Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I won't do it

That's right. I really don't think I can. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, it would take Obama/Edwards/Feingold as VP to get my support. I'll vote Green Party, in a heartbeat. We can't settle for someone just because she calls herself a Democrat. That isn't the ethical thing to do.

Before getting too deep into my rant, let me first say how thrilled I am to have Koko join the ranks of the Obama supporters. I have been working on Koko for what seems like years, and as much as I am saddened by John Edwards downfall, I am elated to have Koko in Obama's corner.

Okay, someone brought up "substantial differences" between Obama and Hillary in the comments of Koko's last post. I have a few!

1. HONESTY

Hillary is trying to say that the delegates from Michigan (a state in which all of the democratic candidates promised they would leave the ballot) should be seated!! She was the only one on the ballot! Come on, Hillary, who are you kidding! She originally agreed to go off of the ballot, and then when it was clear that everyone else was off and she could coast, she stayed on and cruised to victory. If this is how she acts now, can we really trust her once she is in the White House???????

When Obama said the thing about Reagan and Republicans having ideas, he was raked over the coals by Bill Clinton. Obama didn't say he agreed with the change and ideas of Reagan, he just said that he used his ideas to implement change. THIS IS TRUE. Reagan was awful, but he knew how to turn energy into change. To quote Doris Kearns Goodwin, "You know, it's a sad point in our history when a presidential candidate cannot look back over the course of our history and show admiration for a president who did what he said. He didn't really say that he had better ideas, he said that he had transformed the country, created a conservative movement."

It's now become obvious that Obama was not in the wrong here. It is also clear that his remarks clearly pissed off Bill Clinton enough that Bill decided to let loose and lose his wife a few more points with some very racist comments in SC.

2. PROGRESSIVE IDEALS!!!

*Hillary Clinton said this just three years ago:
"The jury is still out on the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs." UHHH, it is!!!??!?!!

*Also, for those democrats who don't prioritize welfare reform, you are in the wrong party. We are the party who cares about the little guy, the party who stands up for those that need help standing. We aren't the ones who enact welfare reform (did i say reform? the clintons slashed it.) They took pride in kicking single women off of the welfare rolls when they wouldn't work under terrible circumstances for Tyson Chicken...a company whose CEO was a huge Clinton donor. One might ask about my source here...it's none other than Betty's "favorite teacher," Mr. Hitchens. I strongly recommend his book, "No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family."

Also, if we must bring Bill Clinton into this mess, I find it odd that he recently claimed to be against Bush's war from the start. Is this not the same man who senselessly bombed Iraq in the 1990's just to take the focus off of his own scandal? Come on, Bill, you really want us to believe that you, a man who himself is responsible for the displacement of thousands of Iraqis, were against going in and finishing off Saddam?

3. ELECTABILITY

Uhh, in case you haven't read a newspaper in a year, over half of the country will under no circumstances vote for Hillary Clinton. Republicans hate her. Independents hate her. You cannot win a general election with someone who 51% of Americans say they will not vote for, especially when you are running against someone with such broad appeal as John McCain (he just sewed up the nomination with a win in FL and a Giuliani endorsement.)

Look guys, I'm as much of a hardcore Dem as anyone here (and I want to win in November!), but let's face the facts. Eight more years of the Clintons is not what we need as a party and it really isn't what we need as a country. It was after all, the lies and dishonesty of Bill Clinton that got us eight years of G.W.B. Republicans and conservative independents certainly can't dislike him for "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and "Welfare to Work." I don't know about the rest of you, but I found these policies offensive and very unlike anything that I would want associated with the Democratic Party.

As for John Edwards, he is a good man, his heart is in the right place. The bottom line is that Obama is more captivating to more people, he is the reason that more democrats than ever are coming out to vote in these primaries--people who have never voted before. Edwards would be a great president, and I hope that he serves in Obama's cabinet.

