Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meditation on the Election

I had a conversation with Ezra in which a third party asked me who I was supporting in the Democratic field. When I said I was genuinely undecided, Ezra jokingly told that person that I wasn't, and that I was supporting Hillary Clinton. This was news to me. Since Kevin Drumm can write a long and meditative post about the Democratic field, then I guess, so will I.

Perhaps based on things I've written in the past, these liberal bloggers think they've got me all figured out. And to be honest, when I wrote that post, I felt obligated to defend Clinton as a candidate because I identify with her in many ways. I'm an ambitious white woman seeking to make it in a field that is overwhelmingly dominated by men. That's a really tough thing to do. She also does a good job of going to bat for a set of issues that I care about: toning down the abortion debate so it's not pro-lifers and pro-choicers screaming at one another, but giving voice to the people somewhere in the middle that want abortion to be legal, even if they're uncomfortable with it; she introduced legislation that would make big steps in closing the pay gap; and she has a long history of advocating for women's opportunities. But to be perfectly honest, I still have major reservations about her foreign policy positions. I'm wonder if by nominating her, we'll return to a shrill and divided debate that the right brought up the first time around with the Clintons.

Obama appeals to me in a way that no candidate has in a long time. His hopeful attitudes about politics and bipartisanship make me want to believe in the system again. I find him a compelling candidate, and I have no doubt that if elected, he would do everything he could to start healing this country after too many years of bitter divides. It's also impossible for me to ignore that Obama may be a real role model for young black men in this country in the way Clinton is, in some ways, for me. I find Obama's ideas about foreign policy really appealing. He wants to overturn decades of injustice in Cuba based on a stale Cold War grudge. He wants to talk to leaders about things that matter. But is his freshness just a cover for a real lack of experience? I don't know, but the question still hinges in my mind, even if I really like him as a candidate.

Edwards has policies that I really agree with, and I think that he's pushed the dialog back in the direction of what government can and should do for the American people. He has a pragmatic approach to how to infuse out government with progressivism. He wants to do things like tie the minimum wage to the cost of living so it doesn't have to become a huge battle in Congress every time. He's working hard to bring back populism that has been absent from politics for too long. Do I think he has a shot in hell of winning the primary? Not really. Does that mean I should vote for him anyway? Maybe.

I have to say, I loved Rebecca Traister's recent ode to Kucinich.

And the underlying fear to all this meditation is which candidate will stand up to the bitter, harsh, and relentless machine that the right has implemented in this country. I don't know which candidate will do that best, because, as we saw with Kerry, it's the little things that can really change the debate of the election, and those little things are as of yet unknown.

So the sort version of this is that I still genuinely don't know who I will go to the ballot box and vote for* come time.**

* Not that it matters, as a resident of the District of Columbia, I have very little to say about who the Democratic nominee will be. It will be totally decided by the time my primary comes around.

** This text was edited from the original.

1 comment:

Zorro said...

"Since Kevin Drumm can write a long and meditative post about the Democratic field, then I guess, so will I."

A key difference between you and Kevin Drum is that Kevin Drum CAN write.



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