Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards Out - Now What?

So here is the worst-case scenario I've been dreading. I am a lifelong and registered Democrat, a self-described liberal in the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) tradition. And this coming Tuesday my state of residence, Connecticut, is holding its primary on Super Tuesday. I've now got what I consider to be a distasteful choice between two candidates, neither of whom was my first (Bill Richardson) or even my second (John Edwards) preference.

Preferably, I'd like to wait now until the conventions to see who I'll support. But I have what I feel is a duty and obligation to vote this Tuesday for someone. I'd like to stay undecided, but I've now got to work through my misgivings and make a choice. If you get the sense that I am stalling, it is because I am using this writing exercise to work it out in my own mind.

What we are left with in the Democratic race are two weak candidates who will potentially get creamed in a national election, particularly if John McCain wins the Republican nomination (not yet a sure thing). For Barack Obama, the question "Where's the beef?" is certainly valid. For Hilary Clinton, the soap-opera drama of her candidacy (past scandals, the baggage of First Laddy, etc.) cannot be wiped away by good intentions. Obama is an untested and inexperienced Harvard lawyer whose campaign is now an amorphous "movement" of inchoate hope; Clinton is a triangulating Yale lawyer who is running a bitter and divisive old-style campaign of disngenuousness. I think neither is electable -- either separately or together, they will probably go down to defeat in a national election. I still believe that foreign affairs is the crucial issue for the upcoming 4 years. I can't imagine world adversaries or our military submitting to the leadership of either Democratic candidate.

I for one will certainly vote for the Democratic ticket in the national election -- if only because of potential Supreme Court openings which will certainly emerge in the coming 4 years. But I must admit that McCain on the top of a national ticket looks tempting -- but not if Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney is his running mate (a likely move to unify the GOP behind McCain).

I have publicly and vocally announced more than a few times that I will never support Hilary Clinton. Politically, I despise her (though I do not feel the same way towards First Laddy). To quote my favorite morning radio host, "Hilary is still Satan." But I cannot vote for a vague, inexperienced 1st-term senator, however energizing the symbolism of his candidacy might be. Four years ago, he was nothing more than an Illinois State Senator who voted "present" more than a hundred times on legislation, a few times which required a leader to take a stand. He was a US Senator for less than a year before he launched his campaign. There is simply nothing there, other than a symbol of youthfulness and racial amity. That for me is not enough.

So I guess I've worked it out, at least for today. Call me undecided, leaning towards Clinton. I can't believe what I just wrote....

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