As much as I hope that this post convinces people that Hillary is the absolute wrong choice for president, if you haven't learned that by now, I'm not sure what it's going to take. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger said the other day that he very much likes Obama. Ted Kennedy and Arnold are supporting the same guy? Let's face it, Obama has a broader coalition of support than anyone thought possible of a Democrat, AND he has done it without compromising his progressive principles.

26 comments:

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Let's try to keep the tone civil and respectful of each other. It's fine to disagree, but there's no need to harangue those who hold a different opinion:

"As much as I hope that this post convinces people that Hillary is the absolute wrong choice for president, if you haven't learned that by now, I'm not sure what it's going to take."

betty said...

A few points --

on honesty -- Obama did not have to vote on the war because he was not in the U.S. Senate at the time, and yet he is going around acting like he took such a brave courageous stance against it. Many people don't even understand that he wasn't in the Senate at the time because he intentionally makes this unclear. And I think that if Obama had won Florida, he would be putting up a fight for "Florida voters' rights" too! Who wouldn't?

on progressive ideals -- i have read mr. hitchens' book. it is not about hillary clinton, it is about bill clinton. the only bad stuff he can come up with about hillary in that book is that she snubbed one of her friends when clinton fire her. ugly, but not exactly relevant to her presidential run. i maintain that on paper, obama is no more progressive that hillary. if you can find a piece of policy proposed that proves me wrong, please come forward.

on electability -- hillary won new hampshire and nevada and had a pretty strong showing in florida, too. i don't see how you can call such a person unelectable.

on your vote -- obama or edwards WILL be the VP candidate, so what's the problem?

i am no committed hillary voter, but i am committed to keeping all this stuff clear.

betty said...

p.s. And don't you ever question why people hate Hillary so much and so irrationally? I think it's a bit lazy to just state it and move on. I mean, I know why she is annoying and center-rightish but that's why she annoys ME. I think with a lot of people, it really is a misogynist thing. I have seen the way people who are unconcerned with politics recoil at her name, and that scares me a little. Remember, they hated her in 1992, too.

betty said...

p.p.s. Don't you find it WEIRD that all these right-wing hawkish types love Obama? The pro-Bush, pro-war blogger Andrew Sullivan is just plain freaking me out lately.

And on the Reagan point, please read this piece by Joan Walsh, on Salon.com:

I think the Clintons are closer to right on the question of Obama's words about Ronald Reagan to the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal. Again, they overstated their case a little. Obama never said he "admired" Ronald Reagan, but you could fairly infer that from the words he used. It seems to me that Obama is doing what he does very well, what all good politicians do: tailoring his words and tone to his audience, in this case, a conservative newspaper that wound up endorsing him.

This is the part of the quote that got the most attention: "I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

So while it's true he never said he "admired" Reagan, he certainly praised Reagan's campaign for its "optimism," "dynamism," "entrepreneurship" and "accountability." Even more interesting, to me, is something Obama said later in the interview that got almost no attention:

"I do think there's maybe a generational element to this, partly. In the sense that I didn't come of age in the battles of the sixties, I'm not as invested in them. So I think I talk differently about issues ... and values. And that's why I think we've been resonating with the American people ... What I'm saying is that I think the average Baby Boomer has moved beyond a lot of the arguments of the sixties, but our politicians haven't. It's all around culture wars ... or Vietnam."

Anyone who wants to understand why some Democrats have questions about Obama's politics should look closely at that quote. Let me state first: I'm only two and a half years older than Obama. I don't want to keep fighting the "battles of the sixties," either. But the fact is, to the extent that it seems sometimes like we have to -- over civil rights, women's rights, gay rights -- it's almost always because Republicans are fighting to block the gains of those groups, or to roll back already-won gains. If Obama wants Democrats to know he's not "as invested" in those battles as Hillary Clinton, that's worth knowing. I actually think Obama's gotten off easy, not having to explain what he meant by that.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/01/23/obama_reagan/index.html?source=rss&aim=/opinion/walsh/election_2008

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Thank you Betty, for your comments. I have to say I was more bothered by this post than much of what I've ever read on this blog. Betty's observation about Clinton hatred being linked to misogyny is dead-on. We also should remember that Obama is not going to get a pass if nominated. The claws will come out, and I wouldn't put the Republican opponent past race-baiting, either. Not a reason not to vote for him, but not a reason not to vote for Clinton, either. Kerry was thought to be in such a strong place on the war because of his service, and look what they did to him.

