy criticism.

I don't like the idea that Obama supporters are cult-like or that he's some kind of Messiah. He's clearly not. He's not as experienced as the other candidates - and that's something he needs to be questioned on.

But *not* voting for someone just because "everyone else" is is just as lame as voting *for* someone just because "everyone else" is. In either case make up your own mind about who to support (as long as it's a Democrat. ;) )

Anonymous said...

Michael, I'm in your boat -- so I will gratefully read all of the posts. Thanks for opening it up.

fingerstothebone said...

Like you, I would be happy if either one wins. But having heard them on the debates, which are really more like Q&A sessions, I fear that Obama is too much like a New Year's Resolution, and we know what happens to most New Year's Resolutions. He's a visionary, but too much hand waving and not enough details; where as Clinton is a real details person. I like that he's quick to admit mistakes and tries to fix them, which is one of her big faults.

Being a practical person that I am, I tend to choose the 'hard work' over the 'big talk', which means Clinton. However, if Obama can put together a team that can deliver the hard work while he does the vision thing, that would most certainly be a dream team.

But really, I'm voting for the two of them on the same ticket. And I don't care who's on top.

Chance said...

HC voted for the war and has not in any way indicated that this decision bothers her.

HC worked with republicans on a flag-burning ban bill.

HC, as evidenced by her ludicrous "sniper fire" story, will say anything to get elected and has as tenuous a grasp on ethics as her husband (whom I nonetheless admire greatly as a politician, go figure).

HC is in bed with pharmaceutical companies and her health care plan is a lot of hot air.

Look at this page.

Anonymous said...

I said a while ago as a joke that Black was the new Irish, and, therefore, Obama had a chance to be our generation's Kennedy. But now I'm beginning to believe it.

Not that I'm sure exactly what "Our Generation's Kennedy" means since I was -14 when he was inaugurated, but I think it means something along the lines of a person who inspires, and I, like the media, have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the 2-term Congressmen from Illinois.

Truly, their policies are extremely similar, and I would be happy with either. But where I see Obama genuinely challening the electorate's intelligence, I see Hillary playing politics and starting her presidency on the defensive against the Right.

But Michael, would this be a bad time to mention that Oregon doesn't really matter anyway, and that it'll really come down to whether or not the superdelegates want to overturn the Obama delegate victory?

Anonymous said...

I read an excellent book named "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman about the effects television has on our minds, language skills, and thought processes. In it, he describes what seems like an alien world: It's the late 1850s, and Lincoln and Douglas are debating in a small town in Illinois. They talk most of the afternoon. They talk about what they know, and what they plan, and what they see for the country. They don't read off teleprompters. People of all ages, including children of course, are in the audience, paying attention. It gets near Supper time, so everyone disperses to eat. Then, they reassemble at the Town Hall to hear another few hours of impromptu discourse.

They talk about ideas, not about a poor choice of phraseology or an absurd lie about an airport in Kosovo.

One of our current candidates could actually fit in that picture. There is no one propping him up.

He could have spent the last two weeks and four million dollars in TV time to make hay out of Hilary's crazy bout of delusion spawned in self-aggrandizement. He chose the high road.

Obviously, Hilary would be so much better than Shrub. Hell, a shrub would. But we have, for the first time in many decades, one candidate who is from a different mold, who is not Washington politics as usual, who can actually speak for himself, can inspire, and can lead. Elitism has nothing to do with it...it's natural for the gifted to rise in a meritocracy.

When Barack talks, I can sense the connection to a brilliant, ordered mind, and to a compassionate heart. When Hilary talks, I can sense a politician, always trying to be right, always wanting to look to be more than she is, and someone who is incapable, to this day, of admitting she was wrong about this horrific war we're in.

When you live in the age of deceit, and you see a glimmer of another world, grab it.

Michael5000 said...

Zowie! Great comments! Now it's time for me to get sassy, 'cause why? 'Cause we're talking politics, that's why!

@Calico: I, too, hate to join a lemming parade. But if Oprah refused to jump off a cliff, would we take the dive?

@Cartophiliac: I'm not so much sick and tired of "Hillary bashing" as baffled by it. She has always struck me as very smart, hard working, and capable. I'm sure many people dislike her policies, but I don't hear much about that. I just hear venom.

@Nichim: I'm very sympathetic to what you're saying. And, I'm deeply mistrustful of charisma.

@d: Asking me whether I want more of the "bush/clinton/bush/clinton" bullshit is trickier than you seem to think, d. I would be appalled to have any more Bush, particularly more Bush the younger, whose administration has been incredibly destructive of the environment, our country's world standing, our lifetimes' economic prospects, the environment, our schools, and our Constitutional form of government. By contrast, B. Clinton's imperfect but largely effective and responsible administration represents something of a golden age of American governance, at least within the limited frame of my lifetime. So....

If H. Clinton plays by the old D.C. rules, and Obama doesn't, who is going to be able to get shit done in old D.C.?

@Rebel: I do remember how the health-care plan was a spectacular failure, and that's a very fair point -- but I also remember who the first person to really take health care seriously was, before it was a full-blown national crisis. Maybe we should listen to somebody like that?

I agree 100% that Obama's willingness to speak some truth about social and economic issues is fabulous. I like that a lot.

