Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The case against nominating HIllary Clinton

Sorry Em, it's the season.

Politics, I've learned, is actually pretty simple. Voting is not. It is not simple to understand voters, it is not simple to understand for whom one should vote, particularly in primaries. So, my statements about politics below are not meant to be prognostication about the election. I don't know how the election is going to turn out. I'm clear on that.

1. Hillary would unite the Republican party against her. Obama might get some Republican support, some significant Republican support. This is the thing that I still am amazed that is so overlooked by the pundit class. Republicans are embarrassed by the Bush presidency.

They aren't Republicans because they support nepotism, corruption, incompetence, secretiveness, and a combative, arrogant, xenophobic, crusading foreign policy. They want to believe in American ideals again that they'll concede an executive policy points in return for a competent theorist of American government.

Obama is a Harvard Law grad, Review Editor, Constitutional Law professor who has also worked in elected/appointed office at the local, the state and the Federal level to move the levers of government.

And they don't hate him.

2. HIllary won't be able to make the "experience" argument against McCain.

3. People like McCain. Even people who don't agree with him much, like me. This current swift-boating afoot to paint him as some kind of closet Liberal is hilarious. No, he's not an ideologue and he doesn't tow the party line when he knows it's wrong, bad policy (like immigration), but he doesn't believe in interventionist government, either. He believes that the interests and values of an unborn child can be known and that codifying those interests trumps an adult's freedom. He thinks you can advance freedom at the point of a gun. He thinks crusading invasions of oil-rich sovereign nations can be justified by the villainy of their leader. He's not even a little Liberal.

But I could vote for him. McCain can take votes from HIllary.

4. Obama's last name is not Clinton or Bush. He's Dick Cheney's cousin, but we could all use a little Cheney, right?

5. While one can shade Hillary's emotional countenance in a number of different ways, none of them particularly warm, Barack Obama is not desperate, not even a little bit. He is warm, relaxed, funny and you get the feeling that he doesn't feel entitled to win and he'll be happy to go back and keep working in the Senate if that's what the people want. This is his sharpest contrast with Hillary.

So, strategically, if one can step back dispassionately a bit, Obama is more electable. There's a clearer path to him winning.

I know, he's black. There are a number of people who won't vote for a black man. I've studied these voters. They also don't vote. They aren't going to be putting Clinton signs in their yard. They're just as likely to not vote at all as vote for McCain.

There are a far greater number of people, of both genders, who are going to be disinclined to vote for a woman.

Making a voting judgment on the basis of either metric is distasteful, but you can't deny the political life still kicking in all that. I happen to think it is more important to be right than to win, so neither is a factor for my voting decision. But when I take a dispassionate look at the politics of race and gender, I concede that's still a pretty lively kettle of fish.

So, while it will be best for us all if you vote for the person you believe is best suited for the job, part of what suits a good candidate is the ability to win. Just like in college basketball (go Heels!), winning programs play the starters, not the seniors.

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