However, I find Betty's comment that Obama or Edwards will be the VP surprising. This I can't imagine happening. I have a strong feeling that Clinton would choose Bill Richardson, but that is based on no inside knowledge.

Montserrat Nicolás said...

The Dems will loose in november, 2008.

bests-

Koko the Clown said...

Taking up Betty's challenge, here is an issue where Obama is more progressive than Clinton on paper:
Clinton voted to label the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Obama missed the vote while campaigning but spoke loudly and clearly against it, and made it clear he would have voted no if he were there. Far from being a "symbolic" vote, many believe this could be used by Bush to bring the US into war with Iran.

Also, Clinton and Obama have taken very different tones in terms of their views on negotiating with leaders such as Ahmedinejad. Clinton criticized Obama saying he would negotiate without preconditions by calling him "naive."

The problem with the 2002 Iraq vote is not just the vote but the different foreign policy outlooks that are reflected between the two. That's why I accepted Edwards' apology and renunciation of his vote to authorize war, and why I think Clinton's refusal to apologize for her vote is telling. Similarly, I don't care so much about Obama's 2002 opposition to the war as I do believe that he is more motivated than Clinton to keep us out of the next one.

Jasen said...

i apologize if I offended anyone by pointing out how Hillary Clinton is at times dishonest and not progressive, but to use her words, "these distinctions must be made."

Betty, thanks for noting the difference in the Hitchens book...I own the copy with the extra chapter about Hillary, entitled: "In the Shadow of a Con Man."

In terms of hatred of Clinton, I think that has to do more with the fear of the Democratic party regressing into the 90's, a time when we were far less progressive and over-run with senseless scandals.

I encourage you all to watch the video from last night in which Hillary makes the case for the Michigan delegates to be seated. There was no one else on the ballot, of course she won. She also agreed to take her name off of the ballot and then decided against it. I'd love a response to this point...

Montserrat Nicolás said...

jasen:
no offense taken...

all I can say is that last night, on NPR, Hill was asked about Bill. and said:

"WE as president will..."

WE. Not the royal WE, mind you. The Clinton 'WE'.

So. I think you're right on.

If Hill could only be honest about herself and Bill...

The main question is:
Why so scared? Why not just come out and say exactly all the things she stands for?

Basically, it still doesn't matter because the Dems will screw this up again, again, and again.

best-

Jasen said...

I agree, when will the party learn to stop nominating people who alienate half of the population and fail to get the support of young voters and others who have never been involved before???

Montserrat Nicolás said...

eeehhhhhh...jasen...a more appealing candidate for a large part of the US electorate would be a mix b/w hillbillobamaedwards and reagan...

the problem of the US (and possibly the rest of the planet) is the constant intention of seduction of OTHERS voters...instead of looking for new ones (i.e expand the market).

the whole idea of electability is based on that, look for the center, wishywashyness, no real stand on anything, superficial etc.

the dems will loose just because of that. last time the center votes crossed party lines, A MOVIE STAR WAS NEEDED TO seduce them!

the only way out is to nominate angelina. she would bring brad...

best-

pokeepsie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pokeepsie said...