@Kate: Hi Kate!

@fingers: I get the impression that Obama has a pretty serious work ethic, as well. And is there reason to think he couldn't put together a capable team? He certainly seems to be inspiring an awful lot of smart people....

@Chance: Hell, even I've heard H. Clinton talk about how having voted for the war bothers her, and I live in a virtual media blackout.

Never happy to hear about an anti flag-burning bill. Don't know the "sniper fire" story (see "blackout," above). Can't see as how health care could be solved without us all closing our collective eyes and thinking of the Empire while in bed with Big Pharma.

@chuck: Great. Our generation's Kennedy. We can enjoy some idealistic talk while playing reckless high-stakes chicken with other large countries and getting mired in long, hideous civil wars in others. Umm... no thanks to another Kennedy.

@Karma: "When Barack talks, I can sense the connection to a brilliant, ordered mind, and to a compassionate heart. When Hilary talks, I can sense a politician...."

Well, leaving aside that it is by definition a political contest between two politicians, here's the thing: When Jimmy Carter talks, I can also sense the connection to a brilliant, ordered mind, and to a compassionate heart. Dude is one of my favorite political figures of all time. And he went to D.C. and got chewed up and spat out, despite the fact that he was following up Nixon and Co. and should have been able to get away with mugging White House visitors and still looking good by contrast. But no, and then we got the train wreck that was Reagan and Bush I. So this is why I'm nervous about bright, compassionate guys who appeal with their D.C. outsider ways, but who are vague with the details.

Rebel said...

Karma - I read that book, and I made the same connection regarding current debates. I just love it when journalist X asks Barrack a question and he actually answers it, and sometimes even rejects the premise of the question. I'm like "hey -that's not a sound bite!!"

M5K - you should really read "amusing ourselves to death" - it would make you feel virtously superior to your fellow Americans. =)

Dan Nolan said...

As you know from my blog, I'm 100% behind Obama. It really comes down to my belief that he is the world's best current hope for diplomacy and something relating almost near quasi peace. As far as the "experience" question goes, I think it's total bullshit. Obama is a more than capable leader and experience is really about the quality of a president's cabinet selection. Bush has seven years of experience in the White House. How capable a president do you think he is?

I won't get into any "Clinton bashing", but I will say this (notsomuch as a response to any commenter above, but more as a response to the frequent repetition of the phrase): someone "bashing" Clinton PLUS the fact that Clinton is a woman does not EQUAL misogynistic Clinton bashing.

Anonymous said...

Since neither of them are likely to win, I am trying to figure out what it will take for McCain to take on big pharm.

I know that doesn't sway toward either, but that really seems moot now. Clinton is so irrationally despised for doing what every politician has done by exaggerating and lying and Obama supporters can be unquestioning jingos (in particular about his race speech fallacies of reasoning that went unquestioned).

Very very difficult to choose.

Tereza said...

Michael, as per your comment about Bill Clinton's presidency being "largely effective and responsible administration represents something of a golden age of American governance" - I don't know. I think Clinton's presidency accomplishments are highly overrated. Take his support for the ratification of NAFTA which has had so many negative effects on the workers at home and in Mexico, among many other problems with the treaty. What about the infamous Welfare Reform? As far as his foreign policy - not so rosy. Clinton ordered the bombing of Afganistan and Sudan. His administration could be said to have set the tone for Bush administration's invasion of Iraq with the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act. As Amy Goodman said on her show Democracy Now: "It was Clinton who began the most sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam, when, in 1998, he began almost daily attacks on Iraq in the so-called no-fly zones. And in 1998, Clinton's administration made so-called regime change in Iraq official US policy. During his presidency, Bill Clinton presided over the most devastating regime of economic sanctions in history that the UN estimated took the lives of as many as a million Iraqis, the vast majority of them children."

So, these are just some of the reasons I don't trust the Clintons.

Obama - he has a charming presence and a finesse, but it's important to remember that he has some of the slickest PR people creating his campaign. His brand is "hope" and "change." His campaign consultants would be overjoyed to hear from your blog readers how frequently their buzz words and phrases come up in references to Obama. We absorb and internalize that stuff like sponges. You've got to watch the documentary "Our Brand is Crisis" about U.S. campaign consultants working their "magic" in Bolivia. I just watched it the other day. Very eye opening about PR firms' election tactics here at home as well.

I don't know. Neither of the candidates are progressive enough for me. As much as I want to support Obama, he, like Clinton, says he wants to leave all the options as far as Iran on the table. That means he is not ruling out a military strike. I just cannot get behind that. He, of all the major candidates running, has the most Wall Street bucks backing him. How is he going to challenge the status quo with all those people demanding their interests are high on the list?

I will vote this coming fall - I can for the first time this year - but not sure for whom yet.

DrSchnell said...

Hell, I'm voting tomorrow in Pennsylvania and still haven't made up my mind. I always mocked people that hadn't made up their mind on election day (what, have you been living in a cave?), but tomorrow, I'll be one of those people. Granted, it's a primary, where the shades of difference between candidates are much more slender, and not a general election, where the choice is between deeply flawed but overall OK, and creepy-ass right wing fascism, but still....