For the first time in a long time, primaries will make a real difference in who becomes the Democrat nominee for president. As a registered Democrat in New York, I will have the opportunity and the responsibility to vote in next Tuesday's primary. Since I will be out of town, however, I will be casting an absentee ballot. I will be taking it along with me for an out of town trip for a family wedding in Denver and then a visit in San Francisco. Perhaps travel will help me become clearer about my choice.
I have just spent time on both websites and on FactCheck.org. It is clear that there is very little policy difference between the two. in the two years they have overlapped in the Senate, they have voted together about 95% of the time. Given her six additional year's of Senate service, Clinton has a substantially greater lists of accomplishments.
They have both made erroneous claims about the other. On matters of importance to me (tax policy, Iraq, health care, education) they hold similar positions. If forced, I would probably give the edge to Clinton but not by much, certainly not enough to make my decision easy. Both are highly intelligent and well motivated. No basis there for a choice.
Clinton would bring more experience and I think that is important. Obama excites people with his eloquence and seems able to reach across many of the divisions that so plague us today. Clinton does seem to generate an almost visceral negative reaction from those already disposed to oppose her and the Democrat policies she espouses. I am not sure there would be more opposition than would be the case with Obama but she certainly would "stir up the Republican base."
In short, I still lean toward Clinton perhaps because she is much more of a known quantity to me given her service here in New York. Obama remains a bit of a mystery--albeit an intriguing one--to me. I am put off by his demeanor and body language when he listens to his opponents. Surely that cannot become the basis for my choice!
I have not finally decided and will watch the debate tonight and ponder all this as I travel this weekend. At some point, I will mark my ballot and put it in the mail. More later.