A female Obama supporter with a note on misogyny:

There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary-hatred and misogyny can go hand in hand. HOWEVER, I firmly believe that the growing anti-Hillary sentiment among Obama (or Edwards) supporters, for example, is a direct result of her foul play in this campaign as well as her increasing opposition to their progressive ideals and values. I am concerned that Hillary is building her campaign platform on a feigned liberalism meant to seduce young voters like me. That's why I find her lack of commitment to progressive issues like abolishing abstinence-only education especially troubling. I have grown up with the dream of voting for a female presidential candidate (and, at one time, Hillary herself) but I am not willing to sacrifice my own hope for and commitment to both a progressive and unified country to elect Hillary Clinton (as strong, committed, and experienced as she may be) as my candidate. I believe that Barack will work to challenge the status quo in Washington, while Hillary would continue to represent it.

Jasen said...

In case people wanted a source for the Michigan and Florida thing...http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2008/01/29/hillary-goes-back-on-her-word/

Also, Betty, in regards to your comment about Hillary winning NH and that making her electable, I would say this:

polling consistently shows her losing to McCain and Obama beating McCain or at least doing far better than she does. She will pull no independents of Republicans over in a general election and will lose the votes of progressives who will refuse to vote for her. Obama is attractive to independents and republicans because the average american values honesty. As you can see from the link i provide above, this is not one of the staples of the clinton campaign...and for those literary scholars, one can see dishonesty as a motif throughout the political career of the Clinton duo. So even though Obama is far more progressive, moderates like him because he is genuine and they sense his ability to hear this country.

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

I want to clarify, Jasen, that I objected to your comment not because what you said about Clinton but what you said about her supporters. I don't think you'll get very far implying everyone who has a different opinion than you must be self-delusional idiots. Since you seem to respect Obama's call to diminish partisanship and factionalism, your tone perplexes me. (I'm referring to comments like, "in case you haven't read a newspaper for a year," "you are in the wrong party," etc.)

Polls comparing potential Clinton or potential Obama to McCain are meaningless. A year ago, Clinton was winning South Carolina by a landslide. A month ago, Obama was winning New Hampshire by a landslide. These things change.

Finally, I take your point on abstinence education, but I don't understand why it's come up twice or why we should care. I care about the things that are going to be on the table in the next eight years. Let's take a different example. All of the Democratic candidates that have been in the race (except perhaps for Kucinich) were opposed to gay marriage. I think this is a backward position. Furthermore, I think they're dishonest and cowardly for maintaining this position, because in their heart of hearts, I don't think Clinton or Obama think gay marriage threatens some holy union or whatever. Yet they maintain this position for political expediency. But you know what? This doesn't keep me up at night. We'll be lucky if the next president tackles 2-3 major issues that need major reform (in my book: the war, civil liberties, health care, the environment, and the tax system), and those are the issues I care about.

Betty & Bimbo said...

Wow, there is a lot to respond to here! I step out for two hours and 14 comments pile up! This is great!

To respond to both Obama and Jasen, I think you can see the stretches that need to be made to come up with substantial difference between the candidates in question. This Michigan thing is a new development, and hardly something that defines Hillary Clinton as a politician. The fact of the matter is that Hillary and Obama have voted 97% the same on everything in the Senate. As for the vote on Iran, I don't see why Obama didn't vote on it himself if he feels so strongly about it. I am not criticizing him for being a politician and having to appeal to many people (see also the Reagan and "post-sixties" comments I linked to), just pointing out that he makes compromises like everyone else-- the gay marriage point that Nancy D. raises is a good example of this. Also, Obama has been much more aggressive than Clinton in this campaign about promoting his Christian beliefs in the places like S.C. where that matters a lot. For me is a big turn-off, but whatever. I consider the candidates on the merits and understanding that they need to say certain things to remain viable and get to the White House. That's why I can't stand all this talk about Obama like he's some pure incarnation of progressive values and honesty. Give me a break.

On the misogyny point -- Jasen, the Clinton years were a very peaceful prosperous time for America. While I am very angry about many of Bill Clinton's foreign and domestic policy decisions when he was president, most people don't even know that Iraq was firebombed under Bill. And yet they hate Hillary. I fail to understand this.

Jasen said...

