Friday, January 11, 2008

Reasons for Voting for Hillary

Like many Democrats, I have been trying all year to make up my mind about which candidate to support. I have flirted with the 2nd-tier candidates (Biden, Dodd and Richardson) because of their experience. I have fallen under the charms of Obama and, even more so, under the power of Edwards' populist rhetoric. And then, of course, there is Hillary - a woman who raises many conflicting feelings, both personal and political.

During the past week, however, I made up my mind - largely due to the wholesale, misogynistic lynching of Hillary by members of the MSM and, unfortunately, by the liberal blogosphere as well.

Now, many would say, and are saying, that it is stupid to vote for a candidate just because the MSM hate her, but there is, actually, a method to the madness.

To begin with, I would more or less happily have voted for any of the Democratic candidates (including, ugh, Gravel) over any of the Republican candidates. I find this is not true for many Democrats, which brings us to

Reason 1. The company I would be keeping.
Andrew Sullivan loves Obama, thinks he is the new Messiah. Given Sullivan's previous political love affairs (Thatcher, Reagan, and the Shrub), one must seriously consider his judgment.

In my travels through the blogosphere, I have discovered (in a totally unscientific non-survey) that most Obama supporters, and a sizable number of Edwards' supporters, are prepared to pick up their marbles and go home if Hillary becomes the nominee. Hillary supporters, OTOH, have no objection to voting for whomever the Dem. nominee is.

One could hear this difference after the NH votes came in. Obama tossed off a one sentence "congratulations" to Hillary at the start of his "concession" speech with a request for applause that produced a smattering of tepid claps. Hillary, later in her speech, warmly praised all of her opponents, past and present, and was greeted with a warm round of unsolicited applause.

I do not want to be associated with people who think that any of the Republican candidates would be better than Hillary.

The liberal boycott of Hubert Humphrey after RFK's assassination gave us Nixon and 50 years of toxic, race-based, anti-women politics. Instead of learning the lesson that even a bad Democrat is better than a "good" Republican, too many liberals continue to believe that voting for the lesser evil is a copout. It is not. It is called reality.

Reason 2: The MSM lynching
To paraphrase an email posted on Andrew Sullivan's web, if one added up all the awful things the Clintons have actually done (not the wild imaginings of the Right Wing Nuts), they would still be buried under the mountain of catastrophes perpetrated on this country by George W. Bush.

The hatred of the Clintons has exceeded all rational boundaries and the justifications for the malevolence is about on a par with "my computer ate my thesis". I think even FDR & Eleanor would be shocked - and they came in for a boatload of abuse.

It appears that, as far as the media are concerned, political racism is dead but misogyny is alive and well - even on liberal blogs and Air America.

I have, quite simply, had it. Hillary is possibly the only woman who has a chance of becoming President in the next decade or so. She will be vilified every moment of her Presidency, but when it is over, I believe the next woman will be treated more fairly.

Obama can run in 2016, thus locking in 16 years of Democratic rule, perhaps enough to change the direction of the SCOTUS.

Reason 3: Obama
Too much of his rhetoric comes from the right-wing play book: dynasty, Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton, tired-old 60's "no-longer-relevant" divisiveness.

I fail to see how "I can bring us all together" is any different than Clinton's "triangulation". One either has enough power to pass whatever policies one wants or one compromises. That is the nature of the political game.

I also fail to see exactly how Obama plans to bridge the divide between pro-choice & anti-abortion foes, liberals who believe in a government that takes care of its citizens vs. conservatives who believe in social Darwinism, etc. When an NPR journalist asked Obama why he thought he could pass universal health care when all previous attempts have failed, he said he would do it by (I'm paraphrasing from memory) rousing the American people up to demand for it. Just how he expects to do this (by the force of his personality?), I have no idea.

The rhetoric that so entrances the MSM who have declared him to be the finest American orator since Lincoln does NOT move me. I appreciate the craft with which he drafts his speeches, but I sense no substance or honest feeling behind the words. His speeches remind me of Sunday-morning sermons, all flowery & lofty and meaningless. The speech he delivered after New Hampshire could have, minus the first sentence, been issued without change even if he had won. It didn't come from the heart.

I am also very uncomfortable with his constant invocation of God. We have traveled too far down that road already. The invasion of religion into both our government and our politics is toxic and must be stopped. Obama's faith is dangerous because so many in the media consider it to be "genuine" as opposed to, I assume, Bush's non-genuine faith?

Yes, Hillary invokes God, too. But one knows that she is uncomfortable doing so and can be sure that it will be kept to a minimum.

The final straw for me was the last debate before New Hampshire when he replied, looking down his nose, that she was "likable enough" - followed by a photo op of the 3 men chatting comfortably together with Hillary off to one side.

Reason 4: Edwards
His populist rhetoric appeals to me in a way that Obama's does not. But his voting record doesn't match his rhetoric. He might have still convinced me until he took advantage of Hillary's slightly teary eyes (Jon Stewart nailed the MSM right on) to issue a thinly veiled attack on her not being "strong enough" to be President.

Reason 5: Hillary
She is far from my idea of a perfect Democratic candidate. But she knows Washington and she knows the Senate. If anybody can get some semi-decent legislation through, she can. Most importantly, I know that the next SCOTUS justice, if appointed by Hillary, will be a person who respects the concept of justice. FEMA will be run by somebody competent. The EPA and the FDA will do their jobs.

I know what I will get with Hillary, a flawed but competent President. I do not know what I will get with Obama at this stage of his career, and I am not ready to take the risk.

And we should not forget that the only reason that the wives of Obama and Edwards can play such prominent, and unquestioned, roles in their campaigns is because of all the garbage thrown at Hillary in the 90's. Her continuing ability to smile in the face of the vicious attacks on her as a person is a true profile in courage.