Nancy,

That you don't care about a candidate's position on abstinence only education and that you aren't too concerned for welfare are reasons enough to call into question what it means to be a "Democrat."

Perhaps though you are right about me being unfair in questioning you being in the wrong party...I could be the one outgrowing this party. I will say however that the line between Clinton Democrats and McCain Republicans is quite thin. But if that's where the party needs to go, that's where it needs to go.

Also, last time I checked, the Clintons didn't do much in terms of war (bombing Iraq and Sudan,) Health Care (they flopped,) environment (nothing to speak of, why weren't effeciency standards increased!?) And for those who say that Bill isn't running for president this time, Hillary is, I offer this question: If he is taking it upon himself to ruin her campaign to this extent, can we not expect him to ruin her White House as well?

In other news, Ralph Nader just started an exploratory website...sign me up

Betty & Bimbo said...

p.s. On Jasen's point about electability-- If Hillary is the Democratic nominee and progressives refuse to vote for her, that is like voting for McCain or whatever pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tax-cut candidate the Republicans put up. How can you justify that?

I hate this talk about how Hillary is like evil or something when I watched the Republican post-Florida speeches last night and all of them are completely scary and politically backwards rich dudes who want to undo any progressive gain that has been made in the last 40 years. And I disagree with you, Monse, about the Dems being doomed. The Republicans are just as divided as we are right now. Let's hope they stay that way.

Jasen said...

I question the notion that people didn't know that we firebombed Iraq...it was broadcast live on the nightly news. I remember watching with horror at Danforth St.

And as bad as Bush's reasons were for going into Iraq (they were terrible!) Clinton really had no reason at all, other than getting the attention off of himself

Jasen said...

Yes, they are quite divided as well.

But Betty, one more point, you suggest that Hillary and Barack vote together 97% of the time...if this is true, and Obama is clearly the more honest and inspiring candidate, then isn't the choice clear???

Betty & Bimbo said...

Jasen, I remember watching Iraq being firebombed from Santiago, too, and it was completely shameless and horrible. But when W. was talking war it really seemed like people hadn't noticed that Clinton had been bombing there, too. Just ask people about Clinton and Iraq, and see what they say. Remember, most people don't vote.

To answer your second question, NO, the choice is not clear, for two reasons. One, I disagree with your premise that Obama is clearly the more honest candidate. I have given plenty of reasons to support this, as has Nancy D. Do you think he really cares if gay people get married? Do you think he really thinks he's that different from Hillary?

And while I must agree that he "inspires" people I repeat again that I do not think this is in itself a reason to elect someone president. In fact, I think a big part of the way Obama inspires people is reflected in that quote about how he's so over the battles of the sixties. I think this is why conservatives love him -- a black guy who's "post-race"! People love that he wants to reach across the aisle (his own words) and bring civility back to politics and blah blah blah, but I don't think this is realistic, and I don't want "bipartisan" policies that are really just complete capitulations to the Republican agenda. There's an article about this in Salon.com today if you are interested. Also, I think that politicians should not be required to be inspiring, and people asking that of them are people who do not understand what politics is --- long, slow, frustrating hard work. Demanding to be inspired is almost like an excuse for why you don't participate in politics -- "I'm just not inspired." Obama is a really great person and very charming and compelling and all-around great but why do I still have no idea how he'd be different from Hillary Clinton as a president? Koko made some guesses but just the fact that we are guessing is troubling. The guy inspires but still hasn't made any strong definitive statements that separate his positions from Hillary's. Maybe he should be a professional commencement speaker. Anyway, I'm anxious to hear more specifics from him in the coming weeks.

Jasen said...

Betty,

Your point about Obama's honesty is simply not true. Neither you nor Nancy have given a good example of anything Obama has done that has come close to the trickery of Hillary.

As for your point about him not being in the Senate during the war vote...he was campaigning in a five person primary and was one of very few candidates around the country running for Senate who was anti-war...so to say that the stakes were not high is nonsense. In fact, I would argue that he had more to lose by being against the war, since this was not a popular position at the time and he was running for Senate...

Montserrat Nicolás said...

betty et al.

Dems WILL LOOSE because the REPS know -all and each of them- WHAT THEY WON'T tolerate.

republicans are never ever divided. confused, but never divided. this is an essential part of their card-bearingness...

if you are a conservative, you know what you like, solid ground under your feet. and you like that so much you bet your whole world on it.

meanwhile, the dems (I still can't believe that it is only one party) just can't get they act together and STAND FOR ONE THING.

in other words, they don't know what is good for them when they see it...part of the whole progessive thing.

so there you have it. dems will loose. with a chick or a brother at the helm...

Plus, a US president that doesn't bomba acountry, is not american enough.



best-

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Well, if you want to get into the direction of the Democratic Party, and I by no means consider myself an insider, I think the whole platform needs to go. The Democratic platform is a mishmash of hundreds of individual policy positions designed to placate different constituencies and doesn't add up to an overall vision. I'm not sure if sex ed is on there, but if it is it's exactly the sort of micromanaging I'm opposed to. Yes, CANDIDATES should have positions on these things, but I think the party platform needs to be rewritten with a general mission in mind and progressive policies on the central issues of the day. A middle-class or low-income voter should be able to look at the party platform and see on its face that it represents their best interests. They shouldn't have to ask themselves, "Hmm, do I want my kid to get condoms in schools, because then I may not be a Democrat."

Interestingly, I think Obama articulates a vision that's close to this. I guess I don't understand where you're coming from Jasen, because Obama's "vision" is post-partisan, yet your writing is extremely partisan.

And I don't vote for a candidate because I think they're the perfect articulation of Democratic party values. (Sometimes I, like you, don't even vote for Democrats.) I vote for them based on the job they're running for. So my criteria for insurance commissioner (a very important race in the last election here in California) is different than my criteria for school board member, which is different than my criteria for president. When voting for my local school board last year, policies on sex ed meant a lot more to me than they do now.

Koko the Clown said...

If Hillary is the Democratic nominee and progressives refuse to vote for her, that is like voting for McCain or whatever pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tax-cut candidate the Republicans put up. How can you justify that?

Betty - I am sorry to say I disagree with this argument. This is an age-old debate, and I am not going to commit to voting for Hillary Clinton or not voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election at this point. I don't think she will be in the general election anyhow, but I will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Of course in politics you have to compromise, and you can't always get what you want, or even close. But neither can we always just vote for Democrats because we live in fear of what Republicans will do. I think it's fair to say that no Democrat should take my vote for granted, even if they are running against Attila the Hun. We need to demand that our leaders move the country in a positive direction. Obviously, some of us disagree as to whether there is a gap on that question between Barack and Hillary, and that's a fine disagreement to have.

But if we believe that a commitment to peace and social justice comes first, and that the Democratic Party can at best be a means to that end (the New Deal and Great Society) and at worst an impediment to it (the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the long march of neoliberalism), than we need to keep our commitments in terms of our goals first and foremost.

I'm not saying that you're not doing that, Betty, nor am I accusing anyone on this blog of that. But I think it's worth thinking about why we even care about all this stuff. The Democrats in the US House, who are by the way a majority over there, just agreed to an "economic stimulus" package that excluded all the elements they initially wanted -- extending unemployment, increasing food stamps, and increasing aid to states. All the package is now doing is sending checks to people and giving tax breaks to businesses. This is not post-partisanship, it's the other partisan agenda winning. And many Democrats in power don't seem to care.

Again, I don't think Barack Obama will fix all of this. But I still think he's the best option to make some headway. Even if it's just on the issue of ethics and changing the way Washington works, I don't doubt his commitment to that and believe it could potentially do more good than any number of other promises.

Jasen said...

Right on Koko...with that, i'm finalizing my application to Bernie Sanders' senate office...